How long do vaccines last? The surprising answers may help protect people longer


Researchers are ramping up efforts to figure out why some vaccines protect for mere weeks but others work for life. “We simply don’t know what the rules are to inducing long-lasting immunity,” says Plotkin, who began to research vaccines in 1957. “For years, we were making vaccines without a really deep knowledge of immunology. Everything of course depends on immunologic memory, and we have not systematically measured it.”  Read more.


How does chemo brain work? One cancer drug might interfere with brain signaling


For the millions of people treated for cancer, “chemo brain” can be an unnerving and disabling side effect. It causes memory lapses, trouble concentrating, and an all-around mental fog, which appear linked to the treatment and not the disease. Although the cognitive effects often fade after chemotherapy ends, for some people the fog persists for years, even decades. And doctors and researchers have long wondered why. Now, a new study suggests an answer in the case of one chemotherapy drug: Brain cells called microglia may orchestrate chemo brain by disrupting other cells that help maintain the brain’s communication system. Read more



Traffic may be making your allergies worse


Ragweed, the bane of summer and autumn allergy sufferers, spreads vigorously with help from a surprising source: our cars and trucks. A new study finds chaotic wakes of air currents from heavy traffic can disperse ragweed seeds tens of meters from their starting point—a huge boost from the usual 1-meter travel radius of seeds from their parent plants. Read more



Doctors botch blood pressure readings more often than you think

Picture the last time your doctor checked your blood pressure. Were you sitting in a chair? Were you relaxed? Were you silent? Did your doctor or nurse take more than one reading?

Chances are, the answer to one or more of these questions is “no” — which means there’s a good probability your blood pressure reading was wrong. Read more.