University research powers innovation and economic development. Countries with intensive research and development (R&D) programmes differ in their approach to turning lab studies into commercial enterprises.
[Read the story at Nature // May 5, 2016]
With freshwater resources dwindling worldwide, the practice of using treated wastewater to irrigate crops is growing. But that practice might have a downside: In a new study, people who ate vegetables grown using such reclaimed water had increased urine levels of carbamazepine, an antiepileptic drug commonly detected in wastewater.
Continue reading “Exposure to pharmaceutical contaminants via vegetables”
In 2010, the Dendreon company received the news it had been hoping for: the US Food and Drug Administration had approved its therapeutic cancer vaccine Provenge for prostate cancer. At the time of Provenge’s approval, the headlines hailed it as groundbreaking, and they noted a surge in the price of Dendreon’s stock as the company announced its $93,000 price tag for the therapy. But enthusiasm fizzled when the company later revealed that fewer people used the therapy than expected, and in November 2014 the company filed for bankruptcy. Continue reading “Mutations as munitions: Neoantigen vaccines get a closer look as cancer treatment”
A small but growing group of neuroscientists is exploring a striking idea: Growing up in poverty doesn’t just limit children’s circumstances, but actually alters the very structure and physiology of their brains. I took a close look at studies published over the last decade in this new and controversial field. Continue reading “The neuroscience of poverty”
Earlier this year, while reporting a story about the bugs in the bees — that is, the microbiome in bees’ guts — I spoke to a USDA researcher named Jay Evans, who described some work in his lab testing whether feeding bees probiotics can help protect against pathogens that weaken hive health. Continue reading “Probiotics for honeybees”
About 13 years ago, when I returned from the UK with my rat-whiskers doctorate in hand and little idea of what I was going to do with it, I went to see a dermatologist. Continue reading “How “scientific” are your skin-care products?”
Sometimes, serendipity arrives on the wings of disease. It was colony collapse disorder (CCD), a mysterious condition that hit honeybee hives in autumn 2006, that brought bees to the laboratory of evolutionary biologist Nancy Moran. Continue reading “The puzzle in a bee’s gut”
When Mark Browne set out to study the plastic waste that litters the oceans, he hadn’t planned on doing laundry in the name of science. Browne, an ecologist at the University of New South Wales, Australia, was aiming to chart the quantities and types of plastic fragments washing up on shores worldwide. Continue reading “Microplastics Present Pollution Puzzle”
The antibiotic discovery pipeline received a much-needed boost in January. Teixobactin, a natural product from previously uncultured bacteria, was shown to have potent activity against Gram-positive pathogens and a novel mechanism of action, making it a potentially valuable asset in the battle against bacterial resistance. Continue reading “New twist on antibiotic hunt hits pay dirt”
A new study may have solved a decade-old debate about whether the brains of people with autism are more or less connected than those of controls: They’re both, depending on where in the brain you look. Continue reading “Noisy patterns of connectivity mark autism brains”