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  • Editor's Note

    Some topics call for science reporting from many angles

    I’m warning you up front. There’s heartbreak in this issue. In two stories, Science News writers investigate new facets of the ongoing opioid epidemic in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 91 Americans die on average each day from opioid overdoses, quadruple the deaths from opioid overdoses in 1999. Today, nearly half of those deaths involve...

    05/31/2017 - 16:00 Health, Science & Society
  • Feature

    The opioid epidemic spurs a search for new, safer painkillers

    Last year, Joan Peay slipped on her garage steps and smashed her knee on the welcome mat. Peay, 77, is no stranger to pain. The Tennessee retiree has had 17 surgeries in the last 35 years — knee replacements, hip replacements, back surgery. She even survived a 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak that sickened her and hundreds of others, and killed 64. This knee injury, though, “hurt like the...

    05/30/2017 - 13:00 Health, Chemistry, Biomedicine
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers concerned about cancer’s sugary disguise

    Sugarcoated

    A new wave of potential immune therapies aims to target the network of complex sugars that coat cancer cells, Esther Landhuis reported in “Cancer’s sweet cloak” (SN: 4/1/17, p. 24). Some of these sugars, called sialic acids, help tumors hide from the immune system.

    “Are the offending sugars referred to in this article the ones we are eating or are they the result of...

    05/03/2017 - 11:20 Cancer, Technology, Animals
  • News

    Zika hides out in body’s hard-to-reach spots

    Zika virus plays hard to get.  

    Weeks after the virus disappears from the bloodstream, it still lingers in the lymph nodes and the central nervous system of rhesus monkeys, researchers report online April 27 in Cell. That could help explain why Zika infection can cause neurological problems in both infants and adults.

    “Zika does stick around for a lot longer than we originally...

    04/27/2017 - 12:00 Biomedicine
  • News

    Autism, ADHD risk not linked to prenatal exposure to antidepressants

    Taking antidepressants during pregnancy does not increase the risk of autism or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, two new large studies suggest. Genetic or environmental influences, rather than prenatal exposure to the drugs, may have a greater influence on whether a child will develop these disorders. The studies are published online April 18 in JAMA.

    Clinically, the message is...

    04/18/2017 - 14:56 Mental Health, Human Development
  • News

    Scientists seek early signs of autism

    Soon after systems biologist Juergen Hahn published a paper describing a way to predict whether a child has autism from a blood sample, the notes from parents began arriving. “I have a bunch of parents writing me now who want to test their kids,” says Hahn, of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y. “I can’t do that.”

    That’s because despite their promise, his group’s results,...

    04/10/2017 - 07:00 Human Development, Neuroscience
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers question mental health research

    New normal

    People who stay mentally healthy throughout life are exceptions to the rule, a small study suggests. Only 17 percent of study participants experienced no bouts of anxiety, depression or other mental ailments from late childhood to middle age, Bruce Bower reported in “Lasting mental health may be unusual” (SN: 3/4/17, p. 7).

    Reader Lou Floyd found the article disturbing and the...

    04/05/2017 - 10:39 Mental Health, Animals, Physics
  • News in Brief

    Engineered immune cells boost leukemia survival for some

    WASHINGTON — Immune cells engineered to hunt and destroy cancer cells may help some people with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) live much longer.

    Outcomes depended upon disease severity before treatment, oncologist Jae Park reported April 3 at the American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting.

    In ALL — expected to strike 5,970 people and kill 1,440 in the United States...

    04/04/2017 - 15:30 Cancer, Biomedicine
  • It's Alive

    First fluorescent frogs might see each others’ glow

    Could fluorescence matter to a frog? Carlos Taboada wondered. They don’t have bedroom black lights, but their glow may still be about the night moves.

    Taboada’s question is new to herpetology. No one had shown fluorescence in amphibians, or in any land vertebrate except parrots, until he and colleagues recently tested South American polka dot tree frogs. Under white light, male and...

    04/03/2017 - 10:00 Animals, Ecology
  • Feature

    Smartphones may be changing the way we think

    Not too long ago, the internet was stationary. Most often, we’d browse the Web from a desktop computer in our living room or office. If we were feeling really adventurous, maybe we’d cart our laptop to a coffee shop. Looking back, those days seem quaint.

    Today, the internet moves through our lives with us. We hunt Pokémon as we shuffle down the sidewalk. We text at red lights. We tweet...

    03/17/2017 - 12:21 Neuroscience, Health