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Military families bolster the case that obesity is indeed contagious
Members of the military serve their country in myriad ways. That includes helping researchers figure out whether obesity is a contagious disease.A newstudy involving thousands of military families suggests that the answer is yes.The idea that fatness can spread like chicken pox or the flu may... (Source: Los Angeles Times - Science)
Source: Los Angeles Times - Science - January 23, 2018 Category: Science Authors: Karen Kaplan Source Type: news

Less smartphone time equals happier teenager, study suggests
A precipitous drop in the happiness, self-esteem and life satisfaction of American teens came as their ownership of smartphones rocketed from zero to 73% and they devoted an increasing share of their time online.Coincidence? New research suggests it is not.In astudy published Monday in the journal... (Source: Los Angeles Times - Science)
Source: Los Angeles Times - Science - January 23, 2018 Category: Science Authors: Melissa Healy Source Type: news

Scientists smash thousands of proteins to find four ‘Legos of life'
By “smashing” proteins and looking at the broken bits, scientists at Rutgers University say they’ve discovered four basic building blocks that can be stacked like Legos to build all kinds of different proteins.The resultsdescribed in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences could help... (Source: Los Angeles Times - Science)
Source: Los Angeles Times - Science - January 22, 2018 Category: Science Authors: Amina Khan Source Type: news

New Caledonian crows are famous for crafting sticks into hooked tools. Here's why they do it
New Caledonian crows are famous for their ability to craft sticks into hooked tools, which they use to probe for larvae and insects hidden in trees. But why they do this has been anyone ’s guess — until now.As anyone who has ever struggled to open a bag of chips knows, grabbing a pair of scissors... (Source: Los Angeles Times - Science)
Source: Los Angeles Times - Science - January 22, 2018 Category: Science Authors: Sean Greene Source Type: news

Forget concussions. The real risk of CTE comes from repeated hits to the head, study shows
For more than a decade, researchers trying to make sense of the mysterious degenerative brain disease afflicting football players and other contact-sport athletes have focused on the threat posed by concussions. But new research suggests that attention was misguided.Instead of concerning themselves... (Source: Los Angeles Times - Science)
Source: Los Angeles Times - Science - January 19, 2018 Category: Science Authors: Melissa Healy Source Type: news

Watch Earth's temperature rise for 138 years
Earth's average temperature has been rising for the past 138 years. (Credit:  NASA/GSFC Scientific Visualization Studio) (Source: Los Angeles Times - Science)
Source: Los Angeles Times - Science - January 18, 2018 Category: Science Source Type: news

This new blood test can detect early signs of 8 kinds of cancer
Scientists have developed a noninvasive blood test that can detect signs of eight types of cancer long before any symptoms of the disease arise.The test, which can also help doctors determine where in a person ’s body the cancer is located, is called CancerSEEK. Its genesis is described in a paper... (Source: Los Angeles Times - Science)
Source: Los Angeles Times - Science - January 18, 2018 Category: Science Authors: Deborah Netburn Source Type: news

2017 was one of the three hottest years on record, NASA and NOAA scientists say
Either way you slice it, last year was a top-three scorcher. Global temperatures in 2017 were the third-highest on record, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the second-highest according to data from NASA.While the results announced during a joint briefing... (Source: Los Angeles Times - Science)
Source: Los Angeles Times - Science - January 18, 2018 Category: Science Authors: Amina Khan Source Type: news

British government targets a modern public health scourge: Loneliness
The country that put the starch in “stiff upper lip” has made companionship, conversation and human contact a national priority.On Wednesday, British Prime Minister Theresa May announced the creation of a new ministerial portfolio in her Cabinet: combating loneliness.With more than 9 million... (Source: Los Angeles Times - Science)
Source: Los Angeles Times - Science - January 18, 2018 Category: Science Authors: Melissa Healy Source Type: news

To reduce the risk of opioid addiction, study suggests higher doses but fewer refills
Health experts have an intriguing suggestion for reducing opioid overdoses and deaths — asking doctors to prescribe bigger doses of the powerful painkillers.It may sound counterintuitive, but providing more pain relief to patients right away might allow them to stop taking the pills sooner. And... (Source: Los Angeles Times - Science)
Source: Los Angeles Times - Science - January 18, 2018 Category: Science Authors: Karen Kaplan Source Type: news

When it comes to treating obesity, is fitness more important than fatness?
After nearly four decades of rising body weights in the United States and across the world, medical experts are still casting about for the best way to treat obesity and the diseases that come with it.The answer may depend on which contributes more importantly to ill health: not enough fitness,... (Source: Los Angeles Times - Science)
Source: Los Angeles Times - Science - January 17, 2018 Category: Science Authors: Melissa Healy Source Type: news

Scientists see evidence of iridescent rainbow feathers on a dinosaur
A team of Chinese, American and Belgian scientists have unearthed a 161-million-year-old dinosaur fossil showing that the animal may have had vibrant, iridescent plumage like that of peacocks and other birds today.The fossil of the dazzling dinosaur,described in the journal Nature Communications,... (Source: Los Angeles Times - Science)
Source: Los Angeles Times - Science - January 17, 2018 Category: Science Authors: Amina Khan Source Type: news

Obese patients lived longer if they had weight loss surgery, study finds
Bariatric surgery has become the medical profession ’s go-to solution for meaningful weight loss, and new research shows why: It saves lives.In a retrospectivestudy of close to 34,000 Israeli patients with obesity, the 8,385 who got one of three surgical procedures were roughly two times less... (Source: Los Angeles Times - Science)
Source: Los Angeles Times - Science - January 17, 2018 Category: Science Authors: Melissa Healy Source Type: news

Even without nudging blood pressure up, high-salt diet hobbles the brain
A high-salt diet may spell trouble for the brain — and for mental performance — even if it doesn’t push blood pressure into dangerous territory, new research has found.Anew study has shown that in mice fed a very high-salt diet, blood flow to the brain declined, the integrity of blood vessels... (Source: Los Angeles Times - Science)
Source: Los Angeles Times - Science - January 16, 2018 Category: Science Authors: Melissa Healy Source Type: news

A silver lining from California's drought: Water conservation led to reduced energy use and less pollution
In April 2015, Gov. Jerry Brown called on the people of the most populous state to reduce their water use by 25% in response to a punishing four-year drought.It was an audacious goal, and Californians came close to meeting it. Between June 2015 and April 2016, when restrictions were in effect,... (Source: Los Angeles Times - Science)
Source: Los Angeles Times - Science - January 12, 2018 Category: Science Authors: Deborah Netburn Source Type: news

The same elements that made the Thomas fire such a monster also created deadly debris flows
Santa Barbara County crews worked through the holidays to defend coastal communities from the second half of Southern California's familiar cycle of fire and flood.They cleaned out the 11 debris basins that dot the Santa Barbara front country, making room for the dirt and ash and rocks that winter... (Source: Los Angeles Times - Science)
Source: Los Angeles Times - Science - January 12, 2018 Category: Science Authors: Bettina Boxall Source Type: news

Erosion is revealing surprising amounts of water ice on Mars
If future astronauts need to mine water on Mars, they may not even have to dig. Thanks to erosion wearing away the Martian surface, scientists using NASA ’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter have spotted thick deposits of ice in the planet’s mid-latitudes that extend hundreds of feet deep.The discovery,... (Source: Los Angeles Times - Science)
Source: Los Angeles Times - Science - January 11, 2018 Category: Science Authors: Amina Khan Source Type: news

Nature boosts your mental health, and you don't even have to leave the city to reap the benefits
Good news, urbanites! New research suggests that you don ’t have to leave the city to reap some of the benefits of being in nature.Simply listening to the chirping of birds, glimpsing the sky and even noticing a scrawny city tree can boost your mental well-being, according to a report published... (Source: Los Angeles Times - Science)
Source: Los Angeles Times - Science - January 11, 2018 Category: Science Authors: Deborah Netburn Source Type: news

Elephants, lions and other wild animals are exquisitely sensitive to the effects of war
A little armed conflict can lead to a lot of problems for wild animals like elephants, lions, giraffes and other large mammals, new research shows. (Source: Los Angeles Times - Science)
Source: Los Angeles Times - Science - January 10, 2018 Category: Science Authors: Karen Kaplan Source Type: news

Mysterious series of fast radio bursts may have been twisted by extreme environment
Astronomers watching a fast-radio burst flashing from more than 3 billion light-years away say that its source lies in an extreme environment with a powerful magnetic field — perhaps a supermassive black hole, or the remains of a supernova.The findings about the phenomenon known as FRB 121102,... (Source: Los Angeles Times - Science)
Source: Los Angeles Times - Science - January 10, 2018 Category: Science Authors: Amina Khan Source Type: news

One of the most promising drugs for Alzheimer's disease fails in clinical trials
To the roughly 400 clinical trials that have tested some experimental treatment for Alzheimer ’s disease and come up short, we can now add three more.An experimental drug called idalopirdine failed to help people with mild to moderate Alzheimer ’s disease in a trio of trials that involved 2,525... (Source: Los Angeles Times - Science)
Source: Los Angeles Times - Science - January 9, 2018 Category: Science Authors: Melissa Healy Source Type: news

This USC physicist wants you to talk about science. His new graphic novel can get you started
A Q&A with USC physicist Clifford Johnson, who has written (and drawn!) a graphic novel about talking about science. His mission is to help people realize that science is not at all beyond their reach. (Source: Los Angeles Times - Science)
Source: Los Angeles Times - Science - January 9, 2018 Category: Science Authors: Deborah Netburn Source Type: news

Banning seven words at the CDC would have at least seven serious consequences for public health
“It’s a beautiful thing, the destruction of words,” George Orwell writes in the fifth chapter of his dystopian novel, “1984.”Four public health experts from Emory University in Atlanta, just a stone ’s throw from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, beg to differ.In aneditorial published... (Source: Los Angeles Times - Science)
Source: Los Angeles Times - Science - January 8, 2018 Category: Science Authors: Melissa Healy Source Type: news

Why the United States is 'the most dangerous of wealthy nations for a child to be born into'
It ’s no surprise that the United States ranks absolutely last in child mortality among the world’s wealthiest countries — that’s been true for years. A new study examines how this sad situation came to be.According to data from the World Health Organization and the global Human Mortality Database,... (Source: Los Angeles Times - Science)
Source: Los Angeles Times - Science - January 8, 2018 Category: Science Authors: Karen Kaplan Source Type: news

2017 was a hot and disaster-filled year for the United States, NOAA says
The year 2017 was the third-warmest on record for the United States, and featured a pileup of weather and climate disasters that cost the nation a record-breaking $306 billion, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (Source: Los Angeles Times - Science)
Source: Los Angeles Times - Science - January 8, 2018 Category: Science Authors: Amina Khan Source Type: news

In rural China, calling someone a 'witch' has serious social consequences
Witches continue to work their dark arts in some parts of the world, at least in the minds of their accusers.For example, in a rural farming community in southwestern China, 13.7% of the population has been labeled “zhu” or “witch” by their neighbors, according to a newpaper published Monday... (Source: Los Angeles Times - Science)
Source: Los Angeles Times - Science - January 8, 2018 Category: Science Authors: Deborah Netburn Source Type: news

Trump's plan to open California coastal waters to new oil and gas drilling probably won't go very far
There are two things working against the Trump administration ’s proposal to open up California coastal waters to new oil and gas drilling: state regulators and simple economics.California has powerful legal tools to head off new offshore development, and the price of oil offers little incentive... (Source: Los Angeles Times - Science)
Source: Los Angeles Times - Science - January 6, 2018 Category: Science Authors: Bettina Boxall, Tony Barboza Source Type: news

California has many weapons in its arsenal to block new offshore oil drilling
There are two things working against the Trump administration ’s proposal to open up California coastal waters to new oil and gas drilling: state regulators and simple economics.California has powerful legal tools to head off new offshore development, and the price of oil offers little incentive... (Source: Los Angeles Times - Science)
Source: Los Angeles Times - Science - January 6, 2018 Category: Science Authors: Bettina Boxall, Tony Barboza Source Type: news

No, it's not too late to get a flu shot
Is it too late to get a flu shot? Health experts agree that the answer is no. (Source: Los Angeles Times - Science)
Source: Los Angeles Times - Science - January 5, 2018 Category: Science Authors: Karen Kaplan Source Type: news

Even if you don't know you're sick yet, your face will give you away
They say you can ’t judge a book by its cover, but humans can judge whether another person is sick by looking at a photo for just a few seconds.That may not sound remarkable — until you consider that the sick people in the photos were in the very early stages of illnesses. They were participants... (Source: Los Angeles Times - Science)
Source: Los Angeles Times - Science - January 5, 2018 Category: Science Authors: Karen Kaplan Source Type: news

Gene therapy offers long-term treatment for mice with diabetes
The newly resurgent field of gene therapy, which recently produced treatments forblood cancers andblindness, has taken a step toward fighting a scourge that is on the rise worldwide: diabetes.Inresearch reported Thursday in the journal Cell Stem Cell, scientists showed that a single infusion... (Source: Los Angeles Times - Science)
Source: Los Angeles Times - Science - January 5, 2018 Category: Science Authors: Melissa Healy Source Type: news

Humans may look for the helpers, but bonobos prefer the troublemakers
When Mr. Rogers told viewers of his beloved children ’s TV show to “look for the helpers,” bonobos clearly weren’t paying attention. A new study of one of our closest living relatives finds that these docile apes prefer individuals who hinder over those who help.Thefindings, described in the journal... (Source: Los Angeles Times - Science)
Source: Los Angeles Times - Science - January 4, 2018 Category: Science Authors: Amina Khan Source Type: news

A popular sugar additive may have fueled the spread of not one but two superbugs
Two bacterial strains that have plagued hospitals around the country may have been at least partly fueled by a sugar additive in our food products, scientists say. Trehalose, a sugar that is added to a wide range of food products, could have allowed certain strains of Clostridium difficile to become... (Source: Los Angeles Times - Science)
Source: Los Angeles Times - Science - January 3, 2018 Category: Science Authors: Amina Khan Source Type: news

In the DNA of an ancient infant, scientists find traces of the very first Americans
All Native American ancestry can be traced to the same source population from a single migration event. Scientists came to this conclusion by analyzing the DNA of a baby girl who lived in Alaska about 11,500 years ago. (Source: Los Angeles Times - Science)
Source: Los Angeles Times - Science - January 3, 2018 Category: Science Authors: Deborah Netburn Source Type: news

Lung cancer screening works better when individual risk factors are taken into account, study says
New research estimates that in a single year, some 5,000 lung cancer deaths might be averted if some former smokers who don ’t currently qualify for lung-cancer screening were to get a computed tomography scan capable of detecting malignancy.The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, which lays down... (Source: Los Angeles Times - Science)
Source: Los Angeles Times - Science - January 2, 2018 Category: Science Authors: Melissa Healy Source Type: news

Autism spectrum disorders appear to have stabilized among U.S. kids and teens
Researchers have a new reason to believe that the prevalence of autism spectrum disorders in the U.S. has reached a plateau.The evidence comes from theNational Health Interview Survey, which polls American households about a variety of conditions. When a participating family includes children,... (Source: Los Angeles Times - Science)
Source: Los Angeles Times - Science - January 2, 2018 Category: Science Authors: Karen Kaplan Source Type: news

Do psychiatrists have any business talking about President Trump's mental health?
So many norms of politics and civic discourse have been shattered in the year that ends this Sunday. And not every smashed convention this year has been the handiwork of President Donald J. Trump.In a book of essays published in October, two dozen psychiatrists and psychologists challenged strictures... (Source: Los Angeles Times - Science)
Source: Los Angeles Times - Science - December 30, 2017 Category: Science Authors: Melissa Healy Source Type: news

11 science stories we ’re looking forward to in 2018
A look at some of the science we're eager to see in 2018. The list includes a mission to the sun, a lander headed for Mars, a new telescope to look for life-friendly planets, and elections that will test the appeal of scientists running for political office. (Source: Los Angeles Times - Science)
Source: Los Angeles Times - Science - December 29, 2017 Category: Science Authors: Deborah Netburn, Amina Khan , Melissa Healy Source Type: news

Exercise is good medicine for boosting memory and thinking skills, new guidelines say
Every year, you resolve to get more exercise. And every year, you stay stuck on the couch.The American Academy of Neurology is here to help. The experts on brain health are out withnew guidelines that say exercising twice a week may help preserve memory and thinking skills in people with mild... (Source: Los Angeles Times - Science)
Source: Los Angeles Times - Science - December 28, 2017 Category: Science Authors: Karen Kaplan Source Type: news

An explosive wildfire season drives firefighting costs to record levels
State and federal firefighting costs soared to record levels this year as wildfires scorched more than 9.5 million acres across the country, continuing a trend that is playing havoc with the U.S. Forest Service budget.The agency spent $2.4 billion battling wildfires in federal fiscal year 2017,... (Source: Los Angeles Times - Science)
Source: Los Angeles Times - Science - December 28, 2017 Category: Science Authors: Bettina Boxall Source Type: news

Study of California women finds 1 in 14 used pot during pregnancy
Prenatal exposure to pot has become increasingly common in California since the state legalized medical marijuana in 1996, according to a new study.Pot use by women during the first two months of pregnancy increased by about 7.5% per year between 2009 and 2016, researchersreported this week in... (Source: Los Angeles Times - Science)
Source: Los Angeles Times - Science - December 27, 2017 Category: Science Authors: Karen Kaplan Source Type: news

Poachers shoot down anti-poaching drone in the Gulf of California
Tensions between poachers and conservationists in the Gulf of California escalated over the weekend after a fisherman shot down a drone being used to monitor illegal activities.The drone belonged to the U.S. conservation group Sea Shepherd, which has two ships in the northern part of the Sea of... (Source: Los Angeles Times - Science)
Source: Los Angeles Times - Science - December 27, 2017 Category: Science Authors: Laura Tillman Source Type: news

Do you take calcium and vitamin D to protect your bones? A new study says it doesn't help
If taking more vitamin and mineral supplements is part of your plan for a healthier new year, a new study may prompt you to reconsider.Researchers who scoured the medical literature for evidence thatcalcium andvitamin D pills could help prevent bone fractures came up empty.Their analysis focused... (Source: Los Angeles Times - Science)
Source: Los Angeles Times - Science - December 26, 2017 Category: Science Authors: Karen Kaplan Source Type: news

One day, catheters could be designed like this beetle's penis
The penis of the thistle tortoise beetle is longer than its entire body, and yet remarkably good at withstanding breakage during sex — and scientists have discovered why.The findings,detailed in the journal Science Advances, could aid in the development of safer catheters and other medical devices.... (Source: Los Angeles Times - Science)
Source: Los Angeles Times - Science - December 23, 2017 Category: Science Authors: Amina Khan Source Type: news

From the dazzling to the disheartening, 2017 was a remarkable year for science
What a year for science: There were thrilling discoveries of planets that might be hospitable to life and major advances in gene editing. We also endured the death of a beloved spacecraft and a series of attacks on the value of scientific research. (Source: Los Angeles Times - Science)
Source: Los Angeles Times - Science - December 22, 2017 Category: Science Authors: Karen Kaplan Source Type: news

From the dazzling to the disheartening, 2017 was a remarkable year for science
For the science fans among us, 2017 was a year of dazzling highs and disheartening lows.There were thrilling discoveries of planets that might be hospitable to life and major advances in DNA editing that could cure a range of genetic diseases.We also endured the death of a beloved spacecraft... (Source: Los Angeles Times - Science)
Source: Los Angeles Times - Science - December 22, 2017 Category: Science Authors: Karen Kaplan Source Type: news

Couple donates $165 million to preserve 24,000 acres at Point Conception
A conservation group on Thursday purchased a sprawling stretch of Santa Barbara County coastline — a prized acquisition made possible by a $165-million gift from a couple who had long sought to protect the pristine ranchland from development.The nonprofit Nature Conservancy acquired theCojo-Jalama... (Source: Los Angeles Times - Science)
Source: Los Angeles Times - Science - December 22, 2017 Category: Science Authors: Thomas Curwen Source Type: news

It's Christmastime, and that means dogs are now at peak risk of chocolate poisoning
It may be the most wonderful time of the year for people, but it's a time of peak peril for our pets.Dogs, in particular, face a heightened risk ofchocolate poisoning during the Christmas season. According to anew study, the risk is nearly five times greater than at holiday-free times of the... (Source: Los Angeles Times - Science)
Source: Los Angeles Times - Science - December 21, 2017 Category: Science Authors: Karen Kaplan Source Type: news

Kale and other leafy vegetables may make your brain seem 11 years younger
Look into your salad bowl and think: If a fountain of cognitive youth were flowing in there, would you return every day?In research that gives new meaning to the expression “salad days,” a study published Wednesday finds that older people who ate at least one serving of leafy greens a day had... (Source: Los Angeles Times - Science)
Source: Los Angeles Times - Science - December 21, 2017 Category: Science Authors: Melissa Healy Source Type: news

NASA reveals finalists for next New Frontiers robotic mission: Saturn's moon Titan or Rosetta spacecraft's comet
The field for NASA ’s next New Frontiers mission is narrowing. Officials announced the two finalists for a new robotic explorer mission — one that would send a spacecraft to bring samples of the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko to Earth, and another to explore Saturn’s moon Titan.The two mission... (Source: Los Angeles Times - Science)
Source: Los Angeles Times - Science - December 20, 2017 Category: Science Authors: Amina Khan Source Type: news