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  • News

    Babies born in opioid withdrawal have unusually small heads

    Babies born dependent on opioids have smaller heads than babies not exposed to the drugs in the womb.

    The finding, published online December 10 in Pediatrics, raises concerns that the drugs are impairing brain growth during development. And it highlights questions about the safest approach to managing opioid addiction during pregnancy, researchers say.

    Pregnant women who use...

    12/12/2018 - 15:25 Health
  • News

    Speeding up evolution to create useful proteins wins the chemistry Nobel

    Techniques that put natural evolution on fast-forward to build new proteins in the lab have earned three scientists this year’s Nobel Prize in chemistry.

    Frances Arnold of Caltech won for her method of creating customized enzymes for biofuels, environmentally friendly detergents and other products. She becomes the fifth woman to win the Nobel Prize in chemistry since it was first awarded...

    10/03/2018 - 18:46 Chemistry, Microbiology
  • News

    Sea level rise doesn’t necessarily spell doom for coastal wetlands

    Rising sea levels don’t have to spell doom for the world’s coastal wetlands. A new study suggests salt marshes and other wetlands could accumulate soil quickly enough to avoid becoming fully submerged — if humans are willing to give them a little elbow room.

    The new study builds on previous work that suggests rising seas will increase sediment buildup in some parts of coastal wetlands....

    09/12/2018 - 14:06 Earth, Climate
  • Wild Things

    A gentoo penguin’s dinner knows how to fight back

    In a fight between a pipsqueak and a giant, the giant should always win, right?

    Well, a battle between an underwater David and Goliath has revealed that sometimes the little guy can come out on top. He just needs the right armaments. The David in this case is the lobster krill. And instead of a slingshot, it’s armed with sharp pincers that can sometimes fight off a Goliath: the gentoo...

    09/04/2018 - 14:12 Animals, Ecology, Oceans
  • Feature

    How to make CAR-T cell therapies for cancer safer and more effective

    This wasn’t 15-year-old Connor McMahon’s first time in the hospital. But the 107° fever he’d been running for three days had his dad frightened. The teen was hallucinating, talking gibberish and spouting curses.

    “I thought he was going to die,” says Connor’s father, Don McMahon, who stayed close as his son received and recovered from an experimental treatment for leukemia. “It was really...

    06/27/2018 - 09:00 Cancer, Health, Clinical Trials
  • News

    This volcano revealed its unique ‘voice’ after an eruption

    Ecuador’s Cotopaxi volcano has a deep and distinct voice. Between late 2015 and early 2016, Cotopaxi repeated an unusual pattern of low-frequency sounds that researchers now say is linked to the unique geometry of the interior of its crater. Identifying the distinct “voiceprint” of various volcanoes could help scientists better anticipate changes within the craters, including those that...

    06/25/2018 - 07:00 Earth
  • News

    In a conservation catch-22, efforts to save quolls might endanger them

    Conservationists are stuck in a catch-22: In trying to save some species, the would-be protectors may be giving the animals an evolutionary disadvantage. A new study describes how efforts to protect the endangered northern quoll, a spotted, kitten-sized marsupial native to Australia, by placing a population on a threat-free island may have actually undermined a key survival instinct.

    ...

    06/07/2018 - 12:33 Animals, Conservation, Ecology, Evolution
  • Exhibit

    ‘Outbreak’ puts the life cycle of an epidemic on display

    In 1918, a pandemic of Spanish flu killed as much as 5 percent of the world’s population. A hundred years later, scientists know much more about how to prevent and treat such diseases. But in some ways, the threat of a global outbreak is greater than ever. All it takes is one plane ride for a few localized cases of a disease to become an epidemic.

    A new exhibit at the Smithsonian...

    06/04/2018 - 07:00 Health, Microbes, Animals
  • News

    Mysterious neutrino surplus hints at the existence of new particles

    Pip-squeak particles called neutrinos are dishing out more than scientists had bargained for.

    A particle detector has spotted a puzzling abundance of the lightweight subatomic particles and their antimatter partners, antineutrinos, physicists report May 30 at arXiv.org. The finding mirrors a neutrino excess found more than two decades ago. And that match has researchers wondering if a...

    06/01/2018 - 15:45 Particle Physics
  • Feature

    Are we ready for the deadly heat waves of the future?

    Some victims were found at home. An 84-year-old woman who’d spent over half her life in the same Sacramento, Calif., apartment died near her front door, gripping her keys. A World War II veteran succumbed in his bedroom. Many died outside, including a hiker who perished on the Pacific Crest Trail, his water bottles empty.

    The killer? Heat. Hundreds of others lost their lives when a...

    04/03/2018 - 15:00 Health, Climate