Tech & Science

  • Big Belly, Bad Memory

    Why that spare tire puts you at greater risk of dementia (along with a host of other diseases), and what you can do about it.
  • The Working-Class Smoker

    Increases in life expectancy in recent decades have left behind those who didn't go to college.
  • A Sleeping Sickness

    I attributed years of fatigue to severe allergies. A diagnosis of sleep apnea was the door to a completely new way of looking at the world. 
  • Are We Alone? The Odds Lengthen

    The Hubble Space Telescope didn’t quite spy little green men waving back at its camera, but it has taken the next step in the search for life beyond our solar system. As astronomers are reporting this afternoon in the journal Nature, the telescope detected an organic molecule in the atmosphere of a planet orbiting another star—the first such detection ever for any of the 277 known “extrasolar” (outside our own solar system) planets....
  • Autism: Fact and Fiction

    Autism is everywhere—once again. Separating fact from fear as the courts and Hollywood wade in.
  • Microwaves Zap Veggie Nutrients?

    It may seem hard to believe, but microwaving is one of the two best ways to cook veggies and retain the nutrients inside. (Steaming is the other.) Cooking methods like baking or grilling that expose foods to higher temperatures and more cooking time are much more destructive. For instance, in studies at Cornell University's division of nutritional sciences, Gertrude Armbruster and her colleagues have shown that on the whole, microwave cooking of vegetables and fruits was least destructive of vitamin C compared to other methods. (Because it is both water-soluble and heat-sensitive, vitamin C is considered a good marker for judging overall nutrient retention.) Microwave ovens radiate electromagnetic waves (of the same frequency on which many cordless telephones operate), a band of the energy spectrum that is absorbed by water molecules inside food, which heat up. The heat then spreads to other parts of the food. Because nutrients are scarce in water content, they are likely to survive...
  • Designing Light and Air

    How the new Bank of America building will save energy and let its occupants breathe easy.
  • Kalb: Cancer Studies Want You!

    The goal of one study, which will follow 500,000 people for years, is to figure out who gets cancer and who doesn't, and why.
  • Lessons of a Brain Tumor

    A benign brain tumor diverted me from the path I'd envisioned, but it didn't stop me from finding my voice.
  • Do Short Women Live Longer?

    A new study reveals that some short women have a gene linked to longevity. Could the findings help all of us live longer?
  • Does Aromatherapy Work?

    Aromatherapy adherents will tell you that basil can clear headaches and lemon can be an antidepressant. The idea that scents can be used medicinally has become so widely accepted that so-called "essential" oils, or highly concentrated plant scents, have found their way into a slew of lotions, candles, sprays and massage products promising to help you sleep, wake you up or relieve your stress. But do they work?While it's true that a pleasant smell can put you in a good mood, new research casts doubt on some of the reputed healing powers of aromatherapy. Researchers at Ohio State University found that lemon and lavender oil had no physiological effect on study subjects, despite lemon's reputation as a stimulant and lavender's as a sleep aid. They taped cotton balls that had been dipped in lemon oil, lavender oil or water to subjects' noses and conducted a variety of tests ranging from pain response (dunking feet in cold water) to mood studies (completing psychological tests). Although...
  • Texas: Worst CO2 Emitter

    Texas produces more carbon emissions than most countries, but the state government and business community don't seem too concerned.
  • Long-Term Effects of Spanking

    Spanking may lead to aggression and sexual problems later in life, says a new study. So why do so many parents still believe in it?
  • Can Ginkgo Stop Memory Loss?

    The latest research does not show a conclusive link between the supplement and the prevention of memory loss, but it's not the last word on the subject. A study published this week in the journal Neurology, tracked the herbal extract's effect on the onset of dementia in 118 people ages 85 and up. Researchers at Oregon State University concluded that the reputed memory booster did not produce a reduction in number of patients that developed dementia. But the study's results were somewhat undercut. The number of subjects was small, according to Dr. David Knopman of the Mayo Clinic's neurology department, who reviewed the research before publication. The scientists also reported that the results differed when they looked at only the subjects who were most faithfully taking either the extract or a placebo. Those who took the ginkgo biloba supplements without skipping doses fared better on memory tests than did those who took the placebo without skipping doses. Conclusive? Nope. In a...