Crowdsourcing Science: Using Competition to Drive Creativity

Credit: iStock. Historically, crowdsourcing has played an important role in certain fields of scientific research. Wildlife biologists often rely on members of the public to monitor animal populations. Using backyard telescopes, amateur astronomers provide images and measurements that lead to important discoveries about the universe. And many meteorologists use data collected by citizen scientists to study weather conditions and patterns. Now, thanks largely to advances in computing, researchers in computational biology and data science are harnessing the power of the masses and making discoveries that provide valuable insights into human health. Tackling Data on Complex Diseases Trey Ideker, UCSD.Credit: UCSD. Trey Ideker, Ph.D. , a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), has used crowdsourcing in his graduate-level bioinformatics classes to analyze results from genome-wide association studies. These studies allow researchers to identify particular gene variations that are linked with a disease or another trait. Some diseases are triggered by single gene mutations or changes, but most conditions are much more complex. A combination of gene variations as well as environmental and other factors influence disease development. “Common diseases like diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and neurological and psychiatric disorders have hundreds or even thousands of genes that are contributing to them,” Dr. Ideker says....
Source: Biomedical Beat Blog - National Institute of General Medical Sciences - Category: Research Authors: Tags: Tools and Techniques Diseases Genomics Scientific Process Training Source Type: blogs

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Scientists from 22 institutions, including UCLA, are recommending early diagnosis, prevention and treatment of severe chronic inflammation to reduce the risk of chronic disease and death worldwide.The group of international experts, which also includes scientists from the National Institutes of Health, Stanford University, Harvard Medical School, Columbia University Medical Center and University College London, point to inflammation-related diseases as the cause of 50 percent of all deaths worldwide.Inflammation is a naturally occurring response by the body ’s immune system that helps fight illness and infection. Whe...
Source: UCLA Newsroom: Health Sciences - Category: Universities & Medical Training Source Type: news
In this study, we explore shared epigenetic mechanisms of the association between mtDNA content and insulin levels, supporting the developmental origins of this link. First, the association between cord blood insulin and mtDNA content in 882 newborns of the ENVIRONAGE birth cohort was assessed. Cord blood mtDNA content was established via qPCR, while cord blood levels of insulin were determined using electrochemiluminescence immunoassays. Then the cord blood DNA methylome and transcriptome were determined in 179 newborns, using the human 450K methylation Illumina and Agilent Whole Human Genome 8 × 60 K microarrays, r...
Source: Frontiers in Genetics - Category: Genetics & Stem Cells Source Type: research
We presented a new statistic T to use large public database as reference to reduce concern of potential population stratification. And the new statistic proposed here is effective to discover novel genome-wide significant loci with both small and large sample sizes. Author Contributions YW conceived the idea and developed the software. YL, MH, and XL contributed data analysis, generating tables and figures, and manuscript writing. YW, YL, MH, XL, YS, and LJ contributed the theoretical analysis and manuscript revision. MX helped support the GWAS datasets. YW, YL, MH, XL, MZ, JW, and MX contributed to scientific discussion...
Source: Frontiers in Genetics - Category: Genetics & Stem Cells Source Type: research
It’s hardly news that the gastrointestinal tract is important to human health: It transports food from the mouth to the stomach, converts it into absorbable nutrients and stored energy, and shuttles waste back out of the body. If you don’t properly nourish yourself, you don’t live. It’s that simple. But in recent years, scientists have discovered that the GI system has an even bigger, more complex job than previously appreciated. It’s been linked to numerous aspects of health that have seemingly nothing to do with digestion, from immunity to emotional stress to chronic illnesses, including can...
Source: TIME: Health - Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Tags: Uncategorized Research Source Type: news
This study shows that some genetic changes linked to cancer are present in surprisingly large numbers of normal cells. We still have a long way to go to fully understand the implications of these new findings, but as cancer researchers, we can't underestimate the importance of studying healthy tissue." Early Onset of Menopause Correlates with Shorter Life Expectancy https://www.fightaging.org/archives/2018/10/early-onset-of-menopause-correlates-with-shorter-life-expectancy/ Aging is a phenomenon affecting all organs and systems throughout the body, driven by rising levels of molecular damage. The v...
Source: Fight Aging! - Category: Research Authors: Tags: Newsletters Source Type: blogs
When Nichelle Obar learned she was pregnant with her second child last year, she never expected that her pregnancy, or her baby, would make history. But when the 40-year-old food-and-beverage coordinator from Hawaii and her fiancé Christopher Constantino went to their 18-week ultrasound, they learned something was wrong. The heart was larger than it should have been, and there was evidence that fluid was starting to build up around the organ as well. Both were signs that the fetus was working extra hard to pump blood to its fast-growing body and that its heart was starting to fail. Obar’s doctor knew what coul...
Source: TIME: Science - Category: Science Authors: Tags: Uncategorized medicine Source Type: news
The opioid epidemic of the last 20 years has served to illustrate the powerful addictive properties of anything that binds to opioid receptors of the human brain. Lives are ruined by opioid addiction, more than 100 deaths now occurring every day from overdose as people either take more and more to overcome the partial tolerance or new potent drugs like fentanyl make their way into street versions. Drugs such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and fentanyl bind to the brain’s opioid receptors provoking a “high” while causing the user to desire more opioids as partial tolerance develops. And make no mistake: Much o...
Source: Wheat Belly Blog - Category: Cardiology Authors: Tags: Wheat Belly Lifestyle addiction addictive eating disorder opiates opioids undoctored Source Type: blogs
Conclusions These findings could help inform the evaluation of interventions to prevent and manage noncommunicable chronic diseases and their potential to control costs among the vulnerable Medicaid population.
Source: American Journal of Preventive Medicine - Category: International Medicine & Public Health Source Type: research
Researchers have developed a method to swiftly screen non-coding DNA for links to diseases with complicated genetic components. The technique could revolutionize modern medicine's understanding of the genetically inherited risks of developing heart disease, diabetes, cancer, schizophrenia and many others, and lead to new treatments.
Source: ScienceDaily Headlines - Category: Science Source Type: news
Why is it that the idea of “mental illness” is so much scarier to many people than any other illness? We talk freely about cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, yet whisper about Bipolar Disorder, schizophrenia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Of course the media portrayal of these illnesses doesn’t help, but surely there must be more to it than that. While the “physical illnesses” mentioned above are seen as diseases that happen to us, the “mental illnesses” are perceived as us. We get heart disease, but we are bipolar. We get cancer, but we are obsessive-compulsive. Heart disea...
Source: Psych Central - Category: Psychiatry Authors: Tags: Caregivers Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Personal Stories Bipolar Disorder Body Dysmorphic Disorder Mental Illness Neuroplasticity Psychology Schizophrenia Stigma Source Type: news
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