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Science Ticker

Weight and sun exposure linked to onset of multiple sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis tends to develop later in patients who spent more time in the sun as adolescents, and who were not overweight at age 20, a new study finds.

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People with multiple sclerosis who got less sun exposure and had higher body mass as young adults developed the disease sooner than those who spent more time in the sun and were a normal weight, a new study finds.

In a study of over 1,100 Danish people with MS — a nervous system condition that causes muscle weakness and pain — patients who were overweight at age 20 developed multiple sclerosis an average of 1.5 years sooner than patients of normal weight. And subjects who reported spending time in the sun every summer’s day during adolescence developed the disease 1.8 years later, on average, than patients who got less sun exposure, Danish researchers report online October 7 in Neurology.

The results echo earlier work that found a link between adolescent obesity and risk of MS. And sun exposure may increase patients’ levels of vitamin D, which has been shown to protect against the disease, the researchers say. 

Genetics,, Chemistry,, Cancer

Chemistry Nobel honors studies of DNA repair mechanisms

By Sarah Schwartz 7:14am, October 7, 2015
Studies of DNA’s repair mechanisms have won Tomas Lindahl, Paul Modrich and Aziz Sancar the 2015 Nobel Prize in chemistry.
Particle Physics,, Cosmology

Discovery of neutrino mass earns 2015 physics Nobel

By Andrew Grant 6:41am, October 6, 2015
The discovery that subatomic particles called neutrinos have mass has won Takaaki Kajita of the University of Tokyo and Arthur McDonald of Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada, the 2015 Nobel Prize in physics.
Plants,, Animals,, Biophysics

Raindrops help pitcher plants trap dinner

By Sarah Schwartz 3:00pm, October 5, 2015
Pitcher plants use the force of falling raindrops to fling prey into their traps.
Plants,, Animals

Stinky seeds dupe dung beetles

By Sarah Schwartz 11:00am, October 5, 2015
Seeds that look and smell like animal poop can trick dung beetles into spreading and burying the seeds.
Health,, Biomedicine

Therapies against roundworm, malaria parasites win medicine Nobel

By Tina Hesman Saey 6:16am, October 5, 2015
The 2015 Nobel Prize in medicine or physiology was awarded to Youyou Tu for her work in counteracting malaria, and to William Campbell and Satoshi Omura for work on treatments against roundworm parasites.
Biomedicine,, Health

Sperm protein may offer target for male contraceptive

By Meghan Rosen 5:24pm, October 1, 2015
With the identification of a new sperm protein that helps sperm penetrate eggs, researchers may be closer to developing birth control pills for men.

Kavli Foundation gives more money for the brain

By Laura Sanders 5:01pm, October 1, 2015
The Kavli Foundation will provide $100 million toward solving the mysteries of the brain.

This may be the world's tiniest snail

By Helen Thompson 3:58pm, September 30, 2015
Tiny snail unearthed in China could be the world's smallest, researchers report.
Animals,, Biophysics

Some bats chug nectar with conveyor belt tongues

By Helen Thompson 6:30am, September 29, 2015
Grooved bat tongues work like escalators or conveyor belts, transporting nectar from tip to mouth.
Planetary Science

Salt streaks sign of present-day water flows on Mars

By Christopher Crockett 11:00am, September 28, 2015
Salt deposits on Mars hint at contemporary seasonal water flows on the Red Planet.
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