The shocking collapse of NFL player Damar Hamlin during Monday’s Bills-Bengals game is raising questions about what could have caused his cardiac arrest after what looked like a routine tackle. Our breaking news editors contacted Dr. Wendy Tzou, the director of cardiac electrophysiology at The University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, about what may have happened. Tzou explains how a blunt trauma to the chest during a particular moment in the heart’s electrical cycle can cause the heart to stop pumping blood in a condition called commotio cordis. Hamlin remains in critical condition and the cause of his collapse is still not known, but Tzou’s piece provides excellent context for understanding problems related to arrhythmia in athletes.

Anyone who has worked in science journalism over the past few years cannot forget hearing the news that a scientist in China named He Jiankui had used the gene-editing technique CRISPR on human embryos, resulting in the first babies born with edited genes. Biomedical ethicist G. Owen Schaefer revisits this groundbreaking incident by reviewing a new documentary that provides deep background of the event, which led to worldwide condemnation and prison time for He. Schaefer writes that gene editing has valid medical purposes but explains why He’s widely criticized experiment continues to roil the frontiers of biomedical science.

Last week marked one year since the Marshall Fire raged through the Boulder, Colorado, area. A group of researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder write about their work examining how homes that survived may have been contaminated with indoor air pollutants caused by the burning of human-made material such as electronics and home furnishings. Although they still are conducting research, their work sheds light on the health risks that come with urban wildfires.

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Damar Hamlin, #3, collapsed on the field after making a tackle during a game on January 2, 2023. Dylan Buell via Getty Images

Damar Hamlin’s cardiac arrest during ‘Monday Night Football’ could be commotio cordis or a more common condition – a heart doctor answers 4 questions

Wendy Tzou, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

Disruptions to the electrical signals that control a person’s heartbeat are dangerous, no matter the cause. A heart doctor explains the biology of cardiac arrest and what might have happened on the field.

He Jiankui seemed unprepared for the furor set off by his bombshell announcement. The He Lab/Wikimedia Commons

Did He Jiankui ‘Make People Better’? Documentary spurs a new look at the case of the first gene-edited babies

G. Owen Schaefer, National University of Singapore

Scientific and public uproar resulted when the Chinese scientist announced the births of the first human babies with heritable edits to their genes. A new documentary reexamines the saga.

Homes that survived the Marshall Fire didn’t come through unscathed. Matthew Jonas/MediaNews Group/Boulder Daily Camera via Getty Images

Homes that survived the Marshall Fire harbored another disaster inside – here’s what we’ve learned about this insidious urban wildfire risk

Colleen E. Reid, University of Colorado Boulder; Joost de Gouw, University of Colorado Boulder; Michael Hannigan, University of Colorado Boulder

When the Marshall Fire swept through the Boulder suburbs, scientists began studying the health effects. What they’re learning could help homeowners in the future.

Chickenpox and shingles virus lying dormant in your neurons can reactivate and increase your risk of stroke – new research identified a potential culprit

Andrew Bubak, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

People with an active case of shingles have up to an 80% higher risk of stroke than those without. The increased risk is highest for patients under 40.

The lenses of fishes’ eyes record their lifetime exposure to toxic mercury, new research finds

Roxanne Razavi, State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry; Hadis Miraly, State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry; Karin Limburg, State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry

A new study shows that a time stamp can be put on mercury that accumulates in fish eyes, offering a window into their lifetime exposure.

What are mud volcanoes?

Michael R. Hudec, The University of Texas at Austin

When mud, fluids and gases erupt at the Earth’s surface, they hint at what’s happening underground, allowing scientists to build a more comprehensive 3D view of what’s going on inside our planet.

Heart rate variability – what to know about this biometric most fitness trackers measure

Anne R. Crecelius, University of Dayton

Tiny fluctuations in the time between each beat of your heart can provide clues about how much stress your body is experiencing.

Why is astronomy a science but astrology is not?

Talia Dan-Cohen, Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis; Carl Craver, Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis

Astrology and astronomy were once practiced side by side by scientists like Galileo and Kepler. And they’re more similar than you might think.

Unusual, long-lasting gamma-ray burst challenges theories about these powerful cosmic explosions that make gold, uranium and other heavy metals

Eleonora Troja, University of Rome Tor Vergata; Simone Dichiara, Penn State

Gamma-ray bursts occur when a massive star explodes or when two neutron stars merge. A newly discovered burst has puzzled astronomers, as it lasted much longer than astronomers would have expected.

Celine Dion’s diagnosis of stiff-person syndrome brought a rare neurological diagnosis into the public eye – two neurologists explain the science behind it

Bhavana Patel, University of Florida; Torge Rempe, University of Florida

Although there is no cure for this disorder, there are treatments that can help alleviate symptoms.

China’s lucrative orchid industry is a test for the nation’s commitment to conservation

Hong Liu, Florida International University

Dendrobium orchids are familiar to most people in bouquets, but they are in high demand in China for use in traditional medicines. Can Beijing find ways to grow these threatened plants sustainably?