"Van Gogh, Isaac Newton: most of the geniuses and great creators were not tranquil. They were nervous, ego-driven men, pushed on by a relentless inner force and best by anxieties." 25% of the US population are believed to experience an anxiety disorder at some point during their lifetime. So is it any surprise that a book titled My Age of Anxiety became a New York Times Bestseller, and was shortlisted by the 2015 Wellcome Book Prize?
In this spoiler-free article, I look into the science behind Marvel's Ant Man and whether he (or she!) could ever really exist.
We often think of the content of our DNA as the inevitable part of ourself, the things we can't change no matter how much we try. Meanwhile, the other factor in who we are, how we look and how we act, our environment, is the opposite, changeable, open to manipulation and within our control. But… Continue reading Epigenetics: When Nature Meets Nurture
While our genetics (combined with our environmental influences) offer explanations for a large amount of variation in humans, the increasing use of our genetic make-up as a way of passing the blame for our behaviour is actually quite worrying. On a small scale, it's quite nice to say "well, nature made me this way". I like to use my biologically programmed body clock as an excuse for sleeping in late, and trying to claim that I'm snappy and impatient because "it's in my genes" would be tempting (who knows if that would even be possible). Criminal behaviour, however, is a whole other story. We can't really use our genetics as an excuse for murder... can we?
No, I'm not talking about intelligence being the key to power and success (that's a different story altogether). I'm talking about the power we gain from our knowledge of genetic causes of disease. Imagine a time when we can all be genetically tested to find out if we have the version of a gene (allele) which is known… Continue reading Is Knowledge Always Power? – Genetic Testing