Migraines & John Dobson | SciByte 116

Migraines & John Dobson | SciByte 116

We take a look at treating migraines, remembering John Dobson, sending your name to space, story and spacecraft updates, and as always take a peek back into history and up in the sky this week.

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A Blood Pressure Drug That Might Help Migraines

  • Researchers have found that the drug Candesartan, used to help lower blood pressure, is as effective in combating migraines as the commonly prescribed drug
  • The Study
  • This finding is a follow up of a ten-year study from NTNU
  • The results were confirmed based on triple a blind test where the doctors, patients and even the researchers were unaware whether the patient was given a placebo or the real drug.
  • The study had 72 participants, who suffered migraine attacks at least twice every month
  • The patients were given placebo, 16 mg of candesartan or 160 mg of propranolol for 12 weeks each and were given a break of 4 weeks without the medicines before the start of the drug and in between too.
  • Study Results
  • More than 20 percent of those suffering with migraine attacks felt better even when they were given a placebo.
  • The blind test revealed that the candesartan works preventively for more 20-30 percent migraine patients
  • The study confirmed that 16 mg of candesartan was as effective as 160 mg of propranolol in treating migraine attacks
  • Researchers say that the drug Candesartan may be prescribed for those who get no relief from propranolol, the most commonly used medication to help prevent migraines
  • Further Reading / In the News
  • Migraine Attacks Can be Prevented with High Blood Pressure Drug Candesartan | ScienceWorldReport.com
  • New Hope for Migraine Sufferers | ScienceDaily.com


In Memory Of – John Dobson [Sep 14, 1915 – Jan 15, 2014]

  • John Dobson is most notable for being the promoter of a design for a large, portable, low-cost Newtonian reflector telescope that bears his name, the Dobsonian telescope
  • Dobsonian Telescopes
  • Dobsonian Telescope | Wikipedia
  • The design is considered revolutionary since it allowed amateur astronomers to build fairly large telescopes
  • The design is a very simple, low cost [alt-azimuth mounted Newtonian] telescope that employs common materials such as plywood, formica, PVC closet flanges, cardboard construction tubes, recycled porthole glass, and indoor-outdoor carpet
  • He was reluctant to take credit, however, pointing out that he built it that way because it was all he needed
  • Sidewalk Astronomers
  • Sidewalk Astronomers
  • John Dobson was also the co-founder of the amateur astronomical group, the San Francisco Sidewalk Astronomers
  • Has members throughout the world, and continues to promote public service astronomy by putting telescopes on street corners in urban areas
  • Members of the organization also visit national parks giving slide show presentations, providing telescope viewing
  • Misc
  • Earned a masters degree in chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley in 1943, working in E. O. Lawrence\’s lab
  • Dobson’s interest in telescope building was in part to better understand the universe, and in part to inspire in others a curiosity about the cosmos
  • In 2005, the Smithsonian magazine listed John Dobson as among 35 individuals who have made a major difference during the lifetime of that periodical
  • Multimedia
  • YouTube | Have Telescopes, Will Travel | theimageweaver
  • Further Reading / In the News
  • John Dobson (amateur astronomer) | Wikipedia


Send Your Name to an Asteroid on OSIRIS-REx

— Updates —

\”Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey\”


Mystery Rock for Opportunity

  • An intriguing recent mystery is a strange rock that suddenly appeared in photos from the Opportunity rover in a spot where photos taken just 12 sols earlier showed no rock
  • The team is currently busy taking measurements on the rock, and discussing its origins
  • Mars Exploration Rovers, mission principal investigator Steve Squyres
  • Described the rock as “white around the outside, in the middle there’s low spot that is dark red that \”looks like a jelly donut\”
  • “We had driven a meter or two away from here and somehow maybe one of the wheels managed spit it out of the ground. That’s the more likely theory.”
  • “One theory is that we somehow flicked it with a wheel\” … \”the other theory is that there might be a smoking hole in the ground nearby and this may be crater ejecta. But that one is less likely,”
  • Another idea suggested by others is that it may have tumbled down from a nearby rock outcrop
  • \”We’ve taken pictures of both the donut part and the jelly part,”
  • “The jelly part is like nothing we’ve seen before on Mars. It’s very high in sulfur and magnesium and it has twice as much manganese as anything we’ve seen before\”
  • \”I don’t know what any of this means. We’re completely confused, everybody on the team is arguing and fighting. We’re having a wonderful time!”
  • Further Reading / In the News
  • Mars Exploration Rover Mission: Home | marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov
  • The Rock that Appeared Out of Nowhere on Mars | UniverseToday
  • Mystery Rock \’Appears\’ in Front of Mars Rover | Space.com

New Horizons Journey to Pluto

  • Last Time on SciByte
  • SciByte 30 | Solar Storms & Private Space Flight | Jan 24, 2012
  • Closest approach
  • Closest approach is scheduled for July 2015 when New Horizons flies only 10,000 km [6,200 mi] from Pluto
  • If New Horizons flew over Earth at the same altitude, it could see individual buildings and their shapes
  • Other than a few indistinct markings seen from afar by Hubble, Pluto\’s landscape is totally unexplored
  • Approaching Pluto
  • The first step, in January 2015, is an intensive campaign of photography by the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager or \”LORRI.\”
  • This will help mission controllers pinpoint Pluto\’s location, which is uncertain by a few thousand kilometers, 1000-3000 km [ 621 – 1864 mi ]
  • The scientists will then use the images to refine Pluto\’s distance from the spacecraft, and then fire the engines to make any necessary corrections
  • By late April 2015, the approaching spacecraft will be taking pictures of Pluto that surpass the best images from Hubble
  • Multimedia
  • YouTube | New Horizons Spacecraft Halfway to Pluto | NASAgovVideo
  • Further Reading / In the News
  • New Horizons | NASA
  • Countdown to Pluto | Phys.org


Looking back

  • January 26, 1700 : 314 years ago : Canadian Earthquake : In 1700, an earthquake, the most intense Canada has ever seen, hit the sea floor off the British Columbia coast. Long before Europeans first landed on Vancouver Island, native legend tells of a great disaster. The sea rose in a heaving wave, and landslides buried a sleeping village. Myth was resolved with science in 2003 by government research. Earthquakes of that intensity cause tidal waves, and Japanese written history tells of a massive tsunami striking fishing villages the next day along the coast of Honshu, killing hundreds. Coupled with geological evidence of the level 9 quake, the connection was clear. Mythology and seismology came together to validate history. 1700 Cascadia earthquake | Wikipedia

Looking up this week

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