Category Archives: Medicine

Researchers Pinpoint Protein at Heart of ALS Communication Breakdown

MRI of ALS patient. Image courtesy Frank Gaillard.

No cure exists for Lou Gehrig’s disease, a fatal neuromuscular illness affecting tens of thousands of Americans. But scientists may have found how a key protein helps drive its degenerative progress.

Read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk:
UA, Barrow Researchers Explain ALS Key Protein Breakdown

Tobacco Leaves Could Provide Cheap, Scalable Way to Make Zika Vaccine

Tobacco leaves drying. Photo by MRaccine.

Tobacco might have finally found the image upgrade it’s been looking for, as scientists hope to use the plant to produce a safe and cheap Zika vaccine.

If successful in humans, the plant-based approach could provide an effective solution for countries affected by the disease.

Read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk:
Scientists Use Tobacco Plant As Cheap, Scalable Zika Vaccine Factory

First Human Embryos Edited in U.S. by Scientists

An eight-cell human embryo. Image courtesy Robert Wood Johnson Medical School IVF program.

For the first time in the U.S., scientists have genetically modified human embryos. The technique could help screen out heritable diseases, but many worry where it might ultimately lead.

As rumors spread in advance of the publication, the story sparked comparisons with films like Gattaca and books like Brave New World, with their themes of genetic discrimination, DNA-as-destiny and the social dangers of tampering with human heredity.

But the research’s most important — and, to some, troubling — aspect lies in the fact that it alters the hereditary DNA known as the germline.

Read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk:
First Human Embryos Edited In U.S. By Scientists

Pentagon Researches Ways to Boost Learning in Soldiers

Eight U.S. Department of Defense brain studies, one at Arizona State University, are investigating ways to help soldiers learn more efficiently.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) hopes not just to make better sharpshooters, but also to shorten training periods for translators, analysts and cryptographers — and, perhaps, to improve outcomes for soldiers with brain injury and memory loss.

Read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk:
U.S. Department Of Defense Brain Study Seeks To Boost Learning In Soldiers