This category contains 27 posts

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 »

H7N9: Pandemic Potential?

Have you heard of H7N9? It’s a new avian influenza virus, and it has good reasons to be making people worried. Early last year, the virus was first found in people in China. There it’s been found in poultry (domestic birds like chickens, ducks, and geese) and is thought to be primarily spread through contact … Continue reading »

Using the Immune System to Fight Cancer

Recently, the prestigious magazine Science published its list of Breakthroughs of the Year 2013. At the very top of this list was cancer immunotherapy. A scanning electron microscope image of a healthy human T cell. (Image credit: NIAID/NIH) Cancer immunotherapy is a promising field of research that focuses on using a person’s immune system to … Continue reading »

A Chemical Way to Reverse Aging?

Is there a way to reverse aging? It’s the stuff that legends and myths are made of – the ever-elusive Fountain of Youth. But a paper published a few days ago in the prestigious journal Cell might make reversible aging closer to a reality (but it is still probably a long ways off). Specifically, by … Continue reading »

It’s That Time Again – the Flu Season’s Here

It’s long been hard for people to accept that they can be hurt, or even killed, by something they cannot see. But this is exactly what viruses do; they evade our body’s immune system, hijack our cells to create more viruses, and have consequently caused epidemics throughout human history. Influenza (also known as the flu) … Continue reading »

The Importance of “The Little Guys:” Our Gut Microbiome

It’s easy to take for granted the many beneficial microbes that live on, or inside of, our bodies. We don’t usually think about them unless something goes wrong, and, honestly, we don’t know a whole lot about them. But we’re learning. And as our understanding improves, we’re increasingly finding that these bacteria, yeast, and other … Continue reading »

Biology Bytes: The Books

The Biology Bytes blog was inspired by the publication of two separate books by the same author. If you enjoy reading about the fascinating critters and plants that are all around us, or the latest developments in stem cell research or modern medicine in general, or have simply been enjoying reading the wide variety of … Continue reading »

Three-Parent In Vitro Fertilization

Infertility is an extremely prominent issue for many couples. In fact, one in ten people in the U.S. will face fertility problems. A solution that increasing numbers of people turn to if they want to have a biological child is in vitro fertilization (IVF). About one million people in the U.S. seek fertility treatment of … Continue reading »

Genetically Modified Microbes

When thinking of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), plants and animals are probably the first to come to mind, which overlooks possibly the most important group of all: GM microorganisms, or microbes. It was in the 1970s that the first GMO was made – it was bacteria (specifically E. coli). A few years later, researchers were … Continue reading »

The Future of Clothing – Making it “Biofunctional”

For thousands of years, clothing has served obvious functions – it protects us from the elements (keeping us warm when it’s cold out, preventing sunburn, keeping us dry when it rains, etc.) and from injury during physical activities. We’ve even made it have more specialized functions, such as protecting us from hazardous chemicals, weapons, honey … Continue reading »