Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Articles related to health

Cover Story: Gene Drives: A Way to Genetically Engineer Populations
Gene drives occur when a bias in the mechanism of inheritance spreads particular genetic variants through a population. Developments in gene-editing technology now make it possible to construct gene drives that address problems in health, agriculture and conservation.
Feature: Gene Drives for Conservation
Gene drives may provide a novel tool to counteract seemingly unstoppable threats to global biodiversity.
Feature: The Future of Pest Control Lies Within (the Pest)
Gene drives could improve global food security by turning pest biology against itself.
Feature: Gene Drives: A Fork in the Road for the GMO Debate
What are the moral and ethical concerns about gene drives, and how should the technology be regulated?
Feature: It’s Not Just About “The Science”
Female scientists and health professionals have revealed that opposition to genetically modified food is less about “the science” and more about perceived conflicts with personal values.
Feature: Ruling the Roost
More than four million Australians suffer from food poisoning each year, many due to bacterial contamination of poultry products. Now nanotechnology is being tested as an alternative to antibiotic use in chickens prior to processing.
Browse: Dr Google Promotes “Cyberchondria”
Feature: How Early Can We Predict and Prevent Psychosis?
The addition of a simple blood test could improve predictions of a first psychotic episode.
Sea squirt
Feature: What Speed Sperm Should a Sea Squirt Squirt?
Sea squirt sperm is revealing how a male’s environment affects his sperm’s quality, with implications for the health of offspring that could also improve the success of human IVF procedures.
Browse: Hybrid Corn Slows Macular Degeneration
A deep gold breed of corn will offer protection against age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the most common cause of blindness in Australia.
Credit: iStockphoto/yulkapopkova
Cover Story: Tattoo Inks: Poison Pigments?
Allergy and infection are two causes for caution when contemplating a tattoo. But are tattoo pigments toxic, and do they increase the risk of cancer?
Protesters called for no further expansion of coal and coal seam gas.
Feature: Is Coal Seam Gas Polluting Groundwater?
Landholders are adamant that coal seam gas is contaminating their groundwater, but natural geological processes make their accusations difficult to prove. Now science is starting to fill in the cracks.
berries
Feature: Are Green Tea and Berries the Answer to a Ripe Old Age?
Polyphenols found in plant-based foods may be all we need to live longer.
Browse: Cancer Patient Receives 3D-Printed Ribs
conSCIENCE: Banking Living Brain Tissue
Australia needs a repository of living brain tissue to explore the next frontier of medical research.
The Bitter Pill: Call Out the Quacks
Scientists often complain about the way the media treat their message, but journalists have reason to complain as well, since many scientists don’t help to get that message straight.
The Bitter Pill: Darwin’s Diagnoses
The father of modern biology suffered much at the hands of alternative medical practitioners.
Eureka!: How a Chip Packet Can Sterilise Water
Chip packaging is providing a cheap material for a water purification system in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea, and a “salmon cannon” is helping salmon swim upstream.
Expert Opinion: Federal Budget 2014-15
Experts address how the latest announcements will impact on research, health and science.
The Fit: Belief Beyond Evidence, Evidence Beyond Belief
Will the childhood obesity epidemic condemn young people to a shorter lifespan than their parents?
Lowe Tech: Concern at Emissions and Health Impacts of Coal
The expansion of coal seam gas operations could eventually produce as much greenhouse gas as all the cars on the road in Australia.
Lowe Tech: Renewables Targeted
A review of Australia’s renewable energy target appears to have been established with a particular outcome in mind.
Lowe Tech: Sensitivity to Smart Meters and Water Bills
The Victorian state election will feature a new party opposed to smart electricity meters on health grounds, while others are campaigning against wifi in schools.
Lowe Tech: Drink Deposits Recycled
Deposits on recyclable containers are returning despite the packaging industry’s protests.
Naked Skeptic: Don’t Let Straw Men Give You Hay Fever
Be prepared to face these straw man arguments when arguing with climate change deniers, anti-vaccination advocates and creationists.
Up Close: Vigor in the ville: Creating cities that promote health and well-being
Urban public health expert Billie Giles-Corti discusses how a rigorous, evidence-based approach to urban policy and city planning can help bring long-term benefits for physical and mental health and well-being.
Up Close: The data cure: The changing science of biology and its impact on your health care
Molecular biologist and science policy leader Professor Keith Yamamoto discusses the current revolution in biological sciences and the emerging field of precision medicine.
Up Close: Cardiac quest: Insights from simulating the heart’s geometry and function
Computational biologist Prof Edmund Crampin examines the challenges of creating a computational model of the human heart, and discusses what scientists have learned about the actual organ from this enterprise.
Up Close: Molecular gaze: How discoveries in the life sciences are changing our identities and politics
Prof. Nikolas Rose explores how scientific developments have changed conceptions of human identity and governance, and what this means for our political, socio-economic and legal futures.
Up Close: Whatever happened to the ozone hole? Lessons in timely action to avert global disaster
Atmospheric scientists Prof David Karoly and Dr Robyn Schofield discuss the hole in the ozone layer over the Antarctic, and what effect timely global action taken in 1987 seems to have had in reversing ozone degradation.
Up Close: Hello, Pet! Our love can hurt our animal friends
Bioethicist Peter Sandøe discusses our complicated relationship with animals and the associated moral dilemmas, including how our love for companion animals can actually cause harm and the difference between society’s treatment of pets and production animals.
Up Close: Thought Controlled Futures
We talk to the people behind revolutionary technologies enabling people to control movement and manipulate objects using their thoughts alone. In particular, we take a look at the stentrode, a metal scaffold implanted in a blood vessel, that allows brain activity to be recorded and commands generated to control a full-body exoskeleton.
Up Close: Not merely emotion: Reclaiming "passion" as a driver of human behaviour
Philosopher of the emotions Prof Louis Charland argues that we need to reinstate the notion of "passion" in our understanding of human behaviour. Now little mentioned outside of the arts and self-help domains, passion has deep historical roots and may have important contemporary use as a lens through which to view certain psychiatric conditions.
Up Close: Going viral: Global food security under threat from crop and livestock diseases
Virologist and infectious diseases expert Prof John Fazakerley details the myriad threats to the global food supply from pathogen infestations in crops and livestock, and how new genetic and surveillance technologies are lending hope to keeping them in check.
Up Close: Genetic find and replace with CRISPR: Technology that will revolutionize medicine and agriculture
Molecular biologist Prof Jacob Corn describes how gene editing is carried out with CRISPR-Cas9. He explains why this technology has the potential of revolutionizing the treatment of diseases such as sickle cell anemia and malaria. Besides human health, CRISPR-Cas9 can also contribute to improving agriculture and, consequently, food security. Jacob also discusses the possible ethical challenges posed by the widespread application of gene editing.
Up Front: A New Twist in the DNA Revolution
Gene drives take genetic modification to the population level, with applications in health, conservation and agriculture, but there are also practical and ethical concerns.
Online Feature: Saving young lives by the million
Professor Ruth Bishop has been named the 2013 CSL Florey Medallist for her discovery of the rotavirus responsible for the deaths of half a million children each year.
Online Feature: Fighting cancer by the numbers
Terry Speed doesn’t expect to see headlines reading “Statistician cures cancer” any time soon. But he knows that the right mathematics and statistics can help researchers understand the underlying causes of cancer and reduce the need for surgery.
Online Feature: Study links intestinal bacteria to rheumatoid arthritis
Bacterial disturbances in the gut may play a role in autoimmune attacks on the joints, pointing the way to novel treatments and diagnostics
Online Feature: Climate policy needs a new lens: health and well-being