Archive for November, 2010


A Willingness to Donate? It May Be in Your DNA

Okay, I’ve come to terms with the fact that Christmas is coming soon. It seems to have snuck up fast (although I’m beginning to think that it does that every year.) Once November started, Santa set up shop taking pictures in the middle of the mall. This is the time of giving gifts and receiving gifts. It’s the time of rushing to the store, and trying to beat closing time to get the last minute gifts (after finally figuring out what to buy to begin with). It’s the time of wonderfully smelling houses with more food cooking than what could More >


Taste Receptors in Lungs

There are bitter taste receptors lining the smooth muscle that surrounds airway passages   that lead to the lungs.  These are the same receptors found on the tongue.  It is well known that the ability to taste bitter has evolutionary benefits.  For example, bitter tasting toxins can be detected in foods, and thereby avoided or at least regulated; meaning you won’t eat too much of something that tastes really bad!

Interestingly enough, inhalable toxins can be detected in airways, just like they would be on the tongue. The airway response to detection is what’s most interesting.  One school of thought is that More >


The Mystery of Autism

Calling Autism a disorder is a bit misleading. The term “Autism” is really a category for a spectrum of disorders including Autistic disorder, Asperger syndrome, Childhood Disintegrative disorder, Rett syndrome, and Pervasive Developmental disorder. Those afflicted with these disorders often share difficulties in communication and social interactions. Some cannot speak or maintain eye contact. Some have repetitive routines and an obsessive attention to certain details. In the United States, an estimated 1 in 110 children has an autism spectrum disorder and for the past several years, it’s been on the minds of many researchers around the world.

For the past several More >