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

Genetic profiling could improve IVF success

There are three sources of variability in fertility - genetics, the family environment and the individual environment.

by Frieda Klotz Genetic profiling could help determine whether an embryo created through in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) is likely to successfully transfer to the womb, increasing the success rate of the procedure. It’s part of a field of work looking at the role of genetics in fertility. ‘Understanding why some people do not have children, and … Read more

Maternal death audits in Africa win €1 mn innovation prize

A successful project to improve childbirth safety in Mali and Senegal will now be rolled out to Chad, Niger and Burkina Faso.

An audit committee that reviews deaths during childbirth has reduced the maternal mortality rate in hospitals in Mali and Senegal by 15%, and its founders have been awarded the €1 million EU Horizon Birth Day prize for a solution that saves the lives of mothers and their babies. More than 800 women die every day from preventable … 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

Personalised nutrition to serve up a healthy life with a side of living longer

A tool that accurately assesses someone's dietary intake will allow scientists to deliver highly personalised advice.

A new tool that uses molecular clues to determine what someone has eaten and a better understanding of how genes affect the way we break down food could pave the way for personalised dietary advice that not only helps people avoid diseases such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease, but could also lengthen life. Six … Read more

Sea anemone sting cells could inspire new drug-delivery systems

A group of creatures known as cnidarians, which includes sea anemones, are the only animals that inject venom via sting cells.

A multi-stage genetic process for the formation of sting cells in sea anemones could inspire a new way of delivering drugs into the human body. It’s part of a field of work that looks at how venom and the way it’s produced in animals could be used to create life-saving treatments for humans. Dr Kartik … Read more