The horrifying 'gay cure' experiments that were purged from scientific history

Robert Heath claimed to have cured homosexuality by implanting electrodes into the pleasure centre of the brain. Robert Colvile reports on one of the great forgotten stories of neuroscience.

For the first hour, they just talked. He was nervous; he’d never done this before. She was understanding, reassuring: let’s just lie down on the bed together, she said, and see what happens. Soon, events took their course: they were enjoying themselves so much they could almost forget about the wires leading out of his skull.

The year was 1970, and the man was a 24-year-old psychiatric patient. The woman, 21, was a prostitute from the French Quarter of New Orleans, hired by special permission of the attorney general of Louisiana. And they had just become part of one of the strangest experiments in scientific history: an attempt to use pleasure conditioning to turn a gay man straight.

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Meet the psychiatrists who are bringing LSD back to the medical mainstream

Notoriously illegal and synonymous with hedonism, LSD and ecstasy started life as aids to psychotherapy. Sam Wong meets the band of psychiatrists who are looking to reclaim them for medicine again.

At 6.30am on Thursday 29 October 2009, Friederike Meckel Fischer’s doorbell rang. There were ten policemen outside. They searched the house, put handcuffs on Friederike – a diminutive woman in her 60s – and her husband, and took them to a remand prison. The couple had their photographs and fingerprints taken and were put in separate cells in isolation. After a few hours, Friederike, a psychotherapist, was taken for questioning.

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From complacency to crisis: Can America cope with a resurgence of tropical disease?

Having stamped out a number of tropical diseases – including malaria – decades ago, is America today complacent about a rising wave of infectious disease? By Carrie Arnold.

One rainy Friday morning in March 2015, Dr Laila Woc-Colburn saw two patients with neurocysticercosis (a parasitic infection of the brain) and one with Chagas disease, which is transmitted by insects nicknamed ‘kissing bugs’. Having attended medical school in her native Guatemala, she was used to treating these kinds of diseases. But she was not in Guatemala any more – this was Houston, Texas.

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The male suicides: Social perfectionism is killing men -- and things are getting worse

In every country in the world, male suicides outnumber female. Will Storr asks why. 

Finally, Drummond had everything he’d ever dreamed of. He’d come a long way since he was a little boy, upset at his failure to get into the grammar school. That had been a great disappointment to his mother, and to his father, who was an engineer at a pharmaceutical company. His dad had never showed much interest in him as a child. He didn’t play with him and when he was naughty, he’d put him over the back of a chair and wallop him. That’s just the way men were in those days. Your father was feared and respected. Dads were dads.

It was difficult, seeing the grammar boys pass by the house in their smart caps, every morning. Drummond had always dreamed of becoming a headteacher in a little school in a perfect village when he grew up, but he was only able to get a place at the technical school learning woodwork and bricklaying. The careers tutor almost laughed when he told him of his dreams to teach. But Drummond was ambitious. He earned a place at college, became president of its student union. He found a teaching job, married his childhood sweetheart, and slowly climbed his way to a headship in a Norfolk village. He had three children and two cars. His mother, at least, was proud.

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This is what science says happens to your body after you die

Most of us would rather not think about what happens to our bodies after death. But that breakdown gives birth to new life in unexpected ways, writes Moheb Costandi. 

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The future of education? A look inside the green schools revolution

How can we design better, ‘living’ classrooms, places that will not only improve the lives of teachers and students, but also have less of an impact on the environment? Bryn Nelson goes back to school to find out.

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In the overcrowded future, we all might be eating beetles, mealworms and other bugs

Emily Anthes braves locusts, beetles, mealworms and more as she asks whether eating insects is the answer to feeding ever more humans and livestock.

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