Risk Free Test for Downs
Week of April 19

Risk Free Test for DownsEvery healthy baby has twenty-three pairs of chromosomes in each cell. Just one less or one more and the fetus ends up with a genetic defect. Children with Downs Syndrome have an extra copy or trisomy of chromosome twenty-one. Today most expectant moms are offered genetic testing, with some screening for Down’s.

Several tests can indicate a problem with the baby, but to be certain, doctors must perform invasive tests which carry the risk of miscarriage. It requires the insertion of a needle into the uterus to extract fluid surrounding the fetus for testing... More »

Viruses Up to Bat
Week of April 12

BatBats used to bear the unfair image that they’re all bloodsuckers. Many now appreciate that bats are invaluable in controlling the insect population, and in pollination and seed dispersal. Keep those in mind as we tell you what else bats are good at: as reservoirs for deadly viruses. That’s right – everything from SARS to the Ebola virus, as well as the new MERS virus, which is extremely deadly.

Now scientists are discovering that just under half of all fruit bats in a dozen African countries also harbor the Henipaviruses, which can be deadly to other animals and humans. A third of the bats also carry a rabies-like virus called The Lagos bat virus... More »

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