The spread of malaria is one of the most significant threats to people—particularly children—in the developing world. Manu Prakash, a Stanford University assistant professor and bioengineer, understood that the ability to properly diagnose the illness with the use of lab-quality imaging equipment is key in distributing the proper treatment and preventing deaths from the disease. With the goal of testing a million people a year, Prakash and his team created the ingenious “Foldscope,” a microscope that’s made almost entirely from folded paper, that costs just 50 cents apiece to make. Because they require no power source and no mechanical elements, the Foldscopes are also incredibly durable. As Prakash explains in this video from Stanford, “One of the things that’s been shown over and over again is, if you put in an infrastructure to fight malaria that’s scalable and sustainable, than you get retraction of malaria in different regions.” Prakash believes that this brilliant new tool could provide just that ... Discuss

 
80 percent of the mentally ill live in low or middle-income nations. So why aren’t we doing anything about them? Read More
 

Doctors are grappling with a lethal new strain of gonorrhea (your great-grandparents called it "the clap") that's immune to antibiotics and can “put someone into septic shock and death in a matter of days. This is very dangerous," said Alan Christianson, who is a doctor of naturopathic medicine in Phoenix. "We need to move now before it gets out of hand.” The strain was discovered in a Japanese sex worker back in 2011, and has so far baffled scientists who are trying to treat it. If it starts to spiral out of control, doctors warn that it “might be a lot worse than AIDS” ... Discuss

 
For Mental Health Awareness month, we’re taking the pulse on our nation’s mental health care system. Read More
 

Yeah, it's true. It's only been tested on mice so far, but the results are tremendously promising for an antibody Stanford researchers have been experimenting with that blocks the body from "eating" cancer cells. Researchers have injected mice with human breast, ovary, colon, bladder, brain, liver and prostate tumors, and their new drug has killed the tumors every time. According to Irving Weissman of the Stanford University School of Medicine in Palo Alto, California: "We showed that even after the tumor has taken hold, the antibody can either cure the tumor or slow its growth and prevent metastasis." The drug has an unfortunate side effect of tricking the immune system into attacking healthy cells, but the relative damage was insignificant compared to what cancer would have done to them. All told, the results are exciting enough to warrant a $20 million grant and permission to move forward into human testing ... Discuss

 

The increase in radiation levels following the 2011 earthquake that devastated the northeastern Japanese seaboard may be responsible for a global 28% increase in babies born with thyroid gland issues. And it's not just Japanese children either—the Pacific region as a whole is feeling the effects of the Fukushima disaster, including Hawaii, California. Alaska, Oregon and Washington states. It was already determined in mid-2011 that the global 35% increase in infant mortality could be traced back to the nuclear meltdown following the quake, but these thyroid problems are a new issue, and may lead to serious issues for future generations ... Discuss