The actual benefits of intensive psychotherapy have long been controversial. Now investigators report that such therapy can be effective against chronic mental problems such as anxiety and depression. They looked at 23 studies involving 1,053 patients who received long-term psychodynamic therapy, which seeks clues into the unconscious roots of disorders and focuses on the relationship between patient and therapist. Psychotherapy that lasted a year or longer appeared significantly more beneficial for complex mental problems than shorter-term therapies and seemed cost-effective. Analyze more in the October 1 Journal of the American Medical Association. —Charles Q. Choi


The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has issued a report of 12 diseases that are likely to spread and get worse as the world warms up and precipitation patterns change, providing more opportunities for these outbreaks. They are bird flu (H5N1 influenza), babesiosis (a malarialike disease), cholera, Ebola, infections by animal parasites (such as the worm Baylisascaris procyonis), Lyme disease, plague, poisonings from algal blooms called red tides, Rift Valley fever, sleeping sickness, tuberculosis, and yellow fever. To prevent some of these ailments from becoming the next Black Death or 1918 flu pandemic, the WCS suggests monitoring wildlife to detect signs of these pathogens before a major outbreak erupts. —David Biello


For the first time, investigators tracked a small asteroid (a few meters in size) before it hit the earth. A telescope that is part of the Catalina Sky Survey, based near Tucson, Ariz., is part of an effort to locate near-earth objects that could pose a collision hazard. It picked up the body, dubbed 2008 TC3, on October 6. Researchers then correctly predicted that the space rock would enter the atmosphere at 12.8 kilometers per second over northern Sudan at 5:46 A.M. local time the next day, releasing approximately one kiloton of energy. Objects of this size strike the earth once every few months. —Philip Yam