biology

The Flu Shot Isn't A Good Match This Year. Is It Ever?

The CDC announced recently that this year’s flu vaccine is missing a key strain, one that accounts for 48 per cent of what’s circulating. That strain, a “drifted” version of H3N2, was discovered in March 2014, but the vaccine strains for the Northern hemisphere, including the US, had been decided a month earlier. (The Southern hemisphere vaccine will include the drifted strain.)


The Most Intricate Images Of Live Nerves Ever Captured

You’re looking at some of the most intricate images of live nerve endings ever captured, in which it’s possible to make out individual nerves and touch receptors in unprecedented detail.


A Single 10-Second Kiss Can Transfer 80 Million Bacteria

Kissing is disgusting: A poorly choreographed ritual of bad breath, awkward eye contact, and slobbery after-drool. Now, to make it even worse, a new study from the Netherlands has determined how many cooties move from one mouth to another during your basic smooch. And it’s A LOT.


Bacteria Have Been Hacked To Work Like Tape Recorders

You might not think a lone E. coli bacterium has much in the way of memory. But now, researchers have hacked their DNA so that they can store memories of their environment — working much like an old tape recorder.


How The Bugs In Our Buildings Could Actually Make Us Healthier

University of Oregon researchers Jessica Green and G Z ‘Charlie’ Brown call it the Pickle Box. This former walk-in storage unit for pickles, remodelled into an enclosed climate chamber, is helping scientists understand how people shed their own ‘microbial cloud’ in a built environment.


Can You Really Bust A Gut From Eating Too Much At Once?

Although extremely rare, some people actually have ruptured their stomachs after eating too much, and, perhaps not surprisingly, many did not survive.


How Many Undiscovered Blood Groups Are There?

You may think that you know your blood type, but did you know that there are in fact 35 blood group systems in humans? These include well-known systems such as ABO and the Rh system (formerly known as ‘Rhesus’).


The Thoughts Of Locked-In Patients, Visualised

These aren’t Second Life punks — they’re visualisations of what people with locked-in syndrome think, and they could help us communicate with people who can’t respond physically or verbally.


Inside The Science Of Sharing Rare Blood

His doctor drove him over the border. It was quicker that way: if the man donated in Switzerland, his blood would be delayed while paperwork was filled out and authorisations sought.


How Much Coffee You Need Is A Genetic Trait

For some, three double espressos is barely enough to get them out of bed; for others, the whiff of weak latte is enough to have them jittering. Now it turns out that those differing reactions are genetic.