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Preview: L.A. Times - Science

L.A. Times - Science

In-depth science news coverage of space exploration, medical science, climate change, technological breakthroughs and more.

Last Build Date: Tue, 12 Dec 2017 06:42:11 -0800

Copyright: ©2017 Los Angeles Times

Is 'man flu' real? Medical science delivers comfort to helpless male snufflers

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 05:00:00 PST

We’ve all seen him: The man who strides boldly into high-stakes negotiations, risks serious injury to win a pickup basketball game and fearlessly confronts things that go bump in the night, yet is brought low by a tiny virus. He snivels pitiably, wallows in his misery and tests the most forbearing...


Cassini may be dead, but a new era of Saturn science has just begun

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 17:20:00 PST

NASA’s Cassini mission to Saturn may have came to a fiery end in September, but observations made by the spacecraft in its final months still have plenty to teach us about the mysteries of the ringed planet.

Case in point: A new study finds that the electrically charged region of Saturn’s atmosphere,...


In the face of a threat, narwhals respond in just about the worst possible way

Fri, 8 Dec 2017 16:20:00 PST

Narwhals can’t pick whether to freeze or flee after being caught in human hunting nets – and that reaction can put them in grave danger, according to a new study of the marine mammals.

The discovery, described in the journal Science, has implications for the vulnerability of these mammals as they...


Shopping for healthcare online? The odds are stacked against you

Fri, 8 Dec 2017 13:40:00 PST

The internet is great place to shop for plane tickets, laundry detergent, artisan jewelry and pretty much anything else you might ever want to buy. But a new report says there’s one big exception — healthcare.

If you expect the World Wide Web to help you figure out how much you’ll need to pay to...


Add at least 57 to the number of gun-related deaths tied to the Sandy Hook mass shooting

Thu, 7 Dec 2017 11:00:00 PST

One often-overlooked fact about mass shootings is that they have been very good for the gun business. Americans’ anxieties are stoked both by the random violence itself and the ensuing debates over gun control. Customers, including some who’ve never owned a gun, race to buy weapons they fear may...


America, it's time to get ready for the flu

Thu, 7 Dec 2017 10:00:00 PST

It's the most wonderful time of the year - the time when the flu makes its presence known in the United States. The influenza virus had been laying low through October, but that's changed since early November.(image)

Scientists use CRISPR to turn genes on without editing their DNA

Thu, 7 Dec 2017 09:15:00 PST

The revolutionary gene editing tool CRISPR-Cas9 is best known for helping scientists edit a strand of DNA more precisely and efficiently than ever before.

Now, researchers have demonstrated another use for the CRISPR complex: changing which genes are expressed without altering the genome itself.


Found: The oldest known supermassive black hole in the universe

Wed, 6 Dec 2017 15:00:00 PST

Thanks to the beacon-like glare of a quasar, astronomers have discovered the most distant supermassive black hole they’ve ever seen, carrying the mass of a whopping 800 million suns.

The quasar J1342+0928, described in the journal Nature, sheds new light on a mysterious epoch near the dawn of the...


This weird, water-loving dinosaur has claws like a velociraptor and a neck like a goose

Wed, 6 Dec 2017 10:00:00 PST

If it walks like a duck and swims like a duck, it might be a dinosaur.(image)

Widespread screening for breast cancer didn't do much to save women's lives, study finds

Tue, 5 Dec 2017 16:35:00 PST

Breast cancer deaths have declined markedly in the Netherlands since a nationwide screening program began in 1989, but mammograms deserve little — if any — of the credit, a new study suggests.

In fact, the main impact of inviting Dutch women between the ages of 50 and 74 to get a mammogram every...


Fires, droughts and hurricanes: What's the link between climate change and natural disasters?

Tue, 5 Dec 2017 11:25:00 PST

Hurricanes, wildfires and other natural disasters seem to be getting more severe. Here's how they may be linked with climate change.(image)

FDA's program to speed up drug approval shaved nearly a year off the process

Tue, 5 Dec 2017 09:00:00 PST

Speeding the pace at which potentially lifesaving drugs are brought to market was a rallying cry for Donald Trump as a candidate, and is a stated priority of his Food and Drug Administration commissioner, Dr. Scott Gottlieb. But a new study finds that programs already in place were routinely shortening...


Eating for your health is also better for the environment, study shows

Mon, 4 Dec 2017 16:15:00 PST

So, you want to reduce your carbon footprint? You might consider improving your diet.

It turns out that healthy eating isn’t just good for your body, it can also lessen your impact on the environment.

Scientists say that food production including growing crops, raising livestock, fishing and transporting...


Early-life stress, especially in war, can have consequences across multiple generations

Fri, 1 Dec 2017 05:10:00 PST

The wartime evacuation of Finnish children more than 70 years ago might have been an historical footnote, its cost to human health and happiness lost in the passage of time. More than 70,000 Finnish children were separated from their parents in a frantic rout and whisked away to institutions and...


These 215 fossil pterosaur eggs are revealing new clues about these mysterious flying reptiles

Thu, 30 Nov 2017 17:20:00 PST

A team of Chinese and Brazilian scientists has discovered a collection of hundreds of fossilized pterosaur eggs, offering an unprecedented look at the early development of these ancient flying reptiles.(image)

More than half of U.S. kids will be obese by the time they’re 35, study predicts

Thu, 30 Nov 2017 14:50:00 PST

Obesity is set to become the new normal in America.

By the time today’s kids reach the age of 35, 57% of them will be obese, a new study predicts. That means that if present trends continue, an American child’s chances of having a normal weight when they grow up — or of being merely overweight...


Australia's flu season has U.S. health officials bracing for a bad winter — and wishing for a new vaccine

Wed, 29 Nov 2017 18:45:00 PST

The flu season is just getting underway in North America, but if Australia’s experience with influenza is any guide, we’re in for a miserable winter.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned Wednesday that the United States could experience...


DNA analysis solves the ‘yeti’ mystery: They’re bears

Wed, 29 Nov 2017 11:20:00 PST

The origins of the Himalayan yeti myth have been revealed at last — thanks to science.

Big furry animals, larger than humans and capable of walking on two legs do indeed roam the highest mountains on Earth, according to a study published Tuesday in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, a biological...


Your spouse may drive you crazy, but your marriage might keep you from losing your mind

Wed, 29 Nov 2017 09:25:00 PST

Your spouse may drive you crazy at times, but new research suggests that your marriage may keep you from losing your mind.

The risk of dementia was significantly lower for married people than for adults who remained single their entire lives, according to a report this week in the Journal of Neurology,...


About 15% of Americans with HIV don't know they're infected, CDC report says

Tue, 28 Nov 2017 16:45:00 PST

Half of the Americans recently diagnosed with HIV had been living with the virus for at least three years without realizing it, missing out on opportunities for early treatment and in some cases spreading it to others, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Inspired by origami, scientists build artificial muscle that lifts 1,000 times its own weight

Mon, 27 Nov 2017 17:40:00 PST

Scientists have developed a variety of origami-inspired artificial muscles that can lift up to a thousand times their own weight - and yet be dexterous enough to grip and raise a delicate flower.(image)

A simple but seldom-used tactic to prevent wildfires: Turn off the power grid when winds pick up

Fri, 24 Nov 2017 05:00:00 PST

After last month’s deadly Northern California wildfires, atmospheric scientist Cliff Mass scanned old weather forecasts, searching for clues.

In two high-resolution weather models for Oct. 8, he found ample warning of the crucial ingredient for the firestorm that swept across parts of eight counties,...


Artificial lights are eating away at dark nights — and that's not a good thing

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 13:50:00 PST

Earth is losing its darkness. A new study using satellite data finds that artificially lit surfaces around the world are spreading and growing brighter, producing more light pollution at night.

The findings, described in the journal Science Advances, track what researchers called a worrisome trend...


Mars may not have the water we thought it did, study shows

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 13:15:00 PST

When it comes to signs of flowing water on Mars, planetary scientists might be getting left high and dry. New research reveals that mysterious dark streaks long thought to be signs of seasonal water activity might actually just be caused by dry sand.

The findings, described in the journal Nature...


Self-harm rises sharply among tween and young teen girls, study shows

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 12:40:00 PST

For girls navigating the straits of adolescence and young adulthood, there are new signs of serious emotional trouble. From 2009 to 2015, the nation’s emergency rooms saw a sharp rise in treatment of girls 10 to 24 who intentionally injured themselves.

But inside that increasing trend of girls...