News in Brief
HOUSTON — Children born to mothers who were exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke during pregnancy face an elevated risk of eczema and other skin problems in childhood.Elementary school children exposed to smoke in the womb were 50 percent more likely to have any history of atopic dermatitis than unexposed kids, scientists in South Korea found using blood tests and questionnaires about prenatal...
03/01/2015 - 08:00
Health, Immune Science, Human Development
News in Brief
HOUSTON — Early breast-feeding accompanies a lower risk of pet allergy, possibly because of the way breast milk steers the composition of an infant’s gut microbe mix.Scientists find that formula-fed newborns have a kind of gut bacterium at levels typically not seen until later in babyhood. These kids also had more signs of pet allergy years later than did breast-fed children, researchers...
02/27/2015 - 15:26
Human Development, Health, Immune Science
A federal vaccine advisory committee voted February 26 to recommend use of an expanded version of the human papillomavirus shot marketed as Gardasil.The move, by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, clears the way for the broader-coverage vaccine, called Gardasil 9, to be used in the clinic. Current vaccines offer protection against up to...
02/26/2015 - 18:44
Health, Science & Society
Laura Sanders is away on maternity leave.Give a toddler an iPhone and 10 minutes, and she’ll take at least 50 selfies and buy a car on eBay. Give her an iPad, and she’ll stumble upon decidedly non-kid-friendly episodes of Breaking Bad.With smartphones and tablets, children are exposed to an unprecedented amount of screen...
02/26/2015 - 16:00
Human Development, Neuroscience
The relentless spread of malaria may be largely a side effect of a long, slow battle of the sexes among mosquitoes.Certain reproductive quirks of male and female Anopheles mosquitoes look as if they evolved in some back-and-forth scenario, researchers report in the Feb. 27 Science. In four of 16 species...
02/26/2015 - 14:00
Evolution, Animals, Biomedicine
Human brains ballooned to about triple the size of their ancestors’ thanks to just a few genetic tweaks, new research suggests.When scientists inject a gene found only in humans into the brains of mouse embryos, the normally smooth mouse brain develops the crinkles and folds reminiscent of wrinkly human brains, scientists ...
02/26/2015 - 14:00
Human Evolution, Molecular Evolution, Neuroscience
Humans may not be the only ones to mix up old memories. Bumblebees seem to do it, too.Using fake flowers, researchers in London have shown that bumblebees sometimes prefer to visit a flower that combines the colors and patterns of flowers the bees previously visited – even if they’ve never seen the combo flower before. Preferring the novel flowers suggests that the bees are merging memories of...
02/26/2015 - 12:00
Food additives may keep snacks fresh and tasty looking, but they can wreak havoc on the gut. These additives disrupt the intestine’s protection from bacteria and boost inflammation in mice, scientists report online February 25 in Nature.The new research “underscores the fact that a lot of things we eat … may not be as safe as we think...
02/25/2015 - 13:00
Health, Microbiology, Immune Science
In the first seven weeks of 2015, measles struck 141 people in 17 states and Washington, D.C. Most people in the United States are protected against the often severe fever and rash by having had one or more doses of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine. But a small fraction of people either can’t get the shot — they are too young or have weak immune systems — or choose not to.The immunity of...
02/25/2015 - 11:30
My favorite quote in Nathan Seppa’s story about chronic stress and health belongs to Rosalind Wright, a pulmonologist who studies links between psychological stress and diseases like asthma. Stress, she says, is “not just affecting your head.”Of course, the brain is where chronic stress starts. But its influences on the body roam far...
02/25/2015 - 10:30
Health, Mental Health