Differentiating Infections Based on Gene Signatures

Author: Julie Spitzer

Sniffling, sneezing, coughing and wheezing, the tissue box empties as the infection worsens and a trip to the doctor may only do as much as a simple decongestant, depending on what kind of infection you body is fighting that is. Knowing, however, which type of illness has taken over your body’s insides may now be discovered much more easily, leading to better treatment practices and vaccination make ups. Recently, researchers have found that gene behaviors, or rather gene signatures, are able to show whether an illness is viral or bacterial. Such information is relevant as it will help diagnose and treat the illness.

Iron and Parkinson's Disease

Author: Hriday Bhambhvani

It has long been known that patients with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) generally present with excess iron in the substantia niagra of the brain, a region involved in reward, addiction, and movement. However, the mechanism of pathology associated with elevated iron levels neurons of PD patients has been unclear. Research published by Dr. Julie Andersen and colleagues of the Buck Institute for Research on Aging has recently shed light upon this unknown mechanism. Their recent findings suggest that abnormally high concentrations of iron cause dysfunction of the lysosome, a cellular substructure involved in recycling of damaged proteins.

The Mysteries of the Mind

Author: Maria Zagorulya

Throughout time, humans have been curious about what it means to be, to think and to be aware. In the 17th century, philosopher Descartes proposed theories about the nature of consciousness - the state of being aware of one’s own existence. While neuroscientists have replaced philosophers in the modern pursuit of knowledge of human consciousness, the state of human awareness remains poorly understood.

Three Person Mitochondrial Manipulation

Author:  Jessica Johnson

On February 3rd 2016, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in the United States deemed Mitochondrial Replacement Techniques (MRT) as ethically permissible and gave a green light for MRT clinical trials.  While this medical technique is critical for women with mitochondrial diseases to have healthy children, the committee’s decision has brought up multiple ethical discussions.