The Truth About Vaccines

The Truth About Vaccines

by Dr. Simona Giunta, Ph.D. Vaccines: What You Should Know. The 11 Most Common Questions About Vaccines Know Science believes that knowledge of science can empower people to make better decisions for their health and lives. When it comes to vaccines, that decision could mean life or death. Breaking news today shocked the world. A six-year-old Spanish boy who had been infected with Corynebactuerium diphtheria earlier last month succumbed to diphtheria [1]. This is the first case of diphtheria in Spain in 29 years since widespread vaccinations have allowed successful eradication of the disease worldwide. The boy, however, was not vaccinated against diphtheria because his parents were against him getting inoculated amidst controversies over the vaccine’s potential side effects. In the small Spanish town of Olot, 10 more people, of which 9 were children, were exposed to the bacterium but did not develop the disease as they were all vaccinated. To avoid the re-occurrence of preventable disease, we would like to address many concerns that parents may have regarding vaccines, to which research has the answers. In this series of questions and answers, you will find key facts about vaccines, based on rigorously tested scientific and epidemiological evidence. In the last five years, there has been a decrease in the number of parents vaccinating their children [2].  So what? Approximately 800 children die per year as a result of parents not vaccinating their children. Two people in the United States alone die every day of causes that could have been prevented by vaccinations [3]. What about the potential risk of deaths from vaccination? Severe reactions to vaccination are extremely rare. As with any drug or medicine,...

What Are We Made Of? The Role of Proteins in Our Body and Diet

If the word “protein” only makes you think of juicy steaks or protein shakes, it may be a surprise to learn that 20% of each cell in our body is made of proteins [1]. So, what are proteins and why does the body need them? The name protein originates from the Greek “protos” which means first and it has that name for a good reason [2]. Proteins are molecules that perform a whole zoo of functions in the cell. They are essential to every living organism. DNA, the blueprint for all living things, contains the recipes necessary to make each protein, hence coding for the “workers” that make our cells function. Here are just a few examples of proteins and their roles: HAIR: Your hair, nails, and skin are made of proteins called keratins that serve a protective function from UV irradiation and dehydration, among others. Your DNA determines the type of keratin you have. People with curly hair, for instance, have more disulfide bonds in their keratin, which causes the protein chain to curve [3]. EYES: Your eye lens is also made up of proteins. These proteins are called crystallins. They pack tightly to increase the refractive index of the lens, yet are transparent. In fact, over 90% of your eye lens are made of crystallins [4]. Another amazing property of crystallins is their longevity. Most proteins are replaced within two days; however, crystallins essentially last a lifetime [5,6]! Sadly, protein accumulation results in damage with age, making the lens less transparent which contributes to vision deterioration [7]. BLOOD: Red blood cells also use proteins. They have a special protein called hemoglobin,...
Are e-cigarettes harmless?

Are e-cigarettes harmless?

Using our “Ask the Experts!” form, Matthew Guidetti asked Know Science about e-cigarettes. Are they healthy or not?  Are they worse or better than normal cigarettes?  What are their side effects? Scientists have published more than 300 scientific papers on e-cigarettes since 2009. Before the first e-cigarette set foot on the market, when it was just a niche habit or an alternative to cigarettes for the elite, scientists all over the globe were already busy studying with e-cigarettes.1 Data published on e-cigarettes ranges from their mode of action to how the route of administration alters their effects to whether they are ultimately safer than conventional cigarettes. Why has all this science not reached the public? Why are people still uncertain about e-cigarettes when we [scientists] know so much? Know Science put two of our scientists, cancer expert Dr. Simona Giunta and brain biologist Dr. . Ilaria Ceglia, on the task of extracting comprehensible information from the jungle of published data. So, what’s the consensus? Here are three main conclusions. Some are predictable, others definitely worth knowing! 1. E-cigarettes are a great way to stop smoking. 2. E-cigarettes are dangerous but in a different way than normal cigarettes. While tarmac and other toxic substances are not present in e-cigarettes, the metal in many e-cigarettes produced upon vaporization have been shown to release heavy metals, which you inhale with each puff.1-2 A better alternative are all-ceramic e-cigarettes, which do not contain metallic parts. 3. E-cigarettes still contain all of the side effects associated with nicotine use, including changes in heart rate, blood pressure, and the propensity to cause lung.3,4 Ingesting large quantities of nicotine, whichever the route, is not advisable from a health perspective....
What is a Cell?

What is a Cell?

Trees in a forest, fish in a river, horseflies on a farm, lemurs in the jungle, reeds in a pond, worms in the soil — all of these plants and animals are made of the building blocks we call cells. Most living organisms are made of a vast numbers of cells working in concert with one another. Other forms of life, however, are made of only a single cell, such as bacteria and protozoa. Cells, whether living on their own or as part of a multicellular organism, are usually too small to be seen without a light microscope. Cells share many common features, yet they can look wildly different. In fact, cells have adapted over billions of years to a wide array of environments and functional roles. Nerve cells, for example, have long, thin extensions that can reach for meters and can transmit signals rapidly. Closely fitting, brick-shaped plant cells have a rigid outer layer that helps provide the structural support that trees and other plants require. Long, tapered muscle cells have an intrinsic stretchiness that allows them to change length as in contracting and relaxing biceps. Still, as different as these cells are, they all rely on the same basic strategies to keep the outside out, allow necessary substances in, permit other substances to leave, maintain their health, and replicate themselves. All of these things together are precisely what make a cell a cell no matter what kind!   [cit. Nature.com]   Please follow and like...
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