Plague-Infected Prairie Dogs Force Areas in the US to Be Closed to Public

Plague-infected fleas affecting prairie dog colonies have forced closures in parts of the US state of Colorado, including wildlife areas and a suburb of the city of Denver, as authorities say the fleas could spread the disease to pets and people. Read More >>

Dirty Air May Increase Your Risk for Depression and Bipolar Disorder

With every breath you take, you’re inhaling a lot more than just the oxygen your lungs crave. Particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, ozone—all pollutants known to damage the heart and lungs—probably enter your body, too. Read More >>

MDMA-Assisted Therapy Shows Promise as Treatment for Alcohol Addiction

Supplementing psychotherapy with small doses of MDMA could be an effective strategy to prevent relapses of alcohol addiction in patients, an ongoing small clinical trial suggests. The research is yet another example of how scientists and doctors are finding or rediscovering therapeutic uses for recreational and illicit drugs. Read More >>

Boris Johnson Outlines Proposals to Nip the Spread of Measles in the Bud

The UK has lost its measles-free status and Boris Johnson has announced a number of initiatives to tackle the problem. Read More >>

Dozens of People Have Lung Disease Linked to Vaping, and No One Knows Why

The number of people afflicted and hospitalised with serious lung disease connected to vaping continues to grow. This week, multiple states in the US reported similar cases, and the toll of confirmed and possible victims has climbed into the dozens. Right now, health officials and outside experts still seem to be in the dark as to what exactly is going on. Read More >>

A Girl Lived with a ‘Twin’ Inside Her for 17 Years Without Knowing

A girl in India unknowingly lived with one of the rarest and most unsettling medical conditions for nearly two decades, her doctors say. According to a case report out this week, the girl had a sac containing her still-growing “twin” lodged in her abdomen for 17 years. The twin had hair, teeth, and even a spine. Read More >>

Even Low Levels of Air Pollution Can Damage Your Lungs as Much as Smoking a Pack a Day

Breathing polluted air could impact a person’s health just as much as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. Read More >>

Dentists Want Schools to Be Sugar-Free Zones

Dentists shaking their heads in dismay at the state of the nation's teeth are pushing for new rules on the eating of sugary foods, and are angling for a future in which our schools become sugar-free zones in order to give the teeth of the children a few hours of respite from the attack of unhealthy foods and drinks. Read More >>

US Man Reportedly in a Coma After Contracting Brain Infection From a Mosquito

A rare, sometimes fatal viral infection spread by mosquitoes has resurfaced in the US state of Massachusetts—and has likely sent at least one man into a coma. Over the weekend, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health reported that a local resident contracted the Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) virus. Dozens of communities remain at critical or high risk for the virus, and residents are being advised to stay indoors at night. Read More >>

A Sci-Fi Looking Robotic Neck Brace Lets ALS Patients Hold Their Heads High Again

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, better known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a neurodegenerative condition that affects muscle strength and control, eventually leaving patients unable to even hold their own heads up. To improve their quality of life, researchers and engineers at Columbia University have created a robotic neck brace that serves as artificial neck muscles so patients can lift their heads and perform day to day activities we all take for granted. Read More >>

Preliminary Data Shows Two New Ebola Drugs Dramatically Decrease Mortality Rates

Two new clinical treatments for the infamous Ebola virus may result in it becoming a “preventable and treatable” disease, the BBC reported on Monday, with a study of four drugs finding that two treatments called REGN-EB3 and mAb114 were effective in limiting mortality from the disease. Read More >>

A Dangerous Algae is Killing Our Dogs – and Climate Change is Going to Make it Worse

A pair of tragic stories reported this past weekend are raising awareness of a threat to both people and animals in the water: algae. At least four dogs in two states along the Southeast U.S. have reportedly died from swimming in freshwater lakes and ponds filled with toxic blue-green algae. And as the climate warms, these sad cases could become more common in the U.S. and elsewhere. Read More >>

US Food and Drug Administration Is Investigating 127 Incidents of Seizures Possibly Linked to Use of E-Cigarettes

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced last week that it is investigating 127 reports of seizures or other neurological issues that may be linked to the use of e-cigarettes, a figure that has expanded by nearly 100 since the agency first announced its probe back in April. Read More >>

Is Cleaning Your Ears With Cotton Buds Really That Dangerous?

A real-life horror tale that’s gotten renewed media attention this week is sure to make you think twice about digging earwax out of your ears. An Australian woman says she developed a life-threatening infection that ate away parts of her skull after years of swabbing her ears with cotton. But how likely is that scenario—and how dangerous are cotton buds to our ears really? Read More >>

Can You Laugh to Death?

True laughter—not the strained, polite variant you find in offices, or the monotonous guffawing you hear on comedy podcasts, but real, involuntary, gasping laughter—is an escape from death, or at least the dread of it: you can think about death while laughing hysterically, can even, if you’re a sociopath, watch someone die while laughing hysterically, but it’s safe to say that, in that moment, your own death will not seem so frightening. And so of course the question is: can the act of laughing itself kill you, specifically with an aneurysm or a heart attack? For this week’s Giz Asks, we reached out to a number of doctors to find out. Read More >>