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Genetically engineered viruses: a medicine of the future

A medical team at Johns Hopkins University genetically engineered a common cold virus to deposit a gene when injected into the human eye. This gene codes for a protein that binds to VEGF, another protein whose activity in old age contributes to vision loss (a disease called AMD or wet AMD). This small clinical study’s preliminary results show that just one small dose is potent enough to improve a patient’s vision loss. Continue reading Genetically engineered viruses: a medicine of the future

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Parental weight and its impact on early childhood development

According to the CDC, 70.7% of the US population is overweight or obese (BMI>30), with 37.9% being obese. Obesity related health expenses accounted for an estimated $147 billion in healthcare spending in 2008 alone. The dire health consequences for obese individuals include higher incidence of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease to name a few on top of overall decrease in … Continue reading Parental weight and its impact on early childhood development

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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

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Bypassing infertility: directed sex cell development in a dish

The inability to produce health sperms and eggs has hindered many people’s dream of having children. Though many other alternatives such as adoption can get around this problem, infertility is still a serious medical issue. A recently published research from a group in Japan indicated possibility of producing healthy mouse sex cells (sperm and egg) from normal mouse body cells in a dish. Sex cells were not derived … Continue reading Bypassing infertility: directed sex cell development in a dish

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New Detailed Brain Map Could Aide Future Understanding

Researchers have created the most detailed general map of the brain to date by scanning the brains of 1200 people. After recording detailed imaging of the subjects’ brain activity as they performed a variety of mental tasks, the information was used to ‘teach’ a computer to identify spatial ‘regions’ of related activity. These regions span the brain, creating a 3D, puzzle-like map. Also called a … Continue reading New Detailed Brain Map Could Aide Future Understanding

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First Human Trial of Gene Editing Technique CRISPR Approved

The first clinical trial using the gene editing technique CRISPR was given the go-ahead by panel from the US National Institutes of Health (NIH). The trial is aimed at determining if the technique is safe for use on human subjects. As there is much we have yet to learn about genes and their expression, it is a valid concern that modifying DNA in humans could … Continue reading First Human Trial of Gene Editing Technique CRISPR Approved

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Skin Deep: Illuminating our body’s immune defenses

Presented by Vinidhra Mani The skin is our first barrier to entry of pathogens. The tightly regulated immune system in our skin provides us with a robust arsenal to combat potential invaders, yet also has checkpoints to ensure that the battlefields don’t harm our own bodies in return. How does immunity in the skin protect us? How can we bolster our barrier defenses through vaccination … Continue reading Skin Deep: Illuminating our body’s immune defenses