Unraveling the mysteries of COVID-19 and gritty stories of persistence in the face of pandemic peril took center stage this year on our Scope blog as we continued to share pandemic-themed stories of discovery, patient care, medical education and public safety.
The most-read among the stories we published in 2021 reflected our readers' interest in viral discoveries, vaccine development and health care workers' dogged determination, but also in Alzheimers, ADHD in children, maternal health, mental health and more.
The five stories that topped this year's list touched on COVID-19, cancer and how to rid yourself of persistent back pain. Take a look at the stories below:
No. 1: Genetics could explain why some people get severe COVID-19
From asymptomatic to hospitalization, the mystery of who gets severe COVID-19 and who doesn't has been hotly debated.
Manuel Rivas, assistant professor of biomedical data scientist, and others discovered 13 genetic signatures that are closely linked to an increased risk for severe COVID-19.
No. 2: New approach effectively relieves chronic low back pain
Millions in the United States suffer from chronic low back pain, and it's not always treated effectively.
Stanford Medicine researchers led by pain psychologist Beth Darnall have developed a type of cognition-based therapy that helps address chronic low back pain.
No. 3: Excised tonsils aid study of COVID-19 vaccines, the flu and more
Stanford scientists led by pioneering immunologist Mark Davis transformed tonsils into immunology labs in a dish, aiding research to develop vaccines for COVID-19, the flu and other diseases.
No. 4: How to talk with someone about COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy
The question "What should I say to someone who is vaccine hesitant?" has likely crossed all of our minds at this point in the pandemic.
Rachelle Mirkin, administrative director of health education, investigates vaccine hesitancy and discusses how to better communication about vaccines to encourage acceptance.
No. 5: Why many stage 3 colorectal cancer patients skip chemo
As risk factors such as no health insurance and low income accumulate, colorectal cancer patients are less likely to finish chemotherapy.