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Health & Disease

In the bank

Britain is profiling the genes, health and lifestyles of its citizens and handing the results to scientists across the world.

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.

Going gentle

A sociologist explains how to get the most out of the final months of life

Getting “exhausted” T cells back into action against cancer

When a malignancy or chronic infection sets in, a kind of immune combat fatigue can follow. Finding ways to recharge immune cells can restore their ability to fight deadly diseases, says immunologist John Wherry.

Curious cure: Human waste

Studies point to the life-saving record of fecal transplants for patients infected with C. diff, despite a recent death. Doctors are now testing the procedure for other conditions.

How our bodies coddle cancer

Tumors resist chemotherapy with help from a surprising source: nearby normal cells. Researchers are developing workarounds.

Mucus: the body’s unsung hero

The slimy stuff has a surprisingly wide array of beneficial biological functions

How 3-D printing could help shape surgery

Technology is enabling increasingly lifelike models of organs to help doctors practice operations.

First, do harm

Studies that deliberately infect people with diseases are on the rise. They promise speedier vaccine development, but there’s a need to shore up informed consent.