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  • An Intelligent Test?

    On one level, China's recent test of a new antisatellite weapon was a success: Beijing managed to blast one of its aging weather sensors out of orbit several hundred miles above Earth. On a more profound level, however, the test was a mistake. And if China now continues to develop more space weapons, it could turn into a very serious error indeed.Before saying why, however, it's worth pausing to recognize that while China's move was misguided, it was also understandable--especially given the United States' own record in space. First of all, China is now a rising power, and determined to play that role to the hilt. The U.S. Defense Department estimates that China already boasts the world's second largest defense expenditures, once adjustments are made for its lower costs and for off-budget military items. After centuries of subjugation at the hands of the West, it is only natural that the Middle Kingdom would seek its rightful place in the sun. Forty years ago this meant developing...
  • E. Coli Scares: A Bad Week for Burgers

    Two meat recalls in one week are blamed on a particularly toxic strain of , occurences of which health officials say have spiked this summer. What's going on?
  • The Most Fattening Fall Foods

    As the temperature drops, we start yearning for comfort foods. But beware of their hefty caloric price. A few of autumn's least healthy offerings.
  • New Findings on Alzheimer's

    The author of a new study says conscientious people may have less risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.
  • Autism & Vaccines: A Coming Wave of Lawsuits?

    Even as researchers report once again that there is no link between a vaccine preservative and the way kids develop, parents of children with autism continue to press their cases against drugmakers. A coming wave of lawsuits?
  • Psychology: Why Quitting is Good for You

    New research finds that people who give up on unattainable goals are physically and mentally healthier than 'bulldogs' who persevere against all odds. The importance of knowing when to throw in the towel.
  • Scientists Confirm ‘Hobbit’ Species Was Human

    A new study of a skeleton of a member of a race of three-foot-tall 'hobbits' who lived 12,000 years ago in Indonesia shows that they were a species of human—and that the evolutionary path to Homo sapiens has been tortuous indeed.
  • Four Hours In Kunming

    Tucked in lush southwest China, the capital of Yunnan province boasts a mild climate, a relaxed pace and ethnic diversity. Yunnan Nationalities Village for an introduction to China's ethnic minority cultures, VISIT with sample "villages," crafts and guides in each tribe's traditional garb ( CLIMB nearby Xishan mountain for a spectacular view of Lake Dianchi. Stop at one of the peaceful forest temples and visit the tomb of Nie Er, who composed China's national anthem. EAT at 1910 La Gare de Sud, a colonial-style holdover from when the French built a train line from Hanoi. Savor the fried goat cheese with sweet-and-sour sauce (86-871-316-9486). DRINK Yunnan ' s famed puer tea and relax at the All Four One café. The owners donate profits to charitable projects (86-871-656-7121 ).
  • What Women Like About Male Sweat. And Why.

    A new study reveals that the ability to detect a certain male hormone in sweat is genetic. What that tells us about the science of smell—and why some women like sweaty men.
  • A Crazily Inspiring Book About Cancer

    Diagnosed with stage 4 cancer nearly five years ago, Kris Carr hit her 'zero point,' but then came back swinging and is telling her tale first in a movie and now in a dazzling book.
  • Speed Reading the Human Genome

    A powerful new strategy promises to speed up the effort to link genes to specific diseases. Can you say 'transcriptome'?
  • Raising Healthy Kids

    A Harvard pediatrician replies to parents worried about day care, autism and vaccines.
  • Waiter, Please Hold The Wheat

    Symptoms can be baffling at first. But once doctors diagnose celiac disease, patients can take advantage of a growing array of healthy foods.
  • Homeroom Zombies

    Teens need at least nine hours of sleep a night, though few get that much and early school start times don't help. Here's what parents can do.
  • Starting The Good Life In The Womb

    Pregnant women who eat right, watch their weight and stay active can actually improve their unborn babies' chances of growing into healthy adults.
  • You and Your Quirky Kid

    The girl who wears her clothes inside out, the boy who loves plumbing. What parents and experts say about the children who just don't fit in.
  • Why Lonely People Get Sick More Often

    New research suggests that social isolation alters the immune system at the genetic level, raising the risk of serious disease. Oh, and the definition of loneliness might surprise you.
  • Stem Cell Therapy Goes to the Dogs--and Horses

    While many promising stem cell therapies are still awaiting approval for use in humans, vets are already using the technology to treat arthritis and tendon ailments in dogs and horses.
  • NFL: How Tough Choices Saved Kevin Everett

    They cooled Kevin Everett down and then they operated. How quick-thinking doctors used some unproven interventions to help save a young football player with a spinal-cord injury.
  • Study Links Bad Foods to Hyperactive Kids

    A new study links artificial food dyes and preservatives to an increase in hyperactivity in kids--but don't empty the pantry yet. An expert tells us what parents can learn from the new research.
  • Could Owen Wilson Case Inspire Copycats?

    An expert on celebrity suicide copycats discusses the potentially devastating mistakes the media can make when covering the issue, and what families can do to protect those at risk.
  • Pregnant Women: Eat More Fish or Not?

    Pregnant women may want to put fish back on their grocery lists. According to a study in the latest issue of The Lancet, the British medical journal, the nutritional benefits of seafood outweigh any toxic effects of trace contaminants like mercury. That's big news because many pregnant women are still following a 2004 advisory from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which warned them to avoid high-mercury fish (shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish) and to eat no more than 12 ounces of low-mercury seafood (shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, catfish) each week because of potentially harmful effects on the developing brain of the fetus. The new Lancet study suggests that advising pregnant women to limit their consumption of seafood could actually be detrimental to their children.The study's authors looked at the behavior, fine motor skills and IQ's of the offspring of 11,875 British women who had earlier assessed their...
  • A Depression Screening Test

    The PHQ-9 test is used by mental health professionals to help identify the symptoms of depressive disorders. Click here to take an interactive version of the test.
  • How 100 Countries Will Adapt to Climate Change

    The climate is heating up, but how will countries adapt? Until recently, nobody’s asked the question. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nations body that studies the problem, asked scientists to rank countries in terms of their ability to adapt to a changing world. Researchers at Columbia University's Center for International Earth Science Information Network came up with a way to rank nations by their preparedness to adapt to climate change, given their physical exposure to the effects of global warming (a long coastline might make a country vulnerable to rising seas, for instance) and their ability to rise to the challenge. The list, in descending order (from the most to least vulnerable) puts in stark relief a central irony of climate-change—that the biggest carbon emitters stand to gain the most, or lose the least, in a warming future. The vulnerability of 100 nations:
  • Her Body: Sex After Cancer

    A new book takes on a subject even doctors rarely talk about—shattering taboos and shedding light on how survivors can reclaim intimacy in their lives. A conversation with the author.
  • The Mechanics of Trauma

    New research reveals more about how the brain processes the kind of traumatic memories that result in posttraumatic stress disorder. Could these discoveries lead to better drug treatments?
  • Going, Going, Gone?

    Smallpox is the only disease we've ever eradicated. But others are on the endangered list: Guinea Worm, Polio and Lymphatic Filariasis could all be wiped out in the next few generations.
  • Study: Your Friends Can Make You Fat

    The list of reasons a person might pack on too many pounds is already plenty long: genes, hormone disorders, a couch-potato lifestyle, love of cheeseburgers. Thanks to a new study in the New England Journal of Medicine, you can add another culprit to the list: friends.Obesity spreads through social networks, according to the study, so if your friends put on weight, you’re more likely to put on the pounds, too. Your family members or spouse can also influence you; as they get heavier, you’re more likely to gain along with them. But, your friends—even if they don’t live anywhere near you—have the most sway. A close friend’s weight gain can even be downright dangerous.“If your close friend becomes obese in a given time interval, there’s triple the risk that you will follow suit,” says Nicholas Christakis, a coauthor of the study, which was published Wednesday and a professor of medical sociology at Harvard Medical School. “Before you know it you have an obesity epidemic, where we're...
  • Tell Us How You Survived a Health Crisis

    Tell us how you met your greatest health challenge. Did you overcome an illness? Did you finally lose the weight you always wanted to lose? Did you start exercising after years of inactivity? Did you train for a marathon or quit smoking? Did you start eating right and stay with it? In your own words, take us through your experience.  What did you learn about your physical and emotional strengths? Were there people in your life that buoyed you with support or guidance? We'll run the best of our submissions online weekly throughout 2007. ...
  • Begley: The Puzzle of Hidden Ability

    Even their parents struggle to draw the tiniest hint of emotion or social connection from autistic children, so imagine what happens when a stranger sits with the child for hours to get through the standard IQ test. For 10 of the test's 12 sections, the child must listen and respond to spoken questions. Since for many autistics it is torture to try to engage with someone even on this impersonal level, it's no wonder so many wind up with IQ scores just above a carrot's (I wish I were exaggerating; 20s are not unknown). More precisely, fully three quarters of autistics are classified as having below-normal intelligence, with many deemed mentally retarded.It's finally dawning on scientists that there's a problem here. Testing autistic kids' intelligence in a way that requires them to engage with a stranger "is like giving a blind person an intelligence test that requires him to process visual information," says Michelle Dawson of Rivière-des-Prairies Hospital in Montreal. She and...
  • Evolution: Branches on the Tree

    The phrase "family bush" doesn't trip off the tongue the way "family tree" does, but anyone talking about human origins had better get used to it. For years scientists have known that the simple linear model in which one ancestor evolved into another is a myth. Starting 4 million years ago, half a dozen species of Australopithecus lived in Africa at the same time. Experts thought that once the Homo lineage debuted 2.5 million years ago in East Africa with Homo habilis, things settled down, with habilis evolving into Homo erectus, who evolved into Homo sapiens—us. But two fossils discovered in Kenya in 2000 (it takes scientists years to figure out what fossils mean) suggest evolution was a lot messier than that.One fossil, found just east of Kenya's Lake Turkana, is the upper jaw of a habilis from 1.44 million years ago. This species was thought to have gone extinct about 1.6 million years ago. The other find, from the same site, is an erectus skull from 1.55 million years ago. The...
  • Why Do Some People Shop Impulsively?

    Researchers have found that the way we process guilt has an impact on how prudent we are when it comes to buying that luxury item or eating that extra cookie.