Bone accountancy

As part of her PhD in Anatomy, Mandi Alblas regularly visits Stellenbosch University’s Kirsten Skeletal Collection. Like an accountant she packs out, photographs and tallies each of 206 bones in each of the 700 skeletons included in her study – 144 200 bones in all.    There’s something moving about the way that Mandi Alblas switches between…

Could a scanner be the way forward for diagnosing malaria?

The answer to whether people have malaria or not is written in the palms of their hands. So says University of Pretoria researcher Dr Vinet Coetzee, who is developing a handheld scanner that would one day be able to within seconds detect if someone has contracted this mosquito-borne disease – one that affects up to 216…

Our daughter Maya is here and healthy because of veggies, dog walks and a cyborg technology that costs R50 a day

When we decided to have a baby, my HbA1C (a long-term measure of blood sugar control) was 7.2. Not too bad for a type 1 diabetic (T1D), but it should be closer to 6 for a healthy pregnancy. For about 4 months we reduced alcohol, eating out and stress. We exercised and slept more. We…

[LISTEN] The Science Inside Genetics episode

  The Science Inside is a weekly show that goes inside the science of major news events. The show is broadcast on Voice of Wits every Monday at 6pm.This week’s edition focuses on genetics. The presenters talk about Japanese researchers’ efforts to genetically engineer hens whose eggs contain drugs that can fight serious diseases including cancer.…

Thomas Bothwell: across medical frontiers

The son of Scottish immigrants to South Africa, Thomas Hamilton Bothwell was born on 27 February 1926 in Johannesburg. Having received a scholarship to attend St John’s College, he matriculated first class in 1941. From here, he went on to attend the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), obtaining a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of…

Salim Abdool Karim: a crusader for HIV research

Salim Abdool Karim is a revolutionary in everything he does, be it opposing apartheid rule, challenging AIDS denialists, or revamping South Africa’s medical research funding. Along the way, he has ruffled some feathers. But ‘Slim’, as he is known to most, gets away with it because his actions are designed for the greater good, and…