NEWSLETTER

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Hello and... happy Correct Your Posture Month! I bet you didn't see that coming!

May is a celebratory month of renewal and we will touch on that right away. But it is also a month full of awareness of: celiac disease, stroke, brain and skin cancer, mental health, blood pressure and cystic fibrosis. So many reasons to either honour your good health or remind yourself of those good habits to maintain the best health possible. And speaking of which, let's mention that it is also Mediterranean Diet Month if you need some inspiration.

Image of Mediterranean diet examples

As always, let's recount some May historic events. Since we find ourselves in the midst of a global pandemic in a desperate search of a vaccine, let's remember that on May 14 in 1796, English physician Edward Jenner performed the first vaccination against smallpox to an eight-year-old boy, James Phipps, using material from the sores of dairymaid Sarah Nelmes who was infected with the non-threatening cowpox disease. This was based on the idea the Jenner heard from another dairymaid that those who contracted cowpox were immune to the deadly smallpox disease. A few weeks later, on 1 Jul 1796, he inoculated the boy with material from smallpox virus sores, the current standard of protection at the time. The immunization with cowpox appeared to be successful and prevented any effect of smallpox inoculation. Jenner's immunization was subsequently rapidly taken up in Europe and America to fight the deadly disease.

On May 9 in 1980, the World Health Assembly declared the complete eradication of the deadly smallpox virus. The first such achievement of its kind - fighting infectious disease on a global scale - the world-wide eradication of smallpox is considered the biggest achievement so far in international public health. The last person to die of smallpox was Janet Parker on Sep 11, 1978 in the UK. Unfortunately, she contracted the disease from a laboratory performing research on the virus that was located one floor below her workplace. How Mrs. Parker became infected was never solved, and adding to the tragedy, the principal researcher of the laboratory, considered one of the world leaders in the field, eventually took his own life.

To learn more about this mysterious episode, check out a podcast dedicated to the topic which was made on the 40th anniversary of Parker's death by clicking the image below.

Image of newspaper clipping announcing death of Janet Parker

Last month we remembered the death of Charles Darwin and promised we would start new monthly storyline. May might find its roots from the Greek Goddess Maia, who Romans identified with their goddess of fertility, Bona Dea (literally meaning ‘the Good Goddess’). We thought it would be good idea to use the month of May to start a new monthly trend of educational bits and to celebrate the prominent women of genetics that gave birth to new ideas which significantly moved this field of science forward.

What better way to start than with one of the first American women to be recognized for her contributions to science, especially as she expanded the fields of genetics, cytology, and embryology.

Photo of Nettie Maria Stevens

At the turn of the previous century, Nettie Maria Stevens discovered that a fetus’s sex is determined by chromosomes contributed by each of the parents during conception. She observed that mealworms produced two kinds of sperm, one with a large chromosome which would lead to female offspring when used to fertilize an egg, and one with a small chromosome, which would produce male offspring only. This was the discovery of X and Y sex chromosomes and it was first such observation of chromosomal differences leading to different biological outcomes. It was also the discovery that sex determination is due to the presence or absence of the Y chromosome. Thus, Stevens provided evidence for Mendelian and chromosomal theories of inheritance. Her seminal work was published in September 1905 under title of "Studies in Spermatogenesis". Unfortunately, the discovery of chromosomal sex determination is often credited to Edmund Wilson who worked in parallel on similar studies, but never recognized the importance of the Y chromosome. Wilson himself subsequently credited Stevens with the discovery once he realized the importance of her work.

In July 2016, on the 155th anniversary of her birthday, Google honoured Stevens with a doodle. She died of breast cancer on May 4, 1912.

Nettie Stevens Googe doodle

 

Short educational video

This month's first video is a recent Merogenomics clip on what type of DNA test results can be expected in consideration of taking a health-related DNA test. This educational video applies to all types of health screening DNA tests.

Image of DNA test results video screenshot

 The second video is a cute TED Ed cartoon explanation of small pox history and the discovery of the first vaccination attempts including those by Jenner.

Screenshot image of TED Ed small pox history cartoon

 

Latest publications

The first featured article is a continuation of Merogenomics’ work covering SARS-CoV-2. It is the fourth in a series and the second post in a row dedicated to exploring potential ways of conquering the diseases with a deep dive focus on antibodies and vaccines. And find out how you can catch the SARS-CoV-2 with its pants down. As it's totally worth it!

 

Antibodies against SARS-CoV-2

GIF image for the Merogenomics blog post on antibodies against SARS-CoV-2

 

The second post is a wonderful guest post from a dear friend about how we could shape our future post-recovery world to enhance our preparedness and overall societal health.

 

COVID-19, the invisible healer

GIF of Merogenomics post on post-COVID-19 healing of our society

 

Let us know if you have any questions related to DNA testing. These are important to us because they spark ideas for new content and tell us where we need to close any educational gaps. Some of the questions we have been getting have led to additional cancer DNA testing videos, so stay tuned – coming soon!

 

Latest news

Much of this past month has been spent dedicated to crystalizing content about new detection methods of COVID-19, in which incidentally, Merogenomics participates as part of a consortium of businesses and researchers. A new website will also be available soon.

But it was also busy month related to DNA testing as we are moving forward with additional contractual negotiations concerning one of the best pharmacogenetic DNA testing options in the world. One of the Edmonton participating clinics will be receiving kits soon. PGX information tells you how you may respond to medications and is highly a recommended tool especially if you are to go on medication that might have certain risks associated with it, or where trial and error is part of the process concerning dosages and efficacy - such as in cancer or mental health treatment.

If you are an owner or a manager of medical clinic and are interested in adopting DNA testing to benefit your patients, please contact Merogenomics. DNA testing can also help every clinic’s bottom line, while staying at the forefront of medical advances. Our goal is to successfully help as many clinics as we can to adopt this powerful, beneficial and profitable technology.

 

Upcoming events

Merogenomics is looking for partners who would be interested in advertising future events for pregnant women - or women who plan to get pregnant - to learn about the non-invasive prenatal DNA testing or NIPT (a screening method for proper baby development). This is an educational event designed to explain one of the more complicated choices that, in theory, should be provided to every pregnant woman as a general screening option (it is already covered in some provinces but only for women at high risk).

If you or someone you know is an influencer with an outreach to women in any pregnancy age cohort, we want to partner with you. Our participating partners will receive 50% of the proceeds based on ticket sales from their network group. We will also provide a coupon discount to their network members. All interested parties can attend the next talk for free that we are planning for May 27. For more information please contact Merogenomics or IvanaTisler who is managing this event.

Click on the image below for more details about the initial event for registration and details of what to expect. Please contact us for the discount code.

Image of Merogenomics May 27 2020 Non-invasive prenatal testing and pregnancy wellness event cover

 

How you can help

  • Forward this email to a friend that can benefit
  • Attend events, bring a friend along
  • Spread the word of events/posts on social media
  • Consider sponsoring an event/post
  • Ask your doctor about ordering a genome sequencing test
  • Book a presentation with Dr. Raszek for your colleagues

 


Happy genomes and stay tuned for more exciting research and innovations!

 

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Mikolaj Raszek, Ph.D.
genome sequencing consultant
phone icon phone: +1-780-665-5336
location icon address: 10060 Jasper Avenue
Tower 1, Suite 2020
Edmonton, AB T5J 3R8, Canada

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