Archive for March, 2010


Whole Genome Sequencing: Mutation Diagnosis of the Future!?

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 >


Viral Influence

Viruses come and go, but there are some that just seem to come back every year, like the adenovirus that causes the common cold.  Because it mutates so quickly, we’re infected by different adenoviruses each year.  Another common viral ailment is gastroenteritis, which can be caused by the astrovirus, norovirus or rotavirus.  Growing up, the “stomach flu” seemed to move through the members of our household annually.  When one person began to vomit, it was only a matter of time before the next victim fell, until everyone had been wiped out…..except my Dad.  He just never got the stomach flu! More >

Amazing Microbes

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 >


Common Cancers

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 >