News & Features

Old Friends: The Promise of Parasitic Worms

A small group of dedicated researchers — along with a growing number of desperate, self-experimenting patients like author Leah Shaffer — are trying to understand the potential of parasitic worms, or helminths, to treat a range of autoimmune diseases. The path to commercialization, however, is far from clear.

The Slow Death of Ecology’s Birthplace

Brazil’s cerrado has many faces: arid tablelands, open grasslands, palm-dotted marshes — though most people see it only as a dry, unruly expanse of low, twisted shrubs. As a result, this unique ecosystem where a pioneering botanist once traced the evolution of plants is in danger of being lost forever.

Oil and Water

Over 70,000 miles of crude oil pipelines spread like vasculature across the United States. Some of it, like the contentious Dakota Access pipeline, is new and outfitted with the latest safety technologies. Nearly half is old and prone to problems. And all of it is necessary until our thirst for oil subsides.

How to Beat a Fingerprint Scanner

A delicate 3D-printed skin that slips over a user’s hand has been shown to trick fingerprint scanners. Although this technology could potentially be used to breach security systems, the presence of human safeguards in many systems provides a barrier to those looking to use it for criminal activity.

Good for the Heart, Good for the Brain

Just as public health campaigns on the benefits of diet, exercise, and quitting smoking have raised awareness that reducing heart disease risk is at least partly within our control, experts say more should be done to increase public understanding that lifestyle choices can reduce Alzheimer’s risk, too.

For All They Know

The water crisis in Flint, Michigan — a mass poisoning rife with narratives of social injustice, bigotry, and regulatory ineptitude — belies a less frequently explored truth: Government officials and even scientists remain breathtakingly ignorant about the millions of miles of pipes that deliver our water.