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Health Care

Flawed herpes testing leads to false positives, and needless suffering

erpes is a lifelong infection, but Lauren had it only for six tumultuous months. Or rather, she believed she did, after a request for sexually transmitted disease testing returned a positive result. But after weeks of Googling, chatting with members of online herpes forums, and reading scientific papers, she asked for a different test, which eventually confirmed her suspicion – her herpes diagnosis was wrong.

Zika anxiety leading some pregnant women to flee Miami

ishi Sehgal hung up the phone Monday afternoon with two new insights. One: he did not have Zika. Two: he wasn’t crazy for thinking of fleeing Florida with his pregnant wife.

Options are limited for California caregivers shouldering burden of growing Alzheimer’s crisis

SAN JOSE – Patt Martin says the worst day of her life wasn’t the day last June that her husband, Bill, an Alzheimer’s patient, died. It was two years earlier, when she was so stressed and sleep-deprived that she struggled to even remember her bank PIN and decided to put him in a care home after being his primary caregiver for nine years.

California’s right-to-die law: Should it exclude Alzheimer’s patients?

The Alzheimer’s disease that slowly crept up on the retired San Jose middle school teacher had strengthened its grip in the last three years. By the end, Ulrich was unable to talk, eat or drink.

Virtual reality game teaches people with autism how to drive

here isn’t much in the way of public transportation in Sam McCarty’s Nashville-area neighborhood, so like most teenagers, he wants to drive when he turns 16 within the next year. But Sam has mild autism, and for years his mom, Bonnie McCarty, worried that the unpredictability of traffic and the potential for distraction would make driving dangerous, if not impossible for her son.

Drug to combat brain-eating amoeba exists – but how to get it to patients?

ospitals are stocked with lots of vital drugs. But there’s one that is time-sensitive, life-saving, and an utter necessity in treating a rare kind of infection – but you’ll find it almost nowhere in the US. The drug is called miltefosine.

Four vaccine myths and where they came from

In 1998, U.K. doctor Andrew Wakefield published a study in The Lancet suggesting that the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine could trigger autism. In the years after, MMR vaccination rates among 2-year-olds in England dropped below 80%.

4 tricks to beat the heat – and whether they actually work

ith a “heat dome” entering the national vocabulary this week, and predicted higher-than-normal temperatures in every state for the next three months, how can a person stay comfortable – and even more important, stay safe? Here are four tricks you may have read about – and what the science says about whether, and how, they work.

Cosmetics could contain potentially harmful chemicals

Learning about your makeup may be more than just a fashion decision. According to a new study published Monday in Environmental Health Perspectives choosing personal care products wisely could reduce exposure to hormone disrupting chemicals. Commonly found in makeup, deodorants, toothpastes, and other personal care products, these chemicals have the power to block or mimic natural hormones in the body, like estrogen and testosterone.


Zika virus fears not slowing Salinas travelers

Travel from Salinas to Latin American countries has remained steady even as international distress over Zika virus continues to spread. For many residents, strong familial or professional ties to the affected nations eclipse any hesitancy toward visiting regions where transmission of the virus linked to birth defects is occurring.


March for Science

The marches for science, on one global interactive map

Editor’s note: Science ‘s News staff is no longer updating the global map of science marches (below), because march organizers have created their own updated, comprehensive map. It was a tweet that brought them together. “Hell hath no fury like a scientist silenced,” Caroline Weinberg, a public health educator and science writer in New York City, tweeted late last month.

Meet the 30-somethings behind the March for Science

Caroline Weinberg has become pretty adept at navigating the crowded streets of New York City while staring at her phone. These days, it’s not unusual for Weinberg-one of the three leaders of the national March for Science (M4S)-to receive hundreds of emails and messages from M4S partners and more than 70 M4S volunteer leads every day.


Hundreds rally for science at demonstration near AAAS meeting

BOSTON-Hundreds of science supporters gathered here in Copley Square this afternoon at a rally coinciding with the annual meeting of AAAS, which publishes Science. Ralliers chose the meeting-the first major gathering of scientists since President Donald Trump took office-as an opportune moment to demonstrate that the science community plans to fight recent policies that many see as dangerous to the role of science in society.

On eve of science march, planners look ahead

This past January, just days after millions of people marched on behalf of women-and in reaction to the inauguration of U.S. President Donald Trump-Caroline Weinberg, a health writer and educator in New York City, began dreaming of a similar march on behalf of science.

Updated: Some 100 groups have now endorsed the March for Science

The March for Science, set for 22 April, is creating a buzz in the scientific community. The march arose as a grassroots reaction to concerns about the conduct of science under President Donald Trump. And it has spurred debate over whether it will help boost public support for research, or make scientists look like another special interest group, adding to political polarization.




Scientists hunt for drug to kill deadly brain-eating amoeba

he deaths hit the headlines every summer, sometimes five or six of them across the country. They’re newsworthy for their rarity and for how innocuous the events leading up to them are – it’s usually a young person who was swimming in a lake, got some water up their nose, and within days, was dead.

Female scientists face gender bias in NIH grant process

espite earning higher praise, women get lower scores on NIH grant renewals, which may contribute to an attrition of mid-career female scientists. Although both genders are almost equally represented in the early career stages of academic medicine, women are underrepresented in high-ranking positions.

Alzheimer’s may mess with the eyes, disrupting sleep patterns

Nighttime restlessness is common among people with Alzheimer’s, and many stay awake agitated and pacing long after their family members have gone to sleep. Now, scientists may have figured out why: The disease appears to degrade a special type of eye cell that tells the brain when it’s day or night.

This 20-cent paper pinwheel could transform medicine in the developing world

A whirligig is so simple, even a kindergartener can make one. But this ancient toy-a pinwheellike device whose circular motion is powered by two twisting strings-may soon transform medicine in the developing world, thanks to an inexpensive new version that can separate blood as quickly as some commercial centrifuges.

Dirt may be good for your immune system, studies show

n trying to explain America’s rising rates of allergies and asthma, one of the common theories is that we’re just too clean. And that theory just got a boost by scientists studying traditional farming communities.


Do human pheromones actually exist?

You may have seen the ads: Just spray a bit of human pheromone on your skin, and you’re guaranteed to land a date. Scientists have long debated whether humans secrete chemicals that alter the behavior of other people.

Neuroscientists are cracking the code of how brains process faces

When we spot a table of friends across a crowded restaurant, we instantly know who’s who with a quick glimpse at their faces. But explaining how we perform such a complex task isn’t easy-and for scientists studying the brain, it’s even harder.

World’s first full-body PET scanner could aid drug development, monitor environmental toxins

Injecting radioactive materials into your body might sound crazy, but it’s a useful tool for gaining snapshots of our physiology. Positron emission tomography (PET) uses radioactive particles to track the footprints of diseases like cancer and neurodegeneration.

Artificial sweeteners trick flies into thinking they’re starving

hether artificial sweeteners are helpful or harmful for weight loss has long been argued. A new study on flies provides more evidence for the latter, indicating that sweeteners might confuse your brain into wanting more food than it needs. Numerous studies in animals have linked weight gain with artificial sweeteners.



Small, controlled fires are the only way to prevent large wildfires, researchers argue

At a time when wildfires around the world are burning through records for intensity and size, several western U.S. ecologists argue that in many forests our best hope is to…

Area beekeepers abuzz with talk of rain after four years of drought

WATSONVILLE >> Winter can’t come fast enough for Santa Cruz County beekeepers, who are hoping El Niño-fueled storms will shower much needed relief on honey harvesters who have endured stinging losses due to four years of historic drought. “You’ve got to hope that you can get enough rain to produce flowers,” said Watsonville’s Dana Mumm, owner of Pacific Crest Apiaries.

As Western Canada burns, wildfires down dramatically after wet winter in California

The ferocious wildfires incinerating parts of Western Canada this week feel eerily familiar for Californians whose wildfire season has become a yearlong affair in many parts of the parched state. But after the rainiest winter in five years, the Golden State is greener than gold this May, and the number of early season fires is dramatically down from this time last year.

Drought poll: Most Californians see serious water shortage despite rains

Staff Writers Despite the wettest winter in five years, an overwhelming majority of Californians believe that the state faces an extremely serious water shortage and plan to continue conserving water, according to a poll released Thursday. The poll, carried out by the Field Research Corporation, sampled 800 registered voters across the state.

Storm runoff could help replenish dwindling California aquifers – GeoSpace

Depleted groundwater supplies in the parched state of California have left many communities scrambling to secure water for the future. Now, researchers have a plan to recharge groundwater aquifers in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties with runoff captured from rainstorms. Using models that carefully characterize the region, they produced maps highlighting the best sites for stormwater capture in their own backyards.

Science Notes 2016: Trawling for Genes

Stories and art by the students in the Science Writing and Science Illustration programs at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and California State University, Monterey Bay

New exchange program could help protect monarch habitat

An economic model first used to protect the threatened golden-cheeked warbler in Texas now could enhance conservation of America’s most beloved butterfly, the monarch. The non-profit environmental advocacy group Environmental Defense Fund is working to introduce a new version of its “habitat exchange” program, which would encourage agricultural landowners to participate in protecting monarch butterfly habitat.

Local water suppliers work to meet new chromium-6 standards

Central Coast water suppliers are continuing efforts to comply with California’s newest limits on the potentially cancer-causing compound chromium-6. Although the EPA has concluded that chromium-6 is a carcinogen when inhaled as a gas, the agency has yet to issue a conclusion on whether the element increases cancer risk when ingested orally.