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  • News

    Brain waves may focus attention and keep information flowing

    We can’t see it, but brains hum with electrical activity. Brain waves created by the coordinated firing of huge collections of nerve cells pinball around the brain. The waves can ricochet from the front of the brain to the back, or from deep structures all the way to the scalp and then back again.

    Called neuronal oscillations, these signals are known to accompany certain mental states....

    03/13/2018 - 13:00 Neuroscience
  • Reviews & Previews

    How biology breaks the ‘cerebral mystique’

    The Biological MindAlan JasanoffBasic Books, $30

    At a small eatery in Seville, Spain, Alan Jasanoff had his first experience with brains — wrapped in eggs and served with potatoes. At the time, he was more interested in finding a good, affordable meal than contemplating the sheer awesomeness of the organ he was eating. Years later, Jasanoff began studying the brain as part of his...

    03/12/2018 - 07:00 Neuroscience, History of Science, Psychology
  • Feature

    Depression among new mothers is finally getting some attention

    On the hormonal roller coaster of life, the ups and downs of childbirth are the Tower of Power. For nine long months, a woman’s body and brain absorb a slow upwelling of hormones, notably progesterone and estrogen. The ovaries and placenta produce these two chemicals in a gradual but relentless rise to support the developing fetus.

    With the birth of a baby, and the immediate expulsion of...

    03/11/2018 - 05:00 Neuroscience, Mental Health
  • News

    What we do and don’t know about how to prevent gun violence

    In the fraught days following a mass shooting, people often ask if an assault weapons ban or allowing concealed carry permits would reduce the likelihood of further violence. But reliable evidence on the effects of those policies can be hard to find.

    Now the largest comprehensive analysis of research on U.S. gun policy in years offers some answers, but also troublingly little guidance. A...

    03/09/2018 - 15:52 Science & Society, Mental Health
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers muse about memory, magnetic monopoles and more

    Memory lane

    Inspired by flatworm memory experiments from the 1950s, researchers are on the hunt for the elusive engram — the physical mark that a memory leaves on the brain — Laura Sanders reported in “Somewhere in the brain is a storage device for memories” (SN: 2/3/18, p. 22).

    Readers flooded Science News with their thoughts and questions on the topic.

    Elizabeth Elliott...

    03/09/2018 - 10:20 Neuroscience, Animals, Particle Physics
  • News in Brief

    The debate over how long our brains keep making new nerve cells heats up

    Adult mice and other rodents sprout new nerve cells in memory-related parts of their brains. People, not so much. That’s the surprising conclusion of a series of experiments on human brains of various ages first described at a meeting in November (SN: 12/9/17, p. 10). A more complete description of the finding, published online March 7 in Nature, gives heft to the controversial result, as well...

    03/08/2018 - 17:14 Neuroscience
  • News

    Newer drugs make hepatitis C-positive kidneys safe for transplant

    People who received kidneys from donors infected with hepatitis C did not become ill with the virus, thanks to treatment with newer drugs that can cure the disease, a small study reports.

    Ten patients not previously infected with hepatitis C took doses of powerful antiviral medications before and after receiving the transplants. None of the patients developed chronic infections,...

    03/08/2018 - 15:30 Health, Clinical Trials
  • News

    In the future, an AI may diagnose eye problems

    The computer will see you now.

    Artificial intelligence algorithms may soon bring the diagnostic know-how of an eye doctor to primary care offices and walk-in clinics, speeding up the detection of health problems and the start of treatment, especially in areas where specialized doctors are scarce. The first such program — trained to spot symptoms of diabetes-related vision loss in eye...

    03/04/2018 - 08:00 Artificial Intelligence, Clinical Trials, Biomedicine
  • News

    Human skin bacteria have cancer-fighting powers

    Certain skin-dwelling microbes may be anticancer superheroes, reining in uncontrolled cell growth. This surprise discovery could one day lead to drugs that treat or maybe even prevent skin cancer.

    The bacteria’s secret weapon is a chemical compound that stops DNA formation in its tracks. Mice slathered with one strain of Staphylococcus epidermidis that makes the compound developed fewer...

    02/28/2018 - 15:49 Health, Cancer, Microbiology
  • News

    A new way to make bacteria glow could simplify TB screening

    A new molecule that reveals active tuberculosis bacteria in coughed-up mucus and saliva could simplify TB diagnoses and speed up tests for detecting strains of the disease that are resistant to drugs.

    This synthetic molecule is a modified version of a sugar that TB bacteria consume to help build their cell walls. The sugar is tagged with a dye that lights up under a fluorescent...

    02/28/2018 - 14:03 Microbes, Microbiology, Biomedicine