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According to Saudi Arabia’s Health Ministry pet camel was found to be infected by MERS — Middle Easter Respiratory Syndrome — a relatively young virus, first reported in 2012. While MERS has not been declared as a pandemic, the WHO has confirmed 149 infections and 63 deaths, as of October 2013. The owner of the camel was also recently hospitalized for MERS, which prompted the investigation of its origin.
Super powerful batteries: Here’s the difficulty in designing of batteries: You can either have high power or high energy, but not both.
For the lazy students at Hopkins: For those plagued by constant laziness during school, you are in for a scientific treat. Thanks to recent findings, you may be able to blame your regular indolences on your DNA! A study on mice has shown that laziness can actually be a genetic predisposition. Researchers bred a group of active and lazy mice and monitored the activity of subsequent generations by measuring their running distances. There was a clear difference in running activity between the 10th generation mice that belonged in the active group and those in the lazy group. Through a technique called RNA deep sequencing, the scientists were able to find 36 prospective genes that may be involved in laziness. But even so, try not to let laziness hinder your studies!
Bill Gates: entrepreneur, business magnate, investor, condom philanthropist: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, renowned
Precautionary measures against smallpox: The last natural case of smallpox was recorded on Oct. 26, 1977 in Somalia. Since the WHO and the CDC put forth vast efforts for international vaccination programs, this day is celebrated as an anniversary of the virus’ eradication.
The Next Big Thing?: Scientists are constantly seeking love from the government — a love that comes in the form of generous funding. Before the Human Genome Project, physicists were mostly happy with the big bucks they got to spend for splitting atoms open and traveling the depths of space. Envy in the field of biology soon dwindled away as the government shifted their attention towards genome studies. However, as the Human Genome Project came to a close almost ten years ago, the next big field of science has long been a mystery. Lately, it seems that the Brain Activity Map is lassoing the love of the government. Scientists are attempting to trace every highway of electrical impulse and intersection in synaptic clefts in the human brain within ten years. The endeavor is predicted to have an annual cost of 300 million dollars, and companies like Google, Microsoft and Qualcomm already plan to partake in the project.
Valentines Day gone wrong: Heartbreak sucks. The night your significant other shuts the door behind her, tote in hand, your feelings are tangled up in moments of angst, disappointment and sadness as you wrestle around in your bed, praying for the day to be a dream. But it’s not. And the next day proves to be another blow to your heart, as you find her shopping nonchalantly at Char Mar with her friends. All this confusion and the messy mixture of emotions mask what’s really going on in your body.
Interestingly, USA300 now constitutes almost 98 percent of skin and soft tissue infections in hospitals, significantly surpassing the infectious rates of other bacterial strains. The sudden surge of USA300 in North America has puzzled scientists, as an increase in virulence could not fully elucidate the reason behind its vast replacement of other bacterial species. Instead, scientists looked into the reasons behind how this species was transmitted from community to community at an astonishingly efficient rate.
Do fish think?: The vacuous stare that a goldfish gives as it swims around in a tank may belie a false impression that fish don’t have thoughts. However, a tool recently invented by researchers in Japan has paved the way for scientists to observe brain activities in real time and correlate them with complex behaviors of fish. The researchers have also devised a method to genetically incorporate the probe in order to monitor neuronal activity. Soon, fish feasting behaviors, decision-making and movements may be explained by examining their neural signals. For example, Akira Muto, the lead author of the study in Current Biology, studied the behavior and brain activity of zebrafish when they find something good to eat. So next time you assume that your goldfish is thoughtless, think again!
Data storage in DNA: We all know DNA holds all the information we need to divide cells and create the organs and tissues that make us human beings. But have you ever thought whether DNA can hold other types of information? A study published in Nature demonstrated that DNA can potentially be used as a tool to store information in the future. As the cost of storage is increasing while our budget doesn’t, DNA may become a useful and cost-effective method to store your homework and word documents!
Have you ever tried tracing braille with the tip of your fingers? Do you find it hard to distinguish each letter? Even though blind people certainly get a lot of practice, it is still often difficult for them to read quickly with accuracy. However, Second Sight Medical Products, a company that specializes in manufacturing visual prosthetics, introduced a new device called Argus II that allows blind patients to see braille.
Proteases, which play an essential role in many of our physiological systems, are enzymes that cleave other proteins. Until recently, it was thought that they recognize certain amino acid sequences to know when to cleave other proteins.
Like Skynet from the movie Terminator, computers in our generation are actually capable of analyzing inputted data and learning how to react differently to it. In the field of genetics, two groups of researchers have designed software that can analyze and learn new data in genomes to ultimately identify which sequence variations can become a health hazard. Each publication focused on different genes — the brain and melanocytes.
Researchers in the Department of Biophysics and Biophysical Chemistry at the Hopkins School of Medicine have discovered the structure of a protein integral to the drug resistance of Mycobacterium tuberculosis infections. This information can provide essential insight into drug design that would inhibit the function of this protein and hopefully increase treatment successes.
If you’re lucky and your hometown is Los Angeles, you may have seen the crimson-colored, Honda FCX Clarity or silver Mercedes-Bentz F-cell station wagons on the street as owners drive by smugly, feeling great that the only emission coming out of their car is water.
With the election less than three weeks away, the Hopkins Undergraduate Bioethics Society (HUBS) hosted an open forum titled “Who has a better vision for healthcare, Obama or Romney?”
A newly published study led by researchers at the Bloomberg School of Public Health examines the trends of treatment for atrial fibrillation (AF) in the form of oral anticoagulants or blood thinners.
Hopkins added another decoration to its faculty’s ranks with Dr. Donald Brown’s receipt of the prestigious Lasker-Koshland Special Achievement Award in Medical Science. Brown, an adjunct professor in the department of biology since 1969, won the award for his work in genetics. He was also acknowledged for his role mentoring young scientists. Tom Maniatis of the Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics department at Columbia University was also recognized.
The genetic link between brain size and intelligence has proven controversial. Studies have demonstrated weak to moderate relationships between brain size and IQ and have not provided definitive conclusions about the effects of genetic makeup on the construction of the brain. The high cost of brain imaging has impeded scientists' abilities to gather sufficient data, leading to underpowered brain studies. Project ENIGMA (Enhancing Neuro Imaging Genetics through Meta-Analysis) was initiated three years ago by Paul Thompson, a professor of neurology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. For the past three years, ENIGMA, the world's largest ever ongoing brain study, has led to the discovery of new genes that are responsible for differences in brain size and intelligence. ENIGMA offers watertight evidence of the correlations between the genes of humans and the size of their brains, especially within the hippocampal and intercranial regions. The study was published in Nature Genetics. The cognoscenti of neurology from all over the world, including Australia and the Netherlands, worked together to recruit brain-imaging labs around the world to share brain scans and genomic data and to derive definitive explanations from a very large pool of information. 21,151 individuals were included in this study, which allowed scientists to categorize them according to brain size and analyze their genetic makeup. Unlike previous studies, ENIGMA has allowed contributors to make conclusions with great statistical significance. Scientists discovered that in humans with smaller brains there is a link between shifts in genetic code and the diminishing of memory centers of the brain. This was consistent between subjects from different continents. They also discovered that a variant of a gene called HMGA2 could impact both the size of the brain and intelligence. Shockingly, people with a single mutation in HMGA2 - a "T" (thymine) is changed to a "C" (cytosine) in the genetic code - demonstrated superior performance in IQ testing. A single letter! It is not doubtful that this project will pave the way for new discoveries with great implications in medicine and neurology. By definitively identifying genes that are linked to the diminishing of certain regions of the brain, scientists can discover avenues for the development of drugs that can reduce their adverse effects. If the underlying puzzle of the wiring of the brain is solved, preventive measures may be devised to minimize adverse affects as well. The publication of this particular study delves into the identification of common variants that seem to affect brain volume in people of different origins. ENIGMA can also allow scientists to look into the relationship between brain size and susceptibility to certain diseases such as Alzheimer's or schizophrenia, by screening the patient's genes for a genetic culprit that may be causing the deterioration of the brain. ENIGMA can provide scientists with new opportunities that previous, much smaller studies have failed to offer because the collaboration has led to a vast range of subjects. This massive project may have provided fertile grounds for scientists to finally determine how the brain is wired.
Pancreatic cancer is currently the fourth most common fatal cancer in the world, and unfortunately it often has a poor prognosis as well. In fact, it is diagnosed by doctors in only 14 percent of high-risk individuals under the age of 50. However, roughly 10 to 15 percent of all pancreatic cancers are hereditary, allowing scientists to find ways to identify biomarkers that indicate the possibility of malignant tumors.