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Health & Disease

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”

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.

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?

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.

Twilight of the eye

Our bodies and abilities deteriorate with age, and sight is no exception. Physical changes to the visual system cloud it in multiple ways.

An invisible liver disease balloons into view

Fat buildup in the body’s filter organ can lead to scarring and worse. In step with obesity and diabetes, incidence is on the rise and a race for a cure is on.

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.