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  • News in Brief

    Pollution killed 9 million people in 2015

    About one in every six premature deaths worldwide is linked to dirty air, water and soil.

    Most of those deaths are concentrated among the world’s poorest populations, according to a study published online October 19 in the Lancet that documents the health and economic toll of pollution in 2015. In the most severely polluted countries, 25 percent of premature deaths could be attributed to...

    10/20/2017 - 17:50 Pollution, Health
  • News in Brief

    Laws to protect athletes’ brains do reduce concussions — eventually

    To guard against the dangers of concussions, by 2014, all 50 states and the District of Columbia had enacted laws to protect young athletes. More than 2½ years after these laws went on the books, repeat concussions began to decline among high school athletes, researchers report online October 19 in the American Journal of Public Health.

    Researchers reviewed concussion data from 2005 to...

    10/19/2017 - 17:11 Health, Mental Health
  • News

    The next wave of bird flu could be worse than ever

    A new version of the H7N9 avian influenza virus might be able to cause widespread infection and should be closely monitored, scientists say, although it currently doesn’t spread easily between people.

    Researchers isolated the virus from a fatal human case and tested it and two genetically modified versions in ferrets, which are susceptible to both human and bird flu viruses. The tested...

    10/19/2017 - 14:33 Immune Science, Health
  • News

    Animal study reveals how a fever early in pregnancy can cause birth defects

    Certain birth defects of the face and heart can occur when babies’ mothers have a fever during the first trimester of pregnancy, a crucial time in an embryo’s development. Now scientists have figured out the molecular players that make it so.  

    In an experiment with chicken embryos, a temporary rise in incubation temperature — meant to mimic feverlike conditions — was enough to produce...

    10/18/2017 - 14:00 Health, Human Development
  • News

    This stretchy implant could help kids avoid repeated open-heart surgeries

    A new stretchy prosthetic could reduce the number of surgeries that children with leaking heart valves must undergo.

    The device, a horseshoe-shaped implant that wraps around the base of a heart valve to keep it from leaking, is described online October 10 in Nature Biomedical Engineering. In adults, a rigid ring is used, but it can’t be implanted in children because it would constrict...

    10/17/2017 - 11:58 Technology, Biomedicine, Health
  • Feature

    A universal flu shot may be nearing reality

    One of the planet’s deadliest viruses makes an annual pass through the United States with little fanfare. It rarely generates flashy headlines or news footage of health workers in hazmat suits. There’s no sudden panic when a sick person shows up coughing and feverish in an emergency room. Yet before next spring, this season’s lethal germ will probably have infected millions of Americans,...

    10/17/2017 - 08:52 Health, Immune Science
  • News

    Gut fungi might be linked to obesity and inflammatory bowel disorders

    Fungi may affect gut health in unexpected ways, new research suggests.

    High-fat diets may alter relationships between bacteria and fungi in mice’s intestines, contributing to obesity, researchers report October 11 in mSphere. In independent work, researchers report that a fungus teams up with two types of bacteria to fuel gut inflammation in people with Crohn’s disease. That work was...

    10/16/2017 - 14:00 Microbiology, Health
  • News in Brief

    In many places around the world, obesity in kids is on the rise

    Over the last 40 years, the number of kids and teens with obesity has skyrocketed worldwide. In 1975, an estimated 5 million girls and 6 million boys were obese. By 2016, those numbers had risen to an estimated 50 million girls and 74 million boys, according to a report published online October 10 in the Lancet. While the increase in childhood obesity has slowed or leveled off in many high-...

    10/11/2017 - 17:20 Health, Nutrition
  • News

    A mutation may explain the sudden rise in birth defects from Zika

    A single genetic mutation made the Zika virus far more dangerous by enhancing its ability to kill nerve cells in developing brains, a new study suggests.

    The small change — which tweaks just one amino acid in a protein that helps Zika exit cells — may cause microcephaly, researchers report September 28 in Science. The mutation arose around May 2013, shortly before a Zika outbreak in...

    09/28/2017 - 14:00 Genetics, Microbiology, Health
  • Science Ticker

    About 1 in 5 teens has had a concussion

    Nearly 1 in 5 adolescents has suffered at least one concussion, a survey of teens finds. And 5.5 percent  reported being diagnosed with two or more concussions in their lifetimes, researchers report in the September 26 JAMA.

    About 13,000 eighth-, 10th- and 12th-graders took part in the 2016 Monitoring the Future survey, an annual national survey of adolescent behavior and health given in...

    09/26/2017 - 11:00 Health