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  • Science Ticker

    Florida mosquitoes likely spreading Zika

    Mosquitoes in Miami now appear to be transmitting Zika virus.

    Four cases of Zika infection in Florida were probably acquired via the bite of local mosquitoes, the state’s health department announced July 29. These are the first cases of local transmission of the virus in the continental United States.

    “Zika is now here,” Tom Frieden, director of U.S. Centers for Disease Control and...

    07/29/2016 - 15:14 Health
  • News

    Parasitic worm eggs found on Silk Road latrine artifacts

    Rare evidence has emerged that humanborne infectious diseases moved across Asia around 2,000 years ago via the famous Silk Road. Clues to this ancient illness spread come from cloth wrapped around the ends of sticks once used by travelers as the equivalent of toilet paper.

    Preserved feces on cloth caps of sticks previously excavated from a latrine at a Silk Road way station in north...

    07/29/2016 - 11:03 Archaeology, Health
  • News

    Gift-giving brain cells are lifeline to injured nerve cells

    Under duress, nerve cells get a little help from their friends. Brain cells called astrocytes send their own energy-producing mitochondria to struggling nerve cells. Those gifts may help the neurons rebound after injuries such as strokes, scientists propose in the July 28 Nature.

    It was known...

    07/29/2016 - 07:00 Neuroscience, Biomedicine, Health
  • Science Ticker

    This week in Zika: Revised risk, new mosquito threat, U.S. on the brink

    The whipsaw of recent Zika news — good, then grim, then good again — paints a dizzying picture of the epidemic’s reach, risks and how to fight it.

    On July 25, Colombia announced that the Zika epidemic there was over — good news for a country with nearly 100,000 cases of infection reported so far. But days later, the news was back to being bad: Honduras reported nine new babies born with...

    07/28/2016 - 17:12 Health, Microbiology
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers ponder animal flight

    Flightless perks

    Galápagos cormorants are the only cormorant species with wings too small to fly, and broken cellular antennae that transmit garbled developmental messages are probably to blame, Tina Hesman Saey ...

    07/27/2016 - 16:14 Animals, Biophysics, Health
  • News

    The nose knows how to fight staph

    MANCHESTER, England — The human nose harbors not only a deadly enemy — Staphylococcus aureus — but also its natural foe. Scientists have now isolated a compound from that foe that might combat MRSA, the methicillin-resistant strain of S. aureus.

    “We didn’t expect to find this. We were...

    07/27/2016 - 13:23 Microbiology, Health
  • News

    Vaping’s toxic vapors come mainly from e-liquid solvents

    Over the last three years, growing evidence has shown that electronic cigarettes are not the harmless alternative to smoking that many proponents have argued. Now, a new study traces a large share of e-cigs’ toxic gases to a heat-triggered breakdown of the liquids used to create the vapors. And the hotter an e-cig gets — and the more it’s used — the more toxic compounds it emits, the study...

    07/27/2016 - 08:00 Chemistry, Health
  • Science Stats

    U.S. lags in road safety

    U.S. drivers love to hit the road. The problem is doing so safely.

    In 2013, 32,894 people in the United States died in motor vehicle crashes. Although down since 2000, the overall death rate — 10.3 per 100,000 people — tops 19 other high-income countries, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention...

    07/21/2016 - 16:00 Health, Science & Society
  • Science Ticker

    Getting rid of snails is effective at stopping snail fever

    To stop snail fever, control the snails.

    That’s the takeaway of a new study of snail fever, or schistosomiasis, a tropical disease that affects more than 250 million people worldwide. It’s caused by a water-borne parasite that reproduces inside some snails. Parasite larvae burrow through people’s skin and can cause infertility, cognitive problems and even cancer. Today, most countries...

    07/21/2016 - 14:00 Animals, Health, Science & Society
  • News

    Antibiotics might fight Alzheimer’s plaques

    A long course of antibiotics reduced the levels of a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease in the brains of mice, possibly by changing the species of bacteria in the gut. The results, described July 21 in Scientific Reports, suggest that gut bacteria may be linked in some way to Alzheimer’s.

    The finding is preliminary, cautions...

    07/21/2016 - 05:00 Neuroscience, Biomedicine, Health