Prothrombin and DVT

You wake up one morning with a pain in your leg, trying to think back as to what you did the previous day to cause it.  Then you notice that your leg is a little swollen and warm…  Oh no, this could be the…

Are you genetically less likely to get the flu?

Have you ever wondered why some people never seem to get the flu when it is going around?  Turns out that our genes play a role in both our immune response to the flu virus and the virus’ ability to replicate in us. Simply…

Opioid Receptor Genetic Variants

Your body makes it’s own, natural opioids as a way to regulate pain, reward, and addictive behaviors. One example is the endorphin rush after a hard workout — a runner’s high.  This is also how the body shuts down too much pain. Genetic variants,…

Factor V Leiden

Say you are chopping up peppers for your morning omelet and slip with the knife. Ouch! While cutting your finger seems to produce a huge amount of blood compared to the size of the wound, the actions going on behind the scenes to stop that…

Will vitamin E increase your risk of cancer?

Vitamin E is an antioxidant that is often recommended as a supplement that everyone should take to prevent everything from heart disease to skin aging. But does everyone actually benefit from vitamin E supplements? Large, population-wide studies of different macronutrients (e.g. fats vs carbs)…

Genetic Variants Associated with PCOS

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is an endocrine disorder that causes an increase in androgen hormone production in women. It affects 5 -10% of premenopausal women, and genetics plays a large role in whether you have PCOS. There is no one gene that causes PCOS, but…

Genetic variants that increase the risk of Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s disease is a neurological disorder caused by the degradation of dopamine-producing neurons in a part of the brain called the substantia nigra. It affects up to 10 million people worldwide. Symptoms of Parkinson’s include a tremor (usually in the hand), problems with balance…

CRISPR Babies and HIV Resistance

Headline news from two weeks ago proclaimed that the first genetically modified babies (twins) had been born in China. The CRISPR gene editing tool had been used on the embryo to edit the babies’ genome in such a way that they would be likely…

Bipolar disorder, depression, and circadian clock genes

New research shows that depression and bipolar disorder are linked to changes or disruption in circadian genes. Some people carry genetic variants in the circadian genes that make them more susceptible to circadian disruption.

PCSK9 Gene Variants and Cholesterol

The PCSK9 gene codes for an enzyme that is involved in cholesterol transport.  It binds to LDL particles which transport fat molecules, including cholesterol, throughout the body. LDL particles bind to LDL receptors which allows the liver (or other cell membranes) to use the fats…