The Mystery of a 1918 Veteran and the Flu Pandemic

Beds with patients in an emergency hospital in Camp Funston, Kansas, during the influenza epidemic around 1918. National Museum of Health and Medicine., CC BY By Dr. Ruth W. Craig / 11.09.2017 Emerita Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology Dartmouth College Vaccination is underway for the 2017-2018 seasonal flu, and next year will mark the 100-year anniversary of[…]

Believing in the Kindness of Strangers

When rain from Hurricane Harvey flooded Houston and surrounding areas, some people were more eager to volunteer than others. michelmond/Shutterstock.com By Dr. Kristin Brethel-Haurwitz / 11.12.2017 Postdoctoral Researcher in Cognitive Neuroscience University of Pennsylvania Would you risk your life for a total stranger? While you might consider yourself incapable of acts of altruism on that scale,[…]

The Bizarre Reality of Cotard’s ‘Walking Corpse’ Syndrome

Photo from Max Pixel By Dolly Stolze / 10.31.2017 For me, zombies are probably the scariest of the iconic horror monsters because humans are either zombie food fighting for survival in a post-apolocalypic landscape or they are transformed into mindless walking corpses that are doomed to feed on the bodies of other people.  While these stumbling,[…]

One Step at a Time: Simple Nudges Can Increase Lifestyle Physical Activity

A man taking stairs at Washington-Dulles International Airport in 2013. Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-NC-SA      By Natasha Bliss (left), Dr. John Bellettiere (center), and Matthew Mclaughlin (right) / 10.17.2017 Bliss: Researcher in Public Health, San Diego State University Bellettiere: Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of California, San Diego Mclaughlin: PhD Student, University of Newcastle You’ve heard this before,[…]

The Long, Strange History of Dieting Fads

Another day, another diet. Yuriy Maksymiv/Shutterstock By Dr. Melissa Wdowik / 11.06.2017 Assistant Professor of Food Science and Human Nutrition Colorado State University “Of all the parasites that affect humanity I do not know of, nor can I imagine, any more distressing than that of Obesity.” So started William Banting‘s “Letter on Corpulence,” likely the first diet[…]

What Plagues Us?

At Radcliffe’s Science Symposium, “Contagion: Exploring Modern Epidemics,” Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Laurie Garrett said there is need for improved local and national disease-management entities. / Kevin Grady, Radcliffe Institute Radcliffe hosts symposium about epidemics from Ebola to the opioid crisis. By Greta Friar / 10.31.2017 The topics waiting to be discussed read like the writing prompts[…]

Why Your Brain Needs to Dream

Research shows that dreaming is not just a byproduct of sleep, but serves its own important functions in our well-being. By Dr. Matthew P. Walker / 10.24.2017 Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience University of California, Berkeley We often hear stories of people who’ve learned from their dreams or been inspired by them. Think of Paul[…]

Mental Illness is Readily Visible in Brain Imaging

A pair of identical twins. The one on the right has OCD, while the one on the left does not. Brain Imaging Research Division, Wayne State University School of Medicine, CC BY-SA By Dr. David Rosenberg, M.D. / 10.19.2017 Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience Wayne State University As a psychiatrist, I find that one of the hardest[…]

Marie Curie and Her X-Ray Vehicles’ Contribution to World War I Battlefield Medicine

Marie Curie in one of her mobile X-ray units in October 1917. Eve Curie By Dr. Timothy J. Jorgensen / 10.10.2017 Associate Professor of Radiation Medicine Georgetown University Ask people to name the most famous historical woman of science and their answer will likely be: Madame Marie Curie. Push further and ask what she did, and[…]

How the Stoicism of Roman Philosophers Can Help Us Deal with Depression

Equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius. Detail. Bronze. 160-170s. Rome, Capitoline Museums, Palazzo dei Conservatori. By Dr. Robert S. Colter / 10.09.2017 Associate Lecturer of Philosophy University of Wyoming Depression is on the rise. A study conducted by the World Health Organization found an increase of 20 percent in depression cases within just a decade. I work on[…]

They Rode Horseback to Deliver Babies. A Century Later, Midwives Are Still Crucial.

Jean Fee shows photos from her time as a nurse midwife for the Frontier Nursing Service. / Photo by Melissa Hellmann In Kentucky, these health care professionals still struggle for acceptance—even in areas that need them most. By Melissa Hellmann / 09.07.2017 Carrie Hall was in the middle of a hair-coloring appointment when she received[…]

How Can Life-Extending Treatments be Available for All?

Elderly Japanese ladies. Photo by Mr Hick46/Flickr By Dr. Christopher S. Wareham / 08.03.2017 Lecturer in Applied Ethics Steve Biko Centre for Bioethics University of Witwatersrand Research into biological ageing suggests that humans might one day be able to prolong youth and postpone death. When that time comes, extended youth could become a province of the wealthy, adding[…]

Can You Pass this Smell Test?

The smell of daffodils is a treat for most people, but some cannot experience the joy because they have lost their sense of smell. Mila Supinskaya Glashchenko/Shutterstock.com By Dr. Steven D. Munger / 08.24.2017 Director, Center for Smell and Taste Professor of Pharmacology and Therapeutics University of Florida Each of our senses gives us a unique[…]

Final Decision? Why the Brain Keeps on Changing Its Mind

Pasta? Pizza? Clams? Kai Schreiber/Flickr By Dr. Stephen M. Fleming / 11.29.2016 Principal Research Associate at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging University College London Benjamin Franklin once quipped: ‘There are three things extremely hard: steel, a diamond, and to know oneself.’ Every decision we make, from pinpointing the source of a faint sound to choosing[…]

Sleepwalking is the Result of a Survival Mechanism Gone Awry

John Everett Millais The Somnambulist / Wikimedia Commons By Dr. Philip Jaekl / 03.03.2017 Neuroscientist Last night, most of us went to the safety and comfort of our beds before drifting off to a night’s sleep. For some, this was the last conscious action before an episode of sleepwalking. Recent research from Stanford University shows that up to[…]

Why You May Not Need to Take the Entire Course of Prescribed Antibiotics

Green colonies of allergenic fungus Penicillium from air spores on a petri dish. Penicillin was the first antibiotic. Satirus/Shutterstock.com By Dr. Brad Spellberg / 07.31.2017 Chief Medical Officer Los Angeles County and USC Medical Center University of Southern California A recent article in the British Medical Journal set off a bit of a firestorm with its[…]

We Can No Longer Outrun Antibiotic Resistance. So, Here’s What We Need to do Instead.

Photo Courtesy of NIAID Researchers are tackling the problem of antibiotic resistance head on — by hunting for the genes that enable bacteria to become resistant to life-saving medications. By Lindsey Konkel / 07.06.2017 From the muddy bottoms of deep ocean trenches to Komodo dragon blood, scientists have scoured Earth’s remote corners in search of molecules[…]

How to Turn Stigma about Mental Illness into Compassion

Stephen Hinshaw explores what it meant to be raised by a father with psychosis—and how that experience has informed his work as a psychologist. By Jill Suttie, Psy.D. / 06.16.2017 What is it like to grow up in a household with a parent displaying serious mental illness? Renowned psychologist Stephen Hinshaw knows firsthand. His father suffered major[…]

How the Flu Changes within the Body May Hint at Future Global Trends

What can a single person’s flu infection tell you about how the virus changes around the world? / Xue and Bloom    By Dr. Jesse Bloom and Katherine Xue / 06.27.2017 Bloom: Associate Member, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center; Associate Professor of Genome Sciences and Microbiology Xue: Doctoral Student in Genome Sciences University of Washington Evolution is usually[…]

Trusting Robots with Our Lives

The Baxter robot hands off a cable to a human collaborator — an example of a co-robot in action. Photo credit: Aaron Bestick, UC Berkeley By Oliver Mitchell / 06.19.2017 The key takeaway from Tuesday’s RobotLabNYC forum, on “Exploring The Autonomous Future,” was humans are the key to robot adoption. Dr. Howard Morgan of First[…]

Living with Tourette Syndrome

Campers at Twitch and Shout, a camp for teenagers with Tourette, in Winder, Georgia, say goodbye in this 2014 file photo. David Goldman/AP By Michael Okun, M.D. / 06.08.2017 Professor of Neurology University of Florida Tourette syndrome is a mysterious medical curiosity that has puzzled doctors for more than a century. People who have it[…]

Closing in on a Breakthrough: Blood-Forming Stem Cells

An illustration of blood stem and progenitor cells (blue) emerging from hemogenic endothelial cells (purple) during normal embryonic development. Researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital recapitulated this process to transform the hemogenic endothelial cells into blood stem and progenitor cells, potentially creating a process to make virtually every cell type in the body. / O’Reilly Science Art[…]