Health & Medicine

Signals from smartwatches can help catch infections early.


Can Smartwatches Be Adapted to Help Detect Covid-19 Infections?

With new algorithms, wearable devices—collecting vital signs like heart rate and skin temperature—could catch illness early

A volunteer donates blood during an event at the Field Museum in Chicago in May, 2020.

What Scientists Are Learning About Covid-19 Using the Nation's Blood Supply

Labs and blood banks collect millions of blood samples each month, offering a distinctive source of data on the disease

Intense visions and confusion about the reality of hospitalization can be especially scarring, leaving patients with intrusive thoughts, flashbacks and vivid nightmares. If such responses persist for more than one month and cause functional impairment or distress, it may be diagnosed as PTSD.

Why PTSD May Plague Many Hospitalized Covid-19 Survivors

Scientists warn about the likelihood of post-traumatic stress disorder for patients discharged from the intensive care unit

(Top row) Jing Liu and Florian Idenburg, Barron Ryan, Arturo Elizondo, (middle row) Samantha Pratt, Gitanjali Rao, Anitra Belle Henderson, (bottom row) Kennyjie, Andrea Ponti and Brett Phaneuf

Innovation for Good

Ten Innovators to Watch in 2021

These visionaries are imagining an exciting future with chicken-less eggs, self-piloting ships and more

A nurse administers the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to a patient in London on December 8. Some experts say the fastest way to test second-generation COVID-19 vaccines is through human challenge trials.

A Brief History of Human Challenge Trials

For more than two centuries, scientists have been intentionally infecting patients with dangerous diseases in order to learn more

Henry Bergh (in top hat) stopping an overcrowded horsecar, from Harper’s Weekly, Sept. 21, 1872.

The Horse Flu Epidemic That Brought 19th-Century America to a Stop

An equine influenza in 1872 laid bare how essential horses were to the economy

In February, the Covid-19 pandemic halted polio immunization campaigns across Afghanistan and Pakistan, fueling a new resurgence of polio in children. Here, a young girl is given the polio vaccine in the Kabul Province in October after campaigns were resumed.


How Covid-19 Drove New Polio Cases in Afghanistan

Due to the pandemic, a total of 50 million children did not receive the polio vaccine in Afghanistan and Pakistan

According to the World Health Organization, some 42 "candidate vaccines" against the coronavirus that causes Covid-19 are undergoing clinical trials.


What Is the Best Strategy to Deploy a Covid-19 Vaccine?

Mathematicians are modeling different scenarios for a vaccine rollout to see what may work best

Border collie Chaser had the largest tested word memory of any animal (other than a human).

The Most Famous Dogs of Science

These iconic canines have helped scientists make key discoveries, from archeological finds to cures for disease

In downtown Detroit, Lafayette Greens is an urban garden and public green space where visitors can watch live music, enjoy local art installations, and take community yoga classes, all while watching butterflies flit from plant to plant.

Innovation for Good

Are 'Edible Landscapes' the Future of Public Parks?

Green spaces planted with fruits, veggies and herbs are sprouting across the globe, and the bounty is meant to share

Electron microscope image of a human cell (purple) heavily infected with SARS-CoV-2 virus particles (yellow)


Will the Coronavirus Evolve to Be Less Deadly?

History and science suggest many possible pathways for pandemics, but questions remain about how this one will end

A woman scratches her forearm.

The Search for What Causes Chronic Itching

Scientists are making headway on parsing the condition's biological underpinnings, in hope of better treatments

Mary Fowkes, a pathologist at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, examines brain slices from an autopsy.


Why Autopsies Are Proving Crucial During Covid-19

Advances in medical imaging have reduced the need for the procedure, but it is leading to discoveries that may help with better treatments

An illustration of Legionella bacteria, the cause of Legionnaires' disease

Why Reports of Legionnaires' Disease Are on the Rise in the United States

Though less common than in the past, Legionella bacteria and other dangerous pathogens still lurk in drinking water

100,000 people die from venomous snakebites each year, a problem the Instituto Clodomiro Picado seeks to address with its antivenoms.

The Lab Saving the World From Snake Bites

A deadly shortage of venom antidote has spurred a little-known group of scientists in Costa Rica to action

A father and his daughter engage in a video chat with their doctor.


Should Parents Test for Covid if Their Kid Might Just Have a Cold?

Experts weigh in on when students with runny noses, fevers, and coughs should be quarantined and checked

A woman with anorexia gets ready to weigh herself.


How Patients With Eating Disorders Have Been Affected by the Pandemic

A recent study suggests that worries related to Covid-19 may exacerbate conditions including anorexia and binge eating

School children are spaced apart in one of the rooms used for lunch at Woodland Elementary School in Milford, Massachusetts on Sept. 11, 2020.


Exactly How Far Should You Distance From Others to Avoid Covid-19?

The CDC recommends 6 feet or more, the WHO about half that distance, but experts say the science is far from settled

Some Covid-19 patients are reporting that foods including coffee, chocolate and red wine smell awful.

Why Covid-19 Patients Are Suffering From Distorted and Phantom Smells

An increasing number of patients are reporting awful scents that aren’t present

Are there other imaging agents hiding in plain sight?

Innovation for Good

Could Tattoo Ink Be Used to Detect Cancer?

A new study on medical imaging agents shows common pigments and dyes could help with early diagnosis

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