Fact & Fiction

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The results suggest that exposure to religious ideas has a powerful impact on children's differentiation between reality and fiction, not just for religious stories but also for fantastical stories.

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Until you renew your subscription, you will have limited access to premium content on our website and will no longer receive our print or digital magazine. Book your free demo and find out what else Mya 4 from Radleys can do. Every year in every million children are born with extremely distressing and potentially blinding clefts in an eye, in an ailment known as ocular coloboma.

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Yet curcumin, the major component of the spice turmeric, has been shown to stop the cell death that causes it. Mariya Moosajee, an ophthalmologist at University College London, used curcumin to prevent cell death in the eyes of tiny zebrafish embryos. The result was especially promising because preventing coloboma in newborns would mean giving treatments to at-risk embryos. In the meantime, the wide-ranging potential benefits of turmeric — including lowering the risk of heart disease and cancer — have broken through to the mainstream.

Coffee shops sell turmeric lattes and turmeric products are advertised in newspapers. But are these claims realistic? The colour of turmeric and curcumin are among many problematic properties, potentially causing false positives in drug screening tests that measure fluorescence.

Curcumin has therefore made its way into clinical trials for many problems ranging from irritable bowel syndrome to prostate cancer. Michael Walters , a medicinal chemist from the University of Minnesota in the US, is therefore sceptical. So can we scrub away the confusion and see what truth lies beneath? The scientists found that curcumin shows all the Pains problems, including interfering with fluorescence-based screening.

So far curcumin has also racked up reports of over different types of biological activity. That makes it the 10th most promiscuous molecule known to science — with none of that top 10 yet successfully becoming a drug lead. This structure makes curcumin highly reactive and likely to covalently attach to proteins and affect their function. Due to toxicity problems caused by paracetamol covalently attaching to liver proteins, medicinal chemists were once wary about such reactivity.

But more recently, they have learned to exploit it, both in drugs and as a way to explore biological function. Then they can start a separate experiment by adding other molecules to cells that might interact with some cysteines.

Again adding probe molecules will detect the proteins they can still bind with. Adibekian and colleagues therefore know the missing ones have previously bound to the molecule they added. His team found curcumin targeted 42 of possible proteins in the cells they studied. Pharmacodynamic fierceness is what mainly drives the results people get in the lab. Pharmacokinetic feebleness means curcumin will likely struggle to have effects in people.

Topical drama.


Writers create a fictional response to a major story from the week's news. Series 19 homepage. Series 18 homepage.

Fact and Fiction - Wikipedia

Series 17 homepage. Series 16 homepage. Series 15 homepage. Series 14 homepage. Series 13 homepage. Series in which writers create a fictional response to the week's news. Series 12 homepage.

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Most of the Mind Can’t Tell Fact from Fiction

Series 9 homepage. Series 8 homepage. Series 7 homepage. Series 2 homepage. A new short story in response to this week's news.

Sudha Bhuchar reads a story by Andrew O'Hagan written in response to this week's news.