September 2010 Archives

This week I read a really interesting article about ADHD called "First Direct Evidence That ADHD Is a Genetic Disorder: Children With ADHD More Likely to Have Missing or Duplicated Segments of DNA" . The article was about the researchers identifying a gene that could be linked to ADHD. This is different than what is previously thought; that ADHD was caused by poor parenting skills or poor diet. The researchers tested 1,000 unaffected children and 336 children affected by ADHD and compared their genomes. They found that children who had been diagnosed with ADHD have significantly higher rates of duplicated or missing sequences of DNA. Also, it has been identified that the parts of the DNA that have been affected are also the parts that influence susceptibility to Autism and Schizophrenia. It is thought that ADHD is not caused by just one genetic change but by many genetic changes and how they interact with the person's environment. The researchers do not think that genetic testing would be a good way to diagnose children. They think the clinical assessment already in place to test for ADHD is good enough. However, this research is important because it provides new information about the disease and also helps to remove the stigma of ADHD being cause by poor diet and poor parenting skills.

New Gene Associated with Increased Risk of Alzheimer's Disease


This week I read a very interesting article about research concerning Alzheimer's Disease. This article was particularly interesting to be because this disease runs in my family. The researchers have been comparing the genetic sequences of 2,269 patients with late onset Alzheimer's and 3,107 patients without the disease. They have found a specific gene called MTHFD1L that they believe is linked to late onset Alzheimer's. Patients with specific variations in the gene are almost two times as likely to have late onset Alzheimer's than those who don't. The purpose of this research is to better understand the onset of this disease as well as to show insight on how to improve treatments for the disease. This research also may be able to provide high risk patients for Alzheimer's with earlier knowledge of their situation. Overall, I think this article is clear and understandable and gives insight into the research being done with late-onset Alzheimer's Disease.

Goose Embryo

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This week I checked out the Star Tribune to see what I could find about developmental biology. I found this article (link posted above) about a goose embryo. The photo pictured in the article is of an eight day goose embryo what was one of several eggs abandoned by their mother. The chicks are in the eggs for 25-30 days so this chick in particular is about 25%-33% done with embryonic development. I think this article is cool because the man who examined and took pictures of the embryos was not a professional and didn't use any complicated techniques. This makes developmental biology seem more accessible to everyone including myself. He used a very simple method of preparing this specimen by cleaning it off with alcohol and suspending it in water. This method is one that anybody can do, not just professionally trained developmental biologists. Developmental biology sees like an intimidating subject to me but this article made me think that its not as complicated as I previously thought. I wish it had some more hard data in the article but I found the methods to be very interesting and simplistic.

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