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Monday, November 28, 2005

Unexpected Externalities

By using the word externality, it makes this economics instead of science and posting it feels a little less off topic:

Cold War Clues - Atomic Tests Allow Carbon Dating of Baby Boomers, by Christine Soares , Scientific American: Frustration was the mother of invention for Jonas Frisén of the Medical Nobel Institute in Stockholm.... As a neuroscientist working toward regenerating brain tissue, he would have found it handy to know whether some or all of the human brain ever regenerates naturally and, if so, how often. ... [T]he question was unanswerable for humans: the techniques used to tag cells and watch their life cycles in animals employ toxic chemicals... Then Frisén learned of a natural tag unique to people born after 1955, when aboveground testing of nuclear weapons increased substantially. The explosions, which stopped after the 1963 Limited Test Ban Treaty, threw enormous amounts of carbon 14 isotope into the atmosphere ... Plants incorporated the carbon 14 into their cells, animals ate the plants, and people ate both, absorbing the isotope into their own cells and creating a trail Frisén could follow. ...

As ... the team reported in the journal Cell..., many parts of our bodies are much younger than the whole. Jejunum cells from the gut tissue of subjects in their mid-30s were less than 16 years old. Skeletal muscle from two subjects in their late 30s was just over 15 years old. But the big surprises were in the brain.... Neurons ... dated to a period at or near the subjects' birth, indicating that those parts of the brain are formed at the beginning of life and do not normally turn over. Frisén thinks it is too soon to know whether his finding means less hope for therapeutic approaches to regenerating damaged brain tissue. ...

There goes any hope of getting that regenerated brain I wanted for Christmas. I guess my days of doing things like stopping in the middle of a sentence during lectures and asking "What was I just talking about?" aren't going to end anytime soon. At least I can still find my way home.

    Posted by on Monday, November 28, 2005 at 03:23 PM in Economics, Market Failure, Science | Permalink  TrackBack (0)  Comments (6)

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