Our Strength Lies in Our Humanity

I’m a psychotherapist – here’s what I’ve learned from listening to children talk about climate change

I’m a psychotherapist – here’s what I’ve learned from listening to children talk about climate change Eco-anxiety is likely to affect more and more people as the climate destabilises. Already, studies have found that 45% of children suffer lasting depression after surviving extreme weather and natural disasters. Some of that emotional turmoil must stem from confusion – why aren’t adults doing more to stop climate change? Talking with children gives…

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Shoulder pain surgery: one popular procedure not backed by evidence

Shoulder pain surgery: one popular procedure not backed by evidence santypan/Shutterstock Many countries have strict regulations to ensure new drugs are effective and are worth the money before doctors can prescribe them. But surgical procedures are often less strictly regulated. This can lead to people having risky surgery even though there is no clear evidence that it works. One such surgery is called subacromial decompression – one of the most…

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Pure fruit juice: healthy, or not?

Pure fruit juice: healthy, or not? Yes, fruit juice contains natural sugar, but it has other benefits over sugar-sweetened drinks. Carlos Horta/Shutterstock Fruit juice was once viewed as part of a healthy diet, but today it is often seen as supplying little more than a high dose of sugar. Increasingly, fruit juices are seen as junk foods, and consumption is falling. But, as we argue in our recently published paper,…

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Why fidgeting could be good for your child’s health

Why fidgeting could be good for your child’s health Shutterstock Fidgeting is usually considered as a sign of boredom or lack of attention which can be distracting to others. Parents and teachers often demand that their children and pupils stop doing it. But fidgeting could actually be good for their health. Research suggests it might help protect against obesity, improve cardiovascular health, and even save lives. In our recent study…

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Benefits of extreme temperature workouts – not as great as you might think

Benefits of extreme temperature workouts – not as great as you might think Anna Ewa Bieniek/Shutterstock First there were heated fitness studios, now the latest trend is working out in frigid temperatures. Although there are some health benefits associated with each of these regimes, there are also some risks. Here’s what you need to know. Hot workouts The ideal body temperature is around 37⁰C. When you exercise, your muscles are very inefficient and only 25% of the energy is used for movement. The other 75% of the energy muscles produce is lost as heat, increasing the temperature of your body. If it exceeds 40⁰C, it can be dangereous, so your body tries to keep the temperature at around 37⁰C. One strategy to prevent body temperature from rising is getting more…

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Does extra testosterone reduce your empathy?

Does extra testosterone reduce your empathy? Marc Bruxelle/Shutterstock Cognitive empathy is the ability to recognise what another person is thinking or feeling, and one way it can be assessed in the lab is by using the “reading the mind in the eyes test” – or “eyes test”, for short. This involves looking at photos of a person’s eyes and picking which word best describes what the person in the photo is thinking or feeling. Many studies, including our own, have shown a link between elevated testosterone and reduced cognitive empathy. But a new study led by Amos Nadler, a visiting professor of economics at the University of Toronto, found that administering testosterone to men does not reduce their empathy, as measured by this test. Reading the mind in the eyes…

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How an AI Startup Designed a Drug Candidate in Just 46 Days

How an AI Startup Designed a Drug Candidate in Just 46 Days Discovering a new drug can take decades, billions of dollars, and untold man hours from some of the smartest people on the planet. Now a startup says it’s taken a significant step towards speeding the process up using AI. The typical drug discovery process involves carrying out physical tests on enormous libraries of molecules, and even with the help of robotics it’s an arduous process. The idea of sidestepping this by using computers to virtually screen for promising candidates has been around for decades. But progress has been underwhelming, and it’s still not a major part of commercial pipelines. Recent advances in deep learning, however, have reignited hopes for the field, and major pharma companies have started tying…

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Motion sickness: it all started 550 million years ago

Motion sickness: it all started 550 million years ago Velimir Isaevich/Shutterstock Life started around 3.8 to 4.1 billion years ago. For a large part of that time, organisms on Earth were simple and evolution was slow. But something remarkable happened around 550m years ago. Increases in calcium and oxygen in the environment led to the development of the inner ears and balance organs (the vestibular system). Another 165m years after that, some organisms – including those that would evolve into human beings – were lured onto land, perhaps to get a better view. Jumping forward to around 2,000 years ago, the Greek physician Hippocrates wrote that “sailing on the sea proves that motion disorders the body”. Indeed, the word “nausea” is derived from the Greek “naus”, relating to ships, sailing…

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Measles outbreaks and political crises go hand in hand

Measles outbreaks and political crises go hand in hand SamaraHeisz5/Shutterstock The World Health Organisation (WHO) last week announced that it no longer considered measles to be eradicated in the UK. Albania, the Czech Republic and Greece also lost their measles-free status. It is a coincidence that the news broke the day after Boris Johnson provoked widespread outrage by proroguing parliament. But the increasing prevalence of measles – in the UK and further afield – must be understood in the broader context of rising populist sentiment and drawn-out political crises. Measles is a highly infectious and potentially deadly disease, but it can be prevented with a cheap and easily administered vaccine. If over 90-95% of a community is vaccinated, “herd immunity” is achieved and outbreaks are unlikely to occur. When the…

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Can popping your neck cause a stroke?

Can popping your neck cause a stroke? PandG/Shutterstock The Washington Post recently reported the story of Josh Hader, a 28-year-old who stretched and popped his neck, tore an artery and nearly lost his life from a major stroke. And earlier this year, the Daily Mail reported the story of Natalie Kunicki, a 23-year-old paramedic who stretched her neck and suffered a similar fate. These cases are by no means isolated and there are many reports of them in the medical literature too. So let’s look at what happens when you pop your neck. Neck “popping” or “cracking” is a common phenomenon that occurs naturally with neck movements. I’m sure you’ve heard your neck make these noises at some point in your life. But people can also deliberately pop their neck.…

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