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  • News

    Alzheimer’s targets brain cells that help people stay awake

    Alzheimer’s disease destroys command centers in the brain that keep people awake. That finding could explain why the disease often brings daytime drowsiness.

    Sleep problems can precede dementias, including Alzheimer’s, sometimes by decades. But the new result, described online August 12 in Alzheimer’s & Dementia, suggests that disordered sleeping isn’t just an early harbinger of...

    08/16/2019 - 11:30 Health, Biomedicine, Neuroscience
  • News in Brief

    A new FDA-approved drug takes aim at a deadly form of tuberculosis

    An especially dangerous type of tuberculosis may have met its match.

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced August 14 that it has approved the antibiotic pretomanid to help tackle what’s called extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis. This form of the disease is resistant to at least four of the main TB drugs, and treatment often fails: Only around 34 percent of infected...

    08/16/2019 - 06:00 Health, Biomedicine
  • News

    The first chlamydia vaccine has passed a major test

    The first vaccine against chlamydia has passed its first test in humans.

    About three dozen healthy women were randomly assigned one of two versions of a chlamydia vaccine or a placebo treatment in a clinical trial. Both vaccine versions were shown to be safe, and both produced an immune response not seen in the placebo group, researchers report online August 12 in the Lancet Infectious...

    08/15/2019 - 06:00 Health, Biomedicine
  • News

    Two of four Ebola treatments prove highly effective in a clinical trial

    Two Ebola treatments have proven to be effective in preventing death during a clinical trial conducted amid the ongoing outbreak in Congo, preliminary data suggest.

    The trial began in November, with participants randomly given one of four experimental treatments (SN: 3/16/19, p. 9). Data from 499 patients reviewed August 9 suggest that those people taking one of two antibody treatments...

    08/12/2019 - 18:01 Health
  • News in Brief

    Even without concussions, just one football season may damage players’ brains

    A season of head hits left its mark on college football players’ brains, even when those hits didn’t cause concussions. Routine head bumps over the course of a season were linked to abnormal brain tissue in part of players’ brain stems, researchers report August 7 in Science Advances.It’s unclear if these brain stem changes affect mental performance, or whether the changes are permanent. But...

    08/12/2019 - 10:28 Health, Neuroscience
  • Feature

    How pieces of live human brain are helping scientists map nerve cells

    The golf ball–sized chunk of brain is not cooperating. It’s thicker than usual, and bloodier. One side has a swath of tissue that looks, to my untrained eye, like gristle.

    Nick Dee, the neuroscientist charged with quickly cutting the chunk into neat pieces, confers with his colleagues. “We can trim off that ugliness on the side,” he says. The “ugliness” is the brain’s connective tissue...

    08/07/2019 - 06:00 Health, Biomedicine
  • News

    Racist words and acts, like the El Paso shooting, harm children’s health

    Just days before 22 people were killed in El Paso, Texas, allegedly by an anti-immigrant gunman, the American Academy of Pediatrics warned that racism was harming children’s overall health.

    Among the people fleeing the shooting at a Walmart on August 3 were young families with children shopping for back-to-school supplies. “Two young parents who sacrificed themselves to shield their 2-...

    08/06/2019 - 15:37 Health
  • News

    Hospitalizations highlight potential dangers of e-cigs to teens’ lungs

    The eight Wisconsin teens had become so short of breath that they needed to be hospitalized. Although the cause of their lung injuries remains to be determined, the teens had one thing in common: All reported vaping in the weeks and months before their hospital stays in July.

    “Some of these kids were quite ill and needed a lot of support,” including the use of ventilators to help them...

    08/02/2019 - 15:09 Health
  • News

    A new study challenges the idea that the placenta has a microbiome

    Contrary to earlier reports, the human placenta is largely free of microbes, a study finds. The new result follows years of debate over whether the organ that nourishes and protects a growing fetus also holds bacteria.   

    Dueling evidence has been accumulating both for and against the presence of microbes in placentas. Amid the back-and-forth, molecular biologist Stephen Charnock-Jones...

    07/31/2019 - 13:00 Health, Human Development, Microbiology
  • Feature

    Positive attitudes about aging may pay off in better health

    The first time someone offered me a seat on the subway, I reflexively declined, and then stewed about it all the way home. Sheesh, I thought, do I really look like an old lady in need of assistance? When I got off the train, I swear my knees felt a bit creaky as I clomped up the subway steps.

    When we’re busy doing things we love — which for me these days means playing with my two young...

    07/29/2019 - 06:00 Health