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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
  • 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
  • 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
  • News

    Folding with a little help from friends

    A chaperone protein (bottom, yellow) called SecB guides the folding of another protein (transparent) in this artist's illustration. "Interactions with chaperones are very common for all proteins," says Sander Tans of the FOM Institute for Atomic and Molecular Physics in Amsterdam, and they exert a strong influence on protein shape and function.

    But previous studies of the...

    11/28/2007 - 14:27 Earth
  • 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
  • Food for Thought

    Sour Genes, Yes—Salty Genes, No

    Some people abhor broccoli, complaining about its intensely bitter taste. Others (myself included) find broccoli's flavor interesting and pleasing—decidedly, not bitter. What leads to our differing culinary opinions is the possession of, or lack of, (in my case, evidently) genes conferring a super sensitivity to bitter taste. Science has recognized such genetic differences for at least a...

    07/18/2007 - 09:52 Science & Society
  • News

    A smart pill for seniors?

    From Washington, D.C., at the Experimental Biology 2007 Conference

    Many people approaching retirement age find that memories fade and quick-wittedness flags. Scientists at the University of Massachusetts in Lowell have formulated what they call a "smart pill" to optimize brain health in such people. In pilot trials, its combination of dietary supplements boosted performance on simple...

    05/08/2007 - 14:49 Nutrition
  • Food for Thought

    Crusty Chemistry

    Want to make a piece of pizza healthier? Try using whole-wheat dough. Give it a full 2 days to rise, and then cook the tomato pie a little longer and hotter than usual. That was the recipe shared last week by researchers at the American Chemical Society meeting in Chicago.

    Jeffrey Moore and Liangli Lucy Yu of the University of Maryland at College Park have been experimenting with...

    04/03/2007 - 19:28 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
  • News

    Waistline Worry: Common chemicals might boost obesity

    A family of chemicals implicated in testosterone declines may also be contributing to recent spikes in obesity and diabetes, according to a new study.

    Phthalates show up in a wide range of manufactured items, from cosmetics to vinyl flooring to medical devices and drug coatings. With people's extensive exposure to phthalates, the chemicals' breakdown products, or metabolites, appear in...

    03/21/2007 - 08:07 Chemistry