Since COVID-19, soaps and sanitisers are ubiquitous, but researchers warn that the antibacterial additives they contain are dangerous to our health.

Featuring: Professor Trevor Lithgow, Microbiologist

Since COVID-19, the simple act of hand-washing has been elevated beyond the mundane into a public health headline and potentially life-saving act.

Superbugs resistant to medicines are predicted to kill 10 million people a year by 2050.

People wash their hands now. Soaps and sanitisers are in demand, and also ubiquitous — in handbags, backpacks, at pub and shop doors.

This is undeniably a good thing. But for Monash University researcher Professor Trevor Lithgow, who works on superbugs that are resistant to medicines and predicted to kill 10 million people a year by 2050, it’s…

Why do so many miscarriages happen in the first two weeks of pregnancy? This radical world-first invention may answer this question and open up a pathway towards new therapies for infertility and congenital disease.

Featuring: Professor Jose Polo, epigeneticist and Professor Peter Currie, evolutionary and stem cell biologist.

Game-changers: Monash researchers (from left) Jia Tan, Jose Polo and Xiaodong (Ethan) Liu.
Game-changers: Monash researchers (from left) Jia Tan, Jose Polo and Xiaodong (Ethan) Liu.
Game-changers: Monash researchers (from left) Jia Tan, Jose Polo and Xiaodong (Ethan) Liu.

Since 2014, Monash researchers have tried to understand the mysterious molecular processes that occur during the first few days of human life.

Late last year came the breakthrough. The University’s Polo Laboratory team unexpectedly produced a medical game-changer when it created what it calls an iBlastoid — the most accurate three-dimensional model of a blastocyst, or the cellular structure that becomes an early human embryo.

It’s made from skin cells and isn’t an embryo itself, so it can’t be used to make humans — to date…

We know Elon Musk is a fan, but what’s all the fuss about, and when will the Bitcoin bubble burst?

Written by: Joseph Liu, Director, Monash Blockchain Technology Centre and Rafael Dowsley, Cybersecurity expert.

Just like the stock market, the cryptocurrency market is frequently subjected to extreme price fluctuations — both upwards and downwards. Tesla recently purchasing $1.5 billion worth of Bitcoin is just one example of how the crypto market can change.

For instance, at the end of 2013 to the beginning of 2014, during the middle of 2017 to the middle of 2018, and now again as we’ve seen in the past few months, there have been many highs and lows of cryptocurrencies.

If we analyse the movement…

If modern democracy is to flourish, we need to look beyond its exclusively Western origin narrative.

Written by: Hilary Gopnik, Director, Centre for Ancient Cultures, Monash University.

Cicero (Roman senator, 106–43 BCE) denounces Catiline within the Roman senate.
Cicero (Roman senator, 106–43 BCE) denounces Catiline within the Roman senate.
Cicero (Roman senator, 106–43 BCE) denounces Catiline within the Roman senate. Fresco by Cesare Maccari (1840–1919 CE).

Over the past month, the world has watched the United States in the throes of a struggle over a democratic system that they thought was invincible. Then more recently, in Myanmar we saw the borrowed false accusations of a corrupted election succeed in overthrowing a democracy, at least temporarily.

It’s felt for many of us as if the foundations of democratic processes are on trial, and democracy’s source in the ancient world has been looked to for answers. But the widely accepted story that democracy was a brilliant, even…

A xenophobe, an anti-vaxxer and a COVID sceptic walk into a bar … Conspiracy theories and the far right is no joke.

Written by: Callum Jones, Researcher in political extremism.

old typewriter typing the words conspiracy theory on paper.
old typewriter typing the words conspiracy theory on paper.

Conspiracy theories, generally speaking, can be understood to be “the belief that an organisation made up of individuals or groups was, or is, acting covertly to achieve some malevolent end”.

They can appear, in many cases, to be harmless enough, often tangled within popular culture. Is La Toya Jackson just her brother in disguise? Could Elvis Presley or Tupac actually still be alive? These kinds of questions are just the tip of the conspiracy theory iceberg.

However, some are far more menacing. Conspiracy theories can be downright dangerous. …

Work is underway to ensure content quality is undiminished by the introduction of data hiding used to address issues such as proof of ownership, and verification of genuine content.

Featuring: Dr Wong Kok Sheik, Associate Professor, School of Information Technology, Monash University Malaysia

Once upon a time, content publishers didn’t have to worry about content duplication, but with more than 4.5 billion people worldwide — nearly 60% of the world’s population — now using the internet, that’s a luxury providers can no longer enjoy.

Multimedia content is flooding the internet, contributing to 80% of internet traffic. Anyone can showcase full-screen high-definition videos without waiting for the videos to buffer. This has led to a considerable shift in the way people are using the internet.

Content streaming services such as…

The results of a clinical study into the effects of ‘gut-directed’ hypnotherapy on IBS have been so positive that even the researchers were surprised.

Featuring: Dr Simon Peters, Psychophysiologist, Clinical Gut-Directed Hypnotherapist.

Lady undergoing hypnotherapy
Lady undergoing hypnotherapy

Patients are asked to imagine their gut as a beautiful, perfectly slimy set of passages, where all the digesting food slips through as if smoothly lubricated. Or they might be asked to think of their gut system as a free-flowing river, no obstacles, no blockages, everything working as it should.

This is the brave new world of hypnotherapy treatment for IBS — irritable bowel syndrome — a nasty and mysterious gut disorder that affects as many as one in seven Australians. At best it’s painful and restricts diet and lifestyle. …

Although it was a century ago, there are parallels between the Spanish Flu pandemic and COVID-19. What was it like on the frontline for our healthcare workers this time around — and what have we learnt as a society?

Featuring: Rose Jaspers, Intensive care nurse, Vanessa Clothier, Emergency nurse, Michael Hau, Historian.

Spanish flu medical staff.
Spanish flu medical staff.
The 1918 Spanish Flu has also been called “The Forgotten Flu”.

It’s highly contagious and deadly. Medical systems are quickly stretched. There’s no vaccine and no consensus about how to contain it — and who should do the containing.

Some people wear masks, some refuse. Travellers are quarantined, the populace locked down. Businesses shut and the economy goes south. Borders shut. Governments argue with each other. The death toll rises.

In our year of COVID-19 this should all sound familiar, but in fact it’s a description of events 100 years ago during the Spanish Flu, the worst pandemic…

Pioneering research indicates that those with an acquired brain injury are particularly vulnerable to falling victim to online fraud.

Featuring: Kate Gould, Neuropsychologist.

Picture of a brain made up with blue cogs and a broken red cog.
Picture of a brain made up with blue cogs and a broken red cog.
Are people with acquired brain injurys (ABI) more likely to be scammed over longer periods of time?

Back in 2005, Melbourne man Colin*, now 57, was involved in a road accident. “I came off second-best,” he says. He was riding a motorcycle, and the result was a traumatic brain injury.

It would be a long road to recovery. Life would never be quite the same. The last thing he needed was to be scammed online. But that’s what happened.

It was a romance scam, which Monash University researchers now believe may be especially difficult for people with an acquired brain injury (ABI) to spot, deal with, and recover from.

There’s little or no…

The evidence is telling us the Rainbow Laces campaign or Pride Games do little to stop homophobic language in sport.

Written by: Erik Denison, Behavioural Science Researcher.

Footballer wearing Rainbow Laces
Footballer wearing Rainbow Laces
Can Rainbow Laces help fix homophobia in sport?

Sport organisation CEOs, board members, corporate sponsors, and even LGBTQ partners have all asked us if there’s any evidence that the Rainbow Laces campaign, or Pride Games in other countries, help to end homophobia and make sport more inclusive for LGBTQ people.

Until very recently, it was impossible to answer this question. Over the past 50 years, there have been thousands of studies conducted into the problem of homophobia in sport ( see this timeline). …

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