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I’m Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health. As we celebrate the 15th anniversary of the completion of the Human Genome Project, I’m here to talk about its history and the critical role it has played in precision medicine. Ask me anything! by NIHDirectorDirector | National Institutes of Health in science

[–]IMakeMyOwnLunch 44 points45 points x2 (0 children)

Hi Dr. Collins,

Is there a reason the NIH has not allocated more funds to ME/CFS research?

A study found ME/CFS to be substantially more debilitating than MS. There are estimated to be around 5x more ME/CFS sufferers than that of MS (2.5m ME/CFS compared to 400k MS). Yet the NIH only allocates ME/CFS 1/10th the funding that MS receives. Why is this?

I’m Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health. As we celebrate the 15th anniversary of the completion of the Human Genome Project, I’m here to talk about its history and the critical role it has played in precision medicine. Ask me anything! by NIHDirectorDirector | National Institutes of Health in science

[–]giovanni1949 48 points49 points  (0 children)

My wife and between 1 to 3 million other Americans have Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS), of which 85% are women. As you know, it is a devastating disease that gives them constant pain, precludes 75% of them from working and keeps 25% of them bed-ridden. As with other "women's diseases" it has been ignored by the medical community and even the NIH until the past few years. While we appreciate your attention to it, what specific plans to you have to ramp up funding and research to an equitable funding level as other diseases affecting this number of Americans? Please use your position to make up for the neglect of the past.

I’m Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health. As we celebrate the 15th anniversary of the completion of the Human Genome Project, I’m here to talk about its history and the critical role it has played in precision medicine. Ask me anything! by NIHDirectorDirector | National Institutes of Health in science

[–]theduckopera 179 points180 points  (0 children)

Hi Dr. Collins, thanks for joining us!

The work that led to The Human Genome Project was pioneered by Dr. Ron Davis, an extremely well respected scientist and innovator. Given Dr Davis' track record on work like this, the NIH have any plans to support his current work in finding a treatment or cure for myalgic encephalomyelitis?

Edit: For others, ME/CFS or myalgic encephalomyelitis is a systemic neuroimmune disorder that leads to debilitating pain, fatigue and other symptoms, and has the worst quality of life score on record. Dr. Davis' son has one of the worst cases of this disease and is unable to move, speak, eat, or tolerate light, sound, or touch. So the man whose work led to the Human Genome Project is now putting all his resources into fighting to save his son's life, and millions of others with ME/CFS across the world.

Half the Coral in the Great Barrier Reef Has Died Since 2016 (paper sourced in article) by KimDaebak_72 in science

[–]agwe 1197 points1198 points  (0 children)

Just chiming in as a coral scientist, because these threads always make my head hurt:

  1. Ocean acidity isn't a problem for corals, at all. It will become a problem for coral growth rates decades from now but it's not even clear whether it will have a negative impact on bleaching or subsequent mortality (some studies have actually shown that increased acidity reduces bleaching susceptibility). OA is not the most urgent or actionable threat to coral reefs.

  2. One half of corals on the GBR didn't die. One third did. Edit: the article quotes Dr Hughes as saying half. It’s been a common misquote where scientists say half of the northern GBR died and popular article say half the reef is dead, and the nature study this article is based on didn’t quantify that. But I didn’t see that quote - if that’s not a misquote then it’s right, Dr Hughes would know.

  3. Local impacts like sunscreen, fertilizer runoff, dredging, overfishing, and on and on can all devastate reefs - and they're far more manageable than global processes like climate change. They should not be ignored because 'the corals are all going to die anyway', as these gloom and doom popular articles imply.

  4. The GBR didn't actually bleach because of climate change either. Climate change MAY have exacerbated it, but we don't know that yet. The high temperatures were caused by a severe El Nino that scientists had been predicting for years. It was the worst event since 1998, when similar bleaching and mortality was seen in the Indo-Pacific. Those reefs subsequently recovered. The question now is whether the slowly creeping baseline temperatures will effect which species of corals may recover in Australia and how fast.

Edit2: just want to re-iterate my analogy on the El Nino point - it is like a cancer patient being hit by a bus. We can say the cancer patient may have had slower reflexes or may have been weakened to the impact, but the patient was still killed by a bus. The El Nino causality is that clear - and we'd known it was coming for many years, it was not unexpected.

And that's not to minimize the problem of climate change, which is certainly responsible for the 3rd NOAA-declared Global Bleaching Event.

But it's important that people not think that climate change has already killed half the GBR because ANYONE would expect that if that's the case, then we are about to imminently lose the rest in the next few summers. And that's not the case. That El Nino event was historically bad, but there's still much we can learn from the GBR as it recovers and even more we can do to protect and restore reefs around the world.

An oil-eating bacterium that can help clean up pollution and spills - An enzyme derived from A. borkumensis, a non-pathogenic marine bacterium, cleans soil contaminated by petroleum-based products in a simple, effective, and environmentally-friendly manner, finds new study. by mveaMD-PhD-MBA | Clinical Professor/Medicine in science

[–]artmanjon 348 points349 points  (0 children)

My understanding is that at least the previous bacterias they have created for this are not very effective due to a sort of selfish evolution. The bacteria are engineered to produce an enzyme that brakes the oil down into something eatable to the bacteria. Inevitably some bacteria stop producing the enzyme and just eat the stuff that is broken down by the bacteria still producing the enzyme. As it takes less energy to not produce the enzyme the non producers outcompete the producers and eventually the whole colony starves as the non-producers outnumber the producers.

A new study finds that men in STEM subject areas overestimate their own intelligence and credentials, underestimate the abilities of female colleagues, and that as a result, women themselves doubt their abilities — even when evidence says otherwise. by ImNotJesusGrad Student | Personality and Social Psychology in science

[–]giltwistPhD | Curriculum and Instruction | Math 1292 points1293 points  (0 children)

These effects appear VERY early, see:

  • Bian, S.-J. Leslie, A. Cimpian, Gender stereotypes about intellectual ability emerge early and influence children’s interests. Science. 355, 389–391 (2017).

who said

The four studies reported here (N = 400 children) show that, by the age of 6, girls are less likely than boys to believe that members of their gender are “really, really smart”—a child-friendly way of referring to brilliance. Also at age 6, the girls in these studies begin to shy away from novel activities said to be for children who are “really, really smart.” These studies speak to the early acquisition of cultural ideas about brilliance and gender, as well as to the immediate effect that these stereotyped notions have on children’s interests (p. 389, emphasis added).

This tends to be reinforced (often inadvertantly) by teachers. This study:

  • Shumow, L., & Schmidt, J. A. (2013). Scademic grades and motivation in high school science classrooms among male and female students: Associations with teachers' characteristics, beliefs and practices. Journal of Education Research, 7(1), 53-71.

found the following:

  • Although few teachers expressed a belief of general gender differences in students' interest or aptitude for science, when asked to identify a student who might have a future science career, only three out of 13 identified a female. (p. 61)
  • When pressed about whether there were any female students in the class we studied who might pursue science, most could name one and provide a reason why. It is notable, however, that several teachers had difficulty even remembering the name of any of their female students during our interview (p. 61)
  • High achieving males were more often described as having intellectual capacity (e.g. "smart," "a natural," "curious," "a deep thinker") whereas the females were simply harder workers ("not smarter," as one said) and more motivated by grades than males. (p. 61)
  • Comparing the higher and lower achieving males with one another, one teacher specifically said the high and low achieving male had the same "potential" but two others described the higher achieving male as smarter. Comparing the higher and lower achieving females, not one teacher said the higher achieving female was more intellectually capable, but two teachers said both were "able" (p. 62).

This all leads to profound gender bias, as measured in the following study:

  • Cundiff, J. L., Vescio, T. K., Loken, E., & Lo, L. (2013). Do gender–science stereotypes predict science identification and science career aspirations among undergraduate science majors?. Social Psychology Of Education, 16(4), 541-554. doi:10.1007/s11218-013-9232-8

which found

Among women, stronger gender–science stereotypes were associated with weaker science identification and, in turn, weaker science career aspirations. By contrast, among men, stronger gender–science stereotypes were associated with stronger science identification and, in turn, stronger science career aspirations ( p. 550)

Ultimately, women are as capable as men in engineering as measured by equal likelihood of graduating within six years once they complete eight semesters, but women are more likely than men to quit engineering programs prior to that watershed due to unfavorable social comparisons, as evidenced by:

  • Ohland, M. W., Brawner, C. E., Camacho, M. M., Layton, R. A., Long, R. A., Lord, S. M., & Wasburn, M. H. (2011). Race, gender, and measures of success in engineering education. Journal of Engineering Education, 100(2), 225-252.

The poorer, the fatter: Obesity is not randomly distributed across the U.S. It is linked to demographics, community characteristics, income inequality, and race, 500-city analysis shows. by jebotionmater in science

[–]pishpastaPhD | Counselor Education and Supervision 916 points917 points x2 (0 children)

You are missing the purpose of this article. The purpose of this article is to illustrate the CONTEXT of obesity, beyond nutrition. This is to provide people who do obesity research with greater insight into the contributing factors, beyond nutrition. It is to place a public health framework into the conversation about obesity in the U.S.

From this article: " A higher degree of income inequality asserts an important underlying assumption about the ecology of disadvantage—as the gap between rich and poor increases, so does this growing disadvantage of health and well-being for low-income, predominantly minority populations. Similar to what other research has found, higher percentages of residents with less than a high school education are positively correlated with higher rates of overweight and obesity weight status."

So, if you are born into poverty, don't earn a high school degree, aren't educated about the millions of ways that food labels and the food industry try to trick you. May face depression as a result of working long hours, late nights (which disrupts your circadian rhythms, shown to increase the likelihood of obesity). Eat more sugar and carbs as a way to cope, give you more energy for your long hours. Don't have access to a gym. Don't have access to fresh fruits and vegetables because you live in a food desert. Experience increased cortisol levels as a result of the stress of your low-SES status (which are directly linked to developing insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and heart disease). Yes, you are more likely to gain weight. But, if you want to think incredibly simplistically...blame the individual person for putting that cookie in his mouth.

We would never think that simply about any other issue...for example, cancer...while diet does contribute to some cases of cancer, there are also environmental factors, genetic factors, gender factors, and also socioeconomic factors (if you are poor, you're less likely to go to the doctor and receive any preventative care). There are a million contributing factors we acknowledge. When someone gets cancer, we don't immediately say, "Well, should have had more will power and stopped eating all those cookies. You did it to yourself."

It just really irritates me that the very point of this article was to point out the factors contributing to obesity beyond diet, and the top comment is regarding diet. We need to think more about the bigger picture - the public health context of obesity. Especially, we need to acknowledge that white privilege may be contributing to our refusal to see obesity as anything other than willpower...far more African Americans and Hispanics are obese. Is it a coincidence that we refuse to truly give social support to fighting this public health epidemic? I will find some citations on this if you ask me to.

EDIT: Forgot to even mention some of the community/urban planning factors like NO USABLE sidewalks or bike lanes for miles!

EDIT: Thank you for the gold, kind stranger. We have to look at this issue differently. The way we perceive obesity now simply isn't working.

Researchers have discovered that a sudden loss of net worth in middle or older age is associated with a significantly higher risk of death by Wagamaga in science

[–]Blorpulance 77 points78 points  (0 children)

Marginal structural survival methods were used to account for the potential bias due to changes in health status that may both trigger negative wealth shocks and act as the mechanism through which negative wealth shocks lead to increased mortality.

They specifically accounted for this

Summary: Physicists have identified a new state of matter whose structural order operates by rules more aligned with quantum mechanics than standard thermodynamic theory. by SirT6 in science

[–]Joe_Physics 3912 points3913 points  (0 children)

Calling this a "new state of matter" goes a little bit overboard, but still an interesting result.

Artificial spin ice

These are arrays of small magnets (nanomagnets) which are arranged in a way which prevents all of the magnets from being able to align with each other. Magnets have a preference to align (magnets prefer having their north end near the south end of another magnet), but you can put a bunch of magnets together in such a way that they can't all be aligned, which has interesting properties. Researchers in this field usually look at either "spin ices" or "artificial spin ices". A "spin ice" is an arrangement which forms more or less naturally (usually with a little coaxing), and in which the "magnets" are atomic spins. The "artificial" part means they actually have very small magnets (i.e., bigger than single atoms) which were placed together by the researchers. In particular, the researchers used lithography to etch away portions of a material so that what remained was the artificial spin ice they were looking to study.

On it's own, this is not something new.

The big thing here is the presence of "topological" order. This is the hotness right now in condensed matter physics - and indeed the study of topology has started to permeate into other areas as well. The notion of "topology" is that some properties must exist given the general makeup of the thing you're studying. The oft quoted example is the torus, which is "characterized" by having a "hole". No matter what you do to your torus, as long as it doesn't "break" the torus, you have to have the hole. So, a coffee cup and a doughnut are topologically equivalent.

In physics, what we care about is the description of the energy of a system - the Hamiltonian. We can study the mathematical structure of the Hamiltonian and look for various sorts of "holes" or "topological charges".

If the Hamiltonian has these topological charges, it often means that you get emergent particles that you can't get rid of - which can be incredibly useful if you don't want to get rid of these emergent particles.

One thing that I'd like to mention; one of the researchers makes the claim

Our research shows for the first time that classical systems such as artificial spin ice can be designed to demonstrate topological ordered phases, which previously have been found only in quantum conditions

which is maybe false? Maybe he was misquoted, or perhaps unaware, or maybe he's trying to focus on the "can be designed" aspect, but topological ordering has been observed in classical systems, such as equatorial waves on Earth's surface.

Birds can sense Earth's magnetic field, thanks to a newly identified protein behind their eyes. This would mark the first time a specific molecule responsible for the detection of magnetic fields has been identified in animals. by projectfreq91Editor | Science News in science

[–]firedroplet 2395 points2396 points  (0 children)

We honestly don't know. We do know that magnetoreception in birds is visual for two important reasons: they can't orient in total darkness (i.e. not even starlight), and when parts of their brain involved with visual processing are damaged, they can still see but not orient.

Cryptochromes (and now specifically Cry4) is our best bet at a mechanism, but we can't really say what the bird sees.

Disclaimer: I wrote the story.

/r/Science is NOT doing April Fool's Jokes, instead the moderation team will be answering your questions, Ask Us Anything! by natePhD | Chemistry | Synthetic Organic in science

[–]shirukenGrad Student | Biomedical Engineering | Optics[M] 1315 points1316 points  (0 children)

Have you tried LSD or DMT?

/r/Science is NOT doing April Fool's Jokes, instead the moderation team will be answering your questions, Ask Us Anything! by natePhD | Chemistry | Synthetic Organic in science

[–]Austion66Grad Student | Cognitive/Behavioral Neuroscience[M] 7482 points7483 points  (0 children)

stop throwing your dreams down there

Marijuana may not be as damaging to the brain as previously thought; easier on the brain than booze, study finds by ataraxic_soul in science

[–]quietIntensity 690 points691 points  (0 children)

People suffer from all sorts of bad habits that mess up their lives, while other people can handle the same things without serious issues. Gambling, video games, smartphone, soda, junk food, exercise, all normal things that most people do to some degree, but for some people, those same things turn into addictions that take over their lives. While weed is mostly harmless on its own, it certainly can become a habit that negatively impacts the lives of some users, and too much smoking of anything is not good for your lungs and heart. And, like many things, it affects different people differently. Some people become very productive and focused, some people become part of the couch. I find that if you are using weed as an escape from your real life, you will consume a lot of it, turn into a stoner, get more depressed, and mostly be a bad stereotype. If you are using it to enhance the experiences of a happy life and to better connect with other people, that's a completely different experience and doesn't turn into such a regular habit of "I must have it or life will suck." Don't use it as a crutch, use it like a hang glider.

Sex differences in 30 facets of the five factor model of personality in the large public by walterclifford in science

[–]cherryquist 5 points6 points  (0 children)

very young girls admit to both liking science but avoiding STEM careers because they can see being in a STEM career is only for people considered to be geeks (a social stigma against intellect).

This is pretty sad tbh. No wonder Asia is outpacing America in education; their culture praises industriousness and intellect and our culture praises Kim Kardashian

A newly discovered network of fluid-filled channels in the human body may be a previously-unknown organ, and it seems to help transport cancer cells around the body. by mveaMD-PhD-MBA | Clinical Professor/Medicine in science

[–]Emrys_WledigGrad Student | Genomic Medicine and Statistics 837 points838 points  (0 children)

Confocal laser endomicroscopy (pCLE) provides real-time histologic imaging of human tissues at a depth of 60–70 μm during endoscopy.

There's a technique called pCLE that takes pictures of your gut.

pCLE of the extrahepatic bile duct after fluorescein injection demonstrated a reticular pattern within fluorescein-filled sinuses that had no known anatomical correlate.

They found odd patterns in the bit of the bile duct that is outside your liver (extra - outside, hepatic - liver) and they haven't been able to match it to any bits of the body that we know exist.

Freezing biopsy tissue before fixation preserved the anatomy of this structure, demonstrating that it is part of the submucosa and a previously unappreciated fluid-filled interstitial space, draining to lymph nodes and supported by a complex network of thick collagen bundles.

You can only really see it when you freeze tissue before you put it in plastic to look at it, because otherwise the liquid drains out and like a water balloon, it loses its structure.

These bundles are intermittently lined on one side by fibroblast-like cells that stain with endothelial markers and vimentin, although there is a highly unusual and extensive unlined interface between the matrix proteins of the bundles and the surrounding fluid.

Occasionally there are some cells that look like ones we know, but they are connected in very strange ways that the authors don't understand.

We observed similar structures in numerous tissues that are subject to intermittent or rhythmic compression, including the submucosae of the entire gastrointestinal tract and urinary bladder, the dermis, the peri-bronchial and peri-arterial soft tissues, and fascia.

They found the same thing in lots of parts of the body that have to occasionally compress themselves to function, like your stomach and intestines, your bladder, the skin, your lungs, and the connective tissues beneath your skin.

These anatomic structures may be important in cancer metastasis, edema, fibrosis, and mechanical functioning of many or all tissues and organs.

These tubes with weird connections that no one has noticed before might have something to do with how things spread across the body, including cancer and other diseases. It might also play a role in how organs function.

In sum, we describe the anatomy and histology of a previously unrecognized, though widespread, macroscopic, fluid-filled space within and between tissues, a novel expansion and specification of the concept of the human interstitium.

They have found a connected network of fluid passageways that they are calling an organ, which takes the concept of fluid flowing between different parts of the body and makes it into an organised network which may have to do with how our bodies work.

States that restricted gun ownership for domestic abusers saw a 9% reduction in intimate partner homicides. Extending this ban to include anyone convicted of a violent misdemeanor reduced it by 23%. by shirukenGrad Student | Biomedical Engineering | Optics in science

[–]Teblefer 310 points311 points  (0 children)

Twenty-nine states had laws restricting firearms in domestic violence cases when a restraining order had been issued. These laws were linked to a 9 percent reduction in intimate partner homicides

Restraining order != conviction. Idk where all these comments are getting conviction from. This study goes into domestic abusers, not just the subset of convicted domestic abusers.

The United States spent approximately twice as much as other high-income countries on medical care, yet utilization rates were largely similar to those in other nations. Prices of labor and goods, including pharmaceuticals and devices, and administrative costs appeared to be main drivers - JAMA by mveaMD-PhD-MBA | Clinical Professor/Medicine in science

[–]apatheticviews -4 points-3 points  (0 children)

It comes down to the "Iron Triangle" of Access, Cost and Quality.


The idea is that you have to give up one of the three pillars for the other two. We have Quality and Access at the Expense of Cost.

Generally speaking ANYONE can get Care. You can walk into any hospital and get treated. We sort out the billing later. Yes, it may bankrupt you, but we will treat you. If you want reduction in Cost, you have to give up Quality or Access. That means either treating less people (quantitatively) or reducing Quality. The quantitative issue would disproportionately affect the lower economic portion who we are trying to help with the Cost pillar.