If You Smell Things That Aren’t Really There, You’re Not Alone

A small but very real percentage of people often smell odours that aren’t actually there. About one in 15 Americans over the age of 40 regularly experience so-called phantom odours. But we have no idea why, according to a new study published Thursday in JAMA Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery. Read More >>

Veterinarians Say Pet Owners Are Hurting Animals to Get Opioids

A recent survey suggests that some people struggling with opioid addiction might be turning to a tragically desperate method to get more prescription painkillers: Hurting their own pets. And veterinarians themselves, particularly in the US, may be abusing opioids or helping to illegally sell them. Read More >>

Sleep-Deprived People May Infect You With Loneliness

Not getting enough or the right kind of sleep is notoriously bad for physical health. But a new study out of the University of California, Berkeley suggests that poor sleep can be a nightmare for our social lives too. It just might turn us into lonely outcasts, capable of spreading our misery to others. Read More >>

Want to Keep Your Sperm Healthy? Stick to Boxers, Says Harvard Study

It’s long been thought that snug underwear can be bad for men’s semen quality, thanks to the warmer temperatures they can cause down below. And a new study out of Harvard University seems to confirm that suspicion. It found that men attending a fertility centre who regularly wore boxers had higher sperm counts and healthier sperm than everyone else. Read More >>

Keto Diets Might Raise Type 2 Diabetes Risk—at Least in Mice

Ketogenic diets (keto for short) have become the fad health trend of the moment, with adherents claiming that they can help you lose and keep off weight faster than anything else, as well as provide a bevy of health benefits. But a new mouse study out of Switzerland suggests that keto diets might have an unintended effect on the ability to process insulin, which could possibly raise the risk of type 2 diabetes. The findings, however, may only be relevant to mice. Read More >>

Probiotic Supplements Might Be Giving Some People ‘Brain Fog’

Given their current popularity, you might assume that probiotics—capsules containing a mix of “good” bacteria that are said to rebalance our gut’s bacterial content—would be perfectly harmless. But a team of gastroenterologists from Augusta University in the US state of Georgia is challenging that assumption. Their recent study is the latest to suggest some people who take probiotics can develop a strange collection of symptoms, including gas, diarrhoea, and “brain fog.” Read More >>

Women Are More Likely to Die From a Heart Attack If Their Doctor Is Male

There’s a strange gender paradox at the heart of cardiovascular disease. Men are more likely to be diagnosed with a heart condition in their lifetime than women, but diagnosed women are less likely to survive. A study out today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences offers a new theory for this disparity: It suggests that men, who account for the majority of doctors, are worse at treating women heart attack patients than their female counterparts. Read More >>

We May Finally Know How Notorious Pregnancy Drug Thalidomide Hurt Thousands of Babies

The devastating story of thalidomide—a once-popular morning sickness drug later found to cause terrible birth defects—might have a few more chapters left to it. A new study published this week in the journal eLife claims to have discovered how the drug was able to so brutally harm developing fetuses in the 1950s and 1960s. The paper’s insights might even support the development of new kinds of drugs in the near future. Read More >>

Hand Sanitisers Are Becoming Less Effective Against Some Hospital Superbugs

Bacteria are steadily winning the war against even our strongest antibiotics, stoking fears of a future that resembles Victorian-era England in all the worst ways. A new study published Wednesday in Science Translational Medicine is sure to add to this existential terror: It suggests that at least some hospital-spread bugs are also starting to fend off alcohol-based disinfectants. Read More >>

10-Year-Old Boy Recovers Impressively After One-Sixth of His Brain Is Removed

A new case study from Pittsburgh highlights the resilience of the human brain. It details a boy who, despite losing one-third of the right hemisphere of his brain when he was six, is now a mostly ordinary 10-year-old. Though he can’t see past the left side of his face, his brain has compensated for the loss in some ways by forming new neural connections, allowing him to recognise faces and objects as easily as anyone else. Read More >>

Hong Kong Subway Study Shows How Quickly Bacteria Travel Across a City

If you’re one of the billions of people worldwide to use mass public transit regularly, you’re sharing a lot more than a commute with your fellow passengers, suggests a new study published today in Cell Reports. You’re also sharing and swapping the teeming microbes that call our bodies home. Read More >>

Russian Scientists Claim to Have Resurrected 40,000-Year-Old Worms Buried in Ice

A team of Russian scientists is lining themselves up to be the opening cast of a John Carpenter film. Earlier this month, in the journal Doklady Biological Sciences, they announced they had apparently discovered ancient nematode worms that were able to resurrect themselves after spending at least 32,000 years buried in permafrost. The discovery, if legitimate, would represent the longest-surviving return from the cold ever seen in a complex, multi-celled organism, dwarfing even the tardigrade. Read More >>

Dog Owners Fake-Cried So Researchers Could Confirm the Sweet Truth About Our Pups

Canine lovers hardly need more evidence that dogs are, in fact, good. But for any remaining heartless monsters, there’s this new study published on Monday in the journal of Learning and Behavior. It suggests that many dogs will rush over to comfort their owners if they think they’re in trouble. Read More >>

Scientists Figured Out Why Our Mouths Heal So Freakishly Fast

Researchers at the National Institutes of Health think they’ve uncovered just why the mouth heals so easily. Their findings, published Wednesday in Science Translational Medicine, might even help us discover how to make the rest of our body heal quicker, too. And all they had to do was (slightly) hurt some innocent people. Read More >>

The Waterpik ‘Flossing Toothbrush’ Is Being Recalled Because It Might Set Your Bathroom on Fire

A freshly debuted $200 (£152) toothbrush that promises to both brush and floss your teeth is heating up bathrooms for all the wrong reasons. This month, the electric toothbrush and water flosser company Water Pik announced a voluntary recall of all units of its Sonic-Fusion toothbrushes over claims that some of the products have shot off sparks and partially melted while being charged. In at least one case, the toothbrush caused a fire. Read More >>