Monthly Archives: January 2008

dispelling myths about bisexuality

A recent long-term study published in the journal Developmental Psychology gives weight to the idea that although sexual orientation is somewhat fluid, bisexuality isn’t just a transition between orientations.

The study of 79 non-heterosexual women over 10 years found that bisexual women maintained a stable pattern of attraction to both sexes. In addition, the research appears to have debunked the stereotype that bisexual women are uninterested in or unable to commit to long-term monogamous relationships.

“This research provides the first empirical examination of competing assumptions about the nature of bisexuality, both as a sexual identity label and as a pattern of nonexclusive sexual attraction and behavior,” wrote University of Utah psychologist Lisa M. Diamond, PhD, who conducted the study. “The findings demonstrate considerable fluidity in bisexual, unlabeled and lesbian women’s attractions, behaviors and identities and contribute to researchers’ understanding of the complexity of sexual-minority development over the life span.”

I personally like her inclusion of ‘unlabeled’ as a choice in the surveys, which allowed the women to differentiate uncertainty from bisexuality. Sexuality is complex, and it’s good to see solid research which acknowledges that.

Study: Alzheimer’s symptoms reversed within minutes

This is great news: a recent study showed a remarkable improvement in Alzheimer’s patients given a drug designed to treat immune-related disorders. In one case, the patient’s symptoms were reversed quickly:

The new study documents a dramatic and unprecedented therapeutic effect in an Alzheimer’s patient: improvement within minutes following delivery of perispinal etanercept, which is etanercept given by injection in the spine.

“It is unprecedented that we can see cognitive and behavioral improvement in a patient with established dementia within minutes of therapeutic intervention,” said Griffin [the author of commentary on the study]. “It is imperative that the medical and scientific communities immediately undertake to further investigate and characterize the physiologic mechanisms involved.”

Fighting Alzheimer’s has been pretty-near-hopeless before now, so this is fantastic news. It would be great to see Alzheimer’s turned into just another treatable issue.

news roundup again

I’m giving this News Roundup category another try. As I mentioned before: “Each post is a list of timely articles with excerpts but little or no commentary, perhaps updated over the course of the day.”

People power to warm new building in Stockholm (PhysOrg)

The body heat from hundreds of thousands of people who pass through the Stockholm Central Station each day will be used to heat a new office building nearby, the project leader said Wednesday.

“So many people go through the Central Station … We want to harness some of the warmth they produce to help heat the new building,” Karl Sundholm, of the Swedish state-held property administration company Jernhuset, told AFP.

He said the body heat would warm up water that in turn would be pumped through pipes over to the new office building, which will also house a small hotel and a few shops and is expected to be completed by the beginning of 2010.

Distant star sheds light on the birth of planets (PhysOrg)

Astronomers poring over a young star 180 light years from Earth have found evidence that stellar birth can lead to the formation of a planet only millions of years later, a mere blink on the cosmic timescale.

The mainstream theory is that planets are forged from a disc of gas and dusty debris that is left over from the creation of a star. How long this process takes is a matter of debate, though.

A team led by Johny Setiawan, an Indonesia-born astronomer at the Max Planck Institute in Heidelberg, Germany, found a massive gas giant, between 5.5 and 13.1 times the size of Jupiter, orbiting within the dust disc of a well-studied star called TW Hydrae.

Light from the star suggests that it is between only eight and 10 million years old, which implies that planets can form even before the disc has been dissipated by stellar particles and radiation.