Combination therapy vs single-target therapy

I feel that single-target drugs are getting harder to make. I remember years back, when there were three AIDS drugs going through clinical trials. We were all shocked when all of them failed. But some smart soul realized that when combined, the three were a miracle cocktail. Indeed, fast forward to the present and this […]

Ideas are not unique, no matter how far-fetched – a personal story

Last Christmas-time, I was driving to go get my parents (they live a few states away) and was listening to a Science Friday about Mars. The guest was an advocate for human travel to Mars and mentioned how much it would cost to get there. I don’t know if Ira or the guest mentioned it, […]

Saturday morning thoughts on the evolutionary history of IBD in Eastern European Jews

Of course, as is usual with me on the weekend, I started reading all my open tabs in my browser. And the first one I read was a paper where they crossed two pure strains of mice and correlated microbiome and genome. Link: PLoS ONE: Murine Gut Microbiota Is Defined by Host Genetics and Modulates […]

Mixing meaning into disease research – Treato

I wasn’t so sure how to describe Treato. It’s really interesting – mixing semantic analysis, social media, medical records, and analysis – Treato is really the next level of how consumers research diseases. The image to the right is one that came from searching for Lyme disease. I am not sure how they assemble that […]

Finally got around to reading Sterling’s “An Essay on the New Aesthetic”

“That is my thesis; that’s why I think this matters. When I left the room at the SXSW “New Aesthetic” panel, this is what concerned me most. I left with the conviction that something profound had been touched. Touched, although not yet grasped. I’d suggest getting right after it.” I missed the session at SXSW […]

We interrupt our usual program …… Down With Everything

Thomas Friedman recently wrote about a discussion he had with Frank Fukyama on the two-volume opus Fukyama is working on “The Origins of Political Order.” Of course, I hardly ever get political here, but this article resonated with me. “Indeed, America today increasingly looks like the society that the political scientist Mancur Olson wrote about […]

Repeated evolution in sticklebacks, and adjacent possibles

“Researchers have documented repeated evolution in other organisms, but the sticklebacks are unique because the freshwater transition has occurred so many times. “Sticklebacks have been a phenomenal system for understanding rapid evolution,” says evolutionary biologist Erica Bree Rosenblum of the University of California, Berkeley, who wasn’t involved in the study. “This paper shows that repeated […]

The wacky world of horizontal gene transfer, genomic variants, and what we think are microbial species

“The main difference from eukaryotes is that prokaryotic reproduction is independent of DNA acquisition and recombination. Instead, DNA is obtained from fragmented chromosomes obtained via parasexual means (that is, without reproduction). These mechanisms of DNA exchange are not restricted to gene exchange within species, and therefore traits can and do come from highly divergent organisms. […]

Another article on “Patterns of Early Gut Colonization Shape Future Immune Responses of the Host” in PLoS ONE

“In conclusion, a time window exists that enables the artificial colonization of GF mice by a single oral dose of caecal content, which may modify the future immune phenotype of the host. Moreover, delayed microbial colonization of the gut causes permanent changes in the immune system.” Ok. So there’s mounting evidence that rapid colonization of […]

New Old Publishing and “The New Value of Text”

“Finally, the text still requires context. As publishers spin up their digital and print-on-demand backlists, more and more is published with less and less context. These efforts amount to land-grabs and rights-squatting, without adding value. Works without TOCs, indexes, author bios, footnotes. Placing work in context is one of publishers’ primary tasks, stretching out to […]