Exploring The Underground Network of Trees – The Nervous System of the Forest

by Valentina Lagomarsino figures by Hannah Zucker When scientists first studied the structure of nerve cells that comprise the human brain, they noted their strong resemblance to trees. In fact, dendrites, the term to describe projections from a nerve cell, comes from the Greek word Dendron, for “tree.” While the connection in the appearance of nerve cells was made to trees, the comparison may have been more … Continue reading Exploring The Underground Network of Trees – The Nervous System of the Forest

Oral bacteria may be responsible for Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause of dementia. It progressively worsens multiple aspects of health over time, from short-term memory loss to behavioral changes to loss of bodily functions. The actual cause of Alzheimer’s is currently unknown. One widely-accepted hypothesis proposes that Alzheimer’s is caused by the accumulation of misfolded proteins in the brain. Unfortunately, many drugs targeting misfolded proteins perform poorly in clinical trials, … Continue reading Oral bacteria may be responsible for Alzheimer’s disease

Refugees’ Gut Bacteria Become Westernized After Moving to the US

In each human gut, a community of trillions of bacteria help digest food and make certain nutrients. Some of these bacteria are associated with disease such as diabetes and Crohn’s, while some prevent disease. The composition of bacteria varies from one person to another, with diet and geographical location contributing to the diversity. In modern times, where millions of people migrate around the globe, their … Continue reading Refugees’ Gut Bacteria Become Westernized After Moving to the US

Probing Probiotics: the scientific process behind the hype

by Ilia Gelfat figures by Nicholas Lue Whether you are perusing the aisles of your local grocery store or scrolling through news articles, there’s a term that has been hard to miss in the past few years – probiotics. You might know it has something to do with bacteria helping digestion, but this broad view of the concept might leave you fuzzy on some of … Continue reading Probing Probiotics: the scientific process behind the hype

Probiotics prevents dangerous pathogen infection by making the bacteria ‘deaf’

If you’ve visited a supermarket recently, you might have noticed that yogurts and kombucha are taking up more shelf space. These products are two popular examples of probiotics: living bacteria touted to provide human health benefits. It’s not just a millennial fad – the probiotics market is projected to be over $60 billion by 2023. The accepted belief is that good bacteria drive out bad … Continue reading Probiotics prevents dangerous pathogen infection by making the bacteria ‘deaf’

The Quest for Better Bandages Turns to Nanofibers

Our skin is a protective barrier to bacterial infection, but damage to the skin allows bacteria to enter. Normally, our immune system kills the bacteria and allows wounds to heal. However, certain diseases can overload the immune system and lead to heavy infection. Antibiotics are commonly used to treat heavy bacterial infection, but bacteria can develop drug resistance after too much exposure. A team at … Continue reading The Quest for Better Bandages Turns to Nanofibers

Vaccines for World’s Most Deadly Infectious Diseases Unlikely

Infectious diseases — including HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria — are a leading cause of death worldwide, particularly in low income countries and among young children. A new study found that the vaccines aimed to prevent many of the world’s most deadly diseases may not be developed any time soon. The study, funded by the Gates Foundation and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, focused on 538 … Continue reading Vaccines for World’s Most Deadly Infectious Diseases Unlikely