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  • News

    Common fungus may raise asthma risk

    BOSTON — A fungus among us may tip the body toward developing asthma.

    There’s mounting evidence that early exposure to microbes can protect against allergies and asthma (SN Online: 7/20/16). But “lo and behold, some fungi seem to put kids at risk for asthma,” microbiologist Brett Finlay said February 17 at a news conference during the annual meeting of the American Association for the...

    02/17/2017 - 17:57 Health, Immune Science, Human Development
  • News

    Gastric bypass controls diabetes long term better than other methods

    People who undergo gastric bypass surgery are more likely to experience a remission of their diabetes than patients who receive a gastric sleeve or intensive management of diet and exercise, according to a new study. Bypass surgery had already shown better results for diabetes than other weight-loss methods in the short term, but the new research followed patients for five years.  

    “We...

    02/15/2017 - 17:06 Biomedicine, Health
  • Growth Curve

    Birth may not be a major microbe delivery event for babies

    Babies are born germy, and that’s a good thing. Our microbiomes — the microbes that live on and in us — are gaining cred as tiny but powerful keepers of our health.

    As microbes gain scientific stature, some scientists are trying to answer questions about how and when those germs first show up on babies. Birth itself may be an important microbe-delivery event, some researchers suspect. A...

    02/15/2017 - 12:13 Human Development, Health
  • Science Ticker

    See how long Zika lasts in semen and other bodily fluids

    Traces of Zika virus typically linger in semen no longer than three months after symptoms show up, a new study on the virus’ staying power in bodily fluids reveals.

    Medical epidemiologist Gabriela Paz-Bailey of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and colleagues analyzed the bodily fluids — including blood, urine and saliva — of 150 people infected with Zika. In 95 percent...

    02/14/2017 - 17:03 Health
  • News

    Ricin poisoning may one day be treatable with new antidote

    WASHINGTON — It has been used by an assassin wielding a poisoned umbrella and sent in a suspicious letter to a president.

    Ricin, the potent toxin and bioterrorism agent, has no antidote and can cause death within days. But a cocktail of antibodies could one day offer victims at least a slim window for treatment.

    A new study presented February 7 at the American Society for...

    02/10/2017 - 10:02 Health, Cells, Biomedicine
  • News in Brief

    Cold plasma puts the chill on norovirus

    WASHINGTON — A nasty stomach virus that can linger on fruits and veggies may have met its match in cold plasma.

    In experiments, the ionized gas, created by filtering room-temperature air through an electric field, virtually eliminated norovirus from lettuce, researchers reported February 7 at the American Society for Microbiology Biothreats meeting.

     Norovirus is the leading cause...

    02/10/2017 - 07:00 Health, Microbiology
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers respond to antibiotics, carbon bonds and more

    Power struggle

    Ninety percent of people who believe that they are allergic to penicillin are not, Emily DeMarco reported in “Most penicillin allergies are off base” (SN: 12/24/16 & 1/7/17, p. 5). A recent study found that testing for penicillin allergies reduced by 34 percent the use of vancomycin, described in the story as “a powerful, last-resort antibiotic.”

    Reader Robin Colgrove...

    02/08/2017 - 12:42 Health, Chemistry
  • For Daily Use

    Weekend warriors put up a fight against death

    Any exercise — even the weekend warrior approach, cramming it all into Saturday and Sunday — is better than none. Compared with inactive adults, those who got the recommended amount of weekly exercise, or even substantially less, had about a one-third lower risk of death during the study period, researchers report online January 9 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

    Gary O’Donovan at the...

    02/07/2017 - 15:36 Health
  • Growth Curve

    Little jet-setters get jet lag too

    Sleep is at the top of the list of conversation starters among parents with young children. With our recent cross-country move west, my family added a twist on sleep deprivation: jet-lagged children. To get some clarity on this new horror, I called developmental social scientist A.J. Schwichtenberg of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind.

    Two main processes control sleep,...

    02/06/2017 - 13:00 Human Development, Health
  • News

    E-cigarette smoking linked to heart disease risk

    Electronic cigarettes may increase the risk of heart disease, researchers at UCLA report.

    The team found that two risk factors for heart disease were elevated in 16 e-cigarette users compared with 18 nonsmokers.

    “The pattern was spot-on” for what has been seen in heart attack patients and those with heart disease and diabetes, says cardiologist Holly Middlekauff, a coauthor of the...

    02/01/2017 - 17:18 Health