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  • Feature

    The brain may clean out Alzheimer’s plaques during sleep

    Neuroscientist Barbara Bendlin studies the brain as Alzheimer’s disease develops. When she goes home, she tries to leave her work in the lab. But one recent research project has crossed into her personal life: She now takes sleep much more seriously.

    Bendlin works at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, home to the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention, a study of more than 1,500...

    07/15/2018 - 06:00 Biomedicine, Neuroscience, Mental Health
  • Feature

    The ecosystem that controls a galaxy’s future is coming into focus

    There’s more to a galaxy than meets the eye. Galaxies’ bright stars seem to spiral serenely against the dark backdrop of space. But a more careful look reveals a whole lot of mayhem.

    “Galaxies are just like you and me,” Jessica Werk, an astronomer at the University of Washington in Seattle, said in January at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society. “They live their lives in a...

    07/12/2018 - 07:00 Astronomy, Cosmology
  • News

    This invasive tick can clone itself and suck livestock dry

    Tadhgh Rainey has seen his share of bloodsuckers. As an entomologist at the Hunterdon County Health Services in Flemington, N.J., he’s the person to talk to about all things mosquitoes and ticks. But he had never seen anything like the infestation on a pet sheep in September 2017.

    When he and his colleague entered the sheep’s enclosure, “we almost immediately got covered in ticks,” he...

    06/29/2018 - 07:00 Animals
  • Feature

    Why won’t this debate about an ancient cold snap die?

    Around 13,000 years ago, Earth was emerging from its last great ice age. The vast frozen sheets that had covered much of North America, Europe and Asia for thousands of years were retreating. Giant mammals — steppe bison, woolly mammoths and saber-toothed cats — grazed or hunted across tundra and grasslands. A Paleo-Indian group of hunter-gatherers who eventually gave rise to the Clovis people...

    06/26/2018 - 14:00 Climate, Earth, Paleontology
  • News

    New studies add evidence to a possible link between Alzheimer’s and herpesvirus

    Joel Dudley and his colleagues were searching through datasets for Alzheimer’s disease vulnerabilities to exploit in creating a treatment when they stumbled across a surprising correlation: Many of the brains they looked at had signs of herpesvirus infection. But those from people with Alzheimer’s disease had much higher levels of viral DNA than those from healthy people.

    In particular,...

    06/22/2018 - 06:00 Health, Neuroscience, Genetics
  • News

    Phone apps are helping scientists track suicidal thoughts in real time

    Suicide research is undergoing a timing shift, and not a moment too soon. A new breed of studies that track daily — and even hourly — changes in suicidal thinking is providing intriguing, although still preliminary, insights into how to identify those on the verge of trying to kill themselves.

    Monitoring ways in which suicidal thoughts wax and wane over brief time periods, it turns out,...

    06/18/2018 - 09:00 Psychology, Mental Health
  • Feature

    DNA testing can bring families together, but gives mixed answers on ethnicity

    Michael Douglas, a new resident of southern Maryland, credits genetic testing for helping him find his heritage — and a family he knew very little about.

    Douglas, 43, is adopted. He knew his birth mother’s name and had seen a birth certificate stating his birth name: Thomas Michael McCarthy. Over the years, Douglas had tried off and on to find his birth family, mostly by looking for his...

    06/13/2018 - 14:36 Genetics, Ancestry, Science & Society
  • News

    Kids with food allergies are twice as likely to have autism

    American kids with food allergies are more than twice as likely to have autism spectrum disorder as kids without, a study of national health data finds. The population-based finding adds to experimental evidence that there may be a connection between false steps or overreactions by the immune system and the neurodevelopmental disorder.

    Researchers looked only for an association between...

    06/08/2018 - 16:31 Health, Mental Health
  • News

    Tropical cyclones have slowed over the last 70 years

    Tropical cyclones don’t move as fast as they used to.

    The fierce, swirling storms move 10 percent slower, on average, than they did nearly 70 years ago, a new study finds. Such lingering storms can potentially cause more damage by dumping even more rainfall on land beneath them.

    Atmospheric scientist James Kossin examined changes in how quickly tropical cyclones, known as...

    06/06/2018 - 13:34 Climate, Oceans
  • Feature

    What consumer DNA data can and can’t tell you about your risk for certain diseases

    Results from Family Tree DNA, a genetic testing company, helped Lara Diamond find a branch of her family she thought had been lost in the Holocaust. Those 2012 results brought dozens of new people into her life.

    Eager to find more relatives, Diamond, now 42, a professional genealogist in Baltimore, decided to try out all the companies that offer geneaological DNA testing to see what else...

    06/03/2018 - 06:00 Genetics