Editors: Sophie Hill, Lihan Xie, and Noah Steinfeld
I remember thinking, “Who is this Dr. Fauci?” as he took the stage in Ohio Stadium to give the commencement speech at my college graduation ceremony. It turned out that he was the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), but I was hoping for someone a little more exciting, or at least someone I had heard of before. Little did I know that a mere four years later, Fauci’s name would be all over the news as the most prominent scientific voice in a pandemic. The recent media coverage has confirmed what I discovered on my graduation day: Dr. Fauci is an exceptional communicator with plenty of lessons to teach.
Escrito en inglés por Attabey Rodríguez Benítez y editado por Patricia Garay, Alison Clair Ludzki y Noah Steinfeld. Traducido al español por Cristina E. María Ríos y editado por Attabey Rodríguez Benítez.
Imagina que no estás en el frígido Michigan sino nadando en las cálidas aguas del Mar Caribe. El agua tibia acaricia tu piel. Mientras te sumerges a lo largo de un arrecife colorido y rodeado por sinnúmero de peces, ves una anémona. Sabes que no puedes tocarla, pues podría picarte con sus toxinas. Pero, poco sabías que las anemonas no son las únicas capaces de picar. Los arrecifes albergan una criatura aún más hermosa y mortífera: el caracol cono. Aunque aparentan ser lindas e inofensivas, estas pequeñas criaturas pueden contener un cóctel de veneno de más de 100 toxinas. Sin embargo, si logran picarte, no sentirás ningún tipo de dolor. Este detalle en particular significó un cambio esencial en la carrera del Profesor Baldomero Olivera. El Dr. Olivera, un investigador en la Universidad de Utah, fue de estudiar síntesis de ADN a estudiar caracoles oriundos de las Filipinas.
Author: Ashley Melnick
Editors: Stephanie Hamilton, Christina Vallianatos
Family planning is an important component in many relationships; this includes preparing for planned pregnancies and navigating ways to prevent unplanned pregnancies. Since prescription-based birth control hit the market, women have mainly been responsible for taking “the pill” and utilizing other methods of pregnancy prevention, such as cycle monitoring, rings, and patches. In December 2018, the CDC released data indicating the pill was the most commonly used form of birth control (12.6%) after sterilization (18.6%), with long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) like intrauterine devices (IUDs) trailing closely behind (10.3%), followed by male condoms (8.7%). With new advances in reproductive health research, a similar breadth of contraceptives is becoming available for men, which will soon give men more family-planning options. Western societies have recently pushed men to take larger roles in raising a family, ranging from paternity leave to being stay-at-home dads, and others beyond and in between. Developing additional options for male contraceptives will give men and women, both in relationships and as singles, more options when it comes to planning for children or preventing pregnancies. Continue reading “So close, yet so far: Why “the pill” for men isn’t right around the corner”→
Author: Lei Wan
Content Editor: Zena Lapp, Kristina Lenn; Senior Editor: Sarah Kearns
Disclaimer: The opinions in this post belong to me. Patients should consult their own physicians about what will work best for their treatment and recovery plan.
When I volunteered in a cooking class for cancer patients and cancer survivors, I was often asked about nutrition and dietary supplement choice. For example, patients with colon cancer would ask if they should take omega-3 fatty acids; patients with prostate cancer were interested in taking lycopene and vitamin E. I pondered the same questions when my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer and when her cancer recurred—would she recover faster if she ate more cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and Brussels sprouts? These questions are also of interest to the public, given increasing evidence supporting the role of nutritional factors in cancer development. Continue reading “Benefits of Nutrition in Cancer Prevention and Survivorship”→
Editors: Tricia Garay, Charles Lu, and Shweta Ramdas
You may recall going to your doctor and being told to “complete the full course” of antibiotics that were prescribed to you. Over the last 70 years antibiotics have been used to treat bacterial infections. The CDC, FDA, and WHO have pointed out that some bacteria could remain in your system if you stop taking the prescribed antibiotics before completing the full course, even if you feel better. This remaining population consists of bacteria that could survive the antibiotics the best; this select group of resistant bacteria is then allowed to grow and re-infect you with a vengeance. However, a recently published article in one of the oldest medical journals questioned these age-old instructions and suggested alternatives. In the era of antibiotic overuse and resistant infections, should we still complete the full course of antibiotics? Continue reading “To Complete or Not Complete (The Full Course of Antibiotics)”→
Versión original en inglés escrita por Christina Vallianatos, traducida al español por Adrian Melo Carrillo y editado por Jean Carlos Rodriguez Diaz.
Vivimos en una época en la cual compartimos de más. Desde tu mejor amigo compartiendo sus fotos artísticas de comida (#boozybrunch), hasta tu colega tuiteando en tiempo real su experiencia de parto (“¡Cesárea en 20 minutos!”), parece que constantemente nos enteramos de detalles íntimos de todo el mundo.
¿Qué pasaría si alguno de esos momentos en que compartimos demasiada información no fueran necesariamente “demasiada información”? ¿Y si estos momentos estuvieran de hecho ayudando a resolver una de los mayores dilemas en el campo de la genética humana: la identificación de genes causantes de enfermedades?
Editors: Whit Froehlich, John Charpentier, and Scott Barolo
Cervical cancer has been getting much more attention as of late, partly due to the HBO adaptation of Rebecca Skloot’s book The Immortal life of Henrietta Lacks. As a survivor of the same type of cancer that took Henrietta’s life and led to the development of the HeLa cell line, I found that Skloot’s book resonated deeply with me. My diagnosis compelled me to learn more about cervical cancer, which is one of the most preventable forms of cancer.
What Is Cervical Cancer?
Cervical cancer is an abnormal and uncontrolled growth of the cells lining the cervix, which acts like the doorway to the uterus. The cervix lining is mostly made up of two different cell types. Lining the outer cervix that faces the vagina are squamous cells, which are flat in shape, while the open passage of the cervix which leads into the uterus is lined by glandular cells, which are blockier in shape and produce mucus. Cancer can arise from either of these cell types; however, squamous cell cancers are the more frequent.
Most cervical cancers are caused by Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). HPV is commonly known as the virus that causes genital warts, but what many don’t realize is that there are over a dozen types of sexually transmitted HPVs, and only a few of them result in genital warts. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) highlight that persistent infection with certain HPV strains, especially types 16 and 18, is the major cause of most cervical cancer cases.
We have known tobacco to be a cause of many cancers for decades now. It is associated with it least 14 types of cancers (see Figure 1). Less understood is how tobacco causes cancer. The short answer—it causes mutations. Tobacco smoke is a mixture of many chemicals, including at least 60 carcinogens (cancer-causing chemicals).
A trans-national team of researchers has begun unearthing the distinct types of mutations caused by tobacco smoke to better understand the biological pathways leading to tobacco-induced cancer. They found that tobacco causes specific types of DNA damage in organs directly exposed to smoke (like the lungs) and that smoking tobacco generally leads to higher rates of mutation in all tissues. Understanding how the chemicals in tobacco smoke cause mutations can help scientists identify new and emerging mutagens and design better treatment strategies.
The assassins have a description of their targets, who are hiding in plain sight among the non-combatants. The targets are guerillas who’ve infiltrated the neighborhood, overwhelming the local authorities and fomenting chaos. After only minutes on patrol, the assassins go on the attack, quickly identifying and eliminating the enemy without harming a single bystander.
This scenario may sound like the plot of a Hollywood blockbuster, but it’s also a good metaphor to describe the activity of engineered immune cells against cancer cells. The assassins are called CAR-T (Chimeric Antigen Receptor-T) cells, and they receive their elite training at the hands of physicians and scientists, who teach them to recognize particular molecules on the surface of tumors.
Editors: Brittany Dixon, Theresa Mau, Alisha John, and Scott Barolo
It seems like “Non-GMO Project Verified” labels have been popping up on more and more food packages. GMOs (genetically modified organisms) are on the public’s mind, and food manufacturers, restaurants, and the government are reacting.
For example, the restaurant chain Chipotle recently promised to ban genetically modified ingredients, naming three main reasons: the long-term health effects of consuming GMOs are unknown; GMOs harm the environment; and GMOs do not meet the restaurant’s standard of “high-quality” food.