Humans

  • Photo of Dr Michael Mosley: Why your sleep tracker could sabotage your shut-eye

    Dr Michael Mosley: Why your sleep tracker could sabotage your shut-eye

    Do you suffer from orthosomnia, an unhealthy obsession with getting the right amount of ‘healthy’ sleep each night? During lockdown, there is evidence of rising rates of insomnia, particularly in health care workers, but orthosomnia is different. It applies to people who are more than a little bit obsessed by what their sleep trackers are telling them, and who rely…

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  • Photo of Why do we sleep?

    Why do we sleep?

    What is sleep? Sleep is a state of altered consciousness in which we become less aware of what’s going on around us. Sleep can take different forms in different animals. Dolphins, for example, sleep just half a brain at a time, and can even continue to swim while asleep. For humans, sleep involves four stages, called N1, N2, N3 and…

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  • Photo of A history of robots, from ancient Greece to 19th Century London

    A history of robots, from ancient Greece to 19th Century London

    It appeared near the Houses of Parliament on Wednesday 9 Decem­ber 1868. It looked for all the world like a railway signal: a revolving gas-powered lantern with a red and a green light at the end of a swivelling wooden arm. Its purposes seemed benign, and we obeyed its instructions will­ingly. Why wouldn’t we? The motor car had yet to…

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  • Never-before-seen antibody binding, informing liver cancer, antibody design

    In structural biology, some molecules are so unusual they can only be captured with a unique set of tools. That’s precisely how a multi-institutional research team led by Salk scientists defined how antibodies can recognize a compound called phosphohistidine — a highly unstable molecule that has been found to play a central role in some forms of cancer, such as…

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  • New possibilities to prevent sudden cardiac death

    Nearly a half-million people a year die from sudden cardiac death (SCD) in the U.S. — the result of malfunctions in the heart’s electrical system. A leading cause of SCD in young athletes is arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy (ACM), a genetic disease in which healthy heart muscle is replaced over time by scar tissue (fibrosis) and fat. Stephen Chelko, an assistant professor…

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  • Photo of Panama disease breakthrough sparks US funding

    Panama disease breakthrough sparks US funding

    QUT researcher and Distinguished Professor James Dale and his team have successfully developed a line of Cavendish bananas resistant to Panama disease tropical race 4 (TR4). The development of the TR4 resistant line has led to a multi-million-dollar partnership with US-based international fresh fruit and vegetable leader, Fresh Del Monte. Professor Dale said the funding would enable his research team…

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  • Photo of How your brain creates pain – and what we can do about it

    How your brain creates pain – and what we can do about it

    Most of us tend to think that pain is the product of injury or damage to tissue – the knife that slipped, the slipped disc from too much heavy lifting, the baby’s giant head. And there’s a good reason for that: pain, as lived experience has taught us, is an essential warning system, an alarm that sounds whenever we’re experiencing…

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  • Radioactive bone cement may be safer in treating spinal tumors

    A radioactive bone cement that’s injected into bone to provide support and local irradiation is proving to be a safer alternative to conventional radiation therapy for bone tumors, according to a study led by University of California, Irvine researchers. The study shows that this brachytherapy cement can be placed into spinal bones to directly irradiate tumors without harming the spinal…

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  • Photo of What is consciousness?

    What is consciousness?

    From a medical perspective, consciousness is a description of our current level of awareness: people who are fully awake are completely conscious but, at the other extreme, people in a coma are without consciousness because they have no subjective thoughts or sense of awareness. Other states of consciousness, such as sleep and intoxication, sit between the two – awareness and…

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  • Photo of A body burned inside a hut 20,000 years ago signaled shifting views of death

    A body burned inside a hut 20,000 years ago signaled shifting views of death

    Middle Eastern hunter-gatherers changed their relationship with the dead nearly 20,000 years ago. Clues to that spiritual shift come from the discovery of an ancient woman’s fiery burial in a hut at a seasonal campsite. Burials of people in houses or other structures, as well as cremations, are thought to have originated in Neolithic-period farming villages in and around the…

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