Archive for March, 2010
Two Scientific teams independently attempted a new approach to discovering the cause for certain diseases by sequencing the whole genome of their patients. This technique was done not only to help their current patients but hopefully to shed light on other common killers such as heart disease, diabetes and Alzheimer’s.
One Scientist from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston Texas, Richard A. Gibbs, decided to test whole genome sequencing on his colleague, a medical geneticist, Dr. James R. Lupski, who suffers from a rare genetic disorder known as Charcot-Marie-Tooth Neuropathy (this disease damages nerves to the hands and feet and causes More >
A traumatic brain injury can be described as a physical injury to the brain causing an impairment of brain function. When the brain is injured, it can cause conditions such as brain contusions, hematomas and skull fractures. These traumatic brain injuries can range from mild to severe and can cause permanent disability or death.
In the United States, an estimated 1.4 million people a year are victims to traumatic brain injuries obtained from motor vehicle accidents, falls, abuse, assault, and sporting accidents. Our brains are organs full of connections and to sever or damage a connection can lead to devastating consequences. More >
Adrenoleukodystrophy is a rare inherited disorder identified in patients with a defective gene that produces a protein called ALD; which leads to progressive brain damage. ALD is a transporter required for the break down fats. Defects in ALD lead to the build up of fats and the eventual damage of the myelin sheath that protects nerves. For many years the only treatment for this has been bone marrow transplants, which is limited in the availability of donors and let us not forget the number of complications that could arise.
A new treatment has shown itself in the form of gene therapy. More >
Most people associate microorganisms, such as bacteria fungi and protists, with little more than making people sick. While some can create serious problems for us, these amazing creatures deserve more positive attention for their role in how life works. In fact, the number of bacteria cells in and on your body is greater than the number of your own cells. Some of the bacteria, including a type of E.coli in our digestive system, help us by producing vitamins and controlling levels of potentially harmful strains.
The recent sequencing of the panda genome has provided even greater insight into the significance of More >
Recently a campaign by a Georgia anti-abortion group featured billboards that depicted a black baby and the text “Black children are an endangered species.” [See this Associated Press article.] As you may imagine, the billboards were instantly controversial and provoked heated discussion among abortion-rights and anti-abortion activists. Motivated by the desire to promote an agenda, the group that initiated the campaign argued that abortion is linked to race, and has been since the founding of Planned Parenthood by Margaret Sanger in the early 1900s. Others say they are trying to bait African Americans into opposing abortion through shame and fear.
Population More >
I was just looking at a list of common cancers and the estimated number of deaths due to these cancers. I knew about the importance of many of them. For instance, breast, lung, prostate and rectal or colon cancers are all very common. However, I didn’t know much about the relative rates of any of these cancers, or the numbers of people that die from them.
Here are just some of the things that surprised me. First, skin cancers are really common, even compared to what I thought: over 1 million new cases are diagnosed a year in the United States. More >