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  • News

    Common fungus may raise asthma risk

    BOSTON — A fungus among us may tip the body toward developing asthma.

    There’s mounting evidence that early exposure to microbes can protect against allergies and asthma (SN Online: 7/20/16). But “lo and behold, some fungi seem to put kids at risk for asthma,” microbiologist Brett Finlay said February 17 at a news conference during the annual meeting of the American Association for the...

    02/17/2017 - 17:57 Health, Immune Science, Human Development
  • News

    Seagrasses boost ecosystem health by fighting bad bacteria

    BOSTON — For a lawn that helps the environment — and doesn’t need to be mowed — look to the ocean. Meadows of underwater seagrass plants might lower levels of harmful bacteria in nearby ocean waters, researchers reported February 16 during a news conference at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. That could make the whole ecosystem — from corals to...

    02/16/2017 - 14:00 Ecosystems, Oceans
  • News

    Gastric bypass controls diabetes long term better than other methods

    People who undergo gastric bypass surgery are more likely to experience a remission of their diabetes than patients who receive a gastric sleeve or intensive management of diet and exercise, according to a new study. Bypass surgery had already shown better results for diabetes than other weight-loss methods in the short term, but the new research followed patients for five years.  

    “We...

    02/15/2017 - 17:06 Biomedicine, Health
  • News

    Human gene editing therapies are OK in certain cases, panel advises

    Human gene editing to prevent genetic diseases from being passed to future generations may be permissible under certain conditions, a panel of experts says.

    Altering DNA in germline cells — embryos, eggs, and sperm, or cells that give rise to them — may be used to cure genetic diseases for future generations, provided it is done only to correct disease or disability, not to enhance...

    02/14/2017 - 16:38 Genetics, Science & Society
  • Wild Things

    The animal guide to finding love

    Are you feeling the pressure of Valentine’s Day and in need of advice on how to find someone special? The animal world has some advice for you.

    Make sure you look nice.

    There’s no need to go for an entire makeover, but looking your best is usually a good idea when on the search for a partner. Male black-and-white snub-nosed monkeys appear to have taken a lesson from Revlon — they go for...

    02/14/2017 - 06:00 Animals
  • News in Brief

    Cold plasma puts the chill on norovirus

    WASHINGTON — A nasty stomach virus that can linger on fruits and veggies may have met its match in cold plasma.

    In experiments, the ionized gas, created by filtering room-temperature air through an electric field, virtually eliminated norovirus from lettuce, researchers reported February 7 at the American Society for Microbiology Biothreats meeting.

     Norovirus is the leading cause...

    02/10/2017 - 07:00 Health, Microbiology
  • News

    Malaria molecule makes blood extra-alluring to mosquitoes

    Malaria parasites seduce mosquitoes on the sly.

    Plasmodium falciparum parasites produce a molecule that makes parasite-infected blood more attractive to malaria-transmitting mosquitoes, researchers report online February 9 in Science. The insects slurp up this enticing meal, helping the parasite spread to new hosts.

    “It’s a really intriguing glimpse into how Plasmodium might have...

    02/09/2017 - 14:00 Immune Science
  • News

    Young penguins follow false food cues

    African penguins have used biological cues in the ocean for centuries to find their favorite fish. Now these cues are trapping juvenile penguins in areas with hardly any food, scientists report February 9 in Current Biology.

    It’s the first known ocean “ecological trap,” which occurs when a once-reliable environmental cue instead, often because of human interference, prompts an animal to...

    02/09/2017 - 12:00 Animals, Ecosystems
  • Reviews & Previews

    Mysteries of time still stump scientists

    Why Time FliesAlan BurdickSimon & Schuster, $28

    The topic of time is both excruciatingly complicated and slippery. The combination makes it easy to get bogged down. But instead of an exhaustive review, journalist Alan Burdick lets curiosity be his guide in Why Time Flies, an approach that leads to a light yet supremely satisfying story about time as it runs through — and is perceived...

    02/08/2017 - 07:00 Neuroscience, Psychology
  • Reviews & Previews

    ‘Cannibalism’ chronicles grisly science of eating your own

    CannibalismBill SchuttAlgonquin Books, $26.95

    Until recently, researchers thought cannibalism took place only among a few species in the animal kingdom and only under extraordinary circumstances. But as zoologist Bill Schutt chronicles in Cannibalism, plenty of creatures inhabit their own version of a dog-eat-dog world.

    Over the last few decades, scientists have observed...

    02/05/2017 - 08:00 Animals, Anthropology