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Polar dinosaur tracks open new trail to past

by administrator on August 9, 2011

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Paleontologists have discovered a group of more than 20 polar dinosaur tracks on the coast of Victoria, Australia, offering a rare glimpse into animal behavior during the last period of pronounced global warming, about 105 million years ago.

The discovery, reported in the journal Alcheringa, is the largest and best collection of polar dinosaur tracks ever found in the Southern Hemisphere.

"These tracks provide us with a direct indicator of how these dinosaurs were interacting with the polar ecosystems, during an important time in geological history," says Emory University paleontologist Anthony Martin, who led the research. Martin is an expert in trace fossils, which include tracks, trails, burrows, cocoons and nests.

The three-toed tracks are preserved on two sandstone blocks from the Early Cretaceous Period. They appear to belong to three different sizes of small theropods ? a group of bipedal, mostly carnivorous dinosaurs whose descendants include modern birds.

The research team also included Thomas Rich, from the Museum of Victoria; Michael Hall and Patricia Vickers-Rich, both from the School of Geosciences at Monash University in Victoria; and Gonzalo Vazquez-Prokopec, an ecologist and expert in spatial analysis from Emory's Department of Environmental Studies.

The tracks were found on the rocky shoreline of remote Milanesia Beach, in Otways National Park. This area, west of Melbourne, is known for energetic surf and rugged coastal cliffs, consisting of layers of sediment accumulated over millions of years. Riddled with fractures and pounded by waves and wind, the cliffs occasionally shed large chunks of rock, such as those containing the dinosaur tracks.

One sandstone block has about 15 tracks, including three consecutive footprints made by the smallest of the theropods, estimated to be the size of a chicken. Martin spotted this first known dinosaur trackway of Victoria last June 14, around noon. He was on the lookout, since he had earlier noticed ripple marks and trace fossils of what looked like insect burrows in piles of fallen rock.

"The ripples and burrows indicate a floodplain, which is the most likely area to find polar dinosaur tracks," Martin explains.

The second block containing tracks was spotted about three hours later by Greg Denney, a local volunteer who accompanied Martin and Rich on that day's expedition. That block had similar characteristics to the first one, and included eight tracks. The tracks show what appear to be theropods ranging in size from a chicken to a large crane.

"We believe that the two blocks were from the same rock layer, and the same surface, that the dinosaurs were walking on," Martin says.

The small, medium and large tracks may have been made by three different species, Martin says. "They could also belong to two genders and a juvenile of one species ? a little dinosaur family ? but that's purely speculative," he adds.

The Victoria Coast marks the seam where Australia was once joined to Antarctica. During that era, about 115-105 million years ago, the dinosaurs roamed in prolonged polar darkness. The Earth's average temperature was 68 degrees Fahrenheit ? just 10 degrees warmer than today ? and the spring thaws would cause torrential flooding in the river valleys.

The dinosaur tracks were probably made during the summer, Martin says. "The ground would have been frozen in the winter, and in order for the waters to subside so that animals could walk across the floodplain, it would have to be later in the season," he explains.

Lower Cretaceous strata of Victoria have yielded the best-documented assemblage of polar dinosaur bones in the world. Few dinosaur tracks, however, have been found.

In the February 2006, Martin found the first known carnivorous dinosaur track in Victoria, at a coastal site known as Dinosaur Dreaming.

In May 2006, during a hike to another remote site near Milanesia Beach, he discovered the first trace fossil of a dinosaur burrow in Australia. That find came on the heels of Martin's co-discovery of the first known dinosaur burrow and burrowing dinosaur, in Montana. The two discoveries suggest that burrowing behaviors were shared by dinosaurs of different species, in different hemispheres, and spanned millions of years during the Cretaceous Period.

Visit eScienceCommons for the latest science news from Emory University, www.emory.edu/esciencecommons.

Emory University is known for its demanding academics, outstanding undergraduate experience, highly ranked professional schools and state-of-the-art research facilities. Emory encompasses nine academic divisions as well as the Carlos Museum, The Carter Center, the Yerkes National Primate Research Center and Emory Healthcare, Georgia's largest and most comprehensive health care system.

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Lawson scientist presents joint pain treatment 2.0

by administrator on August 9, 2011

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LONDON, ON ? Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis, affecting roughly 10% of Canadians. This degradation of the joints is painful and crippling, especially when it affects the knee. Although there are viable OA treatment options, they are short-lived and can have serious side-effects. According to Lawson Health Research Institute's Dr. Robert Petrella, principal investigator in the COR1.0 study, the next generation of OA treatment has arrived.

When patients have OA in the knee, the fluid in their joint breaks down, causing pain and preventing natural shock absorption. To treat this condition, gel-like substances called "viscosupplements" are injected into the knee. This acts as a supplement for the fluid loss and provides temporary pain relief. In the COR1.0 study, Dr. Petrella and his colleagues compared Synvisc-One, the leading market viscosupplement for OA in the knee, to Hydros-TA Joint Therapy. Hydros-TA is a unique dual-action treatment combining steroids within a viscosupplement. It is believed to provide faster acting, longer lasting pain relief than either treatment alone.

To compare and evaluate the safety and effectiveness of both treatments, Dr. Petrella and his team conducted a double-blinded, multi-center clinical trial. Across eight sites in Canada, Belgium, and The Netherlands, a total of 98 patients were given a single injection and then monitored for six months. Results show trends suggesting Hydros-TA provides superior pain relief and improved function, causes fewer adverse events, and has a higher overall response rate. For patients, this could mean greater, more consistent pain relief with faster onset.

"Patients are really searching for better options for osteoarthritis therapy," Dr. Petrella explains. "Hydros-TA takes effect very quickly and lasts longer than other available therapies, allowing patients to achieve and sustain a higher quality of life."

Dr. Petrella and Carbylan BioSurgery Inc., the makers of Hydros-TA, are planning a larger multi-center trial to take place in the United States next year.

Dr. Petrella is the Assistant Director for Aging, Rehabilitation, and Geriatric Care (ARGC) at Lawson Health Research Institute, the Beryl and Richard Ivey Research Chair in ARGC at The University of Western Ontario, and a physician at St. Joseph's Health Care London. He is also the Medical Director of the Canadian Centre for Activity and Aging, and currently holds a CIHR Chair in "Healthy Lifestyles: Healthy Aging." Dr. Petrella is also a Professor in the Department of Family Medicine, Medicine (Division of Cardiology), and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry and the School of Kinesiology at The University of Western Ontario.

Lawson Health Research Institute. As the research institute of London Health Sciences Centre and St. Joseph's Health Care, London, and working in partnership with The University of Western Ontario, Lawson Health Research Institute is committed to furthering scientific knowledge to advance health care around the world. www.lawsonresearch.com

About Carbylan BioSurgery, Inc. Carbylan (www.carbylan.com) was founded in 2005 to develop and market medical devices and device/drug combination products based on novel chemically engineered polymer systems incorporating hyaluronic acid, a well-known polysaccharide widely present in the human body. Its initial market focus is therapeutic medical devices and combination products to treat the pain associated with osteoarthritis. Carbylan biopolymers are novel biomaterials which when combined with pharmaceutical agents enable the development of unique medical products.

For more information, please contact:
Sonya Gilpin
Communications & Public Relations
Lawson Health Research Institute
519-685-8500 ext. 75852
sonya.gilpin@lawsonresearch.com
www.lawsonresearch.com

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NASA researchers: DNA building blocks can be made in space

August 9, 2011

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NASA-funded researchers have evidence that some building blocks of DNA, the molecule that carries the genetic instructions for life, found in meteorites were likely created in space. The research gives su…

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The complete sequencing of genomes of 4 important representative species in Inner Mongolia, China

August 9, 2011

74.86.86.116 August 9th, 2011, Shenzhen, China - Inner Mongolia Agricultural University (IMAU) and BGI, the world’s largest genomics organization, jointly announced the complete sequencing of genomes of four important representative species in Inner …

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Researchers prove direct link between immunoglobulinE and atherogenesis

August 9, 2011

74.86.86.116 Boston, MA - There is an observed correlation between Immunoglobulin E (IgE) levels atherosclerosis, with twice amount of IgE present in patients with acute myocardial infarction as in patients with stable angina or without coronary hear…

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OncologyPRO — a revolutionary resource for oncologists

August 9, 2011

A unique scientific information and education portal designed to help oncologists keep up to date with the latest research and clinical information in their field has been launched by the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) in partnership w…

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Buyer beware — herbal products missing key safety information

August 9, 2011

Many people use herbal medicines believing them to be safe simply because they are ‘natural’. However many of these products have potentially dangerous interactions with other drugs and can have similar side effects to conventional drugs. New resear…

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Herbal remedies escape EU law

August 8, 2011

Many herbal remedies available over-the-counter in pharmacies and health food shops are still lacking important information needed for safe use, according to University of Leeds researchers.
In April this year, a new EU law came into force regulat…

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Mosquitoes can’t spot a spermless mate

August 8, 2011

A female mosquito cannot tell if the male that she has mated with is fertile or ‘spermless’ and unable to fertilise her eggs, according to a new study from scientists at Imperial College London.
The research, published today in the journal Proceed…

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MARC Travel Awards announced for the ASBMR 2011 Annual meeting

August 8, 2011

Bethesda, MD ? FASEB MARC (Minority Access to Research Careers) Program has announced the travel award recipients for The American Society for Bone & Mineral Research (ASBMR) 2011 Annual Meeting in San Diego, CA from September 16-20, 2011. These aw…

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Jefferson receives $4.8 million NIH grant to study new rabies vaccine that clears virus from brain

August 8, 2011

PHILADELPHIA? Thomas Jefferson University received a National Institutes of Health (NIH) $4.8 million grant to test a new rabies vaccine with the potential to cure the virus infection, even after it has made its way in…

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Clinic demonstrates improved quality of care resulting in cost savings for Medicare

August 8, 2011

When the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) initiated its Physician Group Practice (PGP) Demonstration, it challenged the 10 participating large physician group practices to prove that providing high quality coordinated health care cou…

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UCSD Health Sciences partners with Pfizer to speed drug delivery

August 8, 2011

In an innovative collaboration designed to speed the process of drug discovery, Pfizer, Inc. and the University of California, San Diego Health Sciences announced today that UC San Diego has joined the ranks of other top-tier life science research i…

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Trauma drama: K-State professor researches drama queen of immune system

August 8, 2011

MANHATTAN, KAN. — Kansas State University’s Sherry Fleming is investigating the factor that initiates the immune system’s “drama queen”: the one responsible for intestinal cell damage after hemorrhage.
Fleming, an associate professor in the Divis…

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UGA researchers study threats to white sturgeon

August 8, 2011

Athens, Ga. ? University of Georgia researchers are working to understand why the nation’s largest freshwater fish, the white sturgeon, is struggling in northern California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta, an environmentally endangered area suffe…

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