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  • Feature

    The bright side of sadness

    Thomas Jefferson defended the right to pursue happiness in the Declaration of Independence. But that’s so 237 years ago. Many modern societies champion everyone’s right to be happy pretty much all the time.

    Good luck with that, says psychologist Joseph Forgas of the University of New South Wales in Sydney. A lack of close friends, unfulfilled financial dreams and other harsh realities...

    10/18/2013 - 13:45 Psychology, Anthropology
  • News in Brief

    Reading high-brow literature may aid in reading minds

    Think of it as the bookworm’s bonus: People who read first-rate fiction become more socially literate, at least briefly, a new study suggests.

    Researchers randomly assigned nearly 700 volunteers to read excerpts of “literary” novels by recent National Book Award finalists and other celebrated authors, to read parts of fiction best sellers or popular nonfiction books, or to not read...

    10/03/2013 - 14:05 Psychology
  • News

    Blocking a hormone helps mice beat lengthy jet lag

    A molecular timekeeper called vasopressin steadies the rhythm of the body’s daily cycles and may hamper acclimatization to new time zones. Mice rapidly recover from a laboratory form of jet lag when researchers block the hormone in the brain, a new study shows.

    Fluctuations in physiology and behavior move to the beat of the circadian clock. Crossing time zones or working night shifts...

    10/03/2013 - 14:02 Cells, Physiology
  • News

    Cancer variants found in ‘neglected’ region of genome

    Parts of human DNA that do not contain genes but instead turn them on and off may be just as vulnerable to cancer-causing mutations as protein-producing genes are, a new study finds.Using computer programs to comb through the DNA of 88 cancer patients, researchers identified 98 mutations in gene-regulating parts of the genome that may be causing the patients’ breast, prostate or brain tumors,...

    10/03/2013 - 14:01 Genetics, Molecular Evolution
  • News in Brief

    Altered wine chemical helps kill cancer

    Modified forms of the red wine compound resveratrol slip into human tissue and can help kill cancer cells, according to a study in the Oct. 2 Science Translational Medicine. The finding may explain why the unmodified form of resveratrol, which in lab experiments shows anticancer properties, has yet to translate into health benefits for humans.

    When 60 volunteers ingested at least half a...

    10/02/2013 - 14:34 Nutrition
  • News in Brief

    Supervolcanoes once erupted on Mars

    Lava-spewing supervolcanoes ripped through Mars’ dusty red surface billions of years ago, a new analysis suggests.

    Scientists have identified Martian volcanoes before, but none as violently explosive as the ones Joseph Michalski of the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson and Jacob Bleacher of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., report in the Oct. 3 Nature. “What we’...

    10/02/2013 - 13:31 Planetary Science
  • News

    Some grape-scented compounds repel mosquitoes

    A newly discovered batch of safe bug repellents works just as well as DEET, scientists report October 2 in Nature. As an added bonus, these new bug dopes smell faintly of grapes.

    In addition to finding the new bug-repelling compounds, the scientists also uncovered the elusive cells and proteins that let mosquitoes detect and avoid DEET. This knowledge “gives you another whole set of...

    10/02/2013 - 13:14 Neuroscience
  • News in Brief

    Tiny fossils set record for oldest flowerlike pollen

    Nubbly specks 243 million years old could be the oldest fossils of pollen grains yet found from close ancestors of today’s flowering plants.

    The somewhat squashed spheres come from deposits dating from 3 million to 5 million years earlier than the previous record holders, says Peter Hochuli of the University of Zurich. The newly described fossils show some features of pollen grains more...

    10/01/2013 - 16:09 Plants
  • News in Brief

    Maps reveal clouds on distant exoplanet

    On the gaseous exoplanet Kepler-7b, the forecast calls for clear skies in the east and high clouds in the west.

    Although crude, the weather maps may be the first to identify clouds on a planet outside the solar system. In the future, a similar technique could help astronomers study clouds on Earth-like exoplanets.

    While tracking light reflecting from the planet, astronomer Brice-...

    10/01/2013 - 15:41 Planetary Science
  • News in Brief

    Engineered salivary glands keep juices flowing

    Salivary glands engineered in the lab wet the mouths of mice after transplantation, researchers report October 1 in Nature Communications.

    Takashi Tsuji of the Tokyo University of Science in Noda, Japan and colleagues extracted clusters of immature cells from mouse embryos and grew nascent salivary glands in a gel-like substance for three days. Then the researchers implanted the...

    10/01/2013 - 11:01 Development