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- Human Biospecimens
January 17, 2019
In simple terms, you can think of medicine as a contest between disease and drugs. New research, however, spotlights an interloper in that relationship: the gut. The trillions of microbial cells in our gut – the human microbiome– can affect digestion, immunity and mood. They may also help determine why certain drugs work for some individuals but not for others, and why drugs sometimes work when delivered intravenously but not orally (or the other way around).
January 10, 2019
Although humans increasingly dwell in concrete, car-clogged cities and spend most of their time indoors, the natural world offers tangible health benefits we probably can’t afford to miss. The latest finding: Leafy green neighborhoods may lower the risk of heart disease and strokes, according to new research published in the Journal of the American Heart Association. Human biospecimens tell the story.
January 3, 2019
Combining big data about people and their genes yields surprising insights, including new clues that help explain individual differences in activity levels (as well as the consequences of those differences), and the origin of red hair. In the activity-level research, University of Oxford scientists identified 14 genetic regions related to activity and sleep duration, seven […]
December 13, 2018
Imagine one simple, noninvasive test capable of detecting the presence of cancer, regardless of its type or location in the patient’s body, in just 10 minutes. That’s the possibility raised by an attention-grabbing discovery revealed last week based on research in Australia. Researchers from the University of Queensland discovered that traces of human DNA from […]
December 6, 2018
How do genes affect obesity? And how do environmental factors affect obesity-relevant genes? These are unsettled questions, but researchers like epidemiology professor Kari North, Ph.D., are working on answers. Last year, North and a colleague led research that found that smoking may increase genetic susceptibility to being generally overweight and reduces genetic effects on body fat distribution […]
October 17, 2018
The mere thought of gangrene may make you shudder, but as one journalist put it, the enemy of my enemy can be your friend. In a small preliminary study, scientists have seen promising responses after injecting cancer patients with the bacteria that causes “gas gangrene,” a deadly form of the tissue-killing disease. According to U.S. News […]
October 4, 2018
The Nobel Prize in medicine this week went to two researchers credited with opening up an exciting avenue of cancer treatment – immunotherapy – where the body’s natural disease-fighting agents can be unleashed to fight cancer cells. In simple terms, the prizewinning researchers discovered ways to take the foot off “brakes” in the immune system. […]
September 20, 2018
The blood reveals volumes about a person’s health, including organ function, health risks, the presence of certain diseases, and even what time it is according to your biological clock. Liquid biopsies are emerging diagnostic tools intended to leverage the power of the blood by detecting cancer without surgery or long needles. A blood sample provides […]
August 16, 2018
“I think I carry the gene for ___.” This colloquial explanation for myriad traits and behaviors belies the fact that many conditions are believed to arise not from single genetic variations but combinations of thousands or millions. That’s the crux of “polygenic risk scoring,” the subject of new research that accounts for the genetic complexity […]
August 8, 2018
A biopsy is a snapshot of a single potentially cancerous tissue sample in a body that may host a number of different tumors as disease progresses. To understand more about how cancer takes hold, spreads and changes – it’s heterogeneity – a few healthcare organizations have established rapid autopsy programs dedicated to cancer study. Within […]
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