Tag: health

  • Sniff, Sniff, Bite (Mosquitoes are Hunting You)

    Mosquitoes, the bane of summer, are persistent pests that can plague our outdoor activities. Not only do they produce itchy bites, but they can also carry a variety of disease-causing viruses including Zika virus, West Nile virus, dengue virus, and St. Louis encephalitis virus. There are 176 species of mosquito found in North America, with […]

  • A Mutational Limit for Lifespan?

    It has long been known that mammalian lifespan roughly correlates with animal size, i.e. larger animals live longer than smaller ones. Mice generally live less than 2 years, your average dog lives 10-13 years, and humans have a typical lifespan of 73 years. What is less clear is the mechanistic basis for this observation. Differences […]

  • Viruses and Gene Therapy

    There are around 6000 known genetic disorders that cause health problems with the number continuing to grow as more are discovered each year. The clinical effects can vary from just an increased risk for disease (e.g. breast cancer and BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations) to an inevitably fatal condition (e.g. progeria). Many of the more frequently […]

  • Sonogenetics – Controlling the Brain with Sound

    My neuroscience colleagues have long been proponents of the technique known as optogenetics, a procedure that was named the scientific “Method of the Year” in 2010. For this method, brain cells are genetically engineered to respond to a specific wavelength of light. Typically this involves using a virus or other delivery system to augment brain […]

  • Viruses: Intimate Invaders

    My book on virology for the general public is now available at Springer as either an ebook or a softcover bound volume. It is also available on Amazon.

  • Epstein-Barr Virus and Multiple Sclerosis – Another Link

    In a recent post, I reported on a massive retrospective examination of military personnel records that strongly implicated the ubiquitous Epstein-Barr virus (EBV-the agent of infectious mononucleosis) as a major risk factor for the development of multiple sclerosis (MS). What was lacking in this epidemiological study was a mechanism by which EBV could physically initiate […]

  • The DNA Packing Problem

    I think everyone can relate to packing problems – how to get a cart full of groceries into the fewest bags or how to strategically organize the needed clothes and accessories into one carry-on suitcase? Packing problems abound in life from our personal needs to manufacturing concerns about how to fit the most items into […]

  • Another COVID-19 Mystery

    SARS-CoV-2 has been circulating for over two years now with successive waves where cases surge dramatically and then recede over time. The most recent wave is dominated by the Omicron variant, a highly infectious though perhaps slightly less virulent strain. The U.S. and most of the world seem to be on the downhill side of […]

  • Viruses, Viruses Everywhere

    The 1918 influenza pandemic killed nearly 50 million people worldwide. Almost exactly 100 years later SARS coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) exploded into human populations leading to the COVID-19 pandemic that so far has infected nearly 400 million people and killed close to 6 million people. The COVID pandemic, in addition to being a horrendous medical crisis, has […]