medicine

A Scientific Defence Of Santa's Weight

“Santa’s behaviour and public image are at odds with contemporary accepted public health messages,” argues a British Medical Journal editorial written by Dr Scrooge and colleagues. Given Santa’s tremendous popularity, particularly among children, the authors of the editorial argue the public should become aware of some of the less-than-ideal lifestyle practices advocated by jolly St Nick.


Smartphone Cameras Could Help Diagnose Ear Infections Right At Home

Ear infections, the number one reason parents take kids to the doctor, are an exceedingly common and exceedingly annoying fact of life. But a new smartphone app and accessory could help ease the irritation (of going to to the doctor’s on a false alarm) by promising to diagnose ear infections right from home.


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.)


These Microneedles Would Be So Much Better Than Injections

Injections kinda suck for regular adults, but for babies — who need a lot of them! — they can be downright dangerous. But by using many more, much smaller needles, life could be made better for fragile babies and scaredy-cat adults alike.


How Scientists Gained The Ability To Reverse Overdoses

Naloxone can reverse an otherwise fatal heroin overdose within minutes. Carrie Arnold meets the doctors who put this remarkable drug in the hands of the police, families and addicts — and saved thousands of lives.


What Is The Scariest Disease?

Whether you’re personally afraid of Ebola or not, you have to admit it’s a scary disease: no vaccine, no cure, and high fatality rate are just a few of its distinguishing features. Recently I polled my friends on what diseases they were afraid of, and many of the ones that made the list were things like cancer and alzheimer’s, conditions that can’t be easily prevented or cured, and that have a high likelihood of developing agonizing symptoms.


Cows With Human Chromosomes Can Now Make Human Antibodies 

Cows are big hulking creatures — not so great for tipping over while drunk, but great for turning into living factories that make massive quantities of antibodies. Scientists have inserted a modified human chromosome to cows that can now make human antibodies for hantavirus. Other deadly disease like Ebola and MERS could come next.


Inside The Weird Brains Of Real-Time Translators

The world’s most powerful computers can’t perform accurate real-time translation. Yet interpreters do it with ease. Geoff Watts meets the neuroscientists who are starting to explain this remarkable ability.


Scientists Can Predict The Spread Of Disease Using Wikipedia

While Google couldn’t track influenza particularly accurately using search analysis, a team of researchers reckons it can predict the spread of diseases using data lurking within Wikipedia.


Why Miracle Drugs Exist And You Can't Have Them

It’s supposedly getting easier for innovative drugs for rare diseases like Duchenne muscular dystrophy to reach the market. So why, asks Andy Extance, is hesitancy still proving devastating to desperate families?