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  • Science & the Public

    Growth-promoting antibiotics: On the way out?

    In 1950, Science News ran a story showing for the first time that a potent antibiotic could do more than knock out disease. New animal experiments, we reported, “cast the antibiotic in a spectacular new role” as a livestock growth promoter. Lacing the food of hogs with trace quantities of this drug increased meat yields by up to 50 percent, scientists at Lederle Laboratories had reported at a...

    03/23/2012 - 13:30 Humans & Society, Nutrition, Earth & Environment, Biomedicine, Agriculture
  • 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
  • News

    Floral Shocker: Blooms shake roots of flowering-plant family

    Imagine discovering a mammal without mammary glands or an insect with eight legs. Aquatic herbs in the genus Hydatella pose a similar paradox—they lack a defining developmental feature of flowering plants, raising questions about their evolution and rampant speciation during the past 135 million years.

    Evolutionary biologists group together organisms that share unique traits,...

    03/19/2008 - 13:25 Plants
  • 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

    Universities seek armchair astronomers

    Nonscientists and researchers alike have a chance to see something no one else ever has—a few of the million far-off galaxies that the Sloan Digital Sky Survey has recently photographed. The price of admission: People viewing the new images online must do a little work for the astronomers in charge, classifying individual galaxies as either spiral armed or elliptical collections of stars....

    07/23/2007 - 14:59 Humans & Society
  • News

    Age and gender affect soot's toxic impact

    From second to second, blood vessels must alternately constrict and dilate to regulate blood flow. That ability can diminish markedly in rodent vessels exposed to an oily constituent of diesel soot, researchers report.

    The team took arteries from rats' thighs and exposed them to the soot chemical phenanthraquinone.

    Vessels came from female rats that were 6, 14, and 24 months old—...

    06/12/2007 - 13:23 Earth & Environment
  • News

    Slimming on oolong

    Without skimping on portions, rats eating diets including oolong tea gain less weight than those dining teafree, a new study finds. The tea apparently impairs the body's ability to absorb fat.

    The finding supports a weight-control strategy—oolong consumption—advocated by practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine, note Lauren E. Budd and her colleagues at the University of California...

    05/15/2007 - 15:09 Nutrition
  • News

    Pollution Fallout: Are unattractive males Great-gram's fault?

    A new study of mate preferences in rodents raises the prospect that pollutant exposures can have behavioral repercussions that persist generation after generation. In the experiment, female rats shunned males whose grandfathers had been exposed in the womb to a fungicide used on fruit crops.

    Though brief, the vinclozolin exposures occurred when the fetal males' reproductive organs were...

    03/28/2007 - 12:49 Earth & Environment