FDA Alert On Cilantro From Puebla, Mexico

The recent report of a cyclosporiasis outbreak from cilantro plants is not the first to be issued. Outbreaks also occurred in 2012, 2013, and 2014, all pointing to cilantro from the Mexican state of Puebla. Cyclospora cayetanensis is a protozoan pathogen that specifically infects humans (cyclosporiasis). Protozoan infections are generally more difficult to treat than…More

The Truth About Antioxidants

Continuing with my series devoted to uncovering the truth in health trends, today I am going to discuss a common feature of food advertisements. Antioxidants are compounds that delay some types of cell damage, which is why they are portrayed as healthy in certain food ads. Foods with antioxidants are also marketed to prevent disease,…More

The Truth About Sunscreen and SPF

The CDC lists increasing exposure to UV light as “the most preventable cause” of skin cancer, the most common cancer in the United States. This includes natural sunlight or artificial sunlight from tanning beds. Since we can’t wear full-body protective suits every day to prevent unwanted sun exposure, we use sunscreen to protect our skin…More

The Truth About High Fructose Corn Syrup

In 2010, the Corn Refiners Association (CRA) began producing TV commercials defending and promoting the usage of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) as a sweetener. What is it about HFCS that gave it a bad reputation in the first place? My guess is that it’s the “syrup” part. That word doesn’t exactly scream “healthy.” Regardless,…More

Gluten: The Protein, The Trend, The Choice

In the five years since her rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis, Bailey Brislin can attest to the increase of gluten’s appearance in public discourse and on social media. A poll I conducted asking 34 random participants various questions about gluten revealed a lot about public opinion and knowledge surrounding the gluten-free trend. Collectively, it seems like these…More

Autoimmune Disorders and Gluten Intolerance

Some medical conditions require a patient to eliminate gluten from their diet. Celiac disease, which affects about 1% of the population of the United States (Mayo Clinic), is an autoimmune disorder based on an intolerance of gluten proteins. Autoimmune disorders occur when the immune system attacks particles that are normally not harmful to the body,…More

What is gluten?

Contrary to what you may have heard, gluten is not harmful for most people to ingest. Let me set the record straight. Gluten refers to a specific set of proteins. Proteins are large molecules made up of amino acids that perform a vast range of actions necessary for life in all living organisms. In this case,…More

What’s the deal with gluten?

In the last decade, the presence of “gluten-free” products has drastically increased on our grocery store shelves, TV commercials, and in our conversations. “She’s gluten free now” is a statement we hear often while catching up with friends. Why is gluten all of a sudden such a problem? What IS gluten? Should everyone eliminate gluten from…More

UNC Chapel Hill joins GlaxoSmithKline in the fight against HIV/AIDS

This morning at 9:30, UNC Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol Folt, along with GlaxoSmithKline CEO Andrew Witty, announced the collaboration of their respective institutions with a shared goal in mind: finding a cure for HIV/AIDS. Just 24 hours after leading the commencement ceremony for 6,053 UNC Chapel Hill students, Folt introduced the new company to UNC’s…More

Enhancing an Education

Life-saving medication, innovative cancer treatments, and stem cell therapy are all amazing discoveries that began in a research laboratory. Some students may not realize that they can participate in research as early as their undergraduate years. Many students beginning their studies at UNC as natural science majors are often presumed to be bound for medical school.…More