The Massive, Overlooked Potential of African DNA

The Massive, Overlooked Potential of African DNA

The genomic revolution has left Africa behind.“Currently, there’s this huge gap in genetic information,” says Abasi Ene-Obong, who studied cancer biology at the University of London before founding 54gene in January.

How Scientists Built a ‘Living Drug’ to Beat Cancer

How Scientists Built a ‘Living Drug’ to Beat Cancer

The group of researchers considering this possibility were called cancer immunotherapists, and by the time Emily Whitehead showed up at the hospital, they had already spent decades on the problem.

A Global Pollution Observatory Hunts for Hidden Killers

A Global Pollution Observatory Hunts for Hidden Killers

Pollution concern also lay in the shadows, says Landrigan, because “all the attention was on climate change.” But several recent efforts have raised pollution’s status on the global agenda, with not just the Lancet report but also the work of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation and the World Health Organization’s first global conference on air pollution last year.

The Terrifying Unknowns of an Exotic Invasive Tick

The Terrifying Unknowns of an Exotic Invasive Tick

But tick scientists such as Rick Ostfeld, a disease ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in New York, have said for years that what is most needed is routine catching and sampling of ticks themselves, as is done by mosquito control agencies, to figure out what species are hatching and what diseases they may carry.

Fear, Misinformation, and Measles Spread in Brooklyn

Fear, Misinformation, and Measles Spread in Brooklyn

“If your child just got a vaccine and now he doesn’t speak anymore, your doctor’s not going to answer that.” Since some Hasidic sects frown on internet use, ultra-­Orthodox women often receive community news, inspirational talks, and other information by way of the phone.

Measles Had Been Eliminated. Now It’s Nearly a Daily Threat

Measles Had Been Eliminated. Now It’s Nearly a Daily Threat

“The ongoing outbreaks in close-knit communities and increased global measles activity is putting the US at risk for losing its elimination status.”. Losing elimination status not only puts the US at risk for other infectious diseases, it jeopardizes the country’s role as a global leader in public health.

The Evidence Is Strong: Air Pollution Seems to Cause Dementia

The Evidence Is Strong: Air Pollution Seems to Cause Dementia

“I have no hesitation whatsoever to say that air pollution causes dementia,” says Caleb Finch, gerontologist and the leader of USC’s Air Pollution and Brain Disease research network, which has completed many of these new studies.

There’s a Plague in Our Oceans. Can Ecosystem Services Help?

There’s a Plague in Our Oceans. Can Ecosystem Services Help?

Those of us who study non-human diseases are worried that mass mortality caused by multi-host pathogens is becoming a common and recurrent event, threatening biodiversity in both terrestrial and marine environments.

Facebook Exposed Data Again, but This Viral Cat Can Save Lives

Facebook Exposed Data Again, but This Viral Cat Can Save Lives

Facebook Exposed Data Again, but This Viral Cat Can Save Lives. Tech news you can use, in two minutes or less: Facebook exposed your personal data ... Researchers discovered that data from hundreds of millions of Facebook users was left unprotected once again, this time on Amazon's servers.

By 2080, Tropical Diseases Could Be Headed to Alaska

By 2080, Tropical Diseases Could Be Headed to Alaska

Nearly a billion people could be newly at risk of tropical diseases like dengue fever and Zika as climate change shifts the range of mosquitoes , according to a new study.

7 Wildlife Disease You’ve Never Heard Of

7 Wildlife Disease You’ve Never Heard Of

Caused by psittacine circovirus — also called beak and feather disease virus (BFDV) — this disease is most common in parrot and cockatoo species from both the Old World (Australia, Africa) but can affect parrots from the Americas.

When It Comes to Disease, Why Wait for a Pandemic to Respond?

When It Comes to Disease, Why Wait for a Pandemic to Respond?

In the lead up to the O2 simulation, students participate in a two-week civics and science module on outbreak response, then take on roles as clinicians, epidemiologists, government officials, military, media, and the general population.

23andMe’s New Diabetes Test Has Experts Asking Who It’s For

23andMe’s New Diabetes Test Has Experts Asking Who It’s For

Jorg Greuel/Getty Images On Sunday, the DNA testing company 23andMe revealed a new genetic analysis that it says will tell its customers if they have an elevated risk of developing the most common, and preventable, form of diabetes.

The Life-Threatening Consequences of Overhyping AI

The Life-Threatening Consequences of Overhyping AI

The Life-Threatening Consequences of Overhyping AI On February 11, The New York Times published a story with the headline “AI Shows Promise Assisting Physicians .” While the article focused on a scientific paper showing how an artificial intelligence system could help doctors diagnose certain conditions, it missed a key part of the AI story: Accuracy does not equal impact.

Polio Is Nearly Wiped Out—Unless Some Lab Tech Screws Up

Polio Is Nearly Wiped Out—Unless Some Lab Tech Screws Up

To uncover those “ potentially infectious materials ,” the Global Polio Eradication Initiative hosts a big table that lists the dates and locations of wild poliovirus outbreaks, and the times each country did live-virus vaccinations, so labs around the world can scan the database and see whether their samples might have originated in a polio-prone area.

How Measles Hacks the Body—and Harms Its Victims for Years

How Measles Hacks the Body—and Harms Its Victims for Years

“They’re supposed to be on a mission to destroy viruses, and instead they act as a shuttle, delivering measles straight to the closest lymph nodes.” Once they’re in the lymph nodes, a sort of bustling immune system transit hub, the virus hops to its intended target—a subset of cells responsible for making antibodies to remember past pathogens.

Chronic Wasting Disease: What You Need To Know

Chronic Wasting Disease: What You Need To Know

“We injected macaques with extremely high levels of CWD-infected deer and elk brains without any evidence of CWD,” says Race, who cautions that it only takes one mismatch in an amino acid sequence to create a species barrier.

One Couple’s Tireless Crusade to Stop a Genetic Killer

One Couple’s Tireless Crusade to Stop a Genetic Killer

(The most common prion disorder in humans, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, kills about 500 people per year in the United States.) Sometimes the problem proteins are passed down from an unlucky parent; sometimes they develop spontaneously, a fluke mutation; sometimes they are the result of contagion, making their way into the body from a tainted cornea transplant, or a skin graft, or beef infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy, also known as mad cow disease.

Forget the Blood of Teens. This Pill Promises to Extend Life for a Nickel a Pop

Forget the Blood of Teens. This Pill Promises to Extend Life for a Nickel a Pop

Rather than trying to develop a wildly expensive, highly speculative therapy that will likely only benefit the billionaire-demigod set, Barzilai wants to convince the FDA to put its seal of approval on an antiaging drug for the rest of us: A cheap, generic, demonstrably safe pharmaceutical that has already shown, in a host of preliminary studies, that it may be able to help stave off many of the worst parts of growing old.

A New Disease Is Testing Us for the Next Global Epidemic

A New Disease Is Testing Us for the Next Global Epidemic

But it highlights how much variation there can be in what front-line physicians know about any new disease.“With any emerging infection, one of the problems we face is getting communication out to the physicians who might be seeing these cases,” says Priya Duggal, a genetic epidemiologist and associate professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, who, since the first outbreak in 2014, has been running a study of AFM victims and their families, with several colleagues.

The Doctor Prescribes Video Games and Virtual Reality Rehab

The Doctor Prescribes Video Games and Virtual Reality Rehab

The FDA's clearance makes reSET one of the first prescription “digital therapeutics”—an emerging class of evidence-based interventions that are predominantly driven by software rather than drugs.WIRED OPINIONABOUTAndy Coravos is is the CEO of Elektra Labs and a member of the Harvard-MIT Center for Regulatory Science.Earlier this year, digital medicine company Akili Interactive announced that its video game for children with ADHD demonstrated a statistically significant improvement in a randomized, controlled clinical trial.

Now You Can Sequence Your Whole Genome for Just $200

Now You Can Sequence Your Whole Genome for Just $200

“It’s important to note that, right now, the medical profession is not recommending this for healthy patients,” Green says.And while Veritas’ test covers 200 genetic predispositions for disease compared to 23andMe’s nine, customers might decide that information isn't worth $1,000—Veritas will be competing with companies like 23andMe on the perceived value of all that genetic information until it can accomplish the sub-$200 genome.To get ahead in that regard, Veritas wants to integrate genetic data into the everyday.

The Flu Shot Needs Fewer Stats and More Stories

The Flu Shot Needs Fewer Stats and More Stories

But flu changes all the the time, mutating just enough from season to season that it requires a new vaccine formula, and a fresh shot, every year.The annual repetition means that people think about flu vaccines differently: less like a medical and legal necessity, and more like a seasonal product, the health care equivalent of a pumpkin spice latte, that they can take or leave.An optimistic view is that flu vaccine is only a failure compared to other vaccines.

The Risk That Ebola Will Spread to Uganda Is Now ‘Very High’

The Risk That Ebola Will Spread to Uganda Is Now ‘Very High’

The current Ebola epidemic could be beyond control, he said, and may—for the first time since the deadly virus was first identified in 1976—become persistently entrenched in the population.The 329 confirmed and probable cases of Ebola infection reported so far have made it the largest outbreak in the nation’s history, with no signs yet of slowing down.

Meet Jim Allison, the Carousing Texan Who Just Won a Nobel Prize For His Cancer Immunotherapy Breakthrough

Meet Jim Allison, the Carousing Texan Who Just Won a Nobel Prize For His Cancer Immunotherapy Breakthrough

The calls have not stopped since.Allison’s breakthrough was the discovery of a sort of secret handshake that cancer uses to evade the immune system, and a means to block that handshake—what the Nobel committee hailed as “a landmark in our fight against cancer,” which has “revolutionized cancer treatment, fundamentally changing the way we view how cancer can be managed.” (Allison’s co-recipient was Tasuku Honjo of Kyoto University.) Advances in cancer typically come in 50-year increments; the science that Allison and Honjo helped advance, cancer immunotherapy, has made a generational leap seemingly overnight.Adapted from The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer by Charles Graeber.

The Science of the Sniff: Why Dogs Are Great Disease Detectors

The Science of the Sniff: Why Dogs Are Great Disease Detectors

“Finding those individuals is currently very difficult,” says Logan.In this study, dogs were trained to sniff out malaria through the scent of the disease in samples of socks worn by infected children.Medical Detection DogsAn entomologist by training, Logan spent the early years of his career trying to understand why some people are more attractive to mosquitoes than others.

Climate change, water and the spread of diseases: connecting the dots differently

Climate change, water and the spread of diseases: connecting the dots differently

A raft of work also started to emerge on the affects of changing weather patterns, heat waves, and access to clean water on people’s health. For example, health scientists came to grasp that they need anthropologists, sociologists and economists for a full understanding of the impact of climate change.

The New ECG Apple Watch Could Do More Harm Than Good

The New ECG Apple Watch Could Do More Harm Than Good

It wasn't long before healthcare providers starting using them to examine patients with no symptoms or family history of cardiovascular illness.There's no exact numbers on how common preventive ECG screening is in the US, but according to a recent editorial in the Journal of American Medicine, ECG examinations of asymptomatic patients had become regular features of annual physicals by the early aughts—until professional societies ran cost/benefit analyses on the practice and started advising against it.One of those societies was the US Preventive Services Task Force.

Crispr Halted Muscular Dystrophy in Dogs. Are Humans Next?

Crispr Halted Muscular Dystrophy in Dogs. Are Humans Next?

When researchers at the Royal Veterinary College realized the puppers had a canine version of the most common fatal genetic disease in children—Duchenne muscular dystrophy—they began breeding the sick spaniels with beagles to start a canine colony in the hopes of one day finding a cure.Today, scientists report they’ve halted the progression of the disease in some of those doggy descendants using the gene editing tool known as Crispr.In a study published Thursday in Science, a team led by Eric Olson at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center used Crispr to successfully modify the DNA of four young dogs, reversing the molecular defect responsible for their muscle wasting disease.