by Francesca Tomasi figures by Aparna Nathan Too Much of a Good Thing? Ninety years ago, Alexander Fleming happened upon the chemical compound penicillin and sparked a medical revolution. It was a serendipitous occasion – Fleming had been growing plates of bacteria in his lab when he noticed some mold growing on one of them. Just some classic contamination, he probably thought, ready to discard … Continue reading Less of the Same: Rebooting the antibiotic pipeline
It is 2018, and we are well on our way towards curing cancer. Yet, as we look around, we find another nightmare haunting our society that is as formidable, if not more so, as it has been for centuries. That nightmare is opioid addiction. Overcoming opioid addiction is notoriously difficult, because of the excruciating symptoms associated with the withdrawal process, during which the only aid … Continue reading The FDA Approves the First Non-Opioid Drug to Ease Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms
by Fernanda Ferreira figures by Daniel Utter There are tens of thousands of buildings in São Paulo, the largest city in the Western hemisphere and Brazil’s financial center. From the sky, São Paulo looks like a fossilized forest of concrete trees. From the ground, it’s a pulsing behemoth, every avenue crammed with cars and people. The urban sprawl of Metropolitan São Paulo engulfs 39 municipalities … Continue reading Disease Never Sleeps: Yellow fever and the importance of vaccine stockpiles in emergency epidemic prevention
by Xindi (Cindy) Hu figures by Lillian Horin In March 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) decided not to ban Chlorpyrifos, a widely used pesticide. One year later, in February 2018, a bill was introduced in Hawaii to ban the manufacturing, distribution, and use of chlorpyrifos across all Hawaiian islands. Hawaii House Rep Richard Creagan said the legislation was prompted by the inaction in … Continue reading The Most Widely Used Pesticide, One Year Later
by Hannah Schulze figures by Sean Wilson If you’ve ever felt lonely, know that you’re not alone. According to a study from the British Red Cross, over nine million adults in the U.K. feel the same way—that’s about 1/5 of the country’s population! Loneliness is increasingly being considered a hazard to human health comparable to obesity and smoking. Now, even governments are getting involved—in 2018, … Continue reading Loneliness: An Epidemic?
For as long as humans have conceived of making hybrid organisms, an ethical debate has been waged over whether or not we should. The pros and cons are vast and poignant. Each new scientific advancement towards making hybrids stokes the fire of controversy. This year, researchers presented work at a conference detailing the most recent hybrid: a sheep-human chimera. To create these chimeras, scientists used … Continue reading Scientists have created sheep that are 0.01% human
by Christopher Gerry The routes that lead to a career in biomedicine are as diverse as they are plentiful, but one of my colleagues has taken a particularly unorthodox path. Sonia had just graduated from law school when she learned of a “typo” in her genetic code that will almost certainly induce a fatal and untreatable brain disorder called prion disease. She and her husband, … Continue reading Risky Business: The far-reaching consequences of slashing the orphan drug tax credit
by Madeleine Jennewein figures by Rebecca Clements Vaccines have dramatically increased life expectancy over the last 100 years, radically reshaping our communities, our economy, and the way we live our lives. As vaccination has become more widespread, the memory of the devastating impacts of infectious disease has faded, and the diseases that vaccines guard against seem less threatening. Misinformation and a lack of understanding about … Continue reading Vaccination: More than just your health
by Olivia K. Foster Rhoades On December 4th, President Trump declared both the Bears Ears National Monument and the Grand Staircase-Escalante would be reduced by 1 million acres each–an unprecedented change in federal land policy. As we near the end of 2017, four more monuments totaling 12.3 million acres in size have been slated for reduction. To put that in perspective, the state of Massachusetts … Continue reading The Scales of Federal Land Management: Balancing spacious skies and purple mountains of paperwork
by Felix Barber figures by Rebecca Senft Why are batteries important? Ask yourself what a future with a sustainable economy would look like. Such a future would likely exploit sources of renewable energy, such as solar and wind, to power the electric grid, with personal transport in the form of electric vehicles (“EVs”) that would draw their power from that same grid rather than from … Continue reading The Future of Energy Storage: A lost opportunity for the U.S.?