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  • News

    A resurrected gene may protect elephants from cancer

    Elephants rarely succumb to cancer. That’s surprising given how large the animals grow and how long they can live, which should provide more opportunities for cells to morph into cancer cells. A newly described gene that was brought back from the dead may take part in protecting the animals from the disease.

    A deep dive into elephants’ evolutionary history revealed a defunct gene called...

    08/14/2018 - 14:23 Health, Genetics, Animals
  • News

    The first gene-silencing drug wins FDA approval

    A Nobel Prize–winning discovery — that small double-stranded RNA molecules can silence genes by interrupting the translation of DNA’s instructions into proteins — is finally delivering on its medical promise.

    The first drug that takes advantage of this natural biological process, called RNA interference, was approved August 10 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It targets a rare...

    08/10/2018 - 15:52 Biomedicine, Clinical Trials, Health, Genetics
  • News

    Pregnant women’s use of opioids is on the rise

    Pregnant women aren’t immune to the escalating opioid epidemic.

    Data on hospital deliveries in 28 U.S. states shows the rate of opioid use among pregnant women has quadrupled, from 1.5 per 1,000 women in 1999 to 6.5 per 1,000 women in 2014, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.

    The highest increases in opioid use among pregnant women were in Maine, New Mexico...

    08/09/2018 - 16:00 Health, Human Development
  • News

    A newly approved drug could be a boon for treating malaria

    The first new treatment in 60 years for a particularly stubborn kind of malaria is raising hopes that it might help eradicate the disease, even though the treatment can cause a dangerous side effect.

    Called tafenoquine, the drug targets the parasite that causes relapsing malaria. Plasmodium vivax infects an estimated 8.5 million people, mainly in Asia and Latin America. Each time...

    08/09/2018 - 10:00 Health, Microbes, Genetics
  • News

    Zika may harm nearly 1 in 7 babies exposed to the virus in the womb

    Babies exposed to a Zika infection while in the womb are not out of the woods even if they look healthy at birth.

    Nearly 1 in 10 of 1,450 babies examined developed neurological or developmental problems, such as seizures, hearing loss, impaired vision or difficulty crawling, a study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds. It’s the first tally of the health of...

    08/07/2018 - 17:27 Health, Development
  • Science Ticker

    Rat lungworm disease is popping up in the mainland United States

    Health officials have confirmed 12 cases of rat lungworm disease in the continental United States since January 2011 — including six patients who had not traveled abroad but still contracted the illness caused by a parasite endemic to tropical regions in Asia and Hawaii.

    While the disease can be mild, it can become extreme and cause severe neurological problems. In most of the new cases...

    08/03/2018 - 09:00 Health, Animals, Microbes
  • News

    Hurricane Maria’s death toll in Puerto Rico topped 1,100, a new study says

    The question of how many died in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria has yet another answer.

    Using vital statistics records from hard-hit Puerto Rico, researchers estimate that 1,139 more people died than expected from September 20, 2017 — the day the Category 5 hurricane made landfall — through that December.

    Alexis Santos-Lozada of Penn State and Jeffrey Howard of the University of...

    08/02/2018 - 14:46 Health, Science & Society
  • News

    Newfound airway cells may breathe life into tackling cystic fibrosis

    Meet the ionocyte. This newly discovered cell may be the star of future cystic fibrosis therapies. Researchers have found that the gene tied to the disease is very active in the cells, which line the air passages of the lungs.

    While the cells are rare, making up only 1 to 2 percent of cells that line the airways, they seem to play an outsized role in keeping lungs clear. The...

    08/01/2018 - 17:06 Health, Cells
  • News

    A medical mystery reveals a new host for the rat lungworm parasite

    When a 78-year-old woman went to a hospital in Guangzhou, China, in November 2012 complaining of a headache, drowsiness and a stiff neck, doctors initially were puzzled. The patient had meningitis, but no signs of bacteria or viruses that can cause the illness. Then a cerebrospinal fluid test revealed she had a high number of white blood cells called eosinophils, a clue that she was fighting a...

    07/30/2018 - 17:00 Health, Animals, Microbes
  • News

    This tick may play a part in gumming up your arteries

    It sounds bonkers that a tick bite might make meat eaters allergic to their steaks and ribs, but it’s true. Now new research has added a potential twist: The source of this tick-related sensitivity to red meat may also be linked to coronary artery disease.

    A bite from the lone star tick, Amblyomma americanum, can trigger antibodies to a sugar called alpha-gal, found in many mammals but...

    07/30/2018 - 07:00 Health, Immune Science