News

It will be difficult – but not impossible – to detect the chemical breakdown products of any nerve agents that may have been used in the Damascus attack, but access to the victims could be critical in proving the illicit use of chemical weapons.

A dose of belief

Medical science finds the placebo hard to swallow. But researchers have plenty of evidence for the mind's beneficial effect on real physical symptoms.

Feel it in your bone cells

Bones, it turns out, are rather like brains: their cells signal to each other to tell them when to grow. This could be good news for osteoporos is sufferers, writes Simon Hadlington

Clocks call time on Britain's Indian summer

Charge up your Seasonal Affective Disorder lamps, stock up on anti-freeze and warm your socks, for the end of the Indian Summer is nigh. Winter is upon us, with its associations of crumpets by the fire but also the threat of SAD and the dreaded countdown to Christmas.

Obituaries: Mark Efimovitch Vol'pin

Mark Efimovitch Vol'pin was a chemist of genius and one of Russia's leading scientists. He started his career as an organic chemist, then moved into organometallic chemistry, and ended it in bio-organic chemistry. From 1988 he was the director of the A.N. Nesmeyanov Institute of Organo- element Compounds (INEOS) of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

SCIENCE: HOLDING BACK THE YEARS (MAYBE)

Gene therapy could one day provide a treatment for cancer, or even halt the human ageing process, claim those who are developing this fledgeling science. But in America John Hands discovers commercial interests and intellectual rivalries are causing dissent

Obituary: Professor Thomas ap Rees

Thomas ap Rees, Professor of Botany and Head of Plant Sciences at Cambridge, was killed on 3 October cycling the six or so miles home from work - something he did almost every night of his life in Cambridge.

Books: Something nasty in the cistern

What if Hitler hadn't been born? Hugo Barnacle investigates; Making History by Stephen Fry Hutchinson, pounds 15.99

A lost mother, a lost world; BOOK REVIEW

The Scent of Dried Roses Tim Lott Viking, pounds 16

OBITUARY : Norman Aldridge

Norman Aldridge was regarded by his peers as one of the most thoughtful and influential toxicologists of our time.

Obituary: A. G. Ogston

Alexander George ("Sandy") Ogston had a gentle but critical mind. He conveyed to his Oxford undergraduate students, of whom I was one, the need to keep in mind a simple question that is still relevant after half a century - "Is the conclusion sensible?"; or, as he would have put it, "Is it thermodynamically reasonable?"

Letter: Germ war

The arrogance of the Darwinian doctors never ceases to amaze me. For the past few decades, they have supported a system of medicine based largely on drug suppression of symptoms, and totally derided everything else. Now, according to Kenan Malik ("Why illness means health", Review, 23 June), they claim credit for common-sense ideas one can read any day in journals sympathetic to alternative and complementary medicine.

The mystery unfolds ...

Cracking the 'folding' code of protein molecules could help us to tackle such diseases as Alzheimer's, says Simon Hadlington

obituaries: Professor Geoffrey Dawes

May I add briefly to the obituaries of Professor Geoffrey Dawes [by Professor C.W.G. Redman and Dr John Walker, 16 May]? writes Professor Gustav Born.

How in-laws could save your life

Asha was successful. She had everything. Why then would she try to commit suicide?

OBITUARY : Brun Straub

Brun Straub was one of the most familiar public faces of science in Hungary for over 30 years. But few of his compatriots would have expected that he would also play a walk-on part in Hungary's turbulent political history. He did so briefly when he took on the almost entirely ceremonial post of head of state in 1988 in the twilight era of Hungarian Communism. An amateur politician, he was at the time the only non-Communist president in Eastern Europe.
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Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific