Shark and camel blood contains small disease-fighting molecules

Bleeding sharks for science? That’s commonplace for Helen Dooley, a researcher at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Over the past decade, investigators have come to realize the value of shark, llama, and camel blood. Blood from these animals contains molecules called antibodies that can specifically recognize and destroy foreign substances, such as bacteria, viruses, and cancer cells. While human blood, and blood from … Continue reading Shark and camel blood contains small disease-fighting molecules

Disease Never Sleeps: Yellow fever and the importance of vaccine stockpiles in emergency epidemic prevention

by Fernanda Ferreira figures by Daniel Utter There are tens of thousands of buildings in São Paulo, the largest city in the Western hemisphere and Brazil’s financial center. From the sky, São Paulo looks like a fossilized forest of concrete trees. From the ground, it’s a pulsing behemoth, every avenue crammed with cars and people. The urban sprawl of Metropolitan São Paulo engulfs 39 municipalities … Continue reading Disease Never Sleeps: Yellow fever and the importance of vaccine stockpiles in emergency epidemic prevention

No Good Options: Fighting diagnostic and treatment challenges for women with endometriosis

by Emily Poulin figures by Brad Wierbowski “Have you heard of endometriosis?” As a scientist and a woman, I was embarrassed to say that I hadn’t. Although I had seen two doctors about my pelvic pain, it was a friend who first mentioned endometriosis to me. My reaction turns out to be pretty common. Although endometriosis affects about ten percent of women, many have never … Continue reading No Good Options: Fighting diagnostic and treatment challenges for women with endometriosis

Viruses to the Rescue: Can we use viruses to find bacteria in our environment?

Is this apple safe to eat? Did that course of antibiotics work? To answer these types of questions we often need to know how to find and count illness-causing bacteria. Several bacteria counting techniques already exist. However, these approaches are slow and sensitive to laboratory conditions. Sam Nugen and his team from Cornell University are streamlining this process using a type of virus called phages, … Continue reading Viruses to the Rescue: Can we use viruses to find bacteria in our environment?

You Asked: How are pets different from wild animals?

by Katherine J. Wu The pets in our households are all descendants of wild animals, many of which still run free today. But dogs, cats, and rodents are all domesticated to varying degrees, with a wide range of consequences for their behavior and genetics. To understand the nitty gritty of this, let’s get some terminology out of the way first. When we discuss domestication, we’re … Continue reading You Asked: How are pets different from wild animals?

Dopamine, Smartphones & You: A battle for your time

by Trevor Haynes figures by Rebecca Clements “I feel tremendous guilt,” admitted Chamath Palihapitiya, former Vice President of User Growth at Facebook, to an audience of Stanford students. He was responding to a question about his involvement in exploiting consumer behavior. “The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops that we have created are destroying how society works,” he explained. In Palihapitiya’s talk, he highlighted something most of … Continue reading Dopamine, Smartphones & You: A battle for your time

What does your grip strength say about your mental health?

“A healthy mind in a health body.” It’s a saying that is often tossed around when discussing the link between exercise and brain health. Many studies have shown that exercise can improve cognitive performance. In a new study, researchers asked if body strength could be used to predict brain health. Hand grip strength has been used in a variety of studies to assess cardiovascular health, … Continue reading What does your grip strength say about your mental health?