Safe Transfusions: Enzymes that can convert blood to type O

Imagine you are rushed to the hospital after an injury and need an emergency blood transfusion. If there is no time to test your own blood type, the hospital may give you type O blood. This is because type O is a “universal type.” Blood types A and B each have distinct sugars attached to the red blood cells (type AB has both types of … Continue reading Safe Transfusions: Enzymes that can convert blood to type O

Why Mosquitoes Like You The Most

Carrying diseases such as malaria, West Nile virus and yellow fever, a few species of mosquitoes are responsible for more than one million deaths each year. Certain species of mosquitoes actually prefer feeding on humans, and even show preferences between people. A common wives’ tale suggests to kids that mosquitoes prefer sweeter blood (“eat more veggies!”). However, there is no scientific evidence supporting changing your … Continue reading Why Mosquitoes Like You The Most

Never Tell Me the Odds: A first-hand account of blood stem cell donation

by Christopher Gerry figures by Abagail Burrus A few weeks ago, a nurse took six gallons of blood out of my left arm; my body only holds about a gallon and a half of blood, so I wouldn’t be here if she had decided to keep it. The blood that was continuously returning to my right arm, however, was missing an important ingredient: peripheral blood … Continue reading Never Tell Me the Odds: A first-hand account of blood stem cell donation

Catching Cancer: Blood Test for Early-Stage Diagnosis

What is the difference between a normal cell and a cancer cell? The answer lies in their DNA. Cancer results from the accumulation of genetic mutations, which trigger uncontrolled cell growth. Cancer’s mutated DNA can reveal its presence early on in the disease. Like leaving fingerprints at a crime scene, tumor cells release small pieces of DNA into the bloodstream. This “circulating tumor DNA” can now … Continue reading Catching Cancer: Blood Test for Early-Stage Diagnosis

The Blood Flow Border Patrol

The intricate network of blood microcirculation in the human body is a closed and complex one. The hierarchy of blood flow in the human body takes blood from the heart to deep organs systems, through arteries that branch out into smaller arterioles and later into microscopic capillaries. Presented here is a pseudo colored montage of images taken and combined from different magnifications that represent a … Continue reading The Blood Flow Border Patrol

Transfusing old blood into young mice aged their systems

A team at UC Berkeley investigated the effects of transfusing blood from young mice into old mice and vice versa. They found that young blood only slightly improves some functions (e.g. brain cell development) in old mice, but old blood significantly decreases those functions in young mice. This points to something present in old blood that actually ages our systems, but that something is still unknown. Continue reading Transfusing old blood into young mice aged their systems

Rabbit virus sinks teeth into cancer, aids bone marrow transplants

A common treatment for blood cancers, such as leukemia, is to replace damaged, cancerous bone marrow with donated healthy marrow.  Marrow is the flexible tissue in your bones that contains stem cells that give rise to all the blood and immune cells in the body.  When marrow comes from a donor, the donor’s and the recipient’s blood and tissue types must directly match.  If not, … Continue reading Rabbit virus sinks teeth into cancer, aids bone marrow transplants