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Benedict Cumberbatch’s ALS Ice Bucket Challenge - BRILLIANT!

Day 331: ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
(In Memory of my Aunt Peggy)

I challenge you all to the ice bucket challenge. Help fight and raise ALS awareness (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). To donate and find out more information go to http://www.alsa.org

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These Pictures Were Drawn Using A Human Eyeball. Incredible.

Francis Tsai is a concept artist who has worked for companies like Rockstar, EA and Eidos. Sadly, as we told you last month, Tsai was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease in 2010, and the condition has slowly taken away his ability to draw.

First he lost the use of his hands, so he learned to draw with his feet; when that was taken away, he promised to learn how to rig up a computer so he could draw with his eyes. Well, Francis’ sister emailed us today to let us know these experiments have been a success.

The pictures you’re seeing here were drawn by Francis using only his eyeballs. Using Tobii’s “eye-gazing” technology, plugged into drawing programs Sketchup and GIMP, Tsai has been able to create these four images using nothing but the motion of his eyeballs. I’m at a loss for words.

You can purchase prints of these from Francis’ store, with all proceeds going towards funding his medical care.

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Science on Cannabis’ Effects on Amyotrophic Lateral Scerlosis (ALS)

With the flood of ice water challenge videos saturating the internet, I thought I’d draw attention to a possible supplement to ALS treatment. If you can, please make a donation to the ALS association. My goal with this article is to provide as much reference material possible for any arguments or essays that you may be concocting about cannabis and ALS - or simply for educational purposes.

Make sure to check out our tags: weeducation, news, activism, legalize it, science, health

Find more from Granny Storm Crow’s Master MMJ list here

Stay regular super stoners~

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Matt Smith’s ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Please consider donating to help out my brother, recently diagnosed with ALS.

This ray of sunshine (who was, prior to this picture, helpfully sweeping our dining room chairs) is my niece, Layla. Her father—one of my older brothers—was recently diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). My father died from ALS last year and my brother’s sudden diagnosis at such a young age and so soon after the death of my father has been a shock to our entire family.

My brother is now unable to work due to the progression of the disease and his family (a wonderful wife and three children, including the Helpful Chair Sweeper up there) needs help covering out of pocket medical expenses, grocery bills, utility bills and rent.

We are asking for donations through GoFundMe to help out my brother and his family during this difficult time. Any donation, however small, is extremely appreciated and needed.

Please consider a donation and please consider sharing this post.

Researchers turn one form of neuron into another in the brain

A new finding by Harvard stem cell biologists turns one of the basics of neurobiology on its head – demonstrating that it is possible to turn one type of already differentiated neuron into another within the brain.

The discovery by Paola Arlotta and Caroline Rouaux “tells you that maybe the brain is not as immutable as we always thought, because at least during an early window of time one can reprogram the identity of one neuronal class into another,” said Arlotta, an Associate Professor in Harvard’s Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology (SCRB).

The principle of direct lineage reprogramming of differentiated cells within the body was first proven by SCRB co-chair and Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) co-director Doug Melton and colleagues five years ago, when they reprogrammed exocrine pancreatic cells directly into insulin producing beta cells.

Arlotta and Rouaux now have proven that neurons too can change their mind. The work is being published on-line by the journal Nature Cell Biology.

In their experiments, Arlotta targeted callosal projection neurons, which connect the two hemispheres of the brain, and turned them into neurons similar to corticospinal motor neurons, one of two populations of neurons destroyed in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. To achieve such reprogramming of neuronal identity, the researchers used a transcription factor called Fezf2, which long as been known for playing a central role in the development of corticospinal neurons in the embryo.

What makes the finding even more significant is that the work was done in the brains of living mice, rather than in collections of cells in laboratory dishes. The mice were young, so researchers still do not know if neuronal reprogramming will be possible in older laboratory animals – and humans. If it is possible, this has enormous implications for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.

"Neurodegenerative diseases typically effect a specific population of neurons, leaving many others untouched. For example, in ALS it is corticospinal motor neurons in the brain and motor neurons in the spinal cord, among the many neurons of the nervous system, that selectively die," Arlotta said. "What if one could take neurons that are spared in a given disease and turn them directly into the neurons that die off? In ALS, if you could generate even a small percentage of corticospinal motor neurons, it would likely be sufficient to recover basic functioning," she said.

The experiments that led to the new finding began five years ago, when “we wondered: in nature you never seen a neuron change identity; are we just not seeing it, or is this the reality? Can we take one type of neuron and turn it into another?” Arlotta and Rouaux asked themselves.

Over the course of the five years, the researchers analyzed “thousands and thousands of neurons, looking for many molecular markers as well as new connectivity that would indicate that reprogramming was occurring,” Arlotta said. “We could have had this two years ago, but while this was a conceptually very simple set of experiments, it was technically difficult. The work was meant to test important dogmas on the irreversible nature of neurons in vivo. We had to prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that this was happening.”

The work in Arlotta’s lab is focused on the cerebral cortex, but “it opens the door to reprogramming in other areas of the central nervous system,” she said.

Arlotta, an HSCI principal faculty member, is now working with colleague Takao Hensch, of Harvard’s Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, to explicate the physiology of the reprogrammed neurons, and learn how they communicate within pre-existing neuronal networks.

"My hope is that this will facilitate work in a new field of neurobiology that explores the boundaries and power of neuronal reprogramming to re-engineer circuits relevant to disease," said Paola Arlotta.

(Image courtesy Tulane University)

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Chris Evans’ rocks the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

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Lou Gehrig’s Farewell Speech, July 4, 1939

Lou Gehrig was one of the greatest ballplayers who ever lived. He played a record 2,130 consecutive games (a record unbroken until Cal Ripken, Jr. in 1995), batted over .300 for twelve consecutive seasons, and from all accounts was a stand-up human being.

In 1938, his strength began to falter, and in the spring of 1939, he had managed only 4 hits in the first eight games of the season. He was soon diagnosed with ALS and was given about three years to live. He would never play ball again.

The Yankees declared July 4, 1939 to be Lou Gehrig’s Day, and Gehrig gave his famous farewell speech. A transcript of the full speech is available here.

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Ice Bucket Challenge / What is ALS?

I made this in hopes that people realize this “fad” does have a purpose. Lots of people are taking the challenge because someone dared them to, please remember the true purpose and take some time to learn about ALS and how you can help the ALSA.

No one is debating that the ALS ice bucket challenge is silly, shallow, and a total waste of resources (imagine the millions around the world without access to clean water who would be furious to see it poured over Instagrammers’ heads), but appealing to what is silly and shallow has proved a whole lot more effective than a fundraising campaign in earnest.
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Jared Padalecki’s ALS Ice Bucket Challenge featuring Jensen Ackles

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EJ did the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge! 😂❤️ iamelijahj

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Day 331: ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Video
In Memory of Aunt Peggy
(I said 330… but it’s 331. So many days in I can’t keep track)

I challenge you all to the ice bucket challenge. Help fight and raise ALS awareness (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). To donate and find out more information go to http://www.alsa.org

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