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  • News

    Bacterial compounds may be as good as DEET at repelling mosquitoes

    Molecules made by bacteria keep mosquitoes at bay. The compounds are a newfound potential stand-in for DEET, a ubiquitous chemical used in most commercially available mosquito repellents in the United States.

    In lab tests, the molecules were as effective as DEET in stopping Aedes aegypti mosquitos, which can carry Zika, dengue and yellow fever, from snacking on artificial blood,...

    01/16/2019 - 14:18 Animals, Health
  • News

    This protein may help explain why some women with endometriosis are infertile

    A missing protein may help explain why some women with endometriosis are infertile.

    In samples of lining from the uterus, infertile women with the disorder had lower amounts of a protein called histone deacetylase 3, or HDAC3, than fertile women without endometriosis, a study finds. When mice were engineered to have a decreased amount of HDAC3 in the uterus, the animals became sterile,...

    01/09/2019 - 14:53 Health
  • News

    A new app tracks breathing to detect an opioid overdose

    A new smartphone app may help people who shoot up alone get medical treatment if they accidentally overdose.

    The app, dubbed Second Chance, monitors its user for breathing problems that foreshadow an opioid overdose (SN: 3/31/18, p. 18). In an emergency, the app could call 911 or send an SOS to friends or family who could provide opioid-counteracting medication.

    “Being able to...

    01/09/2019 - 14:00 Health, Technology, Science & Society
  • The Name Game

    Studies can be in vitro, in vivo and now ‘in fimo’ — in poop

    Poop contains a lot of valuable scientific information. Researchers can monitor microbes, track enzyme activity or hunt for DNA to gather clues about overall health.

    There’s so much one can learn from the waste product that microbiologist Aadra Bhatt at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill decided there should be a word for that research — something in the same vein as “in...

    01/09/2019 - 07:00 Health, Microbes
  • News

    DNA tests of Lassa virus mid-outbreak helped Nigeria target its response

    When an outbreak of a viral hemorrhagic fever hit Nigeria in 2018, scientists were ready: They were already in the country testing new disease-tracking technology, and within weeks managed to steer health workers toward the most appropriate response.

    Lassa fever, which is transmitted from rodents to humans, pops up every year in West Africa. But 2018 was the worst season on record for...

    01/03/2019 - 14:09 Health, Genetics
  • Science Stats

    Americans are sleeping less than they were 13 years ago

    Nearly one-third of American adults sleep less than six hours each night, a broad new survey shows.

    Among nearly 400,000 respondents to the annual National Health Interview Survey, 32.9 percent reported this short sleep in 2017 — up from 28.6 percent in 2004 when researchers began noticing a slight drop in sleep time. That’s a 15 percent increase representing “more than 9 million people...

    12/21/2018 - 12:00 Health, Mental Health
  • News in Brief

    How decorating for Christmas sends people to the ER

    Holiday season revelers beware. Lights, ornaments and Christmas trees may land you in the emergency room.

    More than an estimated 173,000 people in the United States were injured by Christmas trees, lights and other holiday-related decorations from 2007 to 2016. Even visiting Santa resulted in an estimated 277 children being injured, scientists report online November 28 in Advances in...

    12/20/2018 - 16:21 Health
  • Year in Review

    E-cigarettes caught fire among teens

    On November 15, Scott Gottlieb, commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, announced new sales restrictions on certain e-cigarette flavors preferred by teens. The move was a response to a worrying rise in vaping among adolescents in the last year. “E-cigs have become an almost ubiquitous and dangerous trend among teens,” he warned, calling it an “epidemic” in a September...
    12/19/2018 - 06:00 Health
  • Year in Review

    Humans wiped out mosquitoes (in one small lab test)

    For the first time, humans have built a set of pushy, destructive genes that infiltrated small populations of mosquitoes and drove them to extinction.

    But before dancing sleeveless in the streets, let’s be clear. This extermination occurred in a lab in mosquito populations with less of the crazy genetic diversity that an extinction scheme would face in the wild. The new gene drive,...

    12/17/2018 - 08:26 Animals, Genetics, Health
  • Year in Review

    Drinking studies muddied the waters around the safety of alcohol use

    For people who enjoy an occasional cocktail, 2018 was a sobering year. Headlines delivered the news with stone-cold certainty: Alcohol — in any amount — is bad for your health. “The safest level of drinking is none,” a group of scientists concluded.

    That finding, along with another one reported this year, seemed to contradict the reassuring notion that an occasional drink might be...

    12/17/2018 - 08:24 Health, Science & Society