Inspiring Science- Top Picks 16.05.17

As a science enthusiast I’m constantly looking for articles and blog posts that reaffirm my love for science. Here are just a few of my favourites for this week:

Can virtual reality relieve pain?

Virtual reality is being explored as a means to treat both acute and chronic pain. Distraction from the painful stimuli by being submerged into a virtual reality has been shown to increase pain tolerance and reduce pain scores in lab trials. Virtual reality is also being explored as a treatment option for some psychological disorders allowing researchers and doctors to see how patients interact in social situations. This could help patients to practise coping strategies in virtual environments.

DNA fingerprinting reveals how malaria hides from the immune system.

Malaria is a real issue for almost half of the world’s population, leading to ~500,000 death per year. Its drain on humanity stems mainly from the fact that after being infected with malaria, people don’t generate immunity to it. This means that you can be infected with malaria almost an infinite number times. The article below explains the neat tricks that the plasmodia that cause malaria employ to ensure no two parasites look the same to our immune system.

‘Exercise pill’ turns couch potato mice into marathoners.

Scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla have developed a drug that increases the endurance of ‘couch potato’ mice. This ‘exercise pill’ is believed to switch on genes that are usually activated by exercise and ‘trick’ the body into thinking it’s done some training. If alarm bells are ringing over sports doping, the drug was actually designed to help those who struggle with exercise due to health problems such as diabetes or disabilities.

How has fake news become a thing?

It seems to be apparent now more than ever that we live in an era of fake news and alternative facts. To many of us, those alternative facts are clearly false and have masses of evidence to back that up. So why then are they still propagated by a large proportion of society? The answer lies with a phenomenon known as confirmation bias which is described beautifully by Matilda’s Lab in the post below.

As always, let me know what you thought about my top picks in the comments or on Twitter and please feel free to send me any articles that piqued your interest this week!

For more inspiration, why not check out my previous ‘Top Picks’!

Inspiring Science- Top Picks 02.05.17

Inspiring Science- Top Picks 24.04.17

Inspiring Science- Top Picks 10.04.17


7 thoughts on “Inspiring Science- Top Picks 16.05.17

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  1. The story on fake news is coming to the forefront of real issues. The study of these methods of propagation of falsehoods and anti-reason is known as agnotology. Phenomena such as filter bubbles in social media are one such facet of this push. It’s a very concerning trend and comes at a very critical juncture in our history. I like to keep an eye on stuff like this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Every time you comment, I learn something new!
      Agnotology- the study of culturally induced ignorance or doubt, particularly the publication of inaccurate or misleading scientific data.
      You’re right. This a real issue that seems almost impossible to tackle sometimes. It can be disheartening when despite mounting evidence, people still refuse to accept the consensus. It will be interesting to see how public opinion evolves over the next few years.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for publishing this. As a person who has suffered from
    back pain from a motorcyle accident I do a lot of reading
    on web sites like one but I’ve never been obliged to leave a comment.
    I’ve bookmarked your website and posted a link to your article on my Facebook.

    Thanks once again for a terrific post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words. My goal is to get more of the exciting research going on in the world more readily available to a wider audience so I’m glad you found my article worthwhile!


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