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Health

220 articles
  • Kraus_HERO

    Everyday Noises Are Making Our Brains Noisier

    How to protect yourself from the din that surrounds you.

  • Seeing Is Believing: Exposing the “Invisible Monster”

    In the battle between scientists and COVID-19, imaging gives scientists an upper hand.

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    The Problem with Depression Doping

    Mental health is not what you’d call an “exact science.” For example, if two highly trained mental health providers meet privately with the same patient, they will agree 90 percent of the time on diagnosing schizophrenia and 65 to 70 percent of the time on diagnosing a bipolar disorder. But this reliability drops off sharply […]

  • LeGuillou_HERO

    Nature’s Antifreeze

    Fish that thrive in icy waters provide a key to preserving human cells.

  • Exponentially Important: The Scientific Origins of PCR

    Thanks to lab techniques like PCR, we can detect the presence of dangerous viruses with laser-sharp precision.

  • Zeldovich_HERO

    How to Outwit Evolution

    We can defeat superbugs by staying one step ahead of them.

  • Firestein_HERO

    Here’s the Right Story for Vaccine Holdouts

    Two public health experts explain how to cut through the noise about COVID-19 vaccines.

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    How the Drug Industry Has Exploited Reforms Started in the Fight Against AIDS

    The push by AIDS activists for an effective treatment was a breakthrough in the medical industry. It showed the power of a grassroots movement to spur the government and Big Pharma to action. But it had a dangerous and lasting side effect.Photograph by Cagkan Sayin / Shutterstock Three decades ago, a small group from within […]

  • The Cancer Custodians

    To beat our worst enemy, we must first let it grow.

  • Zeldovich_cancer_HERO

    The Cancer Custodians

    To beat our worst enemy, we must first let it grow.

  • Data Crunchers to the Rescue

    Genetic diseases that puzzle lab scientists are being solved by quantitative biologists.

  • Scabs and Failure: Springboards for a History-Making Vaccine

    The surprising history of vaccinology that helped produce a COVID-19 vaccine in record time with 95% efficacy.

  • Topol_HERO

    How to Conquer COVID-19 Amid a Confederacy of Dunces

    Science can’t be democratic, says an outspoken virologist.

  • Put a Mask On It

    Understanding How COVID-19 Spreads

  • A Conversation with “America’s Doctor” about Funding Research

    Anthony Fauci discusses the battle against COVID-19 with Robert Bazell.

  • Dalton_HERO

    A Quiet Path Out of the Coronavirus Shadow

    Mindfulness helped this ER doctor through a dark time. It can help us through these times.

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    COVID Experts: We’re Putting Out Campfires but the Forest Fire Rages

      After I got my second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, a wave of euphoria infused me along with the modified messenger RNA. Many friends describe the same feeling. This is the end of the pandemic for me. Life returns to normal.  But then my usual, pessimistic view of life returned along with an examination […]

  • Nail_HERO

    Why Making Our Brains Noisier Feels Good

    A counterintuitive approach to improving our mental health.

  • The Doctor Will Sniff You Now

    Step aside, Dr. House, Deep Nose will one day be the best diagnostician in medicine.

  • Zeldovich_HERO

    The Doctor Will Sniff You Now

    Step aside, Dr. House, Deep Nose will one day be the best diagnostician in medicine.

  • Gallagher_HERO

    The Dangerous Evolution of the Coronavirus

    These scientists have a new model for identifying variants before they kill.

  • Moses_HERO

    How to Fix the Vaccine Rollout

    A computational biologist charts a fair and efficient course for vaccine distribution.

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    Vaccines Are the Safest Medical Procedure We Have. Make Your Wager Wisely

    All drugs and treatments have side effects, but vaccines in general have the fewest.Illustration by eamesBot / Shutterstock In the late 1650’s, the French polymath and renowned scientist Blaise Pascal, having undergone a religious experience that transformed him into something of a zealot, suggested the following logical strategy regarding belief in God: If there is […]

  • How Does Anyone Stay Healthy in a World Full of Germs?

    Computational biology is uncovering the immune system’s tricks for identifying foreign invaders.

  • Laxminarayan_HERO

    How to Build Trust in Covid-19 Vaccines

    Why people distrust vaccines and how they can be convinced otherwise.

  • Scientists Win Nobel Prize for Discovering the Hepatitis C Virus

    Harvey Alter, Michael Houghton and Charles Rice were awarded the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discovery of the cause of a major liver disease.

  • Berger_HERO

    The Importance of Face Masks and the Tragedy of Downplaying Them

    An infectious disease expert brings us up to date on the science of wearing a face mask.

  • Can Vaccines for Wildlife Prevent Human Pandemics?

    Studies suggest that self-disseminating vaccines could prevent the 'spillover' of animal viruses into humans as pandemic diseases.

  • Bazell_HERO

    We Don’t Have to Despair

    Medical research director Eric Topol sees light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel.

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    The Case for Rapid At-Home COVID Testing for Everyone

    The time it takes to ship COVID test samples to central labs and back is a burden—people risk infection as they wait days, sometimes weeks, for results.Photograph by MIA Studio / Shutterstock Imagine that every morning your child and her classmates take a COVID-19 test that offers results within a half hour, showing the transmission […]

  • Why We’re a Lot Better at Fighting Cancer Than We Realized

    Using data-mining techniques, doctors have discovered dozens of anti-tumor drugs hiding in plain sight.

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    How Your Heart Influences What You Perceive and Fear

    Reprinted with permission from Quanta Magazine‘s Abstractions blog. We consider the brain the very center of who we are and what we do: ruler of our senses, master of our movements; generator of thought, keeper of memory. But the brain is also rooted in a body, and the connection between the two goes both ways. […]

  • How Your Heart Influences What You Perceive and Fear

    The heartbeat and other bodily processes play a surprising role in shaping perception and cognition.

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    Steven Pinker on the Tribal Roots of Defying Social Distancing

      The images are everywhere: People crowded face-to-face in swimming pools, shoulder-to-shoulder in indoor bars, cheering without masks at a rally held by President Trump, who often downplays the global pandemic. Now, as many public health experts predicted, waves of new COVID-19 infections and deaths are rolling across the South and West. Many, still practicing […]

  • Males Are the Taller Sex. Estrogen, Not Fights for Mates, May Be Why.

    To explain why men are on average taller than women, scientists theorized about competition for mates. But the effects of estrogen on bone growth may be answer enough.

  • Walsh_HERO2

    Young and Healthy and Waiting to Get Cancer

    The hardest part of living with the BRCA1 gene.

  • Cahan_HERO

    The Health Clinic Crisis on Main Street

    Community health centers, a lifeline for Americans, are in critical condition.

  • Their Giant Steps to a Cure

    Battling a rare form of muscular dystrophy, a family finds an activist leader, and hope.

  • Sugary Camouflage on Coronavirus Offers Vaccine Clues

    In the fight against viruses and other pathogens, scientists are looking beyond genes and proteins to the complex sugars, or glycans, on cell surfaces.

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    A Window on Africa’s Resilience

      We called Greg Carr the other day to talk about the spread of the coronavirus in Africa. Carr, who has been featured in Nautilus, is the founder of the Gorongosa Restoration Project, a partnership with the Mozambique government to revive Gorongosa National Park, that environmental treasure trove at the southern end of the Rift […]

  • Bendebury_HERO2

    How COVID-19 Will Pass from Pandemic to Prosaic

    Past outbreaks show the way to relief, even without a vaccine.

  • Bazell_BLOG

    Straight Talk About a COVID-19 Vaccine

    There are many challenges to developing a vaccine that will be successful against COVID-19.eamesBot / Shutterstock Wayne Koff is one of the world’s experts on vaccine development, the president and CEO of the Human Vaccines Project. He possesses a deep understanding of the opportunities and challenges along the road to a safe and effective vaccine […]

  • Stillwell_blog

    What Role Will Immunity Play in Conquering COVID-19?

    It seems like people who get infected with SARS-CoV-2 retain immunity, but we can’t be sure how long that immunity will last. We still lack the testing capabilities to be certain.eamesBot / Shutterstock This story was updated post-publication to include information from a study published on the preprint server medRxiv on April 17, 2020. With […]

  • Gallagher_HERO

    Summer Won’t Save Us from COVID-19

    Why SARS-CoV-2 will threaten us for months to come.

  • Bazell_HERO

    Can a Battery of New COVID Tests Stem the US Debacle?

    Medical testing has been a Pearl Harbor. But the war could be won.

  • Pursuing COVID-19 at Internet Speed

    As scientists grapple with the global pandemic, preprint servers let information be free—and fast

  • Bendebury_HERO

    How COVID-19 Picks on the Weakened

    The wrath of the coronavirus.

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    Be Wary of a Model That Shows a Decline in COVID-19 Deaths

    We have no idea what will happen if, for example, New York runs out of ventilators or if people are sent away from hospitals too soon and infect many others.Illustration by eamesBot / Shutterstock On April 15, 2020, 2,271 people in the United States will die from COVID-19. That day, the U.S. will be short […]

  • Parikh_HERO

    A Doctor Puts Telemedicine to the Test During COVID-19

    An advocate of virtual exams has a second opinion.

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    Will We Have a COVID-19 Vaccine Before 2021?

    Is there a vaccine for SARS-CoV-2? The internet is awash with articles and posts seeking to shed light on this very question. Currently, there is no approved vaccine against SARS-CoV-2. While several companies have announced vaccine candidates in development, it is still unlikely that a vaccine will play a significant role in the current outbreak. […]

  • Bazell_HERO

    The Good and Bad News from a Coronavirus Pandemic Model

    An alarming warning from experts before the real outbreak.

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    The Good and Bad News from a Coronavirus Pandemic Model

    Hospitals in the U.S. are above 90 percent capacity without any considerations for COVID-19 demands. According to the planners of Event 201, and other experts, we will soon see a surge in demand at U.S. hospitals that is almost impossible to imagine.Photo illustration by enzoalessandra / Shutterstock How many people could die from a novel […]

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    A Professor of Disasters and Health on COVID-19

    It is no mystery why pandemics happen. Those with the knowledge, wisdom, and resources must choose to decide to avoid these disasters that afflict everyone.Photograph by Pavel L Photo and Video / Shutterstock A new virus sweeps the world, closing borders, shutting down arts and sports, and killing thousands of people. Is this coronavirus pandemic, […]

  • Manuel_HERO

    What Really Inflamed the Coronavirus Epidemic

    Censorship didn’t worsen the deadly virus outbreak. Incompetence did.

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    The Simple Dutch Cure for Stress

    “Uitwaaien” is a popular activity around Amsterdam—one believed to have important psychological benefits.Photograph by John Loo / Flickr Recently I was in San Francisco, a city known for its tech companies, steep hills, and fierce winds. Each day I’d run around the neighborhood and up through the park, ending with a spectacular view of the […]

  • Irwin_HERO

    Are We Flushing Our Resistance to Antibiotics Down the Drain?

    Taking account of the drug-resistant germs turning up in rivers and soils.

  • Is the World Making You Sick?

    The chemicals in our everyday lives are, argues immunologist Claudia Miller.

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    The Case for Eating Jellyfish

    A few summers ago, Stefano Piraino was walking along the rocky shoreline on a small island off the coast of Sicily when he spotted a washed up jellyfish. Naturally, he tore a piece off and popped it into his mouth. “After a few days in that state they lose their stinging cells, and the UV […]

  • Meet Harvard’s Own Poet-Physician

    Rafael Campo on finding the humanity in medicine and science.

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    Studies Shoot Down Tech’s Harmful Effects on Kids—So Now What?

    Ultimately, what matters most is that we provide our children with a sense of agency and autonomy by teaching them that tools don’t use us, we use them.Photograph by Iakov Filimonov / Shutterstock It looks like grownups can disregard the fear-mongering about the ill effects of digital media on kids. A 2017 study in Child […]

  • Dalton_HERO

    Iron Is the New Cholesterol

    Elevated iron is at the center of a web of disease stretching from cancer to diabetes.

  •  Dalton_HERO

    An Rx for Doctors

    A new psychology of control.

  • Nobel Prize Awarded for Cancer Immunotherapy

    James P. Allison and Tasuku Honjo shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for developing ways to unleash the immune system more effectively against cancers.

  • Davis_HERO

    The Rise of Cancer Immunotherapy

    How Jim Allison saved a whole world.

  • Jauhar_HERO

    A Cardiologist’s 9/11 Story

    From trauma to arrhythmia, and back again.

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    The Painful Wait for a Hangover Pill

    One survey of 2,000 people found that if you have only one hangover a month, it adds up to two years of total sick time over the course of a lifetime.Photograph by ShotPrime Studio / Shutterstock From freezing showers to ingesting prickly pear to smoking joints, everyone has a home remedy for alcohol’s notorious afterglow: the hangover. […]

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    30 Weirdly Fascinating Health and Body Facts

    The camera doesn’t often linger on all the severed heads in Game of Thrones. But if it did, might we see some sign of awareness—at least for a few seconds? A human head doesn’t lose consciousness until after about four seconds, post-decapitation. That’s resiliency of a kind. And the acid in your stomach? Strong enough […]

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    Braces Have Made Snoring a Modern Health Problem

    Over the ages our teeth and our tongue have become ever more crowded by the shrinking of the human jaw. Not only is this an aesthetic disaster, but it compromises our breathing, which in turn can disrupt sleep. And there, our problems really begin.Photograph by Lisa S. / Shutterstock The apotheosis of my five-year orthodontic […]

  • West_HERO

    Why New Antibiotics Are So Hard to Find

    A dispatch from the front lines of the war against antibiotic resistance.

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    Are Healthcare Metrics Hurting Healthcare?

    Performance metrics are supposed to financially incentivize hospitals to improve the healthcare system. And this is exactly where the trouble starts. The list of misapplied performance metrics could go on and on.Photograph by Luis Molinero / Shutterstock In 1975, the British economist Charles Goodhart pointed out that when a measure becomes a target, it ceases […]

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    The Case for More Pox Research

    The horsepox virus could be the basis of an improved smallpox vaccine, more effective and with fewer side effects than the currently available vaccines.Colored etching, “Edward Jenner vaccinating patients in the Smallpox and Inoculation Hospital at St. Pancras: the patients develop features of cows,” by James Gillray / Wikicommons Last year, when news broke that […]

  • Does Aging Have a Reset Button?

    A Stanford researcher’s new take on stem cells.

  • Gomes_HERO-F

    Does Aging Have a Reset Button?

    A Stanford researcher’s new take on stem cells.

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    What to Do When Your Brain Insists You’re Always on a Boat

    Chris Perry had felt the world bobbing beneath her feet for nearly four months, suffering from a disorder rather poetically dubbed Mal de Debarquement syndrome.Photograph by Zvonimir Orec / Shutterstock A few years ago, Chris Perry went on an Alaskan cruise with her family to celebrate her parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. When she boarded the […]

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    What Needs to Change in Cancer Treatment for Young Adults

    For a while, oncologists didn’t get it. Many were, both during and after these young patients’ treatment, often oblivious to and ill-equipped to meet their needs.Photograph by U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Peter Dean I treated an inspiring teenage girl in my clinic the other day. Although Sadie has made a complete recovery from her […]

  • What Needs to Change in Cancer Treatment for Young Adults

    New support groups are driving oncologists to address the psychosocial challenges.

  • Why Smelling the Opposite Sex Can Age You

    The evolutionary tradeoff between longevity and reproduction changes with gender.

  • Why Stem Cells Are Unfair to Their Children

    This leaky barrier in old stem cells contributes to aging.

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    Why Stem Cells Are Unfair to Their Children

    A dividing neural stem cell asymmetrically segregates some cargoes between the two resulting daughter cells—blue shows DNA, red shows cellular cargo.Darcie Moore Darcie Moore is an expert on cargo. Not the kind you’d find on a freight train, though—it’s the cargo you’d find in stem cells, the kind that can transform into the different types […]

  • DeSalle_HERO

    How to Tell If You’re a Supertaster

    For one thing, you won’t like IPAs.

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    Why Dementia Is a Population-Level Problem

      Dementia is typically thought of and treated as an individual sickness. Unlike something like measles, dementia is non-transferrable, and can’t be vaccinated against. But Malaz Boustani, a professor of medicine at Indiana University, thinks that the right way to think about dementia may be through the lens of epidemiology—“the branch of medicine that deals […]

  • Why Dementia Is a Population-Level Problem

    Malaz Boustani explains the current crisis.

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    When Cancer Treatment Re-traumatizes Survivors of Sexual Trauma

    Shutterstock An optical illusion mesmerizes us with its ability to look entirely different depending on our perspective. Our patients can challenge our perceptions, too. Many people are familiar with the famous illusion of Rubin’s vase; the picture can appear to be two faces in profile or simply a vase. With someone pointing the way, viewers […]

  • When Cancer Treatment Re-traumatizes Survivors of Sexual Trauma

    The need for trauma-sensitive cancer care.

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    Obsessed With Blastocysts

    The discovery of stem cells—made possible by fundamental research in microscopy—sprouted a new field of medicine.Science Philanthropy Alliance / YouTube For the last three decades, Janet Rossant has been obsessed with the puzzle of how you got here. How did a five-day old blastocyst turn into a five-fingered baby? She found part of the answer […]

  • Obsessed With Blastocysts

    Janet Rossant, a rockstar stem cell scientist, was first just curious about blastocysts.

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    Yes, You Get Wiser with Age

    Aging gets a bad rap. But disease, decline and discomfort is far from the whole story. Dilip Jeste, professor of psychiatry and neuroscience at UC San Diego and director of the UCSD Center for Healthy Aging, is challenging us to take another look. In conversation with Nautilus, Jeste points out that some things get better […]

  • Coleman_HERO

    Out for Young Blood

    Science has given new life to an old thirst.

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    Precision Medicine and Aging Have This in Common

    We are healthier and living longer than we ever have, and advances like personalized medicine seem to promise an ever brighter future. But as the proportion of elderly people increases, so do the complexities of age-related medical care. Nautilus caught up with Mary Tinetti, a doctor and researcher at the Yale School of Medicine, to […]

  • Precision Medicine and Aging Have This in Common

    They both drive the complexity of medical care up.

  • Why I Keep Quiet About Being a Cancer Doctor

    If I lie or change the subject when you ask me what I do for a living, please don't be offended.

  • Google_HERO

    Getting Googled by Your Doctor

    Will mental health clinicians become liable for missing your latest Facebook post?

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    30 Weirdly Fascinating Health and Body Facts

    The camera doesn’t often linger on all the severed heads in Game of Thrones. But if it did, might we see some sign of awareness—at least for a few seconds? A human head doesn’t lose consciousness until after about four seconds, post-decapitation. That’s resiliency of a kind. And the acid in your stomach? Strong enough […]

  • How My Cancer Patient’s Scary Father Emotionally Scarred Me

    It may be impossible to make people happy when you have to say or recommend things they do not want to hear.

  • The Kafkaesque Process of Cancer Diagnosis

    Why reading Kafka’s “The Trial” might comfort patients and enrich the work of oncologists.

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    This Man’s Immune System Got a Cancer-Killing Update

    William Ludwig was a 64-year-old retired corrections officer living in Bridgeton, New Jersey, in 2010, when he received a near-hopeless cancer prognosis. The Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania had run out of chemotherapeutic options, and Ludwig was disqualified from most clinical trials since he had three cancers at once—leukemia, lymphoma, and squamous […]

  • Gilbert_HERO

    Should You Feed Your Kid Probiotics?

    It’s not as simple as you think.

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    How I Coaxed a Western Medicine Skeptic to Get a Biopsy

    Calculated humility in a physician may be the difference between life and death.Photograph by Tonhom1009 / Shutterstock Although I have lived the majority of my life in New Jersey, Utah has always felt like home. Three of my grandparents were multigenerational Utahns, of pioneer stock, and the other grandparent grew up in nearby Idaho. Our […]

  • This Man’s Immune System Got a Cancer-killing Update

    William Ludwig was almost dead when he became Patient Number One in a radical new cancer treatment, one that’s just won the endorsement of F.D.A. advisors.

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    What Medicine Is Learning from Animals That Resist Cancer

    Beating cancer might come from animals that evolved defenses against it.Photograph by Patrick Bouquet / Flickr In recent years, naked mole rats, elephants, and bowhead whales have caught the attention of cancer researchers. At first glance, these three don’t have much in common: naked mole rats are subterranean rodents; elephants roam above ground; and bowhead […]

  • Penaluna_HERO

    Ingenious: Jack Gilbert

    The professor of surgery explains how health emerges from a healthy microbiome.

  • How I Coaxed a Western Medicine Skeptic to Get a Biopsy

    Calculated humility may be the difference between life and death.

  • What Medicine Is Learning from Animals That Resist Cancer

    Beating cancer might come from animals that evolved defenses against it.

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    The Crumbling Ancient Texts That May Hold Life-Saving Cures

    A page from a Timbuktu manuscript.Photograph by Amy Maxmen Seven hundred years ago, Timbuktu was a dream destination for scholars, traders, and religious men. At the southern edge of the Sahara desert in what is now Mali, travelers from Europe, sub-Saharan Africa, Egypt, and Morocco met in the bygone metropolis to exchange gold, salt, and […]

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    To a Cigarette Maker, Your Life Is Worth About $10,000

    Since there is one death for every million cigarettes sold (or smoked), a tobacco manufacturer will make about $10,000 for every death caused by their products.Illustration by Raxon Rex / Flickr If you had to put a price on your life, what cash amount do you think it would be? What about $100,000? That was […]

  • How Aging Research Is Changing Our Lives

    An interview with Eric Verdin, CEO of the Buck Institute for Research on Aging.

  • Verdin_HERO

    How Aging Research Is Changing Our Lives

    An interview with Eric Verdin, CEO of the Buck Institute for Research on Aging.

  • Getting Googled By Your Doctor Is the New Normal

    Will mental health clinicians become liable for missing your latest Facebook post?

  • The Dark Similarity Between Cancer Docs and Soldiers

    They’re uniquely susceptible to burnout and suicide—and creative writing seems to be a promising therapy for both.

  • Why the Ethical Rules of Human-Subjects Research Need a Fresh Look

    A revised law could prevent another Henrietta Lacks situation.

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    Cancer Isn’t a Logic Problem

    A year ago, Joe Biden launched his “cancer moonshot,” a major national push to improve the prevention, detection, and treatment of cancer, a plan that was widely recognized to be incremental. “I believe that we need an absolute national commitment to end cancer as we know it,” Biden said while he was on his tour to cancer […]

  • Does Having Kids Make Mothers Age Faster?

    Evidence is stacking up on both sides of an age-old debate.

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    A Little Paternalism in Medicine Is a Good Thing

    Informed consent has its limits. It isn’t always ideal to treat the patient as a consumer in the decision-making process.Photograph by Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock My family had lived in America for only a handful of years when my grandfather had a heart attack. It was the early 1980s, before statins and baby aspirins […]

  • A Little Paternalism in Medicine Is a Good Thing

    The evolution of the doctor-patient relationship.

  • To a Cigarette Maker, Your Life Is Worth About $10,000

    Why most of the tobacco epidemic remains in our future.

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    How to Solve Oncology’s Labor Crisis

    Cancer doctors are overworked, retire early, and attract fewer recruits than other specialties, leaving the rising cancer-patient population vulnerable. Here’s what must be done.Photograph by Ghislain & Marie David de Lossy / Getty Images I watched a man die today. We were “rounding” when we were summoned to his room. He was struggling to breathe, […]

  • Why Did My Patient Leave Me?

    A patient’s departure is a critique that can help you become a better doctor.

  • Why Doctors Should Start Taking Your Past Spiritual History

    Sharing what meaning you take from illness can enhance your treatment and sense of well-being.

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    Cancer’s Financial Cost Can Be Almost as Toxic to Patients as the Disease Itself

    Financial distress due to cancer treatment could count as another cancer mortality risk factor, alongside smoking, diet, and exercise.Photograph by John Piekos / Flickr Add a new entry to the list of factors that can exacerbate a cancer diagnosis: money. Paying for cancer treatment is expensive, and for many patients, the financial distress can be […]

  • Why James Watson Has Become Optimistic about Curing Cancer

    The genomic cancer strategy shift.

  • Bribiescas_HERO

    Why Men Don’t Live as Long as Women

    It’s the testosterone, don’t you know.

  • Marks_HERO

    What My Stroke Taught Me

    The surprising, quiet nourishment of losing my internal monologue.

  • Why Men Don’t Live as Long as Women

    It’s the testosterone, don’t you know.

  • No One’s Invincible When It Comes to Cancer

    The lessons I learned from letting a superstar patient cloud my better judgment.

  • Why Cancer Patients and Doctors Should Talk Money

    Cancer’s financial cost can be almost as toxic to patients as the disease itself.

  • Cancer Isn’t a Logic Problem

    Silicon Valley wants to solve cancer by hacking it. Here’s why its approach fails.

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    The Race Problem in Breast Cancer Screening

    Here’s a curious fact: Black American women are 37 percent more likely to die from breast cancer than white women, according to a 2015 report by the American Cancer Society, yet they receive early-stage diagnoses much less frequently.  Why might that be? Biology’s role isn’t clear. The breast cancer death-rate in the U.S. is on the […]

  • How One Cancer Doc Struggled to Explain Her Job to Her Daughter

    I didn’t know how to reveal that I treat kids with cancer.

  • This Is Life at 400

    Ballooning life expectancies are upending age-old definitions of life stages.

  • The Real Secret of Youth Is Complexity

    Our physiological processes become increasingly simple as we age.

  • The Man Who Blamed Aging on His Intestines

    The productive, bizarre career of Nobel laureate and early aging researcher Elie Metchnikoff.

  • Will 90 Become The New 60?

    As our lifespans have increased, so too have our active years. Can that go on?

  • Yes, Life in the Fast Lane Kills You

    New insights into mitochondria reveal how life expends energy.

  • This Cancer Treatment Extends Life Without Pills, Radiation, or Surgery

    The monumental shift in oncology to have all advanced cancer patients receive palliative care.

  • Cancer, the Consummate Traveler

    Disrupting cancer’s diaspora may lead to new therapies.

  • Teaching Your Body to Fight the Enemy Within

    Could our own immune systems be taught to find and destroy cancer cells?

  • lonely app_HERO

    Feeling Lonely? There’s an App for That

    The phone rang; a woman answered. Our awkward opening was brief. “This is my first time,” I said. “I’m not sure how this is supposed to go.” She said she’d be happy to listen. I’d just pressed a button in an app on my phone. The app’s red screen was cheerful, outdoorsy—there were smiling, hip […]

  • How Circadian Clocks Differ From Sleep

    The circadian clock is in nearly every cell, and researchers have untangled many of its secrets. But sleep has been harder to pin down.

  • Vanderbilt_HERO_emojiarm3

    Raising the American Weakling

    There are two very different interpretations of our dwindling grip strength.

  • Vanderbilt_HERO_emojiarm3

    Raising the American Weakling

    There are two very different interpretations of our dwindling grip strength.

  • savants prodigies_HERO

    The Link Between Complicated Pregnancies and Child Prodigies

    Wondrous talent—like that of mathematical and artistic savants or child prodigies—is exceedingly rare. It occurs so unexpectedly one may be tempted to think of the phenomena as sui generis, so unusual that no rules or commonalities could apply across cases. However, research is steadily disclosing the mechanisms responsible: not merely that their upbringing provides a crucible […]

  • Anthes_HERO

    From the Bottom of the Sea to the Operating Table

    How coral revolutionized human bone repair.

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    We Spoke to the Surgeon Who Gave a Man His Penis Back

    In May this year, Curtis Cetrulo, a plastic-reconstructive surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital, performed the first penis transplant in the United States. Previously his patient, Thomas Manning, 64, had most of his penis amputated to stem penis cancer, a rare form of the disease. Since the transplant, Manning has received a wave of media attention, […]

  • Walter_HERO

    Will Viruses Save Us From Superbugs?

    When antibiotics failed a severely ill patient, it was a pond virus that saved him.

  • Hope That an Old Drug Might Treat Zika

    Scientists are having a difficult time finding a treatment for the Zika virus in part because so few drugs are safe for pregnant women. But one antibiotic has shown promise.

  • The Strange Case of Typhoid Mary

    The infamous case of Typhoid Mary underscores the importance of tolerance in understanding disease.

  • Inside Alzheimer’s Disease

    Discover what it means to 'Think Like a Scientist' about Alzheimer's Disease.

  • Ananthaswami_HERO-F

    Why You Can’t Help But Act Your Age

    The surprising relationship between mindset and getting old.

  • Hayflick_HERO-2

    On Your Birthday, You’re Not Celebrating What You Think

    Scientists are trying to study biological aging without defining it, and that’s a problem.

  • HHMI_HERO

    Natural Selection in an Outbreak

    Every time a disease spreads, it has another chance to mutate.

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    The Trouble with Milk

    Only 1 in 3 people have evolved tolerance to lactose.

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    How Aphasic Patients Understood the Presidential Debate

    In The President’s Speech, a 1985 essay by the late neurologist and writer Oliver Sacks, he observes a group of people with aphasia, a language disorder, as they laugh uproariously at the television. The cause of their amusement is an unnamed actor-turned United States president, presumably Ronald Reagan, addressing his audience: “There he was, the […]

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    Can Dogs Help Us Understand the Link Between Intelligence and Health?

    If you’re a dog lover, you may have heard of Chaser, the border collie who has been called a “genius” and the “smartest dog in the world.” Retired psychology professor John Pilley, Chaser’s owner and co-author of a recent book about her, says he was able to teach her 1,000 words, the largest “vocabulary” of […]

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    Why Are People Losing the Blissful Tingles of ASMR?

    In more ways than one, the tingles seem to be fading. Just a few years ago, autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR), a puzzling and blissful sensation, became the sudden focal point for a sizable Internet community. Practitioners liken it to a current of electricity running down the scalp and spine. Audiences marveled at online videos, […]

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    Alzheimer’s Early Tell

    The language of authors who suffered from dementia has a story for the rest of us.

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    Hallucinogen Therapy Is Coming

    How shrooms can spring people from fears and destructive habits.

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    A Mental Disease by Any Other Name

    For Frank Russell, reinterpreting his schizophrenia as shamanism helped his symptoms.

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    When Exercise Becomes Too Much of a Good Thing

    In a world where only 1 in 5 American adults meet the minimum daily exercise requirements, exercise addiction can seem like the opposite of a problem. Don’t let that fool you, says Marilyn Freimuth, a clinical psychologist at Fielding Graduate University, in Santa Barbara. “Exercise addiction can completely take over someone’s life. They’re getting injured, […]

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    Beyond What’s Possible: The State of the Art of Athletic Doping

    Ever since ancient Greek Olympians downed exotic meats, “magic” potions, and animal hearts and testicles, athletes have tried to improve their performances by consuming special substances. Such behavior wasn’t considered cheating back in ancient times, and this attitude continued into the modern revival of the games. When a runner named Thomas Hicks famously won the 1904 […]

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    Is Gymnastics’ Scoring System Injuring Athletes?

    It happened in an instant: a resounding crack and the bottom half of French gymnast Samir Ait Said’s leg was dangling like a marionette’s, his face contorted in pain. At the Rio Olympics, Said had just performed a thrilling triple backflip on the vault. When he landed, his leg snapped on impact. Said’s shot at […]

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    The Paradox of Doping in Mountain Climbing

    In alpinism, supplemental oxygen is a matter of safety—but some say it’s doping.

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    Cupping, the Rio Olympics Health Trend, Can Do More Harm Than Good

    Several days ago, when the Rio Olympics began hitting their stride, many athletes, including champion swimmer Michael Phelps, were sporting a unique look: Their muscled shoulders were spattered with, well, what? Giant purple chicken pox? Alien hickeys? Soon enough, however, the marks were demystified: They were evidence of cupping, a therapy that involves placing suction […]

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    We Are Nowhere Close to the Limits of Athletic Performance

    Genetic engineering will bring us new Bolts and Shaqs.

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    50 Million Tinnitus Sufferers Just Got Some Bad News and Some Good News

    Fifteen years ago, almost as soon as she arrived in the Cleveland suburbs, her hometown, a high-pitched ringing disturbed Katie Hellmuth Martin’s sense of peace. She was looking forward to settling into the gentle sounds of summer she’d grown up with: birdcalls during the day, the relaxing cadence of crickets at night. Instead, her respite […]

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    How Woodpeckers Will Save Football

    It takes a bird brain to play contact sports safely.

  • Cudmore_HERO

    The Case For Leaving City Rats Alone

    A Vancouver rat study is showing us how pest control can backfire.

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    Noise Is a Drug and New York Is Full of Addicts

    We may complain about a defining feature of the city, but we also feed off it.

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    These Clumps of Undigested Food Used To Be Medicinal Charms

    Digestive Tract Bling: A bezoar mounted in gold filigree, from late-17th century India—now in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. When you get right down to it, a body like ours is basically a bony scaffold that a strange collection of organs, interconnected by a complex entanglement of piping, hangs on. In some of these pipes, […]

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    Running Is Always Blind

    How your brain keeps you from falling on your face.

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    These Feminine Smells Get Sperm Moving

    Sperm are the cheetahs of the microscopic world: Made of little more than molecular muscle and batteries, tipped with a payload of genetic information, they are optimized for speed. But to orient themselves before their epic, seven-inch sprint (it’s more impressive if you’re less than one three-thousandth that size), they first need to sniff out […]

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    Seven Scientists Describe Seven Kinds of Aging

    The novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez struck an optimistic note about aging: “The essence of a human being is resistant to the passage of time,” he once wrote. On the other hand, Chuck Palahniuk, author of Fight Club, was a bit less sentimental: “It happens fast for some people and slow for some, accidents or gravity, […]

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    We Have No Idea How Most Species Age

    To humans, aging can seem to be inextricably linked with physical decline. In 1975, “on a whim,” the photographer Nicholas Nixon decided to illustrate this process. That year he took a picture of his wife and her three sisters standing together, shoulder-to-shoulder; and every year after, for four decades, they stood for a picture in […]

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    This Is Life at 400

    Ballooning life expectancies are upending age-old definitions of life stages.

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    The Immortality Hype

    Despite the hyperbole, private funding is changing the science of aging for the better.

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    Speaking Multiple Languages Staves Off Dementia

    Parlez-vous francais? If you answered yes, then you’re well on your way to enjoying the many benefits of bilingualism. Speaking both English and French, for example, can enrich your cultural experiences in multilingual destinations like Belgium, Morocco, or Egypt, and broaden your access to books, music, and films. But the benefits of speaking another language […]

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    The Man Who Blamed Aging on His Intestines

    The productive, bizarre career of Nobel laureate and early aging researcher Elie Metchnikoff.

  • Steinsaltz_HERO

    Will 90 Become The New 60?

    As our lifespans have increased, so too have our active years. Can that go on?

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    What It’s Like to Be the Only Doctor in Space

    Commander Carmel Johnston gives Chief Science Officer Christiane Heinicke a hand.Photograph by Sheyna Gifford Space is no place to be alone. On Earth, it may be uncomfortable, even oppressive—but by itself, being alone isn’t life-threatening. A person alone in space, however, is definitively lost: dead, or about to be.  On simulated Mars—the slopes of a […]

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    How My Ecstasy Trip Turned Into a Rare Anxiety Disorder

    When I was at the Firefly Music Festival in Delaware, in the summer of 2014, I took a 200 mg pill of ecstasy—Red Riddler—something I had done before. After the sets were over, the colors of the overhead lamps seemed more saturated against the sky. Each bulb’s top-right quadrant had a massive, prismatic aura, like […]

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    The Man Who Would Tame Cancer

    Patrick Soon-Shiong is opening a new front in the war on the deadly disease.

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    The Woman Who Got Lost at Home

    A developmental disorder promises a new window onto the brain’s secrets.

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    The Woman Who Got Lost at Home

    A developmental disorder promises a new window onto the brain’s secrets.

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    The Problem with Nature Therapy

    The medicalization of nature turns a relationship into a dose.

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    Why You Should Fix Your Inconsistent Sleep Schedule

      Travelling induced jet lag isn’t the only thing that causes untimely fatigue. Ignoring your biological rhythms can lead to chronic exhaustion, too, something that feels so much like jet lag that Till Roenneberg and his team, at Ludwig-Maximilian University, in Munich, Germany, coined the term “social jet lag” in 2006. It occurs when there’s […]

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    Why Living in a Poor Neighborhood Can Make You Fat

    The sheer stress of an environment contributes to obesity and diabetes.

  • Paliwal_HERO

    The Curse That Shoes Can Break

    The tragic story of the simple solution to one of the world’s most neglected diseases.

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    What Your Microbiome Wants for Dinner

    You may think twice about your diet when you follow the metabolic fate of your food.

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    Invisible Patients: A Caregiver’s Story

    Dementia takes a toll on caregivers, too.

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    What Alzheimer’s Feels Like from the Inside

    An investigative reporter chronicles the progression of his own disease.

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    How to Unlearn a Disease

    Medicine’s latest cure is forgetting you’re sick.

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    The Man Who Drank Cholera and Launched the Yogurt Craze

    Ilya Metchnikoff laid the foundation for modern probiotics.

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    The Disease That Turned Us Into Genetic-Information Junkies

    For many people, 1969 felt like a year when technology could solve all of our problems, a sentiment that reached a crescendo with the Apollo 11 moon landing. But back on Earth, Michael Kaback was a faculty member in pediatrics1 at Johns Hopkins Medical Center, and he was frustrated. Kaback had helped some of his […]

  • Curry_HERO

    Yes, You Can Catch Insanity

    A controversial disease revives the debate about the immune system and mental illness.

  • Gross_GRID-2Gross_HERO

    The Man Who Beat HIV at Its Own Game for 30 Years

    A survivor’s story is about to change.

  • Rabinowitz_HERO-1

    Why Egg Freezing Is an Impossible Choice

    I don’t want to surrender to a lottery. But will I regret not playing?

  • Henig_HERO

    Did Grief Give Him Parkinson’s?

    These identical twins led virtually identical lives—with one tragic exception.

  • Borrell_HERO

    Take Light, Not Drugs

    How light therapy can treat disorders from depression to Alzheimer’s disease.

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    Being Mortal: Atul Gawande’s Rx for How to End Our Lives

      Atul Gawande sits across from me in a cafe in Berkeley, California, sipping an Izze fruit drink and trying to catch his breath. He just came from an appearance across the bay, in San Francisco, and is soon headed to a radio interview down the street, followed by a drive via the Golden Gate […]

  •  Velasquez-Manoff_HERO-2

    Fruits and Vegetables Are Trying to Kill You

    Antioxidant vitamins don’t stress us like plants do—and don’t have their beneficial effect.

  • Seigel_HERO

    America Is Getting the Science of Sun Exposure Wrong

    Why U.S. dermatologists won’t base recommendations on skin color.

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    The Health Costs of our Late-Night Light Addiction

    A study at RPI’s Lighting Research Center tested the effects of digital tablets and different colors of light on subjects’ circadian rhythms.Brittany Wood et al. / RPI In the summer of 2012, the American Medical Association (AMA) adopted a new policy stating that nighttime light exposure is hazardous to human health. “The primary human concerns […]

  • Borrell_HERO

    Take Light, Not Drugs

    How light therapy can treat disorders from depression to Alzheimer’s disease.

  • Borrell_HERO

    Losing His Sight, a Scientist Sees an End to a Deadly Disease

    Bill Jacobs lights the way to better tuberculosis drugs.

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    A Grandfather’s Final Gift Recalls a Different Way of Life

    One evening four years ago, photographer Andrea Tese received a phone call from a home-care nurse. Could she come to her grandfather’s house to assess the situation? the nurse asked. Her grandfather had been very ill and had stipulated he did not want to die inside a hospital; he wanted to stay at home. But […]

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    The Crumbling Ancient Texts That May Hold Life-Saving Cures

      Seven hundred years ago, Timbuktu was a dream destination for scholars, traders, and religious men. At the southern edge of the Sahara desert in what is now Mali, travelers from Europe, sub-Saharan Africa, Egypt, and Morocco met in the bygone metropolis to exchange gold, salt, and ideas. According to a description of Timbuktu in […]

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    The Big Benefits of Doing HIV Tests Yourself, at Home

    The next time you stop at the local drug store to pick up household standbys like shampoo, ibuprofen, and tissues, you might also consider picking up something rather more serious: an HIV test. Show your ID (the test is only approved for adults aged 17+), pay $40, and you can return home and learn your […]

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    Chernobyl’s Hot Mess, “the Elephant’s Foot,” Is Still Lethal

    The Elephant’s Foot could be the most dangerous piece of waste in the world.

  • Clancy_HERO

    Nature, the IT Wizard

    Nature manages information, the currency of life, with exquisite efficiency.

  • Morber_HERO

    What If Obesity Is Nobody’s Fault?

    Meet the mice that are changing the obesity conversation.

  • McD_HERO

    For Preventing Disease, Data Are the New Drugs

    Is giving up your biological secrets too bitter a pill?

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    Why Autopsy Gandolfini? Death Is Certain; Its Cause Is Not

    When Italian authorities confirmed Wednesday that James Gandolfini had just died in Rome of an apparent heart attack, many of the US reports fronted the fact that Gandolfini’s body would be autopsied, “as required by Italian law.” They fronted this news for understandable reasons—an autopsy on someone who died in medical care seemed unusual. In […]

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    Be Careful With the Powerful Medicine That Is Poop

    It has recently become clear that each one of us is more microbe than human—at least when it comes to the number of cells in our bodies. The bacteria that swarm through our guts, across our skin, and in every orifice you have outnumber our human cells by at least 10 to 1, though their […]