As Traditional Genome Sequencing Becomes Obsolete, Scientists Find New Ways To Tell ‘Human Story’
It's becoming clear that the original method is prone to mistakes, so researchers are thinking of different ways to map the human genome.
Scientists Are Assembling A New Picture Of Humanity
Sixteen years ago, two teams of scientists announced they had assembled the first rough draft of the entire human genome. If you wanted, you could read the whole thing — 3.2 billion units, known as base pairs. Today, hundreds of thousands of people have had their genomes sequenced, and millions more will be completed in the next few years. But as the numbers skyrocket, it’s becoming painfully clear that the original method that scientists used to compare genomes to each other — and to develop a better understanding of how our DNA influences our lives — is rapidly becoming obsolete. (Zimmer, 10/7)
In other public health news —
NASH, A Stealthy Liver Disease, Is Subject Of New Attention
[Wayne] Eskridge felt fine, and he didn’t drink alcohol or have hepatitis C like many people with liver disease. Instead, the cause was non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, or NASH, which is what leads to cirrhosis in one-quarter of people with the condition. It is increasingly common, for reasons that are unclear, and there is no known cure. Eskridge isn’t alone — people with NASH usually have no symptoms. It’s estimated that roughly 2 percent to 5 percent of adults in the United States have the disease, and that another 10 percent to 20 percent may have its milder cousin, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, or NAFLD, according to the National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. NASH is expected to become the most frequent reason for liver transplants by 2020. (Bond, 10/6)
What Makes Teenagers Impulsive May Also Help Them Learn
The teenage brain has been characterized as a risk-taking machine, looking for quick rewards and thrills instead of acting responsibly. But these behaviors could actually make teens better than adults at certain kinds of learning. "In neuroscience, we tend to think that if healthy brains act in a certain way, there should be a reason for it," says Juliet Davidow, a postdoctoral researcher at Harvard University in the Affective Neuroscience and Development Lab and the lead author of the study, which was published Wednesday in the journal Neuron. (Ross, 10/6)
Kaiser Health News:
Rehab For Addiction Usually Lasts 28 Days. But Why?
A month’s stay is typical for people who go to an inpatient facility to treat drug or alcohol addiction. But why? “As far as I know, there’s nothing magical about 28 days,” said Kimberly Johnson, director of the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment at SAMHSA, the federal agency that studies treatment services. (Allen, 10/7)