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  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers respond to Lyme disease, fossil teeth and a Tesseract look-alike

    Lyme light

    Lyme disease is hard to detect, but scientists are investigating new diagnostic approaches that could help people get treated for the tickborne illness sooner, Laura Beil reported in “New approaches may help solve the Lyme disease diagnosis dilemma” (SN: 6/22/19, p. 22).

    “I found the info in a recent issue about better ways to detect Lyme disease to be very interesting,”...

    08/06/2019 - 05:15 Biomedicine, Anthropology
  • 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
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers inquire about measles, vaccine hesitancy and more

    Tough choices

    Discussing shared health goals with vaccine-hesitant parents may help doctors get those parents on board, Aimee Cunningham reported in “Finding common ground can reduce parents’ hesitation about vaccines” (SN: 6/8/19, p. 16).

    Reader Dona Chilcoat objected to a photo in the story that showed a crying baby getting a shot. She thought the image might help reinforce anti-­...

    07/28/2019 - 06:15 Health, Biomedicine, Anthropology
  • Editor's Note

    You’re only as old as you perceive yourself to be

    Aging is inevitable, but the health declines that appear to be part of the package may not be, according to provocative research about how our attitudes about aging influence our physical health.

    It’s no surprise that the negative stereotypes about growing older that are pervasive in many societies could make people feel worse about themselves; the pioneering gerontologist Robert N...

    07/28/2019 - 06:00 Science & Society, Health
  • Soapbox

    Climate change could raise the risk of deadly fungal infections in humans

    While fungal diseases have devastated many animal and plant species, humans and other mammals have mostly been spared. That’s probably because mammals have body temperatures too warm for most fungi to replicate as well as powerful immune systems. But climate change may be challenging those defenses, bringing new fungal threats to human health, a microbiologist warns.

    From 2012 to 2015,...

    07/26/2019 - 06:00 Health
  • 50 years ago, a drug that crippled a generation found new life as a leprosy treatment

    Thalidomide helps severe cases —

    The drug that was banned because of its crippling effect on babies when taken as a tranquilizer and sleeping pill by pregnant women is being studied for its use in Hansen’s disease, or leprosy. Thalidomide has been tried on 22 leprosy patients … on an experimental basis with the permission of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.… The primary action...

    07/25/2019 - 13:00 Health, Science & Society
  • News

    A frog study may point to where parenting begins in the brain

    Most frogs lay oodles of eggs and quickly hop away. But some poison dart frogs baby their offspring, cleaning and hydrating eggs laid on land and piggybacking hatched tadpoles to water.

    A peek inside the brains of these nurturing amphibians reveals that in males and females, two regions linked with caring for young are the same — a finding that may provide clues to the neural...

    07/24/2019 - 07:03 Neuroscience, Animals
  • News

    Boosting a gut bacterium helps mice fight an ALS-like disease

    A friendly gut bacterium can help lessen ALS symptoms, a study of mice suggests.

    Mice that develop a degenerative nerve disease similar to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease, fared better when bacteria making vitamin B3 were living in their intestines, researchers report July 22 in Nature. Those results suggest that gut microbes may make molecules that can slow...

    07/22/2019 - 11:00 Neuroscience, Cells, Biomedicine