medicine

How One Australian Man's Blood Donations Saved Over Two Million Lives

Today I found out about a man who saved over two million lives just by donating his somewhat unique blood plasma. Australian James Harrison is called “the man with the golden arm” due to the unusual composition of his blood. Harrison’s blood contains an antibody called Rho(D) Immune Globulin that is used to treat Rhesus disease, a severe form of anemia where antibodies in a pregnant woman’s blood destroy her baby’s blood cells.


Anti-Missile Tech Is Being Used To Find Malaria Before It Strikes

As it stands now, there’s no truly effective method of protecting against malaria. Vaccines are notoriously difficult to make, and it’s almost impossible to detect the infection in its early stage — until now, that is. And it’s all thanks to highly advanced, tank-fighting military hardware.


Scientists Can Now Cut HIV Out Of Human DNA

HIV is a sneaky virus. Its MO involves integrating its own genes into your DNA, so that even as antiretrovirals hold everything in check, HIV lurks quietly inside your cells. Now scientists have found a way to edit the virus straight out of the human genome — a potential cure for even latent infections.


This Pacemaker Is Made By Injecting A Virus Right Into A Pig's Heart

Pacemakers are — even at their tiniest — intrusive bits of metal wired into the heart. But now scientists have come up with something completely different: a “biological pacemaker” in a pig made by reprogramming the heart’s own cells with a modified virus carrying a specific gene.


How A Cat Poop Parasite Could Help Scientists Beat Cancer

This week, a team of researchers at Dartmouth announced an exciting, if terribly disgusting, medical discovery. A single-celled parasite usually found in cats’ intestines — and later in their poop — shows unique promise as a cancer treatment. The researchers even think the parasite could enable them to create personalised cancer vaccines.


How The Internet Is Helping A Father Fight An Illness Unknown To Science

In 2012, Matt Might sat down to write a blog post. The 5000-word essay titled “Hunting Down My Son’s Killer,” which was also republished on Gizmodo, documented his and his wife’s harrowing attempt to make sense of their son’s mysterious illness. The post went viral online — setting the family down a road that could change medical research. In the New Yorker, journalist Seth Mnookin tells the story of what’s happened since.


Why Do We Have Blood Types, Anyway?

More than a century after their discovery, we still don’t really know what blood types are for. Do they really matter?


A Simple Eye Test Developed In Australia Could Accurately Detect Alzheimer's

Current tests for Alzheimer’s include expensive tests using brain PET or MRI imaging. But two studies, including one in Australia, have shown that a simple eye test can detect Alzheimer’s accurately at very early stages — just by looking at subjects’ retinas.


My Cyborg Ear: How A Surgeon And Titanium Cured My Lifelong Deafness

I’ve never been able to hear well. As a child, I was in and out of the hospital as doctors struggled to treat chronic ear infections that left me in throbbing pain and, eventually, relative silence. By the time I went to college, I had only one half-functioning ear drum and no hope of regaining the hearing I’d lost after years of damage. Surgery was too risky, the doctors said. This year, I decided to take the risk, and the results were extraordinary.


Your Skin Has A Sense Of Smell And The Aroma Of Sandalwood Makes It Heal

Ready for some weird science? Some of the same olfactory sensing equipment that give your nose its sense of smell can be found in your skin cells. In other words, your skin has a sense of smell. And researchers have just figured out that your skin loves the scent of sandalwood — in fact, the aroma revs up your skin’s natural healing abilities.