All posts tagged: blood vessels

The First CRISPR Therapy Is Here

The First CRISPR Therapy Is Here

When Victoria Gray was still a baby, she started howling so inconsolably during a bath that she was rushed to the emergency room. The diagnosis was sickle-cell disease, a genetic condition that causes bouts of excruciating pain—“worse than a broken leg, worse than childbirth,” one doctor told me. Like lightning crackling in her body is how Gray, now 38, has described the pain. For most of her life, she lived in fear that it could strike at any moment, forcing her to drop everything to rush, once again, to the hospital. After a particularly long and debilitating hospitalization in college, Gray was so weak that she had to relearn how to stand, how to use a spoon. She dropped out of school. She gave up on her dream of becoming a nurse. Four years ago, she joined a groundbreaking clinical trial that would change her life. She became the first sickle-cell patient to be treated with the gene-editing technology CRISPR—and one of the first humans to be treated with CRISPR, period. CRISPR at that point …

Humans Have Two Noses. Really.

Humans Have Two Noses. Really.

Having caught a cold every month since my kid started day care, I’ve devoted a lot of time recently to the indignity of unclogging my nose. I’m blowing, always. I have also struck up an intimate acquaintance with neti pots and a great variety of decongestants. (Ask for the stuff that actually works, squirreled away behind the counter.) And on sleepless nights, I’ve spent hours turning side to side, trying to clear one nostril and then the other. Nasal congestion, I’ve learned in all this, is far weirder than I ever thought. For starters, the nose is actually two noses, which work in an alternating cycle that is somehow connected to our armpits. The argument that humans have two noses was first put to me by Ronald Eccles, a nose expert who ran the Common Cold Centre at Cardiff University, in Wales, until his retirement a few years ago. This sounds absurd, I know, but consider what your nose—or noses—looks like on the inside: Each nostril opens into its own nasal cavity, which does not …

It’s the Best Time in History to Have a Migraine

It’s the Best Time in History to Have a Migraine

Here is a straightforward, clinical description of a migraine: intense throbbing headache, nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and noise, lasting for hours or days. And here is a fuller, more honest picture: an intense, throbbing sense of annoyance as the pain around my eye blooms. Wondering what the trigger was this time. Popping my beloved Excedrin—a combination of acetaminophen, aspirin, and caffeine—and hoping it has a chance to percolate in my system before I start vomiting. There’s the drawing of the curtains, the curling up in bed, the dash to the toilet to puke my guts out. I am not a religious person, but during my worst migraines, I have whimpered at the universe, my hands jammed into the side of my skull, and begged it for relief. That probably sounds melodramatic, but listen: Migraines are miserable. They’re miserable for about 40 million Americans, most of them women, though the precise symptoms and their severity vary across sufferers. For about a quarter, myself included, the onset is sometimes preceded by an aura, a short-lived …