Human Biology & Medicine

Focus your attention inwards to one of the most complex systems of all: the human body

Is obesity a choice?

Prof. Giles Yeo

According to the World Obesity Federation it is estimated that over 1 billion will be affected by obesity by 2025. Does obesity lie within our control? What impact do genes have on our appetite and body weight? Do your brain and belly speak to each other?

Tue, 19 Jul 2022 6:30 pm UTC

Find out more
How do conjoined twins challenge our view of identity?

Alice Dreger

Conjoined twins are among the rarest of human beings. Revered in some cultures and vilified in others. How should we think about individuality in conjoined twinning, and should the phenomenon which is often seen as a medical “problem” be solved?

What can animals teach us about sex?

B. Natterson-Horowitz, MD

The world of dating, sex and childbirth is a hazardous one, full of complex behaviours and even threats to our health. Well, mating in the animal kingdom is just as complex. What can we learn about "the birds and the bees" by looking at our animal cousins?

What can animals teach us about eating disorders?

B. Natterson-Horowitz, MD

How we eat and the impact it has on our bodies, from weight loss and weight gain to eating disorders, is complex and a key facet of human health. But most of these behaviours and conditions aren't unique to our species. What can the animal world teach us?

How is the digital age transforming our response to stress?

Dr. Alexandra Crosswell

Humans are information-seeking beings at heart. But while technology has given us unprecedented access to the data we crave, it has created a deluge of side effects on our brains and bodies too. How are we adapting to information and stimulation overload?

Is our anatomy our destiny?

Alice Dreger

In 1911, French doctors thought LS, a fashion model, had herniated ovaries. No one expected them to be testes. What is intersex? And what can we learn about sex and gender development from it?

How do you lose connection to your body under stress?

Dr David Plans

Stress starts in the mind, but it can take an enormous toll on the body too. Left unchecked, it can even prove fatal. What is stress, from a scientific perspective, and how does it wreak havoc on our bodies when we're in a state of burnout?

What happens in the brain when you meditate?

Prof. Steven Laureys

Meditation - training your attention and awareness to reach a calm and stable state - is an ancient practice found all over the world and used in the modern day to manage stress. What's going on in your brain when you achieve this level of focus?

Could we create love in a lab?

Dr. Larry Young

When it comes to love, all the mystery, all the poetry and all the complex behaviours that lead to the most life-changing decisions we’ll ever make are driven by just a few molecules in our brains. What's the science of attraction, and can we fake it?

How does love help us survive?

Dr. Anna Machin

Love can make us act against logic and reason. It can make us irrational. It can make us forget about our own best interests, or even risk our own safety. Why have we developed such a strong instinct to love, when in so many ways it would be easier not to?

Why was the Black Death the deadliest event in history?

Prof. Mark Bailey

There have been nearly 6m victims of Covid-19, but even this enormous death toll represents just a fraction of those lost to the Bubonic Plague in the Middle Ages. What do you need to know about the most fatal event in human history?

Where do we go when we go to sleep?

Dr Lauren N. Whitehurst

We think of sleep as a period of relaxation and recuperation, but while we snooze, our brains remain incredibly busy, often with intriguing "side effects" like dreams and sleepwalking. What does the mind get up to when we're not paying attention?

Why are animals better at navigating adolescence than human teenagers?

B. Natterson-Horowitz, MD

Humans aren't unique in having an adolescent stage, but we are pretty unique in how we react to it. Why do other species find it easier to surf the trials and turmoils of this challenging life phase than we do?

At what age do you become responsible for your actions?

Prof. Leah Somerville

The law has to decide at what age someone should be held accountable for their actions. What does neuroscience tell us about when that should be?

Why are allergies on the rise?

Dr. R. Sharon Chinthrajah

1 in 15 people globally has a food allergy - a rate that's more than doubled since 1960. What's behind this soaring increase?

Why are teenagers so influenced by their peers?

Dr. Wouter van den Bos

Peer pressure is a powerful influence on adolescent decision-making. What is it about the brains of teenagers that makes it so important to be liked, and to go along with the crowd?

Do we eat with our ears?

Prof. Charles Spence

Besides taste, there are other senses at work when we eat. How much of an influence does the environment have over our food behaviour?

How does HIV affect the brain?

Dr. Dionna Williams

Researchers around the world have been studying the HIV virus for years. But do we completely understand how it behaves and how far are we from finding a cure?

What is the future for our children?

Prof. Anthony Costello

Prof. Anthony Costello discusses his decades in public health. How has social, economic and health development affected the health of our planet?

How do our genes control our response to what we eat?

Dr. Vimal Karani

Not only does DNA control physical characteristics like height, but it also shapes how our bodies react to food. Is it true that you are what you eat?

How does the ocean contribute to new drug development?

Dr. Jeanette Davis

There's so much left to learn about the sea and its organisms. Could the ocean be the source of the next drug to change medicine?

Why do humans have such a unique relationship with food?

Dr. John S Allen

Not even our closest primate relatives think about food in the way humans do. What does the food we eat tell us about our own evolutionary history?

Is the human brain pink, blue or fifty shades of grey matter?

Prof. Gina Rippon

Do the anatomical differences between men and women extend to the biology of the brain? Or does it all come down to environmental influence?

Why does the mind create real symptoms in the absence of disease?

Dr. Suzanne O'Sullivan

The body can create a shocking array of symptoms, from paralysis to seizures, seemingly without any medical explanation. Is the brain responsible, and if so, why does it do it?

Why is a computer not a good analogy for the brain?

Prof. Angus Fletcher

Artificial intelligence systems are built to mimic human intelligence. Do they have any chance of replicating all the abilities of a brain?

When does pain management become the pain of addiction?

Dr Kelly E. Dunn

More than 70% of deaths linked to drug use worldwide are related to opioids. How did these drugs designed to treat pain end up crippling communities?

How do our waking lives meet our sleeping brains?

Dr Lauren N. Whitehurst

We know some of the basic factors that can disrupt sleep: caffeine, blue light, stress... But how does the way we spend our waking time change our sleeping brain?