Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Are viruses alive? Perhaps we’re asking the wrong question

From the June 8, 2020 article at The Conversation

“The truth is, we don’t fully understand viruses, and we’re still trying to understand life. Some properties of living things are absent from viruses, such as cellular structure, metabolism (the chemical reactions that take place in cells) and homeostasis (keeping a stable internal environment).

This sets viruses apart from life as we currently define it. But there are also properties that viruses share with life. They evolve, for instance, and by infecting a host cell they multiply using the same cellular machinery.”

Read the entire article at https://theconversation.com/are-viruses-alive-perhaps-were-asking-the-wrong-question-139639

August 13, 2020 Posted by | biology | , , , | Leave a comment

[Press release] Did genetic links to modern maladies provide ancient benefits?

From the 28 January 2015 press release at University at Buffalo

study finds that humanity’s early ancestors had genetic variations associated with modern disease, and now the question is why

The discovery highlights the importance of balancing selection, a poorly understood evolutionary dance in which dueling forces drive species to retain a diverse set of genetic features.
A hyper-realistic recreation of a Neanderthal.

Credit: From Shaping Humanity, by John Gurche. Image may be republished ONLY in conjunction with stories about the research outlined in this press release.

Caption: A reconstruction ofHomo neanderthalensis, as created by artist John Gurche for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. A study led by University at Buffalo biologist Omer Gokcumen compared the DNA of modern humans to Neanderthals and Denisovans (another ancient hominin). The research found that genetic deletions associated with various aspects of human health, including psoriasis and Crohn’s disease, likely originated in a common ancestor of the three species.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Psoriasis, a chronic skin condition, can cause rashes that itch and sting.

So why would a genetic susceptibility to this and other ailments persist for hundreds of thousands of years, afflicting our ancient ancestors, and us?

That’s the question scientists are asking after discovering that genetic variations associated with some modern maladies are extremely old, predating the evolution of Neanderthals, Denisovans (another ancient hominin) and contemporary humans.

The study was published this month in Molecular Biology and Evolution.

“Our research shows that some genetic features associated with psoriasis, Crohn’s disease and other aspects of human health are ancient,” says senior scientist Omer Gokcumen, PhD, a University at Buffalo assistant professor of biological sciences.

Some of humanity’s early ancestors had the telltale features, called deletions, while others did not, mirroring the variation in modern humans, the scientists found. This genetic diversity may have arisen as far back as a million or more years ago in a common ancestor of humans, Denisovans and Neanderthals.

The discovery highlights the importance of balancing selection, a poorly understood evolutionary dance in which dueling forces drive species to retain a diverse set of genetic features.

The research raises the possibility that the diseases in question — or at least a genetic susceptibility to them — “may have been with us for a long time,” Gokcumen says.

Why this would happen is an open question, but one possibility is that certain traits that made humans susceptible to Crohn’s and psoriasis may also have afforded an evolutionary benefit to our ancient ancesto

– See more at: http://www.buffalo.edu/news/releases/2015/01/034.html#sthash.latn4ejg.dpuf

January 29, 2015 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

BioEd Online- Science Resources from Baylor College of Medicine

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Not just for teachers!

From the About Page

Welcome to BioEd Online, the online educational resource for educators, students, and parents. BioEd Online utilizes state-of-the-art technology to give you instant access to reliable, cutting-edge information and educational tools for biology and related subjects. Our goal is to provide useful, accurate, and current information and materials that build upon and enhance the skills and knowledge of science educators. Developed under the guidance of our expert Editorial Board, BioEd Online offers the following high-quality resources.

  • Streaming Video Presentations – View timely presentations given by thought leaders on education in biology and related subjects, classroom management, science standards, and other issues in education. Presentation topics include content reviews for prospective biology teachers, content updates for experienced teachers, research lab technique demonstrations, inquiry science, and assessment. In addition, BioEd Online offers helpful presentations for teachers in training as they prepare for the classroom experience.
  • Slide Library – Customize exciting and relevant lesson plans and activities from hundreds of searchable slides developed by our Editorial Board and contributors. The slide library is updated regularly. Each slide is complete with talking points and references and can be downloaded into your own PowerPoint program for personal educational use.
  • Editors’ News Picks – Stay current with science news selected by our Editorial Board. Check back each week for new science stories and related discussion questions to complement your ongoing science activities, and to stimulate an exchange of ideas in your classroom. All Editors’ Picks are maintained in our archive for easy access whenever you need them.

BioEd Online is regularly updated with pertinent new slides in the slide library, presentations on breakthrough research, reviews, and virtual workshops on educational approaches and materials. Stay current with the latest research from top educators in the country by bookmarking BioEd Online for later use!

Other resources of note

  • A variety of free, interactive courses designed for science educators and other life-long learners seeking to increase their knowledge of key scientific subjects. Course offerings range from cutting edge genetics to topical environmental health content and the fascinating science of water. Materials are sorted by topic, making it easy locate the content most appropriate for you.
  • BioEd Online’s library contains student storybooks, magazines, supplemental materials and other items integrated with teacher’s guides and lessons found on this website. Some items may be used as stand-alone reading and language arts activities.

July 19, 2013 Posted by | Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Health Education (General Public), Health News Items, Librarian Resources | , , , , | Leave a comment

BioEd Online: Japanese Earthquake and Tsunamis, Before and After

BioEd Online is an online educational resource for teachers, parents, students, and others.
The tool bar at the home page includes links to presentations, slide sets, classroom lessons, teacher resources, hot topics and more.
The current feature (hot topic) focuses on the earthquakes and tsunamis in Japan, particularly the aftermath of the March 11, 2011 natural disasters. Instructional materials include how satellite images are used in recovery efforts, a slide set of “before” and “after” Japanese scenes and news items.
On March 11, 2011, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake struck northeastern Japan. In addition to the destruction caused by the earthquake and aftershocks, related tsunamis devastated miles of the Japanese coastline. Several nuclear power plants were damaged, leading to potentially serious health risks for tens of thousands of people.
Links are also given to background information, as

April 9, 2011 Posted by | Educational Resources (High School/Early College( | , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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