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E.g., 02/22/2018
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  • Feature

    How to build a human brain

    In a white lab coat and blue latex gloves, Neda Vishlaghi peers through a light microscope at six milky-white blobs. Each is about the size of a couscous grain, bathed in the pale orange broth of a petri dish. With tweezers in one hand and surgical scissors in the other, she deftly snips one tiny clump in half.

    When growing human brains, sometimes you need to do some pruning.

    The...

    02/20/2018 - 15:30 Human Development
  • News

    Cutting off a brain enzyme reversed Alzheimer’s plaques in mice

    Knocking back an enzyme swept mouse brains clean of protein globs that are a sign of Alzheimer’s disease. Reducing the enzyme is known to keep these nerve-damaging plaques from forming. But the disappearance of existing plaques was unexpected, researchers report online February 14 in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.

    The brains of mice engineered to develop Alzheimer’s disease were...

    02/14/2018 - 13:12 Health, Neuroscience
  • News

    Genes could record forensic clues to time of death

    Dying, it turns out, is not like flipping a switch. Genes keep working for a while after a person dies, and scientists have used that activity in the lab to pinpoint time of death to within about nine minutes.

    During the first 24 hours after death, genetic changes kick in across various human tissues, creating patterns of activity that can be used to roughly predict when someone died,...

    02/13/2018 - 17:12 Epigenetics, Microbes, Science & Society
  • News

    The small intestine, not the liver, is the first stop for processing fructose

    When it comes processing fructose, the liver is a pinch hitter for the small intestine.

    To use fructose for energy, the body needs to convert it into another type of simple sugar called glucose or into other smaller molecules. Scientists knew fructose could be metabolized in both the liver and the small intestine, but believed the liver was mainly responsible for the process. A new study...

    02/09/2018 - 12:15 Nutrition, Health
  • News in Brief

    Watch nerve cells being born in the brains of living mice

    View the video

    Brain scientists have filmed a first-of-a-kind birth video. It reveals specialized cells in the brains of mice dividing to create newborn nerve cells.

    The images, published in the Feb. 9 Science, show intricacies of how certain parts of the adult mouse brain can churn out new nerve cells. These details may help lead to a deeper understanding of the role of this nerve...

    02/08/2018 - 14:00 Neuroscience
  • 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
  • Growth Curve

    Babies’ kicks in the womb are good for their bones

    One of the strangest things about growing a human being inside your body is the alien sensation of his movements. It’s wild to realize that these internal jabs and pushes are the work of someone else’s nervous system, skeleton and muscles. Someone with his own distinct, mysterious agenda that often includes taekwondoing your uterus as you try to sleep.

    Around the 10-week mark, babies...

    01/30/2018 - 16:00 Child Development
  • Feature

    Somewhere in the brain is a storage device for memories

    People tend to think of memories as deeply personal, ephemeral possessions — snippets of emotions, words, colors and smells stitched into our unique neural tapestries as life goes on. But a strange series of experiments conducted decades ago offered a different, more tangible perspective. The mind-bending results have gained unexpected support from recent studies.

    In 1959, James Vernon...

    01/24/2018 - 07:00 Neuroscience
  • Feature

    Your phone is like a spy in your pocket

    Consider everything your smartphone has done for you today. Counted your steps? Deposited a check? Transcribed notes? Navigated you somewhere new?

    Smartphones make for such versatile pocket assistants because they’re equipped with a suite of sensors, including some we may never think — or even know — about, sensing, for example, light, humidity, pressure and temperature.

    Because...

    01/23/2018 - 12:00 Computing, Technology
  • 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