Stress, insecurity and lack of alternatives are serious psychosocial risks for the research community. What ideas for improvement are proposed? Many are calling for an end to the endless days, missing leadership training and questioning the scientific quality assessment system.
At least one in three doctoral students has serious mental health problems. In the previous report, we looked at the causes, including work-life balance difficulties. We have now interviewed representatives of Spanish female researchers in four countries with different workloads: Germany, the USA, Denmark and the Netherlands.
The subject is not new, but its visibility is. Recent studies have uncovered high risks of depression and anxiety for researchers, especially doctoral students. Long days, scarcity of places, a hyper-competitive environment and the sacralisation of vocation lie behind the toxicity of the system.
In 2011, a doctor became famous for ensuring that his peers die with treatments that were less aggressive, quieter and less painful than the rest of the people. Some time later, studies have proven him wrong. Dying is difficult for everyone. Specialists demand that quality of death be a social value and want a radical reinforcement of the services of dependency and palliative care.
Single cell analysis will allow us to understand the amazing regeneration power of salamanders, map all our cells in a biological 'Google Maps' and fight cancer or autoimmune pathologies. That's why it was the Method of the Year for `Nature´ magazine in 2013 and the great scientific breakthrough of 2018 in `Science´.
Francis Crick, the co-discoverer of the DNA double helix, defined consciousness as the greatest unsolved problem in biology. The first major international conference of the Human Brain Project, held recently in Barcelona, has focused on the challenges and advances in its study. We have spoken with the local organizer of the conference.
At the beginning of the year, the novelist Henning Mankell revealed that he had been diagnosed with cancer. Almost immediately he decided that he would write about his illness in a Swedish newspaper. Mankell is not alone, but one of many writers who have written about their illness. Apart from whatever they might bring to the table, a recent study claims that so-called “expressive writing” can help to reduce some of the symptoms suffered by oncology patients.
The role of the immune system in fighting tumours has been well-known since 1890 when it was discovered by chance, but it has taken more than a century to gain real importance. The journal ‘Science’ has chosen cancer immunotherapy as the most significant milestone reached in 2013. This represents a change of strategy: cancer is not attacked directly; rather, the immune system’s army is released to battle with all its artillery. We will learn the full scope of these self-defence techniques over the coming years.