Mar 24, 2016


In a discovery that could offer valuable insights into understanding, diagnosing, and even treating autism, Harvard scientists for the first time have linked a specific neurotransmitter in the brain with autistic behavior.

NIH won't follow the U.K.'s lead on human genome editing

Last week, a U.K. regulatory authority announced that it had granted permission to a London research team to edit the genomes of human embryos. The move, by the U.K.'s Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, has led some people to ask whether the U.S. National Institutes of Health might follow suit and start funding gene-editing research on human embryos. The answer is almost certainly no.

Scientists May Have Found the Key to Curing Autism, Cancer and HIV

Gene editing tool CRISPR-Cas9 has made it possible to isolate RNA in living cells for the first time. The cures for some of the world's most perplexing diseases might be closer than we think.

According to a study published in Cell, researchers have determined how to isolate and edit messenger RNA that carries genetic instructions from the cell's nucleus to make new proteins for the first time using gene-editing tool Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats, also known as CRISPR-Cas9.

Mar 23, 2016

Frankincense Trail


Kate Humble follows the ancient 2000 miles Frankincense Trade Route of Arabia
across the modern world of the Middle East.

Mar 22, 2016


An unexpected bond between damaged birds and traumatized
veterans could reveal surprising insights into animal intelligence.
Read more at:

Parrots Are a Lot More Than ‘Pretty Bird’

Outside of the cage, they speak their own language, make tools,
and wreak havoc on plants and researchers’ efforts alike.
Dr Maesiello: “Their astonishing beauty and intelligence are inspirational.”
Parrot partisans say the birds easily rival the great apes and dolphins in 
all-around braininess and resourcefulness, and may be the only animals 
apart from humans capable of dancing to the beat. Read more at

Mar 16, 2016

C. Diff: Deadly Infection on the Rise in U.S. Hospitals

A life-threatening bacterial infection is gaining ground in America’s hospitals, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And a Consumer Reports analysis finds that even some of the nation’s largest and most prestigious medical institutions are having a hard time getting it under control.
The infection, called C. diff (Clostridium difficile) sickened 101,074 hospital patients in 2014, the most recent data available, according to a March report from the CDC. Other research shows that overall about 450,000 people a year, inside and out of hospitals, are sickened by the infection, and it contributes to the death of about 29,000 people.
Read more

Mar 11, 2016

The Myth of Biodegration

Myth: Waste simply biodegrades in the landfill. 
Reality: Nothing biodegrades in a landfill because nothing is supposed to. 
Newspapers are still readable after almost 40 years; ten-year-old carrots are brown on the outside but bright orange on the inside; and 20-year-old steaks still have meat on the bones. 


Atrial fibrillation is a condition that disrupts your heartbeat. A glitch in the heart’s electrical system makes its upper chambers (the atria) beat so fast they quiver, or fibrillate. This causes the lower chambers (the ventricles) to beat out of sync.

AFib can be dangerous because it raises your risk of stroke and heart failure.
Watch the slide show at


A team of Japanese scientists has found a species of bacteria that eats the type of plastic found in most disposable water bottles. 
The discovery, published Thursday in the journal Science, could lead to new methods to manage the more than 50 million tons of this particular type of plastic produced globally each year. 
The plastic found in water bottles is known as polyethylene terephalate, or PET. It is also found in polyester clothing, frozen-dinner trays and blister packaging. 
"If you walk down the aisle in Walmart you're seeing a lot of PET," said Tracy Mincer, who studies plastics in the ocean at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts. 

Mar 9, 2016

What Causes Parkinson's Disease?

A Shortage of Dopamine
Parkinson's disease occurs when nerve cells, or neurons, in an area of the brain that controls movement become impaired and/or die. Normally, these neurons produce an important brain chemical known as dopamine, but when the neurons die or become impaired, they produce less dopamine. This shortage of dopamine causes the movement problems of people with Parkinson's. 

Dopamine is a chemical messenger, or neurotransmitter. Dopamine is responsible for transmitting signals between the substantia nigra and multiple brain regions. The connection between the substantia nigra and the corpus striatum is critical to produce smooth, purposeful movement. Loss of dopamine in this circuit results in abnormal nerve-firing patterns within the brain that cause impaired movement.

The Best Way to Boost Your Immune System

Over the years, countless dietary supplements, alternative remedies—such as kombucha, a fermented tea—and foods such as mushrooms and oysters have been touted as immune-system boosters. In fact, more than 1,000 supplements currently on the U.S. market are claimed to have a positive effect on immunity.
But a single solution for a flagging immune system in otherwise healthy people has eluded us.
So, what can you do to help maintain health as your immune system naturally declines? 

What You Need to Know About Supplements and Drug Interactions

Pick up a prescription at the pharmacy, and you’re likely to encounter shelves of dietary supplements. Is it safe to use one along with your medication? 
“Many supplements, including herbal remedies, vitamins, and minerals, can cause dangerous side effects when combined with drugs,” says Marvin M. Lipman, M.D., Consumer Reports’ chief medical adviser.

Mar 4, 2016


The Internet’s favorite animal images are photos or videos of one species nursing a baby of another.
A cow nurses lambs. A dog nurses tiger cubs. You can almost hear the aawws.

Google a different sort of interspecies suckling, however — animal-human nursing — and you’ll likely find tabloid headlines and no small amount of fetishized, not-safe-for-work material that borders on porn.
You can almost hear the ewws.
But it was not always this way, and it’s still not in some places. In fact, human-animal breastfeeding has a fairly rich history. Look no further than Rome (or, if you’re low on frequent flyer miles, Georgia), whose symbol is a statue of the Roman gods Romulus and Remus, who according to legend were abandoned and then breastfed by a she-wolf — an image said to symbolize the city’s strength and survival.