Category: news

Taking Vitamin D Supplements In Childhood May Prevent Multiple Sclerosis Later

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a common inflammatory disease that leads to the destruction of the insulating coating that surrounds nerves in the brain and spinal cord. Without this insulation, the electrical impulses the nerves are supposed to carry between the brain and rest of the body get confused or lost ...

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23andMe Science Advisor Wins Science Blogging Challenge

Russ Altman We're pleased to announce that 23andMe Science Advisory Board member Russ Altman has won the Nature Network 2008 Science Blogging Challenge for his blog, "Building confidence." Russ was commended for his insights about pharmacogenomics, science funding, the implications of rapidly ...

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Tonight on Frontline: My Father, My Brother, and Me

“It isn’t dramatic.  It’s a disease of inches.” This is how Dave Iverson describes Parkinson’s disease, the subject of his Frontline report “My father, My Brother, and Me.” The documentary uses his and his family’s experience with the disease as the backdrop for an exploration of current research aimed at ...

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The Story of Henrietta Lacks: A Lesson in Biology and Ethics

Editor's note: We posted this a couple of years ago, but in light on the historic agreement between the family of Henrietta Lacks and National Institutes of Health, we thought it worthy of re-posting. Also read Carl Zimmer's great piece in the New York Times. The post has been slightly changed from the ...

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More than 100 Genetic Variations Associated with Leukemia Treatment Response

Treatment advances have dramatically increased the cure rate for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), the most common diagnosed cancer in children, from less than 10% in the 1960’s to more than 80%. But even in those children who are cured, the response to treatment varies from patient to patient. For ...

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Miss Con-GENE-iality

If Facebook is starting to take over your life, maybe your genes are partly to blame. Researchers from UC San Diego and Harvard University have shown that certain aspects of a person’s social network – how many people consider that person a friend, the likelihood that two of a person’s friends are ...

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Thinking Outside the Box: Bacterial Genetics and the Peopling of the Pacific

Not all bacteria are bad.  Sure, there are plenty of nasty bugs that can make life pretty unpleasant; the ones that cause leprosy, anthrax, and cholera immediately come to mind. But there are also plenty of beneficial bacteria living inside of us that we may not even know about. Some of them help us ...

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JAMA Publishes User’s Guides to Help Physicians Understand Genetic Association Studies

It’s a situation that would leave many physicians at a loss. A 55-year-old man with a family history of dementia asks his doctor about genetic testing for Alzheimer’s disease. Is there a test? Which test should be used? Is testing even appropriate? This week the Journal of the American Medical ...

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No Good Evidence That Potential Pool of Mad Cow Disease Victims Is Expanding

It sounds like something from a nightmare: decades after eating a tainted hamburger you develop an incurable, fatal disease that literally eats holes in your brain. Unfortunately, for some people this is a nightmare that is all too real. In the 1990s a small number of people in the UK developed a variant ...

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Reading Between the Lines: An Unlikely Use for Mitochondrial DNA Analysis

At the Spittoon we love to hear how scientists are using our DNA to unlock the mysteries of our ancestors.  In fact, hardly a week goes by when we don’t report on the latest discovery in the field of genetic ancestry. Occasionally, however, researchers manage to uncover some mystery of the human past using ...

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