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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: Sat, 22 Jul 2017 03:51:41 -0700

Copyright: ©2017 Los Angeles Times

Plastic trash could top 13 billion tons by 2050. And recycling doesn't help much

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 05:00:00 PDT

Humans make more plastic than just about anything. And it will be with us for a very long time.(image)

Scientists find key 'friendliness' genes that distinguish dogs from wolves

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 07:00:00 PDT

Your dog is basically a super social wolf, and scientists may have found the gene that makes him want to cuddle with you.

A new study shows that friendliness in dogs is associated with the same genes that make some people hyper-social.

The study, published this week in the journal Science Advances,...


Sen. John McCain has a glioblastoma tumor. Here's how doctors treat this aggressive form of brain cancer

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 14:40:00 PDT

Being told you have cancer is never welcome, but being told you have a glioblastoma tumor is especially scary.

This is the news that longtime Arizona Sen. John McCain got after he had a blood clot removed above his left eye on Friday. A glioblastoma is the same type of tumor that killed Sen. Edward...


About one-third of dementia cases could be prevented by actions that begin in childhood, experts say

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 07:45:00 PDT

More than 1 in 3 cases of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia can be traced to factors - such as inadequate education, obesity, hearing loss and smoking - that simply don't need to be.(image)

Parades, parties and port-a-potties: Eclipse mania is taking hold from coast to coast

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 06:00:00 PDT

As the Great American Eclipse draws near, towns and cities along the path of totality are bracing for an onslaught of visitors. Even the National Guard is on alert.(image)

U.S. researchers are trying a series of life hacks to try to ward off dementia

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 09:50:00 PDT

Facing a predicted tidal wave of dementia sufferers, researchers across the United States are launching an ambitious clinical trial to test whether a package of low-tech life hacks can do something no pill or therapy currently can: prevent or delay cognitive impairment in Americans.

The planned...


Half of Americans have diabetes or a high risk for it — and many of them are unaware

Tue, 18 Jul 2017 15:10:00 PDT

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a new report card on diabetes in America. It's everywhere.(image)

As doctored photos flood the Internet, human vision struggles to keep up

Tue, 18 Jul 2017 07:00:00 PDT

Not only is the human vision system poorly equipped to recognize when a photo has been manipulated, there may not be much we can do to make it work much better, new research suggests.(image)

Worried about dementia? Hearing and language problems could be forerunners of cognitive decline

Mon, 17 Jul 2017 18:15:00 PDT

Scientists have traced the roots of dementia back to midlife, a time when hearing loss and changes in speech patterns may signal the onset of cognitive decline.

In research presented Monday at the Alzheimer’s Assn.’s annual international conference in London, investigators also reported that for...


The U.S. should rethink its entire approach to painkillers and the people addicted to them, panel urges

Thu, 13 Jul 2017 19:15:00 PDT

To reverse a still-spiraling American crisis fueled by prescription narcotic drugs, a panel of experts advising the federal government has recommended sweeping changes in the ways that physicians treat pain, their patients cope with pain, and government and private insurers support the care of...


Who needs film when you can store a movie in bacteria DNA?

Thu, 13 Jul 2017 12:30:00 PDT

You might call it the smallest movie ever made.

This week, a team of scientists report that they have successfully embedded a short film into the DNA of living bacteria cells.

The mini-movie, really a GIF, is a five-frame animation of a galloping thoroughbred mare named Annie G. The images were...


Antarctica shed a block of ice the size of Delaware, but scientists think the real disaster could be decades away

Thu, 13 Jul 2017 04:00:00 PDT

A big chunk of the Larsen ice sheet has broken off Antarctica. Here's what you need to know about the break.(image)

An iceberg the size of Delaware just broke off of Antarctica

Wed, 12 Jul 2017 18:50:00 PDT

Sometime in the last few days, a block of ice the size of Delaware broke away from Antarctica and is now floating freely in the Weddell Sea.

The iceberg, which at around 1 trillion tons is one of the largest on record, poses no immediate threat to sea levels. But scientists say the break may have...


Surgery for early-stage prostate cancer does not lead to longer lives, study finds

Wed, 12 Jul 2017 17:40:00 PDT

A long-term study of men diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer has confirmed that patients who forgo immediate surgery have the same odds of living another decade or two as patients who have their tumors surgically removed.

The results, published in Thursday’s edition of the New England Journal...


To combat teen smoking, health experts recommend R ratings for movies that depict tobacco use

Tue, 11 Jul 2017 08:00:00 PDT

Public health experts have an unusual suggestion for reducing teen smoking: Give just about any movie that depicts tobacco use an automatic R rating.

If that were to happen, as many as 5.6 million kids who are alive today would be spared a tobacco habit that will ultimately lead to their death,...


California's wildfire season has begun and you know the drill — or do you?

Tue, 11 Jul 2017 03:00:00 PDT

It’s that time of year, when smoke billows over the backcountry, rural homeowners flee flames and firefighting agencies warn that California is in for another brutal wildfire season.

During the state’s long drought, firefighters repeatedly said withered landscapes portended plenty of big burns....


Two big studies bolster the claim that coffee – even decaf – is good for you

Mon, 10 Jul 2017 19:05:00 PDT

If you’re the type of person who needs at least one cup of coffee to get out of the house in the morning and a few more to make it through the day, you might think the best thing about java is that it keeps you awake.

But new research suggests that’s just a bonus. The best thing about your coffee...


Policy change in Jakarta accidentally teaches drivers the value of carpool lanes

Thu, 6 Jul 2017 16:55:00 PDT

Los Angeles, if you think traffic on the 101 is bad, be thankful you don’t live in Jakarta — especially since the Indonesian capital did away with its controversial carpool rules.

When vehicles on the main road into Jakarta’s business district were required to have at least three occupants during...


In rural America, opioid prescriptions continue to flow, new CDC report shows

Thu, 6 Jul 2017 14:15:00 PDT

After years of fitful efforts to get doctors to prescribe fewer opioid painkillers, the nation’s annual dose of the potentially addictive medications remained roughly three times higher in 2015 than it was in 1999, when overdose deaths began their historic climb in the U.S.

A new report from the...


Does my sense of smell make me look fat? In mice, the answer seems to be yes

Wed, 5 Jul 2017 15:50:00 PDT

Having an exceptionally keen sense of smell would seem to be an unmitigated blessing: It can provide early warning of dangers, detect the presence of an attractive mate, and enhance the gustatory delight of a delicious meal.

But when you’re a mouse (or, perhaps, a human) and fattening food is all...


In the U.S., infant mortality gap costs the lives of about 4,000 black babies each year

Mon, 3 Jul 2017 08:00:00 PDT

If black infants born in the United States had all of the health and medical benefits enjoyed by white infants, nearly 4,000 fewer of them would die each year, new research suggests.

That would amount to a nearly 60% decrease in the number of black infants that die each year. Instead, black babies...


Americans keep having fewer babies as U.S. birthrates hit some record lows

Fri, 30 Jun 2017 14:05:00 PDT

Hey stork, you've been slacking off - and U.S. health officials know it. For the second year in a row, the number of babies delivered in the U.S. fell in 2016(image)

As opioid addiction skyrockets, treatment for addicts lags far behind, insurance data show

Fri, 30 Jun 2017 07:00:00 PDT

A new report on opioid use among privately insured Americans has found that diagnoses of opioid addiction increased almost fivefold between 2010 and 2015, ticking up dramatically in 2014.

During the same period, the delivery of medication-assisted addiction treatment — the method most likely to...


Field tests show how pesticides can wreak havoc on honeybees

Thu, 29 Jun 2017 12:35:00 PDT

Humans are big fans of bees. But bees probably aren't big fans of humans - at least, not of our agricultural practices.(image)

In a temple that predates the pyramids, scientists find evidence of a mysterious 'skull cult'

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 19:35:00 PDT

The ritual use of human skulls may seem macabre to us today, but the archaeological record suggests that skull cults - groups that assigned symbolic importance to skulls - were once quite common.(image)