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[…]

The Cognitive Sciences: One or Many?

“Close up of The Thinker” / Photo by Brian Hillegas, Creative Commons By Dr. Michael RW Dawson Professor of Psychology University of Alberta Introduction When experimental psychology arose in the nineteenth century, it was a unified discipline. However, as the experimental method began to be applied to a larger and larger range of psychological phenomena,[…]

Worse than MRSA: Doctors Call for Urgent Action on Superbug Threat

Klebsiella Pneumoniae (computer illustration) by Alamy  By Madlen Davies / 04.21.2017 Doctors are warning that the rise of an almost untreatable superbug, immune to some of the last-line antibiotics available to hospitals, poses a grave threat and needs urgent government action. The Bureau has obtained data showing 60 people treated at Central Manchester University Hospitals[…]

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[…]

Hangover? There’s an Ancient Cure for That!

Should have stuck to white … / Creative Commons By Dr. Laurence Totelin / 12.31.2014 Lecturer in Ancient History Cardiff University Slightly over-indulged in wine this festive season? Suffering from throbbing headache, dry mouth, and nausea after the office Christmas party? The hair of the dog somehow does not appeal? Are you looking for time-tested[…]

Scientists Publish First Comprehensive Map of Proteins within Cells

[LEFT]: In epidermoid carcinoma cells, that the protein SON (green) is localising into nuclear speckles, a substructure in the nucleus. [RIGHT]: SEPT9 (green) localizes to actin filaments in epidermoid carcinoma cells. The first analysis of how proteins are arranged in a cell has been published today in Science, revealing that a large portion of human[…]

The Conflation of Health and Fitness

By Myron Getman / 01.01.2013 Scientist New York State Department of Health conflate:  \kən-ˈflāt\, 1) to bring together, 2) to confuse How often have you heard someone exclaim, “Boy are they fit”?  Perhaps you’ve heard people talk about how someone might be “diesel,” “built,” or “put together”?  Depending on where you live, there are countless[…]

The Patients We Do Not See

An empty wheelchair – or is there a person there we do not see? / Shutterstock By Dr. Dave A. Chokshi / 04.27.2017 Physician New York University Langone Medical Center In medicine, we speak of “seeing patients” when we are rounding in the hospital or caring for those who come to our clinics. But what[…]

Illustrations of Madness: James Tilly Matthews and the Air Loom

The “Middle Man” operating the Air Loom: a detail from James Tilly Matthews’ illustration of the Air Loom featured in John Haslam’s Illustrations of Madness (1810) – Source: Wellcome Library, London (CC-BY 4.0) Mike Jay recounts the tragic story of James Tilly Matthews, a former peace activist of the Napoleonic Wars who was confined to[…]

Get Up Stand Up: A Brief History of Sedentarism and Why Movement is Good Medicine

By Tony Federico Journal of Evolution and Health (2016) Introduction Sedentary behaviors, like watching TV, have been have been linked to an increased risk of all-cause and cardiovascular disease mortality independent of other risk factors such as smoking, high blood pressure, cholesterol, diet, and waist circumference [1]. While it is unknown how much actual sedentary[…]

I Won’t Have Blood! A Battle between Belief and Duty?

Blood bank image / University of Michigan, Creative Commons Lecture by Dr. Martin Elliott at the Museum of London / 03.15.2017 Professor of Physics, Gresham College Professor of Paediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery, University College London Co-Medical Director, The Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children Introduction I am going to consider the belief held by some that[…]

Epigenomics Leading to More Personalized Cancer Treatment

Cancer precision targeting at the Systems Biology and Cancer Metabolism Laboratory. Credit: Systems Biology and Cancer Metabolism Laboratory. Fabian V. Filipp, Author provided By Dr. Fabian V. Filipp / 04.03.2017 Assistant Professor of Systems Biology and Cancer Metabolism University of California, Merced Molecular insight into our own DNA is now possible, a field called personal[…]

Using the Placenta to Understand How Complex Organs Evolve

Developing lizard embryo beneath placental tissues. Oliver Griffith By Dr. Oliver Griffith / 03.23.2017 Postdoctoral Associate in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Yale University Considering how different they look from the outside, it might be surprising that all vertebrates – animals with a backbone – share the same, conserved set of organs. Chickens, fish, human beings[…]

Life on Earth is Used to Gravity – So What Happens to Our Cells and Tissues in Space?

Look ma, no gravity! / NASA By Andy Tay / 03.09.2017 PhD Candidate in Bioengineering University of California, Los Angeles There’s one force whose effects are so deeply entrenched in our everyday lives that we probably don’t think much about it at all: gravity. Gravity is the force that causes attraction between masses. It’s why[…]

Republicans Go ‘1984’ and Seek to Give Employers the Right to Your Genetic Information

The “death panels” never materialized with the typical GOP conspiracy scare tactics, but they’ve blatantly placed into their health care package exactly the sort of thing reminiscent of “1984” / Photo credit: Mehmet Pinarci (Creative Commons licensed) By Matthew A. McIntosh / 03.10.2017 Brewminate Editor-in-Chief Donald Trump’s biographer, whose words were touted by Trump as[…]

The People Who Help You Die Better

A network of compassionate volunteers caring for their terminally ill neighbours is allowing more people in Kerala, India, to end their days at peace and at home. Jeremy Laurance meets the man leading the movement. By Jeremy Laurance / 02.26.2017 Thirty years ago a young anaesthetist, newly appointed as head of department at Calicut Medical College[…]

Those Pearly Whites: The Archaeology of Teeth – Their Historical and Anthropological Value

Upper teeth of a Neanderthal who lived about 40,000 years ago. Debbie Guatelli-Steinberg By Dr. Debbie Guatelli-Steinberg / 03.02.2017 Professor of Anthropology The Ohio State University “Show me your teeth and I’ll tell you who you are.” These words, attributed to 19th-century naturalist George Cuvier, couldn’t be more correct. The pearly whites we use every[…]

What Does the Environment Have to Do with Diseases that Affect the Immune System?

Photo © iStockphoto.com/champja The rise in recent decades of diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease and rheumatoid arthritis suggests that factors in the environment are contributing. By Lindsey Konkel / 01.04.2017 In 1932, New York gastroenterologist Burrill Crohn described an unusual disease in 14 adults. The patients had bouts of abdominal pain, bloody diarrhea, and[…]

Prehistoric Tuberculosis in the Americas

By Dr. Jordi Gómez i Prat and Dr. Sheila MF Mendonça de Souza / Jan. 2003 Prat: Unitat de Malalties Tropicals, Importades i Vacunacions Internationals, D.A P. Ciutat Vella, Barcelona, Catalunya, España de Souza: Departamento de Endemias Samuel Pessoa, Escola Nacional de Saúde Pública, Fiocruz, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil Abstract Tuberculosis is a prehistoric[…]