10 new things we’ve learned about cancer

Cancer's sweet tooth. Turning cancer cells into fat. Unveiling genetic secrets. Scientists are learning about cancer every day.

  • Cancer is a leading cause of death among Americans, second only to heart disease.
  • Researchers are unearthing cancer's genetic secrets and, with it, potential new treatments.
  • Their efforts have seen the cancer death rate for men, women, and children fall year after year between 1999 and 2016.
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Scientists develop an 'EpiPen' for brain and spinal cord injuries

This new research could help individuals recover from one of the most dreaded types of injury.

  • Brain and spinal cord injuries are notoriously difficult to treat, with many existing methods of treatment provoking undesirable side effects.
  • Now, new research demonstrated a novel technique using nanoparticles to "program" the body's immune cells such that they don't cause any unintended damage and promote healing.
  • Since they don't involve any pharmaceuticals, the use of nanoparticles circumvents the dangerous side effects of other treatments.
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How doctors really decide who lives and who dies

Should doctors allow their expertise to trump patient's personal goals — or should they yield to it?

  • Our health care system right now prizes efficiency, rather than embedding an ethics committee throughout a patient's treatment.
  • The challenge of being a medical ethicist is bringing "airy" concepts into clinical practice.
  • Sometimes the solutions to ethical issues become established via legal precedent.

Study: Social robots can benefit hospitalized children

A robotic teddy bear could improve physical and emotional outcomes in pediatric patients.

A new study demonstrates, for the first time, that "social robots" used in support sessions held in pediatric units at hospitals can lead to more positive emotions in sick children.

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Treatable brain inflammation may be behind tinnitus

Scientists may have seen a way to cure a maddening symptom of hearing loss.

Image source: Alex Iby/Unsplash/Big Think
  • A treatment for tinnitus – a constant ringing in the ears – has been frustratingly elusive.
  • Out-of-control inflammation, the brain's response to damage, may be the cause of long-term ringing in the ears.
  • A study that examined mice with noise-induced hearing loss seems to have found the neural trigger for tinnitus.
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