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  • News

    Ebola vaccine protects people in West Africa

    The first large test of an Ebola vaccine in the field shows strong protection against the lethal virus. With the epidemic in West Africa now in retreat, the shot might hasten disease elimination in Guinea, which still has cases cropping up.

    “This is a huge advance in the Ebola field,” says Thomas Geisbert, an immunologist at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. “It’s been...

    07/31/2015 - 17:38 Clinical Trials, Biomedicine
  • Wild Things

    How bears engineer Japanese forests

    If you were to look up when walking through a forest in Japan, you might see “Kuma-dana,” or “bear shelves,” high in the trees. These patches of broken branches and dead leaves are created by Japanese black bears when they climb high to find fruit. That’s why climbing a tree...

    07/31/2015 - 13:00 Animals, Ecology
  • Science Ticker

    Kidney transplants may benefit from a slightly chilled donor

    Cooling an organ donor’s body after death might improve kidney function in transplant recipients.

    Scientists compared the function of kidneys from 150 organ donors whose bodies were cooled to between 34˚ and 35˚ Celsius (93.2˚ to 95˚ Fahrenheit), and those from 152 donors whose bodies were kept warm at between 36.5˚ and 37.5˚ C (97.7˚ to 99.5˚ F). Doctors kept the bodies at those...

    07/31/2015 - 11:35 Health
  • Growth Curve

    Antibiotics early in life may have lingering effects

    A few months back, two puffy, red eyes full of goop landed my toddler in the doctor’s office, where an exam also turned up two ear infections. This double-eye, double-ear whammy led to her first dose of antibiotics, post haste.

    I was tremendously thankful for something that might make her feel better. But as she began slurping down her bubble gum-flavored medicine after breakfast, I...

    07/31/2015 - 11:17 Microbes, Human Development, Health
  • Say What?

    The five basic tastes have sixth sibling: oleogustus

    /OH-lee-oh-GUHS-tuhs/ n.

    The taste of certain fats.

    Move over, umami. Fat is the newest member of the pantheon of basic tastes, joining salty, sweet, sour, bitter and savory, or umami.

    Researchers at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., conducted taste tests pitting a variety of fats against flavors in the other taste categories, such as monosodium...

    07/31/2015 - 06:00 Nutrition, Physiology
  • News in Brief

    Where salamanders should be very afraid

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    A salamander-killing fungus hitchhiking via the international live-animal trade may prove especially disastrous if it invades three regions of North America.  

    Biologists haven’t reported the deadly fungus, Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans, or Bsal, loose on the continent yet,...

    07/30/2015 - 14:27 Animals, Conservation, Fungi
  • News

    New results from Philae lander offer first close-up of a comet

    During its brief time awake on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, the Philae lander documented a diverse world. New analyses of lander data reveal the comet as uniform on the inside, but full of variety on the outside. Pebbles, boulders, cliffs and pits blanket the forbidding landscape. Complex organic molecules float above a surface that is as soft as sand in some places and as hard as rock in...

    07/30/2015 - 14:06 Planetary Science
  • News in Brief

    Robot springs off water

    Watch video

    New robotic insects can hop on water. Researchers from Harvard University and Seoul National University in South Korea studied live water striders, which can skate and leap on water, to design the robots. The bots weigh just 68 milligrams and have bodies that are 2 centimeters long and legs 5 centimeters long.

    Like real water striders, the robots...

    07/30/2015 - 14:00 Robotics, Technology
  • News

    Caterpillar treats and tricks ants by oozing spiked juice

    Beware the caterpillar offering a juicy treat. Sips tweak ant brain chemistry, lulling the insects into neglecting their own colony in favor of hanging around the source of the marvelous droplets.

    Effects on the brain help Narathura japonica caterpillars recruit a corps of ant bodyguards, says chemical ecologist Masaru K. Hojo of Kobe University in Japan. In lab tests, ants...

    07/30/2015 - 12:07 Animals, Neuroscience, Ecology
  • The Name Game

    Wolves in jackals’ clothing

    Some canids in Africa could bristle at being called jackals. Using DNA evidence, scientists have built a case that African golden jackals deserve a name change.

    Canids known as golden jackals (Canis aureus) roam Eurasia and Africa. The African and Eurasian animals closely resemble each other, but their looks are deceiving. The two are actually separate species, Klaus-Peter...

    07/30/2015 - 12:07 Genetics, Animals, Evolution