July 2011

A Face Only a Biologist Could Love

July 25, 2011

In evolutionary biology today, it’s the ugly guys who get famous. But that hasn’t always been the case. When paleontologists were assembling a library of prehistoric life in the 19th century, they wanted to find the fossils they could [Read more]

Genes Versus The Environment Inside

July 21, 2011

The odds of acquiring a disease are often portrayed as a tug of war between two foes: genes and environment. The battle is not always evenly matched. A disease such as cystic fibrosis is entirely genetic – if a child inherits the mutated CFTR [Read more]

Reversals of Fortune and Misfortune

July 19, 2011

Salt is bad for you. According to a 2010 article in the New England Journal of Medicine, lowering dietary salt intake by 3 grams per day could “reduce the annual number of deaths from any cause by 44,000 to 92,000.” Or maybe not. A 2011 [Read more]

Cancer Treatment Dollars and Sense

July 18, 2011

In a typical clinical trial, the results are reported in purely medical or biological terms. Did the patients in the treatment group live longer than those in the control group? Did the drug shrink the tumor or reduce symptoms? Were clinical [Read more]

Spiritual Benefits at the Bedside

July 13, 2011

A patient in the hospital receives a long line of visitors, from physicians to nurses to medical students to other staff members. The conversations with most of these personnel tends to be mostly business – answering clinical questions or [Read more]