health

Yoshiki Hase, mos.org

There are a lot of questions, in life and politics, that science can inform, but not answer. What should we do about gun violence? Should we ban high concussion risk sports for young athletes? Boston’s Museum of Science is asking provocative questions, and getting interesting results.  We talk to Christine Reich of the Boson Museum of Science.

 

Alzheimer’s disease affects an estimated 50 million people worldwide, yet there are only a handful of drugs to treat the symptoms. None of them address the underlying disease processes, and it’s been years since a major new drug got approved. But there are 126 drugs in clinical trials. A leading researcher breaks down the prospects and obstacles to treating Alzheimer’s disease. We talk with Rudy Tanzi of Harvard & Massachusetts General Hospital. 

Island Press

Antibiotic infections affect some two million Americans each year, and kill at least 23,000. Researchers are struggling to keep up with evolution and find new medications to fight these infections. A new book argues that, despite our fear of them, bacteria and viruses may be some of our best allies and weapons against antibiotic resistance. 

President Trump is widely expected to declare the opioid addiction epidemic a national emergency. What tools do we have to fight addiction, and what else do health care providers need? Dr. Jeffrey Baxter of U Mass Medical School joins us.

Silent Spring Institute is a Massachusetts-based research organization that’s trying to understand how synthetic chemicals in our environment impact our health. We know there are many such chemicals in our furniture, our cosmetics, our cleaners, and even our drinking water. 

Calum MacRae runs the new research enterprise.
Courtesy One Brave Idea

Heart disease is the leading cause of death globally, claiming the lives of more people than live in Massachusetts each year. We tend to diagnose these diseases only after there are severe problems that can be difficult to treat. But what if a non-invasive test existed that could predict your risk of heart disease years, even decades, before there were any symptoms?

David/Flickr / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

More than 60,000 patients in the U.S. receive general anesthesia every day. But despite the fact that anaesthesia drugs, like ether, have been around for more than 150 years, it's really only been in the past decade or so that we've gained a better understanding of how they work.

Repeated head trauma during football is linked to increased risk of neurodenerative disease, CTE.
Tech. Sgt. Larry A. Simmons / U. S. Air Force

There’s more evidence that playing football can lead to permanent brain damage. But the problem likely isn’t as prevalent as many media accounts have suggested.

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease associated with repeated head trauma. Symptoms include dementia and mood or behavioral disorders. It was first described in boxers several decades ago, but has been found in NFL players in the past five years.

Courtesy of Lora Hooper

There are at least as many bacterial cells in your body as their human cells. And there’s a growing recognition that they’re critical for everything from digestion to mental health. They also play a big role in immunity – our ability to fight off diseases. But the relationship isn’t always easy or friendly. For all the good they do, if gut bacteria get into the wrong places, it can be problematic.

There are plenty of self help books out there that offer formulas for success. Now, there’s one that literally offers equations and mathematical models for everything from dieting and money, to marriage and conflict resolution. It’s called The Calculus of Happiness: How a Mathematical Approach to Life Adds Up to Health, Wealth and Love.

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