Tagged With medicine

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In 1845, Sir John Franklin led two British Royal Navy ships on an ill-fated expedition through the Northwest Passage — a famous and hazardous corridor connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. None of the crew members returned, spawning a mystery that has endured for more than 150 years. A new analysis explores the various ways in which the sailors could have met their demise — including a rare disease historians hadn't considered before.

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Researchers from MIT have developed a wireless, artificially intelligent sensor that can detect the various stages of sleep, including rapid eye movement — the sleep stage associated with dreaming. The non-invasive system could change the way clinicians diagnose sleep disorders and other health complications.

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It would be really nice if something you could just go to the pharmacy and buy off a shelf unequivocally had some massive health benefit. But the world does not work that way, and neither does science. There are an array of caveats, and layers of complexity, attached to nearly every health study you see sensationalised and oversimplified on the internet. The latest victim is a paper on the B vitamin, Niacin, which some are now calling a "breakthrough" that could prevent "miscarriages and birth defects".

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The new guy at work invites you over to his house. You feel uneasy. Sure, he's a hard worker, a fast typist, and his intense focus quickly made him an indispensable coworker. But his scarred face seems to betray some violent past. His measured speech seems manufactured. Still, you can't remember the last new friend you made, you have nothing to do, and so you accept the invite.

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The Planet of the Apes prequels did much to explain how humans lost their status as the dominant species on the planet — a cataclysmic set of events fuelled by a global pandemic known as the "Simian Flu". This virus, the product of a medical experiment gone horribly wrong, wiped out the vast majority of humans, but it boosted the brains of apes. And in the latest instalment of the franchise, the virus has mutated into an insidious new form, affecting humans in some disturbing new ways.

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While prepping a 67-year-old female patient for routine cataract surgery at England's Solihull Hospital, physicians noticed a strange bluish blob in one of her eyes. On closer look, the blob turned out to be 17 contact lenses stuck together. Another 10 lenses were subsequently discovered in the same eye. The surgeons have never seen anything quite like it.

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Many animals are good at healing us emotionally, like capybaras and tiny kittens in tiny hats. Regrettably though, if we got really sick, no amount of golden retriever puppies could do anything to help us. Komodo dragons, on the other hand, might not be "adorable" in the traditional sense, but they could save us from untimely death.

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Researchers in Europe have created a soft artificial heart that mimics the real thing. It still isn't ready for prime time, but the approach, in which the developers used silicone and 3D-printing, could revolutionise the way patients with heart disease are treated.

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If the eyes are windows to the soul, they're open windows, potentially letting in all kinds of unwelcome bugs. To ensure that doesn't happen, our tears are loaded with microbe-killing compounds and immune cells. In fact, our eyes are so inhospitable that it was long thought they were the only part of our bodies which lacked a symbiotic bacterial community. But now, scientists have found evidence of a once-inconceivable ocular microbiome — and it may help eyes fight off disease.

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Fake health news can feel like¬†an epidemic these days, but it was also rampant during the Victorian era, when bodily ailments were often a matter of life or death. But unlike the questionable remedies you may be familiar with — vaginal steaming for your cramps, or a float tank to chill your anxiety out? — some of the bogus ideas about wellness cultivated in 19th century England actually helped save lives, by bringing public health issues to the forefront.

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The revolutionary gene-editing technology CRISPR-Cas9 is often described as "molecular scissors" for its ability to turn previously improbable feats of genetic engineering into exercises in cutting and pasting. But while over the last few years CRISPR has become so commonplace that even primary school students are now using it, a study out this week in the journal Nature Methods reminds us that it's still a nascent technology with a long way to go before we can freely cut and paste human DNA at will.