Saturday, July 5, 2008

Scientists Discover How Memory Genes Work

Researchers at Zurich University have made an important step in improving understanding of how the human memory works.

They have for the first time been delving into the human genetic sequence to identify new memory-related genes.

One of their most important discoveries is the function of the Kibra gene, which helps regulate memory performance.

The scientists say the results of the study could help in the search for solutions to memory related diseases such as Alzheimer's and depression.

The research, headed by Andreas Papassotiropoulos and Dominique de Quervain from Zurich university's Division of Psychiatry Research - and done in collaboration with Dietrich Stephan from the Translational Genomics Research Institute in Phoenix, United States - is published in Friday's edition of the magazine, Science.

"The main objective of our research group is to identify the molecular underpinnings of human memory because very little is known about how memory works," Papassotiropoulos told swissinfo.

"Our work was to establish a new way of looking at things based on new information about the human genome. We hoped to identify novel and as yet undescribed memory-related genes in humans."

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Mobile Loansharks

All I can say is unfuckingbelievable. How crazy is this? Mobile loansharks. Read this.

(REUTERS) Need cash to pay your next bill? Send us a text message, we'll send you the money in just a few minutes.

Such slogans are spreading in Finland and other Nordic countries, with barely a mention of the annual lending rates of up to 1,000 percent involved.

Lending cash to young people through SMS messages at rates banks can only dream of is becoming increasingly popular in Nordic countries, according to a survey conducted by Finland's financial watchdog.

"At least in the Nordics it's becoming more common. I think it's mostly due to the fact that cellphone usage is so widespread here, especially among youth," Paivikki Lehto-Sinisalo, a lawyer for the watchdog, told Reuters.

Finland is among countries where the number of mobile phone subscriptions exceeds the number of residents.

Dozens of companies have started to offer short-term loans for up to a few hundred euros each through text messages in Finland, and similar offers are cropping up in Sweden, Norway and the Czech Republic in central Europe.

The most active Finnish text message lenders give out several thousands of euros in loans each month, with most going to people in their 20s, the survey showed.

In Finland and 12 other EU countries these lenders are out of reach of financial regulators because they do not collect funds from the public, the watchdog said.

Those who accept a loan offer get the money transferred to their bank account just a few minutes after sending an SMS with their national identification number.

For a two-week loan of 100 euros ($128) the payback is 120 euros, equivalent to an annual lending rate of about 1,000 percent, which would be illegal in some European countries.

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