21 articles from SATURDAY 8.10.2022

Placebos expert Kathryn T Hall: ‘The effect can rival painkillers like ibuprofen or even morphine’

The Harvard professor says we need to stop seeing dummy medicines as a novelty and instead make strides to understand them better and harness their powerThe placebo effect occurs when an inert treatment such as a dummy pill, fake injection or sham surgery leads to a real clinical improvement in symptoms. So strong is the effect it can be the bane of clinical trials, which must prove a drug’s...

'Sea monsters' were real millions of years ago: New fossils tell about their rise and fall

Sixty six million years ago, sea monsters really existed. They were mosasaurs, huge marine lizards that lived at the same time as the last dinosaurs. Growing up to 12 meters long, mosasaurs looked like a Komodo dragon with flippers and a shark-like tail. They were also wildly diverse, evolving dozens of species that filled different niches. Some ate fish and squid, some ate shellfish or ammonites.

Scientists reach tallest tree ever found in Amazon

After three years of planning, five expeditions and a two-week trek through dense jungle, scientists have reached the tallest tree ever found in the Amazon rainforest, a towering specimen the size of a 25-storey building.

Incorporating traditional management techniques to combat effects of ocean acidification

Ocean acidification is a major concern related to climate change, with the oceans currently absorbing around a quarter of the carbon dioxide that is released into the atmosphere. The increased CO 2 that is absorbed by the ocean in turn decreases its pH, making the waters more acidic. These more acidic conditions put marine organisms that create calcium carbonate shells and skeletons at risk.

Hand-washing and mask-wearing: Covid rules we would be wise to keep

With seasonal sickness on the rise, experts say measures we adopted at height of pandemic should become commonplaceAt the height of the pandemic, there was hope that lessons learned from this period would provide the foundations for a healthier society. No longer would snotty commuters swap germs on packed trains; if people were ill, they would stay home – or at least wear masks to protect...