Coronavirus Update – A Vaccine Primer

Vaccination is based on the concept of immune memory. When we encounter a new pathogen, we mount an immune response that helps us recover from the infection and also creates immune memory. This process typically takes 1-2 weeks to develop, so we often get sick before there is sufficient immunity to rid our bodies of [...]

One Small Step in the War on Plastic

“I want to say one word to you. Just one word. Plastics.” Maybe some of you remember those prophetic lines from the 1976 movie “The Graduate”. Since that time plastics have become both the boon and the bane of our modern world. They are a cheap and easily adapted material used in nearly everything from [...]

Coronavirus and the Host Response

The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic continues to accelerate in the U.S. and many other countries. As a potential vaccine is likely over a year away, there is great interest in finding an effective antiviral drug. Numerous antiviral drugs were developed for other viruses and many of these are being tested. Additionally, there are many other existing drugs [...]

AI Finds New Antibiotic

AI Finds New Antibiotic The last decade has seen a significant rise in antibiotic-resistant bacteria that has become a serious medical problem. Some bacterial strains are now resistant to multiple classes of antibiotics leaving little left to treat them with, and we need entirely new types of antibiotics to combat the surge in resistant bacteria. [...]

Coronavirus Update Part 2

With COVID-19 case numbers reaching nearly 80,000 and new cases popping up outside China in Asia, Europe, the Americas, and the Middle East, containment of the SARS-CoV-2 virus seems to be failing. There are many factors that make containment difficult including asymptomatic viral shedders, difficulty in screening to identify infected individuals, thousands of international travelers [...]

Go Mediterranean with Your Microbiome

The list of mental and physical attributes that decline with aging is long and well-known. Collectively our diminishing bodily functions contribute to increased frailty and more general inflammation. In the medical context, frailty includes not just weaker muscles and bones, but also reduced organ functions, decreased immunity, and cognitive decline. The combined negative changes can [...]

Coronavirus Update

The COVID-19 disease caused by the new SARS-CoV-2 virus has not been as easily contained as the related SARS outbreak in 2003. Cases continue to mount in China with spread into roughly 30 other countries so far. New evidence suggests possible fecal transmission as well as by aerosol and close contact with infected individuals. Infected [...]

A Coronavirus by Any Other Name

The new coronavirus outbreak is causing fear, social anxiety, and economic disruption worldwide as we struggle to contain its spread and find treatments or vaccines. Amid the medical and social issues comes the confusing matter of nomenclature, i.e. what do we call this virus and the disease it causes? This week the World Health Organization [...]

The Genetics of Cancer

Cancer – that dreaded and mysterious disease that manifests in so many diverse ways and affects nearly everyone in some way or another. As different as leukemia might seem from prostate cancer or breast cancer, these three and all other cancers are fundamentally genetic disorders. One of the stunning discoveries of the 1970s was the [...]

Ageotypes – Personal Markers of Aging

Although we all age, the rate and extent of our aging varies greatly and is somewhat disconnected from our chronological age. Some individuals are vigorous and healthy well into their 90s while others experience failing health decades earlier. To account for these differences, scientists introduced the concept of biological age. Biological age describes molecular and [...]