Archive | November 2009

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The Unpredictability of Diabetes Predictions

As if you don’t already feel guilty for double helpings of pie on Thanksgiving, Black Friday brought another reason to fret over an unhealthy diet: new diabetes projection numbers that suggest insulin injections could someday be a new shared family Thanksgiving ritual. In the journal Diabetes Care, Elbert Huang, assistant professor of internal medicine at […]

Making Post-Genetic Errors to Protect Proteins

Picture a boxing match, Tao Pan said. A cell, facing viral or bacterial invasion, starts building new proteins, while the infection generates dangerous reactive oxygen species that rampage through the cell causing serious damage. When the new proteins meet the reactive oxygen species (ROS), they face off like welterweights circling each other in the ring […]

Dr. FAQ: Sharon Hirsch on Autism

Here at ScienceLife, we often focus on fresh laboratory findings that could be years away from being applied to patients in a clinic. Popular newspapers and magazines, meanwhile, sometimes get caught up in controversies surrounding health and medicine without focusing in on core questions that many patients have about common diseases and conditions. And with […]

Saving Prescription Dollars the Bulk Way

There’s a strange new addiction sweeping across the heartland. Unsuspecting addicts are lured in by word-of-mouth promises of unbeatable prices, made to feel exclusive with a membership card, and turned loose upon shelves and shelves of merchandise. But while the initial high of savings may be thrilling, the addiction always spirals out of control, until […]

Hippocratic Hypocrisy: When Doctors Aid Torture

By Angela Nitzke-Martin I have no doubt that at some point after having my blood drawn, I have likened the experience to torture. Those minutes spent prospecting for gold in my evidently intractable veins is certainly unpleasant, and on occasion painful, but torturous — no. It is an attempt to add drama to a pretty […]

Evolution via Cannibalism: The Case of Kuru

In the 1950s and ’60s, several villages in the Oceanic country of Papua New Guinea began to see an odd disease. Villagers of the Fore people in the Eastern Highlands – predominantly women and children – would show an array of frightening symptoms that rapidly worsened over about six months: muscle tremors, uncontrollable laughter, slurring […]

The Mammogram Debate

Disease screening is often a delicate balance. Catching a disease in its early stages almost always makes it more treatable, and can prevent permanent damage or even death. But it’s also cost-prohibitive to screen every person for every disease – even if you could convince everyone to show up for their regular doctor’s appointments – […]

Cigarettes & Alcohol: BFF in the Brain

Until indoor smoking bans started popping up in cities across the country in recent years, smoke-filled bars were a fixture of American culture, smoking and drinking entwined like the peanut butter and jelly of vices. If you were a casual scientist of the street, you might have hypothesized that there was something meaningful behind the […]

Linkage: The Speech Gene and Lizard People

After a long layoff due to conference congestion, here’s a new installment of Linkage, our semi-regular round-up of science news from around the world and web. The “Speech Gene” Gains a Function One of the more intriguing genes discovered since the flood of genetic sequences began to arrive at the beginning of this decade is […]

The Hopeful Monster of Human Language

One of the repeated themes of the Darwin/Chicago 2009 meeting two weeks ago was the history of the anti-evolution movement, a resistance that has actually changed form, even *cough* evolved, quite a bit since The Origin of the Species. At the opening night event in Rockefeller Chapel, science historian Ronald Numbers talked about differences between […]


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