“Science Times” synthesis

How concerned should you be about a viral pandemic coming soon… to a theater near you? According to the New York Times, not very. In an article about the movie Contagion, readers are assured that “you can still be very afraid if you want, if a contagious apocalypse happens to be your thing. But it’s not going to happen this way.” Read The Cough that Launched a Hit Movie below to get the scoop.

Week of September 13

The cough that launched a hit movie
Dr. Abigail Zuger analyzes the accuracy of Hollywood’s latest outbreak disaster movie. Read the full review, and let us know what you think—is it a hit or a miss?

An immune system trained to kill cancer

Scientists say the experimental treatment that helped leukemia patient William Ludwig may herald a turning point in the struggle to develop gene therapies effective in fighting cancer.

Indecision pays off for a doctor who loves the lab
Dr. Arthur Horwich, a medical geneticist at Yale University, wins this year’s Lasker Basic Medical Research Award for his work with misfolded proteins. Read on to learn more about his research and how it may impact the treatment of diseases like Alzheimer’s.

Blood test could be a breakthrough in field of tropical diseases
Learn how a new test for sleeping sickness might be a major breakthrough in diagnosing tropical diseases.

A squirt of insulin may delay Alzheimer’s
A small study finds preliminary evidence that insulin delivered through the nose may keep early Alzheimer’s at bay. Read more about the results of this pilot trial run by researchers at the University of Washington, and published in the Archives of Neurology.

Week of September 20

Scientists at Johns Hopkins University work with Lonnie Sue Johnson, artist and illustrator, to answer questions about memory, identity and art. Ms. Anderson, stricken with viral encephalitis that caused severe damage to part of her brain, is exhibiting her recent drawings at the Walters Art Museum.

A knack for bashing orthodoxy
Read an interview with influential evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, best known for his 1976 book, The Selfish Gene, in which he turned the traditional view of evolution and natural selection upside down. This interview is the second in a New York Times series on leaders in science.

Remark on HPV vaccine could ripple for years
Experts disagree with Rep. Michele Bachmann’s assertion that the vaccine to prevent cervical cancer is “dangerous.” Read about the controversy, and see what the experts have to say.

Health gains from a small drink a day
Harvard researchers find that women who drink one-half to one ounce of alcohol per day are 28% more likely to age successfully. Discover what scientists mean by “successful aging.”