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Half of first-wave Covid cases may have lasting harm to sense of smell

Early findings in Swedish study show range of chronic olfactory problems in people infected in 2020Coronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageNearly half of those who became ill with Covid in the first wave of infections may have long-term and even permanent changes to their sense of smell, according to preliminary research from Sweden.A...

Mark Warner obituary

Pioneering physicist whose study of elastomers opened up new technology for creating artificial musclesWe are all familiar with elastic bands and other soft, rubbery materials, but familiarity should not diminish our surprise at their properties. What other solids can be stretched many times their original length without breaking, then returned perfectly...

If you are an alcoholic and you get amnesia, would you remain an alcoholic?

The long-running series in which readers answer other readers’ questions on subjects ranging from trivial flights of fancy to profound scientific and philosophical conceptsIf you are an alcoholic or addict of some kind and you get amnesia, would you remain an alcoholic? Jane Ricard, AutunPost your answers (and new questions) below or send them to nq@theguardian.com....

Hedonism is overrated – to make the best of life there must be pain, says this Yale professor

The most satisfying lives are those which involve challenge, fear and struggle, says psychologist Paul BloomThe simplest theory of human nature is hedonism– – we pursue pleasure and comfort. Suffering and pain are, by their very nature, to be avoided. The spirit of this view is nicely captured in The Epic of Gilgamesh: “Let your belly be full, enjoy...

UK is over worst of Covid but beware of bumps on the road, says Prof Ferguson

Epidemiologist optimistic that UK deaths and hospitalisations will fall thanks to high immunity levelsCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageThe UK is past the worst of the Covid pandemic but should be braced for some “possible bumps on the road”, according to the scientist who helped shape Britain’s lockdown strategy.Prof Neil...

Can they fix it? UK project to explore ability and desire to repair tech

Exclusive: Experts aim to find out whether there are hotspots around country where electronic waste is avoidedFrom fancy toys to smartphones, when technology breaks, it often seems simplest to ditch it for a new model.But now experts are hoping to challenge the status quo, launching a citizen science project to explore attitudes to repair, and pinpoint...

Can a sick note make you better? Dr Gavin Francis on the power of convalescence

After serious illness, busy lives mean a proper convalescence is now a rarity. But a full and proper recovery takes time. GP and writer Gavin Francis reveals why a sick note can be a ‘powerful prescription’While training to become a GP, Gavin Francis became ill with a severe sinus problem. In acute pain and exhausted as he waited for an operation, he...

Last of escaped monkeys accounted for and three euthanised after crash in Pennsylvania

One cynomolgus monkey remained on the loose overnight after the truck transporting 100 of them crashed near DanvilleThe last of the monkeys that escaped from a truck after it had crashed on a Pennsylvanian highway have been accounted for and three have been euthanised.Several monkeys had escaped following Friday’s collision between the pickup truck...

‘I’ve got this little extra strength’: the rare, intense world of a super smeller

From petrol and perfume to Parkinson’s disease, super-smellers can detect scents others are oblivious to. For Krati Garg, the ability’s both power and painA few years ago Dr Krati Garg, an oral surgeon in Melbourne, was in theatre about to commence work on a patient when she told the anaesthetist she could smell sevoflurane.Sevoflurane is the anaesthetic...

Darling buds: how best friends keep us healthy and happy

Strong social networks have been shown to improve wellbeing, but what are the extra perks of having a really close friend? And why are women more likely to have one?“We met when we were five. I don’t know how I would have managed without her.” As children, Barbara Kastelein, from Ashford in Kent, and her best friend, nicknamed “Tulip”, both had alcoholic...

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