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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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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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To vaccinate or not to vaccinate? Searching for a verdict in the vaccination debate

by Vivian Chou figures by Daniel Utter If you have been following the 2016 US presidential elections, you are, in all likelihood, aware of the controversy surrounding mandatory childhood vaccination. Vaccines have risen to the limelight in recent years, but their history is much longer than that. Ever since the first vaccination was scientifically documented in 1798 [1], they have reshaped the landscape of human … Continue reading To vaccinate or not to vaccinate? Searching for a verdict in the vaccination debate

Figure 1: Global Prevalence of Guinea Worm Disease, 1986-2012. Image Credit: CDC-DPDx

The Road to Guinea Worm Eradication: Running the Final Mile

by Rebecca Mandt We usually think of extinction of a species as a bad thing. But what if that species is directly causing human suffering or death on a global scale? The ultimate goal of disease eradication efforts is to target an infectious disease by completely removing the pathogen from the human population, thereby reducing the number of cases to zero worldwide, generally leading to … Continue reading The Road to Guinea Worm Eradication: Running the Final Mile

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Why the EPA is Addressing Methane: the Other Greenhouse Gas

by Jordan Wilkerson figures by Brad Wierbowski The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently issued a new wave of regulations, and they focus on one thing: methane. Due to the EPA’s recent proposal, we have been inundated with stories about methane, its connection to the fossil fuel industry, and its comparison to carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas [1,2]. However, the authors often leave out a … Continue reading Why the EPA is Addressing Methane: the Other Greenhouse Gas

The anti-retroviral drug Truvada; Author- Jeffrey Beall’s own work, from Wikimedia Commons

A Successful Pill for Preventing HIV?

A recent study has delighted many by claims that taking the pill Truvada prevents HIV infection. The study is one of the first to test the pill in a real-world setting involving 600 individuals at risk of getting HIV in San Francisco, CA. Although promising, the applicability of the pill to other settings still warrants further analyses. The study is convincing for its testing on … Continue reading A Successful Pill for Preventing HIV?

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Same Science, Different Policies: Regulating Genetically Modified Foods in the U.S. and Europe

by Jessica Lau figures by Krissy Lyon Summary: Government regulations for genetically modified foods vary, from relatively relaxed policies in the U.S. that focus on the final food product to strict rules in the European Union that consider the genetic engineering process used to make the food. Despite these differences, the common goal of these regulations is to ensure the safety of the food supply. … Continue reading Same Science, Different Policies: Regulating Genetically Modified Foods in the U.S. and Europe