Smoking, lack of exercise, bad diet and our genes are all well-known risk factors for heart disease, cancer and diabetes. But, as researchers are beginning to understand, the environment in the womb as we first begin to grow may also determine our future.
India’s booming business centres and gleaming shopping malls mask a grimmer reality. While one section of the population gets richer, another section gets poorer. In the countryside, farmers and others ‘left behind’ by the economic surge find themselves in increasingly desperate circumstances. In many cases their plight, exacerbated by crippling debt, has led to suicide.
In his new book, geographer David Beckingham looks at the rigorous licencing regime that Liverpool’s authorities put in place to tighten their grip on problem drinking in the pubs that proliferated across the city. Similar attitudes frame today’s perceptions of public and private alcohol consumption.
The journals and scrapbooks of Pierre de L’Estoile have for generations provided a vivid picture of France in a time of religious upheaval. Now Cambridge historian Tom Hamilton has written the first book devoted to the life of L’Estoile as a diarist, collector and man about town.
Tony Kouzarides is passionate about ecosystems: well-balanced communities that flourish on mutual and dynamic interactions. But the ecosystems that excite him are not made up of plants, animals and environments. They’re made up of experts.
When a drug fails late on in clinical trials it’s a major setback for launching new medicines. It can cost millions, even billions, of research and development funds. Now, an ‘adaptive’ approach to clinical trials and a genetic tool for predicting success are increasing the odds of picking a winner.
Nanotechnology is creating new opportunities for fighting disease – from delivering drugs in smart packaging to nanobots powered by the world’s tiniest engines.
Trevor Lawley and Gordon Dougan are bug hunters, albeit not the conventional kind. The bugs they collect are invisible to the naked eye. And even though we’re teeming with them, researchers are only beginning to discover how they keep us healthy – and how we could use these bugs as drugs.
The stirrings of a revolution are starting to ripple through hundreds of laboratories. It’s a revolution that aims to result in new medicines – faster and with fewer failures – and it’s being led by three UK universities and three global pharmaceutical companies.