Guest Work

Male fertility: how everyday chemicals are destroying sperm counts in humans and animals

Guest Author Apr 15, 2021

Alex Ford, University of Portsmouth and Gary Hutchison, Edinburgh Napier University Within just a few generations, human sperm counts may decline to levels below those considered adequate for fertility. That’s the alarming claim made in epidemiologist Shanna Swan’s new book, “Countdown”, which assembles a raft of evidence to show that the sperm count of western men has plunged by … Read More

ACC’s policy of not covering birth injuries is one more sign the system is overdue for reform

Guest Author Apr 13, 2021

Claire Breen, University of Waikato Recent media coverage of women not being able to get treatment for birth injuries highlights yet another example of gender bias in healthcare in New Zealand. Following a policy review, the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC), which covers accidental injuries, has restricted access to compensation for women who suffer perineal tears during birth. Read More

Viking DNA and the pitfalls of genetic ancestry tests

Guest Author Apr 12, 2021

Anna Källén, Stockholm University and Daniel Strand, Uppsala University A middle-aged white man raises his sword to the skies and roars to the gods. The results of his genetic ancestry test have just arrived in his suburban mailbox. His eyes fill with tears as he learns that he is “0.012% Viking”. These are the scenes from a video advertisement … Read More

Indigenous scholars struggle to be heard in the mainstream. Here’s how journal editors and reviewers can help

Guest Author Apr 12, 2021

Apisalome Movono, Massey University; Anna Carr; Emma Hughes, Massey University; Freya Higgins-Desbiolles, University of South Australia; Jeremy William Hapeta, Massey University; Regina Scheyvens, Massey University, and Rochelle Stewart-Withers, Massey University In the world of research and scholarship, being published in academic journals is crucial to both the advancement of knowledge and the careers of those involved. In particular, the peer … Read More

I now pronounce you denewed

Guest Author Apr 07, 2021

The EPA has commenced the 2021 “denewing” of new organisms. Their New Organisms team explain what this means, and ask you to put forward your proposals. The places we inhabit are shared with thousands of different kinds of organisms. They’re in the trees, flying in the sky, in our yoghurt, under our fingernails, and waiting at the door for … Read More

Chocolate’s secret ingredient is the fermenting microbes that make it taste so good

Guest Author Apr 05, 2021

Caitlin Clark, Colorado State University Whether baked as chips into a cookie, melted into a sweet warm drink or molded into the shape of a smiling bunny, chocolate is one of the world’s most universally consumed foods. Even the biggest chocolate lovers, though, might not recognize what this ancient food has in common with kimchi and kombucha: its flavors … Read More

How New Zealand’s healthcare system is failing people with osteoarthritis

Guest Author Apr 03, 2021

J. Haxby Abbott and Ross Wilson Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, affecting almost 650 million people over the age of 40 worldwide. In New Zealand, around one in eight adults have osteoarthritis, but it is a rapidly worsening problem. An ageing population and increasing rates of obesity and joint injury are contributing to the … Read More

Five ways fish are more like humans than you realise

Guest Author Apr 01, 2021

Matt Parker, University of Portsmouth You’ve probably heard that fish have a three-second memory, or that they’re incapable of feeling pain. Neither of these statements is true, but it’s telling that these misconceptions don’t crop up for other vertebrates. Perhaps it’s because fish appear so different from us. They don’t seem to have any capacity for facial expression, … Read More

Put a stock in it: How to choose better generic images for science and health articles

Katherine Hurst Mar 24, 2021

Are you familiar with headclutchers and headless fatties? How about hackers in hoodies? These tips and resources will help you avoid the clichés and make a more considered choice next time you’re searching for the perfect picture.  Beside every great science story is a great stock image. Although actually some of those images aren’t so great. It only … Read More

Floods leave a legacy of mental health problems — and disadvantaged people are often hardest hit

Guest Author Mar 22, 2021

Sabrina Pit, Western Sydney University Yet again, large swathes of New South Wales are underwater. A week of solid rain has led to floods in the Mid-North Coast, Sydney and the Central Coast, with several areas being evacuated as I write. As a resident of the NSW Far North Coast, which has had its share of devastating floods, many … Read More