On Tuesday, I blogged about the measles outbreak that began at two Disney theme parks in California last month. In researching the piece, I stridently avoided using a term that I'd seen in lots of articles that characterized vaccine skeptics as "anti-vaxxers." To me, the term seemed unnecessarily hostile in a debate that, to my ears, seems like hardly anything to debate at all: of course I vaccinate my children and you should too! Who could argue with that?Read More
Up at 5AM: The 5AM Solutions Blog
Lately, the happiest place on earth is a little less buoyant. The reason is that beginning around December 20, 2014, Disneyland and the Disney California Adventure Park became Ground Zero for the latest measles outbreak in the United States. Last week, the California Department of Public Health reported 59 cases of the highly infectious disease in the state, 42 of which originated in the Disney parks.Read More
In terms of our brains, size matters. In the animal kingdom, humans are somewhat remarkable for our brain to body size ratio. A paper published in Nature points to a genetic basis for the size of some of the structures that make up our brains and that influence diverse functions from being able to ride a bike without thinking about it to remembering your route to work.Read More
By 2011, the average age of a first-time NIH-funded, principal investigator with a PhD was 42. First-time PI's with MDs or MD-PhDs were over 44-years-old. In 1980, the average first time PhD-level NIH grant recipients hadn't quite reached their 36th birthdays. So what's a researcher to do?Read More
Last week, we published a post that suggested that Johns Hopkins University researchers had determined that two-thirds of all cancers are caused by bad luck. Like many other outlets reporting and blogging on, "Variation in cancer risk among tissues can be explained by the number of stem cell divisions,” a paper published in Science by Bert Vogelstein and Cristian Tomasetti, we were wrong.
The news is actually not as bad as has been reported. The Economist clarifies:Read More
The National Institute on Aging estimates that about 5 million Americans over the age of 65 have Alzheimer's Disease (AD). In general, as people get older, they become more susceptible to this irreversible, degenerative brain disease. In fact, the prevalence of AD doubles every five years after age 65, and while AD is not "normal" aging, as the population ages the numbers of cases of AD will increase commensurately. To put that into perspective, by 2050, 20% of the population will be 65 years old and older.Read More
Although any clinical applications are many years away, there is hopeful news in the world of antibiotics. Researchers from Northeastern University in Boston published a paper in Nature yesterday reporting that they had found a method of extracting antibiotics from dirt-dwelling bacteria.
Last week, the journal Science published a paper by Johns Hopkins University cancer geneticist Bert Vogelstein and biostatistician Cristian Tomasetti reporting that two-thirds of all cancers are unavoidable.Read More