Genetic editing of human embryos in the United States ignites debate

In December 2018, a Chinese researcher, He Jiankui, shocked the world when he revealed the birth of the world’s first genetically edited babies. While it is clear that Jiankui egregiously violated university regulations and ethical standards, his announcement has since ignited a heated international dialogue about the permissibility of human embryonic gene editing. Currently, there are scientists in the United States working in university laboratories, … Continue reading Genetic editing of human embryos in the United States ignites debate

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

How Marijuana Exposure Affects Developing Babies’ Brains

As states have begun to legalize marijuana, its use has been more openly discussed. While the effects of other commonly used drugs, such as alcohol, have been studied extensively, the effects of marijuana – especially on developing babies during pregnancy – have been much less studied and less widely publicized. This relative silence from the scientific community has affected the public’s opinion on the safety … Continue reading How Marijuana Exposure Affects Developing Babies’ Brains

Nano-antidote provides long-term protection against nerve agents

Nerve agents are toxic chemicals that disrupt signals in the nervous system. They can be absorbed easily through skin contact or by breathing. Exposure to nerve agents interferes with nerve cell signaling and prevents muscles from relaxing, quickly leading to muscle paralysis and eventually death by asphyxiation or cardiac arrest. Treatment is possible but must be administered within minutes of exposure. No long-term vaccine or … Continue reading Nano-antidote provides long-term protection against nerve agents

A Joint Effort: Inheritance of Mitochondrial DNA from Both Parents

Researchers at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center have found evidence in three families for inheritance of mitochondrial DNA from both mothers and fathers, in contrast to the conventional belief that this genetic transmission is exclusively maternal. This discovery opens new doorways in molecular biology and genetics to understand this inheritance pattern, and properly harnessing the process could dramatically reduce chances of inheriting mitochondrial disorders. Continue reading A Joint Effort: Inheritance of Mitochondrial DNA from Both Parents

China’s Genetically Edited babies: What really happened?

A Chinese researcher, He Jiankui, shocked the world two weeks ago when he revealed that the world’s first genetically edited babies had been born. Jiankui claimed to have edited embryos before implanting them into the mother as part of an otherwise routine in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedure. Since his bold announcement via YouTube, the scientific community at-large – both in the United States and in … Continue reading China’s Genetically Edited babies: What really happened?

HIV-Infected T Cell

PrEP: Preventing HIV Infection Before It Starts

We have come a long way in treating HIV over the past two decades. By following a strict drug regimen, an HIV positive patient can stave off the onset of AIDS for many years. These drugs are expensive, however, and they come with side-effects. Furthermore, noncompliance with the drug regimen can have serious and long-lasting impacts on the patient’s health. Preventing HIV infection is both … Continue reading PrEP: Preventing HIV Infection Before It Starts

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’

Make No Bones About It: Human skeletal stem cells discovered for first time

Human stem cells are specialized cells that can be harvested from the body and engineered to turn into various tissues and organs. Perhaps the greatest potential use of stem cells is the generation of new tissues for organ transplants. Unfortunately, scientists have long struggled to find skeletal stem cells that can reliably turn into bone, cartilage, and supportive tissues of the skeleton. In a study … Continue reading Make No Bones About It: Human skeletal stem cells discovered for first time

Your Personality May Determine How You Respond to Placebo Pills

The placebo effect is a puzzling phenomenon. Placebos (sugar pills or saline solutions secretly substituted for actual drugs) are commonly used in clinical trials to set a baseline against which to measure the effects of a drug. However, people in the placebo group will often show improvements alongside the treatment group. The fact that an inactive substance, such as a sugar pill, can lead to … Continue reading Your Personality May Determine How You Respond to Placebo Pills