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Hallucinogen therapy is coming

Three years later Daniel Kreitman still chokes up when he talks about what he saw, and how it changed him. Kreitman, an upholsterer by trade, had taken psilocybin, a hallucinogen derived from mushrooms, in a trial at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine for nicotine addiction. He was 52, and he’d smoked between one and two packs a day for nearly 40 years. After his first psilocybin session, his urge to smoke w
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Can (chemical) castration regrow the immune system?

The thymus is a pinkish-gray organ that sits just below the sternum. It functions as a school for your immune system’s T cells, creating them from blood stem cells, then educating them to seek and destroy infections such as viruses, bacteria and fungi as well as cancer cells. But the thymus naturally shrinks throughout life, and that largely corresponds with the body’s declining ability to fight off pathogens. Resear
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Why big scary predators are good for your health

Every year, at least 30,000 people — and possibly 10 times that — are infected with the bacterium that causes Lyme disease, most in the Northeast and upper Midwest. Symptoms can include fatigue, joint pain, memory problems and even temporary paralysis. In a small minority of cases, the malaise can persist for many months. So it’s worrisome that in recent decades, Lyme cases have surged, nearly quadrupling in Michigan
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How woodpeckers will save football — Nautilus

In 2007, David Smith, a doctor of internal medicine and founder of a company that makes wound dressings, gave a presentation at a medical conference in Maryland. Afterward an audience member, worried by mounting reports of traumatic brain injury from blasts among American soldiers, mentioned, of all things, woodpeckers. If someone could figure out how woodpeckers do it—they slam their beaks into trees thousands of ti
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Health secrets of the Amish – NYT

In recent decades, the prevalence of asthma and allergies has increased between two- and threefold in the United States. These days, one in 12 kids has asthma. More are allergic. The uptick is often said to have started in the late 20th century. But the first hint of a population-wide affliction — the sneezing masses — came earlier, in the late 19th century, among the American and British upper classes. Hay fever so
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How drones can help in conservation – Backchannel

It was a beautifully serene night in April when Roy Sasano, then a drone pilot with the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, caught sight of the men in the boat. That is, his drone saw the men. Sasano’s vessel, the Farley Mowat, was a mile away. He and his crewmates were patrolling a marine reserve in the northern reaches of the Gulf of California, trying to prevent poaching of a large fish called totoaba, and the inci
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A physiological theory of mental illness — The Atlantic

One day in February 2009, a 13-year-old boy named Sasha Egger started thinking that people were coming to hurt his family. His mother, Helen, watched with mounting panic that evening as her previously healthy son forgot the rules to Uno, his favorite card game, while playing it. She began making frantic phone calls the next morning. By then, Sasha was shuffling aimlessly around the yard, shredding paper and stuffing
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The Parasite Underground – NYT Mag

When Vik was in his late 20s, blood started appearing in his stool. He found himself rushing to the bathroom as many as nine times a day, and he quit his job at a software company. He received a diagnosis of severe ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory condition of the colon. Steroids, which suppress inflammation, didn’t work for him. Sulfasalazine suppositories offered only the slightest relief. A year and a half afte
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Educate your immune system – NYT

IN the last half-century, the prevalence of autoimmune disease — disorders in which the immune system attacks healthy tissue in the body — has increased sharply in the developed world. An estimated one in 13 Americans has one of these often debilitating, generally lifelong conditions. Many, like Type 1 diabetes and celiac disease, are linked with specific gene variants of the immune system, suggesting a strong geneti
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