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  • Feature

    Big Fishing Yields Small Fish

    Sharks, billfish, cod, tuna and other fish-eating fish — the sea’s equivalents to lions on the Serengeti — dominated the marine world as recently as four decades ago. They culled sick, lame and old animals and kept populations of marine herbivores in check, preventing marine analogs of antelopes from overgrazing their environment.

    But the reign of large predators now...

    03/25/2011 - 11:51
  • 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
  • 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
  • News

    Salmonella seeks sweets

    Salmonella enterica, a major food-poisoning germ, can enter the tissues of fresh lettuce where no amount of surface washing will evict it. The scientists who reported that finding earlier this year now think that they've gotten to the root of the issue.

    To model salmonella soil contamination from livestock wastes, the researchers seeded sterile manure with one of three toxic strains of...

    11/07/2007 - 10:28 Nutrition
  • Food for Thought

    Troubling Meaty 'Estrogen'

    Women take note. Researchers find that a chemical that forms in overcooked meat, especially charred portions, is a potent mimic of estrogen, the primary female sex hormone. That's anything but appetizing, since studies have linked a higher lifetime cumulative exposure to estrogen in women with an elevated risk of breast cancer.

    Indeed, the new finding offers a "biologically...

    10/17/2007 - 01:38 Nutrition
  • News

    Drug Overflow: Pharmaceutical factories foul waters in India

    Pharmaceuticals ranging from painkillers to synthetic estrogens can harm aquatic life when they enter waterways through human excreta, hospital and household waste, and agricultural runoff. Now, researchers have shown that there's another way for such drugs to get into the environment: A treatment plant in India that processes wastewater from pharmaceutical manufacturers discharges highly...

    08/08/2007 - 16:25 Earth & Environment
  • Feature

    Slime Dwellers

    Put on your snorkel gear and get close to coral—really close—and you can spy a thin layer of surface slime. Produced continually, and often in prodigious amounts, this mucus can be anything from a thick, soupy liquid to gummy gel. Corals expend significant energy making and replenishing these water-soluble jackets, but scientists have struggled to understand the payoff for this effort.

    ...
    05/25/2007 - 09:49 Ecology
  • 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
  • Feature

    Taken for a Spin

    To illustrate the amazing properties of spider silk, Nikola Kojic offers an arresting example. Imagine a circular web with a diameter of 100 meters—about the length of a football field—spun from a silk thread about a centimeter thick. Concentric circles 4 cm apart attach to the web's spokes, also 4 cm apart. This larger-than-life web "could stop a jumbo jet in midflight," says Kojic.

    ...

    04/10/2007 - 10:34 Materials