If the eyes are windows to the soul, they’re open windows, potentially letting in all kinds of unwelcome bugs. To ensure that doesn’t happen, our tears are loaded with microbe-killing compounds and immune cells. In fact, our eyes are so inhospitable that it was long thought they were the only part of our bodies which lacked a symbiotic bacterial community. But now, scientists have found evidence of a once-inconceivable ocular microbiome—and it may help eyes fight off disease.
For decades, the pipes that brought water to LeAnne Walters’ house did their job unnoticed and safely. But in summer 2014, that changed.
A sneeze can launch mucus and saliva out of your system at 10 miles per hour(not 100 or more, contrary to common lore), often spreading pathogens in the process. But until very recently, researchers didn’t have a good idea of how exactly your nasal fluids move through space.
Imagine looking through a fogged-up car window. You can see shapes and movement on the other side, but everything is blurry, the colors muted. Now imagine if that’s what the world looked like every time you opened your eyes. That’s what life is like for the millions of people living with cataracts, the leading cause of blindness globally.
Most people with herpes don’t know they have it, which is probably how almost two-thirds of the global population ended up with the virus. On Wednesday, the World Health Organization (WHO)announced that, “More than 3.7 billion people under the age of 50, or 67 percent of the population, are infected with herpes simplex virus type 1.”
If you could find out your baby’s future health problems right after he or she was born, would you want to know? Some new parents will get to make that decision soon. This month, doctors in Boston will begin the BabySeq project, in which they will sequence the genomes of newborns to look for signs of diseases that begin in childhood.