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  • News

    A new implant uses light to control overactive bladders

    A new soft, wireless implant may someday help people who suffer from overactive bladder get through the day with fewer bathroom breaks.

    The implant harnesses a technique for controlling cells with light, known as optogenetics, to regulate nerve cells in the bladder. In experiments in rats with medication-induced overactive bladders, the device alleviated animals’ frequent need to pee,...

    01/02/2019 - 13:00 Biomedicine, Technology
  • The Science Life

    This scientist watches meat rot to decipher the Neandertal diet

    WASHINGTON — Kimberly Foecke has a great relationship with her local butcher.

    Though she buys loads of meat, Foecke is not a chef or the owner of a small zoo. She’s a paleobiologist who studies what Neandertals ate. And that involves, in her words, “experimental putrefaction, which is a fancy way of saying, I rot meat, all day, every day.”

    Scientists know Neandertals ate a lot of...

    01/02/2019 - 06:00 Anthropology, Nutrition
  • Science Stats

    Americans are sleeping less than they were 13 years ago

    Nearly one-third of American adults sleep less than six hours each night, a broad new survey shows.

    Among nearly 400,000 respondents to the annual National Health Interview Survey, 32.9 percent reported this short sleep in 2017 — up from 28.6 percent in 2004 when researchers began noticing a slight drop in sleep time. That’s a 15 percent increase representing “more than 9 million people...

    12/21/2018 - 12:00 Health, Mental Health
  • News in Brief

    How decorating for Christmas sends people to the ER

    Holiday season revelers beware. Lights, ornaments and Christmas trees may land you in the emergency room.

    More than an estimated 173,000 people in the United States were injured by Christmas trees, lights and other holiday-related decorations from 2007 to 2016. Even visiting Santa resulted in an estimated 277 children being injured, scientists report online November 28 in Advances in...

    12/20/2018 - 16:21 Health
  • Year in Review

    The battle over new nerve cells in adult brains intensifies

    Just a generation ago, common wisdom held that once a person reaches adulthood, the brain stops producing new nerve cells. Scientists countered that depressing prospect 20 years ago with signs that a grown-up brain can in fact replenish itself. The implications were huge: Maybe that process would offer a way to fight disorders such as depression and Alzheimer’s disease.

    This year,...

    12/20/2018 - 07:00 Neuroscience
  • Year in Review

    E-cigarettes caught fire among teens

    On November 15, Scott Gottlieb, commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, announced new sales restrictions on certain e-cigarette flavors preferred by teens. The move was a response to a worrying rise in vaping among adolescents in the last year. “E-cigs have become an almost ubiquitous and dangerous trend among teens,” he warned, calling it an “epidemic” in a September...
    12/19/2018 - 06:00 Health
  • News

    Tumor ‘organoids’ may speed cancer treatment

    SAN DIEGO — Collecting cancer cells from patients and growing them into 3-D mini tumors could make it possible to quickly screen large numbers of potential drugs for ultra-rare cancers. Preliminary success with a new high-speed, high-volume approach is already guiding treatment decisions for some patients with recurring hard-to-treat cancers.

    “Believe it or not, for some rare cancers...

    12/17/2018 - 12:00 Cancer, Biomedicine, Cells
  • Year in Review

    Humans wiped out mosquitoes (in one small lab test)

    For the first time, humans have built a set of pushy, destructive genes that infiltrated small populations of mosquitoes and drove them to extinction.

    But before dancing sleeveless in the streets, let’s be clear. This extermination occurred in a lab in mosquito populations with less of the crazy genetic diversity that an extinction scheme would face in the wild. The new gene drive,...

    12/17/2018 - 08:26 Animals, Genetics, Health
  • Year in Review

    Drinking studies muddied the waters around the safety of alcohol use

    For people who enjoy an occasional cocktail, 2018 was a sobering year. Headlines delivered the news with stone-cold certainty: Alcohol — in any amount — is bad for your health. “The safest level of drinking is none,” a group of scientists concluded.

    That finding, along with another one reported this year, seemed to contradict the reassuring notion that an occasional drink might be...

    12/17/2018 - 08:24 Health, Science & Society
  • Year in Review

    Zapping the spinal cord helped paralyzed people learn to move again

    The spinal cord can make a comeback.

    Intensive rehabilitation paired with electric stimulation of the spinal cord allowed six paralyzed people to walk or take steps years after their injuries, three small studies published this year showed.

    “There’s a capacity here of human spinal circuitry to be able to regain significant motor control and function,” says Susan Harkema, a...

    12/17/2018 - 08:19 Neuroscience