May 16, 2012 Is fracking making people sick? The question has ignited a national debate. A proposed study in northern Pennsylvania could help resolve the issue. By mining more than 10 years' worth of patient records, researchers hope to better understand the potential impact of hydraulic fracturing on health.
April 23, 2012 A survey by the Interactive Autism Network found that nearly two-thirds of children with autism spectrum disorders have been bullied at some point. And it found that these kids are three times as likely as typical kids to have been bullied in the past month.
April 12, 2012 New research shows that first-graders and baboons have at least one thing in common: Both can tell the difference between actual written words and random sequences of letters. The finding challenges some conventional ideas about what goes on in the human brain when we read.
April 9, 2012 Half of the mothers in the study had a child with an autism spectrum disorder, while the rest had a child with a developmental delay unrelated to autism, or no developmental problem. But an author of the study says it's not clear whether there's any connection between rising obesity rates and the increasing number of children diagnosed with autism.
March 29, 2012 The human brain may be just three pounds of jelly. But it turns out that jelly is very organized. New scanning techniques show that the brain's communications pathways are laid out in a highly ordered three-dimensional grid that look a bit like a map of Manhattan.
February 27, 2012 Scientists say they've developed a technique that reconnects the severed ends of a nerve, allowing it to begin carrying messages again very quickly — at least in rats. Usually, severed nerves must regrow from the point of injury — a process that can take months, if it ever happens.
January 31, 2012 The anesthetic and club drug ketamine seems to lift depression symptoms in a matter of hours. But how does it work? Researchers are searching for the answer in an attempt to make a new class of depression medications. "We can take care of a migraine in hours," one researcher asks. "So why do we have to wait weeks or months with depression?"
January 30, 2012 Currently, there's no quick fix for severe depression. Antidepressants usually take weeks to work, if they work at all. But patients who received experimental doses of ketamine — long used as an anesthetic, and an illegal club drug — report an astounding relief from their symptoms in less than a day.
January 24, 2012 Researchers found that children whose blood contained high levels of chemicals used in nonstick coatings and stain-resistant fabrics were less responsive to vaccination. The finding suggests, but doesn't prove, that these chemicals may make some children more vulnerable to infectious diseases.
January 6, 2012 A study of more than 7,000 British civil servants finds that age-related declines in cognitive ability start as early as 45. The results suggest that efforts to head off mental problems late in life need to begin in middle age, the study's authors write at the end of their paper.
December 29, 2011 In the world of science, 2011 may go down as the year of the retraction. Lots of highly publicized discoveries got debunked this year. And many of those discoveries involved findings that both scientists and the public really wanted to believe.
December 23, 2011 Birds and wasps do it. So do octopuses, otters, polar bears and dolphins. A surprising number of animals use tools, and scientists say there are some widespread misconceptions. Among them: Using tools isn't a sign of intelligence, and animals don't need fingers to be crafty with tools.