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  • Science Ticker

    Splitting families may end, but migrant kids’ trauma needs to be studied

    Faced with a growing outcry against separating migrant children from their families at the U.S. border — including this statement from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine — President Trump reversed course June 20 and issued an executive order aimed at keeping detained families together.

    Scientists, armed with evidence that traumatic events early in life can have...

    06/20/2018 - 17:39 Neuroscience, Psychology, Science & Society
  • News

    Phone apps are helping scientists track suicidal thoughts in real time

    Suicide research is undergoing a timing shift, and not a moment too soon. A new breed of studies that track daily — and even hourly — changes in suicidal thinking is providing intriguing, although still preliminary, insights into how to identify those on the verge of trying to kill themselves.

    Monitoring ways in which suicidal thoughts wax and wane over brief time periods, it turns out,...

    06/18/2018 - 09:00 Psychology, Mental Health
  • News

    The number of teens who report having sex is down

    Fewer teens are having sex than at any point since 1991, a national survey of U.S. high school students finds. But among those students who are sexually active, fewer are using condoms, raising the risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections.

    About 40 percent of teens surveyed in 2017 reported having ever had sex. That’s down from about 54 percent in 1991, the first year the...

    06/14/2018 - 19:04 Health
  • News

    Kids with food allergies are twice as likely to have autism

    American kids with food allergies are more than twice as likely to have autism spectrum disorder as kids without, a study of national health data finds. The population-based finding adds to experimental evidence that there may be a connection between false steps or overreactions by the immune system and the neurodevelopmental disorder.

    Researchers looked only for an association between...

    06/08/2018 - 16:31 Health, Mental Health
  • News in Brief

    If you thought the most recent flu season was bad, you were right

    What felt like a miserable flu season this past year was, in fact, a miserable flu season.

    The 2017–2018 influenza season was classified in the “high severity” category overall, according to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It was only the third use of this designation since 2003.

    To assess how the influenza virus has been affecting U.S....

    06/08/2018 - 12:17 Health
  • News in Brief

    Suicide rates have shot up in almost every U.S. state

    Suicide rates have increased across the United States — and in dozens of states by more than 30 percent, according to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention based on public health data from 1999 to 2016.

    Among suicide victims counted in 2015 in 27 states, 54 percent had no known mental health condition, researchers say in the June 8 report. For those who...

    06/07/2018 - 18:46 Health, Mental Health
  • News

    Bees join an exclusive crew of animals that get the concept of zero

    A little brain can be surprisingly good at nothing. Honeybees are the first invertebrates to pass a test of recognizing where zero goes in numerical order, a new study finds.

    Even small children struggle with recognizing “nothing” as being less than one, says cognitive behavioral scientist Scarlett Howard of the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia. But honeybees trained...

    06/07/2018 - 16:58 Animals, Neuroscience
  • Soapbox

    At-home telomere testing is not a reliable marker of aging, researcher says

    Stay younger, longer. Great idea. But direct-to-consumer test kits that promise to gauge a person’s biological age by analyzing a drop of blood are not worth the $100 or so investment, says oncologist Mary Armanios. The tests measure the length of telomeres, the bits of DNA that cap and protect the ends of chromosomes. But the consumer tests are unreliable and can be misinterpreted, Armanios...

    06/07/2018 - 10:00 Health, Genetics, Cells
  • News

    Dogs carry a surprising variety of flu viruses

    Some dogs in China carry a mixed bag of influenza viruses. The discovery raises the possibility that dogs may be able to pass the flu to people, perhaps setting off a pandemic.

    About 15 percent of pet dogs that went to the vet because of respiratory infections carried flu viruses often found in pigs, researchers report June 5 in mBio. Of the virus strains detected, three have recombined...

    06/05/2018 - 14:37 Microbiology, Animals, Health
  • News

    What we know — and don’t know — about a new migraine drug

    Migraines have plagued humans since time immemorial. Now a new migraine prevention treatment, recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, promises long-awaited relief from the debilitating condition. But whether the drug will turn out to be a real solution for the 1 in 7 Americans who suffer from migraines, severe headaches that often come with nausea and visual auras, isn’t...

    06/05/2018 - 14:17 Health, Clinical Trials, Neuroscience