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Health & Disease

An old problem: How immune responses weaken with age

The body’s defenses lose flexibility and diversity over time, and protective responses to vaccines weaken as well. Scientists are working on ways to boost seniors’ protections against influenza, the novel coronavirus and other pathogens.

Digital disease surveillance: Tracking a pandemic

Social media posts and online searches may offer vital clues about the spread of influenza — and now Covid-19. But they also risk errors and threaten privacy.

Closing in on the new coronavirus

The eye-catching spikes sticking out from the surface of SARS-CoV-2 may inspire new ways to prevent or treat Covid-19 infections

Rethinking clinical trials for next-generation cancer drugs

Therapies tailored to a tumor’s genetic markers show promise, but figuring out who’s most likely to benefit presents new challenges for scientists

The unexpected diversity of pain

It comes in many types that each require specialized treatment. Scientists are starting to learn how to diagnose the different varieties.

Sell-by dates | Things to Know

VIDEO: Time stamps on packaging prompt consumers to toss a lot of food, but what do they actually say about safety?

Winding the body’s clock

Medicines and other small molecules may play a role in fixing rhythms gone awry

A preventable malignancy

Some parts of the world are on the path to largely eradicating cervical cancer, but the story is less rosy for other populations, including US Hispanics. Why, and what can be done about it?

Living with chronic illness: Why some cope and others don’t

What helps some people diagnosed with cancer, heart disease or diabetes stay relatively happy and healthy, while others are devastated? Psychologist Vicki Helgeson explains the traits and mindsets that can make the difference.

Getting the microbe story, straight from the mouth

A trio of researchers has mapped the living things that make the tongue, gums and palate home

Profiling the perpetrators of past plagues

The ancient pathogens in old graves are as dead as the people they once infected. Still, they tell a vivid tale.

Measuring surgical quality

Not all surgeons are equally skilled with a scalpel. Doctors are developing new ways to test — and improve — operating room performance.

Polymers promise a more flexible artificial retina

Organic semiconductors can link up with brain cells to send and receive signals. They may find a use in sight-restoring prostheses. 

The global soda tax experiment

An increasing number of cities and countries have begun taxing sugary beverages. But can raising the price of these drinks really make a dent in obesity, diabetes and other ailments?

The quest for better baby formula

Replicating human milk is no easy feat — nor is separating the science from the hype

How maternal mood shapes the developing brain

Stress and anxiety during pregnancy can mean a higher risk of offspring developing ADHD, depression or other conditions. Medical psychologist Catherine Monk explains how prenatal mental care benefits mothers and babies.

Now in development: off-the-shelf stem cells

Their potential as universal donors promises to make regenerative medicine more broadly practical

The next omics? Tracking a lifetime of exposures to better understand disease

Of the millions of substances people encounter daily, health researchers have focused on only a few hundred. Those in the emerging field of exposomics want to change that.