Ewwww: Cruise Ship Cleanliness Not What It Should Be

The “stomach flu” isn’t really the flu at all. It’s actually viral gastroenteritis, and its most common cause is a group of viruses called noroviruses. No matter what you call it, the illness is highly contagious and very unpleasant — symptoms include abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. In close quarters, ...

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SNPwatch: The Bad Driving Gene?

New research suggests that your skills behind the wheel may be affected by your genes. To better understand the effects of a variant in the BDNF gene on motor skills learning, Steven Cramer and colleagues at UC Irvine tested 29 subjects in a driving simulator. Their results, published in the journal ...

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Medco to Include Genetics in Comparison of Anti-Clotting Drug Effectiveness

Medco Health Solutions, Inc., announced this week that it will conduct a clinical trial to assess whether clopidogrel bisulfate (Plavix®, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Sanofi-aventis) is just as effective as the newer drug prasugrel (Effient™, Eli Lilly and Company) in people who lack a genetic variation that ...

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Revealed: The Genetic Origin and History of an Elusive Anabaptist Community

There are over 50,000 people in North America who define themselves as Hutterites, though you probably have never met one. One of the main branches of the Anabaptists, Hutterites live in self-sustaining communities throughout the rural northwestern United States and Canada. Like their sister branches, the ...

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SNPwatch: New Variants Associated With Lupus in Europeans and Asians

Lupus, which means "wolf" in Latin, gets its name from the skin manifestations sometimes seen in the disease. A physician in the 13th century thought they looked like wolf bites. In autoimmune disorders, the immune system — which normally protects us from harmful, foreign substances — goes into overdrive ...

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SNPwatch: Two Large Studies Identify More Variants Associated with Blood-Related Traits

Previously in The Spittoon, we discussed two papers that identified genetic variants associated with hemoglobin levels in circulating blood. But blood consists of much more than hemoglobin, and it is responsible for much more than just transporting oxygen. This week Nature Genetics published the results of ...

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23and¡Mi Cabeza!: A New Migraine Headache Survey

Here’s how it goes for me: a few afternoons a year, usually when I haven’t slept or eaten right, but sometimes for no apparent reason, I begin to sense a pressure behind my left eyebrow and to feel queasy. By now I know what’s coming, and I resign myself to another miserable evening and a coming day or two ...

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23andMe Scientists Harness Linguistics to Describe Origin and History of Paternal Haplogroup J1e

The Near East – a swath of land that encompasses the Arabian Peninsula, the Levant, and everywhere in between – has been populated by humans longer than anywhere else in the world save Africa. It is where agriculture was born and spread into Eurasia. It is where the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia and ...

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SNPwatch: Genetic Variations Influencing Hemoglobin Levels Identified

Doctors routinely order the complete blood count (CBC) for their patients because they can learn a lot about a person's health by measuring the numbers of different types of blood cells in the circulation, their sizes and the ratios between them. One component of the CBC is usually a measure of the total ...

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Globules of Globules of Globules: Research Reveals How Our Cells Pack in All That DNA

A segment of chromosome 14 folded to reveal a fractal curve using Origami. Designed and folded by Jason Ku. Photo by Erik Demaine. How do you get three billion pairs of As, Cs, Ts and Gs—about six feet worth of DNA—into the nucleus of a tiny cell? Most students of biology would answer by saying that ...

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