In brief (March 2015, part I): immune variability and HPV vaccine

Two picks from what I’ve read over the past couple of months:
the adaptability of the immune system, or how our immune system is more heavily shaped by our environment and the microbes we encounter than by our genes,
HPV vaccine safety profile, or how a nationwide study conducted in Sweden and Denmark found no increased risk of developing multiple sclerosis or other demyelinating diseases following quadrivalent HPV vaccination. Continue reading

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Book review: Countdown, by Alan Weisman

Published in 2013, the book had been waiting on one of my shelves for a while (I do have quite a bit of a backlog), and now that I have finally had time to read it, I want to take a bit more time to, well, tell you to read it.

In Countdown: Our Last, Best Hope for a Future on Earth, Alan Weisman, a journalist and nonfiction writer, addresses head on an issue that most people avoid: the ever growing human population, the environmental, ecological, and social burden it carries, and what it means for the future of not only all other living beings, but also our own species. Continue reading

Mercury pollution – Minamata convention

The editorial of this week’s Science issue puts the focus on mercury pollution, ahead of the Minamata convention that will take place in October in Japan. The convention will bring together some 140 nations to sign a treaty aiming at controlling and reducing human uses and releases of mercury. The Science editorial and accompanying articles discuss the issues associated with anthropogenic releases of mercury into the environment, and highlight the importance of drastically reducing these emissions while improving both the monitoring and the understanding of the consequences of local and global mercury pollution. Continue reading