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What’s in Your Genes: Newly approved genetic testing for disease risks

by Catherine Weiner figures by Michael Gerhardt A decade ago, the idea of analyzing your DNA from the comfort of your own home seemed like science fiction. Tests required several weeks, thousands if not millions of dollars, and a lab of highly specialized PhDs. Today, thanks to technical advances and companies like 23andMe, you can perform this analysis for $199. The U.S. Food and Drug … Continue reading What’s in Your Genes: Newly approved genetic testing for disease risks

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Potential repurposing of sleeping-sickness drug for autism

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by impaired social interaction and communication. The cause of autism is unknown, but several theories have been proposed. One theory speculates that exposure to stress or other cellular threats can trigger a “cellular danger response” involving purines. If this self-defense mechanism is not regulated properly, the response can remain permanently active, ultimately affecting neuronal development and lead to autism. Based on this theory, Dr. Robert … Continue reading Potential repurposing of sleeping-sickness drug for autism

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The war on malaria gets a new weapon: a toxic fungus

As mosquitoes develop resistance to insecticides used to control their populations, scientists have been developing new tools. The latest idea: infecting mosquitoes with a fungus genetically engineered to produce arachnid toxins. After infecting the mosquitoes with fungal spores, the bugs showed increase mortality within 2.5 days after exposure and fed less in the days before their death, compared to their healthy counterparts. Continue reading The war on malaria gets a new weapon: a toxic fungus

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An Electrifying New Role for the Immune System in Heart Health

by Giulia Notarangelo figures by Rebecca Clements The human body fights off noxious intruders on a daily basis to maintain our health and prevent disease. The army of cells that is responsible for leading this fight is called the immune system. The immune system is comprised of a myriad of cells, each having their own defense strategy. Among these cells are the macrophages. As their … Continue reading An Electrifying New Role for the Immune System in Heart Health

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(2 x prime) + 1 = ? :The 200-year-old story of Sophie Germain and its 21st century legacy

by Qingbo Wang figures by Anna Maurer In 2014, the Fields Medal, often described as the “Nobel Prize of Mathematics,” was awarded to a Harvard alumnus and mathematician, Maryam Mirzakhani. The mathematics society celebrated not only her sophisticated theory of geometry and dynamical systems, but also the fact that she is the first female and Iranian to receive this prestigious prize. Although the news indicates … Continue reading (2 x prime) + 1 = ? :The 200-year-old story of Sophie Germain and its 21st century legacy

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Expanding the Antibiotic Arsenal: A New Drug of Last Resort

Prior to the discovery of antibiotics, bacterial infections were the leading cause of death worldwide. Now, treating infections is often a routine procedure – simply requiring a doctor’s visit and a prescribed antibiotic. However, this simple routine has become marred by the emergence of antibiotic resistance. The misuse and overuse of antibiotics is fueling the rise of resistant bacteria. In response to antibiotic exposure, bacteria have evolved … Continue reading Expanding the Antibiotic Arsenal: A New Drug of Last Resort

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Cancer Moonshot Musings II: Fusion oncoproteins in focus

by Steph Guerra figures by Shannon McArdel The Cancer Moonshot is an initiative that was launched by Joe Biden in 2016 with the goal of accelerating cancer research progress by bringing together world-class researchers and institutions in the battle against this disease. Armed with $300 million in startup funding, plus a total of $1.8 billion authorized over the next seven years, the Cancer Moonshot has … Continue reading Cancer Moonshot Musings II: Fusion oncoproteins in focus