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Glenn Nichols, surrounded by his hospice team. The author is in yellow.

Genetic Linkage

Post-Election Health Effects … Not Just Psychological?

June 15, 2017

Tags: Donald Trump, Trump Traumatic Stress Disorder

Buried in the lower right corner of last week’s New England Journal of Medicine – not up on the left, which spawns the headlines – appears “Health Effects of Dramatic Societal Events – Ramifications of the Recent Presidential Election.” David R. Williams, PhD, MPH, and Morgan M. Medlock, MD, M.Div, both from Harvard, describe “post-election health effects” and list ways clinicians can help their patients cope.

“Health effects,” rather than “syndrome” or “disorder,” suggests that the angst many of us have been feeling since November 9 isn’t a medical condition, but is a strange new normal. Others use stronger terms. Sarah Jones in Politicususa attributes the rape nightmares plaguing many women to Trump Traumatic Stress Disorder (TTSD). John Markowitz’s recent editorial “Anxiety in the Age of Trump” in Comprehensive Psychiatry attributes the “floods of patients” and “national – if not global – rising anxiety” to “Post-Trump Stress Disorder.” I prefer Jones’ TTSD, because the distress began well before the shock of the election. (more…)

Wolf Evolution and "Settled Science"

June 14, 2017

Tags: wolf evolution, climate change

Are the red and eastern wolves separate species, or hybrids with coyotes? And what has that got to do with climate change? Actually a lot, in illustrating what scientific inquiry is and what it isn’t.

COMPARING CANID GENOMES

A report in this week’s Science Advances questions conclusions of a 2016 comparison of genome sequences from 28 canids. The distinction between “species” and “hybrid” is of practical importance, because the Endangered Species Act circa 1973 doesn’t recognize hybrids. But DNA information can refine species designations — or muddy the waters. (more…)

Spinach Genome Reveals a Living Fossil

June 3, 2017

Tags: spinach genome

Imagine being spinach.

Sidelined in the produce section of a supermarket, bagged and bunched into a sad uniformity mere feet from the regal, multihued heirloom tomatoes; the purple, orange, and cream-colored cauliflowers; the myriad types of onions, potatoes, squashes and even peas, spinach plants sport a dark green sameness distinguishable only by leaf size.

A WHITER SHADE OF KALE

At farmer’s markets, the lone spinach nestles amongst an ever-growing cornucopia of hipster greens, the kale and arugula, chard and mustard. (more…)

instruction
Project to engage students in helping families with rare genetic diseases
Book Club Reader's Guide
Many challenging questions to stimulate thought and discussion.
Instructor's Guide
38 discussion questions to get students thinking and talking about gene therapy, including the science, ethical issues, and the drug approval process.
Narrative science
The Forever Fix is the uplifting true story of 8-year-old Corey Haas, who was cured of hereditary blindness just 4 days after gene therapy.
College Textbooks
A spectacularly-illustrated, clearly written human anatomy and physiology textbook, used in pre-health profession programs throughout the U.S.
A highly engaging, clearly written, beautifully illustrated introduction to the science of human genetics for the non-scientist. Now in its 11th edition, 12th to be published in September 2018.
Nonfiction
An ideal starting point for anyone who wants to know more about genes, DNA, genomes, and the genetic ties that bind us all.

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