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  • News

    Common fungus may raise asthma risk

    BOSTON — A fungus among us may tip the body toward developing asthma.

    There’s mounting evidence that early exposure to microbes can protect against allergies and asthma (SN Online: 7/20/16). But “lo and behold, some fungi seem to put kids at risk for asthma,” microbiologist Brett Finlay said February 17 at a news conference during the annual meeting of the American Association for the...

    02/17/2017 - 17:57 Health, Immune Science, Human Development
  • The List

    For Ebola patients, a few signs mean treatment’s needed — stat

    A new scorecard, devised by analyzing Ebola patients from the most recent outbreak in West Africa, may help doctors quickly decide who needs additional care to survive the virus in future epidemics.

    In the latest outbreak, which raged in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone from 2014 to 2016, 28,616 people were infected with virus and 11,310 people died. Doctors might be able to improve the...

    02/16/2017 - 07:00 Biomedicine
  • News

    Gastric bypass controls diabetes long term better than other methods

    People who undergo gastric bypass surgery are more likely to experience a remission of their diabetes than patients who receive a gastric sleeve or intensive management of diet and exercise, according to a new study. Bypass surgery had already shown better results for diabetes than other weight-loss methods in the short term, but the new research followed patients for five years.  

    “We...

    02/15/2017 - 17:06 Biomedicine, Health
  • Growth Curve

    Birth may not be a major microbe delivery event for babies

    Babies are born germy, and that’s a good thing. Our microbiomes — the microbes that live on and in us — are gaining cred as tiny but powerful keepers of our health.

    As microbes gain scientific stature, some scientists are trying to answer questions about how and when those germs first show up on babies. Birth itself may be an important microbe-delivery event, some researchers suspect. A...

    02/15/2017 - 12:13 Human Development, Health
  • Science Ticker

    See how long Zika lasts in semen and other bodily fluids

    Traces of Zika virus typically linger in semen no longer than three months after symptoms show up, a new study on the virus’ staying power in bodily fluids reveals.

    Medical epidemiologist Gabriela Paz-Bailey of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and colleagues analyzed the bodily fluids — including blood, urine and saliva — of 150 people infected with Zika. In 95 percent...

    02/14/2017 - 17:03 Health
  • News

    Physically abused kids learn to fail at social rules for success

    Physical abuse at home doesn’t just leave kids black and blue. It also bruises their ability to learn how to act at school and elsewhere, contributing to abused children’s well-documented behavior problems.

    Derailment of a basic form of social learning has, for the first time, been linked to these children’s misbehavior years down the line, psychologist Jamie Hanson of the University of...

    02/13/2017 - 12:00 Psychology, Mental Health, Human Development
  • News

    Ricin poisoning may one day be treatable with new antidote

    WASHINGTON — It has been used by an assassin wielding a poisoned umbrella and sent in a suspicious letter to a president.

    Ricin, the potent toxin and bioterrorism agent, has no antidote and can cause death within days. But a cocktail of antibodies could one day offer victims at least a slim window for treatment.

    A new study presented February 7 at the American Society for...

    02/10/2017 - 10:02 Health, Cells, Biomedicine
  • News in Brief

    Cold plasma puts the chill on norovirus

    WASHINGTON — A nasty stomach virus that can linger on fruits and veggies may have met its match in cold plasma.

    In experiments, the ionized gas, created by filtering room-temperature air through an electric field, virtually eliminated norovirus from lettuce, researchers reported February 7 at the American Society for Microbiology Biothreats meeting.

     Norovirus is the leading cause...

    02/10/2017 - 07:00 Health, Microbiology
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers respond to antibiotics, carbon bonds and more

    Power struggle

    Ninety percent of people who believe that they are allergic to penicillin are not, Emily DeMarco reported in “Most penicillin allergies are off base” (SN: 12/24/16 & 1/7/17, p. 5). A recent study found that testing for penicillin allergies reduced by 34 percent the use of vancomycin, described in the story as “a powerful, last-resort antibiotic.”

    Reader Robin Colgrove...

    02/08/2017 - 12:42 Health, Chemistry
  • Reviews & Previews

    Mysteries of time still stump scientists

    Why Time FliesAlan BurdickSimon & Schuster, $28

    The topic of time is both excruciatingly complicated and slippery. The combination makes it easy to get bogged down. But instead of an exhaustive review, journalist Alan Burdick lets curiosity be his guide in Why Time Flies, an approach that leads to a light yet supremely satisfying story about time as it runs through — and is perceived...

    02/08/2017 - 07:00 Neuroscience, Psychology