Autoimmune Diseases, Blood and Hematology, Immunology, Infectious Disease

Immune health is all about balance – an immunologist explains why both too strong and too weak an immune response can lead to illness

Many social media posts push supplements and other life hacks that “boost your immune system” to keep you healthy and fend off illness. However, these claims are not based on science and what is known about immune function. Healthy immune systems don’t need to be “boosted.” Instead, the immune system works best when it is perfectly balanced.

Doctors, Healthcare Providers, Nurses

The ‘doctor of nursing practice’ will see you now

Amid a shortage of doctors and an explosion in the number of nurse practitioners with doctorates, many nursing groups are pushing to expand what nurses can do without physicians’ supervision. Physicians, meanwhile, are pushing to keep nurse practitioners and physician assistants under their oversight, arguing that giving more autonomy to providers with less rigorous training could put patients at risk.

Brain and Nervous System, Mental Health, Wellness

Meditation Is Big Business. The Science Isn’t So Clear.

For more than two decades, various studies have suggested that meditation and mindfulness — that is, being aware of the present moment — can help reduce and improve pain management, lending some credence to the notion that the brain can affect the body. Such results have helped the field grow into a multibillion-dollar industry, populated by meditation apps, guided workshops, and upscale retreats.
Yet the field has also faced sharp criticism from psychologists and researchers who say the health benefits are overstated and some of the research methodologically flawed.

Illustration of a man leaning over and grimacing from low back pain.
Brain and Nervous System, Musculoskeletal, Pain Medicine, Painkillers

Most people with chronic back pain naturally think their pain is caused by injuries or other problems in the body such as arthritis or bulging disks. But our research team has found that thinking about the root cause of pain as a process that’s occurring in the brain can help promote recovery.

Addiction, Drugs, Opioids, Painkillers

The roots of the North American opioid crisis, and 3 key strategies for stopping it

The traditional “war on drugs” approach that focuses only on criminalization has been unsuccessful. In reality the data shows that illegal drug prices have fallen whilst purity and deaths have increased. Overdose deaths have also increased in prisons showing that places with even the highest level of security are vulnerable to drug smuggling.Focusing on the opioid crisis through a public-health approach includes massively increasing access to care and treatment for patients experiencing substance use disorder. It requires more evidence-based services such as addiction clinics, psychotherapy harm reduction strategies and education for both patients and families about treatments that are available to them.Beyond initial treatment there should be continued professional social support and a wider national effort to address the socioeconomic causes in disadvantaged communities.

Food-borne Illness, Infectious Disease, Poisoning

What is ‘fried rice syndrome’? A microbiologist explains this type of food poisoning – and how to avoid it

A condition dubbed “fried rice syndrome” has caused some panic online in recent days, after the case of a 20-year-old who died in 2008 was resurfaced on TikTok.

“Fried rice syndrome” refers to food poisoning from a bacterium called Bacillus cereus, which becomes a risk when cooked food is left at room temperature for too long.

The 20-year-old college student died after reportedly eating spaghetti that he cooked, left out of the fridge, and then reheated and ate five days later. Although death is rare, B. cereus can cause gastrointestinal illness if food isn’t stored properly. Here’s what to know and how to protect yourself.