Medicine


Latest Popular


Astronomy Biology Biotechnology Chemistry Computing and artificial intelligence Cosmology Deep time Earth science and climate Ecology and environmental sciences Engineering Evolution Genetics History of science Human evolution Human reproduction Illness and disease Mathematics Medicine Oceans and water Palaeontology Physics Quantum theory Space exploration

All photos courtesy Marrioth Ling

Essay/
Illness and disease
Beautiful monsters

Cancer is part of multicellular life. Now the riotous growth of crested cacti show how humans might adapt to live with it

Athena Aktipis

A polio patient receives treatment via an ‘iron lung’, the nurse adjusting the flow of air pressure. United States c1955. Photo by Three Lions Inc/Getty

Essay/
Medicine
Life and breath

There’s a strange, and deeply human, story behind how we taught machines to breathe for critically ill patients

Sarah Ruth Bates

A group gather to watch another victim taken to a hospital during the 1956 polio epidemic in Chicago, Illinois. Photo by Francis Miller/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty

Essay/
Illness and disease
Stealth infections

From the Black Death to polio, the most dangerous pathogens have moved silently, transmitted by apparently healthy people

Wendy Orent

Photo by Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Essay/
Medicine
The medicalised life

Why do so many see vaccines and other medical interventions as tools of social control rather than boons to health?

Bernice L Hausman

‘Take if you need, give if you can’: a local response to the COVID-19 outbreak in Naples, Italy, 30 March 2020. Photo by Ciro De Luca/Reuters

Essay/
Public health
It didn’t have to be this way

A bioethicist at the heart of the Italian coronavirus crisis asks: why won’t we talk about the trade-offs of the lockdown?

Silvia Camporesi

A 3D-printed model of a protein nanoparticle, shown here in orange and white. Scientists at the University of Washington are using protein design to create candidate nanoparticle vaccines. Photo by Ian C Haydon/Institute for Protein Design

Essay/
Future of technology
Engines of life

At the level of the tiny, biology is all about engineering. That’s why nanotechnology can rebuild medicine from within

Sonia Contera

Photo by Ed Kashi/VII

Essay/
Medicine
No patient is an island

How a concern to protect the autonomy of patients leads to the exclusion of families just when they are needed the most

Anita Ho

Photo by Jagoda Matejczuk/Getty

Essay/
Animals and humans
Rats are us

They are sentient beings with rich emotional lives, yet we subject them to experimental cruelty without conscience. Why?

Kristin Andrews & Susana Monsó

This colour-enhanced frontal view of the head, neck and shoulders confirms brain death by absence of blood flow to the brain. Photo by Living Art Enterprises, LLC/SPL

Essay/
Bioethics
Neither person nor cadaver

The body is warm, but the brain has gone dark: why the notion of brain death provokes the thorniest of medical dilemmas

Sharon Kaufman

A nurse and patient at Lyon’s Croix-Rousse hospital, March 2017. Photo by Jeff Pachoud/AFP/Getty

Essay/
Wellbeing
A sage on the ward

Good nurses are attuned to the lived experience of patients. Can the theory of phenomenology add more to their practice?

Dan Zahavi

A Huichol culture yarn painting from Zacatecas, Mexico. Photo by Charles Mahaux/AGF/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Essay/
Consciousness and altered states
The whole-planet view

Psychedelics offer a sense of expansive connectedness, just like astronauts have felt looking back to Earth from space

Rosalind Watts, Sam Gandy & Alex Evans

Light amongst the murk. Photo by Gabriele Diwald/Unsplash

Essay/
Medicine
In defence of antidepressants

The backlash against antidepressants results from a suspicion of medicine, and misunderstands the very nature of depression

Vasco M Barreto

A coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of a threadworm, a parasitic nematode of the small intestines of numerous animals. Photo by Steve Geschmeissner/Science Photo Library

Essay/
Medicine
We need worms

You might think they are disgusting. But our war against intestinal worms has damaged our immune systems and mental health

William Parker

Photo by Robert Brook/Science Photo Library

Essay/
Mental health
Do antidepressants work?

Depression is a very complex disorder and we simply have no good evidence that antidepressants help sufferers to improve

Jacob Stegenga

Bone as an endochrine organ. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of cancellous bone tissue. Photo by Steve Gschmeissner/Science Photo Library

Essay/
Genetics
Hormones united

The hormone system works like a democracy: every tissue in the body is an endocrine organ asserting its needs and demands

Liam Drew

After the war, an injured French soldier awaits fitting of a reconstructive mask by Anna Coleman Ladd of the American Red Cross. Photo courtesy Library of Congress

Essay/
History
The maimed and the healing

The casualties of the First World War brought a new understanding of human fragility and wholeness

Stefanos Geroulanos & Todd Meyers

Photo by Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg via Getty

Essay/
Illness and disease
Chronic

For big pharma, the perfect patient is wealthy, permanently ill and a daily pill-popper. Will medicine ever recover?

Clayton Dalton

Bee Bennett, photographed in Casper, Wyoming, in 2016 as part of a photo series by photographer Carolyn Drake. The series shines a light on the lack of legal protection offered to LGBTQ residents in Wyoming, despite calling itself ‘The Equality State’. Photo by Carolyn Drake/Magnum

Essay/
Gender and identity
Transitioning

Individual transgender lives track a wider cultural history of surgery, hormones and revolutionised gender identities

Randi Hutter Epstein