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  • News

    The rise of farming altered our bite and changed how people talk

    Humankind’s gift of gab is not set in stone, and farming could help to explain why.

    Over the last 6,000 years or so, farming societies increasingly have substituted processed dairy and grain products for tougher-to-chew game meat and wild plants common in hunter-gatherer diets. Switching to those diets of softer, processed foods altered people’s jaw structure over time, rendering certain...

    03/14/2019 - 14:00 Language, Anthropology, Human Evolution
  • Feature

    What happens when the Bering Sea’s ice disappears?

    Peggy’s data were a bit of a shock.

    From an anchored vantage point in an expanse of the southeastern Bering Sea west of Alaska, Peggy, or mooring M2, had monitored conditions in the water for 25 years. A line of sensors extended down more than 70 meters to where Peggy was tethered to the seafloor, collecting information on temperature, salinity and other properties of the water.

    ...

    03/14/2019 - 06:45 Climate, Oceans, Ecosystems
  • News

    Hidden compounds in many medications can trigger allergies

    For some patients, the so-called inactive ingredients in pills may be more active than previously thought.

    Every pill contains a pharmaceutical drug with some therapeutic effect on the body, as well as a mixture of inactive compounds added to boost the medication’s effectiveness or simply to make the pill more palatable. Inactive ingredients are generally considered harmless. But many...

    03/13/2019 - 14:00 Health
  • News

    The first male bees spotted babysitting are mostly stepdads

    Scientists have discovered the first case of male bees babysitting, and it turns out that these males often aren’t biological bee dads but hopeful stepdads of the youngsters. 

    Females of a small bluish-black Mediterranean bee (Ceratina nigrolabiata) dig out the pith of plant stems to make a nest, where a mom lays her eggs. Unlike honeybees, these are solitary bees with no colony of...

    03/11/2019 - 15:01 Animals, Evolution
  • Feature

    Nanosponges sop up toxins and help repair tissues

    To take his fledgling lab to new heights, Liangfang Zhang hatched a plan that he considered brilliant in its simplicity. It involved procedures that many of his peers found a little out there. But if he could make his idea work, it would clear a major hurdle to safely ferry therapies through the body on nanoparticles one-thousandth the width of a human hair.

    Yet back in 2010, the young...

    03/07/2019 - 07:00 Biomedicine, Technology
  • News in Brief

    FDA has approved the first ketamine-based antidepressant

    Doctors have a new weapon in the fight against particularly pernicious depression: a drug based on the powerful anesthetic ketamine.

    The drug — called Spravato and developed by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. — was approved on March 5 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a treatment for severely depressed people who haven’t responded to two courses of other treatments. The first...

    03/06/2019 - 16:02 Health, Neuroscience
  • News in Brief

    Tiny bits of iron may explain why some icebergs are green

    Scientists may have finally figured out why some icebergs are green. Iron oxides could create the emerald hue.

    Icebergs often appear mostly white because light bounces off air bubbles trapped inside the ice. But pure ice — ice without air bubbles that often forms on a berg’s underside — appears blue because it absorbs longer light wavelengths (warm colors like red and orange) and...

    03/06/2019 - 11:00 Oceans, Chemistry, Ecology
  • News

    Bears that eat ‘junk food’ may hibernate less and age faster

    Mama bears may need to raise their snouts and join the chorus protesting junk food.

    The more sugary, highly processed foods that 30 female black bears scrounged from humans, the less time the bears were likely to spend hibernating, researchers found. In turn, bears that hibernated less tended to score worse on a test for aging at the cellular level, wildlife ecologist Rebecca Kirby and...

    03/04/2019 - 06:00 Animals, Physiology, Cells
  • News

    Eating a lot of fiber could improve some cancer treatments

    What you eat can affect how well immune therapies work against cancer. High-fiber diets may change gut microbes and make these therapies more effective, but taking probiotics could do the opposite.

    Researchers looked at people with melanoma skin cancer who were getting a kind of immune therapy called PD-1 blockade or checkpoint inhibition (SN: 10/27/18, p. 16). Those who ate a high-fiber...

    03/01/2019 - 12:32 Microbiology, Cancer, Immune Science
  • News

    Sleeping in on the weekend can’t make up for lost sleep

    If the weekend is your time to catch up on sleep, you may want to rethink your strategy.

    In young adults, using the weekend to make up for lost sleep during the workweek can lead to increased late-night munchies, weight gain and a lowered responsiveness to insulin, researchers report February 28 in Current Biology. 

    “The take-home message is basically that you can’t make up for...

    03/01/2019 - 07:54 Health