Top 24 Health and Medicine Stories of 2011
2. Altered Immune Cells Block HIV: Lab-made proteins are revolutionizing AIDS therapy by retrofitting the immune system so it resists HIV. Human trials are already under way.
10. Immune SuperCells Purge Leukemia: A new therapy turns leukemia patients' own cells into cancer assassins. It may one day help fight other cancers, too.
13. Can Gut Bacteria Stop the Spread of Malaria?: Feeding mosquitos probiotic-infused nectar could make them resistant to the disease.
22. Y. Pestis, Mother of the Black Plague: The bacterial strain that wiped out half of 14th century Europe, scientists found, soon died out itself.
27. Babesia Parasite Taints the Blood Supply: Blood transfusions have infected 159 patients with the malaria-like parasite.
28. Hepatitis B Boosts Malaria Vaccine: Fragments of hepatitis B, which put the immune system on high alert, make a new malaria vaccine the most successful yet.
38. Killing Cancer From The Inside: Three new studies suggest ways to home in on cancer cells during treatment, leaving surrounding healthy tissue unharmed.
47. Ending Dengue: Injecting mosquitos with harmless bacteria keeps them from spreading the dengue-causing virus.
54. Attack of the Salad Sprouts: Sprouts contaminated with E. coli killed 50 people and sickened more than 4,000.
55. Coffee Vs. Cancer: Drinking one extra cup of coffee a day is linked to a 3 percent reduction in cancer risk.
56. Private DNA Companies Tap Crowds to Speed Disease Research: Drawing on its large consumer base, 23andMe identifies two genetic variants associated with Parkinson's Disease in just 18 months.
58. Sperm Gene Points to Infertility Cure: Researchers have pinpointed a surprisingly common gene that may cause infertility, offering new avenues for treatment.
60. New Treatments Slow Deadly Skin Cancer: Two treatments that boost the immune system improve survival rates and slow cancer growth in late-stage melanoma patients.
64. Stem Cell Research Hits More Painful Setbacks: Scientists had high hopes for reprogrammed stem cells, which could be derived from a patient's own tissue and grown into any type of cell in the body. But two studies this year highlighted major issues with reprogrammed cells, making their path to the clinic look longer than ever.
69. Cell Phones Alter Brain Metabolism: A 50-minute phone call boosts metabolism in the brain regions closest to the antenna, including areas involved in language, decision making, and emotional processing.
70. Safer Prenatal Tests for Genetic Diseases: A simple maternal blood test can detect Down syndrome five weeks earlier than existing tests, with no risk to the fetus.
76. Environment Gets More Blame for Autism: A new study suggests that environment accounts for more than half of autism risk, while genes are responsible for about 40 percent.
78. Napping Neurons Explain Sleep-Deprived Blunders: Tiny clumps of neurons doze off, even while the brain as a whole is awake.
81. Inflammation Might Help Defeat Diabetes: Scientists have long tied diabetes to inflammtion—but a new study shows that an inflammatory protein can cure the disease in mice.
87. First Posthumous Nobel Awarded: Immunologist Ralph Steinman won the Nobel Prize in Medicine days after his death.
90. Chronic Lyme Patients Validated: A new study uncovered biomarkers for Lyme disease symptoms that persist even after treatment.
94. HPV Vaccine--Now for Boys: The CDC recommended that preteen boys, as well as girls, get the HPV vaccine.
98. Brain Signal For Awareness: Minimally conscious and vegetative patients show different patterns of neural activity.
99. Study Deepens the Mystery of Chronic Fatigue: A new study suggests that the XMRV virus may not be behind chronic fatigue syndrome, after all.