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E.g., 04/01/2015
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  • News in Brief

    A more accurate prenatal test to predict Down syndrome

    A prenatal test that examines a baby’s DNA in a sample of the mother’s blood is much more accurate for detecting Down syndrome for most women than standard screening methods are.

    In a study of 15,841 pregnant women, babies identified by the DNA test as having an extra copy of chromosome 21 had an 80.9 percent chance of actually having Down syndrome. In comparison, only 3.4 percent of...

    04/01/2015 - 17:00 Health, Biomedicine, Genetics
  • News in Brief

    Kennewick Man’s bones reveal his diet

    ST. LOUIS — Kennewick Man almost exclusively ate seafood despite having access to abundant land animals, a new study finds.

    This ancient North American’s 9,000-year-old skeleton was found in Washington state in 1996.

    Proportions of certain forms of carbon and nitrogen in Kennewick Man’s bones denote a diet dominated by seafood, geochemist Henry Schwarcz of McMaster University in...

    04/01/2015 - 15:00 Anthropology, Chemistry
  • News

    Injured baby hearts may be coaxed to regenerate

    An injectable protein might rejuvenate cell growth in infants’ hearts after cardiac surgery. Experiments on mice and on heart cells obtained from infants born with congenital heart disease suggest that neuregulin 1, a human growth factor, can put infant heart cells on a path that mimics normal growth rather than stalling out. The...

    04/01/2015 - 14:00 Biomedicine, Health, Human Development
  • News in Brief

    Older moms may have options to reduce newborns’ risks

    Older women who get pregnant face a heightened risk of having a baby with congenital heart defects. But exercise might lower that risk, a study in mice shows.

    Researchers designed an experiment to determine what underlies the age-related risk: the age of the mother or the aging eggs she carried. The researchers transplanted ovaries reciprocally between old and young female mice. When the...

    04/01/2015 - 13:01 Biomedicine, Health
  • Science Ticker

    Exoskeleton boot makes for more efficient walking

    Some boots are made for walking, and some are made for walking more efficiently.

    Scientists have developed an unpowered exoskeleton "boot" that reduces the amount of energy spent while walking by about 7 percent. The boot has a passive clutch that activates a spring in parallel with the Achilles tendon when the foot is on the ground. That offloads the effort of the calf muscles, making...

    04/01/2015 - 13:00 Technology, Health
  • News

    ‘Little Foot’ pushes back age of earliest South African hominids

    Lucy’s species, an East African hominid line called Australopithecus afarensis, had a South African counterpart, a new study finds.

    A nearly complete fossil skeleton from South Africa’s Sterkfontein Caves dates to 3.67 million years ago, making it roughly 1 million years older than any other South African hominid, say geochemist Darryl Granger of Purdue University in West...

    04/01/2015 - 13:00 Anthropology, Archaeology
  • Wild Things

    How human activities may be creating coywolves

    No one knows for sure exactly how far the range of the red wolf (Canis rufus) might have extended. By the time anyone started wondering, their numbers had severely dwindled, a result of antipredator control programs, habitat destruction and matings with coyotes (C. latrans). By 1980, the wolves were declared extinct...

    04/01/2015 - 08:00 Animals, Conservation
  • Science Ticker

    Songbird crosses the Atlantic in a nonstop flight

    Every autumn, the blackpoll warbler (Setophaga striata) flies nonstop from Canada or New England south across the Atlantic Ocean and lands on the northern coast of South America three days later. In that time, the 12-gram birds travel 2,270 to 2,770 kilometers, and theirs is one of the longest transoceanic flights recorded in a songbird,  researchers ...

    03/31/2015 - 19:05 Animals
  • News

    Plate loss gave chain of Pacific islands and seamounts a bend

    The disappearance of a tectonic plate into Earth’s interior may be responsible for the distinctive bend in the chain of underwater mountains and islands that includes the Hawaiian archipelago.

    A reconstruction of the mantle flowing under the Pacific Ocean about 50 million years ago suggests that the submergence of the Izanagi Plate near East Asia reversed the flow’s direction. This...

    03/31/2015 - 14:14 Earth
  • News

    Ancient hominids moved into Greece about 206,000 years ago

    ST. LOUIS — Greece has long been known as a bastion of research into a civilization that gave birth to democracy 2,500 years ago. Now, the country appears poised to become a key player in the study of European Neandertals and ancient human groups that entered Southeast Europe from Homo sapiens’ African birthplace.

    New geological evidence from a Greek archaeological site...

    03/31/2015 - 12:00 Anthropology