Archive | August 2010

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Parasitic Editors Win the Genome

In biology, fitness can be crudely measured by a simple method: counting. If a particular species is well represented in a particular ecosystem, one can conclude that evolution has treated them well, with circumstances allowing them to thrive. It’s a bit simplistic to declare evolutionary winners or losers, but a species that over-populates an island […]

Love in the Time of Diabetes

A diagnosis of diabetes brings with it a plethora of lifestyle changes. Patients must switch up their diet and exercise habits, take on a new routine of daily medications and injections, and keep an eye on their blood sugar. But another potential change under the cloud of diabetes is even more personal: the diabetic’s sex […]

Linkage 8/27: Chronic Fatigue & Oil Spill Messiness

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is known as a “diagnosis of exclusion,” a disease with non-specific symptoms that can only be considered when all other reasonable diseases have been ruled out. Because there are no known proven causes of CFS, it’s impossible to design a test for the disease, and there is no defined treatment strategy. […]

Two Words: Plastics and Toxicology

The story of bisphenol A (BPA), the organic compound used to make the stiff plastic of water bottles, CDs and other consumer products, has been well told by the media. Once thought to be harmless to humans in the amounts used for plastic production, BPA has since been deemed an “endocrine disruptor” by researchers finding […]

Pausing Stem Cell Research…Again

When President Obama signed an executive order last March loosening the restrictions on embryonic stem cell research, it seemed like the shackles were finally off for good. The new policy rolled back the “Bush compromise” forbidding federal funding of research on any newly created stem cell lines, leaving only 21 lines (at most) eligible for […]

Beating the Black Box

When the FDA adds a “Boxed Warning” to a drug – known casually and more dramatically as a “black box” – it can have dramatic consequences. The information is intended to warn physicians of potential adverse effects associated with the drug, issues that are not deemed serious enough to pull the drug from the market […]

The Disparity of Pills

A great deal of attention has been paid in recent years to the issue of racial and ethnic health disparities. Statistic after statistic reveals that minorities in the United States, particularly African-American and Hispanic populations, are in poorer health on average compared to American whites. Infant mortality, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer and other maladies […]

Linkage 8/20: A New Face for Athlete Concussions

The link between sports-related concussions and severe brain injury has been percolating in the press for several years now, due mostly to the tireless reporting of Alan Schwarz at the New York Times. But until this week, the research was lacking a prominent face, with most of those found to have suffered from early dementia […]

High School Research in the Hospital

One typically thinks of a high school science project as something involving frog dissection or baking soda and volcanoes. Less often do you see high school students presenting posters on communication between medical residents and patients who leave the hospital against medical advice. But the Training Early Achievers for Careers in Health Program, or TEACH, […]

Fighting Air Pollution…Indoors

Since the middle of the 20th century, fighting air pollution has been a primary goal of the growing environmental movement in the United States and around the world. Encounters with smog and toxic gases inspired waves of public anger and protest that led to Clean Air Acts being passed in several countries and a steady […]

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