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  • News

    Zika hasn’t been in the news much, but that doesn’t mean it’s gone

    Less than a year after the World Health Organization declared Zika is no longer a public health emergency, the virus seems to have fallen from public consciousness, at least outside of heavily affected areas. The mosquito-borne virus staged a massive assault on the Western Hemisphere in 2015 and 2016 (SN: 12/24/16, p. 19), but this year, Zika appears to be in retreat.

    ...
    10/30/2017 - 07:00 Health, Biomedicine
  • News

    Using high-nicotine e-cigarettes may boost vaping and smoking in teens

    Vaping e-cigarettes with high amounts of nicotine appears to impact how often and how heavily teens smoke and vape in the future, a new study finds.

    In 2016, an estimated 11 percent of U.S. high school students used e-cigarettes. Past research has found that that teen vaping can lead to smoking (SN: 9/19/15, p. 14). The new study, published online October 23 in JAMA Pediatrics, is the...

    10/25/2017 - 15:00 Health
  • News

    New CRISPR gene editors can fix RNA and DNA one typo at a time

    New gene-editing tools can correct typos that account for about half of disease-causing genetic spelling errors.

    Researchers have revamped the CRISPR/Cas9 gene editor so that it converts the DNA base adenine to guanine, biological chemist David Liu and colleagues report October 25 in Nature. In a separate study, published October 25 in Science, other researchers led by CRISPR pioneer...

    10/25/2017 - 13:00 Genetics, Health
  • News

    Robotic docs can boost surgery time and cost

    When it comes to some operations, surgical robots may not be worth the extra time or money.

    Researchers compared patients who underwent traditional laparoscopy to have a kidney removed — surgery involving several small incisions rather than one large cut — with patients who received robot-assisted laparoscopies. Although the two groups had similar complication rates and hospital stay...

    10/24/2017 - 11:01 Health, Robotics, Technology
  • News in Brief

    Pollution killed 9 million people in 2015

    About one in every six premature deaths worldwide is linked to dirty air, water and soil.

    Most of those deaths are concentrated among the world’s poorest populations, according to a study published online October 19 in the Lancet that documents the health and economic toll of pollution in 2015. In the most severely polluted countries, 25 percent of premature deaths could be attributed to...

    10/20/2017 - 17:50 Pollution, Health
  • News in Brief

    Laws to protect athletes’ brains do reduce concussions — eventually

    To guard against the dangers of concussions, by 2014, all 50 states and the District of Columbia had enacted laws to protect young athletes. More than 2½ years after these laws went on the books, repeat concussions began to decline among high school athletes, researchers report online October 19 in the American Journal of Public Health.

    Researchers reviewed concussion data from 2005 to...

    10/19/2017 - 17:11 Health, Mental Health
  • News

    The next wave of bird flu could be worse than ever

    A new version of the H7N9 avian influenza virus might be able to cause widespread infection and should be closely monitored, scientists say, although it currently doesn’t spread easily between people.

    Researchers isolated the virus from a fatal human case and tested it and two genetically modified versions in ferrets, which are susceptible to both human and bird flu viruses. The tested...

    10/19/2017 - 14:33 Immune Science, Health
  • News

    Animal study reveals how a fever early in pregnancy can cause birth defects

    Certain birth defects of the face and heart can occur when babies’ mothers have a fever during the first trimester of pregnancy, a crucial time in an embryo’s development. Now scientists have figured out the molecular players that make it so.  

    In an experiment with chicken embryos, a temporary rise in incubation temperature — meant to mimic feverlike conditions — was enough to produce...

    10/18/2017 - 14:00 Health, Human Development
  • News

    This stretchy implant could help kids avoid repeated open-heart surgeries

    A new stretchy prosthetic could reduce the number of surgeries that children with leaking heart valves must undergo.

    The device, a horseshoe-shaped implant that wraps around the base of a heart valve to keep it from leaking, is described online October 10 in Nature Biomedical Engineering. In adults, a rigid ring is used, but it can’t be implanted in children because it would constrict...

    10/17/2017 - 11:58 Technology, Biomedicine, Health
  • Feature

    A universal flu shot may be nearing reality

    One of the planet’s deadliest viruses makes an annual pass through the United States with little fanfare. It rarely generates flashy headlines or news footage of health workers in hazmat suits. There’s no sudden panic when a sick person shows up coughing and feverish in an emergency room. Yet before next spring, this season’s lethal germ will probably have infected millions of Americans,...

    10/17/2017 - 08:52 Health, Immune Science