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Health & Disease

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.

How to ruin cancer’s day

By taking advantage of differing circadian rhythms in healthy cells and tumors, researchers hope to add a powerful new tool for treating the disease.

Labor of love

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

The body electric

Batteries are the weak link for wearable and implantable devices. But what if you could harvest energy from the heat, sweat or vibrations of the wearer?

Beating back peanut allergy, bit by bit

Once rare, sensitivity to the legume is now the most common cause of fatal allergic reactions to foods. New therapies might help.

Organs grown to order

Genetic advances may make it possible to grow transplantable tissues in other species. That could solve immunity and availability issues, but raises ethical concerns.

Pathways to a cure for AIDS

Medications can control HIV, but not eliminate it. Scientists hope to one day vanquish it completely.

Finland’s bold push to change the heart health of a nation

Beginning in its bleak borderlands, the country launched an official — and broadly influential — effort to improve food and lifestyle choices, using everything from cozy fireside chats and reality TV shows to laws and incentives.

Hacking the immune system

How the body’s own defense cells can be turned into tiny, programmable assassins to battle cancers and other disorders

In promoting health, when to tiptoe — and when to stomp?

Inform, incentivize, legislate: There’s a ladder of escalating approaches for changing citizens’ behavior — and nudges for every rung

Peering into the meditating mind

Some people swear by it, but studies of mindfulness have a long way to go

Microbes in the medical bag

Genetically engineered gut bacteria hold promise for safe, targeted therapies

Coffee declared healthy (for most) — yay!

A comprehensive, full-bodied analysis is brimming with encouraging data

Getting to know the gut microbiome

Researchers are finally getting the tools to understand just how the microbial communities in and on our bodies affect health. But there are many mysteries left to solve — and many technological challenges.

The complex riddles of rheumatoid arthritis

Latest therapies control the inflammatory disease for many but not all. Scientists are investigating the roots of the variability and what to do about it.

From academics to access, Harold Varmus reflects on the achievements and challenges in cancer research

The Nobel laureate and former NIH director talks about how far the field has come, where it should go and why some of the best discoveries in oncology still aren’t reaching patients who need them

Snot what you think: The unknown toll of chronic sinus problems

A not-so-simple affliction of the sinuses engenders misery, $8 billion in yearly costs and overuse of antibiotics

Norovirus: The perfect pathogen

It’s easy to get, but difficult to study or treat. Scientists are making progress against the virus thanks to an infusion of cash and a new way of culturing it in the lab.