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  • It's Alive

    Look beyond pest species to find beauty in cockroaches

    Yes, the shiny purple-green creature above and the sky-blue one below are cockroaches. But they do not at all want to live in your house.

    Among the world’s more than 4,600 or so roach species, “people have tended to concentrate on just the boring pest species,” says George Beccaloni, curator of cockroaches and their relatives at the Natural History Museum in London. That’s only about 30...

    06/12/2014 - 07:30 Animals, Physiology
  • Screentime

    See your lawn through a bird’s eyes with YardMap

    View the video

    Wild animals, especially birds, aren’t confined to wild spaces. They creep into backyards, hop through parks and crawl through any bit of green space they can find. Scientists at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology would like to know more about those not-so-wild spaces so that they can learn how bird species use the full range of habitats in North America.

    Their new...

    06/11/2014 - 17:26 Animals, Technology
  • News in Brief

    Stem cell approach for Parkinson's disease gets boost

    Transplanted cells can flourish for over a decade in the brain of a person with Parkinson’s disease, scientists write in the June 26 Cell Reports. Finding that these cells have staying power may encourage clinicians to pursue stem cell transplants, a still-experimental way to counter the brain deterioration that comes with Parkinson’s.

    Penelope Hallett of Harvard University and McLean...

    06/06/2014 - 11:37 Neuroscience, Clinical Trials
  • News

    Health risks of e-cigarettes emerge

    Electronic cigarettes, marketed as safer than regular cigarettes, deliver a cocktail of toxic chemicals including carcinogens into the lungs, new studies show. Using e-cigarettes may even make bacterial infections resistant to antibiotics, according to one study.

    Engineers developed e-cigarettes several years ago to provide tobacco users a smoke-free source of nicotine. The devices heat...

    06/03/2014 - 16:31 Health, Toxicology, Pollution
  • News

    Brain’s support cells play role in hunger

    A “stop eating” hormone casts a wide net in the brain. After a large meal, fat cells churn out an appetite suppressant called leptin, which hits the brain’s neurons and tickles other kinds of brain cells called astrocytes. In certain situations, these astrocytes help control hunger, scientists report June 1 in Nature Neuroscience.

    The results feed into a growing set of studies that...

    06/01/2014 - 13:00 Nutrition, Neuroscience, Health
  • News in Brief

    How a genetic quirk makes hair naturally blond

    Some Europeans have enhancers that make them blond. In this case, the enhancer isn’t a hair dye, but a genetic variation that controls pigment production in hair follicles, David Kingsley, an evolutionary geneticist at Stanford University and colleagues report June 1 in Nature Genetics.

    Previous studies had indicated that a genetic variant known as a single nucleotide polymorphism, or...

    06/01/2014 - 13:00 Genetics
  • News

    Drug candidate takes new aim at MERS

    An experimental drug that shuts down construction of virus-making factories could become a new weapon against MERS and similar respiratory diseases. The chemical, called K22, halts growth of a panel of different coronaviruses, including the strains that cause MERS and SARS, researchers report May 29 in PLOS Pathogens.

    K22 is the latest in a slew of drug candidates to counter...

    05/30/2014 - 16:22 Immune Science
  • News

    Lasers heal damaged rodent teeth

    To rebuild damaged teeth, just add laser light.

    Zaps from a low-power laser boost tooth growth in rodents, researchers report May 28 in Science Translational Medicine. The beams of light set off a molecular chain reaction that ends with the regeneration of dentin, the tough stuff inside teeth.

    The findings may change the way dentists think about treating patients, says dental stem...

    05/30/2014 - 09:44 Technology, Health
  • News

    First pants worn by horse riders 3,000 years ago

    Two men whose remains were recently excavated from tombs in western China put their pants on one leg at a time, just like the rest of us. But these nomadic herders did so between 3,300 and 3,000 years ago, making their trousers the oldest known examples of this innovative apparel, a new study finds.

    With straight-fitting legs and a wide crotch, the ancient wool trousers resemble modern...

    05/30/2014 - 09:05 Archaeology
  • News in Brief

    Carbon dioxide levels hit landmark in Northern Hemisphere

    April was the first month in recorded history with average carbon dioxide levels at or above 400 parts per million across the Northern Hemisphere, according to a May 26 announcement by the World Meteorological Organization.

    Climate scientists first recorded the troubling peak in the greenhouse gas in the Arctic in 2012 and in Hawaii last year (SN: 12/28/2013, p. 26), but the rest of the...

    05/28/2014 - 16:52 Pollution, Climate, Earth