Over one hundred years since psychiatrist Alois Alzheimer described the hallmarks of the disease that bears his name, significant gaps in our understanding of how and why the disease develops mean that we still do not have effective treatments.
Allowing health data to flow more freely between countries in Europe could aid the fight against coronavirus while also help the region be better prepared for future pandemics, but privacy and technical considerations need to be tackled sooner rather than later, say experts.
Aggressive tiger mosquitoes capable of spreading debilitating tropical diseases such as dengue and Zika are spreading through Europe, but scientists hope it may be possible to control these biting pests with a form of insect birth control and drones.
On the southern outskirts of the city of Owensboro in Kentucky, US, there is a square, nondescript building. Inside, rows and rows of small plants are growing under artificial lights. This is a new generation biotech venture: a molecular farm. Others are springing up across the US and elsewhere – and they farm vaccines. This means that if we find a coronavirus vaccine that works, their produce could be used by households worldwide.
As the Earth warms, heatwaves are expected to occur more often, with sharper intensity and for longer periods. Rising temperatures adversely affect worker productivity and human health, but for policymakers to take substantive action for heat adaptation, and meet what researchers see as a life-saving Paris climate agreement, making an economic case is key.
More than six months into the coronavirus crisis, data show that not just age, but also biological sex plays a pivotal role in the manifestation and response to Covid-19, with more men dying from acute infections versus women in the short term. This discrepancy has shined a spotlight on a key theme that has gained traction in recent years: is enough being done to account for sex and gender in disease and medicine? Not enough, says Dr Sabine Oertelt-Prigione, the chair of sex and gender-sensitive medicine at Radboud University in the Netherlands and a member of the European Commission’s expert group on gendered innovations.
Infants born early, before 37 weeks of pregnancy, have a higher risk of dying in childhood and often suffer from lifelong health problems. But two novel devices could help cut this risk – one by improving how risk of an early birth is assessed and the other by offering personalised nutritional advice for premature babies.
Current regulations on air pollution mainly focus on the mass of particles of a particular size range in a sample, and this has been used as a marker for their threat to human health. But these air quality standards do not address the medical implications of the very smallest particles – nor other attributes that may be damaging, such as their chemical makeup.
A ‘bio-artificial’ pancreas grown in a lab with the aid of placental stem cells, and a DIY insulin-monitoring and release system are being developed to give people with insulin-dependent diabetes an alternative to waiting for a pancreas transplant.
Horizon spoke to virologist Johan Neyts.
Dr Alexey Solodovnikov on why we need a less biased view of the animal kingdom.
Dr Kate Rychert studies ocean plate structures.