Latest posts from the Risk Science Center

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Advanced Materials – What’s the big deal?

Why are materials important? How do they limit what we can achieve? And what can we do to change this?  (Check out the videos below). Advanced Materials Materials and how we use them are inextricably linked to the development of human ...

Nano silver to be used to treat Ebola patients
Is using nano silver to treat Ebola misguided?

On Thursday this week, the Wall Street Journal reported that Ebola victims in Nigeria’s commercial capital Lagos will receive Nano Silver in an attempt to treat the infection.  The news comes hot on the heels of the World Health Organization’s decision to sanction ...

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Meaningful information: poor literacy and numeracy barriers to interpreting health data

An increasing number of patients have direct access to their laboratory test results. This information is intended to encourage greater patient involvement in medical-decision making and self-management.  However, a recent study by Brian Zikmund-Fisher and colleagues suggests that easy access ...

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Color my Poop Beautiful – and other tales of DIY Health

(Update: Link to PDF of presentation added) Is it possible – just possible – that you have a nugget of insight, or creativity, or skill, that could help improve your health, or someone else’s? The organizers of this coming Saturday’s We ...


Andrew Maynard, science communication
Confessions of a Scientist Communicator

I consider myself to be pretty self-aware.  It’s an illusion of course, but one I am usually blissfully ignorant of. Until some insightful reporter shatters it! This was me a few days ago.  I was talking with a journalist about science communication ...

Ebola
Ebola – Not just an African problem

As the Ebola outbreak continues to grow, there are mounting concerns over its potential spread beyond West Africa. Statistically, the chances of contracting Ebola remain low outside infected areas. Nevertheless, the disease represents a serious global threat to public health ...

Hacking health, maker movement and public health
Hacking the world, public health style

What has the Maker Movement got to do with public health? Quite a lot as it turns out, as I explore in the latest Risk Bites video.  This in turn was inspired by being invited to talk at the inaugural We ...

Brian Zikmund-Fisher talk's to NPRs Robert Siegel about risk and feelings
When risk gets personal

When you’re facing a life or death situation, what do the odds mean – to you personally?  As Brian Zikmund-Fisher from the University of Michigan School of Public Health pointed out to Robert Siegel on NPR yesterday, “We’re never 95 percent ...


Laboratory safety
The gathering storm of lab safety

Pathogen safety in federal labs Over the past few weeks, revelations of potentially dangerous errors in US federal labs handling pathogens have placed health and safety high on the national agenda.  In June, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced ...

Vantablack Feature
How safe is the world’s darkest material?

Vantablack - the new black? Over the past few days, the interweb’s been awash with virtual “oohs” and “ahs” over Surrey Nanosystems’ carbon nanotube-based Vantablack coating.  The material – which absorbs over 99.9% of light falling onto it and is claimed ...

Nanoparticles in dunkin' donuts - are they a problem?
Nanoparticles in Dunkin’ Donuts? Do the math!

Nanoparticles in food products Over the past couple of years a number of articles have been posted claiming that we’re eating more food products containing nanoparticles than we know (remember this piece from a couple of weeks ago?).  One of the latest ...

Drinkable nanojuice potentially allows unprecedented real-time imaging of the small intestine
Nanojuice for GI tract imaging – is it safe?

Nanojuice: drinkable nanoparticles for studying the gut Over the past few days, my news and social media streams have been inundated by articles on “nanojuice”.  The “juice” – developed by researchers at the University of Buffalo and published in the ...


Do we need a better definition for synthetic biology?
Do we need a better definition for synthetic biology?

Jim Thomas of the ETC Group has just posted a well reasoned article on the Guardian website  on the challenges of defining the the emerging technology of “synthetic biology”.  The article is the latest in a series of exchanges addressing the potential risks ...

Can sunscreen increase your risk of dying?
Can using sunscreen increase your risk of dying?

Sunscreen (non)sense A recent comment on the Risk Science Center Facebook page asked whether we could help make sense of this article, posted on the website realfarmacy.com a few days ago: Scientists Blow The Lid on Cancer & Sunscreen Myth, ...

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Nanotechnology for a sustainable future, new book offers insights

Nanotechnology offers solutions to pressing global issues, but they also have the potential to lead to unexpected risks and unintended consequences. A newly released book, Nanotechnology Environmental Health and Safety: Risk, Regulation and Management, offers insights into how these new ...

lead paint
Lead abatement, a wise economic and public health investment

Childhood lead exposure costs Michigan residents an estimated $330 million annually, and a statewide remediation program to eliminate the source of most lead poisoning would pay for itself in three years, according a report issued today. “Economic Impacts of Lead ...