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  • News

    Cancer studies get mixed grades on redo tests

    An effort to reproduce findings of five prominent cancer studies has produced a mixed bag of results.

    In a series of papers published January 19 in eLife, researchers from the Reproducibility Project: Cancer Biology report that none of five prominent cancer studies they sought to duplicate were completely reproducible. Replicators could not confirm any of the findings of one study. In...

    01/18/2017 - 16:42 Science & Society, Cancer
  • Growth Curve

    Though complex, new peanut allergy guidelines are based on science

    Six hours before I gave birth to my son, our labor and delivery nurse started choking.

    The cause, we later discovered, was a jar of peanuts that my unsuspecting husband had cracked open for a snack. Our fast-acting (and highly allergic) nurse rushed out of the room and made it to her EpiPen in time. She was OK, to our immense relief, and we managed to not endanger anyone else’s life that...

    01/13/2017 - 13:29 Health
  • News

    Promise and perils of marijuana deserve more scientific scrutiny

    Marijuana’s medical promise deserves closer, better-funded scientific scrutiny, a new state-of-the-science report concludes.

    The report, released January 12 by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine in Washington, D.C., calls for expanding research on potential medical applications of cannabis and its products, including marijuana and chemical components called...

    01/12/2017 - 15:02 Health, Mental Health, Science & Society
  • News

    How mice use their brain to hunt

    The part of the brain that governs emotions such as fear and anxiety also helps mice hunt. That structure, the amygdala, orchestrates a mouse’s ability to both stalk a cricket and deliver a fatal bite, scientists report January 12 in Cell.

    Scientists made select nerve cells in mice’s brains sensitive to light, and then used lasers to activate specific groups of those cells. By turning...

    01/12/2017 - 12:08 Neuroscience
  • News

    Pain promoter also acts as pain reliever

    A protein that sounds the alarm when the body encounters something painful also helps put out the fire.

    Called Nav1.7, the protein sits on pain-sensing nerves and has long been known for sending a red alert to the brain when the body has a brush with pain. Now, experiments in rodent cells reveal another role for Nav1.7: Its activity triggers the production of pain-relieving molecules....

    01/11/2017 - 16:09 Neuroscience, Cells
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers weigh in on dinos, dark matter and more

    Prehistoric tweet

    Researchers uncovered the fossilized voice box, called a syrinx, of an ancient bird that lived 68 million to 66 million years ago. The bird may have sounded like a honking duck, Meghan Rosen reported in “Ancient avian voice box unearthed” (SN: 11/12/16, p. 7).

    Online reader David Spector wondered if researchers could 3-D print the syrinx to replicate the ancient bird’s...

    01/11/2017 - 12:15 Paleontology, Particle Physics, Health
  • News

    Facial-processing area of brain keeps growing throughout childhood

    A part of the brain that’s responsible for recognizing faces seems to grow new tissue throughout childhood. That’s surprising, because brain development during childhood usually involves pruning back neural connections rather than growing new ones, researchers report in the Jan. 6 Science.

    The research shows that “pruning isn’t the only game in town,” says Brad Duchaine, a psychologist...

    01/05/2017 - 14:19 Neuroscience
  • Science Ticker

    Ebola vaccine proves effective, final trial results show

    An experimental Ebola vaccine has triumphed in West Africa.

    Of 5,837 people in Guinea who received a single shot of the vaccine, rVSV-ZEBOV, in the shoulder, none became infected with the virus 10 to 84 days after vaccination. That’s “100% protection,” researchers report December 22 in the Lancet.

    World Health Organization researcher Ana Maria Henao-Restrepo and colleagues tested...

    12/22/2016 - 18:30 Clinical Trials, Health
  • Scicurious

    How scientists are hunting for a safer opioid painkiller

    An opioid epidemic is upon us. Prescription painkillers such as fentanyl and morphine can ease terrible pain, but they can also cause addiction and death. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that nearly 2 million Americans are abusing or addicted to prescription opiates. Politicians are attempting to stem the tide at state and national levels, with bills to change and...

    12/22/2016 - 09:00 Neuroscience, Biomedicine, Health
  • News in Brief

    New blood tests can detect prions

    A new blood test can detect even tiny amounts of infectious proteins called prions, two new studies show.

    Incurable prion diseases, such as mad cow disease (BSE) in cattle and variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) in people, result from a normal brain protein called PrP twisting into a disease-causing “prion” shape that kills nerve cells in the brain. As many as 30,000 people in the...

    12/21/2016 - 14:00 Biomedicine