Last updated March 1, 2018 at 10:14 am
The Check Up is a weekly feature highlighting some of the best, most fascinating, most important, or simply unmissable health, medical, and human stories from around the web.
Tackling doping before it starts
There are a few more days of wintry Olympic goodness left, but that could mean a few more days of wintry badness! I’m talking about doping, and this article is a deep dive into why it happens, and how the next generation can be educated not to indulge. The idea is to get athletes invested in the idea of fair play, and to prioritise deterrence over detection.
Autism blood test with 90 per cent accuracy
This is an incredibly promising development – a blood test for austism with a 90 per cent accuracy rate. Currently, diagnosis is 60 to 70 per cent accurate and takes an expert in neurological disorders. This new test was developed by using predictive algorithms to look for biomarkers in data from kids with and without autism. Not only is it more accurate but it could be offered more widely, particularly in areas without access to the necessary expertise.
Human-sheep hybrid for future organ transplants
This story is way less “Island of Dr Moreau” than it might seem on first glance. One in 10 000 cells of lab-created sheep embryos were human, and they were only studied over 28 days of development. This is a step along a path towards growing organs for human transplant. This would save a huge number of lives, considering the demand is so high and supply so low.
Measles cases increasing in Europe
This is so frustrating! In 2016, Europe recorded a record low number of measles cases, and it feels like this is how it should be. In this day and age, you would hope that every year the number gets lower and lower until we eliminate it altogether. But the numbers bounced back in 2017, because of problems with vaccination supply and uptake. And with latest research showing that measles vaccination has broader reaching benefits that just that disease, there’s no time to waste getting these figures back down.
Microdosing for pain relief
And finally, I can’t say I’d blame anyone for trying less-than-legal means for relief of debilitating pain.