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

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

‘Island of the brain’ explains how physical states affect anxiety

Anxiety disorders might be better explained by understanding the brain's way of regulating emotions.

A fold of tissue hidden deep inside the human brain which collects inputs from both inside and outside the body could explain how our physical states influence our emotions and may be the key to understanding anxiety disorders, according to Dr Nadine Gogolla, a neuroscientist at the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology in Munich, Germany. … Read more

Mini-brains offer hope in search for new drugs for brain disorders

Cerebral organoids allow scientists to test new drugs on human brain tissue in labs.

Miniature brains grown in laboratory dishes could overcome some of the problems testing drugs on animals and help researchers identify new ways to treat very human, and incurable, conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and epilepsy. Most new drugs are developed and tested using mice as models. However, with brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s, the animals never … Read more

Finding drugs that are safe to take while pregnant

Uncertainty about the effects that many medications can have on the unborn child leave a large number of pregnant women with untreated conditions.

by Frieda Klotz Expectant mothers often face a dilemma about whether to take medication when they fall ill due to fears it might harm their unborn baby, but new research is unravelling which drugs are safe to take during pregnancy. Pregnant women are excluded from trials of new medications for ethical reasons, which has led … Read more