People with pseudobulbar affect — a neurological condition common in patients with Lou Gehrig's disease — have overwhelming emotions at inappropriate times: They laugh uncontrollably at funerals, cry even when they aren't sad. Scientists at UC San Francisco believe that by putting these people into MRI scans, they can learn more about how emotions are created and controlled in the human brain — and what happens when those systems break down.
If a DNA testing company gets bought out, what happens to their customers' DNA? Image by Molly Eyres. / CC BY 2.0 One niggling worry I had when I decided to get some genetic testing from 23andMe was what would happen to my DNA if the company failed. By all accounts, 23andMe is a very […]
Each October, within Breast Cancer Awareness Month, my friends and I get into a flurry organizing and putting on Beats for Boobs.
"Mysteries of DNA" image courtesy Mark H. Adams. Full-size version. As anyone who follows this blog knows, I recently took a 23andMe genetic test and have been blogging about it ever since. Today I thought I would focus on one of the fun parts of the service: traits. Lots of our traits are at least […]
What can genetic testing tell you? A while back I took a 23andMe genetic test that looks at over 600,000 different spots on my DNA. The last few blogs I have been going over my genetic test results with an eye on how useful they are. And how well the results are explained. Last blog […]
Luis Medellin and Karl Tupper set up a drift catcher in Lindsay, CA. My radio story on pesticide drift looks at how residents in the citrus town of Lindsay are monitoring pesticides in the air and in their bodies. They are using a device called a Drift Catcher, modeled after technology used by the California […]
Conflicts over pesticide use have increased as new suburbs push up against farming areas in California. In the second part of our series, Sasha Khokha looks at how community residents are looking to document the impact of pesticides on their own health when those chemicals drift off the farm.
Every year California farmers spray more than 150 million pounds of pesticides to keep insects from ravaging crops like almonds, oranges, and grapes. But when those toxins drift onto nearby farmworkers and communities, they sicken hundreds of people each year. California legislators tried to fix the problem five years ago, but new laws don't appear to have made much of a difference.
In this week's Quest radio piece, I talk to two pregnant organic onion workers who got sick after an apple farmer sprayed pesticides on a nearby orchard. Following a nearly three month investigation, the Kern County Ag Commissioner issued citations finding both the apple grower and the organic company at fault.
There's a hidden danger in San Francisco bay: mercury. A potent neurotoxin that can cause serious illness, mercury has been flowing into the bay since the mining days of the Gold Rush Era. It has settled in the bay's mud and made its way up the food chain, endangering wildlife and making many fish unsafe to eat. Now a multi-billion-dollar plan aims to clean it up. But will it work?
Because there wasn't time in the QUEST TV segment on mercury in the bay to include information on safe fish eating practices, below are the guidelines, along with web links, to help you get plenty of Omega 3s and still keep your mercury levels low.
Nearly 15 million Americans suffer from depression. Learn why depression is more than just "feeling blue," the difficulties of treating it with traditional medications and how new tools
and research are shedding light on brain structures that may play an integral role in treating it.
What is the link between anxiety and depression, and can a form of talk therapy help treat both conditions? Learn more in an extended interview with Philippe Goldin, Clinical Research Scientist for the Clinically Applied Affective Neuroscience Group at Stanford University.
Imagine a medical disease that afflicts eighteen million people in the U.S., for which more than 160 million prescriptions were filled in 2008, that is one of the leading causes of disability in the U.S., but a disease for which no definitive medical model of pathology exists.
Why do some people get severely sick from swine flu and others barely feel it? As flu season ramps up, scientists at UCSF's Viral Discovery Center are racing to learn more about the 2009 H1N1 virus, including how it's evolving, and whether our current treatments will remain effective.