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  • News

    Gold-Metal Results: Compounds block immune proteins

    Metals such as platinum and gold keep certain proteins from stimulating the body's immune response, a study finds. The results suggest how some metal-based drugs might ease autoimmune symptoms, the researchers say.

    They were screening compounds in search of a chemical that would blunt the action of a set of immunological proteins that usually bind to protein fragments, or peptides, from...

    03/01/2006 - 12:39
  • News

    Smoldered-Earth Policy: Created by ancient Amazonian natives, fertile, dark soils retain abundant carbon

    Shortly after the U.S. Civil War, a research expedition encountered a group of Confederate expatriates living in Brazil. The refugees had quickly taken to growing sugarcane on plots of earth that were darker and more fertile than the surrounding soil, Cornell University's Charles Hartt noted in the 1870s.

    The same dark earth, terra preta in Portuguese, is now attracting renewed...

    03/01/2006 - 12:12 Earth & Environment
  • News

    Gender Gap: Male-only gene affects men's dopamine levels

    A gene found only in men is key to regulating the brain's production of dopamine, a new study shows. The finding offers a clue to why men are more likely than women to develop dopamine-related illnesses such as Parkinson's disease, schizophrenia, and addiction. Together with another new study, the work suggests that women and men have distinctive dopamine-regulating systems.

    The gene,...

    03/01/2006 - 11:49 Biomedicine
  • News

    Unique Explosion: Gamma-ray burst leads astronomers to supernova

    Using scores of telescopes, astronomers worldwide are chasing one of the most intriguing stellar explosions detected in nearly a decade. The supernova—a catastrophic collapse of a massive star—is one of only a handful of these explosions known to have been heralded by a burst of gamma rays.

    The observations confirm that material blasting out from a collapsing star generates...

    03/01/2006 - 11:36 Astronomy
  • News

    Ancient Andean Maize Makers: Finds push back farming, trade in highland Peru

    Nearly 4,000 years ago, large societies emerged in the Andes Mountains of southern Peru that would culminate approximately 3,000 years later in the rise of the Inca civilization. Now, scientists have the first evidence that these Inca predecessors cultivated maize and imported plant foods from lowland tropical forests located 180 miles to the east.

    Researchers have long...

    03/01/2006 - 11:14 Archaeology
  • News

    Cannibal Power: Mormon crickets swarm to eat and not be eaten

    What drives the relentless march of Mormon crickets across the landscape is both a craving for food and a reluctance to be cannibalized, says an international research team.

    The swarms loom large in the lore of the American West, but scientists hadn't worked out the dynamics of what keeps the insects on the move, says Stephen Simpson of the University of Sydney in Australia...

    03/01/2006 - 10:59 Animals
  • News

    Do Over: New MS drug may be safe after all

    An experimental drug for multiple sclerosis (MS) that was approved in 2004, then abruptly yanked off shelves last year because of safety concerns, may get a second chance.

    Two studies show that the drug can curb MS symptoms and slow progression of the autoimmune disease over 2 years, the longest tests of this drug to date. A third investigation finds no further cases of the often-fatal...

    03/01/2006 - 10:37 Biomedicine
  • Letters to the Editor

    Letters from the March 4, 2006, issue of Science News

    Impure thoughts

    Epidemiologist Scott Davis warns, "Melatonin supplements are not regulated" the way drugs are. ... "There may be all kinds of impurities and contaminants" ("Bright Lights, Big Cancer: Melatonin-depleted blood spurs tumor growth," SN: 1/7/06, p. 8). Are you really going to tell me that you aren't going to take melatonin—if you're convinced that it might lower your chance of...

    02/28/2006 - 14:59 Humans & Society
  • News

    Babies show budding number knowledge

    Before they start to talk, babies can recognize the difference between two and three entities, a new study suggests.

    Most 7-month-old infants match the number of faces that they see talking—whether two or three—with the number of voices that they hear, without any training, say Kerry E. Jordan and Elizabeth M. Brannon, psychologists at Duke University in Durham, N.C. The researchers...

    02/28/2006 - 10:07
  • News

    Corals don't spread far from their birthplaces

    From St. Louis, Mo., at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science

    Creating protected marine areas in one part of the Caribbean won't replenish distant coral reefs in the region, according to genetic research.

    Because free-swimming coral larvae don't appear to spread far from their points of origin, protected "coral gardens" at intervals of more than 100...

    02/27/2006 - 15:31 Ecology