Want to cure disease? Repurpose the body’s cells

Implanting stem cells from elsewhere in the body can help reverse organ damage.

If one part of the body breaks, can you just replace it with cells from another organ? That’s the hope of stem cell scientists who are reprogramming cells to treat major conditions such as incontinence and heart failure. Millions of Europeans are affected by stress urinary incontinence (SUI) which can have a devastating effect on … Read more

Complex diseases get the big data treatment

Large databases can help shine a light on the complexities behind many cardiovascular diseases.

The big data explosion, which allows scientists to analyse factors such as people’s lifestyles, genes and medical records to develop personalised treatments for conditions, has so far mostly benefitted rare diseases with simple causes. But now, complex problems such as cardiovascular disease and dementia are getting the big data treatment. The big data explosion, which … Read more

Rise in vaccine hesitancy related to pursuit of purity – Prof. Heidi Larson

Europe is the most sceptical region in the world when it comes to vaccines, according to the vaccine confidence index.

The rise of alternative health practices and a quest for purity can partly explain the falling confidence in vaccines which is driving outbreaks of preventable diseases such as measles, according to Heidi Larson, professor of anthropology, risk and decision medicine at the UK’s London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. She is working to understand … Read more

Europe’s silent opioid epidemic

Codeine addiction is a widespread problem which can be hard to diagnose, study says.

As opiate addiction continues to grip the United States – killing more than 100 people per day in 2016 – researchers are trying to get a handle on the scale of the problem in Europe. The US is grappling with a major crisis driven by dependency on opioid painkillers such as fentanyl. These highly addictive prescription drugs are … Read more

Simple blood test could reveal epilepsy risk

It is difficult for doctors to diagnose epilepsy as they usually do not observe the symptoms in a patient, but a blood test could overcome this challenge.

A finger-prick blood test to diagnose epilepsy could be available within five years, according to scientists who are using tell-tale molecules called biomarkers to overcome current diagnostic problems and guide treatment. More than 50 million people are affected by epilepsy worldwide. However, diagnosing the disease remains challenging and treatments are often unsuccessful: only 70% of patients taking … Read more

Map of brain cell activity may help us control when we sleep

Scientists still have much to learn about the underlying circuitry that triggers the onset of sleep.

For many people who struggle to get a good night’s rest, being able to switch on and off the brain circuits that control sleep would be a life-changer. The good news is that’s exactly what scientists hope to do, but first they need to get a better understanding of what’s going on. It’s easy to … Read more