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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Hawaii Governor Announces Support For Controversial Telescope

Hawaii Gov. David Ige announced his support for building the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea on Tuesday, saying the project has the right to proceed.

“I do not doubt that they did more than any previous telescope project to be a good neighbor,” he said during a press conference at the Capitol.

Protests against the planned observatory on Mauna Kea, which is considered a sacred mountain by many Native Hawaiians, forced construction to come to a standstill last month after dozens of people were arrested blocking construction vehicles.

While he said the TMT has the right to proceed, Ige announced that he is asking the University of Hawaii to legally promise that this is the last area on Mauna Kea where a telescope could be built, as well as decommission at least one-fourth of the telescopes on the mountain by the time the TMT is built.

He will create a new Mauna Kea Cultural Council to advise the state Department of Land and Natural Resources and review all leases and lease renewals. He said support for the TMT will not be a prerequisite for serving on the council.

Ige also wants UH to return over 10,000 acres to the DLNR that aren’t being used for the observatories, and to substantially reduce its lease extension request.

“The University of Hawaii must do a better job in its stewardship of the mountain,” he said, adding that the state has in many ways failed Mauna Kea.

He said the university must be forthright in accepting the need to do a better job, as well as re-starting the environmental impact assessment for its application for a lease extension, including a full cultural impact analysis.

The governor said that the pursuit of science on the mountain has gotten in the way of the cultural experience, and the state —> Read More

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