February 23, 2011 |
Schizophrenia is a severe, complicated illness. There are no obvious explanations for what causes the condition, which causes hallucinations and delusions. Genes are known to play a big role. The condition is often clustered in families. Scientists announced a significant step in understanding the genetics of the disease this week. A large nationwide consortium of scientists led by Jonathan Sebat of UC San Diego has identified a gene mutation that is strongly linked to the disorder.
February 16, 2011 |
Anyone seeking the fountain of youth should think twice before turning to growth hormone, a fast-growing trend in anti-aging fringe medicine. If conclusions from a study of an obscure population living in Ecuador prove true, less growth hormone ? not more ? may help prevent cancer and diabetes in old age. The discovery, published Wednesday in the journal Science Translational Medicine, backs up earlier research showing that yeast, flies and rodents live longer ? in some species, as much as 10 times longer ?
February 11, 2011 |
Of all the produce available at farmers markets, far and away the most spectacular is the Romanesco cauliflower. Typically smaller than a standard cauliflower, vivid chartreuse and conical in shape, it displays an ornate fractal pattern in which each floret presents the same appearance as the whole head, in miniature. The result is that the eye zooms in on one turret, then another, and gets mesmerized by the swirling, logarithmic spiral of its self-repeating design. "We've got groupies who come to stare at them, particularly at the Pasadena farmers market, where there are lots of Cal Tech students," says Alex Weiser, who grows 21/2 acres of Romanesco in Lamont and Tehachapi, southeast of Bakersfield.
November 29, 2010 |
Robin Sullivan was 10 when she first began looking for information about her stutter. She'd had the speech disorder for as long as she could remember ? one of her earliest memories is of lying on a table practicing breathing exercises. She wasn't bullied or teased, she says; she just felt ignored. "I went to the library, and I read everything I could get my hands on," she says. "I was looking for that feeling of not being alone. " It took Sullivan, now in her early 40s, until high school to find the help that she needed.
November 19, 2010 |
Viruses possess an ability to mutate into strains that can render vaccines useless and become deadlier than their predecessor. But for a team of Texan scientists, this biological danger became a forensic asset that helped prosecutors convict two men accused of infecting close to a dozen women with HIV. In 2009, Philippe Padieu was sentenced in Texas to 45 years in prison for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon – the weapon, in this case,...
October 19, 2010
Faulty genes linked to breast and ovarian cancer (known as BRCA1 and BRCA2) are relatively rare, occurring in just 1 in 1,000 people, But for people with a family history of the disease, knowing whether they inherited those genetic mutations can be crucial. Today, high-risk women can take a blood test to determine whether they carry the mutations. Nicki Durlester has experienced the uncertainty about cancer her whole life. The Los Angeles woman grew up in Pennsylvania with a family so prone to cancer that members have been studied by the National Institutes of Health since the late 1970s.
July 16, 2010 |
Inside a dimly lighted living room in the heart of the Javanese forest, Dede Koswara blankly examines his bulky hands, which have morphed to the size of catcher's mitts. He shuffles along on blackened, bloated feet, a prisoner of his own mutinous body. For years, the slender construction worker watched helplessly as his limbs broke out in a swath of grotesque bark-like warts that sapped his energy and limited his mobility. At one point, he seemed to sprout contorted yellow-brown branches 3 feet long.
June 21, 2010 |
Though the causes of autism are unclear, and many researchers believe that environmental factors play some kind of role, they are sure of one thing: Genes are strongly involved. Scientists once harbored hopes that autism might be linked to a handful of genetic mutations that would clearly explain why someone develops it. But the genetic roots of autism (known these days as autism spectrum disorders because behaviors and severity differ widely) are proving much trickier to untangle than anticipated . One problem is that the number of people in most studies has been limited; another is that the small tweaks in genes that scientists have linked to autism so far are very rare in the human population.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 24, 2010 |
Dr. Leena Peltonen, an unusually prolific genetics researcher whose team discovered mutated genes responsible for 15 inherited diseases and who established the department of human genetics at UCLA, died of cancer March 11 at her home in Finland. She was 57. Her "contribution to understanding the genetics of human disease has been a lifelong commitment and is simply outstanding," said Allan Bradley, director of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in England, where Peltonen ended her career.
March 18, 2010 |
President Obama's visit to Indonesia next week will offer the unexpected image of an American president delivering a major diplomatic speech to the Islamic world, from a country that has frequently been the source of terrorist plots against Western targets. Obama's three-day trip to the world's most populous Muslim country is intended to demonstrate Washington's improving relationship and closer security ties with the government of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. It is also a vote of confidence in Indonesia's security apparatus, once notorious for human rights abuses, but which in recent years has found itself back in favor with the U.S. as it battles home-grown and foreign Islamic extremist networks.