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  • News in Brief

    This stick-on patch could keep tabs on stroke patients at home

    AUSTIN, Texas — Stretchy sensors that stick to the throat could track the long-term recovery of stroke survivors.

    These new Band-Aid‒shaped devices contain motion sensors that detect muscle movement and vocal cord vibrations. That sensor data could help doctors diagnose and monitor the effectiveness of certain treatments for post-stroke conditions like difficulty swallowing or talking,...

    02/17/2018 - 16:00 Technology, Health, Biophysics
  • News

    Cutting off a brain enzyme reversed Alzheimer’s plaques in mice

    Knocking back an enzyme swept mouse brains clean of protein globs that are a sign of Alzheimer’s disease. Reducing the enzyme is known to keep these nerve-damaging plaques from forming. But the disappearance of existing plaques was unexpected, researchers report online February 14 in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.

    The brains of mice engineered to develop Alzheimer’s disease were...

    02/14/2018 - 13:12 Health, Neuroscience
  • Science Ticker

    Even after bedbugs are eradicated, their waste lingers

    Bedbugs leave a lasting legacy.

    Their poop contains a chemical called histamine, part of the suite of pheromones that the insects excrete to attract others of their kind. Human exposure to histamine can trigger allergy symptoms like itchiness and asthma. (Our bodies also naturally release histamine when confronted with an allergen.) Histamine stays behind long after the bedbugs disappear...

    02/12/2018 - 18:30 Animals, Health
  • How Bizarre

    14 cattle eyeworms removed from Oregon woman’s eye

    A 26-year-old woman felt something in her left eye. For days, she couldn’t shake the sensation. But this was no errant eyelash or dive-bombing gnat. 

    A week after that first irritation, the Oregon resident pulled a translucent worm, about a centimeter long, from her eye. With that harrowing feat, she became the first ever reported case of a human infestation with the cattle eyeworm,...

    02/12/2018 - 17:34 Health
  • News

    The small intestine, not the liver, is the first stop for processing fructose

    When it comes processing fructose, the liver is a pinch hitter for the small intestine.

    To use fructose for energy, the body needs to convert it into another type of simple sugar called glucose or into other smaller molecules. Scientists knew fructose could be metabolized in both the liver and the small intestine, but believed the liver was mainly responsible for the process. A new study...

    02/09/2018 - 12:15 Nutrition, Health
  • News

    Scientists are tracking how the flu moves through a college campus

    COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Campus life typically challenges students with new opportunities for learning, discovery — and intimacy with germs. Lots of germs.

    That makes dormitories and their residents an ideal natural experiment to trace the germs’ paths. “You pack a bunch of college kids into a very small environment … we’re not known as being the cleanliest of people,” says sophomore Parker...

    02/07/2018 - 07:00 Biomedicine, Health
  • News

    A blood test could predict the risk of Alzheimer’s disease

    A new blood test might reveal whether someone is at risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease.

    The test measures blood plasma levels of a sticky protein called amyloid-beta. This protein can start building up in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients decades before there’s any outward signs of the disease. Typically, it takes a brain scan or spinal tap to discover these A-beta clumps, or plaques,...

    02/01/2018 - 16:03 Neuroscience, Biomedicine, Health
  • News

    Zika may not be the only virus of its kind that can damage a fetus

    Zika virus may not be the black sheep of the family. Infections with either of two related viruses also cause fetal defects in mice, researchers find.

    Some scientists have speculated that Zika’s capacity to harm a fetus might be unique among its kind, perhaps due to a recent change in the virus’s genetic material (SN: 10/28/17, p. 9). Others have argued that perhaps this dangerous...

    01/31/2018 - 14:21 Biomedicine, Health
  • News

    New twist on a flu vaccine revs up the body’s army of virus killers

    Sometimes an old fight needs a new hero. With the United States in the midst of a tough flu season — and with evidence from Australia that the current flu shot is only 10 percent effective against the strains responsible for most illnesses — a different approach to flu vaccine development may do the trick.

    Vaccines traditionally protect against illness by stimulating antibodies to block...

    01/19/2018 - 15:42 Health, Immune Science
  • 50 years ago, IUDs were deemed safe and effective

    IUDs: approval of a renaissance

    In 1929, the German scientist Ernst Grafenberg inserted silver rings into the uteri of 2,000 women, and reported a pregnancy rate of only 1.6 percent. Despite this history, the use of intrauterine devices, or IUDs, was not generally accepted.… A report made public last week by the FDA’s Advisory Committee on Obstetrics and Gynecology concludes that...

    01/19/2018 - 07:00 Health