It is common knowledge that the venom from a snake or scorpion can be dangerous. Less known is the fact that several drugs are derived from the toxins of venomous animals. Throughout history, humans have used toxins for medical purposes. Today, modern medicine uses the vast amount of toxins as inspiration for developing novel drugs. Despite the potential of venom-derived drugs, only seven have been approved so far.
Epidemics have plagued human populations for thousands of years, but there are very few clues as to what pathogens may have caused massive epidemics in the past. Scientists are using new techniques to extract and analyze ancient DNA, and what they have found may give us information about how things happened nearly 500 years ago.
US military financed research groups are finding new ways of treating severe mental illnesses that resist current therapies. They have developed a new single closed-loop system to detect patterns associated with mood disorders and presented the first map of how mood is encoded inside the brain.
Night shift work has been consistently associated with higher risk for cardiovascular disease, cancer, insomnia, depression and irritable bowel syndrome. Exposure to light at night is not only leaving scars on people’s well being but is affecting wildlife and entire ecosystems, it wastes energy, money and gives astronomers headaches.
Researchers from the University of Birmingham discovered an unsettling link between a major mechanism of antibiotic resistance in bacteria and triclosan, a disinfectant commonly found in household cleaning products.
Since the Industrial Age fuel exhaustion caused air pollution. When smog accumulates in the air in high enough concentrations, people start to feel unpleasant consequences. According to the World Health Organization, in 2014, 92% of the world population was living in places where the air quality guidelines levels were not met. The situation is especially difficult in China, where citizens often use the word airpocalypse to describe living in the grey world of smog.
Scientists from the University Of Geneva (UNIGE) and the University of Basel have created artificial viruses that can be used to target cancer. This virus is fashioned to act as an alarm for the immune system and instigate killer T cells to fight the tumour.