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35,047 articles from Guardian Unlimited Science

I was told the 12 steps would cure my addiction. Why did I end up feeling more broken?

In this quasi-religious programme, ‘working the steps’ is the remedy for any problem, but for me the cracks soon started to showEight of us sat together in a circle in a wooden shed, an outbuilding at a large country house, somewhere in the south of England. The door was ajar, and spring light flooded the room. “Can anyone name any treatment methods for addiction, other than the 12 steps?”...


FRIDAY 3. DECEMBER 2021


Australia and Omicron: how and when will the Covid pandemic actually end?

We were looking forward to a summer of relative normality, then along came a new coronavirus variantFollow our Australia news live blog for the latest updatesVaccine rollout tracker; Cases and data trackerGet our free news app; get our morning email briefingIt was meant to be Australia’s summer of hope.With vaccination rates against Covid-19 high, international travel restarting, and most states...

Does the Omicron variant mean Covid is going to become more transmissible?

As new strain dampens idea pandemic might be diminishing, what does the future hold for coronavirus?Coronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageWhen scientists predicted, months ago, that Covid-19 could be entering an endemic phase, many felt ready for the crisis period of the pandemic to be over. The tantalising suggestion that coronavirus might, at some foreseeable point, be...

Africa alerted the world to Omicron. Why are we now the pariahs? | Ayoade Olatunbosun-Alakija

Rich nations are again raising barriers to ending the pandemic – politicians, globally, must follow the science and act togetherDr Ayoade Olatunbosun-Alakija is the co-chair of the African Union’s Africa Vaccine Delivery AllianceThe advent of the Omicron variant has given us a glimpse of an alternative future in which, had the Sars-CoV-2 virus been initially identified in Africa in early 2020,...

Do Covid vaccine mandates work?

Growing number of countries are exploring making jabs compulsory, but is it the right approach?Coronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageA growing number of countries are exploring making Covid jabs compulsory for the general population, but is it the right approach? Continue...

UK Covid live: ‘keep calm and carry on’ with Christmas plans, says minister despite high case numbers

Oliver Dowden says people should keep going to pubs and restaurants, claiming the government has taken ‘sufficient’ action against OmicronBooster shots significantly strengthen immunity, trial findsBlack and south Asian people urged to get boosters amid higher deathsHow the NHS could be hit by Covid this winterHow probable is it that Omicron will take hold in UK?Global coronavirus updates –...

International Space Station forced to swerve to avoid US space junk

Orbit dropped by 310 metres briefly to avoid collision with fragment from vessel launched in 1994 The International Space Station performed a manoeuvre to swerve from a fragment of a US launch vehicle, the head of Russia’s space agency has said.Dmitry Rogozin, the director general of Roscosmos, said the station’s orbit dropped by 310 metres for almost three minutes to avoid a close encounter...

Black and south Asian people in UK urged to get jabs to cut higher Covid death rates

Disparity with white people who have lower death rate relative to infection rate suspected to be due to slower vaccine uptakeCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageDoctors have urged unvaccinated Black and south Asian people to get their Covid jabs after new data revealed hospitalisations and deaths are higher in those groups, despite infection rates being lower than in...

UK government’s risk planning is weak and secretive, says Lords report

Chair of committee points out unpreparedness for Covid shows better anticipation of future threats is neededAssessment and planning by the government relating to risks facing the UK are deficient and “veiled in secrecy”, a report has found.The 129-page report, entitled Preparing for Extreme Risks: Building a Resilient Society, was produced by the House of Lords select committee on risk...

Covid booster shots significantly strengthen immunity, trial finds

Jabs offer far higher protection than that needed to prevent hospitalisation and death, Cov-Boost trial lead saysCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageCovid booster shots can dramatically strengthen the body’s immune defences, according to a study that raises hopes of preventing another wave of severe disease driven by the Omicron variant.In a study published in the...


THURSDAY 2. DECEMBER 2021


Sex ratio of babies linked to pollution and poverty indicators

Study finds some pollutants are correlated with higher levels of boys and others with more girlsA swathe of pollutants and indicators of poverty have been linked to changes in the ratio of baby boys to girls born to millions of parents.A study of half the US population and the entire Swedish population examined more than 100 possible factors and found, for example, that mercury, chromium and...

Fossil remains of herd of 11 dinosaurs discovered in Italy

Exceptional find includes biggest and most complete dinosaur skeleton ever unearthed in the countryA treasure trove of fossils of a herd of 11 dinosaurs has been identified for the first time in Italy, including the biggest and most complete dinosaur skeleton ever found in the country.Although isolated dinosaur remains have been discovered in Italy since the 1990s, palaeontologists have now...

What are pros and cons of whole-genome sequencing for every UK baby?

Knowing a baby’s whole genetic code would help detect a range of health problems, but would not replace need for some existing testsScientists raise concerns over UK baby genome sequencing planWhat is the current newborn screening?All babies in the UK are offered the “heel prick” or blood spot test at around five days old to screen for nine serious health conditions, including cystic...

How probable is it Omicron Covid variant will take hold in UK?

Analysis: UK’s early vaccine deployment and use of different vaccines from South Africa mean it’s too soon to sayCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageOmicron is causing consternation around the world, with the variant found to be behind an exponential rise in Covid cases in South Africa. Yet with just 42 cases confirmed in the UK so far, and most European countries...

Scientists raise concerns over UK baby genome sequencing plan

Exclusive: experts say scheme seems designed to create valuable dataset rather than improve screeningScientists have raised concerns about a proposed overhaul of newborn screening that could lead to the UK becoming the first country to offer whole-genome sequencing for every baby.Speaking before the publication of plans for an NHS pilot study in which up to 200,000 babies’ genomes will be...

Covid: is it safe to kiss this Christmas? It’s a risk, say scientists

Boris Johnson may have given parties go-ahead but experts warn against sharing air space in poorly ventilated roomsCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageChristmas parties and nativity plays may have been given the go-ahead by Boris Johnson, but a government minister had science on her side when she warned against festive kissing this Christmas.Speaking on ITV’s Peston,...

UK drugs watchdog approves new Covid treatment Xevudy

Drug found in trials to cut vulnerable adults’ risk of hospital admission and death by 79%Coronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageThe UK drugs watchdog has approved a new Covid treatment after trials found it cut the likelihood of hospital admission and death by 79% in high-risk adults.The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has authorised Xevudy...

Covid: scientists find possible trigger for AstraZeneca jab blood clots

Experts hope better understanding of rare side effect of vaccine could help ‘turn the tide’ on pandemicCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageScientists believe they may have found the trigger behind the extremely rare blood clot complications stemming from the Oxford/AstraZeneca’s Covid vaccine.According to a team of researchers from Cardiff and the US, the reaction...

Researchers whose funding applications were rejected win appeal to Australian Research Council

Of 32 reassessed applications, six were ranked high enough to be recommended for potentially career-defining fundingResearchers who challenged the Australian Research Council’s rejection of critical funding applications on the basis of a controversial rule change have been vindicated, with their appeal upheld and 32 previously rejected projects deemed eligible for funding.Researchers across the...

Californian firm touts ‘mushroom leather’ as sustainability gamechanger

Vegan leather alternative isn’t just the hot fashion must-have – it could teach us about consumption and wasteVegan alternatives to leather could save more than just animals. The scientists behind fashion’s new latest must-have – the “mushroom leather” handbag – believe that mycelium, a material grown from fungi which can be engineered to look and feel like calfskin or sheepskin,...

The pandemic body: how the Covid era changed us – from hair loss to weight gain

Sore, blurry eyes, decaying teeth, spreading feet – the strange, difficult years of coronavirus have had unexpected effects on our general healthThis year, out of nowhere, my left heel has started hurting. Is it the onset of some degenerative condition, a normal byproduct of ageing, or simply pandemic life, I wonder. After all, living through this period has had surprising health consequences...

Is TikTok giving people Tourette’s Syndrome?

Clinicians around the world have noticed an increase in young adults, often women, developing ‘tic-like behaviours’ – sudden movements or vocalisations similar to what’s seen in Tourette Syndrome. Except these tics come on much later in life, and escalate more rapidly. Some have blamed the recent rise on social media – but the reality is much more complicated. Madeleine Finlay talks to...

Will the Omicron Covid variant cancel Christmas?

A new Covid variant first identified in South Africa is spreading around the world, with leaders rushing to respond. Our science correspondent Nicola Davis outlines what we know so far about the Omicron variantThe identification of a new Covid variant has sent shockwaves around the world as leaders scramble once again to close borders and reintroduce measures aimed at slowing the spread of the...


WEDNESDAY 1. DECEMBER 2021


Misinformation fuelled by ‘tsunami’ of poor research, says science prize winner

Dutch microbiologist Elisabeth Bik, winner of prestigious John Maddox prize, says trust in science is being underminedA “tsunami” of poor quality research is fuelling misinformation and could undermine trust in science, the winner of the prestigious John Maddox prize has warned.Elisabeth Bik, a Dutch microbiologist turned science sleuth who on Wednesday evening won the John Maddox prize for...

Covid limits migration despite more people displaced by war and disasters

IOM report finds 9m more people displaced globally but mobility restricted due to pandemic, with vaccination proving a key factorThe coronavirus pandemic had a radical effect on migration, limiting movement despite increasing levels of internal displacement from conflict and climate disasters, the UN’s International Organization for Migration said in a report on Wednesday.Though the number of...