As history tells it, young Edward Jenner heard a milkmaid brag that having cowpox made her immune to smallpox. And years later, as a doctor, he drew matter from a cowpox pustule on the arm of a milkmaid to vaccinate a young test subject (depicted in the drawing above). A researcher now weighs in on the veracity of the milkmaid stories.

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It’s a microscopic case of mistaken identity. A new study published in PLOS Pathogens has found that a 16th-century mummified child may have actually been infected by an ancient strain of hepatitis B, not smallpox as scientists believed for decades

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Fifty years ago this Sunday, the first adult human heart transplant was performed in Cape Town. It was an epoch-making advance in science — and also, perhaps, in human culture. The heart, heavy as it is with symbolism, has always occupied a special place in our collective imagination

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Who First Buried the Dead?

November 14, 2017

Evidence of burial rites by the primitive, small-brained Homo naledi suggests that symbolic behaviour is very ancient indeed

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History tells us that fears about designer babies are exaggerated when it comes to the alteration, deletion, or swapping of genes in human embryos, renowned bioethicist Alta Charo, PhD, said during a TEDMED 2017 talk in Palm Springs, California

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At some point, the brains in the basement were definitely going to become a draw. How could they not? There were hundreds of them, all floating in clear jars with peeling yellowed labels: a grim diagnosis; a person’s name. Plus, this wasn’t just any basement. It lay beneath Yale’s medical school dorm, and behind a locked door that could be breached with a screwdriver

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Statues: An Editorial Response

September 19, 2017

Philip Campbell, Editor-in-Chief of Nature responds to the widespread criticisms to an editorial warning about the risks of “removing statues or altering the names of awards or streets that honor researchers who committed atrocious acts in the name of science.”

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Dr. Jen Gunter writes, “This is what I know about Sims from reading multiple journals and textbooks from the 1800s (both before and after Sims infamy), his autobiography and the autobiography of Dr. Emmet, as well as the work of modern historians and ethicists and if you are defending anything to do with Sims you should know it as well.”

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