Thursday, June 16, 2011

Microscopic Science, Big Results

Scientists in the health field have been putting a lot of effort and time into researching the genetics of common health problems, and that energy is starting to pay off. Today, some of the most debilitating common conditions are being explained at a microscopic level. These finds may seem inconsequential now, but within a few short years, the fringes of modern medicine may use this research for cures.

Migraines -- severe headaches that come bundled with hazy vision, nausea, and hyper-sensitivity -- have been traced down to three individual genes. Of those three, one occurs exclusively in women, explaining why women have always been more prone to the debilitating headaches. If scientists can target these genes and shut them off, severe headaches may be a thing of the past.
A more universal issue is being solved thanks to breakthroughs made in chromosome research. DNA strands called telomeres cap the ends of chromosomes in living cells. When these caps wear away, due often to physical or mental stress, the cell dies. Faster cell death essentially means faster aging. Though typically linked to those that suffered childhood abuse, any extreme stress can shorten telomeres. Experts recommend the usual dose of increased activity and exercise, as even the most abused individuals were able to divert stress and increase telomere length through activity and exercise.

As science delves deeper and deeper into genetic research, we may see the genetic switches responsible for many causes of human suffering. The things we are accomplishing today were considered fringe medicine a decade ago, and the things we cannot dream of doing today may be commonplace in the near future.


Pam Argeris is a thought leader in the Healthcare Industry and possesses extensive, hands-on experience with CMS compliance, and multiple regulatory bodies such as NCQA, JACHO, and DOI. In her role at Merrill Corp., Pam focuses on developing solutions for compliance and quality assurance, delivered in a cost effective manner to improve beneficiary and prospect communications. You can contact Pam at

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