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Tag Archives: Nature.com

The FDA chief must not be a proxy for industry

Chip East/REUTERS Scott Gottlieb has been nominated to head the FDA. Today, many people at the American College of Cardiology conference in Washington DC crammed into a room to hear one of the most widely anticipated talks of the year. The data, as expected, showed that a potential blockbuster cholesterol medicine lowers the risk of heart attack and stroke — more than ...

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Trump faces backlash on health-agency cuts

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Mick Mulvaney (right), director of the Office of Budget and Management, with US Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price. Conventional political wisdom says that it’s best to be seen to be protecting common goods such as medicine and health. So US President Donald Trump is certainly shaking things up. Most scientists probably feel a little more than ...

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Climate-change biology: Heat could lead to tiny mammals

Mammals might respond to global warming by shrinking in size. During a large warming event called the Palaeocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), some 56 million years ago, mammals became smaller. To see how common this climate-driven dwarfing might have been, Abigail D’Ambrosia of the University of New Hampshire in Durham and her colleagues measured the size of fossil teeth from four ...

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Energy: Sodium battery packs a punch

A cheap, rechargeable sodium-based battery could one day deliver high power at room temperature thanks to its hybrid solid electrolyte. Electrolytes allow electrical charge to flow between a battery’s electrodes. Liquid electrolytes can leak and tend to react with sodium metal, an abundant, low-cost material used for electrodes in some batteries, whereas purely solid electrolytes are poor conductors at room ...

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Europe can build on scientific intuition

You may have read recently how the United States and NASA discovered seven new planets far beyond the Solar System. In fact, the project was led by a European scientist and there was European money behind it. Lead scientist Michaël Gillon is a Belgian based at the University of Liège. And the work was done with a grant from the ...

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Developmental biology: Fatty bones weaken with age

The build-up of fat cells in the bone marrow could explain why bones grow weaker and heal more slowly with age. Tim Schulz at the German Institute of Human Nutrition in Potsdam-Rehbrücke and his colleagues identified a population of stem-cell-like cells in the bones of mice that gives rise to both bone and fat cells. These progenitors produced more fat ...

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Astronomy: Star orbits close to black hole

A white dwarf star that circles a black hole every 28 minutes may have the closest orbit of its kind ever seen in our Galaxy. The system, called 47 Tuc X9, is some 4.5 kiloparsecs away. It was already thought to contain two objects orbiting each other, one of them probably a black hole, but the identity of the second ...

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Virology: Viruses switch hosts to evolve

Viruses more often evolve by jumping from one host species to another than by remaining within a particular species. Edward Holmes and his colleagues at the University of Sydney in Australia compared the evolutionary histories of 19 virus families with those of their animal or plant hosts. They found that, in almost all cases, the trees of life for the ...

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Birds of play demonstrate the infectious power of emotion

Getty New Zealand kea show positive emotional contagion. Before crowds were considered to show wisdom, they were feared to exhibit madness. Naturally, it was a journalist, Charles Mackay, who first seeded popular concern about the frenzied and irrational actions and beliefs of the mob in his 1841 book Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds. Alchemy, ghosts and — most enduringly — economic ...

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Materials: Graphene layers give colourful warning

A material made of overlapping layers of graphene (atom-thick sheets of carbon) changes colour according to the level of stress applied. This could be used in structures to provide early warning of damage. Getty A team led by Shanglin Gao of the Leibniz Institute of Polymer Research in Dresden, Germany, designed the coating so that it changes colour more dramatically ...

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