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  • Science Ticker

    How cells keep from popping

    Cells have a relief valve that keeps them from swelling so much that they burst.For the past 30 years, scientists have been trying to  pinpoint the molecule that controlled the valve. Now, a team says they have found the protein and gene, called SWELL1, which helps prevent cells from popping.The result, which appears April 10...
    04/11/2014 - 14:43 Cells, Genetics
  • Science Ticker

    Father’s obesity linked to autism in children

    A father-to-be’s weight may be a greater factor in his child’s risk of developing autism than the weight of the mother.A new study looked at more than 92,000 children and found that obesity — defined as a body mass index of 30 or greater — in the father was associated with an increased risk of autism and Asperger syndrome in his child. A mother’s obesity was only weakly associated with risk for...
    04/07/2014 - 15:05 Human Development, Health, Neuroscience
  • Wild Things

    Young vervet monkeys look to mom when learning

    Vervet monkeys can learn from each other. Last year, Science News reported, scientists showed that young male monkeys are capable of social learning: When they leave the group in which they were born and join a new group, they can...
    04/04/2014 - 10:01 Animals
  • Growth Curve

    Autism spike may reflect better diagnoses, and that's a good thing

    Ever-increasing numbers of autism diagnoses have parents worried about a skyrocketing epidemic, and this week’s news may only drive alarm higher. Perhaps it shouldn’t.In 2010, 1 in 68 (or 14.7 per 1,000) 8-year-olds had an autism spectrum disorder, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now estimates...
    03/28/2014 - 14:10 Neuroscience, Health
  • Gory Details

    Your fear is written all over your face, in heat

    What gets us hot can be so revealing. For me, the slightest anxiety or excitement can trigger a warm spread across my face. I can feel the blood rushing up my neck and into the thousands of tiny capillaries across my cheeks. I’ve worn scarves or turtlenecks to job interviews, weather be damned, to keep my burning red neck from betraying my nerves.And the opposite can be true. Have you ever seen...
    03/26/2014 - 18:09 Psychology
  • Wild Things

    Mama frog’s care includes a gift of poison

    Strawberry poison frogs (Oophaga pumilio) don't create their own poison. The Central American frogs sequester the alkaloid chemicals from the mites, ants and other arthropods they eat and store it in glands on their skin. Predators that ignore the bright red “don't eat me” warning pigmentation get a nasty surprise — a...
    03/24/2014 - 11:30 Animals
  • News

    Gravitational waves unmask universe just after Big Bang

    Astronomers have detected the earliest echoes of the Big Bang, confirming a decades-old hypothesis that describes the universe’s ultrafast expansion during its first moments. The findings provide researchers with the first direct measurement of conditions at nearly the instant that cosmic expansion began, and may have far-reaching implications for physicists’ understanding of general relativity,...
    03/17/2014 - 18:23 Cosmology, Astronomy
  • Science Ticker

    Mercury is more shriveled than originally thought

    Guest post by Christopher CrockettLike a week-old party balloon, Mercury has shrunk over the last 4.6 billion years. And a vastly improved atlas of the scorched planet, courtesy of the MESSENGER spacecraft, shows it’s shriveled more than previously thought. The closest planet to the sun has tightened its belt by about seven...
    03/16/2014 - 14:00 Planetary Science
  • Gory Details

    Attractiveness studies are hot, or not

    Good-looking people seem to get all the breaks. They have the leg up on getting a date, a job, a leading role. You’d think that would be enough, but no. We, the public at large, apparently want to give them more.We want to bestow the attractive with all kinds of special powers. Take a couple of recent media reports on new studies. “Slim, Attractive Men Less Likely to Have Bacteria in Their Noses...
    03/13/2014 - 15:30 Psychology, Health
  • Wild Things

    Amphibian diseases flow through animal trade

    Disease isn’t the biggest killer of amphibians — that would be habitat loss — but it can be the quickest. And the chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) in particular has been a huge worry for scientists and anyone else who cares about the world’s frogs, toads, salamanders and newts. The disease spreads through water and skin contact (mating, for instance, can be dangerous),...
    03/13/2014 - 12:54 Animals, Conservation