Every month, Scientific American—the longest-running magazine in the U.S. and an authoritative voice in science, technology and innovation—provides insight into scientific topics that affect our daily lives and capture our imagination, establishing the vital bridge between science and public policy.

>> Key information from this month’s issue:

• Genetic Testing
Cheap and accurate prenatal diagnostic tests are under development and could warn couples if they are passing genetic diseases to their offspring. But what are the implications of such testing—could it lead to "designer babies"? See: World Changing Ideas: One Hundred Tests

• Heart/Brain Connection
Researchers at Johns Hopkins estimate that by 2050 more than 106 million people worldwide will have Alzheimer’s disease. Research indicates that exercising regularly and not smoking may help delay dementia. See The Science of Health

• Smart Roads

A dynamic system that charges drivers based on what roads they take, for how long, and during what time of day, could be the best way of promoting better driving practices. Such a system could help reduce traffic congestion and highway deaths. See World-Changing Ideas: Know-It-All Toll Roads

• Defending the Web

In the twenty years since its birth, the Web has evolved into a powerful global tool; but recent events foreshadow how companies and governments may encroach on the Web’s open and free nature. Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, warns that ensuring the future of the Web means defending it with policies that promote Web democracy. See Long Live the Web

• Body Armor with a Charge
A newly patented variety of body armor, which has circuits and a power supply built into it, will save 20 to 60 percent of the equipment weight a soldier or police officer must carry. See Advances: Body Armor with a Charge

• Reliability of Brain Scans for a Lie Detection
The use of brain scans as a lie-detection tool in court cases is a dangerous trend that says more about the glamour of this new technology than its true reliability and accuracy in a setting outside the laboratory. Two court cases in May 2010 have already faced the murky question of its reliability, making it critical to better understand the utility of brain scans before the resource is moved from the research lab to the court room. See Forum: To Tell the Truth

• Space Funding
The only way to save the manned space program is to use private firms to send up astronauts—which is what the Obama administration’s present plan is set to do. In the plan, NASA will set the price and technical specifications of orbital launches and leave the details to private enterprise, thus providing NASA with greater autonomy and a dedicated funding stream. See Science Agenda and Jump-Starting the Orbital Economy