Science Beach Reads, HPV vs. Pap Test (Abstract Science: July 2 -6)
15 beach reads for science and tech lovers, a landmark study on how we detect cervical cancer, and a potential new way to prevent inherited diseases.
(Daily Mail, 7/3/2018, Natalie Rahhl)
For the first time, biologists are trying to get the CRISPR gene-editing machinery directly into mature human sperm, rather than into fertilized embryos. The work is still at an early stage but could lead to a new way to prevent inherited diseases. A sperm cell has a hard exterior that allows it to penetrate an egg, but it is also sensitive and can die off if it is put under too much stress. Researchers from Weill Cornell Medicine had to find just the right voltage of pulse to use on sperm to disarm its outer shield so that they could insert CRISPR-Cas9 without crippling its ability to move. They experimented with a range of extremely high voltage shocks delivered in very short bursts and found that the optimal pulse was a 20 milliseconds of 1,100 volts—nearly 100 times the power of a car battery—blasted at the sperm for one fiftieth of a second.
(Washington Post, 7/3/2018, Laurie McGinley)
Although most women are accustomed to having Pap smears to test for cervical cancer—a disease that strikes 12,000 American women each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—a new study found that the HPV test may be a more effective way to catch the often-preventable cancer before it progresses. The randomized, controlled study — the kind of trial considered the “gold standard” of research — showed that the human papillomavirus test is more sensitive than the Pap smear.. Several experts predicted the results would spur efforts to entirely replace the Pap test with the HPV test. “It's an important study,” said Jason Wright, a gynecologic oncologist at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center who was not involved in the study. “It shows that doing HPV testing alone provides a high degree of accuracy” on who might be at risk for cervical cancer.”
(Gizmodo, 7/5/2018, George Dvorsky)
Summer is finally upon us, which means it’s time to put together a reading list, whether it’s for the beach, your cottage, or the hammock in your backyard. Here are 15 science and technology books that will keep your nerdy brains engaged and titillated.
—Compiled by Social Media Specialist Jillian Scola