Fundamental facial expressions: are there really 21?

Fundamental facial expressions: are there really 21?
How about sadly disgusted? Fearfully angry or fearfully surprised? We’re happily surprised to see that these categories seem burned into the human psyche. When volunteers are asked to make a “disgustedly surprised” face, they all look pretty much alike. How come? More »

The benefits of watching

The benefits of watching
A fascinating study taps “mirror neurons” to improve hand strength and dexterity. If I watch a movie of somebody cutting with scissors, and then use scissors myself, my brain will change — and my hand will be stronger. No kidding! More »

To heal hearing, try temporary blindness?

To heal hearing, try temporary blindness?
Think hearing and sight were separate? Think again. After seven days in darkness, mice detected quieter sounds, and recognized subtle changes in pitch. What does this suggest about new ways to support failing hearing? More »

Does concussion accelerate Alzheimer’s?

Does concussion accelerate Alzheimer's?
As scientists search for the effects of brain injury, a long-term study looks at signs of Alzheimer’s, cognitive ability and past concussion. Links exist, but they are murky. More »

Stimulation: Too much could hurt when you are young.

Stimulation: Too much could hurt when you are young.
Growing brains need blood. But persistent noise or activity both slow formation of new vessels in the brain of a mouse. Mice aren’t people, but this result might interest new parents! More »

Cholera strikes Haiti, spreads

Cholera strikes Haiti, spreads
As Haiti copes with thousands of deaths, scientists try to understand how weather affects cholera, and how to battle a feces-borne disease in a country lacking good sanitation and clean water. More »

Dangerous viruses: New weapons against new foes

Dangerous viruses: New weapons against new foes
Old-style outbreak investigations can take years. Mammals may carry 320,000 viruses. Some can start an epidemic if they “jump” to people. Can ecological knowledge support new prevention strategies to block the “jumpers”? More »

Sweet and sour!

Sweet and sour!
Study finds added sugar — equal to 3 cans of soda a day — doubles death rate among female mice, and impairs male reproduction. Even if mice aren’t people, yikes! More »

Bugs for dinner!

Bugs for dinner!
What about farming insects? 2 billion people eat insects, and more should be, according to the UN. As the planet searches for protein sources that are easy on the environment, are you ready for a 6-legged solution? More »

Giving the ultimate gift

Giving the ultimate gift

Listing your Facebook status as “organ donor” seems to induce friends to sign up at organ registries. A new study finds a strong quick surge in sign-ups that lasted a couple of weeks. Can social media serve social purposes? More »

Cancer genetics: Angelina Jolie’s decision

Cancer genetics: Angelina Jolie's decision

By going public about her preventive mastectomy, Jolie sought to raise awareness of the most radical form of cancer prevention: surgical removal. But how widely does her example apply? Can genetic sequencing help in cancer treatment? More »

Monkey: When in Rome…

Monkey: When in Rome…

If you teach a group of monkeys that blue corn tastes yucky, they switch to pink corn. What happens when a monkey raised to detest pink corn enters the group? You might be surprised! More »

Stem cell therapy: When will it help the heart?

Stem cell therapy: When will it help the heart?

Heart muscle is never replaced if it dies in a heart attack. Muscle cells grown from stem cells can briefly help broken hearts. Could new approaches make the healing long-term? More »

Problems of the apes

Problems of the apes

Bad feet? Aching back? Impacted wisdom teeth? Blame balky designs inherited from your relatives. How has evolution equipped — or mal-equipped — us for modern life? How do big brains support culture that supports big brains? More »

Lying liars lie!

Lying liars lie!

We lie for many reasons: Glory. Money. Both. Something else. Is there a science of detecting lies? Does the digital realm make lying harder? Easier? Both? More »