Science is advancing at a rate so fast that it is difficult to forecast where it will take us. According to Michael Specter, this uncertainty has developed into a widespread fear or denial of scientific progress across the nation. Specter identifies why Americans have grown to mistrust science. He recently chatted with Jessica Rettig about the dangers of resisting vaccines and the value of preventative healthcare
Many trials are underway testing the ability of an adult's own stem cells -- continuously produced and capable of becoming any of a range of cell types -- to regenerate heart muscle and restore blood flow.
The more science learns about the marvelous diversity among human beings -- fueled by genetic, environmental, and other factors -- the clearer it becomes that a one-size-fits-all approach to diet is bound to fail
Asperger syndrome is a developmental disorder that affects a child's ability to socialize and communicate effectively with others. Children with Asperger syndrome typically exhibit social awkwardness and an all-absorbing interest in specific topics. Doctors and researchers don't understand exactly what causes Asperger syndrome, there seems to be a strong genetic component associated with this disorder
The ongoing study is one of many clinical trials now testing the ability of heart failure patients' own stem cells--which renew themselves and can develop into a range of cell types--to regenerate heart muscle and restore blood flow inside the heart tissue.
Most of us are aware of our family medical history on some level -- we're pretty familiar with our parents' recent ailments, for example, and probably could tell you what our grandparents died from. But if pressed to be more specific, we might not have all the details -- and those can be important. The information a detailed family medical history offers might change your own medical care or provide a needed incentive to make better lifestyle choices.
Human organs for transplant are scarce. One option is to engineer organs from scratch in the lab, using artificial scaffolds. While bladders and skin can be grown in the lab, growing more complex organs and their intricate blood-vessel networks, has proved tricky.
While the attention of the public and ethicists has been focused on embryonic stem cells, research into other kinds of stem cells -- including the adult bone-marrow stem cells -- has been advancing and, in some cases, exploding. Adult stem cells have been used in bone marrow transplants for 40 years, and trials are expected to expand their use. Meanwhile, many scientists predict that induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS cells, created by turning back the biological clock of normal adult cells, will one day supplant embryonic stem cells.
Anthony Atala was the first to build a functioning organ from scratch -- a bladder made cell by cell -- and put it into a patient, a child whose own bladder was congenitally deformed. Since that breakthrough a decade ago, the 50-year-old pediatric urologist, director of Wake Forest University's Institute for Regenerative Medicine, has moved on to cobbling up bones, heart valves, muscles, and some 20 other body parts.
The partners have restored much of the vision in patients who have a rare genetic form of severely impaired eyesight called Leber's congenital amaurosis, in which a mutated gene prevents the retina from manufacturing a nutrient vital to eye health. The technique eventually could be tried to treat macular degeneration.