New tests identify contaminated drinking water in minutes, not weeks

Legionella cells can be detected with a home-printer-size testing machine. Image credit - CDC/ Dr. Barry S. Fields

Speedy, affordable water tests that can be used in on location and even run continuously will help scientists identify disease-causing bacteria in under an hour and potentially reduce the spread of common illnesses such as diarrhoea, which kills an estimated 842,000 people every year. Hundreds of millions of samples are tested each year to detect harmful bacteria … 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

New clues unearthed about mammals’ rapid evolution after dinosaur extinction

The extinction of the dinosaurs paved the way for today's mammalian diversity.

It was a life-altering event. Around 66 million years ago, at the end of the Cretaceous period, an asteroid struck the Earth, triggering a mass extinction that killed off the dinosaurs and some 75% of all species. Somehow mammals survived, thrived, and became dominant across the planet. Now we have new clues about how that … Read more

Tapping into water’s therapeutic power to cut health costs

Spending time near water has even greater health benefits than visiting a forest or park, according to researchers. Image credit — Frederica Diamanta/ Unsplash

Living close to bodies of water such as a river or even a fountain could help people be healthier while also reducing medical costs for governments, according to researchers. There is growing evidence that spending time in the natural environment can translate into important mental and physical health benefits, which can prevent illness and reduce … Read more

Genetic error led humans to evolve bigger, but more vulnerable, brains

The skull of a Australopithecus sediba, a species of Australopithecines, who were our ancestors and whose brains started to grow two to three million years ago. Image credit - Australopithecus sediba by Brett Eloff, courtesy Profberger and Wits University is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Newly-discovered genes that helped supersize human brains along with DNA retrieved from extinct humans, which can still be found in people living today, are expanding scientists’ understanding of how our species evolved. One of the major features that distinguish humans from other primates is the size of our brains, which underwent rapid evolution from about … Read more

New fathers may undergo hormonal, neural and behavioural changes

The hormone oxytocin, which derives its name from ancient Greek and means ‘swift birth’, likely plays a role in fathering. Image credit — Pxhere/JohnsonGoh, licensed under CC0

Fathers’ hormone levels and brain activity may change when they spend time with their children, helping them adapt to parenthood in a way that has been overlooked until now, according to Professor Marian Bakermans-Kranenburg, who studies children and family relations at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and was until recently at Leiden University in the Netherlands. She … Read more

Share This