Cellular Transport and the Nobel Prize for Medicine

nobel medal in medicine

The 2013 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was announced yesterday [1]. The prize was awarded to three U.S. scientists for their work on how the cell coordinates its transport system to shuttle proteins and other molecules from one location to another.

The prize of 8-million-Swedish-krona ($1.2-million USD) was divided evenly to Randy W. Schekman, age 65, at the University of California at Berkeley; James E. Rothman, age 63, at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut; and Thomas C. Südhof, age 58, at Stanford University, for their discoveries of machinery regulating vesicle traffic, a major transport system in cells.

Lactose Intolerance: A Diagnostic Fad

Just as clothing styles come in and out of fashion, diagnoses go through fads as well. While this is rarely true of diagnoses issued by traditional healthcare practitioners, health-related Internet sites (particularly those promoting alternative medicine) and some practitioners of alternative medicine may be susceptible to these diagnostic trends. One such fad diagnosis is lactose intolerance, which is sometimes blamed for everything from hyperactivity to joint pain.

Pouring milk splashImage credit: Pouring milk splash via Shutterstock

March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

The goal of the annual National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month is to make people aware of colorectal cancer and to encourage people to learn more about how to reduce their risk of colorectal cancer (CRC) through regular screening and a healthy lifestyle. The results of the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) administered to 32,374 adults 18 years of age or older in 2000 showed that colorectal cancer screening is underused [1]. Just over 60% of adults had ever had colorectal cancer testing. Only 44% of men and 37% of women greater than 75 years of age were current for testing. Colorectal cancer screening is very important. If colorectal cancer is allowed to metastasize (meaning to spread to other parts of the body), the 5-year survival rate is less than 10%. However, if colorectal cancer is found early, the 5-year survival rate is greater than 90% [2].