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Ecco i benefici dei vaccini, misurati e dimostrati. Il sito della rivista scientifica Science, una delle più importanti e rispettate al mondo, ha pubblicato un grafico che mostra efficacemente i benefici portati negli ultimi 70 anni dall’introduzione dei vaccini, che hanno permesso di tenere sotto controllo malattie molto diffuse e pericolose responsabili della morte di migliaia di persone ogni anno. I dati sono riferiti agli Stati Uniti e basati sulle informazioni raccolte nei decenni dai Centri per la prevenzione e il controllo delle malattie, tra i più importanti organismi di controllo della sanità statunitense. La dimensione di ogni cerchio è proporzionale al numero di casi della malattia segnalati in un anno, mentre i cerchi arancioni indicano l’anno in cui è stato approvato e introdotto l’utilizzo di un vaccino. I casi di morbillo, dei quali c’è un preoccupante aumento in Italia da qualche mese, sono diminuiti enormemente grazie al vaccino introdotto nei primi anni Sessanta.

(Grafico: J. Fighting Cancer | TED Radio Hour. Our brain's memory capacity is 10 times larger than we thought. The human brain's memory capacity may be as much as 10 times larger than previously thought, according to a new study by scientists in California that looked at how hippocampal neurons in the brain function with low energy but high computational power. "This is a real bombshell in the field of neuroscience," said Terry Sejnowski from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. "Our new measurements of the brain's memory capacity increase conservative estimates by a factor of 10 to at least a petabyte, in the same ballpark as the World Wide Web. " The researchers built a 3D reconstruction of rat hippocampus tissue – the memory centre of the brain – and in doing so, discovered something strange. Synapses, the junctions that form between neurons, were being duplicated in about 10 percent of cases.

"We were amazed to find that the difference in the sizes of the pairs of synapses were very small, on average, only about 8 percent different in size," said Tom Bartol, one of the scientists. Extensive twin study finds no link between marijuana use and IQ decline in teens. The largest ever longitudinal twin study involving more than 3,000 adolescents from around the world has found little evidence to suggest that adolescent marijuana use has a direct effect on intellectual decline. The study analysed the results of two separate studies that traced the lives of American adolescent twins over a decade, and both found that teens who engaged in regular marijuana use lost no more IQ points over time than their non-using twin siblings.

The perceived link between dwindling intelligence and marijuana use can most recently be traced to a 2012 study by Duke University researchers, who concluded that frequent and heavy marijuana use is likely associated with a decline in IQ. But a follow-up study - also published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences - revealed that many confounding factors that have also been linked to IQ decline, such as cigarette and alcohol use, low socio-econimc status, and mental illness, were never accounted for.

A neuroscientist says there’s a powerful benefit to exercise that is rarely discussed. When I was about to turn 40, I started working out regularly after years of inactivity. As I sweated my way through cardio, weights, and dance classes, I noticed that exercise wasn’t just changing my body. It was also profoundly transforming my brain—for the better. The immediate effects of exercise on my mood and thought process proved to be a powerful motivational tool. And as a neuroscientist and workout devotee, I’ve come to believe that these neurological benefits could have profound implications for how we live, learn and age as a society.

Let’s start with one of the most practical immediate benefits of breaking a sweat: exercise combats stress. Exercise is a powerful way to combat feelings of stress because it causes immediate increases in levels of key neurotransmitters, including serotonin, noradrenalin, dopamine and endorphins, that are often depleted by anxiety and depression. Exercise improves our ability to shift and focus attention. We welcome your comments at ideas@qz.com. Cannabis and Spinal Cord Injuries. First children diagnosed in 100,000 Genomes Project. Three British men were the first people to be diagnosed with rare diseases last year thanks to the 100,000 Genomes Project. Now the project has achieved another first -- the first children to be diagnosed. Thanks to genome sequencing, Georgia Walburn-Green and Jessica Wright have now been informed of the exact genetic changes responsible for their previously undiagnosed conditions -- giving them wider treatment options and further support.

Their diagnosis may also open the door to other undiagnosed patients with the same diseases. Both Georgia and Jessica had undergone extensive testing in order to diagnose their conditions -- to no avail. "I had no idea that it was possible to have an undiagnosed condition," said Amanda, Georgia's mother. "As soon as we were on the project I felt a huge sense of relief. A year later, doctors told the family that they had found Georgia's genetic abnormality in a gene called KDM5b, a protein coding gene. Cybathon 2016: Games will reward athletes and technology. This article was taken from The WIRED World in 2016 -- our fourth annual trends report, a standalone magazine in which our network of expert writers and influencers predicts what's coming next. Be the first to read WIRED's articles in print before they're posted online, and get your hands on loads of additional content by subscribing online.

In 2012, a single pair of prosthetic legs ignited an international debate. Did South African athlete Oscar Pistorius's carbon-fibre running blades confer an unfair advantage over other able-bodied competitors? Did this technology, the International Olympics Committee asked, take him beyond normal human limits? For the Cybathlon, a new international sporting event taking place in Zurich in October 2016, the question of limits is beside the point. "At Cybathlon we allow any kind of technology," explains the event's founder and organiser Robert Riener, a professor of sensory-motor systems at ETH Zurich.

Human trials will test freeze-dried poop pills as a weight-loss treatment. If you want to lose weight, a new diet or gym membership sounds a whole lot better than consuming someone else's poop in pill form, but that's exactly the method researchers are about to investigate in a clinical trial that's been approved for later this year. It's not the most pleasant treatment you can imagine, but there's strong evidence that faeces is good for the microbiome environment inside our guts. Reports have shown that in some situations, poop pills are actually more effective than antibiotics, and now there's some strong demand for healthy body waste if you're interested in parting with some for a bit of cash. The controlled, randomised trial starting this year will be run by researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital.

Based on research that suggests bacteria from donor excrement can fight infections that have become rooted in the digestive system of the recipient, they'll be testing if poop pills could be a viable treatment option for weight-loss in the future. Digital Diagnosis: Intelligent Machines Do a Better Job Than Humans. Until now, medicine has been a prestigious and often extremely lucrative career choice. But in the near future, will we need as many doctors as we have now?

Are we going to see significant medical unemployment in the coming decade? Dr. Saxon Smith, president of the Australian Medical Association NSW branch, said in a report late last year that the most common concerns he hears from doctors-in-training and medical students are “what is the future of medicine?” And “will I have a job?”. The answers, he said, continue to elude him.

As Australian, British and American universities continue to graduate increasing numbers of medical students, the obvious question is where will these new doctors work in the future? Will there be an expanded role for medical professionals due to our ageing populations? Driving down the costs All governments, patients and doctors around the world know that healthcare costs will need to reduce if we are to treat more people. Machines vs humans It’s not if, but when. Thalidomide 50 years on: 'Justice has never been done and it burns away' She is planning to move from her tiny flat to a bungalow in Haywards Heath because she needs an extra bedroom for a carer to sleep in, and a bigger bathroom so a helper can be present. The move will cost hundreds of thousands of pounds. The bungalow will need electric doors and windows, a remote-controlled toilet and bath with hoists, and every light switch, surface and cupboard set at precisely the right height. There will have to be room for her four motorised chariots (two for inside, two for outside), and secure parking for her specially adapted Ford Transit van.

Like Mercer, most of Britain’s 468 surviving thalidomiders are suffering musculoskeletal deterioration and chronic pain as they age. Their spines and joints are wearing out after decades of performing mundane tasks with their teeth, toes or stumpy arms. "Five decades of distortions and contortions are taking their toll" ‘I’m horrified at the idea,’ says Mikey Argy, a single mother of two children. It worked. Dr Martin Johnson.