2009 review: In sickness and in health

2019-03-01 02:17:00

By Celeste Biever It was a year as hopeful in some areas as it was scary in others. We gained a whole new understanding of Alzheimer’s disease, and there was a glimmer of hope for an HIV vaccine. Meanwhile a pandemic flu strain caught the world unprepared, and new threats to our genetic privacy emerged. How my genome was hacked New Scientist uncovered an alarming new threat to genetic privacy. If our correspondent’s DNA is vulnerable, then so is yours. Gene therapy promises one-shot treatment for HIV Altering the immune system could free HIV-positive people from a lifetime’s reliance on drugs. Obama lifts research restrictions on embryonic stem cells Less than two months into the new presidency, a reversal of the Bush administration’s policy opens up federal funding for research on embryonic stem cell lines derived since 2001. High-speed brains are in the genes Spectacular images of the brain’s wiring reveal that inheritance plays a bigger part in determining an individual’s intelligence than previously suspected. Swine flu: The predictable pandemic? For more than a decade the warning signs were there, yet few paid any attention to the pandemic threat that swine flu might pose to humans. Can smoking ever be made safe? Regulating tobacco in the same way as drugs will raise the bar on the quality of evidence behind industry claims for “healthier” cigarettes. Doctors miss signs of consciousness in vegetative patients Around 40 per cent of people diagnosed as being in a vegetative state are in fact minimally conscious, according to a new comparison of tests now in use. What should we make of the HIV vaccine ‘triumph’? At last, a clinical trial of an HIV vaccine has worked – well, sort of. What does this really mean for the worldwide battle against AIDS? WHO launches worldwide war on booze Alcohol abuse is the fifth leading cause of premature death in the world today – and the World Health Organization is trying to stamp it out. Brain scans reveal what’s on your mind A signature signal of what you are seeing or recalling shows up in real-time scans. Is this the start of mind-reading machines? Can sleepwalkers commit murder? As we learn more about what leads to sleepwalking, it is becoming easier to decide whether people who commit violent acts in their sleep should bear criminal responsibility. Read more reviews of the year:              Most popular articles of the year From space storms to vampires to porn, here’s a countdown of the year’s most-read articles. Warning: contains sex stories. A lot of them Favourite picture galleries From carnivorous robots to exploding stars and bizarre medical devices, here are your favourites from the image galleries we posted this year Top videos of the year The best of New Scientist‘s video coverage, including a tiny hovering robot, bionic penguins and plasma ejections from the sun The year in space Astronomers found water on the moon and saw the most distant object yet, but space radiation hit a record high and the Spirit rover struggled for life Most popular space articles of the year Find out how to go to Mars in 39 days and see what it would look like to fall into a black hole Most popular physics articles of the year These include an investigation into the best way to slice a pizza Sex at the noughties’ end There was plenty to hold the attention of those with an academic interest in sexual attraction and reproduction Digging up prehistoric monsters Dinosaur hunters and anyone with an interest in prehistoric creatures great and small were not disappointed It’s the environment, stupid Thoughts of climate change were never far away, but with ice on fire and a salamander uglier than ET,