The word “mutation” may conjure up images of fictional monsters, Marvel X-Men and creatures with non-human characteristics. It’s true that mutations are often associated with disease: something that has gone wrong in the body to produce an oddly shaped body part or sometimes cancer. However, mutations can’t be categorized as “good” or “bad” so easily. … Continue reading Halloween Musings on Mutations
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a debilitating, psychiatric disorder that can occur following exposure to trauma or extreme stress. While anyone who has experienced trauma can develop PTSD, it is most often associated with military veterans. Not everyone who has experienced trauma will develop PTSD—in fact, the majority of people exposed to trauma do not … Continue reading Post-traumatic Stress Disorder: 1 Part Genes, 1 Part Experience
An estimated 400 million people—myself included—live at elevations higher than 1,500 meters above sea level. The beautiful scenery, rugged mountains and clean air are part of the appeal to many of us. But interesting changes in the body seem to occur as a response to living at high altitude. Scientists from all over the world are … Continue reading Can Altitude Affect Blood Flow and Your DNA?
High blood pressure has been coined the “silent killer” because it has no symptoms, which causes many people to go undiagnosed. A blood pressure reading that stays high for long periods of time is called hypertension. It’s one of the leading risk factors for heart disease. In addition to being silent, hypertension is also unequal—rates … Continue reading Hypertension: Silent and Unequal
In the U.S., we focus much attention on the health behaviors that can help us live a longer life: the “secrets” of centenarians and long-lived animal species such as the naked mole rat, the optimal amount of exercise to help us maintain muscle tone and independence, and the best eating style—whether it’s eating like we … Continue reading The Hispanic Paradox: Why Are Some Ethnic Groups Living Longer than Others?
"There's something I ought to tell you. I'm not left-handed either." - Westley, The Princess Bride Throughout history, left-handedness has both fascinated and frightened people. Maybe it is because only about 15 percent of the population is left-handed. Or maybe it is because the reasons for left-handedness remain somewhat of a mystery. What makes a person left- … Continue reading Being Left (Handed) Is All Right
What makes your father the best dad in the world? Maybe it’s his sense of humor or the times he has taken you to the movies or played catch in the yard. Or maybe it’s the fact that he made healthy lifestyle choices before you were born. Recent research suggests that your father’s health before … Continue reading Like Father, Like Son (and Daughter): How Your Dad’s Past Affects Your Future
Many of us take our ability to read this blog or see the faces of our families and friends for granted. For the 10–15 million Americans with a disease called age-related macular degeneration (AMD), however, the loss of this ability is a daily and devastating reality. AMD is the most common cause of blindness in … Continue reading When You Can’t ‘Spy’ with Your Eye Anymore
Sports and alcohol are a famous pair. Whether you’re a fan or an athlete, it’s common to follow up a great game with a drink or two. But does that drink affect your recovery after your workout? Researchers at California Polytechnic State University think that it might. Rafael Jimenez, Amy Engel and a team of … Continue reading To Play Better, Skip the Post-Game Drink
Childhood asthma has reached epidemic proportions across the globe for unknown reasons. Maternal smoking is associated with childhood asthma, but a study published in 2005 suggested that if your grandmother smoked, you were at greater risk of developing asthma than if your mother smoked. How could this happen? Your genes determine the traits you … Continue reading Bee-ware the Cause of Childhood Asthma