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  • News

    Brain cells predict opponent’s move in game-playing monkeys

    Newly discovered brain cells in monkeys can predict another monkey’s actions in a cooperation game. If such brain cells also exist in humans, they may be important in social interactions that require calculating another person’s intentions.The brain cells were found in rhesus macaques playing a video game called the prisoner’s dilemma. The cells keep track of how other monkeys behaved in previous...
    03/03/2015 - 08:00 Neuroscience
  • Science Ticker

    Despite risks, vaccine delay requests are common

    Nearly all pediatricians and family physicians have encountered parents who want to delay their infants’ vaccinations, a study published March 2 in Pediatrics suggests.  A national survey of 534 doctors showed that in a typical month, 93 percent of doctors have interacted with parents who...
    03/02/2015 - 16:47 Health
  • Science Ticker

    Plant growth patterns changing on much of Earth’s surface

    Patterns in when and how much plants grow have changed markedly over the past 30 years, scientists report March 2 in Nature Climate Change.Researchers looked at satellite data of vegetation on the Earth’s surface from 1981 to 2012. They examined 21 markers of plant growth, including the dates when plants start sprouting and losing...
    03/02/2015 - 15:40 Plants, Climate
  • News

    Tropical plant knows whose bill is in its flowers

    Some plants crave a long bird bill. One tropical plant can even recognize which kind of hummingbird is slurping its nectar by the shape of its bill, scientists report online March 2 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.In Heliconia tortuosa, long-billed hummingbirds can reach in and guzzle more...
    03/02/2015 - 15:00 Plants, Animals, Ecology
  • News

    Trying to get the down-low on gravity

    A subtle attraction between metallic strips could reveal the theorized but never detected particles that impart gravity.An experiment proposed in a Feb. 27 Physical Review Letters paper would explore whether fleeting waves of gravity in a vacuum perceptibly nudge two lead plates together. Detecting this attractive force,...
    03/02/2015 - 14:45 Quantum Physics, Cosmology
  • News in Brief

    Secondhand smoke exposure in womb linked to eczema in childhood

    HOUSTON — Children born to mothers who were exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke during pregnancy face an elevated risk of eczema and other skin problems in childhood.Elementary school children exposed to smoke in the womb were 50 percent more likely to have any history of atopic dermatitis than unexposed kids, scientists in South Korea found using blood tests and questionnaires about prenatal...
    03/01/2015 - 08:00 Health, Immune Science, Human Development
  • News in Brief

    Iron nanoparticles snatch uranium

    Using wee balls of iron, scientists can catch radioactive fuel — hook, line and sinker.In liquid, iron nanoparticles quickly lure and encase uranium, which researchers can then reel in with a simple magnet. The method, reported online February 17 in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, could be used to sop up radioactive spills...
    02/27/2015 - 16:07 Chemistry
  • News in Brief

    Breast-feeding newborns might limit their allergy to pets later

    HOUSTON — Early breast-feeding accompanies a lower risk of pet allergy, possibly because of the way breast milk steers the composition of an infant’s gut microbe mix.Scientists find that formula-fed newborns have a kind of gut bacterium at levels typically not seen until later in babyhood. These kids also had more signs of pet allergy years later than did breast-fed children, researchers...
    02/27/2015 - 15:26 Human Development, Health, Immune Science
  • Wild Things

    Delicate spider takes down tough prey by attacking weak spots

    Like a miniature martial artist, the Loxosceles gaucho recluse spider can sneak up on a heavily armored harvestman (a type of arachnid), identify its weak spots and quickly disable its meal, a new study reveals.This species of recluse spider lives in and around Sao...
    02/27/2015 - 15:05 Animals
  • News

    Planet collisions may have rearranged crowded solar systems

    Sibling rivalries among planets can turn deadly. Families of worlds huddled close to their stars might destroy one another, leaving behind just one or two planets after the carnage. These family feuds probably erupt in planetary systems that form much differently than our own, though it’s possible our solar system suffered similar growing pains.Many multiplanet systems discovered by the Kepler...
    02/27/2015 - 12:39 Exoplanets, Astronomy