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Stories by Nicholette Zeliadt

Plucked hairs can keep track of circadian rhythms

Our sleep patterns, eating habits, body temperature and hormone levels are driven by the rhythmic activity of body's circadian clock. Travel across time zones or shift work can knock those rhythms out of whack,  possibly leading to sleep problems,  bipolar disorder, metabolic syndrome and even cancer.

August 23, 2010 — Nicholette Zeliadt

Hot and heavy: Insects sense the breath of approaching herbivores and flee plants

Plant-dwelling insects are in perpetual danger of being accidentally munched on by plant-eating animals. One such insect, the sap-sucking aphid (a common pest in gardens), has an effective escape plan, though: the bugs detect an approaching herbivore's breath and simply drop off the plant before it's eaten.Researchers at the University of Haifa at Oranim, Israel first noticed this phenomenon when they allowed a goat to feed on aphid-infested alfalfa plants—65 percent of the plant pests simultaneously dropped to the ground just before the vegetation was devoured.The team suspected that several cues might have motivated the mass dropping, including the sudden shadow cast by the goat, plant-shaking triggered by the munching marauder and/or the herbivore's exhalations.

August 9, 2010 — Nicholette Zeliadt

Talking trash during the dog days: A brief history of sanitation in New York City

Without modern sanitation, life would be nightmarish—human and animal waste would fester on the streets along with garbage and food scraps, producing a stench so foul that you'd want to keep your windows closed even in the sweltering heat of summer (for the moment, envision lacking the luxury of air conditioning).

July 29, 2010 — Nicholette Zeliadt
2 Genes Linked to Embryonic Brain Impairment in Down's Syndrome

2 Genes Linked to Embryonic Brain Impairment in Down's Syndrome

Researchers pin down two genes that may be responsible for abnormal neural development in Down's mice embryos. The findings may help identify possible therapeutic strategies to treat cognitive defects in human patients

July 20, 2010 — Nicholette Zeliadt

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