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  • News

    Obesity messes with the brain

    Obesity subtly diminishes memory and other features of thinking and reasoning even among seemingly healthy people, an international team of scientists reports. At least some of these impairments appear reversible through weight loss. Researchers also report one likely mechanism for those cognitive deficits: damage to the wiring that links the brain’s information-processing regions.

    A...

    03/25/2011 - 12:00 Nutrition, Body & Brain
  • Science & the Public

    Coffee perks up memory and balance in geriatric animals

    CHICAGO Millions of Americans start their day with a cup of coffee and then reach for refills when their energy or attention flags. But new research in rats suggests that for the aging brain, coffee may serve as more than a mere stimulant. It can boost memory and the signaling essential to motor coordination.

    But here's the rub: If the same effects hold for humans, downing a morning...

    07/22/2010 - 16:11 Body & Brain, Chemistry, Nutrition, Humans & Society
  • 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
  • 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

    Spying Vision Cells: Eye's motion detectors are finally found

    The eye's retina does more than register images the way film or a digital camera detector does. To allow it to begin analyzing an image, the retina has specialized nerve cells that respond to motion or other important features in the image detected by the light-sensing rod and cone cells.

    Scientists discovered the specialized cells that sense motion in the retinas of cats and other...

    10/10/2007 - 15:30 Other
  • News

    Tea compound aids dying brain cells

    From Washington, D.C., at the Fourth International Scientific Symposium on Tea and Human Health

    A constituent of green tea can revive moribund brain cells, Israeli researchers report. The team experimented with animal neurons that had been chemically poisoned to model the death of dopamine-producing cells in Parkinson's disease.

    In a test-tube study, low doses of epigallocatechin...

    09/26/2007 - 12:04 Biomedicine
  • News

    Role Change: Mast cells show an anti-inflammatory side

    As anyone who has reacted to poison ivy can attest, the plant can induce maddeningly itchy skin. Researchers have now found that a cell once thought to be one of the chief perpetrators of this immune overreaction may actually keep the reaction from getting out of hand.

    Mast cells make proteins that contribute to the inflammation that characterizes allergic reactions. The cells...

    09/05/2007 - 09:17 Other
  • News

    Barely Alive: Ancient bacteria survive in the slow lane

    Microbes in 500,000-year-old permafrost breathe, although at a very slow pace, and show other signs of life, according to a new report. If confirmed, the findings would be the first evidence of metabolism remaining active over geologic time scales.

    Previously, researchers had extracted bacteria from 250 million-year-old minerals and coaxed them to grow in the lab. Such bacteria...

    08/29/2007 - 10:37 Other
  • 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
  • News

    Stunting Growth: Ozone will trim plants' carbon-storing power

    Increases in low-altitude ozone predicted for the upcoming century will stifle the growth of vegetation in many regions, causing planet-warming carbon dioxide to build up in Earth's atmosphere more quickly than had been expected, a new model suggests.

    Low-altitude ozone—as opposed to the planet-protecting layer of the gas in the stratosphere—forms when the sun's ultraviolet...

    07/25/2007 - 12:49 Earth