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  • Growth Curve

    Though complex, new peanut allergy guidelines are based on science

    Six hours before I gave birth to my son, our labor and delivery nurse started choking.

    The cause, we later discovered, was a jar of peanuts that my unsuspecting husband had cracked open for a snack. Our fast-acting (and highly allergic) nurse rushed out of the room and made it to her EpiPen in time. She was OK, to our immense relief, and we managed to not endanger anyone else’s life that...

    01/13/2017 - 13:29 Health
  • News

    It takes guts for a sea spider to pump blood

    NEW ORLEANS — A newfound way of delivering oxygen in animal circulatory systems depends mostly on food sloshing back and forth in the guts.

    This discovery came in sea spiders, or pycnogonids, which can look like legs in search of a body. Their spookily long legs hold stretches of digestive tract, which wouldn’t fit inside the creatures’ scrap of an abdomen. Waves of contraction sweeping...

    01/11/2017 - 16:46 Animals, Physiology
  • Reviews & Previews

    ‘Furry Logic’ showcases how animals exploit physics

    Furry LogicMatin Durrani and Liz KalaugherBloomsbury, $27

    Warning: Furry Logic is not, as the title might suggest, a detailed exploration of mammals’ reasoning skills. Instead, it’s a fun, informative chronicle of how myriad animals take advantage of the laws of physics.

    Science writers Matin Durrani and Liz Kalaugher cite a trove of recent (and often surprising) research findings...

    01/07/2017 - 08:00 Animals, Biophysics
  • Science Ticker

    Baby starfish whip up whirlpools to snag a meal

    A baby starfish scoops up snacks by spinning miniature whirlpools. These vortices catch tasty algae and draw them close so the larva can slurp them up, scientists from Stanford University report December 19 in Nature Physics.

    Before starfish take on their familiar shape, they freely swim ocean waters as millimeter-sized larvae. To swim around on the hunt for food, the larvae paddle the...

    12/23/2016 - 12:00 Biophysics
  • News

    Long-ignored, high-flying arthropods could make up largest land migrations

    Forget honking Vs of geese or gathering herds of wildebeests. The biggest yearly mass movements of land animals may be the largely overlooked flights of aphids, moths, beetles, flies, spiders and their kin.

    About 3.5 trillion arthropods fly or windsurf over the southern United Kingdom annually, researchers say after analyzing a decade of data from special entomological radar and net...

    12/22/2016 - 14:46 Ecology, Animals
  • Feature

    The Flint water crisis and other public health woes from 2016

    Drug use continued to threaten the health and safety of the American public in 2016, while a hidden menace in drinking water remained a major worry for the people of Flint, Mich.

    Teen vaping

    Vaping has surpassed cigarette smoking among U.S. high school students, according to a report released in 2016 from the National Youth Tobacco Survey. Estimates suggest that some 2.39 million U.S....

    12/20/2016 - 13:00 Health, Science & Society
  • News

    Monkeys have vocal tools, but not brains, to talk like humans

    Macaque monkeys would be quite talkative if only their brains cooperated with their airways, a new study suggests.

    These primates possess the vocal equipment to speak much as people do, say evolutionary biologist and cognitive scientist W. Tecumseh Fitch of the University of Vienna and colleagues. But macaques lack brains capable of transforming that vocal potential into human talk. As a...

    12/19/2016 - 07:00 Anthropology, Language, Human Evolution
  • News

    Cells snack on nanowires

    Human cells can snack on silicon.

    Cells grown in the lab devour nano-sized wires of silicon through an engulfing process known as phagocytosis, scientists report December 16 in Science Advances.

    Silicon-infused cells could merge electronics with biology, says John Zimmerman, a biophysicist now at Harvard University. “It’s still very early days,” he adds, but “the idea is to get...

    12/16/2016 - 14:00 Technology, Cells
  • Feature

    Year in review: ‘Three-parent baby’ technique raises hope and concern

    A “three-parent baby” was born in April, the world’s first reported birth from a controversial technique designed to prevent mitochondrial diseases from passing from mother to child.

    “As far as we can tell, the baby is normal and free of disease,” says Andrew R. La Barbera, chief scientific officer of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. “This demonstrates that, in point of...

    12/14/2016 - 07:39 Genetics, Science & Society, Biomedicine
  • Essay

    The fight against infectious diseases is still an uphill battle

    It was barely more than half a century ago that the Nobel Prize–winning virologist Sir Frank Macfarlane Burnet mused about the demise of contagions. “To write about infectious disease,” he wrote in 1962, “is almost to write of something that has passed into history.”

    If only. In the past several decades, over 300 infectious pathogens have either newly emerged or emerged in new places,...

    12/14/2016 - 05:30 Health, Microbiology, Science & Society