Identifying the chemical switches that turn different parts of our immune system on and off is opening up new avenues for treating diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, cancer and rheumatoid arthritis – and potential new uses for discarded drugs, according to Professor Luke O’Neill, an immunologist at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland.
Most children are able to learn language almost effortlessly. But for those with communication disorders such as dyslexia, mastering their native tongue can be a challenge. Researchers are exploring how links with noise, language and motion could help diagnose problems earlier and pave the way for better treatment.
Regular naps may be one of the privileges of retirement but research is pointing to napping as a contributor to cognitive decline. Scientists are now testing the idea that older people should instead meditate or learn a language to preserve brainpower and wellbeing.
A study of more than half a million blood samples has allowed scientists to pinpoint the risk factors for a rare type of leukaemia, enabling them to predict if someone will develop the disease eight years before symptoms appear and opening the door to preventative treatments.
A smartphone app that challenges children to engage in healthy behaviour, and genetic studies that investigate risk factors for obesity, are taking a nature and nurture approach to tackling one of the biggest epidemics of our time – childhood obesity.
Finicky eating habits and wasteful processes have led to a system that discards millions of tonnes of food each year, but new approaches are salvaging the scraps we never see to make products that people will want to eat.
Research suggests that where we live can affect our mental health but Dr Marco Helbich, an urban geographer at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, believes these studies only offer a limited snapshot of our lives. Using a smartphone app and register data, he is tracking people through their daily routines and their residential history to see whether mental health is affected by where we live, work and socialise. His findings could change how we design our cities.
Recent advances in kidney research have yielded dramatic headlines touting scientists’ ability to grow kidneys in the lab. But some experts worry that hype about tissue engineering is excessively raising patients’ hopes.
Tuberculosis is the most common cause of death from an infectious disease.
Computer modelling will also help optimise management techniques.
Entrepreneur Nicklas Bergman on the European Innovation Council.