The Blood-Brain Barrier: Nature’s Security System

The Blood-Brain Barrier: Nature’s Security System

It would appear to be a most challenging problem: How can we allow in the essential molecules needed to nourish and support the brain while keeping out potentially harmful bacteria and chemicals? The Blood-Brain Barrier (BBB) is one of nature’s many amazing and elegant solutions that allows human and animal life to exist as we know it. It would appear to be a most…

CDC: 1 in 45 Children Diagnosed With Autism

A total of 2.24% of U.S. children (1 in 45 children) aged 3 to 17 years have autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to new statistics released by the 2014 National Health Interview Survey. The new figure is up from 1.25% reported from 2011 to 2013. The prevalence of developmental delay fell to 3.57% from 4.84%, while the rate of intellectual disability remained virtually…

Toxic Exposure and Its Impact on American Students’ Cognitive Abilities

Over the last few years, there have been several news stories reporting that American students rank in the middle of the pack on cross-national tests, particularly in mathematics and science. The largest cross-national test, the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), is a triennial survey evaluating education systems on a global level through…

Study Concludes Rise in Autism Not Due to Better Diagnosis

A new study recently published in Frontiers in Pediatrics provides evidence challenging one of the biggest myths about the autism epidemic among children, which is that “better diagnosis” is entirely responsible for the substantial increase in the diagnosis of cases of autism and pervasive developmental disorder (PDD) over the past three decades. The study, “A prospective…

Under Our Skin: A Film About the Hidden Story of Lyme Disease

Andy Abrahms Wilson’s documentary Under Our Skin tells the sometimes hidden story of Lyme disease, an infectious disorder caused by the bite of an infected deer tick, a tiny parasite not much bigger than a pencil point. Wreaking havoc across the country, the disease was originally called “Mrs. Murray’s Disease” after the mother in Lyme, Connecticut, who noticed…

The Many Faces of Autoimmunity

Normally, the body’s natural immune system protects it against harmful outside substances called antigens, which could be a bacteria, virus, toxin, or a chemical or environmental irritant. An allergic reaction occurs when that protective action extends to a substance that is not ordinarily harmful, and an autoimmune reaction occurs when that same overprotective behavior…