Brian Vastag

All Stories by Brian Vastag

  1. Health & Medicine

    Warming to a Cold War Herb

    Benefiting from decades of research that took place behind the Iron Curtain, Western physicians are discovering Rhodiola rosea, a cold-weather herb that purportedly fights fatigue and boosts energy.

  2. Health & Medicine

    Debate Renewed: Diabetes drug ups heart risk

    A popular diabetes drug significantly increases the risk of heart failure and heart attack in those who take it.

  3. Anthropology

    Advantage: Starch

    An enhanced ability to digest starch may have given early humans an evolutionary advantage over their ape relatives.

  4. Barely Alive: Ancient bacteria survive in the slow lane

    Microbes locked in 500,000-year-old permafrost appear to breathe and show other signs of very slow life.

  5. Humans

    Urine tests for cities

    Analysis of sewage gauges community-wide use of illegal drugs.

  6. Earth

    Tiny tubes, big pollution

    Making carbon nanotubes also produces a lot of airborne carcinogens.

  7. Light switch

    A photosensitive molecule makes switching off a gene as simple as flicking on a light.

  8. Tech

    Corny collagen

    Corn engineered to produce collagen may someday replace slaughterhouse leftovers as a source of gelatin.

  9. Health & Medicine

    Infectious Obesity: Adenovirus fattens stem cells

    Some cases of obesity may result from infection by a virus that can transform adult stem cells into fat-storing cells.

  10. Bad News, Good News: ADHD-risk gene has silver lining

    A gene variant that increases the risk for attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder in young children also helps the problem resolve by the teen years.

  11. Health & Medicine

    Serotonin lower in shift workers

    Workers who rotate between day and night shifts have less of the brain chemical serotonin than day shift workers do.

  12. Animals

    Gender bender

    Disabling a chemical-sniffing organ crucial for courting behavior makes girl mice act like frisky boys.