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 [...]

Is a Herpesvirus Messing with MS?

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a puzzling and complex autoimmune disease. During MS the immune system attacks cells in the brain causing damage to and loss of the myelin protein that is produced by cells called oligodendrocytes. Myelin acts as an insulating sheath around nerve cells (like the rubber coating on electrical wires), and damage to [...]

Hey, 98.6, It’d Be Good to Have You Back Again!

Everyone knows that the normal human body temperature is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit (37 degrees Celsius), but it’s really more complicated than that single number. This temperature number was originally established in the mid-1800s based on millions of temperature measurements on thousands of people. The canonical 98.6 number is actually an average value with the normal [...]

Can You Catch Type 1 Diabetes?

There are two types of diabetes, type 1 and type 2. Type 2, known as adult onset diabetes, usually occurs when the body becomes resistant to insulin, though in some cases it results from low production of insulin. In contrast, type 1 diabetes exclusively results from insufficient insulin production by the pancreas and is sometimes [...]

Is It Time to Time Our Daily Eating?

Animals, including humans, evolved to coordinate bodily biochemistry and metabolism with the daily cycles of sleep and wake, light and dark. For humans, hunting and feeding were daylight activities followed by long periods of dark and sleep. Only in recent evolutionary history have we mastered our environment to allow prolonged waking periods with constant access [...]

To Sleep, Perchance to Get Healthier

A good night’s sleep is one of those precious commodities that is often difficult to obtain in our hectic, modern lives. Between work and family, not to mention binge watching your favorite series, getting enough sleep each day can be challenging. We stay up too late, we rise too early, and often we don’t sleep [...]

How Old is Your Dog Really in Human Years?

The common metric is that each dog year equals 7 human years, but a new study suggests that the correlation is not that simple, at least for Labrador retrievers. To evaluate relative dog age, the researchers examined epigenetic changes in dog DNA and compared them with similar age-related changes in human DNA. Epigenetic changes refer [...]

Measles – A Killer of Immune Memory

Measles was once a very common childhood disease that was rampant worldwide. Measles is caused by the Rubeola virus, is spread via respiratory droplets in coughs and sneezes, and is considered one of the most contagious viruses. Disease begins with high fever, red, watery eyes, coughing, and sore throat, followed a few days later by [...]