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  • News

    Obscure brain region linked to feeding frenzy in mice

    Nerve cells in a poorly understood part of the brain have the power to prompt voracious eating in already well-fed mice.

    Two to three seconds after blue light activated cells in the zona incerta, a patch of neurons just underneath the thalamus and above the hypothalamus, mice dropped everything and began shoveling food into their mouths. This dramatic response, described May 26 in...

    05/25/2017 - 14:00 Neuroscience
  • News

    New test may improve pancreatic cancer diagnoses

    Pancreatic cancer is hard to detect early, when the disease is most amenable to treatment. But a new study describes a blood test that may aid the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer and someday make earlier screening feasible, the authors say.

    The test detects a combination of five tumor proteins that appear to be a reliable signature of the disease, the researchers report in the May 24...

    05/24/2017 - 17:50 Biomedicine, Cancer
  • Science Ticker

    Older adults may not benefit from taking statins

    The benefits of statins for people older than 75 remain unclear, a new analysis finds. Statins did not reduce heart attacks or coronary heart disease deaths, nor did they reduce deaths from any cause, compared with people not taking statins, researchers report online May 22 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

    Recently published guidelines cited insufficient data to recommend statins for people...

    05/22/2017 - 14:30 Biomedicine, Health
  • News

    40 more ‘intelligence’ genes found

    Smarty-pants have 40 new reasons to thank their parents for their powerful brains. By sifting through the genetics of nearly 80,000 people, researchers have uncovered 40 genes that may make certain people smarter. That brings the total number of suspected “intelligence genes” to 52.

    Combined, these genetic attributes explain only a very small amount of overall smarts, or lack thereof,...

    05/22/2017 - 11:00 Biomedicine
  • News

    Even short-term opioid use can set people up for addiction risks

    Even though a sprained ankle rarely needs an opioid, a new study of emergency room patients found that about 7 percent of patients got sent home with a prescription for the potentially addictive painkiller anyway. And the more pills prescribed, the greater the chance the prescription would be refilled, raising concerns about continued use.

    The research adds to evidence that it’s hard for...

    05/19/2017 - 09:00 Health, Science & Society
  • Science Stats

    Global access to quality health care has improved in the last two decades

    Health care quality and availability improved globally from 1990 to 2015, but the gap between the haves and the have-nots widened in those 25 years, researchers report online May 18 in the Lancet.

    As an approximate measure of citizens’ access to quality health care, an international team of researchers analyzed mortality rates for 32 diseases and injuries that are typically not fatal...

    05/18/2017 - 18:53 Health
  • News

    Hybrid protein offers malaria protection

    Dogged genetic detective work has led scientists to a hybrid red blood cell protein that offers some protection against malaria.

    Reporting online May 18 in Science, researchers describe a genetic variant that apparently is responsible for the fusion of two proteins that protrude from the membranes of red blood cells. In its hybrid form, the protein somehow makes it more difficult for the...

    05/18/2017 - 14:19 Genetics, Evolution, Immune Science, Biomedicine
  • News

    Transplanted stem cells become eggs in sterile mice

    With an assist, an old mouse might be able to make new eggs.

    Sterilized female mice produced healthy babies after receiving a transplant of egg-generating stem cells from another mouse, researchers report online May 18 in Molecular Therapy. If such a procedure worked in humans — still a distant prospect — it could help women with early menopause or chemotherapy-induced infertility to...

    05/18/2017 - 12:00 Biomedicine, Cells
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers ponder the randomness of DNA errors

    At random

    As cells divide and grow, mutations may crop up in cancer-associated genes. A recent study found that more cancer mutations are caused by these random mistakes than other factors, such as environment or inheritance, Tina Hesman Saey reported in “DNA errors play big role in cancer” (SN: 4/15/17, p. 6).

    John Day wondered if replication errors are truly random, not just...

    05/17/2017 - 10:49 Cancer, Planetary Science
  • News

    Where you live can affect your blood pressure, study suggests

    For black adults, moving out of a racially segregated neighborhood is linked to a drop in blood pressure, according to a new study. The finding adds to growing evidence of an association between a lack of resources in many predominately black neighborhoods and adverse health conditions among their residents, such as diabetes and obesity.

    Systolic blood pressure — the pressure in blood...

    05/15/2017 - 19:21 Biomedicine, Health, Science & Society