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  • News in Brief

    Excavations show hunter-gatherers lived in the Amazon more than 10,000 years ago

    Hunter-gatherers occupied the southwestern Amazon rainforest by around 10,600 years ago — at least several thousand years earlier than previously thought.

    Excavated food remains and human burials at several locations in Bolivia support a scenario in which hunter-gatherers regularly occupied those spots for large parts of the year. The unearthed evidence also indicates that the hunter-...

    04/24/2019 - 14:00 Archaeology
  • News

    The herbal supplement kratom comes with risks

    Kratom, an herbal supplement available at vape shops and online stores, has been linked to 91 deaths over 18 months from July 2016 to December 2017, according to a report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Those deaths made up less than 1 percent of the 27,338 overdose fatalities analyzed for the report, released online on April 12. Although small, the numbers point to...

    04/19/2019 - 06:00 Neuroscience, Health
  • News

    Dead pig brains bathed in artificial fluid showed signs of cellular life

    Scientists have restored cellular activity to pig brains hours after the animals’ death — an unprecedented feat. This revival, achieved with a sophisticated system of artificial fluid, took place four hours after the pigs’ demise at a slaughterhouse.

    “This is a huge breakthrough,” says ethicist and legal scholar Nita Farahany of Duke University, who wasn’t involved in the research. “It...

    04/17/2019 - 13:15 Neuroscience, Health
  • News in Brief

    ‘Added sugar’ food labels may prevent heart disease and diabetes

    Nutrition label changes aimed at curbing America’s sweet tooth could have a sizable payoff for public health.

    A new study projects that the updated labels, which detail the amount of sugar added to a food or drink, could help the average U.S. adult cut sugar consumption by around half a teaspoon a day. If that happens, the labeling change could prevent around 350,000 cases of...

    04/16/2019 - 14:00 Health
  • Reviews & Previews

    ‘Cities’ reveals common ground between ancient and modern urban life

    CitiesMonica L. SmithViking, $30

    Ancient Rome’s Monte Testaccio and modern Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market reveal a lot about the nature of cities. Monte Testaccio is a hill made of broken pottery in the middle of Rome. Around 2,000 years ago, people tossed empty wine and olive oil vessels onto what was then a garbage heap. Tokyo’s vast seafood emporium, also known as Toyosu Market,...

    04/16/2019 - 05:00 Archaeology, Anthropology
  • 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
  • Feature

    Climate change made the Arctic greener. Now parts of it are turning brown.

    The Chugach people of southern Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula have picked berries for generations. Tart blueberries and sweet, raspberry-like salmonberries — an Alaska favorite — are baked into pies and boiled into jams. But in the summer of 2009, the bushes stayed brown and the berries never came. 

    For three more years, harvests failed. “It hit the communities very hard,” says Nathan Lojewski...

    04/11/2019 - 07:00 Climate, Ecosystems, Plants
  • 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

    Cats recognize their own names

    Whether practical, dramatical or pragmatical, domestic cats appear to recognize the familiar sound of their own names and can distinguish them from other words, researchers report April 4 in Scientific Reports.

    While dog responses to human behavior and speech have received much attention (SN: 10/1/16, p. 11), researchers are just scratching the surface of human-cat interactions. Research...

    04/04/2019 - 09:00 Animals
  • Editor's Note

    The science of CBD lags behind its marketing

    Treatments for pain and other common health problems often fall short, leading to untold misery and frustration. So it’s not hard to understand the lure of a treatment that promises to be benign, natural and good for just about everything that ails you. Enter cannabidiol, or CBD.

    So far, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved only one drug containing the chemical: a...

    03/27/2019 - 07:15 Science & Society, Neuroscience, Nutrition