In an unusual move, an international coalition of flu researchers agreed last week to a hiatus on work surrounding a highly contagious, mammal-adapted version of the avian influenza virus. Research on transmissible H5N1 flu will halt, and two manuscripts describing how to modify the virus won't be published, at least not yet.
The voluntary pause came a few weeks after an American advisory panel recommended censoring the research in the name of security. So it raises an interesting question — is some research just too dangerous to pursue?
By Jennie WaltersPosted 06.30.2011 at 11:00 am 9 Comments
Last summer’s floods in Pakistan displaced millions of people--and millions of spiders. Although spiders rarely migrate to trees during natural disasters, the flooding was so heavy and prolonged, they had to climb trees and remain there. According to University of Akron biologist Todd Blackledge, who studies web-weaving spiders, some spin new webs each day. After weeks, the dense layers of silk, seen here in Sindh province, covered the trees--a result of continuous web spinning by the eight-legged refugees.
Cocaine's a hell of a drug, and even more so when laced with another drug that's commonly used to deworm opossums. Federal agents have found that 69 percent of cocaine shipments seized entering the United States contain levamisole, a veterinary drug linked to serious weakening of the immune system in humans. Here's the real funny part: no one knows why.
Every day we're exposed to thousands of man-made chemicals, some of which seep into our bodies and remain there for decades. What that means for our health, we don't fully understand--but I subjected myself to a battery of new tests in search of answers
By Arianne CohenPosted 11.02.2009 at 1:27 pm 67 Comments
Let's start with the bad news: You are saturated with man-made chemicals, some of them toxic. Today's exposure began when compounds in your shampoo and shaving cream seeped into your skin cells, and during your morning coffee, when you drank chemicals that were released into your brew as hot water ran against the plastic walls of your coffeemaker. It continued all day as you touched industrial chemicals in packaging, or walked through pesticide-sprayed lawns, or cooked dinner on nonstick pans.
Flu season in the Southern Hemisphere is almost over—and now it's heading back our way. At the time this issue went to press, there were more than 162,000 confirmed cases and 1,154 deaths worldwide from "novel H1N1," a.k.a. swine flu, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believes this figure is a gross underestimate, especially since only a fraction of people who have the flu go to the hospital.
By Steven KotlerPosted 07.20.2009 at 10:35 am 7 Comments
Before swine flu swept through the U.S., the virus had bounced around South America undetected for years. The H1N1 strain caught scientists by surprise, and without a vaccine. But a few weeks before the first North American case popped up, researchers successfully tested a therapy that could knock out almost any flu, and possibly any virus.