A heart-shaped protein

It turns out that the most abundant protein molecule in blood plasma – serum albumin (SA) – is shaped very much like a heart.

This protein does an astounding array of tasks in our bodies, such as maintaining normal fluid pressure in our tissues and transporting many different types of molecules in our blood.

The structure of the serum albumin protein is shaped like a heart.Credit: Wladek Minor, University of Virginia


Hand coloured photograph of 19th-century Japan

This photo is one of from a series of 42 hand colored albumine prints – a process which used the albumen found in egg whites to bind the photographic chemicals to the paper – taken around 1880. The presence of the pictures in the Dutch National Archives reflects a long relationship between Japan and the Netherlands, the result of an exclusive commercial relationship that would last for more than two centuries (1641-1855). See more here

Commonly available blood-pressure drug prevents epilepsy after brain injury

Between 10 and 20 percent of all cases of epilepsy result from severe head injury, but a new drug promises to prevent post-traumatic seizures and may forestall further brain damage caused by seizures in those who already have epilepsy.

A team of researchers from UC Berkeley, Ben-Gurion University in Israel and Charité-University Medicine in Germany reports in the current issue of the journal Annals of Neurology that a commonly used hypertension drug prevents a majority of cases of post-traumatic epilepsy in a rodent model of the disease. If independent experiments now underway in rats confirm this finding, human clinical trials could start within a few years.

“This is the first-ever approach in which epilepsy development is stopped, as opposed to common drugs that try to prevent seizures once epilepsy develops,” said coauthor Daniela Kaufer, UC Berkeley associate professor of integrative biology and a member of the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute. “Those drugs have a very limited success and many side effects, so we are excited about the new approach.”

The team, led by Kaufer; neurosurgeon Alon Friedman, associate professor of physiology and neurobiology at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev; and Uwe Heinemann of the Charite, provides the first explanation for how brain injury caused by a blow to the head, stroke or infection leads to epilepsy. Based on 10 years of collaborative research, their findings point a finger at the blood-brain barrier – the tight wall of cells lining the veins and arteries in the brain that is breached after trauma.

“This study for the first time offers a new mechanism and an existing, FDA-approved drug to potentially prevent epilepsy in patients after brain injuries or after they develop an abnormal blood-brain barrier,” Friedman said.

The drug, losartan (Cozaar®), prevented seizures in 60 percent of the rats tested, when normally 100 percent of the rats develop seizures after injury. In the 40 percent of rats that did develop seizures, they averaged about one quarter the number of seizures typical for untreated rats. Another experiment showed that administration of losartan for three weeks at the time of injury was enough to prevent most cases of epilepsy in normal lab rats in the following months.

“This is a very exciting result, telling us that the drug worked to prevent the development of epilepsy and not by suppressing the symptoms,” Kaufer said.

Breakdown of the blood-brain barrier

Kaufer and Friedman have been collaboratively investigating the effects of trauma on the brain since Kaufer was a graduate student in Israel 20 years ago. Throughout a postdoctoral position at Stanford University and after joining the UC Berkeley faculty in 2005, she maintained her interest in the blood-brain barrier, which normally protects the brain from potentially damaging chemicals or bacteria in the blood and prevents brain chemicals from leaking into the blood stream.

She and Friedman showed earlier that breaking down the barrier causes inflammation and leads to the development of epilepsy. They pinned the effect to a single protein called albumin, the most common protein in blood serum.

In 2009, they showed that albumin affects astrocytes, the brain’s support cells, by binding to the TGF-β (transforming growth factor-beta) receptor. This initiates a cascade of steps that lead to localized inflammation, which appears to permanently damage the brain’s wiring, leading to the electrical misfiring characteristic of epilepsy. The current paper conclusively demonstrates that blocking the TGF-beta receptor with losartan stops that cascade and prevents the disorder.

Drug’s side effect proves crucial

Coauthor Guy Bar-Klein, a doctoral student at Ben-Gurion University, searched a long list of drugs before discovering losartan, which is approved to treat high blood pressure because it blocks the angiotensin receptor 1, but which incidentally also blocks TGF-β. It worked in the rats when delivered in their drinking water, which means that it somehow gets into the brain through the blood-brain barrier. The experiments suggest that the drug is unable to cross an intact blood-brain barrier, but reaches the brain through a breached barrier when it is most needed, Kaufer said.

Friedman developed a protocol to use MRI to check whether the blood brain barrier has been breached, allowing doctors to give losartan as a preventive treatment, if necessary, after trauma. Kaufer said that the barrier may remain open for only a few weeks after injury, so the drug would not have to be given very long to prevent damage.

“Right now, if someone comes to the emergency room with traumatic brain injury, they have a 10 to 50 percent chance of developing epilepsy, and epilepsy from brain injuries tends to be unresponsive to drugs in many patients.” she said. “I’m very hopeful that our research can spare these patients the added trauma of epilepsy.”


“There are thousands of different proteins in the human body. Each has a unique shape that determines its function. Scientists have a hard time capturing images of individual proteins, however—the high-powered imaging tools would obliterate the fragile proteins, so researchers capture photos of proteins in a crystal structure, often millions of them at a time. The resulting images are often blurry, and some proteins can’t be photographed because they don’t form crystals. Now a team has used wonder-material graphene to take the first photos of individual proteins, according to a study published recently on arXiv and reported by New Scientist. “

Read More at Popular Science

A spreadsheet of the current “Sad Lads” articles regarding 1D’s new bio and promo photo. It is color coded according to the majority answer in each column. Click for large view or check it out here. I tried to only include reputable or popular websites this time.

Huge thank you to tellmethisisnotlove for providing the column criteria!

Things of note:

-no articles mentioned Larry at all
-there was little mention of Modest
-articles that DID mention Modest were far more likely to include the fact that Zayn has been removed from the bio
-the major focus (as I’m sure can see) is the band moving on after Zayn’s departure and the production of their next album

In my opinion:

This was actually very enlightening to me. I was thinking that the consistent mentions of the boys being sad or unhappy was some form of ultra subtle shade at Modest, but with all the articles laid out I actually think it’s just trying to keep the fans content. By having so many articles say the boys are sad about Zayn leaving it lessens the blow that they’re moving on to produce the fifth album so quickly. 

We should wait and see if anything further develops, but as far as I can tell these articles are pushing album promo, confirming Zayn is gone, and that’s about it.
Hatsune Miku: Project Diva X screenshots introduce Portraits, Album, new songs

Sega has released a new set of details and screenshots of Hatsune Miku: Project Diva X, introducing the game’s picture-taking element, album feature, and latest songs confirmed earlier this week.

Get the details below.

■ Portrait

Using the PS Vita’s built-in camera, you can use the game’s Portrait feature to take pictures with the characters in a variety of poses. Take a photo with Hatsune Miku and friends as if they exist in the real world.

There are new poses, too. The scope of Hatsune Miku photography has been further expanded in this game.

Oh look, I’m meeting up with Hatsune Miku.

Oh look, she’s sitting on the couch.

■ Album

In the Album, you can view events that have occurred via the “Event Collection,” as well as visual images from the rhythm game songs via the “Visual Library.”

Event Collection

Rewatch the events that occur during Live Quest Mode. Whether it’s the time you received that one present, it’s possible to re-appreciate your favorite events. You can gather over 240 events in your collection.

Visual Library

Collect visual images for each song by playing the rhythm game, and come to the Visual Library to view your collection.

■ Songs

Satisfaction” by livetune

  • Attribute: Neutral
  • Module: “De:Monster” (TNSK)

LOL -lots of laugh-” by mikumix

  • Attribute: Cute
  • Module: “Lollipop” (Honyalala)

Beauty Medley: Glossy Mixture” arranged by Treow {ELECTROCUTICA}

Featuring “Dependence Intention” by Treow {ELECTROCUTICA}, “Sweet Devil” by Hachiouji-P, “Nebula” by Tripshots, and “Chaining Intention” by Treow {ELECTROCUTICA}.

  • Attribute: Beauty
  • Module: “Brilliant Butterfly” (Shizuka Kitajima {ELECTROCUTICA})
  • Module: “Pure Buttefrly”
  • Module: “Brave Butterfly”
  • Module: “Elegant Butterfly”
  • Module: “Glamorous Butterfly”
  • Module: “Mysterious Butterfly”
  • Module: “Megurine Luka V4X” (iXima) (Neutral)

Hatsune Miku: Project Diva X will launch for PS Vita on March 24 in Japan and for PlayStation 4 in fall 2016.

View the screenshots at the gallery.

Ascites - fluid within the peritoneal cavity

  • most commonly associated with liver disease, secondary to renal sodium and water retention 
  • low serum albumin and increased pressure also contribute
  • risk of spontaneous bacterial peritonitis, can be asymptomatic therefore tap fluid, if WCC raised treat empirically 


  • bed rest, low sodium diet, fluid restriction (<1.5L/day)
  • spironalactone - monitor U&Es, daily weights
  • if tense ascites - drain therapeutically, must replace albumin, give 1 unit for every 3L drained

New interview with Nanna at


In September 2011 Of Monsters and Men released their debut album ‘My Head Is An Animal’ in Iceland. It went straight in at Number One, setting the pace for the next eighteen months. By the time the band returned from touring the world in August 2013, playing an open-air concert to underline their triumphs, their debut had sold in excess of two million copies worldwide.

“After that we decided to lay low and get back to reality,” says frontwoman Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir, speaking from her home in Iceland. Relaxing before the release of ‘Beneath The Skin’ whisks her and the rest of the band away once more. “It’s been a while since we finished the record so it’s lying there, waiting for people to hear it. It’s a weird feeling but I’m very excited to show people what we’ve been working on. There will be no secrets anymore,” she says with a laugh.

Teasing the release with ‘Crystals’, the opening track of the album, Of Monsters and Men are easing you in slowly. “It’s a good bridge between this album and our last,” starts Nanna. “It’ll make sense to anyone who has heard ‘My Head Is An Animal’ but there’s something at the end that people haven’t heard yet.”

The album itself, written mostly at home, is, “A little different,” but that’s unsurprising considering how far the band have travelled. “The whole process of making this album was completely different to the other one,” Nanna admits. “You can definitely hear that it’s still us but a few years have passed and there’s been a lot of maturing. It was a very natural thing for us and you can feel that.”

Creating ‘Beneath The Skin’ wasn’t as free flowing as their creativity though. Entering their rehearsal space in February of last year the band started working on their ideas. “The writing went well and we were having luck with that,” recalls Nanna. “But then our rehearsal space flooded with all our equipment in. We did have some moments where we questioned ‘What was happening?’ but now it’s done, it’s great.”

The title ‘Beneath The Skin’ “describes the album well. Going beneath the skin, if you can, is going beneath everything,” explains Nanna. “We talked about it a lot. Our first album was searching outwards and was very enthusiastic about everything. We were making up stories and trying to see the world from our home in Iceland. Everything outside of there was so exciting but once we’d spent all that time out there in the world, we felt like we were really missing home. This album is also a lot more insular. It’s a lot more about figuring yourself out; it’s the polar opposite in a way. ‘Beneath The Skin’ is about growing up.”

“It’s definitely a more personal album,” continues Nanna. “I never felt any pressure when we went into the album but maybe that’s just what I thought. We were just doing our thing but when you look back, now we’ve done the album and we’re laughing, you can see all the stress and the craziness behind it. We were probably really stressed out but we just didn’t realise it. It was probably good that I was pushing those feelings away and didn’t let it affect me.”

‘Beneath The Skin’ is out on 8th June and the band has a very simple desire for it. “I want people to experience it in their own way,” exclaims Nanna. “We put a lot of work and love into it, we’re very proud of our little baby.”

Of Monsters and Men will play Best Kept Secret (19th - 21st June), Open’er (1st - 4th July) and Bilbao BBK Live (9th - 11th July), where DIY is an official media partner. Tickets are on sale now. Visit for more information.

Watch on

Earl Sweatshirt shares visuals for Grief, off his upcoming new album

In the wee hours of the morning (UK time), the Odd Future rapper railed off a stream of deeply unimpressed tweets about his label, Sony. Why? Well, because he apparently didn’t sign off the process to register forthcoming album I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside on iTunes, spoiling what might have been a planned surprise-release.

The silver lining for Earl fans comes in the form of new track, Grief. It’s a sullen, cloud rap-like cut that includes references to paranoia and drinking to numb one’s emotions. Heavy stuff, which we’re looking forward to delving into when the album (possibly) drops next Monday 23 March.

Assalamu'alaykum warahmatullah wabarakatuh.

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Nappasin ajomusaksi Happoradion Kaunis minä -albumin, ja tää biisi jotenkin herkisti nyt kun sen vuosien tauon jälkeen taas kuunteli, upee biisi. <3

Yläasteella joutui aina oottamaan bussia kylmässä jonkun 20 minuuttia, ja Fiku oli todennut että siinä ajassa ehtii kuunnella 6 biisiä (ja tää oikeesti piti aina paikkansa), ja sit oli aina tuskaa jos tää biisi tuli koska tää kesti yli viisi minuuttia ja mieluummin ois kuunnellut jotain kolmen minuutin kappaleita et bussi tulis nopeemmin. .-D

En tajuu miks tää biisi ei oo enää koneella, nyt siirsin sen ja pari muutakin ton levyn biisiä koneelle mitkä oli jätetty pois.