We humans are one among millions of separate species who live in a world burgeoning, overflowing with life. And yet most species that ever were are no more. After flourishing for one hundred fifty million years, the dinosaurs became extinct. Every last one. No species is guaranteed its tenure on this planet.
The hard truth seems to be this: We live in a vast and awesome universe in which, daily, suns are made and worlds are destroyed, where humanity clings to an obscure clod of rock. The significance of our lives and our fragile realm derives from our own wisdom and courage. We are the custodians of life’s meaning. We would prefer it to be otherwise, of course, but there is no compelling evidence for a cosmic Parent who will care for us and save us from ourselves. It is up to us.
For the first time in decades, researchers trying to develop a vaccine for malaria have discovered a new target they can use to attack this deadly and common parasite.
Finding a target for attack is a far cry from having a vaccine. And the history of malaria vaccines is littered with hopeful ideas that didn’t pan out. Still, researchers in the field welcome this fresh approach.
Over the past four decades, researchers have developed about 100 potential vaccines for malaria. The best of the bunch is still only modestly successful in children, who are at greatest risk for the disease. The mosquito-borne parasite kills more than 600,000 children a year, mostly in Africa.
So Dr. Jonathan Kurtis, at the Rhode Island Hospital and Brown University, decided it was time for a fresh start. He had developed a severe case of malaria while he was an undergraduate studying abroad in Kenya. And he learned just how devastating this disease can be, not only killing young children but causing hundreds of millions of cases of debilitating illness every year.
Kurtis and his colleagues started with samples of blood that had been methodically collected from children in Tanzania by Drs. Michal Fried and Patrick Duffy at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Kurtis’ team carefully examined those samples to find small but crucial differences between children who got infected but didn’t fall seriously ill and children who developed a severe case of the disease.
"We’re finding the rare needle in a haystack," Kurtis says. "We’re finding the rare parasite protein that generates a protective immune response."
Photo: A red blood cell infected with malaria parasites. Plasmodium is the parasite that triggers malaria in people. (NIAID)
The first time I held a human brain in Anatomy Lab I was completely speechless. I looked at my classmates expecting a similar reaction and they looked back at me confused like…”dude let’s start identifying the structures.” I had to take a step back and let it process…in my hands was someone’s entire life. From start to finish, every memory, every emotion, every bodily control…was right there in my hands.
I don’t care if people unfollow this is spectacular
This post just fucked me up literally
A honeybee’s stinger is made of two barbed lancets. When the bee stings, it can’t pull the stinger back out. It leaves behind not only the stinger but also part of its digestive tract, plus muscles and nerves. This massive abdominal rupture is what kills the bee.