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Health & Disease

Betting on bats for genetic treasures

Bat genomes are full of clever tricks that are treats for biology and medical science — it’s why scientists want to sequence them all

Truly, neurally, deeply

Scientists are developing AI systems called deep neural nets that can read medical images and detect disease — with astonishing efficiency

Scientists look to new technologies to make food safer

From romaine to snack crackers, foodborne disease outbreaks have increasingly worried the public. Cold plasma and high-pressure systems might help reduce the risks.

Break on through: How some viruses infect the placenta

A few rare viruses can reach the fetus when pregnant women are infected, with tragic result. As explored in this Q&A, researchers are figuring out how the placenta acts as protector and how some pathogens slip through.

Resistance threatens recent success seen in battle against malaria

The disease-causing parasite is once again starting to evade front-line strategies, but scientists are preparing their next volleys

Humanizing immunology

The field has long been more mice than men. New technologies and systems-based approaches with human cells may soon fill gaps in our understanding of autoimmune disease and health, Mark Davis says in a Q&A.

The growth of US farming and the Farm Bill

The Farm Bill is a hulking piece of super-complicated legislation. Here’s a brief look at its roots, how it grew, and events beyond its scope that shaped American agriculture.

Finding the fat: The US Farm Bill and health

America has grown obese on processed, sugary and deceptively cheap foods. Some blame policies enshrined in an unwieldy, bloated beast of legislation.

Top 10 secrets about stress and health

The strain of life — from everyday conflicts to major losses — can stretch our well-being to the breaking point. Here’s what scientists know, and still don’t know, about the stress-illness connection.

Fighting urban violence, one empty lot at a time

Could cleaning up neighborhoods make cities safer? Researchers are looking at novel, inexpensive solutions to crime that everyone can agree on.

Five mysteries about breast milk

The little that we know about breastfeeding tells us a lot — imagine if we knew more

Do “workplace wellness” programs work?

It depends on what you mean by a wellness program. Offerings by companies are all over the map, but most are skimpy and scattershot. It takes more than that to boost employees’ health or a company’s bottom line.

Unhealthy work: Why migrants are especially vulnerable to injury and death on the job

A mysterious kidney disease is just one of the many health risks faced by immigrant laborers. In a Q&A, occupational health expert Marc Schenker discusses the hazards and a few potential solutions.

Moving forward with cystic fibrosis

Long a paradigm of how a faulty gene can cause disease, CF is now treated by leading-edge therapies targeting specific mutations

The curious case of acrylamide: California’s Prop. 65 explained

Lattes today, hot dogs tomorrow? Why health warnings in California crop up in many — and sometimes surprising — places and why you should care

Why viruses deserve a better reputation

Sure they cause disease, but the microbes can be a help as well. Witness long-lasting pepper seeds, drought-resistant crop plants and even our own placentas.

E-cigarettes: A win or loss for public health?

They’re less toxic than traditional cigarettes but still addictive and not without their own health risks. Researchers disagree on whether vaping can help or harm efforts to reduce tobacco use.

Labor of love

Flipping the scientific thinking on our species’ “difficult childbirth”