human conditions

This category contains 31 posts

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 »

Genome-Wide Effects of Down’s Syndrome

Normally, a person has 46 chromosomes total, or 23 pairs of chromosomes. If a person has three copies of one of the chromosomes (instead of two copies), it can lead to serious developmental complications. One possibility is trisomy 21, or three copies of chromosome 21, which causes Down’s syndrome. (Most trisomies are lethal during development, … Continue reading »

What is a “Healthy” Gut Microbiome?

Which types of microbes are good to have in our guts — belonging to our gut microbiome — and which microbes shouldn’t be there for us to be healthy? It turns out that this is a very complicated question. Over the past couple of years, the gut microbiome has been found to be related to … Continue reading »

Playing With Barbies May Dampen Girls’ Career Aspirations

Have you ever wondered how playing with certain dolls, or other toys, can affect a child’s future career choices? The researchers involved in a recent study on this subject did and they got some interesting results. Overall, they found that a girl who played with a Mrs. Potato Head doll thought she had a wider … Continue reading »

A Parasitic Amoeba Kills Cells by Eating Them

Amoebas are fascinating single-celled organisms. They typically move about by having their internal fluid (their cytoplasm) flow around and they eat their food by surrounding and digesting it with their body, in a process called phagocytosis. Some amoeba are parasites, such as Entamoeba histolytica, which can infect people and cause a potentially fatal diarrheal disease … Continue reading »

How Kids Learn Behaviors from Video Games

We naturally learn from our environment, including the media we use, whether it’s a television show, a radio station, or a video game. And the media can teach us certain behaviors that we, and others, might not even be aware of. This is why a group of researchers recently took a closer look at how … Continue reading »

Getting Enough Sleep

A couple of months ago, we explored some recent findings on why it’s important to get a good night’s sleep. It’s basically been shown that when we sleep, our brain performs important “housekeeping” chores. Specifically, potentially damaging chemicals are washed out of our brains while we’re asleep, chemicals linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Furthermore, sleep deprivation … Continue reading »

Using Electricity to Heal Wounds

When we get a cut, or a small bruise, the healing process may seem simple — our body knows how to seal up the cut, and repair the bruised tissue over time — but there’s actually a lot that goes into fixing up an injury. For example, cells have to move to the right location, … Continue reading »

Blood Test for Alzheimer’s

Earlier this week, a paper was published showing how, for the first time, a blood test may be used to predict whether a person will develop Alzheimer’s in the near future. Specifically, the blood test was able to predict with accuracy greater than 90% whether a person (70-years-old or older) would develop amnesic mild cognitive … Continue reading »

Microbes in Beijing’s Smog

When we think of smog and what’s in it, what probably comes to mind first is the chemical pollutants. But what about the microbes? More and more we’re discovering the importance of the complex web of microbes that are all around – and inside of – us. Which brings us to a study published earlier … Continue reading »