The five most-read stories on Scope this week were:
Nature/nurture study of type 2 diabetes risk unearths carrots as potential risk reducers: Stanford researchers used a “big data” approach to show that for people harboring a genetic predisposition that is prevalent among Americans, beta carotene, which the body converts to a close cousin of vitamin A, may lower the risk for the most common form of diabetes, while gamma tocopherol, the major form of vitamin E in the American diet, may increase risk for the disease.
Revealed: Epic evolutionary struggle between reproduction and immunity to infectious disease: In a review article recently published in Nature Reviews Immunology, Stanford evolutionary theorist Peter Parham, PhD, and pathologist Ashley Moffitt, MD, of the University of Cambridge, draw on observations from the fields of immunology, genetics, reproduction, anthropology and comparative anatomy to give a speculative working model that describes how a particular set of human immune cells has evolved to control the conflict between resistance to disease and ease of childbirth that walking erect has imposed on our species.
Image of the Week: Influenza virus: An image of a negative-stained transmission electron micrograph depicting the ultrastructural details of an influenza virus particle. Although flu activity appears to be easing in some parts of the country, the virus reached a widespread level last week in California contributing to illness and hospitalization around the state
How learning weight-maintenance skills first can help you achieve New Year’s weight-loss goals: A past study from Stanford researchers showed that a maintenance-first approach helped individuals shrink their waistlines and keep from regaining the weight. In this Q&A, lead author Michaela Kiernan, PhD, senior research scientist at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, discusses the method and tips for implementing it to achieve your 2013 weight-loss goals.
Engineering immune cells to resist HIV: Researchers at Stanford have found a novel way to engineer key cells of the immune system so they remain resistant to infection with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.