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  • Letters to the Editor

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    Options for treating addictionAddiction is often seen as a chronic disease, but some long-term studies suggest it can be viewed as a temporary coping problem instead. Bruce Bower presented this alternative view in “The addiction paradox” (SN: 3/22/14, p. 16). “A nice job by Bruce Bower, as usual...
    04/19/2014 - 14:00 Climate, Health, Animals
  • Science Ticker

    Insulating sheath on nerve cells isn't an even coat

    A nerve cell's long, slender tentacle isn’t evenly coated with an insulating sheath as scientists had thought.Instead, many nerve cells in the brains of mice have stretches of these tentacles, called axons, that are naked, researchers report April 18 in Science. The unsheathed feeler can be as long as 80 micrometers....
    04/18/2014 - 18:00 Cells, Neuroscience
  • Feature

    Unsolved drugs

    Penicillin attacks with a calculated strike, splitting open cell walls. Kanamycin sends a bacterium’s protein assembly line into mayhem. Ciprofloxacin dices a microbe’s DNA into a genetic hash. Like trained snipers, each of these common antibiotics seems to dispatch bacteria with a simple tactic: Target a high-profile molecule crucial to survival and, with a single, clean shot, defeat the whole...
    04/18/2014 - 15:00 Biomedicine, Health
  • Science Ticker

    Gene variant, processed meat linked to boost in cancer risk

    Eating processed meat is associated with an increased risk of developing colon cancer in people who have the gene variant rs4143094, researchers report April 17 in PLOS Genetics. One in three people have this altered gene, which is found on the same...
    04/18/2014 - 09:00 Health, Genetics
  • News

    Poor slumber is bad for young flies' brains

    Busy people like to say that the best time to sleep is when you’re dead. But the best time to sleep is actually when you’re young, a study of fruit flies suggests.Newly hatched fruit files deprived of sleep end up with brain and behavior problems later in life, scientists report in the April 18 Science. “This study is a really...
    04/18/2014 - 08:30 Neuroscience, Human Development
  • Science Ticker

    Protein that gets sperm into egg identified

    Exactly what molecule in a mammal's egg cell talks to sperm to let them wriggle inside has been difficult to identify. In 2005, scientists discovered that sperm carry a protein called Izumo1 that gets them to fuse with an egg. Now, research on mice shows that it's the protein folate receptor 4, or Folr4, on the egg that...
    04/17/2014 - 20:00 Cells, Human Development
  • Science Ticker

    Even with rest, brain changes linked to football linger

    The offseason may not allow enough time for football players' brains to heal from hard hits.A new study looked at the brains and head impacts (an average of 431 to 1,850 per player per season) of 10 division III college football players. None of the players were diagnosed with a...
    04/17/2014 - 17:15 Neuroscience, Mental Health
  • Science Ticker

    Down’s syndrome goes beyond chromosome 21

    When humans have a third copy of chromosome 21, they are usually diagnosed with Down’s syndrome. Scientists thought that the additional copy of the chromosome resulted in most of the traits characteristic of the condition. But the DNA of identical twins, one with Down’s and one without, suggests that there are genetic...
    04/16/2014 - 18:20 Genetics, Human Development
  • News

    Possible measles drug tests well in animals

    There’s no treatment for measles, but an experimental compound might do the trick by bogging down a key viral enzyme, a study of ferrets finds. When given to animals infected by a virus similar to the one that causes measles, the compound prevented illness.“This is still a ways away from human testing,” says Alan Hinman, a public health physician at the Task Force for Global Health, a nonprofit...
    04/16/2014 - 14:00 Biomedicine, Health
  • Science Stats

    What's behind rising autism rates

    The number of 8-year-olds with an autism spectrum disorder rose from 1 in 88 (or 11.3 per 1,000) in 2008 to 1 in 68 (14.7 per 1,000) in 2010, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates. An uptick in diagnoses, perhaps due to better detection, may explain the increase and the regional...
    04/16/2014 - 13:27 Neuroscience