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  • News

    NASA’s Twins Study reveals effects of space on Scott Kelly’s health

    For nearly a year, U.S. astronauts and identical twins Scott and Mark Kelly lived lives that were as separate as Earth and space — literally. While Mark enjoyed retirement in Tucson, his brother floated in microgravity aboard the International Space Station orbiting about 400 kilometers above the planet.

    Ten science teams studied the twins’ physiology, memory abilities and genes before,...

    04/11/2019 - 15:23 Health, Physiology
  • News

    Ketamine cultivates new nerve cell connections in mice

    Ketamine banishes depression by slowly coaxing nerve cells to sprout new connections, a study of mice suggests. The finding, published in the April 12 Science, may help explain how the hallucinogenic anesthetic can ease some people’s severe depression.

    The results are timely, coming on the heels of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s March 5 approval of a nasal spray containing a...

    04/11/2019 - 14:00 Health, Neuroscience
  • The Science Life

    Chickens stand sentinel against mosquito-borne disease in Florida

    For 40 years, they’ve held the front line in Florida’s fight against mosquito-borne diseases. And it turns out that the chickens standing sentinel in cities, marshes, woodlands and residential backyards are clucking good at their job.

    Last year, chickens in 268 coops in over a third of Florida’s counties provided scientists weekly blood samples that revealed whether the birds had been...

    04/09/2019 - 15:00 Health
  • News in Brief

    A common food additive may make the flu vaccine less effective

    ORLANDO — A common food additive may make it more difficult to fight the flu.

    Vaccinated mice that got food containing the additive, tert-butylhydroquinone (tBHQ), took three days longer to recover from the flu than mice that ate tBHQ-free food. The unpublished result suggests the common additive may make flu vaccines less effective, toxicologist Robert Freeborn of Michigan State...

    04/08/2019 - 15:54 Health
  • News in Brief

    When an older person’s brain waves are in sync, memory is boosted

    Nudging an older person’s brain waves into sync temporarily boosts her recall powers. After about a half hour of precisely calibrated stimulation, people were better able to mentally juggle images seen on a screen, researchers report April 8 in Nature Neuroscience.The results are the latest example of technology that aims to improve thinking by reshaping brain waves, an approach that may...

    04/08/2019 - 11:40 Health, Neuroscience
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers seek answers to stories about shingles, Neandertal spears and more

    Life after shingles

    In “With its burning grip, shingles can do lasting damage” (SN: 3/2/19, p. 22), Aimee Cunningham described the experience of Nora Fox, a woman whose bout with shingles nearly 15 years ago left her with a painful condition called postherpetic neuralgia. Fox hadn’t found any reliable treatments, Cunningham reported.

    Fox praised Science News for our portrayal of...

    04/07/2019 - 07:00 Health, Anthropology, Earth
  • News in Brief

    Testing mosquito pee could help track the spread of diseases

    There are no teensy cups. But a urine test for wild mosquitoes has for the first time proved it can give an early warning that local pests are spreading diseases.

    Mosquito traps remodeled with a pee-collecting card picked up telltale genetic traces of West Nile and two other worrisome viruses circulating in the wild, researchers in Australia report April 4 in the Journal of Medical...

    04/05/2019 - 08:00 Health, Genetics, Animals
  • Reviews & Previews

    In ‘The Perfect Predator,’ viruses vanquish a deadly superbug

    The Perfect PredatorSteffanie Strathdee and Thomas PattersonHachette Books, $28

    Epidemiologist Steffanie Strathdee and her husband, Thomas Patterson, went to Egypt in 2015 expecting to come home with some photos and souvenirs. Instead, Patterson was hit with his own version of the 10 plagues. 

    At first, doctors in Egypt thought Patterson had pancreatitis. But his health...

    04/01/2019 - 09:00 Health, Microbiology, Biomedicine
  • Teaser

    A single-dose antidote may help prevent fentanyl overdoses

    Synthetic opioids outlast current antidotes. A nanoparticle-based alternative could fix that.

    A newly developed single-dose opioid antidote lasts several days, a study in mice shows. If the results can be duplicated in humans, the treatment may one day help prevent overdoses from deadly drugs like fentanyl.

    Normally, a dose of the opioid antidote naloxone passes through a person’s...

    03/31/2019 - 05:00 Health, Chemistry
  • 50 years ago, drug abuse was higher among physicians than the public

    The physician as addict —

    The rate of drug abuse or addiction among physicians is from 30 to 100 times that of the general public.... The American Medical Association estimates that some 60,000 of the country’s 316,000 doctors misuse drugs of various kinds. The drug abuser among physicians has a predisposing personality for addiction, and suffers from overwork and fatigue. Since...

    03/28/2019 - 07:00 Health, Mental Health