Science and Environment Round Up

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By Tom Drake

Boxtox
can get into your brain
.
This is the implication of research carried out in rats which found
botilinum toxin can travel up nerve axons and degrade proteins in the
brain stem. This may seem like terrible news for anyone planning a dual
career in glamour modelling and particle physics but the amount of
toxin transported in this way is unlikey to have any noticeable
effects. However, this ‘Trojan Horse’ manoeuvre of a molecule
travelling up through the nerve cells could perhaps be exploited as a
method of getting therapeutic drugs into the brain, a notoriously
difficult challenge for blood borne drugs.

‘Environmental’ campaigners in the US are mounting a legal challenge to the Large Hardron Collider
being built by the European Centre for Particle Physics. The 27 km of
superconducting electromagnet being built underground near Geneva is
hoped to answer some of the biggest questions in Physics by smashing
particles together at very high speeds. Among these questions is the as
yet merely hypothesized Higgs particle (or field) which bestows mass on
some particle types (eg. electrons, neutrons ) but not others (eg.
Photons). The campaigners against the project are concerned that the
high energies involved will create mini black-holes and destroy the
Earth. This is, in my opinion, very silly.