High blood pressure? A heart app prescribes musical therapy

Europe has gone from thinking music could stop plagues 400 years ago to realising it can help prevent cardiovascular disease today. By  ANTHONY KING The opening of a Beethoven symphony thrills the heart – but not just figuratively. While music touches us emotionally, it stimulates the heart physically and can lower blood pressure. More than one … Read more

European farms mix things up to guard against food-supply shocks

Greater diversification could help agriculture withstand climate, economic and geopolitical crises. By  ETHAN BILBY ‘Items in this section have limited availability due to supplier production issues,’ ‘Sorry, temporarily out of stock’ and ‘Sold out’ are all signs that became familiar as recent global upheavals exposed how precarious our food supply is. The COVID-19 pandemic led to … Read more

New forensic tools aid fight against sexual assault and other crimes

Technological developments in evidence gathering hold out promise of fewer offences going unpunished. By  ALI JONES The global success of television dramas like CSI: Crime Scene Investigation has lulled many into thinking that forensic analysis is an all-seeing, speedy science. The reality is that it’s much slower than TV lets on, with more limited scope for success. Not … Read more

Soil and freshwater come under the spotlight in plastics-pollution fight

Growing awareness of microplastics in the ground and in freshwater highlights the need to tackle an environmental threat generally associated with oceans. By  GARETH WILLMER On a recent stroll to his local supermarket in the southern German town of Bayreuth, Christian Laforsch decided to count how much plastic trash he passed. ‘It was 52 pieces on … Read more