Chick-inspired autism test for newborn babies to help early intervention

Image Credit - Flickr/Alex Starr,CC BY-SA 2.0

Giorgio Vallortigara didn’t set out to develop software that could detect whether babies have autism. A neuroscience professor at the University of Trento in Italy, his areas of expertise include animal cognition – he’s into the brains of honeybees, zebrafish and newly-hatched chicks. ‘I’m not a clinician or an autism expert,’ he confessed. ‘But my … Read more

Scientists can predict rare leukaemia 8 years before symptoms begin

Image Credit: National Cancer Institute

A study of more than half a million blood samples has allowed scientists to pinpoint the risk factors for a rare type of leukaemia, enabling them to predict if someone will develop the disease eight years before symptoms appear and opening the door to preventative treatments. Acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) is a rare cancer usually … Read more

Studies linking green space to lower suicide risk are ‘just a snapshot’

When assessing the link between surroundings and mental health, researchers need to look at people's entire lives, says Dr Helbich.

Research suggests that where we live can affect our mental health but Dr MarcoHelbich, an urban geographer at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, believes these studies only offer a limited snapshot of our lives. Using a smartphone app and register data, he is tracking people through their daily routines and their residential history to see … Read more

Family’s grief sparks a quest for better bladder cancer cures

Millions of lives are lost to cancer due to late detection so scientists are working on better ways of diagnosing the disease.

‘Invasive and uncomfortable’ prodedures for detecting if someone has bladder cancer could be replaced by urine tests that not only screen for the presence of the disease but also help doctors choose the right course of treatment for a particular patient. ‘Our lives literally came to a stop when my mother was diagnosed with cancer,’ said … Read more

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