research

Rafael Yuste: How We’re Decoding the Entire Human Brain Within a Few Decades

  Rafael Yuste, MD, PhD, Professor of Neuroscience at Columbia University, discusses the research goals of the brain activity map project. He explains the purpose of this ground breaking research is to develop tools that will allow scientists of the future to measure the activity of every neuron in the brain. The Brain Activity Map was recently cited by the Obama administration as the next big step to advancing medicine.   Read more about the Brain Activity Map.   Featured image from Flickr/Ars...

New Therapy to Reduce Symptoms of Autism via Cord Blood Stem Cells

Michael Chez, MD, Director of Pediatric Neurology at Sutter Health, examines the vast potential for the use of cord blood stem cell therapy in the treatment of autistic features of autoimmune disorders. Animal models and clinical trials indicate stem cells may modify nervous cell function as well as improve motor skills and speech.   Read more about Michael Chez,...

23 and Me (& Me), Part I: A Twenty-Something Explores Her Genome

I was saving up to buy a desk so that I can stop writing from bed (not that there’s anything inherently wrong with that) but instead, I decided that for $100, I would send my spit to 23 & Me and find out everything that science can tell me about my DNA. 23 & Me is a genotyping service started by the woman who is married to a co-founder of Google–Anne Wojcicki. It used to be a lot more expensive to have this genotyping done; upwards of $1,000 when the project was piloted, but due to grants and funding for more research, Wojcicki has been able to significantly decrease the price, hoping that will entice folks to participate. Playing into, perhaps, our natural curiosity about our bodies and our sometimes incessant narcissism (something that social media has used to its advantage from the get go: Myspace, anyone?), 23 & Me offers us a glimpse into the inner framework of our very being. That being said, it is only a portion of our DNA that can be genotyped. For purposes of liability, I presume, there are many disclaimers throughout the entire service that enumerate the minor detail that just because their lab doesn’t find you to have one of the 2 mutations that they’re testing for, that would possibly cause a disease, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have one...

Death’s Design

Ajay Verma talks about the inevitability of human death. He speculates that death is built into us. He goes on to suggest that we carry a biologic blueprint for death that may include “grim reaper” mechanisms. Filmed at FutureMed, in February, 2012, at Singularity University.     Featured image from...

An “Almost” Doctor’s Guide to MSG: 6 Utterly Wrong Myths

Admit it. We’ve all teared back the crisply sealed cover of cup noodles, salivating at the thought of slurping up those curly strands of savory instagoodness. But as soon as you finish your delicious meal, that soft creeping euphoria of drowsiness (that has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that its 3am and you’ve been studying for an endocrinology exam the past 6 hours) begins to overcome you. Must be all that MSG you just choked down. As one of the most widely despised and misunderstood food products in the world, Monosodium Glutamate, or MSG, has gone through quite the journey. A recent article by Buzzfeed contributor John Mahoney sheds light on the whirlpool of myths on MSG, focusing on the titillating rise of the “umami craze” and one chef’s quest to perfect the “5th basic taste”. For these chefs, the path to understanding umami inevitably leads them to MSG, which is chemically identical to the glutamic acid they’re creating from scratch. And yet Chang wouldn’t think of using MSG in his restaurants today. He told me he doesn’t even use it at home, despite being a professed lover of MSG-laced Japanese Kewpie mayo. After decades of research debunking its reputation as a health hazard, and uninterrupted FDA approval since 1959, MSG remains a food pariah — part of a story that spans a century of history, race, culture, and science...

Ever Wonder How Your Brain Detects Motion?

Ever wonder how your brain detects motion? How you just missed getting hit by the foul ball when you were pretending to care about the game but were actually on instagram? Or how you were able to swat the annoying fly that’s always buzzing around your desk? Well, after 50 years of only having a vague idea of how the brain is able to detect motion, this week, three studies were published in Nature revealing the exact mechanism of this ability. Maybe you’ve never asked yourself these questions, but this video is an interesting explanation of how the brain is able to detect motion and the tools researchers are using to learn more about the brain. Check out the three articles in Nature (1, 2, and 3). Featured image is a screenshot taken  from the video...

A World of Genetic Data at Your Fingertips

Atul Butte, MD, PhD, Chief, Division of Systems Medicine, Department of Pediatrics at Stanford University School of Medicine, discusses the intersection of biomedical research and computer technology. He explains how the increasing ease, affordability, and accessibility of genome sequencing will revolutionize the way genetic data is analyzed and utilized. Read more about Atul Butte, MD, PhD. Filmed at FutureMed, in February 2013, at Singularity...

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