What determines sexual orientation?

Earlier this year, a project backed by the Wellcome Trust set out to find “the most important question about life that science needs to answer”. After much consultation with scientists and the public, the panel selected the question: “is sexuality genetic?” Indeed, the puzzle of what causes homosexuality is one which scientists are used to…

Climate change is harming our health – urgent action is required

This article was originally published on the New Internationalist website, and can be found here. Tomorrow, over 120 world leaders, including Barack Obama and David Cameron, will gather in New York for a UN summit on climate change. The event, called by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, comes in anticipation of formal negotiations in Paris next…

University education is more than just an economic investment

This article was originally published on the New Statesman website, and can be found here. — Another careers talk and the same advice: “Don’t worry too much about finding a job – there’s only so much you can do to prepare”. The group of students sit around, bemused. It’s our seventh talk in a series…

GCSE results day reveals the sinister side of social media

This article was originally published on the New Statesman website, and can be found here. — I vividly remember my GCSE results day. The school was late to open and, as I waited anxiously, my phone buzzed with text messages, Facebook posts and tweets from friends, curious to find out what grades I’d been awarded….

NHS drugs, Aristotle and health economics: the problem of quantifying life

This article was originally published in the New Statesman, and can be found here. On Friday it was announced that abiraterone, a new prostate cancer drug, will not be made routinely available to NHS patients before receiving chemotherapy. The decision has been criticised by patient groups and scientists alike – a statement from the Institute of…

Being gay might not be “natural” – let’s stop arguing otherwise

This article was originally published on the New Statesman website, and can be found here. Anyone who respects personal freedom and equality will surely be impressed by the gay rights movement. Recent years have brought much to celebrate; the introduction of same-sex marriage legislation, improvements in public attitudes towards homosexuality within the UK, and gay pride…

The UK government must reform its treatment of asylum seekers

This article was originally published in the New Statesman, and can be found here. Theresa May has an important decision to make before Saturday. Having lost a High Court ruling which determined that the Home Office was “irrational” to freeze asylum support for three consecutive years, the Home Secretary was ordered to review government policy….

Ebola panic reveals the balancing act between patient freedom and social safety

This article was originally published in New Statesman, and can be found here. News of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa has received worldwide press attention. The epidemic has caused more deaths than any other recorded Ebola outbreak, and has claimed 672 lives since February. Governments have good reason to be concerned; the Ebola virus has a mortality rate…

Alternative medicine could work – but that’s not reason to embrace it

This article was originally published in New Statesman, and can be found here. David Tredinnick MP, a member of both the science and technology select committee and the health select committee, made headlines last week for suggesting that astrology should be incorporated into medicine. This isn’t the first time the member for Bosworth has caused…