Today in Research: Universal Flu Vaccines Might Actually Work

Discovered: A magical flu vaccine, there's no such thing as a healthy video game, a quantum microphone, nicotine mouth spray, your boyfriend may think you're fatter than you are.

  • Universal flu vaccines might actually work. The flu shot these days is all about faith. Maybe you'll get the flu, maybe even from the shot. Or maybe you won't, and it may be because you got the shot, or maybe because the flu just didn't bite you this year. It's quite precarious. Flu vaccines of the future, however, will do so much more, new research finds. "Flu control has been dogged by this problem that the virus just keeps evolving. It stays one step ahead of the traditional means of controlling it. So, with strain-specific vaccines, you're always chasing last year's virus," James Lloyd-Smith explains. "With the cross-protective [or universal] vaccines, we may be able to finally throw a blanket on the transmission of all flu strains over the long term in a way that can impact the virus' evolution," he continues. Sounds like a shot worth taking. [Princeton]
  • Nicotine mouth spray. This sounds like a most unpleasant way to quit smoking, but scientists say it works. Spraying the minty drugs directly onto one's tongue provides a quicker fix, helping smokers quit their habits twice as fast as those using placebo sprays. Researchers guess the spray works best because it provides a quickly absorbed dose of drugs and can be administered at will, unlike patches, which deliver dosages over time. We think it has something to do with eating mint-flavored cigarette spray. [Reuters]

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