Plant-based vaccines can change the vaccine landscape

Vaccines can be grown in and extracted from the leaves of plants.

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  • Vaccines are absolutely crucial to keeping the entire planet healthy. None of us is safe until all of us are safe.
  • But low- and middle-income countries have a difficult time acquiring and distributing them.
  • Plant-derived vaccines can be stored by harvesting and freeze-drying the leaves. They may help solve the problem of global vaccine distribution.
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  • Robert Koch proved that microbes cause infectious diseases and famously identified the etiological agents of anthrax, tuberculosis, and cholera.
  • Louis Pasteur proved that life does not spontaneously generate from non-living material, made a significant advance in chemistry, invented pasteurization, and revolutionized vaccines.
  • Koch and Pasteur had a bitter rivalry over the invention of the anthrax vaccine.
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How a rubber hand could treat OCD

A well-known psychology trick called the "rubber hand illusion" could be useful for treating patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder.

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  • It is easy to trick your brain into believing that a rubber hand belongs to your body.
  • OCD is a crippling condition afflicting 1 in 50 people.
  • The "rubber hand illusion" could offer a novel strategy to treat this condition.
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Hidden philosophy of the Pythagorean theorem

Pythagoras may have believed that the entire cosmos was constructed out of right triangles.

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Culture & Religion
  • Ancient Greeks believed that fire, air, water, and earth were the four elements of the universe.
  • Plato associated these four elements with 3D geometrical solids.
  • Pythagoras may have believed that the right triangle formed the basis of all reality.
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Tiny genetic differences add up to big behavioral effects

Many thousands of different genetic variants are responsible for complex behavior.

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Mind & Brain
  • Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) allow us to correlate genetic differences with behavioral traits.
  • There is no single gene that explains behavior; rather, behavior arises from the complex interaction of many different genes, each of which only plays a small role.
  • Society must be cautious as we learn more about behavioral genetics.
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Sleep paralysis: a terrifying encounter with our own mind

Neuroscience explains terrifying ordeals, from out-of-body experiences to alien abductions.

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Mind & Brain
  • Sleep paralysis, which 20 percent of people experience at least once, can be terrifying.
  • Though it is a neurological phenomenon, our culture and beliefs can make the experience worse.
  • One potential treatment is to learn to control the content of our dreams.
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