Our Strength Lies in Our Humanity

This CAR-T Tag-Team Could Wipe Out HIV for Good

This CAR-T Tag-Team Could Wipe Out HIV for Good CAR-T may have made its name as the cancer breakthrough of this century, but its roots dig far back to one of humanity’s other terrifying medical nemeses: HIV. This week, Lengtigen, a biotech company based in Gaithersburg, MD, teamed up with researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York to dust off a blue-sky idea inspired by people…

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UK drug deaths continue to rise – time for action

UK drug deaths continue to rise – time for action Impact Photography/Shutterstock Every year since 2013, the UK’s Office for National Statistics has reported an increase in drug-related deaths in England. Last year, we reported that drugs had overtaken traffic accidents as a leading cause of death. This year, they have outstripped suicides among men aged 35-49. As these deaths continue to rise ever higher, the government continues to cut…

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There is no great salt debate: we should be consuming less

There is no great salt debate: we should be consuming less Jiri Hera/Shutterstock The human body needs a tiny amount of sodium to function properly and this is typically found in salt (sodium chloride). But today most people consume way too much salt, increasing the burden of cardiovascular disease around the world. Health professionals have been trying to tackle this problem for decades, but face several barriers, including research that…

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Being left-handed doesn’t mean you are right-brained — so what does it mean?

Being left-handed doesn’t mean you are right-brained — so what does it mean? Wachiwit/Shutterstock There have been plenty of claims about what being left-handed means, and whether it changes the type of person someone is – but the truth is something of an enigma. Myths about handedness appear year after year, but researchers have yet to uncover all of what it means to be left-handed. So why are people left-handed?…

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How development of the ‘self’ in infants provides clues to the breakdown of memory in dementia

How development of the ‘self’ in infants provides clues to the breakdown of memory in dementia Shutterstock When we look in the mirror we see “me”: a particular combination of features that matches our idea of who we are. We also feel the sensation that the movement of the self in the mirror is under our control – we have a sense of agency and ownership of the mirror image. But the self we connect with in the mirror extends beyond the moment. Although our features age, we perceive the self in the mirror to be intimately connected to the child, the teenager, the young adult, that once stood before us in our reflection. We see them as the same person who will move forward into the future – the…

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Social media isn’t causing more eating disorders in young people – new study

Social media isn’t causing more eating disorders in young people – new study Kaspars Grinvalds/Shutterstock There is ongoing debate about whether eating disorders are more common in modern society. Some say that as young people are both exposed to and share images of themselves in an unprecedented way on social media today, this affects their body image and may have an impact on their eating too. Others suggest that social media can help eating disorder recovery by providing platforms for people to talk about their experiences and treatment. So which one is correct? We know that rates of eating disorders are high. According to a large survey conducted in 2017, about four in every 1,000 young people aged 5-19 years have an eating disorder in England alone. The most recent…

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Teens who hit puberty later could face bone health issues later in life, studies suggest

Teens who hit puberty later could face bone health issues later in life, studies suggest shutterstock Puberty is a time of dramatic development for both boys and girls. Not only are those hormones raging, but there’s all the bodily changes to contend with. Puberty is driven by the activity of sex hormones and its onset is announced by the appearance of pubic hair, beards and breasts. Along with the dramatic hormone-driven changes to a child’s body, another defining features of puberty is the adolescent growth spurt – children become taller and eventually physically mature into adults. For boys and girls this growth spurt generally happens at different ages. And there can be big differences as to when the growth spurt happens. For girls, rapid growth generally occurs around age eleven…

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Medical skin creams could be a lethal fire risk when soaked into fabric – here’s what you need to know

Medical skin creams could be a lethal fire risk when soaked into fabric – here’s what you need to know Rarin Lee/Shutterstock Care providers were alerted to a house fire involving one of their patients at 4am on May 30, 2015. The fire and rescue services discovered a 74-year-old lady who had succumbed to a blaze that developed rapidly while she was still lying in bed. She had been bed bound, known to smoke in bed and was being treated for a skin condition. A year later, a 61-year-old man who was also a smoker, bed bound and had emollient applied to his skin by carers was found dead in his bed after an intense fire. A year after that, an 82-year-old man died with third degree burns when his…

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Amid a healthcare staff crisis, artificial intelligence could be our radiologists of the future

Amid a healthcare staff crisis, artificial intelligence could be our radiologists of the future There are more radiological scans than ever, but too few radiologists to interpret them. The Medical Futurist, CC BY It is almost 40 years since a full-body magnetic resonance imaging machine was used for the first time to scan a patient and generate diagnostic-quality images. The scanner and signal processing methods needed to produce an image were devised by a team of medical physicists including John Mallard, Jim Hutchinson, Bill Edelstein and Tom Redpath at the University of Aberdeen, leading to widespread use of the MRI scanner, now a ubiquitous tool in radiology departments across the world. MRI was a game changer in medical diagnostics because it didn’t require exposure to ionising radiation (such as X-rays),…

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Myth about how science progresses is built on a misreading of the story of penicillin

Myth about how science progresses is built on a misreading of the story of penicillin Rattiya Thongdumhyu/Shutterstock Many professions have creation myths about much-revered pioneers. For nursing, it is Florence Nightingale in Scutari, flitting between beds bearing her lamp. For engineers, it is Isambard Kingdom Brunel, driving railway lines across the countryside and building ships. These myths often tell us more about how professions want to be seen than about the historic events on which they are based. One of the myths in medical science is the discovery of penicillin. It has been retold to generations of school children: Alexander Fleming came back from his holidays in 1928 to his laboratory at St Mary’s Hospital in London and looked at some petri dishes before throwing them away. On one of…

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