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  • News

    E. coli evade detection by going dormant

    Researchers think they now know why a particularly virulent form of E. coli that swept through northern Germany last May was so hard to trace: The germs responsible eluded detection by going into a self-induced deep sleep.

    Two new studies show that when stressed, E. coli can turn off most signs of life. That’s a problem for food-safety officials because their germ-screening...

    12/06/2011 - 11:04 Nutrition, Earth & Environment
  • Math Trek

    Winning the World Series with math

    To run the bases faster, baseball players just need a bit of mathematics, according to research by an undergraduate math major and his professors. Their calculations show that the optimal path around the bases is one that perhaps no major-league ball player has ever run: It swings out a full 18.5 feet from the baseline.

    The precise path the researchers calculated probably won’t...

    10/22/2010 - 15:10
  • Science & the Public

    How resveratrol (in grapes, peanuts and wine) fights fat and disease

    Resveratrol, a constituent of grapes, peanuts and certain other plants, can fight the proliferation of fat cells and improve the uptake of sugar from the blood, a pair of new studies show. Their findings suggest mechanisms to explain why grape products, including wine, have developed a reputation as heart healthy, obesity-fighting and beneficial for people developing diabetes.

    The...

    06/23/2010 - 22:21 Biomedicine, Nutrition, Humans & Society
  • Feature

    Nurturing Our Microbes

    Each of us is a metropolis. Bustling about in everyone's body are tens of trillions of microbes. Some are descended from starter populations provided by mom during birth. Additional bacteria, yeasts, and other life forms hitchhike in with foods. By age 3, everyone's gut hosts a fairly stable, yet diverse, ecosystem.

    Most of the tiny stowaways hide out in the...

    02/26/2008 - 12:45 Biomedicine
  • Food for Thought

    It's Spud Time

    As 2007 winds down, thoughts naturally turn towards what might lie ahead. Meals rich in high-carb tubers, perhaps? That's what the United Nations would like everyone to contemplate throughout 2008, which it is designating the International Year of the Potato.

    Farmers now harvest more than 300 million tons of potatoes (Solanum tuberosum) worldwide. That makes it the fourth biggest food...

    12/18/2007 - 18:43 Nutrition
  • Food for Thought

    No Peanuts for Your Peanut

    Peanuts are a protein-rich snack food packing plenty of vitamins and trace nutrients. However, these legumes can elicit potentially life-threatening immune reactions within the one in 100 American adults who are allergic to them. Rates of peanut allergy are even higher among children. And the really disturbing news: A new study finds that the age at which this common food allergy first shows...

    12/11/2007 - 08:49 Nutrition
  • Feature

    Lettuce Liability

    Little more than a year ago, supermarkets from coast to coast stripped fresh spinach from produce aisles as a food-poisoning outbreak swept the nation. From mid-August through September 2006, virulent bacterial infections sickened at least 204 spinach consumers. Five died and 30 others suffered acute kidney failure.

    Among more than 3,500 genetically unique...

    12/03/2007 - 19:41 Agriculture
  • Feature

    Back from the Dead?

    In December 1938, Marjorie Courtney-Latimer, curator of a natural history museum in East London, South Africa, went to the docks to look for interesting specimens among the day's catch. What she found one day she later described as "the most beautiful fish I had ever seen ... a pale mauve blue with iridescent silver markings." The discovery sent scientists into a frenzy.

    ...

    11/13/2007 - 11:15 Paleontology
  • Feature

    What Goes Up

    Jeffrey S. Gaffney, a sunburn-prone atmospheric scientist, set off one morning in March 2006 for a day of field work in Mexico City—without his hat and sunscreen. At Mexico City's altitude, 2,240 meters above sea level, sunlight beating down through the thin air delivers as much as 30 percent more ultraviolet radiation than reaches coastal regions. "I thought I'd be fried at the end of the...

    09/05/2007 - 10:13 Earth & Environment
  • News

    Gene dispensers

    From Chicago, at the American Chemical Society Meeting

    Researchers have developed a new means for transferring genes to treat diseases. The gene therapy method relies on a nanoscale architecture with many alternating layers of polyester and DNA. Once this material is inside the body, water degrades the polyester layer by layer, for a slow, controlled release of genetic material to...

    04/10/2007 - 15:16 Chemistry