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  • News

    Mystery toxins in tainted New Zealand honey nabbed

    In a sticky sting operation, researchers may have nabbed the last toxic members of a honey-tainting ring in New Zealand.

    Cloaked in sugars, two forms of tutin — a potent neurotoxin that can cause delirium and seizures — have been found lurking in poisoned honey, researchers report online May 21 in the Journal of...

    06/01/2015 - 07:45 Toxicology, Chemistry
  • Feature

    Quantum chemistry may be a shortcut to life-changing compounds

    When Alán Aspuru-Guzik was in college, he really got into SETI@home, the project that uses home computers to speed the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. He was less interested in finding aliens in outer space, however, than in using fleets of computers to search molecular space. He wanted to find chemical compounds that could do intelligent things here on Earth.


    05/29/2015 - 12:00 Chemistry, Computing
  • Scicurious

    Diet and nutrition is more complex than a simple sugar

    When it comes to studying the vast complexity of the food we eat, it helps to simplify. Test one nutrient or variable at a time to find out how each functions. Compare one part of a sugar molecule against another. These studies can tell us a great deal about how specific nutrients are processed in the body, and how they affect our health, our waistlines and even our behavior.

    But one...

    05/26/2015 - 16:04 Neuroscience
  • Wild Things

    Rising temperatures may cause problems for cold-blooded critters

    Last year in the pages of Science News, I tried to answer a question: Will the world’s plants, animals and other organisms be able to adapt to climate change? There wasn’t an easy answer to that question, in part because the effects of climate change are varied (they include rising...

    05/20/2015 - 15:00 Animals, Climate
  • Science Ticker

    Crows safeguard sticks to speed future food-finding forays

    New Caledonian crows are protective of their tools. The birds safeguard the sticks they use to find food and become even more careful with the tools as the cost of losing them goes up.

    Researchers videotaped captive and wild Corvus moneduloides crows and tracked what the birds did with their sticks. In between eating, the birds tucked the tools under their toes or left them in...

    05/20/2015 - 08:00 Animals
  • News

    Snagging blood clots upgrades stroke care

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    Taking a cue from cardiology, doctors have begun treating strokes caused by blood clots in the brain by the most direct route imaginable — approaching the blockage from inside the artery.

    The concept is well-tested. Obstructed heart vessels are routinely opened with balloon-tipped catheters threaded up to the blockage. Attempts to clear...

    05/19/2015 - 15:10 Health, Clinical Trials
  • How Bizarre

    Pandas’ gut bacteria resemble carnivores’

    A giant panda may look like a teddy bear, but it’s got the guts of a grizzly.

    Microbes living in the bamboo lovers’ intestines match those of meat eaters, researchers report May 19 in mBio. Panda poop lacks the useful plant-digesting bacteria typically found in the feces of other herbivores, an analysis of 45 giant pandas...

    05/19/2015 - 09:00 Animals, Microbes, Health
  • Feature

    Typical American diet can damage immune system

    Blair River was described as “a big guy with a big heart.” The 575-pound former high school wrestler from Mesa, Ariz., became such a fixture at the Heart Attack Grill that he was recruited to be the restaurant’s official spokesperson. His satirical ads made him a minor celebrity in central Arizona.  He died in 2011 at age 29 — not because of his heart but from complications of influenza.

    05/18/2015 - 13:00 Microbiology, Nutrition
  • Wild Things

    A summer challenge: Observe nature

    One morning in early April in St. Augustine, Fla., I went for a walk. My goal had been the beach, but I never made it that far. Near the house where I was staying, I passed a mudflat along the Mantanzas River, and I noticed the ground moving. But it wasn’t really the ground — there were thousands of tiny fiddler crabs dancing about in the sun. As I approached the crabs, they scuttled into...

    05/15/2015 - 12:08 Animals, Plants
  • News

    Fruit flies flee from shadows

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    The shadow of a predator overhead sends fruit flies into a tizzy. In response to an aerial threat, flies exhibit behaviors that echo the human state of fear, scientists report in the June 1 Current Biology.

    Finding signs of a fearlike state in the fruit fly Drosophila...

    05/14/2015 - 12:00 Neuroscience, Animals