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  • News

    New blood pressure guidelines put half of U.S. adults in unhealthy range

    ANAHEIM, Calif.  — Nearly half of U.S. adults now have high blood pressure, thanks to a new definition of what constitutes high: 130/80 is the new 140/90. That means that 103 million people — up  from 72 million under the old definition — need to make diet and exercise changes and, in some cases, take medication to lower their risk of heart attack or stroke.

    These new blood pressure...

    11/13/2017 - 19:01 Health
  • News

    Human study supports theory on why dengue can be worse the next time around

    Et tu, antibody? In humans, dengue can be more severe the second time around. Now, a study implicates an immune system treachery as the culprit.

    The study suggests that the amount of anti-dengue antibodies a person has matters. In a 12-year study of Nicaraguan children, low levels of dengue antibodies left over in the blood from a prior infection increased the risk of getting a life-...

    11/08/2017 - 07:00 Health, Immune Science
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers intrigued by ancient animals’ bones

    Gut feelings

    Tests in mice show that microbes in the gut may tamper with the production of tiny molecules in brain regions known to help control anxiety, Maria Temming reported in “How gut bacteria may affect anxiety” (SN: 9/30/17, p. 12).

    Online reader Amanda wondered what has more influence: gut bacteria on anxiety, or anxiety on the bacterial makeup of the gut. If bacteria have more of...

    11/01/2017 - 12:11 Health, Evolution, Animals
  • 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