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  • News

    An AI used art to control monkeys’ brain cells

    New artwork created by artificial intelligence does weird things to the primate brain.

    When shown to macaques, AI-generated images purposefully caused nerve cells in the monkeys’ brains to fire more than pictures of real-world objects. The AI could also design patterns that activated specific neurons while suppressing others, researchers report in the May 3 Science.

    This...

    05/02/2019 - 14:00 Artificial Intelligence, Neuroscience
  • News

    A mysterious dementia that mimics Alzheimer’s gets named LATE

    A newly described dementia strikes people in their last decades of life. The disease, aptly named LATE, comes with symptoms that resemble Alzheimer’s disease, but is thought to be caused by something completely different.

    An international team of scientists and clinicians describe the disease and officially christen it LATE, which stands for the more technical description, “limbic-...

    04/30/2019 - 12:00 Health, Neuroscience
  • News

    How holes in herd immunity led to a 25-year high in U.S. measles cases

    Measles is so contagious that the virus can unerringly find the unvaccinated. That knack, combined with the number of people in the United States who haven’t been vaccinated against the disease, has given measles an opening that it hasn’t had in the country for decades.

    U.S. measles cases have surged to a 25-year high of 704, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported...

    04/29/2019 - 16:04 Health
  • News

    Why war’s emotional wounds run deeper for some kids and not others

    After her husband’s death in Syria’s civil war, Amouna Sharekh Housh gathered her eight children and headed for safety in the neighboring country of Lebanon. At the Lebanese border, Islamic State militants demanded that Housh hand her children over to them. She refused, even when an ISIS soldier put a gun against the head of her then 9-year-old son, Manar. After passing through that hellish...

    04/28/2019 - 08:00 Mental Health, Psychology
  • News

    A lack of circular RNAs may trigger lupus

    A lack of certain mysterious genetic molecules may spin the immune system out of control and lead to lupus.

    People with lupus have lower than normal levels of circular RNAs, triggering an immune reaction meant to fight viruses, biochemist Lingling Chen of the Shanghai Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology and her colleagues discovered. Switching on the body’s virus-fighting...

    04/25/2019 - 11:00 Genetics, Biomedicine
  • News

    U.S. measles cases hit a record high since the disease was eliminated in 2000

    U.S. measles cases have soared to the highest number since the disease was declared eliminated in the country in 2000. The 2019 tally now stands at 695 cases, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports. That surpasses the previous high of 667 cases in 2014.

    “The high number of cases in 2019 is primarily the result of a few large outbreaks — one in Washington State and...

    04/24/2019 - 20:05 Health
  • News

    A neural implant can translate brain activity into sentences

    To communicate, people unable to talk often rely on small eye movements to spell out words, a painstakingly slow process. Now, using signals picked up by a brain implant, scientists have pulled entire sentences from the brain.

    Some of these reconstructed words, spoken aloud by a virtual vocal cord, are a little garbled. But overall, the sentences are understandable, researchers from the...

    04/24/2019 - 13:00 Health, Neuroscience
  • News

    Medicaid expansion may help shrink health gaps between black and white babies

    Black babies in the United States are twice as likely as white infants to be born at low birth weight, and 1.5 times as likely to be born prematurely. But states that expanded Medicaid health care coverage as part of the 2010 Affordable Care Act may be shrinking that racial health gap, a study finds.

    Researchers analyzed birth certificate data in 18 states plus Washington, D.C., that had...

    04/23/2019 - 11:05 Human Development, Science & Society
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers ponder Opportunity’s future, animal consciousness and more

    Lost Opportunity

    NASA’s Opportunity rover explored Mars for more than a decade until a dust storm last year led to its demise, Lisa Grossman reported in “After 15 years on Mars, it’s the end of the road for Opportunity” (SN: 3/16/19, p. 7).

    Reddit users had a lot of questions about the rover, nicknamed Oppy. scazon wanted to know why the estimated life spans for Opportunity and...

    04/23/2019 - 06:15 Planetary Science, Neuroscience, Biophysics
  • Feature

    How an obscure sexually transmitted parasite tangos with the immune system

    Frances Mercer runs a fight club.

    In one corner, the parasite Trichomonas vaginalis, which causes a widespread sexually transmitted infection that many people have never heard of. In the other corner are neutrophils, the immune system cells best equipped to take down the aggressor.

    Watching the two battle it out, Mercer, an immunoparasitologist at California State Polytechnic...

    04/23/2019 - 06:00 Biomedicine