How scientists developed the most popular anesthetic used today, without totally knowing how it works

The "milk of amnesia" is relatively new, and is predated by centuries of weak attempts at pain relief

Meet Virginia Apgar, the unlikely anesthesiologist who saved newborn babies

Apgar's simple, standardized score helped decrease the startlingly high infant mortality rate

Sugar may trigger inflammatory bowel disease by breaking down gut mucus

Mice fed sugar-heavy diets have worse colitis and more mucous-degrading gut bacteria

How did human butts evolve to look that way?

An evolutionary anthropologist tackles the mystery of the butt

A smart ‘second skin’ shape-shifts to block out chemical weapons

The smart fabric made of carbon nanotubes is light, breathable, and can change how first-responders deal with sarin

Racial injustice causes Black Americans to age faster than whites

The "weathering hypothesis" explains higher rates of chronic disease and infant mortality

The sugar in semen makes HIV drugs less effective

High levels of the sugar can obstruct antivirals from linking with viruses

Lead poisoning hits low-income children harder than their affluent neighbors

Children living in poverty suffer greater cognitive and physical effects from lead exposure than children from richer families, even if they live in the same area

Produced in partnership with TEDMED

Exosuits can restore mobility in stroke patients and soldiers alike

And they're customizable for different types of bodies, gaits, and speeds

There won't be a cure for Alzheimer's disease in our lifetime

A century of research later, and we're still not sure what causes it

Produced in partnership with Two Photon

Garbage mitochondria may contribute to Alzheimer’s disease

Taking out the trash improves key symptoms of neurodegenerative disease

series of CT scans of brain and skull, some purple

How your immune system can give you narcolepsy

New research could lead to easier diagnoses of this rare sleep disorder

A new comprehensive report shows how women in STEM face huge disadvantages

A prestigious medical journal provides overwhelming evidence for systemic barriers

Need to check your blood sugar? Just scan your contact lens.

Smart contact lenses could soon be monitoring health problems, not just correcting eyesight

Three facts about Helen Rodríguez-Trías, pediatrician-turned-healthcare activist

She pushed to end sterilization, legalize abortion, and give poor people access to quality healthcare

Russell Kenny / Flickr

A version of this article originally appeared on NPR Scicommers

Scientists are trying to cure diseases by harnessing our own cells

New research on Rett syndrome, caused by a mutated gene, suggests a treatment to reverse some disease symptoms