2100: Time to break the habit

Matt Sargeant asks if addiction will still be a major societal problem by the 22nd Century, and whether pharmacology might have the answer

Pain Less: the future of relief

We have all suffered the unpleasant sensation of pain, whether it’s caused by the intense throbbing of a stubbed toe or through deep emotional anguish. During years training as an elite artistic gymnast, I’ve experienced my fair share – after one awkward vault-landing my joints twanged and my back wailed. For seasons, I battled with […]

12 days of xmas: Drug discovery

Some festive fun. Jo Poole takes an imaginative look at how the twelve days of Christmas song relates to drug discovery from anti-depressants to paracetamol …

Placebo: making evidence-based medicine bad for you

The placebo effect is like a slightly embarrassing trick you play on someone who’s never heard it before. There’s no deception that makes a person look so gullible or so much of a hypochondriac as to bring them back to health with a treatment that does nothing at all. However, although it’s still debated, the […]

Remote Control Brains

Mind control is an unsettling prospect. Its psychology is far less obfuscated than its biology, which is fantastic for advertising companies and frustrating for scientists. Brains contribute about 2% of our body weight and require 20% of its energy requirement. We recognise early that brains are the seat of our humanity, autonomy and ‘self’ and […]

Preparing for pleasure

Expectation of reward and pleasure plays an important role in motivating behaviour. Many of the decisions we make every day depend on our prediction of positive outcomes. The neurological basis of expectation and reward is complex and elusive but research in subjects ranging from bees to humans indicates that the neurotransmitter dopamine has a critical […]