Illness and disease


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Photo by Karen Kasmauski

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Biology
The obesity era

As the American people got fatter, so did marmosets, vervet monkeys and mice. The problem may be bigger than any of us

David Berreby

Spinning sugar... Photo by delihayat/Getty

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Illness and disease
The case against sugar

A potent toxin that alters hormones and metabolism, sugar sets the stage for epidemic levels of obesity and diabetes

Gary Taubes

Photo by Charles Gullung/Gallery Stock
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Childhood and adolescence
Childhood, disrupted

Adversity in childhood can create long-lasting scars, damaging our cells and our DNA, and making us sick as adults

Donna Jackson Nakazawa

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Consciousness and altered states
Hallucinogenic nights

Sleep paralysis has tormented me since childhood. But now it’s my portal to out-of-body travel and lucid dreams

Karen Emslie

A deer tick picked up during a conservation walk through Wylde Woods in Dover, Massachusetts, 25 October 2010. Photo by Bill Greene/The Boston Globe/Getty
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Illness and disease
Ticks rising

In a warming world, ticks thrive in more places than ever before, making Lyme disease the first epidemic of climate change

Mary Beth Pfeiffer

From ‘Amours Difficiles’ (Hard love stories); four stories of mothers and daughters. Eugenia and Violeta. Photo by Adriana Lestido / Agence VU
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Human reproduction
We are multitudes

Women are chimeras, with genetic material from both their parents and children. Where does that leave individual identity?

Katherine Rowland

From Decretum Gratiani with the commentary of Bartolomeo da Brescia, Italy, 1340-1345. Lyon, BM, Ms 5128, fol 100r. Photo courtesy Discarding Images

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History
The salacious Middle Ages

Medieval people feared death by celibacy as much as venereal disease, and practiced complex sexual health regimens

Katherine Harvey

Breaking point. Photo by Paul Furborough/EyeEm/Getty
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Neuroscience
When is stress good for you?

The subtle flows and toxic hits of stress get under the skin, making and breaking the body and brain over a lifetime

Bruce McEwen

Image courtesy The British Library
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Social psychology
Disgust made us human

Our ancestors reacted to parasites with overwhelming revulsion, wiring the brain for morals, manners, politics and laws

Kathleen McAuliffe

Photo by Getty

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Food and drink
Against the grains

A carbs-rich diet has been blamed for the alarming explosion of obesity and chronic disease. What does the science show?

Melinda Wenner Moyer

Radiation treatment for lung cancer. Photo by Christopher Anderson/Magnum

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Public health
Death of cancer

A critical mass of medical knowledge could soon end the death threat of cancer, but politics stands in the way

Vincent DeVita & Elizabeth DeVita-Raeburn

Photo by Stephan Vanfleteren/Panos

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Addiction
The addiction habit

Addiction changes the brain but it’s not a disease that can be cured with medicine. In fact, it’s learned – like a habit

Marc Lewis

A colorized transmission electron micrograph of Escherichia coli bacteria. Photo courtesy Elizabthe H White/CDC

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Biology
Coincidental killers

We assume that microbes evolved to attack humans when actually we are just civilian casualties in a much older war

Ed Yong

Refugee camps have all the ingredients for an epidemic outbreak.  Photo by Stefano Rellandini/Reuters

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Illness and disease
How plagues really work

The next pandemic will erupt, not from the jungle, but from the disease factories of hospitals, refugee camps and cities

Wendy Orent

Jakob Gutierrez, 5, receives an immunisation shot from a school nurse in Hialeah, Florida. August 2007. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

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Public health
Values and vaccines

Parents who reject vaccination are making a rational choice – they prefer to put their children above the public good

Maggie Koerth-Baker

Isabelle, 57, diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease 15 years ago, works on her watercolour paintings at home in northern France. Photo by Patrick Allard/REA

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Illness and disease
The best life possible

Living with chronic illness is hard. But there are psychological techniques that make it possible to thrive even when ill

Joseph Trunzo

Photo by Schellhorn/ullstein bild via Getty
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Biology
Local links run the world

Networks regulate everything from ant colonies and middle schools to epidemics and the internet. Here’s how they work

Deborah M Gordon

The Triumph of Death by Pieter Bruegel the Elder. Courtesy Museo Del Prado, Madrid.

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Illness and disease
The Black Death

At least one in three Europeans and untold millions in Asia died. What was the source of this brutal, lethal efficiency?

Wendy Orent

Facial acupuncture is administered to a patient in Beijing. Photo by Justin Jin/Panos

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Medicine
Do some harm

Traditional Chinese medicine is an odd, dangerous mix of sense and nonsense. Can it survive in modern China?

James Palmer

Neuroglia cell destroying beta-amyloid in the brain. Photo by Dennis Kunkel/Science Photo Library

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Illness and disease
A bug for Alzheimer’s?

A bold theory places infection at the root of Alzheimer’s, explaining why decades of treatment have done little good

Melinda Wenner Moyer

Photo by Gallery Stock
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Illness and disease
The disremembered

Dementia undermines all of our philosophical assumptions about the coherence of the self. But that might be a good thing

Charles Leadbeater

Fluorescence light micrograph of human stem cells derived from adipose (fat) tissue. Photo by Riccardo Cassiani-Ingoni/SPL

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Chemistry
The power of fat

Human fat cells can be used to regenerate damaged hearts and ageing joints. So should we start piling on the pounds?

Jalees Rehman

At Wounded Knee, South Dakota, 1984. Photo by Pierre Perrin/Gamma-Rapho/Getty
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Genetics
Haunted by history

War, famine and persecution inflict profound changes on bodies and brains. Could these changes persist over generations?

Pam Weintraub

On Friday 19 December 2014, approximately 60 dogs and other animals were rescued from atrocious conditions in Sequatchie County, Tennessee. Photo by Kathy Milani/The Humane Society of the United States/PA Photos
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Wellbeing
The cruelty of kindness

‘No kill’ animal shelters have unleashed an epidemic of suffering. Is a life of misery any better than a quick death?

Sabine Heinlein

Photo by Dennis Lane/Getty

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Medicine
In cold blood

Therapeutic hypothermia could save lives, propel interstellar travel and expand consciousness. Why the cold feet?

Philip Jaekl