Finding the "Cancer Beacon" That Immune Cells Recognize

When the body’s immune system fights cancer, how does it choose a specific target? Researchers from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator (HHMI) have spent decades studying the molecular structure of the immune system in an effort to answer this question. In December 2017, they reported a screening method that allowed them to identify which “signals” displayed by cancer cells were being recognized by the immune system, effectively discovering a “cancer beacon.”

The Foundations That Work on Environmental Health, with an Eye on Building Power

Scary stats on the effects of environmental problems on human health can be hard to stomach. In a 2019 U.N. report, an international team of scientists called for “urgent” environmental action to slow the rates of related illness and death... But, according to Kathy Sessions, executive director of the Health and Environmental Funders Network (HEFN), “there isn't any environmental health or justice problem—even climate change—that is too big or too tough to tackle.”

Uterine Cancer Rises, Especially Among Black Women

A recent study from the (NCI) found uterine cancer rates among all women rose about 1 percent per year between 2003 and 2015. It’s important to note that this is a hysterectomy-corrected finding, meaning that it took hysterectomy prevalence into account, because women with hysterectomies do not develop this disease. The authors also found that aggressive, nonendometrioid cancers are increasing for all women, and that significant racial disparities exist in uterine cancer rates.

When Does Smartphone Usage Increase Obesity Risk?

It’s well known that decreased physical activity and obesity are not good for the heart. As more people use smartphones more often, they are moving around less. The authors of a recent study wanted to know just how much time on a smartphone is likely to increase the risk for obesity and accompanying health risks like heart disease. They focused their research on college students at Simón Bolívar University in Barranquilla, Colombia...

Calm Your Nerves With 20 Minutes Outside

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul,” naturalist and author John Muir said. The benefits of spending time in the great outdoors are widely known by nature lovers and are also documented in many studies, often through participants’ subjective reports of feeling calmer and happier. New research in 2019 published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology tracked the benefits of immersion in nature by measurin

Poor U.S. Counties Have More Heart Failure Deaths

In 2009, one in nine U.S. deaths included heart failure as contributing cause, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). And about half of the people who develop heart failure die within five years of their diagnosis. What role do poverty and the barriers to a healthy lifestyle that often accompany it play? A study recently published in the Open Access Journal of the American Heart Association found that heart failure rates were highest in the poorest counties in the U.S. Heart failur

Does Climate Change Increase Skin Cancer Risk?

As the climate changes and global temperatures rise, will more people get skin cancer? Probably, but the answer is complex and still under-investigation. Much of the answer is tied to the state of our ozone layer, which serves as an atmospheric shield that absorbs ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun, including the most harmful UVB rays. Exposure to this kind of radiation can cause non-melanoma skin cancer and is linked to increased risk of melanoma. The Word Health Organization (WHO) predict

Fitness App Offers Cryptocurrency Rewards

The Sweatcoin app counts users’ steps through their smartphone and then rewards them with its own cryptocurrency: the Sweatcoin. As of January 18, 2018, it is currently No. 5 out of the App Store’s free apps, only behind the new Google Arts & Culture app, Netflix, Instagram and YouTube. Sweatcoin has 2 million active weekly users and gained more than five million users overall in 2017. Those who download Sweatcoin can link up their phones’ accelerometers and GPS data to the app. They are then r

How Virtual Reality Is Used to Explore Empathy at Stanford, With Reflections from VHIL Director Jeremy Bailenson (PDF in new tab)

Virtual Reality (VR) may bring to mind advanced gaming possibilities and simulated, entertaining, sensory experiences. The team at Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab (VHIL) is using VR in an innovative way: to teach and explore human empathy. They create immersive experiences in which learners virtually become a different person or even a member of a different species, and they are discovering that VR can powerfully affect and formulate our world views and behavior.
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