When it comes to studying the vast complexity of the food we eat, it helps to simplify. Test one nutrient or variable at a time to find out how each functions. Compare one part of a sugar molecule against another. These studies can tell us a great deal about how specific nutrients are processed in the body, and how they affect our health, our waistlines and even our behavior.
Combatants in the age-old battle of nature versus nurture may finally be able to lay down their arms. On average, both nature and nurture contribute roughly equally to determining human traits.
Researchers compiled data from half a century’s worth of studies on more than 14 million pairs of twins. The researchers measured heritability — the amount of variation in a characteristic that...
News in Brief
Ebola relies on a molecular “inside man” to sneak into cells.
Mice lacking the virus’s accomplice, a protein called NPC1, are completely protected from Ebola infection, scientists report May 26 in mBio. Designing drugs that target NPC1 could potentially stop Ebola from breaking and...
Mutations in a previously unscrutinized gene can leave people dangerously indifferent to harm, researchers report May 25 in Nature Genetics.
Certain changes to this gene, PRDM12, rob people of the ability to feel pain, leading to unintentional injuries such as scarred tongues, scratched corneas and missing digits. A deeper...
By late middle age, about a quarter of skin cells carry cancer-driving mutations caused by exposure to sunlight — and it’s perfectly normal.
Researchers had previously thought that the types of mutations that fuel tumor growth were rare and happened just before a cell becomes cancerous. But a study of the eyelids of four people who don’t have cancer reveals that such mutations “are...
A paralyzed man can now make a robotic arm do some smooth moves. Tiny silicon chips embedded in an action-planning part of his brain let the man control the arm easily and fluidly with his thoughts, scientists report in the May 22 Science.
“This is groundbreaking...
This guest post is by SN's web producer Ashley Yeager, who can't remember ever not knowing how to swim.
Sometimes my brother-in-law will scoop up my 2-year-old niece and fly her around like Superwoman. She’ll start kicking her legs and swinging her arms like she’s swimming — especially when we say, “paddle,...
Taking a cue from cardiology, doctors have begun treating strokes caused by blood clots in the brain by the most direct route imaginable — approaching the blockage from inside the artery.
The concept is well-tested. Obstructed heart vessels are routinely opened with balloon-tipped catheters threaded up to the blockage. Attempts to clear...
Young blood is good for old bones.
Elderly mice hooked up to the circulatory systems of young adult mice bounce back quickly from broken legs, researchers report May 19 in Nature Communications. The bone-healing finding is the latest in a chain of recent studies exposing the health benefits of young blood on different parts of...
A giant panda may look like a teddy bear, but it’s got the guts of a grizzly.
Microbes living in the bamboo lovers’ intestines match those of meat eaters, researchers report May 19 in mBio. Panda poop lacks the useful plant-digesting bacteria typically found in the feces of other herbivores, an analysis of 45 giant pandas...