The safe use of flavorings in e-cigarettes

Flavorings typically used are food grade, which means that are usually ingested rather than inhaled. ‘The data available is oral, but safe to eat is not the same as safe to inhale,’ says Sandra Costigan, Principle Toxicologist at Nicoventures, a nicotine company owned by BAT. ‘There are data gaps, but the meantime, what are the kinds of scientific rationale that will allow us to determine if we can use a flavor and at what level? —> Read More

Endoscopic removal of spinal tumor with the patient awake at Rhode Island Hospital

Albert Telfeian, M.D., a neurosurgeon at Rhode Island Hospital and Hasbro Children’s Hospital, performed the first reported case of extracting the tumor endoscopically while the 16 year-old patient was awake and under a local anesthetic. The minimally invasive procedure enabled accurate diagnosis, which evaded multiple physicians previously. The case report was published online in the journal, Clinical Neurology and Neurosurgery, and will appear in the July 2015 issue. —> Read More

Study links better ‘good cholesterol’ function with lower risk of later heart disease

HDL, the ‘good cholesterol’ helps remove fat from artery walls, reversing the process that leads to heart disease. Yet recent drug trials and genetic studies suggest that pushing HDL levels higher doesn’t reduce the risk of heart disease. Now, an epidemiological study shows that a person’s HDL function — the efficiency of HDL molecules at removing cholesterol — may be a better measure of coronary heart disease risk and target for heart-protecting drugs. —> Read More

Cocaine addiction, craving and relapse

One of the major challenges of cocaine addiction is the high rate of relapse after periods of withdrawal and abstinence. But new research reveals that changes in our DNA during drug withdrawal may offer promising ways of developing more effective treatments for addiction. Withdrawal from drug use results in reprogramming of the genes in the brain that lead to addictive personality, say researchers. —> Read More

Seeing the action: Novel device images minute forces, actions involved in cell membrane hemifusion

Researchers have developed a novel device to image the minute forces and actions involved in cell membrane hemifusion. To capture real time data on the behavior of cell membranes during hemifusion, the researchers pressed together two supported lipid bilayers on the opposing surfaces of the SFA. These bilayers consisted of lipid domains — collections of lipids that in non-fusion circumstances are organized in more or less regularly occurring or mixed arrangements within the cell membrane. —> Read More

Galapagos’ Highest Volcano Erupts For First Time In More Than 30 Years

The highest volcano in the Galapagos Islands erupted early Monday for the first time in nearly 33 years, the archipelago’s national park service reported.

Isabela Island’s Wolf Volcano sent smoke more than six miles high and glowed orange with lava as it overflowed at 1:30 a.m., CNN reported.

The 5,800-foot volcano poses no threat to people, as it is 70 miles from the nearest human population in Puerto Villamil, the Galapagos National Park Service said in a press release translated by the Galapagos Conservancy.

The park service said there is no threat to the many unique species on the islands, where naturalist Charles Darwin first conceived of evolution in the 19th century.

“The world’s only population of pink land iguanas lives on the northwestern side of the volcano, sharing the habitat with yellow land iguanas and giant tortoises,” the park service said. “This population is not expected to be affected at this time. The situation will be monitored in the area once the eruptive activity has subsided and is safe for Park rangers.”

The most pressing threats to the Galapagos Islands’ ecosystem are not natural phenomena like volcanoes, experts say.

“There are far more human-induced threats to the species of the Galapagos,” Hugo Arnal, the World Wildlife Fund’s director for Ecuador, told ABC News. Those concerns, the network reported, include “invasive species, overfishing, pollution, overpopulation and unsustainable tourism.”

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