Author Archives: Health & Medicine

This Organ Helps Sea Nomads Dive Deeper for Longer

When we think of the organs that help humans stay alive under the water, the heart and lungs top the list. But there’s another organ that deserves recognition as well, though few of us would think to name it. It’s the spleen.

Mammals have a unique r… Continue reading

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Over 100 New Hair Color Genes Help Untangle A Confusing Trait

It’s easy to tell what color someone’s hair is, but figuring out the genetics behind how it got that way is anything but simple.

A new study from a team of international researchers analyzing 300,000 people of European descent finds more than 100… Continue reading

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Drugs from Bugs: Bioprospecting Insects to Fight Superbugs

Somewhat like looking down the barrel of a gun, antibiotic resistance is a looming threat to modern medicine. The rise of MRSA, super drug-resistant gonorrhea and other “nightmare” bacteria risk rendering our microscopic defenses useless. What to d… Continue reading

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Yes, You Can Sweat Blood

We’ve all heard of sweating bullets, but this is something else entirely.

A medical case report in the Canadian Medical Association Journal from Italian researchers last year details a 21-year-old patient who began mysteriously sweating blood from h… Continue reading

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Tiny Alcohol Monitor Sits Just Beneath the Skin

A tiny chip implanted just under the skin could be the Breathalyzer of the future.

Researchers from the University of California, San Diego reported today that they had created a tiny chip that can read levels of alcohol in the body and relay that in… Continue reading

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What If Your Blood Could Kill Mosquitoes?

A commonly used anti-parasite drug could be the next weapon in the fight against malaria.

Researchers from Kenya and the United Kingdom report that dosing people with ivermectin, commonly used in heartworm pills, makes them deadly targets for the mosq… Continue reading

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Why Do Knuckles Crack? Engineers Calculate the Answer

Love it or hate it, knuckles crack.

For some the noise signals a welcome release, while others cringe at the thought of joints shifting about in their sockets. The sound itself, though, is still a bit of a mystery.
Snap, Crackle, Why?
Researchers h… Continue reading

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The Interstitium Is Important, But Don’t Call It An Organ (Yet)

Humans might have a new organ, and the press is all over it—again.

In brief: It’s called the interstitium, or a layer of fluid-filled pockets hemmed in by collagen and it can be found all over our bodies, from skin to muscles to our digestive syste… Continue reading

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How Drug Marketing Influences Prescriptions

Doctors wined and dined. Continue reading

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The Perks of Being an Empty Nester

Sure, I miss you. But… Continue reading

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The Creepy Crawler Within

A 13-year-old West African boy confounds American doctors with health complaints that don’t add up. Continue reading

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Better Diet Data Via Tooth-Mounted Sensors

In First World countries, where famine is unheard of, people are instead eating themselves to death.

Surrounded by wealth and access to health care, non-communicable diseases are responsible for roughly 38 million deaths each year. Apart from sedentar… Continue reading

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From Marie Curie to the Demon Core: When Radiation Kills

When we hear the word “radiation,” we tend to think of atomic bombs (like the ones that fell on Hiroshima and Nagasaki), or environmental mishaps like the three-eyed fish living outside Springfield’s nuclear power plant on The Simpsons. But radiati… Continue reading

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Are Airplanes Really a Microbial Playground?

Crying babies, chronic snorers — they’re the usual targets of our displeasure when we fly. But, the real villains of the sky might be germs.

Flyers are packed into a cramped metal tube for hours on end where movement is limited. It seems like a mic… Continue reading

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This Optical Illusion Could Help to Diagnose Autism

You probably see a cylinder when you look at the illusion above. But how our brains translate two intersecting sheets of moving dots into a 3D image reveals telling differences in visual perception that could perhaps help diagnose autism spectrum disor… Continue reading

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Can CRISPR Feed the World?

Biologists have a new tool to save oranges and other crops — if the public can stomach it. Continue reading

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Daylight Saving Time Has a Dark Side

A train hurtled around a corner at 82 mph, eventually coming off the rails and killing four passengers.

Decades earlier, faulty decision-making resulted in the deaths of the seven-person crew of the Space Shuttle Challenger.

Years before these events… Continue reading

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Coffee: A Most Enigmatic, Ubiquitous Beverage

Legend has it that coffee was discovered by a goat herder around 850 AD in what is now Ethiopia. It soon spread around the globe and is currently consumed by billions of people every day. But as the drink gained in popularity, it also gained a bad rap…. Continue reading

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Scientists Gave Monkeys Ayahuasca and It Helped Their Depression

In a 1973 study, scientists at the University of Chicago fitted cocaine-dependent rhesus monkeys with stainless steel catheter harnesses, allowing them to self-administer PCP to until they were “highly intoxicated.”

This type of research isn’t e… Continue reading

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Fasting and Exercise: A Perfect Pair?

Athletes training for endurance competitions tend to eat a lot, especially carbohydrates, which produce glucose to fuel the muscles. Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps took in 12,000 calories a day during the 2008 Summer Olympics, for example. Regimented n… Continue reading

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Accelerating clinical research through mobile technology

Researchers face a number of challenges when conducting a clinical study.1 Investigators spend considerable time and money recruiting and screening viable participants. If recruitment takes too long, important studies can get scrapped before they are … Continue reading

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Fever of the Rat

Back in the 1980s, S.O.S. calls after midnight were common in the field of infectious disease. And as soon as my pager started to trill, I turned on my bedside lamp and dialed—often within thirty seconds. One night, I connected to an intern I’ll ca… Continue reading

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Urine Could Help Determine How Old You Really Are

For doctors, looking at a person’s birth date doesn’t tell them much. Sure, a person might be 75 on paper, but genes, lifestyle and environment all play into health. So it’s important to get a good understanding of how old our bodies really are —… Continue reading

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First Video of DNA Organization Settles Scientific Debate

For all its precise helical structure, the DNA inside our cells is a mess.

When a cell isn’t preparing for the process of splitting itself in two, our DNA lies in a massive tangle inside the cell nucleus; a strand more than six feet in length jumbled … Continue reading

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Study Adds Weight to Benefits of Genetically Engineered Crops

A review of the research on genetically engineered corn concludes that the benefits appear to outweigh the drawbacks.

In a meta-analysis, where researchers synthesize the findings of many studies, researchers from the University of Pisa and the Sant’… Continue reading

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Red Wine Could Yield a Better Toothpaste

Red wine colors your tongue, but your teeth may not mind a little juice of the vine.

Sipping moderate—keyword, moderate—amounts of wine on a regular basis can be good for your colon, heart, immune system and mental health. Wine, after all, was at … Continue reading

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10 Ways Space Changes the Body

Scott and Mark Kelly are identical twin brothers. Though that alone does not make them unique, what does is the fact that they are also both astronauts. In order to take advantage of the Kellys’ unique situation, NASA scientists decided to conduct a … Continue reading

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Chemicals in Non-Stick Pans May Contribute to Weight Gain

More than 38 percent of American adults and 17 percent of American children are obese. And while there are numerous ways to shed pounds, it’s often difficult for many people to keep them off. It turns out some common items regularly used by people ac… Continue reading

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Antibiotics: Stay the Course?

Researchers debate whether we should finish our antibiotic prescription. Continue reading

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Quest for a Peaceful Death

A cancer doctor studies the connection between spirituality and end-of-life care. Continue reading

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