This tag is associated with 31 posts

Stem Cell Awareness Day: October 8, 2014

Tomorrow, Wednesday, October 8, is Stem Cell Awareness Day. It’s a day to celebrate stem cells, have discussions on what stem cell research is, and learn about potential benefits and disease treatments using stem cells. Many national and international events (especially in California) are taking place to celebrate this special day — the California Institute … Continue reading »

The Science of ALS and the Irony of the Ice Bucket Challenge

With the ALS ice bucket challenge going viral, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) has been getting a lot of attention. But what exactly is ALS? It is essentially a poorly understood neurodegenerative disease that kills relatively quickly — with people usually dying within 3–5 years after onset of the first symptoms — and is responsible for … Continue reading »

Ebola: What Is It and What Do You Have to Worry About?

Ebola has been in the headlines a lot lately, mostly because the current outbreak is the largest one we’ve ever seen. There have also been people transported into the United States who were infected, raising concerns about an Ebola outbreak happening in the country. However, while Ebola is a terrifying disease, it is unlikely to … Continue reading »

Our Microbiomes: In Sickness and in Health

Last week, we took a look at the amazing diversity of microbes (bacteria, fungi, and others) that live on, and inside of, our bodies. This week we’ll dig deeper into our microbiomes and explore what’s known about how they help keep us healthy, and why they sometimes make us sick. Shown here are Lactobacillus bacteria … Continue reading »

The Hobby Lobby Ruling: Contraceptives and Abortifacients

Last week, the Supreme Court ruled that, due to religious objections, Hobby Lobby (and other for-profit companies) does not have to provide health insurance coverage for contraceptives that are part of the Affordable Care Act. Specifically, Hobby Lobby objected to four contraceptive methods – Plan B, Ella, and two intrauterine devices (IUDs) – because Hobby … Continue reading »

Alzheimer’s Updates: Why It’s Important to Eat Healthy and Other Findings

In the past six months, several interesting and promising studies have been published on Alzheimer’s disease. They’ve ranged from how what we eat might affect our odds of developing it, to discovering the underlying mechanisms. Taken together, researchers are definitely making progress in developing treatments — and preventative measures — for Alzheimer’s. For those of … Continue reading »

Two New Drugs to Fight Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

Because they help us fight bacterial infections, antibiotics are an amazing invention that has let us greatly improve our quality of life and life expectancy. However, their overuse has led to some extremely dangerous pathogens — antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Specifically, last fall it was found that more than 2 million people in the U.S. get infected … Continue reading »

Stem Cell Trials to Treat Spinal Cord Injuries

While human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) were originally created in 1998, it wasn’t until 2009 — over a decade later — that they were approved by the FDA for use in a clinical trial in people. It was a long wait, but the trial was quite the promising one. The clinical trial, undertaken by the … Continue reading »

MERS Update: Now in the U.S.

Since it was first discovered in a person in mid-2012, MERS (short for Middle East respiratory syndrome) has been a looming viral threat. MERS is a disease caused a type of virus called a coronavirus (CoV), which typically infects the respiratory and gastrointestinal systems. (Many common colds and even cases of pneumonia are caused by … Continue reading »

Homeopathy Debunked

While it can be easy to disregard something because it is widely believed not to work, it’s still important to do a systematic, evidence-based investigation to confirm, or disprove, any such suspicions. In this case, I’m talking about homeopathy, which is considered a pseudoscience. Recently, the National Health and Medical Research Council of the Australian … Continue reading »