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What do we know about the new coronavirus strains?

Experts continue to identify new coronavirus strains—some more contagious than the prevalent strain—around the globe. David Cennimo, a pediatric infectious disease expert and assistant professor at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, discusses what we know about the new variants and how to stay safe: The post What do we know about the new coronavirus...

Fast blood test flags patients at risk for severe COVID-19

A relatively simple and rapid blood test can predict—within a day of a hospital admission—which patients with COVID-19 are at highest risk of severe complications or death. One of the most vexing aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic is doctors’ inability to predict which newly hospitalized patients will go on to develop severe disease, including complications...

Can an immune cell fix ‘de-age’ the brain?

Researchers have identified a key factor in mental aging. They’ve also shown that it might be prevented or reversed by fixing a glitch in the immune system’s front-line soldiers. Certain cells of our immune system become increasingly irascible as we grow older. Instead of stamping out embers, they stoke the flames of chronic inflammation. Biologists...

Low-income families struggled to pay energy bills in 2020

Nearly 4.8 million low-income American households couldn’t pay an energy bill last year, a problem that intensified during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Low-income Black and Hispanic households were especially vulnerable to energy insecurity, as were households with small children or people who relied on electronic medical devices, and...

Hyperimmune response model could clarify severe COVID-19

Researchers have identified and replicated a hyperimmune response in nonhuman primates that could one day lead to treatments for people with severe cases of COVID-19. “This may be an important first step in understanding why some people become critically ill from COVID-19,” says senior author Jay Rappaport, director of the Tulane National Primate Research...

1965 Klan crackdown has lessons for fighting white supremacy

Sociologist David Cunningham advocates for the arrest and prosecution those who engaged in violence or other criminal action during the January 6 insurrection at the United States Capitol—even though there could be unintended consequences. In his inauguration speech, President Joe Biden said his administration would confront and defeat the rise of...

‘Smiling eyes’ aren’t a perfect gauge of emotions

Smiles that lift the cheeks and crinkle the eyes aren’t necessarily a window to a person’s emotions, research finds. In fact, these “smiling eye” smiles, called Duchenne smiles, seem to be related to smile intensity, rather than acting as an indicator of whether a person is happy or not, says Jeffrey Girard, a former postdoctoral researcher at Carnegie...

Ancient Mars was more like Iceland than Idaho

New research indicates that, more than 3 billion years ago, seasons in Gale Crater on Mars were probably something like those in Iceland. The ancient Martian crater is the focus of a study comparing data from the Curiosity rover to places on Earth where similar geologic formations have experienced weathering in different climates. Iceland’s basaltic...

Drinking is up for people with depression during COVID

People with anxiety and depression are more likely to report an increase in drinking during the COVID-19 pandemic than those without mental health issues, according to a new study. While drinking grew the most among younger people, older adults with anxiety and depression also saw a sharper increase in their risk for harmful alcohol use. “This increase...

Watch a glass frog get funky when mating croaks are too quiet

Glass frogs that live near loud streams add to mating calls with the flap of a hand, a wave of a foot, or a bob of the head to attract a mate, a new study shows. Researchers have documented these frogs that “dance” near rushing streams—where noise can obscure those crucial love songs—in the rainforests of India, Borneo, Brazil, and, now, Ecuador. Conservation...

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