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  • News

    Human brains make new nerve cells — and lots of them — well into old age

    Your brain might make new nerve cells well into old age.

    Healthy people in their 70s have just as many young nerve cells, or neurons, in a memory-related part of the brain as do teenagers and young adults, researchers report in the April 5 Cell Stem Cell. The discovery suggests that the hippocampus keeps generating new neurons throughout a person’s life.

    The finding contradicts a...

    04/05/2018 - 14:50 Neuroscience, Human Development, Cells
  • News

    Why science still can’t pinpoint a mass shooter in the making

    Immediately after a 19-year-old shot and killed 17 people and wounded 17 others at a Florida high school on Valentine’s Day, people leaped to explain what had caused the latest mass slaughter.

    By now, it’s a familiar drill: Too many readily available guns. Too much untreated mental illness. Too much warped masculinity. Don’t forget those shoot-’em-up video games and movies. Add (or...

    03/23/2018 - 11:46 Science & Society, Psychology, Mental Health
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers muse about memory, magnetic monopoles and more

    Memory lane

    Inspired by flatworm memory experiments from the 1950s, researchers are on the hunt for the elusive engram — the physical mark that a memory leaves on the brain — Laura Sanders reported in “Somewhere in the brain is a storage device for memories” (SN: 2/3/18, p. 22).

    Readers flooded Science News with their thoughts and questions on the topic.

    Elizabeth Elliott...

    03/09/2018 - 10:20 Neuroscience, Animals, Particle Physics
  • Feature

    When bogs burn, the environment takes a hit

    In 2015, massive wildfires burned through Indonesia, sending thick smoke and haze as far as Thailand.

    These fires were “the worst environmental disaster in modern history,” says Thomas Smith, a wildfire expert at King’s College London. Smith estimates that the fires and smoke killed 100,000 people in Indonesia and neighboring countries and caused billions of...

    03/06/2018 - 12:00 Ecosystems, Climate, Agriculture
  • News

    In the future, an AI may diagnose eye problems

    The computer will see you now.

    Artificial intelligence algorithms may soon bring the diagnostic know-how of an eye doctor to primary care offices and walk-in clinics, speeding up the detection of health problems and the start of treatment, especially in areas where specialized doctors are scarce. The first such program — trained to spot symptoms of diabetes-related vision loss in eye...

    03/04/2018 - 08:00 Artificial Intelligence, Clinical Trials, Biomedicine
  • Editor's Note

    Building a bright future for science journalism

    As a longtime reader of Science News, I’m delighted to join the staff of this remarkable publication, which has been explaining the complexities of science, medicine and technology for more than 90 years. Science News hasn’t been standing still; people can find our breaking news and in-depth coverage in the flagship magazine as well as on the Science News website, which drew more than...
    02/22/2018 - 10:46 Science & Society
  • Feature

    How to build a human brain

    In a white lab coat and blue latex gloves, Neda Vishlaghi peers through a light microscope at six milky-white blobs. Each is about the size of a couscous grain, bathed in the pale orange broth of a petri dish. With tweezers in one hand and surgical scissors in the other, she deftly snips one tiny clump in half.

    When growing human brains, sometimes you need to do some pruning.

    The...

    02/20/2018 - 15:30 Human Development
  • Exhibit

    Modern tech unravels mysteries of Egyptian mummy portraits

    Everybody’s a critic. Even back in second century Egypt.

    While digging in Tebtunis in northern Egypt in the winter of 1899–1900, British archaeologists stumbled upon portraits of affluent Greco-Egyptians placed over the faces of mummies. One grave contained an ink and chalk sketch, a bit larger than a standard sheet of printer paper, of a woman from around the years A.D. 140 to 160. The...

    02/19/2018 - 08:00 Archaeology, Technology, Science & Society
  • News

    Trove of hummingbird flight data reveals secrets of nimble flying

    View the video

    Lab-grade flight tracking has gone wild, creating a broad new way of studying some of the flashiest of natural acrobats, wild hummingbirds.

    One of the findings: Bigger hummingbird species don’t seem handicapped by their size when it comes to agility. A battleship may not be as maneuverable as a kayak, but in a study of 25 species, larger hummingbirds outdid smaller...

    02/08/2018 - 18:37 Animals, Biophysics, Evolution
  • Feature

    Skyrmions open a door to next-level data storage

    Like sailors and spelunkers, physicists know the power of a sturdy knot.

    Some physicists have tied their hopes for a new generation of data storage to minuscule knotlike structures called skyrmions, which can form in magnetic materials. Incredibly tiny and tough to undo, magnetic skyrmions could help feed humankind’s hunger for ever-smaller electronics.

    On traditional hard drives,...

    02/07/2018 - 15:03 Materials, Physics