Leslie Mertz (email@example.com) is a freelance science, medical, and technical writer, author, and educator living in northern Michigan.
In rural areas, it is not unusual for patients to travel 50 miles or more to reach their doctors’ offices or for doctors to refer patients to specialists whose offices are 80, 100, even 200-plus miles away.
“It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data,” said Sherlock Holmes creator and author Arthur Conan Doyle in 1887. In this era of big data, and especially the crush of medical information becoming available through new technologies and bulging databases, Doyle’s quote could be updated to: “It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data and understands what they mean.”
Why do people start smoking in the first place? That is one of the many complex, interdisciplinary questions behind the Kavli HUMAN Project, a massive data-collection endeavor with the goal of learning how everything—from biology to behavior and environment—affects the human condition.
It was six years ago that fecal transplantation first received prominent media attention and the public began to fully appreciate that the bacteria and other microbes in their bodies could have a real impact on health…
A few years ago, the average person had no idea what the microbiome was, but now it is bantered about on quasi-medical talk shows, social media, and blogs almost as though it were the savior of human health: change your microbiome, change your world!
Researcher Jeanne Loring thinks she has a good method for reversing the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, and she believes this method—a stem-cell therapy—will find its way to clinics in as little as twoand- a-half years. Although the work has progressed very smoothly, one thing has
Interest in stem cells escalated in 2006 when scientists figured out how to reprogram some specialized adult cells to assume a stem-cell-like state. Called induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), these cells opened the door to a range of potential applications.
Approximately 2% of Americans have a visual disability, and in developing countries where infectious disease or untreated cataracts are more common, the percentage is often higher.
Every year, Doris’s primary care physician sends her to see a neurologist to check on her hand tremor, which has increasingly worsened over the past 20 years.
Above: Depicted, from left to right: Chris Voigt, Ben Gordon, Rob Nicol. Photo by Lillie Paquette / MIT School of Engineering.
Living organisms are amazing feats of engineering: By following instructions encoded entirely in DNA, living systems can sense and respond to their environment, build intricate structures