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New Scientist International EditionNew Scientist International Edition

New Scientist International Edition 2-feb-19

New Scientist covers the latest developments in science and technology that will impact your world. New Scientist employs and commissions the best writers in their fields from all over the world. Our editorial team provide cutting-edge news, award-winning features and reports, written in concise and clear language that puts discoveries and advances in the context of everyday life today and in the future.

Country:
United Kingdom
Language:
English
Publisher:
New Scientist Ltd
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51 Issues

IN THIS ISSUE

access_time1 min.
microbes rule us

THE suggestion that a bacterium behind gum disease could be the long-elusive cause of Alzheimer’s is an early contender for most astounding science story of the year. If the implications of a landmark study (see page 6) are confirmed by future research, the finding will not only point the way towards new treatments, but may also change how we think about disease altogether. Over the past decade, we have been amazed to discover the wide-ranging roles the microbes in our guts and on our skin play in shaping our health. The delicate balance of species that make up our body’s microbiome has been implicated in everything from allergies to diabetes. In some respects, our mouths are the original microbiome. Long before the human microbiome became a flourishing field of study, the knowledge…

access_time1 min.
life’s greatest puzzles

NEW SCIENTIST is all about the big questions. Often, these are rooted in the here and now – how to solve a problem like climate change, for example, or how best to keep our minds and bodies in shape. Sometimes, though, it is good to step back and ask even tougher questions to which there may be no obvious answer. After all, it is only by attempting to answer the seemingly unanswerable that science makes progress. That’s the point of The Big Question, our new occasional series of articles that will showcase cutting-edge ideas from original thinkers on questions of universal interest. Paul Davies kicks off the series this week with “What is life?” (page 28). He is well-placed to answer the question. Originally a cosmologist, he has turned his mathematical expertise to…

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what is alzheimer’s disease?

There are many types and causes of dementia, but Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form, accounting for between 60 and 70 per cent of all cases. Common early symptoms of Alzheimer’s include short-term memory loss, apathy and depressed mood, but these symptoms are often just seen as being a part of normal ageing, making early diagnosis difficult. Doctors diagnose Alzheimer’s on the basis of medical examination, patient history and cognitive tests, and can use imaging to rule out other forms of dementia. However, a definitive diagnosis of Alzheimer’s is only possible after death, when examination of brain tissue can reveal whether a person had the deposits of amyloid and tau proteins (see main story) that are characteristic of the condition. The vast majority of people with Alzheimer’s are diagnosed with the condition…

access_time9 min.
rethinking alzheimer’s

AFTER decades of disappointment, we may have a new lead on fighting Alzheimer’s disease. Compelling evidence that the condition is caused by a bacterium involved in gum disease could prove a game-changer in tackling one of medicine’s biggest mysteries, and lead to effective treatments or even a vaccine. As populations have aged, dementia has skyrocketed to become the fifth biggest cause of death worldwide. Alzheimer’s constitutes some 70 per cent of these cases (see “What is Alzheimer’s disease”, below), yet we don’t know what causes it. The condition, which results in progressive loss of memory and cognitive function, usually over a decade or so, is devastating both to those who have it and to their loved ones. The condition often involves the accumulation of two types of proteins – called amyloid and…

access_time2 min.
everything you need to know about gum disease

WHAT IS GUM DISEASE? Gum disease, also known as gingivitis in its mild form, occurs when bacteria accumulate in tooth plaque, causing inflammation, receding gums and bleeding. If it progresses to the more serious form, periodontitis, it can lead to abscesses and tooth loss. Now it turns out that one of the key bacteria that cause gum disease – Porphyromonas gingivalis – may also be a root cause of Alzheimer’s disease, a form of dementia (see main story). HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE GUM DISEASE? Occasional bleeding from the gums when you clean or floss your teeth doesn’t mean you definitely have gum disease, because you may just have been too rough. But dentists advise that any bleeding should be checked out. Other signs include soreness around the gums and bad breath. WHAT…

access_time1 min.
bad bacteria and other microbes

It might seem surprising that a mouth bacterium has been implicated in Alzheimer’s disease (see main story). But it wouldn’t be the first time an illness has turned out to have an unexpected infectious origin. The iconic case is stomach ulcers, once thought to be caused by stress or excess acid, and treated with acid-lowering medications. Then Australian doctor Barry Marshall showed that a stomach bacterium called Helicobacter pylori was behind them, a feat that won him a Nobel prize. Streptococcus bacteria, which cause tonsillitis and “strep throat”, are suspected of triggering obsessive-compulsive disorder in children. The thinking is that the immune system’s attack on the bacteria cross-reacts with certain human proteins, causing an autoimmune attack against the person’s own brain tissue. Bacteria aren’t the only ones under suspicion. There are indications that…

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