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  • News

    New ways to image and control nerve cells could unlock brain mysteries

    Using laser light, ballooning tissue and innovative genetic tricks, scientists are starting to force brains to give up their secrets.

    By mixing and matching powerful advances in microscopy and cell biology, researchers have imaged intricate details of individual nerve cells in fruit flies and mice, and even controlled small groups of nerve cells in living mice.

    The techniques,...

    01/17/2019 - 14:00 Neuroscience, Technology
  • News

    Overdose deaths tied to antianxiety drugs like Xanax continue to rise

    As public health officials tackle opioid addiction and overdoses, another class of prescription drugs has been contributing to a growing number of deaths across the United States.

    Benzodiazepines, such as Valium and Xanax, are commonly prescribed for anxiety and insomnia. The drugs are also highly addictive and can be fatal, especially when combined with alcohol or opioids. In the latest...

    01/17/2019 - 08:00 Health
  • News

    Bacterial compounds may be as good as DEET at repelling mosquitoes

    Molecules made by bacteria keep mosquitoes at bay. The compounds are a newfound potential stand-in for DEET, a ubiquitous chemical used in most commercially available mosquito repellents in the United States.

    In lab tests, the molecules were as effective as DEET in stopping Aedes aegypti mosquitos, which can carry Zika, dengue and yellow fever, from snacking on artificial blood,...

    01/16/2019 - 14:18 Animals, Health
  • News

    An ancient child from East Asia grew teeth like a modern human

    An ancient child with a mysterious evolutionary background represents the oldest known case of humanlike tooth growth in East Asia, researchers say.

    The child’s fossilized upper jaw contains seven teeth that were in the process of developing when the roughly 6½-year-old youngster died at least 104,000 years ago and possibly more than 200,000 years ago. Using X-rays to examine the teeth’s...

    01/16/2019 - 14:12 Anthropology, Human Evolution, Human Development
  • News

    A new 3-D printed ‘sponge’ sops up excess chemo drugs

    Bringing the filtering abilities of a fuel cell into the blood vessels of living organisms, a new device could cut down on toxic effects of cancer treatment.

    At the heart of this approach — recently tested in pigs — is a tiny, cylindrical “sponge” created by 3-D printing. Wedged inside a vein near a tumor being treated with chemotherapy, the sponge could absorb excess drug before it...

    01/15/2019 - 09:00 Cancer, Chemistry, Technology
  • News

    Nerve cells from people with autism grow unusually big and fast

    Young nerve cells derived from people with autism are precocious, growing bigger and developing sooner than cells taken from people without autism, a new study shows.

    The results, described January 7 in Nature Neuroscience, hint that in some cases nerve cells veer off course early in brain development to ultimately cause the disorder.

    As a proxy of brain growth, researchers led by...

    01/11/2019 - 06:00 Neuroscience
  • News

    This protein may help explain why some women with endometriosis are infertile

    A missing protein may help explain why some women with endometriosis are infertile.

    In samples of lining from the uterus, infertile women with the disorder had lower amounts of a protein called histone deacetylase 3, or HDAC3, than fertile women without endometriosis, a study finds. When mice were engineered to have a decreased amount of HDAC3 in the uterus, the animals became sterile,...

    01/09/2019 - 14:53 Health
  • News

    A new app tracks breathing to detect an opioid overdose

    A new smartphone app may help people who shoot up alone get medical treatment if they accidentally overdose.

    The app, dubbed Second Chance, monitors its user for breathing problems that foreshadow an opioid overdose (SN: 3/31/18, p. 18). In an emergency, the app could call 911 or send an SOS to friends or family who could provide opioid-counteracting medication.

    “Being able to...

    01/09/2019 - 14:00 Health, Technology, Science & Society
  • The Name Game

    Studies can be in vitro, in vivo and now ‘in fimo’ — in poop

    Poop contains a lot of valuable scientific information. Researchers can monitor microbes, track enzyme activity or hunt for DNA to gather clues about overall health.

    There’s so much one can learn from the waste product that microbiologist Aadra Bhatt at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill decided there should be a word for that research — something in the same vein as “in...

    01/09/2019 - 07:00 Health, Microbes
  • News

    DNA tests of Lassa virus mid-outbreak helped Nigeria target its response

    When an outbreak of a viral hemorrhagic fever hit Nigeria in 2018, scientists were ready: They were already in the country testing new disease-tracking technology, and within weeks managed to steer health workers toward the most appropriate response.

    Lassa fever, which is transmitted from rodents to humans, pops up every year in West Africa. But 2018 was the worst season on record for...

    01/03/2019 - 14:09 Health, Genetics