From sleep to science literacy at the 2010 AAAS meeting

Science News' coverage of the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting held February 18–22, 2010 in San Diego, Calif.


February 22

Early disruption of schizophrenia gene causes problems later

SAN DIEGO — Disrupting a gene implicated in schizophrenia early in development leads to brain anomalies and behavioral defects later in life, a new study in mice finds. The results, presented February 22 at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, may help researchers understand how early developmental problems contribute to schizophrenia — a disease that typically shows up after adolescence. | Read More

February 21

Placement of marine reserves is key

SAN DIEGO — Saving both fish and the fishermen who depend on them appears to come down to one thing: location, location, location. | Read More

Older adults’ sleep boosted by more, not better, sleep

SAN DIEGO — Quantity, not quality, of sleep may determine how well older people’s brains function the next day, research reported February 21 at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science suggests. For youngsters, though, quality may be more important. The study shows that sleep affects young and old brains differently, and may ultimately lead to new ways to offset age-related cognitive decline. | Read More

Brain tells signs from pantomime

SAN DIEGO — The brain can apparently tell the difference between a word and a gesture — even when the word is a gesture. | Read More

Rapid HIV treatment could slow growing TB rates

SAN DIEGO — Frequent testing and drugs that suppress the virus that causes AIDS could potentially avert millions of cases of HIV-related tuberculosis, according to research presented February 20 at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. | Read More

IVF kids show shift in gene activity

SAN DIEGO — Some genes in children conceived with in vitro fertilization differ in activity levels compared with other children, recent studies show. | Read More

Possible prostate cancer culprit

SAN DIEGO — Some self-renewing stem cells may be a prime culprit in prostate cancer, and a certain gene in these cells contributes to the malignancy, suggests research reported February 20 at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Prostate cancer is the most common malignancy in men in the Western world, affecting one in six men. | Read More

February 20

Finding coolable hotspots for crime

SAN DIEGO — Not all crime hot spots are created equal, a new mathematical model suggests. For some areas repeatedly hit hard with crime, police intervention can shut down lawlessness and keep it down. But for others, police involvement just shifts the trouble around. | Read More

Brain at the breaking point

SAN DIEGO — Rigid pathways in brain cell connections buckle and break when stretched, scientists report, a finding that could aid in the understanding of exactly what happens when traumatic brain injuries occur. | Read More

February 18

Tumor tracking gets personal

SAN DIEGO — A new way to identify cancer’s genetic scrambling may allow doctors to better monitor how individual patients respond to treatment and detect a recurrence of a tumor. | Read More

Dolphins may offer clues to treating diabetes

SAN DIEGO — Fish might be brain food, but it doesn’t supply the high levels of fuel needed to keep a dolphin brain functioning. New research adds to evidence suggesting that bottlenose dolphins go into a harmless diabetic state during overnight fasting, thereby maintaining high levels of glucose in the blood. The research, presented at a news briefing February 18 at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, suggests that dolphins may be a good model for studying diabetes and could offer insights into treating the disease in people. | Read More


February 20

Healthy teeth, healthy people

SAN DIEGO — Some scenes deserve to be deleted – or in this case extracted. | Read More

February 18

Lunch time for stem cells

SAN DIEGO — Kristen Brennand is trying to tease out how the cells in brains of healthy people differ from those in schizophrenic patients. The problem: No one wants to give up a chunk of brain for her to study. So she’s fashioning her own clumps of brain cells from tissue people willingly part with – skin. | Read More


February 21

Science literacy: U.S. college courses really count

SAN DIEGO — Over the past two decades, science literacy in the United States – an estimate of the share of adults who can follow complex science issues and maybe even render an informed opinion on them – has nearly tripled. But – and it’s a big but — the proportion of people who fall into this category remains small. Just 28 percent. | Read More

Climate science: credibility at risk, scientists say

SAN DIEGO — Publication of hacked emails exchanged by climate scientists. News accounts of problems in vetting data used in climate-assessment reports. Charges by critics that scientists won’t release their raw data so that others might independently vet published analyses of climate trends. Taken together, these events have marred the reputations of climate scientists, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and perhaps science generally. | Read More

February 18

Leasing car batteries to the power company

SAN DIEGO — Most people, on average, drive their cars only an hour or two a day. The rest of the time, those pricey vehicles sit parked on the street or in some garage. But if those cars had a big bank of batteries – typical of today’s gasoline hybrids or soon-to-hit-the-road plug-in hybrids – they could be earning their owners money while sitting parked. Maybe $5 to $10 a day, just by serving as a back-up energy-storage system for the electric-utility grid. | Read More