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  • News in Brief

    Pills equipped with tiny needles can inject a body from the inside

    For those of us who cringe at the sight of needles, there may someday be a less daunting alternative to getting a shot: swallowing a pill-sized device that delivers medication by painlessly pricking the inside of the stomach.

    A prototype of the device, described in the Feb. 8 Science, administers insulin. But similar ingestible capsules could also replace skin injections of antibodies...

    02/07/2019 - 14:00 Health, Technology
  • News

    Why some children may get strep throat more often than others

    For kids, getting strep throat again and again is a pain. It’s also a problem little understood by scientists. Now a study that analyzed kids’ tonsils hints at why such repeat infections may happen.

    Children with recurrent strep infections had smaller immune structures crucial to the development of antibodies in their tonsils than kids who hadn’t had repeated infections, researchers...

    02/06/2019 - 14:16 Health
  • News

    Why it’s key to identify preschoolers with anxiety and depression

    The task was designed to scare the kids. One by one, adults guided children, ranging in age from 3 to 7, into a dimly lit room containing a mysterious covered mound. To build anticipation, the adults intoned, “I have something in here to show you,” or “Let’s be quiet so it doesn’t wake up.” The adult then uncovered the mound — revealed to be a terrarium — and pulled out a realistic looking...

    02/03/2019 - 07:00 Human Development, Mental Health, Psychology
  • News

    No, we don’t know that gum disease causes Alzheimer’s

    Do you floss regularly? A study published January 23 in Science Advances — and the news stories that it inspired — might have scared you into better oral hygiene by claiming to find a link between gum bacteria and Alzheimer’s disease.

    Those experiments hinted that the gum disease–causing bacteria Porphyromonas gingivalis was present in the brains of a small number of people who died with...

    01/31/2019 - 07:00 Neuroscience
  • News

    Chinese ‘tweets’ hint that happiness drops as air pollution rises

    Air pollution is recognized as a public health threat in China, linked to heart disease, cancer, cognitive decline and even risky behavior. Now a study analyzing air quality data and social media posts on China’s version of Twitter suggests that poor air quality may also harm people’s sense of well-being.

    “The higher the levels of air pollution in Chinese cities, the lower people’s...

    01/30/2019 - 11:19 Health, Pollution
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers have questions about Parkinson’s disease, moth wings and more

    Gut connection

    Abnormal proteins tied to Parkinson’s disease may form in the gut before traveling through the body’s nervous system to the brain, Laura Beil reported in “A gut-brain link for Parkinson’s gets a closer look” (SN: 12/8/18, p. 22).

    The vagus nerve offers a connection between nerves in the gut and those in the brain. Beil reported on one study that showed that people who...

    01/27/2019 - 07:15 Health, Animals, Numbers
  • Feature

    Vitamin D supplements aren’t living up to their hype

    In the supplement world, vitamin D is a bit like a Kardashian. Its fame seemed to come out of nowhere about a decade ago, garnering so much press so fast that it’s hard to remember a time when people weren’t talking about it.

    Vitamin D had long been known for protecting bones, but its star began to rise in the early 2000s after researchers made connections hinting that vitamin D was good...

    01/27/2019 - 06:00 Clinical Trials, Nutrition, Cancer
  • News

    Lack of sleep is tied to increases in two Alzheimer's proteins

    A sleep-deprived brain is awash in excess amounts of not one but two proteins whose bad behavior is implicated in Alzheimer’s disease.

    A new study finds excessive amounts of a protein called tau in the fluid that bathes the brain and spinal cord of extremely sleep-deprived adults. Tau, which is tied to nerve cell death, tangles and spreads throughout the brain during Alzheimer’s. An...

    01/24/2019 - 14:17 Health
  • News

    Rocking puts adults to sleep faster and makes slumber deeper

    Babies love to be rocked to sleep. It turns out that we never quite grow out of it.

    Grown-ups tucked into a gently swaying bed for the night fell asleep faster and slept deeper, scientists report in the Feb. 4 Current Biology. What’s more, these rocked adults had sharper memories the next morning. Aside from hinting at the next great sleep aid, the results offer clues about how the brain...

    01/24/2019 - 11:00 Neuroscience
  • News

    The cerebellum may do a lot more than just coordinate movement

    Its name means “little brain” in Latin, but the cerebellum is anything but. The fist-sized orb at the back of the brain has an outsized role in social interactions, a study in mice suggests.Once thought to be a relatively simple brain structure that had only one job, coordinating movement, the cerebellum is gaining recognition for being an important mover and shaker in the brain.

    Early...

    01/23/2019 - 07:00 Neuroscience