disease

This tag is associated with 44 posts

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 »

Toxoplasma: A Common Parasite that Affects Height, Personality, and Lots More

Have you ever felt like your reaction time isn’t as good as it should be? Or, if you’re male, have you ever had people comment that you look particularly masculine? These traits might seem unrelated, but they actually can be due to the same thing — infection by a very common parasite called Toxoplasma gondii … Continue reading »

Fecal Transplants and C. difficile

The bacteria Clostridium difficile is pretty terrifying — if it infects a person’s gut, it can cause severe diarrhea, bloating, and potentially death. In the U.S. alone, it hospitalizes nearly 250,000 people and kills at least 14,000 people each year. Why not just fight it with antibiotics, like we use to fight other bacterial infections? … Continue reading »

Citizen Biology

Are you not a scientist by training but you’d like to help scientists do real research? Or maybe you are a scientist and would like to aid others in doing more investigations in your spare time. Whatever your background, there are actually many ways that you can now do real scientific research in your spare … 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 »

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 »

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 »

Vegetarian Diet is Less Healthy than a Diet with Meat

If you’ve adopted a vegetarian diet solely for health reasons, you may want to reconsider the decision. In a recently published controversial study, vegetarians were found to be overall less healthy than people who have at least some meat in their diet. Specifically, even though the vegetarians had the average lowest BMI and drank less … 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 »

Chocolate: It Does a Microbe Good

It’s always nice to find out that a food we enjoy eating — something we might even consider to be a treat — is actually healthy and beneficial for us to eat. For example, if you like dark chocolate, then there’s some good news for you. Earlier this week it was reported that eating dark … Continue reading »