DNA test for freshmen

Here's a link to the NY Times article.

A DNA sample as a "unifying experience for freshman"? Riiiggght....Rather than assigning incoming students to read a particular book the University of California, Berkeley has decided to distribute cotton swabs and collect DNA samples from all new freshmen - well, it's voluntary so students don't have to participate if they don't want to - to analyze for genes coding for the metabolism of three things: alcohol, lactose and folates. While this may be an interesting point of discussion among the freshmen and does give us all a look at where medicine is likely headed in the future, if the school is attempting to unify students and get them to "lead healthier lives by drinking less, avoiding dairy products, or eating more leafy greens" as the article suggests I highly doubt they will be successful.....

College is all about freedom and trying new things; what freshman is going to cut back on the chicken fritters and fries or drink less alcohol simply because of the results of a DNA test? On second thought, maybe it will successfully replace the old unifying book-reading experience: "Dude! I have the alcohol gene!" "Haha awesome. Wanna go to the bars?" "Yeah let's see who gets more wasted tonight!"


Art That Was Once Alive

In a strange mix of taxidermy and art these pieces represent a unique compilation of modern creations. I particularly like the skull made out of cockroach pieces - I know, sounds really gross - but the end result is strangely beautiful (below). It's also nice to see an anatomically correct skull in modern art.....take a look at the other pieces here: Art That Was Once Alive

"The Impossibility of Storage for the Soul I (Self-Portrait)"
Fabian Pena


Einstein - The Smallest Horse In The World

This is just incredible....Born the size of a human baby at only 7 pounds and standing around 14 inches tall, little Einstein is just about the cutest thing ever! He was carried full term so his small size is not due to being born premature, and according to the experts he is entirely proportionate in terms of normal horse measurements and does not reflect any signs of dwarfism. He's just a very tiny miniature horse. A mini mini!


Modern Day DaVincis

UIC's Biomedical Visualization program was in the news today! CBS did an evening special highlighting our program here in Chicago and the unique things we are able to do with a background in art, science and technology. Check it out here:

By the way, that is our own program director, Scott Barrows, in the picture talking about the many projects we are currently involved with here in teh BVIS program including the creation of various applications for iPhones and the iPad, medical modeling and prosthetics and virtual imaging and diagnostics. Way to go BVIS!

Sleeping and Light Therapy

A few days ago the New York Times published an interesting article about the enormous effects a simple thing like light can have on our Circadian rhythms. I've already been aware of studies that link light with depression - or our "night owl" tendencies with the fact that we have so much artificial light in our modern lives that we are tricking our bodies into not knowing when it is nighttime - but this is the first I'd heard of the effectiveness of light therapy on actually reversing an internal clock and re-establishing an appropriate Circadian rhythm. Like magic! It seems such a commonsense natural solution, it's a wonder we didn't come up with it before....especially with how popular "organic" and "natural" living has become (although I realize its not exactly the same argument). Personally, I would much rather get a "natural" prescription for light than one for some unknown, artificially manufactured medication! (See link below)

Sleeping (or Not) by the Wrong Clock


Animal body worlds

Add this one to my must-see list: Animal Body worlds. Gunther von Hagens, creator of the human version of Body Worlds, has done it again this time using animals in a plastination exhibit opening in Germany. I thoroughly enjoyed the human version - in fact I got to see it twice, both here in the States and while overseas in Ireland - and as an animal and medical enthusiast I really can't wait for this one to start touring the world.

Living Paintings

Now here's a twist on an old past time: instead of painting on a canvas to make something look 3D, Alexa Meade paints real people to look like flat oil paintings! I still can't wrap my head around it; I mean I understand the idea and process but to see the images my brain just has a hard time reconciling it, especially when photographs are taken of her "masterpieces" out in the real world. Simply amazing! Check it out here: Telegraph UK: Alexa Meade Living Paintings.