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  • Science Ticker

    A new coronavirus is killing pigs in China

    An unknown killer preying on pigs in China has been identified as a new kind of coronavirus. And like the deadly SARS virus, this one also got its start in bats.

    In late 2016, pigs mysteriously started having intense diarrhea and vomiting on farms in China’s southeastern Guangdong province. By May 2017, the disease had killed 24,693 piglets. Tests failed to pin the outbreak, which has...

    04/04/2018 - 13:00 Biomedicine, Health
  • Feature

    Opioids kill. Here’s how an overdose shuts down your body

    03/29/2018 - 07:00 Health, Neuroscience, Biomedicine
  • Feature

    How oral vaccines could save Ethiopian wolves from extinction

    Deep in the Bale Mountains of Ethiopia, wildlife workers trek up above 9,800 feet to save some of the world’s most rare carnivores, Ethiopian wolves.

    “It’s cold, tough work,” says Eric Bedin, who leads the field monitoring team in its uphill battle.

    In this sparse, sometimes snowy landscape, the lanky and ginger-colored wolves (Canis simensis) reign as the region’s apex predators....

    03/22/2018 - 09:00 Animals, Biomedicine, Conservation
  • News

    In the future, an AI may diagnose eye problems

    The computer will see you now.

    Artificial intelligence algorithms may soon bring the diagnostic know-how of an eye doctor to primary care offices and walk-in clinics, speeding up the detection of health problems and the start of treatment, especially in areas where specialized doctors are scarce. The first such program — trained to spot symptoms of diabetes-related vision loss in eye...

    03/04/2018 - 08:00 Artificial Intelligence, Clinical Trials, Biomedicine
  • News

    A new way to make bacteria glow could simplify TB screening

    A new molecule that reveals active tuberculosis bacteria in coughed-up mucus and saliva could simplify TB diagnoses and speed up tests for detecting strains of the disease that are resistant to drugs.

    This synthetic molecule is a modified version of a sugar that TB bacteria consume to help build their cell walls. The sugar is tagged with a dye that lights up under a fluorescent...

    02/28/2018 - 14:03 Microbes, Microbiology, Biomedicine
  • News

    Scientists are tracking how the flu moves through a college campus

    COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Campus life typically challenges students with new opportunities for learning, discovery — and intimacy with germs. Lots of germs.

    That makes dormitories and their residents an ideal natural experiment to trace the germs’ paths. “You pack a bunch of college kids into a very small environment … we’re not known as being the cleanliest of people,” says sophomore Parker...

    02/07/2018 - 07:00 Biomedicine, Health
  • News

    A blood test could predict the risk of Alzheimer’s disease

    A new blood test might reveal whether someone is at risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease.

    The test measures blood plasma levels of a sticky protein called amyloid-beta. This protein can start building up in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients decades before there’s any outward signs of the disease. Typically, it takes a brain scan or spinal tap to discover these A-beta clumps, or plaques,...

    02/01/2018 - 16:03 Neuroscience, Biomedicine, Health
  • News

    Zika may not be the only virus of its kind that can damage a fetus

    Zika virus may not be the black sheep of the family. Infections with either of two related viruses also cause fetal defects in mice, researchers find.

    Some scientists have speculated that Zika’s capacity to harm a fetus might be unique among its kind, perhaps due to a recent change in the virus’s genetic material (SN: 10/28/17, p. 9). Others have argued that perhaps this dangerous...

    01/31/2018 - 14:21 Biomedicine, Health
  • News

    Baby macaques are the first primates to be cloned like Dolly the Sheep

    View the video

    Meet Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua, the first primates cloned by reprogramming adult cells.

    Two decades after Dolly the Sheep was successfully cloned (SN: 3/1/97, p. 132), Chinese researchers have used the same technique — somatic cell nuclear transfer — to clone two healthy baby macaque monkeys. The results, reported January 24 in Cell, could lead to more efficient...

    01/24/2018 - 13:30 Genetics, Animals, Biomedicine
  • Science Ticker

    Here’s the key ingredient that lets a centipede’s bite take down prey

    Knocking out an animal 15 times your size — no problem. A newly identified toxin in the venom of a tropical centipede helps the arthropod to overpower giant prey in about 30 seconds.

    Insight into how this venom overwhelms lab mice could lead to an antidote for people who suffer excruciatingly painful, reportedly even fatal, centipede bites, an international research team reports the week...

    01/22/2018 - 17:25 Biomedicine, Animals