The Good Side of Viruses
Week of February 5

Humans harbor numerous retrovirusesWhile we’re gaining more knowledge about the bacteria that live in and on us, we know very little about our virome. These are viruses that are part of the human microbiome, the total collection of viruses that we coexist with. We generally don’t regard viruses highly. They’re culprits of disease from the common cold to Ebola.

So, imagine our surprise at finding beneficial symbiotic viruses, ones that coevolved with humans for millennia. During the sequencing of the human genome, scientists found about eight percent that resemble infectious retroviruses similar to HIV. These human endogenous retroviruses or HERVs are remnants of retroviral infections in our ancestors that became fixed in the human genome... More »

The Jekyll and Hyde of Statins
Week of January 29

Molecular model of LipitorThe most prescribed drugs in the U.S. are statins. They’re cholesterol lowering drugs and are constantly advertised on TV as Crestor, Lipitor and Zocor.

These drugs work by inhibiting a protein called HMG-CoA reductase to help prevent heart attack and stroke. Though they save lives, the side effects are significant for some people.

They risk memory loss... More »

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