In my last blog entry, I wrote a quiz that tested some basic knowledge about genetics that experts have found the public struggles with. What I found from the responses I received is that the QUEST public doesn’t struggle with them or, more likely, people only answer quizzes like this if they are pretty confident […]
Here's today's roundup of science, nature and environment news from the Bay Area and beyond.
Medical experts disagree on whether prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood tests are an effective screening technique for prostate cancer. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends against PSA screening for men of any age, but recent research disagrees with this assessment.
Eugenie Scott, longtime director of Oakland's National Center for Science Education, has won numerous awards for helping the public understand science and defending evolution, especially against threats to replace it with “creation science” in public schools. She shares her thoughts on the challenges of communicating science in a climate of denial.
As a nation, we aren’t teaching the right genetics in our schools. And for those of us out of school, the situation is, if anything, even worse. By and large we lack the fundamental knowledge needed to properly interpret the avalanche of data headed our way.
Many people continue to doubt the evidence for climate change, evolution, and vaccine safety, even though the scientific consensus on these issues is rock solid. Among the most troubling evidence-resistant theories is the long-debunked yet persistent myth that vaccines cause autism—a completely unfounded belief–leading to general doubts about vaccine safety, with dangerous public health consequences.
Scientists thought they understood how arteries hardened and clogged, but they may have been wrong. New research indicates that a previously unknown type of stem cell is actually the underlying cause of clogged arteries. If confirmed, it could lead to new therapies.
A new ordinance in Alameda County requires the pharmaceutical industry to pay for disposal of extra medicine. The regulation is part of a larger movement to shift responsibility for waste disposal from local governments to companies that make products like paint, medicine and batteries.
In the very near future, a pregnant woman will be able to learn a whole lot more than she currently can about the fetus she is carrying. And she can find out in a way that poses no risk to the fetus.
Recent research shows that a new vaccine led to consistently high anti-nicotine antibody levels that prevented nicotine from reaching the brain. If these findings are confirmed in people, this vaccine could be an effective therapy to help prevent nicotine addiction.
I've always hated olives. I'd pick them off pizzas and out of salads. But in the last few weeks, I've actually started eating them on purpose. It could be because I'm pregnant, a condition which has me craving salt—and few foods are saltier than a nice olive.
California farmworkers work long days for about $7.50 an hour to pick fruit in orchards doused with nitrogen fertilizers. A UC Davis study released in March found that nitrates from fertilizers and dairy waste have contaminated groundwater supplies. Because farmworkers live near the fields they work in, they're at high risk for nitrate-contaminated drinking water.
It’s time to grab your bottle of sunscreen and head outdoors, but how can you tell if your sunscreen is safe? Use the Environmental Working Group’s new sunscreen guide to make sure your sunscreen isn’t on their “Hall of Shame.”
There was big news in the cystic fibrosis (CF) field recently: a new CF drug called ivacaftor (or VX-770 or Kalydeco) has been approved that does more than target the symptoms of CF. It actually works to get the broken gene working again. The good news is that this is the first treatment that has […]
A couple of new studies confirm what many of us have feared: each of us is surprisingly unique genetically. This is to be feared because of the impact it will have on the future of personalized medicine.
Dr. Susan Love, breast cancer surgeon and women's health advocate, has long railed against cancer researchers' fixation on treatments and cures. After spending more than $4 billion on breast cancer research, we still don't know what causes the disease or how to prevent it. It's time to focus on looking for causes, she says. And she wants your help.
We may finally be at the threshold of the age of personalized medicine. In a recent study, scientists were able to predict that a man was at a higher risk for developing Type 2 diabetes and over a two-year period tracked his health as he developed the disease.