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  • News in Brief

    Sarcasm looks the same in the brain whether it's words or emoji

    SAN FRANCISCO — Millennials, rejoice: A winking-face emoji is worth a slew of ironic words. The brain interprets irony or sarcasm conveyed by an emoji in the same way as it does verbal banter, researchers reported March 26 in San Francisco at the Cognitive Neuroscience Society’s annual meeting.

    Researchers measured brain electrical activity of college students reading sentences ending in...

    03/28/2017 - 18:36 Neuroscience
  • For Daily Use

    Spray-on mosquito repellents are more effective than other devices

    Mosquitoes are more than an itchy nuisance. They can carry serious diseases, including Zika, West Nile, yellow fever and chikungunya. Now after testing 11 types of mosquito repellents, researchers say they’ve identified the products most effective at warding off the bloodsuckers.

    Spray-on repellents with DEET or a refined tree extract called oil of lemon eucalyptus are most likely to...

    03/28/2017 - 13:00 Health
  • Growth Curve

    Don’t put greasy Q-tips up your kid’s nose, and other nosebleed advice

    Ever since she was a baby, my older daughter has periodically endured massive nosebleeds. When she was 10 months old, I walked into her room to pick her up after her nap. There, I was greeted with a baby happily standing in what appeared to be a sea of ruby red blood. Her busy little hands had smeared blood all over the crib and wall. The sight haunts me still. 

    My daughter’s very calm...

    03/28/2017 - 07:00 Health, Human Development
  • News in Brief

    Math-anxious brains tackle simple problems differently

    SAN FRANCISCO — When faced with simple math problems, people who get jittery about the subject may rely more heavily on certain brain circuitry than math-savvy people do. The different mental approach could help explain why people with math anxiety struggle on more complicated problems, researchers reported March 25 at the Cognitive Neuroscience Society’s annual meeting.

    While in fMRI...

    03/27/2017 - 17:33 Neuroscience
  • News

    Dengue fever spreads in a neighborly way

    Dengue is a bit of a homebody. By mapping the spread of the virus across Bangkok, scientists found that infections were most likely to occur within a few minutes’ walk of the home of the first person infected.

    Pinpointing where dengue is likely to be transmitted can better focus efforts to stop the spread of the disease, the researchers report in the March 24 Science.

    “We often...

    03/23/2017 - 14:00 Health, Immune Science
  • News

    Random mutations play large role in cancer, study finds

    Researchers have identified new enemies in the war on cancer: ones that are already inside cells and that no one can avoid.

    Random mistakes made as stem cells divide are responsible for about two-thirds of the mutations in cancer cells, researchers from Johns Hopkins University report in the March 24 Science. Across all cancer types, environment and lifestyle factors, such as smoking and...

    03/23/2017 - 14:00 Cancer, Cells, Health
  • 50 Years Ago

    In 1967, LSD was briefly labeled a breaker of chromosomes

    LSD may damage chromosomes

    Two New York researchers have found the hallucinogenic drug will markedly increase the rate of abnormal change in chromosomes. [Scientists] tested LSD on cell cultures from the blood of two healthy individuals … [and] also found similar abnormal changes in the blood of a schizophrenic patient who had been treated with [LSD]. The cell cultures showed a two-fold...

    03/23/2017 - 07:00 Genetics, Neuroscience
  • News

    Female guppies with bigger brains pick more attractive guys

    When choosing more attractive guys, girl guppies with larger brains have an advantage over their smaller-brained counterparts. But there’s a cost to such brainpower, and that might help explain one of the persistent mysteries of sex appeal, researchers report March 22 in Science Advances.

    One sex often shows a strong preference for some trait in the other, whether it’s a longer fish fin...

    03/22/2017 - 15:54 Animals, Evolution, Neuroscience
  • Growth Curve

    Touches early in life may make a big impact on newborn babies’ brains

    Many babies born early spend extra time in the hospital, receiving the care of dedicated teams of doctors and nurses. For these babies, the hospital is their first home. And early experiences there, from lights to sounds to touches, may influence how babies develop.

    Touches early in life in the NICU, both pleasant and not, may shape how a baby’s brain responds to gentle touches later, a...

    03/22/2017 - 12:30 Human Development, Health
  • Editor's Note

    Lab tests aren’t the answer for every science question

    In the second half of the 17th century, the chemist and polymath Robert Boyle and philosopher Thomas Hobbes engaged in a divisive debate centered on a temperamental, mechanical contraption known as an air pump. In a series of famous experiments, Boyle used the air pump, which has been called “the cyclotron of its age,” to test basic scientific principles such as the relationship between a gas’...

    03/22/2017 - 12:15 Neuroscience, History of Science, Science & Society