Rare diseases are uncommon, but there are still thousands of different conditions which together affect between 27-36 million people in the EU. This month, Horizon examines the latest efforts to tackle rare diseases as well as new technology to better diagnose uncommon conditions and novel ways to reduce the socioeconomic burden of unusual disorders.
Rare muscle diseases have a devastating impact on the affected individual and their families, but 3D-drug screening could lead to better medicines being developed which would also relieve the huge economic toll of their treatment.
A new EU-wide approach to funding rare disease research could help patients secure access to new treatments, says Dr Daria Julkowska, scientific coordinator on rare diseases at the French National Research Agency.
Hormones are blamed for everything from weight gain to mood swings and this December, Horizon takes a closer look at these chemical regulators and their effects on our bodies and minds. We explore the impact of the so-called love hormone on the human-dog relationship and what it can tell us about social disorders. We find out what’s being done to neutralise the hormone-disrupting chemicals that are found in water and sewage, and we discover the importance of hormonal rhythms in tracking disorders that can lead to obesity, heart disease and osteoporosis.
Forests cover around 30 % of the Earth’s surface, are home to millions of species, capture and store carbon dioxide (CO2), influence the local climate and provide us with water. This month, Horizon examines how the health of the world’s forests impacts on climate change. We explore the link between deforestation, forest degradation and CO2 emissions, examine the push to combine farming and forestry for better land management, and find out how scientists are using tree rings and DNA to combat illegal logging.
Decades of scientific research into areas including plant genetics and data science helped doctors successfully carry out an experimental therapy to create a new skin for a seven-year-old boy suffering from a rare genetic disorder.
Rising populations and climate change are putting pressure on the water needed for agriculture but a solar-powered irrigation system may reduce the amount that farmers use – while simultaneously slashing the sector’s greenhouse gas emissions.
How plant genetics and data science helped doctors replace 80 % of a boy’s skin.
Solar-powered irrigation could offset 16 mn tonnes of CO2 a year.
A new device to monitor so-called ultradian rhythms could speed up diagnostics.