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Science Ticker

Despite risks, vaccine delay requests are common

baby getting a shot

Parents frequently put off vaccines for babies even though doctors warn it can place the children at risk of illness, a new survey finds.

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Nearly all pediatricians and family physicians have encountered parents who want to delay their infants’ vaccinations, a study published March 2 in Pediatrics suggests.  

A national survey of 534 doctors showed that in a typical month, 93 percent of doctors have interacted with parents who want to delay a shot for a child age 2 or younger. Most doctors who encountered a vaccine delay request complied, saying that agreement would build trust with the families. About one-fifth of survey respondents reported that 10 percent or more of parents asked to delay or space out shots beyond the vaccine schedules developed by experts.

The new survey was completed before the current outbreak of measles that arose from unvaccinated people visiting Disneyland in southern California in December. As of February 27, the CDC reports that that outbreak has spawned 170 cases of measles in 17 states and the District of Columbia since January 1.

Plants,, Climate

Plant growth patterns changing on much of Earth’s surface

By Kate Baggaley 3:40pm, March 2, 2015
More than half of Earth’s land surface has seen major changes in factors such as leaf-on date and how much vegetation grows in a season.
Evolution,, Microbiology

Superfast evolution observed in soil bacteria

By Helen Thompson 9:00am, February 27, 2015
Natural selection resurrects flagella in soil bacteria in just four days.
Health,, Science & Society

CDC panel gives thumbs up to vaccine against nine HPV types

By Nathan Seppa 6:44pm, February 26, 2015
A federal vaccine advisory committee voted February 26 to recommend use of an expanded version of the human papillomavirus shot marketed as Gardasil.
Planetary Science

Mysterious bright spot on Ceres has a partner

By Christopher Crockett 2:45pm, February 26, 2015
A new image from the Dawn spacecraft finds two bright patches within a basin, possibly caused by an ice volcano.
Animals

Some cicadas drum up a beat with the help of their wings

By Allison Bohac 2:00pm, February 25, 2015
By using their wings as drumsticks, so-called “mute” cicadas can make themselves heard.
Computing,, Technology,, Numbers

Artificial intelligence conquers Space Invaders, Pong, Q*bert

By Lila Guterman 1:09pm, February 25, 2015
With a single algorithm, a computer can learn dozens of classic video games, researchers from Google DeepMind in London report.
Biomedicine,, Cells

Stem cells from wisdom teeth could help repair corneas

By Helen Thompson 12:55pm, February 24, 2015
A study points to a potential new treatment for corneal blindness: Stem cells extracted from pulp from pulled wisdom teeth.
Chemistry,, Science & Society

Brute-force chemistry study retracted

By Beth Mole 2:00pm, February 19, 2015
The journal Science has retracted a notable 2011 chemistry study in which authors reported a brawny method to break sturdy chemical structures.
Planetary Science

New Horizons spies two of Pluto’s moons

By Christopher Crockett 1:16pm, February 19, 2015
Nix and Hydra come into view on the 85th anniversary of Pluto’s discovery.
Planetary Science

Dwarf planet Ceres comes into view

By Christopher Crockett 12:45pm, February 18, 2015
New images from the Dawn spacecraft reveal a landscape of craters and mysterious bright patches on the dwarf planet Ceres.
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