health and disease

Rare Disease Day 2012

Raise and hold hands at 12 noon today and show your Solidarity with rare disease patients around the world.

The main purpose of Rare Disease Day is to make more people aware of the 6000 – 8000 rare diseases that affect people around the world. A rare disease is one that affects less than 1 in 2000 people; most are life threatening and the majority have no cure. More

Cell alchemy

Credit: Karin Pierre, Institut de Physiologie, UNIL, Lausanne.

The story

Researchers in California have successfully converted mouse skin cells into brain cells, eliminating the need for stem cells.

It is hoped that the same procedure could be carried out on human cells, bringing the possibility of stem cell therapy for conditions such as Alzheimer’s closer to reality.

This is a great story to use in a GCSE lesson on stem cells. Students could discuss why this is a better alternative to using those from embryos.

Weblinks

BBC news story

Great stem cell teaching resources from the Learn Genetics website.

 

Baby scientists

The story

I received an interesting letter in the post last week inviting my two year old daughter to take part in an international research study.

Feeling rather proud that scientists have realised her potential so early, I read on wondering what research they would exactly need her to carry out. More

World Health Day

The story

Today is World Health Day and the theme this year is antimicrobial resistance.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) is introducing a six-point policy package to combat the spread of antimicrobial resistance in order to slow down not only its effect on the health of people today but to safeguard the effectiveness of antibiotics in the future. More

Mending broken hearts

The story

Hope has arrived in the UK – hope that is for the thousands of people who suffer from heart failure.

You may have seen the British Heart Foundation’s new campaign on TV recently

More

Is alcohol the most dangerous drug?

The story

The headlines that hit every news broadcast that I heard on Monday reported that ‘alcohol is more dangerous than heroin’.  This was taken from a report put together by the Independent Committee on Drugs of which Professor Nutt, the sacked government chief drugs advisor, is a member. More

Kill germs dead to stop the spread

The story

Now the new school year is in full swing how long will it be before the latest nasty pathogen sweeps through the corridors causing illness in both staff and students? Fingers crossed that the latest antibiotic resistant superbug decides not to further its education and stays out of schools. More

Can our genes tell us our death date?

Another genetics story hit the headline this week.

A few weeks ago I reported that scientists were sequencing Ozzy Osborne’s genome to find out how the hell-raiser has managed to survive so long, now we hear that scientists have discovered a way of carrying out a genetic test to find out if you will make it past 100. More

Malaria vs lasers

Ten years into the new millennium shouldn’t we be closer to cracking the problem that is malaria?  It is one of the world’s biggest killers but it is proving incredibly difficult to eradicate. More

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