How our bodies work and what happens when things go wrong
Are the fitness benefits of riding your bike worth the risk of an accident? Lesley Evans Ogden takes a tour of seven cities on two wheels to find out.
What drives people to run a marathon? Join Hayley Birch as she tackles 26.2 miles, aided by science.
A handful of girls seem to defy one of the biggest certainties in life: ageing. Virginia Hughes reports.
Can a grand vision of 4,000 free public gyms overcome inequality and fight Brazil’s health crisis? Catherine de Lange reports.
Is there real science in the spiritualism of meditation? Jo Marchant meets a Nobel Prize-winner who thinks so.
More than a century after their discovery, we still don’t really know what blood types are for. Do they really matter? Carl Zimmer investigates.
Alok Jha talks to Harold Varmus, Nobel Prize-winning cancer researcher and current Director of the US National Cancer Institute.
Where do a zebra’s stripes, a leopard’s spots and our fingers come from? The key was found years ago – by the man who cracked the Enigma code, writes Kat Arney.
When Kim Goodsell discovered that she had two extremely rare genetic diseases, she taught herself genetics to help find out why. Ed Yong tells her story.
Not long ago, children with cystic fibrosis were lucky to reach adulthood. They are now likely to live into their 40s and beyond. Penny Sarchet reports.
Lifestyle and economic changes are bringing an obesity crisis to South Africa and other low-income countries. Ian Birrell meets the people fighting to turn the tide.
Meet the donors, patients, doctors and scientists involved in the complex global network of rare – and very rare – blood. By Penny Bailey.
It’s supposedly getting easier for innovative drugs for rare diseases to reach the market. So why, asks Andy Extance, is hesitancy still proving devastating to desperate families?
Common in the US, rare in Europe and now championed in Africa, male circumcision is hotly debated. Jessica Wapner explores whether the gains are worth the loss.
Ellie Lobel was ready to die. Then she was attacked by bees. Christie Wilcox hears how venom can be a saviour.
Allergies such as peanut allergy and hay fever make millions of us miserable, but scientists aren’t even sure why they exist. Carl Zimmer talks to a master immunologist with a controversial answer.
Most of us would rather not think about what happens to our bodies after death. But that breakdown gives birth to new life in unexpected ways, writes Moheb Costandi.
The need to mend broken hearts has never been greater. But what if we could simply manufacture a new one? Alex O’Brien studies the legacy of Texan surgeons and artificial hearts.
As Myanmar prepared for its historic 2015 election, its leadership was rolling out plans for dramatic health sector reforms. But there are enormous obstacles, including the legacy of war and a rising threat of drug-resistant infectious diseases in restive border areas. Mike Ives reports.
Losing your sense of smell can fundamentally change the way you relate to other people, writes Emma Young.
Telling cancer from non-cancer is tough for brain surgeons. Scorpions, Amazon.com and the legacy of a dying girl might change that, writes Alex O'Brien.
Some people suffer eye pain so excruciating they feel suicidal, yet ophthalmologists see nothing wrong. Meet the 82-year-old doctor whose radical idea about the real source of this pain is turning heads.
The startling discovery that hundreds of thousands of Brazilians have a genetic mutation that undermines their ability to resist cancer is helping labs worldwide in their search for new treatments for the disease. Sue Armstrong reports.
If we met new life – on this planet or the next – would we know it when we saw it? Matthew Francis investigates.
Priyanka Pulla asks if there can ever be legitimacy in ‘quackery’.
How can you do medical research on chronic fatigue syndrome when divisions between patients, doctors and researchers are almost as chronic and painful as the disease itself? Virginia Gewin reports on new hopes of reconciliation.
There are a few things science doesn’t know about the menopause: what it’s for, how it works and how best to treat it. Approaching her second – yes, second – menopause, Rose George finds herself with more questions than answers.
Calories consumed minus calories burned: it’s the simple formula for weight loss or gain. But dieters often find that it doesn’t work. Cynthia Graber and Nicola Twilley of Gastropod investigate.
Craig Venter, multi-millionaire maverick, says he can help you live a better, longer life. Roger Highfield asks how.
In East Harlem, four times as many people have diabetes as in the neighbouring Upper East Side. Meera Senthilingam meets the New Yorkers stopping poverty from being a death sentence.
Holly Cave wants to know why her pregnancy ended at nine weeks. There are no easy answers, but talking about miscarriage could help us change the way we think about it.
One morning, completely unexpectedly, Samantha Anderson woke to find that she could no longer swallow. Three-and-a-half years and many medical appointments later, she’s finally regaining her ability to eat. Bryn Nelson finds out more.
We know that our diet has a huge influence on our health, but is it possible to use food as medicine for a specific disease? Emma Young, who has type 2 diabetes, is sceptical but intrigued.
Is there a place for traditional spiritual healers in Australia’s healthcare system? Georgina Kenyon reports.
Peter Bowes has been on a new diet that claims to guard against disease and slow ageing. Then he met a group with a mutation that lets them eat what they want while enjoying the same protection.
When healthcare is expensive, the Amish culture of autonomy and thrift may be a way to balance communal support and individual responsibility. Sara Talpos finds out more.
History is littered with ideas to control male fertility – and men are keen to have them. But with the heyday of the contraceptive industry apparently past, bringing the two together requires great determination and inventiveness, Andy Extance finds.
Traditional remedies in Ghana are loved by the people, championed by entrepreneurs and make millions for the government. Yepoka Yeebo finds out how herbal medicine became big business – and whether regulation might make or break it.
Every day, hundreds of Israeli volunteers drive ill Palestinians from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip to hospitals in Israel. Shaul Adar joins them on the road and learns why they see their neighbourly help as a step on the journey to peaceful coexistence.
While it’s healthy to have a variety of bacteria in our guts, there’s one place where it’s best to have a single type dominant: the vagina.
Teen smoking, drinking and drug use has been radically cut in the past 20 years. Why won’t other countries follow suit?
A network of compassionate volunteers caring for their terminally ill neighbours is allowing more people in Kerala, India, to end their days at peace and at home. Jeremy Laurance meets the man leading the movement.
Gaia Vince discovers that analysing the genetics of ancient humans means changing ideas about our evolution.
Who would risk their own safety tending to the injured and recovering the dead in one of the most violent cities on earth? Samira Shackle rides along with a driver from the world’s largest voluntary ambulance service.
A campaigning doctor has helped make Mongolia a better place to die than many much wealthier nations. Andrew North met her to find out how.
Inside the debate about compulsory cycling helmets.
How do we get more women cycling?
What it’s really like training for a marathon – in pictures.
What to do if you’re tackling your first 26.2 miles.
More on Hayley’s trip to the biomechanics lab.
We put burning marathon questions to our panel.
Physical activity is seen as one of the best forms of medicine. But how much do you need to benefit?
For over 30 years, Brazil has hosted one of the largest studies of a population since birth.
For many, the 2014 World Cup is a missed opportunity to tackle health problems and inequality.
Each time we fix up a Mosaic conversation, we ask our subject to bring with them an item.
Biology and mathematics – the practical and the theoretical – can be surprisingly uneasy bedfellows.
Turing patterns may yet explain the shape of biology’s beloved model organism.
People with cystic fibrosis take matters into their own hands by playing an active part in clinical trials.
The diagnosis of cystic fibrosis came double for one family.
How many undiscovered blood group systems are there?
A look at the life-saving work of a Bristol lab.
Drug approvals are evolving - but some say not fast enough.
More than merely placid test subjects, patients and families are paving – and paying – the way for new drugs.
Treatments for rare diseases challenge a system more used to blockbuster drugs.
From mass media to tribal ritual, campaigners are using circumcision to fight HIV in Zimbabwe. By Jessica Wapner.
Notes accompanying the graphic
A guide to venom-based drugs and the creatures we got them from.
Brains, like everything else, decompose. But nature has a way of halting that decay.
More and more people are rethinking traditional burial methods. Fathima Simjee asks why.
What gives a decaying body its distinctive odour?
What can a fly tell us about time of death? Mo Costandi looks at the emerging field of forensic entomology.
Surgeons say they have performed the first transplant using a 'dead' heart. Could this fill the deficit of donor hearts?
Could dogs guide us to new ways of detecting cancer? Emma Young investigates.
Smells and aromas can move us in deeply personal ways, writes Emma Young.
We have smell receptors all over our bodies, but nobody is quite sure why. By Emma Young.
23 facts about eyes and what can go wrong with them
The lasting lessons of a medical emergency
Lingering questions about LASIK’s long-term effects
Sue Armstrong meets Pan Pantziarka, whose son George had Li–Fraumeni syndrome and lived with cancer from early childhood.
What is p53 and why is it described as the 'guardian of the genome'? How is p53 linked to cancer? Find out in this video discussion with author Sue Armstrong.
How do we define ‘life’, scientifically speaking? Find out in this video discussion with physicist and science writer Matthew Francis.
In 2009, one Indian state took a chance on quacks to help solve its healthcare crisis. What happened?
A fundamental problem in chronic fatigue syndrome research is how to know it when you see it.
Meet Dr Jim Olson, the doctor who is revolutionising cancer surgery with ‘Tumour Paint’.
A group in Seattle opens its doors to Bryn Nelson.
For some people with swallowing difficulties, hope is a wagging tail.
A special diet for people with epilepsy will often stop or reduce their seizures.
Could a simple anti-inflammatory drug like aspirin really help keep us all healthier?
Miscarriage is an often under-reported and poorly understood subject that can be extremely traumatising for women and families. Hear from writer Holly Cave about how she made sense of her miscarriage.
We speak to author Rose George about these under-reported topics.
What can we learn from a group of people in Ecuador with a rare genetic mutation that affects their growth, but also makes them less susceptible to age-related diseases like cancer and diabetes?
How Pomerene Hospital, Ohio became more welcoming to the Amish community.
Mike Ives goes on the road with a Myanmar ambulance crew.
How do bacteria help maintain a healthy vagina, and what happens when this balance is upset?
In this short film, we meet four British end-of-life doulas
Could viruses be the key to making gene therapy a reality?
What happens to your blood once you’ve donated it?