Why is the modern world making us ill? In this issue, Horizon examines the emerging field of exposomics, which looks for answers in the hidden world around us.
Chronic diseases such as cancer and asthma are on the rise in the developed world, and researchers are zeroing in on the elements in our environment that are to blame.
Horizon speaks to the research projects involved in the EU Exposome Initiative which are assessing the exposure of over 100 000 EU citizens to potential health risks in their surroundings, and finds out how the air inside modern offices could be playing havoc with our health.
We also learn about a study seeking to establish the effects of environment on life expectancy by comparing the health of adult twins, and discover why being too clean could give your children diabetes.
In our September issue, we interview Dr Chris Wild, the cancer scientist who first proposed that the best way to tackle chronic disease would be to study the totality of non-genetic factors that we are exposed to. He explains why more international research collaboration in the field is needed.
Over the last few decades buildings have become cleaner, leaner and increasingly air-tight, spurred on by a drive for energy efficiency. Now, however, scientists are showing that poor ventilation and indoor pollutants are not only linked to discomfort and decreased productivity, but also to allergies and respiratory disorders.
The EU is making important progress in researching the links between environment and disease, but the field needs more collaboration from the rest of the world, according to its pioneering researcher Dr Chris Wild, director of the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer.
Parents may one day feed high-strength bacteria to their kids in order to stop them from developing early onset diabetes, after research showed that over-hygienic environments are leading to a rise in incidences of the disease.
The model of our universe as expanding at an accelerated rate has given rise to theoretical constructs such as dark energy and dark matter, which scientists believe could make up 95% of the universe. In September, Horizon takes a deeper look at what we really know about the expanding universe. We speak to Prof. Subir Sarkar, who believes that the Nobel-winning discovery that universe expansion acceleration could be a fluke, and the scientists who are trying to answer the question by allowing us to better measure the expansion rate. We also look at the significance of accurately measuring gravity in deep space, and what dark matter haloes can tell us about the existence of dark energy.
This month, Horizon takes an in-depth look at a shared human trait – our emotions. We find out how science is seeking to better understand and regulate human emotions across a range of applications, from mental health to politics. We uncover the implications of a neuroscientist’s efforts to determine how the brain controls fear and anxiety, with possible implications for treating mental health disorders and autism. We explore how emotions shape our politics and ask whether this can help provide a different perspective on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And we look at research examining how apps and online games can help people manage their emotional sides.
Earthworms and tiny water fleas could help deliver clean water to billions of people living in remote areas of the world by eating up sewage and other pollution.
A sister and brother who created shock-activated protective gear featuring a starch liquid for people who in-line skate, motorcycle and do other risky sports, won one of the three first prizes at this year’s European Union Contest for Young Scientists (EUCYS).
Biofilters offer in-situ low-maintenance ways of treating wastewater.
Winners from Germany and Canada take home top prizes.
Electric cars with liquid batteries could be charged in minutes, says Prof. Cronin.