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Aspiring biotech entrepreneur, microbe researcher, minimalist, music addict, trivia buff | Editor of Medical Myths and Models | humanmicrobes.substack.com

Investigating the influence of cruciferous vegetable, fiber, resistant starch, red meat, and organic food intake on cancer risk

Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

While cancer is an umbrella term for a number of different diseases, cancers nonetheless share certain hallmarks, such as resistance to cell death, sustained proliferative signaling, and reprogramming of energy metabolism. To begin, let us examine one trait in particular: acquired resistance to apoptosis. Under normal conditions, cells that fail to pass certain cell checkpoints during mitosis, or cell division, are marked for programmed cell death via apoptosis, a form of cellular suicide. Cells that die in this manner slowly shrink and leave surrounding tissue intact (“not with a bang but a whimper”), and countless functional studies demonstrate that apoptosis…


Microbiome research conducted over the past couple decades has made it abundantly clear that the microbes we harbor have a profound impact on our well-being. The way in which we enter the world (vaginal birth or Caesarean section) impacts our initial seeding of microbes, which is then subject to additional alterations through breastfeeding or formula feeding, the introduction of solid foods, and environmental exposures.

In general, having a more diverse array of gut microbes is associated with a lower risk of allergies, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, cancer, and chronic fatigue syndrome. …


QUICK QUESTION / MICROBIOLOGY

Photo by qimono on Pixabay

Most microbes exist along a spectrum sliding from pathogen to commensal. “Pathogenicity” and “virulence” are terms that are often used interchangeably but have different meanings in regards to bacterial traits.

In 1999, Casadevall and Pirofski clarified that pathogenicity can be defined as the capacity of a microbe to cause damage in a host while virulence refers to the degree of damage caused by the microbe.

Tulane University offers the following distinction:

  • Pathogenicity refers to the genetic innate ability, which commensals and opportunistic pathogens lack, of an organism to cause overt disease or harm the host.
  • Virulence refers to the degree…


Glad to know I'm not the only one who thinks this way. I've never had much taste for jewelry or material possessions and tend to be more pragmatic about expenses. I prefer to invest in experiences rather than things. Like you said, tangibles do not a relationship make.


Turns out I just hadn’t identified my triggers

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

What Is ASMR?

ASMR, or autonomous sensory meridian response, refers to the calming, relaxing sensation that some individuals experience in response to certain audio, visual, or tactile stimuli. Scientific American describes the ASMR experience “as a pleasantly warm and tingling sensation that starts on the scalp and moves down the neck and spine.”

ASMR can be experienced in response to different “triggers,” which can span a wide range of sounds, modalities, and intensities. Whispering, tapping, hand movements, head massages, and turning the pages of a book are a few common ones. Some individuals report having had experienced the sensation whenever the school nurse…


While I appreciate your suggestion to ease into lifestyle changes more gradually, I cannot support the idea that intermittent fasting is disordered eating. As Lorrae G. mentions, we are well equipped to handle fasting, as it has been a part of the vast majority of our species' existence. Certain metabolic switches and repair processes such as autophagy are only triggered in the fasting state, suggesting that fasting is necessary for maintenance of proper metabolic health.

Pursuing intermittent fasting solely for the purpose of weight loss is shortsighted, as IF offers numerous health benefits even in the absence of weight loss…


I think artists face considerable challenges when adressing protest through speech or song. The other day, I was watching a documentary about J Balvin called The Boy from Medellín, which portrayed José's internal struggles regarding stances on political issues and how to properly address the protests across Colombia during the colloquially-termed Latin American Spring.

Nina Simone's song "Four Women" and Richard Wright's novel Native Son were perceived as racist by the Black community for perpetuating harmful stereotypes, despite the creators' intentions to educate white audiences and highlight injustices in society.

I do think the protests during the pandemic spawned the…


Clearing up some common misconceptions

Photo by Artem Bryzgalov on Unsplash

1. Dietary fiber is the only nutrient that affects the gut microbiota.

While dietary fiber usually receives the most attention, simple sugars, fats, and proteins also modulate the gut microbiome. For example, fructose prevents gut colonization of Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron, a species known to ferment fiber from fruits, vegetables, and beans and contribute to maintenance of a healthy weight.

Because proteins are rich in nitrogen, high-protein diets can lead to bacterial overgrowth in a manner akin to eutrophication, whereby fertilizer runoff that spills into ponds and lakes increases nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations, leading to algal blooms. …


"Tugboat" fills me with the strongest sense of nostalgia and brings to mind the new wave sounds featured on AMC's Halt and Catch Fire. Certain synthesizer sections of "Destroy Us" remind me of Berlin's "Take My Breath Away." As always, thanks for your fantastic recommendations!


Such practical advice! Thanks for explaining your concept so succinctly! Reminds me of the myth of the first mover advantage. You don't need to invent something new but you need to improve upon existing models. Case in point: MySpace preceeded Facebook, and both Borders and Barnes & Noble came before Amazon.

Nita Jain

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