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Grand Roundup: Top posts for the week of April 21

The five most-read stories on Scope this week were:

The secret life of hair follicles, revealed by Stanford researchers: Stanford researchers delve into the cells surrounding our hair follicles to better understand what makes them grow and maintain hair. In the process, research associate Yiqin Xiong, PhD, and associate professor of medicine Ching-Pin Chang, MD, PhD, have identified a signaling circuit that controls the activity of stem cells,  called "bulge cells," within the follicle.

When you say nothing at all: Living with an invisible illness: Inspire contributor Dawn Nellor explores the communication gap between chronically ill patients and physicians, discusses steps she’s taken to be more proactive in her own care and explains how she has strengthened her voice as a patient. Overall, she urges physicians and patients to respect each other in an effort to achieve greater results.

Stanford and Oxford team up for conference on “big data’s” role in biomedicine: The “big data” deluge promises to accelerate the process of understanding disease while driving down the costs of developing new therapies. To underscore the wealth of opportunities for scientists who can mine these continuously growing databases in innovative ways, Stanford Medicine and Oxford University are sponsoring a three-day conference May 22-14 on the Stanford campus exploring big data’s role in biomedicine.

To meet weight loss goals, start exercise and healthy eating programs at the same time: New research from Stanford shows that to successfully slim down, a dual approach – addressing both improving eating habits and increasing physical activity – is most effective.

Quitting smoking for the baby you plan to have together: Keith Humphreys, PhD, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford, provides an overview of the research and clinical evidence about smoking cessation for parents-to-be who have questions about kicking the nicotine habit.

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Genetics
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Nutrition
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Are the health-benefit claims from intermittent fasting backed up by scientific evidence? John Trepanowski, postdoctoral research fellow at the Stanford Prevention Research Center,weighs in.