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Mice grow a thinner skin during long stays in space

Nicole Stott

NASA astronaut Nicole Stott hovers near the Mice Drawer System aboard the International Space Station. Mice housed in the space cage developed thin skin after 91 days of weightlessness.

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Long trips in space may thin the skin. Three months spent aboard the International Space Station made mice’s skin waste away and made the animals' hair grow, a new study shows. Scientists had hints that skin might be sensitive to weightlessness (astronauts frequently report skin injuries), but no one had analyzed the effects of space on skin in such a long-term study before.

At 91 days in space, the astromice broke the record for weightlessness for nonhuman animals. The mice’s  flimsy skin suggests that humans may suffer similar damage on extended space flights. But because only three of six mice survived the trip into space, the findings are still preliminary, researchers report May 27 in npj Microgravity, a new open-access journal of the Nature Publishing Group and the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University.

Climate,, Earth

Everest could lose most of its ice by 2100

By Thomas Sumner 6:00am, May 27, 2015
The Everest region of the Himalayas could lose 73 to 96 percent of its ice by 2100, new research predicts.
Planetary Science

NASA picks nine instruments for future mission to Europa

By Christopher Crockett 4:54pm, May 26, 2015
NASA has selected nine instruments to fly on a future spacecraft to Jupiter’s ice-covered moon Europa.
Genetics,, Science & Society

White House hits pause on editing human germline cells

By Tina Hesman Saey 4:05pm, May 26, 2015
The White House has hit pause, for now, on clinical experiments that could alter the human germ line.
Climate,, Earth

Once-stable Antarctic glaciers are now melting rapidly

By Thomas Sumner 2:00pm, May 21, 2015
A group of glaciers in Antarctica that were once stable started rapidly melting in 2009, new research shows.

Crows safeguard sticks to speed future food-finding forays

By Ashley Yeager 8:00am, May 20, 2015
New Caledonian crows safeguard the sticks they use to find food. As the risk of losing the tool increases, the more protective the birds become.

Broken bones heal with young blood, how remains a mystery

By Meghan Rosen 11:00am, May 19, 2015
Blood from young mice rejuvenates bones of elderly mice, but how it works remains a mystery.
Planetary Science

Boulders balance on tiny tips as comet 67P zooms through space

By Christopher Crockett 4:38pm, May 18, 2015
Three boulders on comet 67P resemble balancing rocks that are seen on Earth.
Toxicology,, Health

E-cigarette flavorings may harm lungs

By Beth Mole 3:00pm, May 18, 2015
Certain e-cigarette flavors, such as banana pudding, may damage lung tissue

A firm grip may predict risk of death better than blood pressure

By Teresa Shipley Feldhausen 9:00am, May 18, 2015
The strength of people’s grip could predict how likely they are to die if they develop cardiovascular or other diseases.
Animals,, Ecology,, Biophysics

Ants snap jaws, shoot skyward, escape death

By Susan Milius 8:58am, May 15, 2015
Emergency trap jaw launchings help some ants pass death tests.
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