health
More Young Adults Are Dying From Alcohol-Caused Liver Disease

Over the past few years, there’s been a steady rise in the rate of Americans who die by suicide and drugs each year. But while much of the attention surrounding these deaths has focused on the opioid crisis, a new study out Wednesday in the BMJ highlights a different aspect of that increase: More people, especially young adults, are dying of alcohol-related diseases such as liver cancer and cirrhosis. Read More >>

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Synthetic Brain-Destroying Human Prions Created in the Lab for the First Time

Researchers from Case Western Reserve University have synthesised an artificial human prion, a scientific first that could eventually lead to treatments for Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and other deadly brain-wasting disorders. Read More >>

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Genetic Analysis Suggests Squirrels Contributed to the Global Spread of Leprosy

Leprosy is one of the oldest known diseases to afflict humans, yet its origin is mired in controversy. A new study, in which 10 strains of the disease were detected in the remains medieval Europeans, is now complicating the picture even further by pointing to western Europe as a potential launching point for leprosy. What’s more, the evidence also points to squirrels as a major contributing factor in the spread of the dreaded disease. Read More >>

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Scientists Conclude Your Rubber Bath Ducky Is Probably Gross as Hell

It turns out the cute, harmless-looking rubber ducky floating around in your bathtub may actually be a Trojan horse for ravenous legions of “potentially pathogenic bacteria.” Read More >>

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There May Actually be Three Kinds of Type 2 Diabetes

Our conception of diabetes might be way off-base, a large international collaboration of researchers argue this month in The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology. Rather than just type 1 and type 2 diabetes, there could be at least five broad ways the insulin disorder manifests. Read More >>

health
Vaccinations Drop in Europe, and the Result Was Over 21,000 Cases of Measles

Measles is pulling off a disconcerting resurgence across the continent of Europe at the same time the vaccination rate is falling, per recent data from the World Health Organisation. Read More >>

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Scientists Slammed for Synthesising a Smallpox-Like Virus in the Lab

The dreaded smallpox virus was eradicated more than 40 years ago, but the threat of its return still looms. In an effort to develop a safer vaccine substitute, Canadian researchers have resurrected a close relative—the extinct horsepox virus—from scratch. Critics say the exercise was pointless, and because the results were published in an open access journal, they fear the smallpox virus can now be manufactured by virtually anybody—terrorists included. Read More >>

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Humans, Not Rats, May Have Been Responsible for Spreading the Black Death

The Black Death, a plague responsible for killing around a third of the population of Europe during the 14th century, spread to millions of humans by rats that carried infected fleas—right? That’s the story we’ve long been told by historians. A new study upends this conventional thinking, however, showing that humans, and not rodents, were the primary spreaders of the dreaded disease. Read More >>

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Stop Feeding Your Pets Raw Meat

An emerging trend among pet owners is the practise of feeding dogs and cats raw meat. This idea is that we should put our domestic cats and dogs on diets that more closely approximate what they might eat in nature. New research from Europe shows the surprising degree to which germs and parasites can be found in commercial raw-meat products—posing potential health risks to both pets and their owners. Read More >>

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Brutal Fungal Disease Could Threaten Snakes on a Global Scale

It starts with a single lesion. And then another. Soon, the snake’s entire body is covered in the unsightly sores. If the snake is lucky, its skin will start moulting, expunging the reptile of the infection. Less fortunate snakes will die. And in some cases, desperate snakes will spend more time in the sun to expedite the molting process—a risky move that makes them vulnerable to predators. Read More >>

health
A Cholera Epidemic in Yemen Is Now Wildly Out of Control

With the civil war in Yemen now having entered into its third year, the beleaguered Middle Eastern nation is having to contend with the devastating impacts of conflict, including disease. An alarming report from the World Health Organization estimates that some 500,000 Yemenis have contracted cholera since April of this year, of which 2,000 have died. It’s now the worst active cholera epidemic in the world, and one of the largest in decades. Read More >>

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A Deadly Brain-Invading Worm Is Disturbingly Widespread in Florida

Scientists in Florida have found traces of rat lungworm in five counties, bolstering the idea that this potentially fatal parasite may be expanding its geographical range on account of—you guessed it—climate change. Read More >>

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CRISPR Could Transform the Way We Diagnose Disease

The gene editing tool CRISPR could one day mean that we can simply edit away disease, blight and undesirable genetic traits. Now, it’s also gaining traction in another realm of medical technology: diagnosing disease. Read More >>

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An Odour Sensor on Malaria Mosquitoes Specifically Targets Human Stench

Researchers at Vanderbilt University have found a secondary set of odour sensors on female malarial mosquitoes that appear to be specifically tuned to sniff out humans. While admittedly disturbing, the discovery could lead to new ways of combating malarial mosquitoes and the dreaded disease they carry. Read More >>

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Mysterious Brain Disease In Children Tied to a Popular Fruit

Since 1995, hundreds or poor children in Muzaffarpur, India have mysteriously suffered seizures and feelings of brain fogginess, usually in the morning. Many would soon die. This happened every year between May and July: In 2014, for example, Muzaffarpur hospitals admitted 390 kids with the symptoms, resulting in 122 deaths. Read More >>