October 2015

Birth Order Has No Effect on Personality

Image of silhouette of children

The Internet is littered with articles touting the traits birth order effects, but a recent study in Germany has determined that there is no such thing as a typical first born, middle, or youngest child. 

The researchers examined five key traits - extroversion, emotional stability, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and imagination - via data from 20,000 people from three nations in what is considered the largest and most comprehensive studay on this topic to date. 

FDA Approves Cancer Fighting Drug

Cartoon image of bomb with "Cancer" written across it

The FDA has approved a new drug, Imlygic, which uses the herpes virus to treat skin cancer tumors. 

The drug, produced by Amgen Inc., is an injectible drug approved to attack melanoma tumors that can not be surgically removed. The herpes virus works as a Trojan horse of sorts. After being injected directly into the tumor, the herpes virus in the drug infiltrates the cancer cells and rupturing them. It them triggers an increased immune response to the simplex herpes virus (the strain that causes mouth sores). 

Blood Test Could Reveal Likelihood of Premature Death

Image of chronic lung inflammation

Researchers have identified a biomarker - GlycA -which seems to predict premature death due to infections, even in seemingly healthy individuals. GlycA is a byproduct of inflammation, and high levels of it in the blood stream seem to indicate chronic inflammation, which indicates the presence of a low-level chronic infection, or an overactive immune response. Over time, this chronic inflamation causes damage which leaves individuals more susceptible to serious infections and complications. 

Diesel Fumes Negatively Impact Bee Population

Close up image of bee

A recent study published in the Journal of Chemical Ecology has found that diesel fumes in polluted environments may be negatively impacting the global bee population. According to a press release issued by the  University of South Hampton, these "new findings suggest that toxic nitrous oxide (NOx) in diesel exhausts could be having an even greater effect on bees' ability to smell out flowers than was previously thought."