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Stories by Katherine Harmon

Health

Turkey Legs Tell the Tale of Our Unsung Tendons

Most of us omnivores eschew turkey tendons, the elastic strands that get in the way of a forkful of pure dark- or light-meat delight. For a team of Brown University researchers, however, these dinner discards are providing some new insights into how our bodies move and protect important muscle fibers.High-impact activities, such as hiking down a mountain, can be hard on our muscles, as the hard shock of landings damages fibers (fascicles) during descent.Muscles, however, are not acting alone, it turns out...

September 28, 2011 — Katherine Harmon
Health

Preschool Funding for Kids Now Pays Off Billions Later

There are few sure investments in this chaotic economic climate, but on a national level, education has proven to pay off big down the road. As tight economic times have put the squeeze on education budgets here in the U.S., a new report shows the big benefits of even small investments in early education worldwide.For every dollar invested in boosting preschool enrollment, middle- and low-income countries would see a return of some $6.40 to $17.60, according to a new analysis published September 22 in The Lancet ...

September 22, 2011 — Katherine Harmon
Evolution

Superbugs Now Tracked Globally in Interactive Maps

Bacteria easily elude human detection—even those that can make us sick—quietly spreading from person to person, country to country. A recent global spike in bugs that are resistant to common antibiotics, however, has caused many scientists and policymakers to pay closer attention to when and where these infections are occurring.A new collection of updated interactive world maps reveal the prevalence of many of these so-called superbugs, including the prevalence of the relatively common MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus ) as well as newly concerning gram-negative E...

September 21, 2011 — Katherine Harmon
Health

The Flu Sheds Light on Holes in Immune System Knowledge

MALTA—Coming down with the flu—and slowly recovering from it—might seem straight forward enough. But a lot of what happens in your body on a molecular level during the time between initial infection and full recovery is still somewhat of a mystery to scientists.An improved capacity to track the course of an influenza infection could not only help in the development of more effective vaccines to protect against a much broader range of strains than just a few passing seasonal ones as are now included in annual flu shots, but it could also bring new understanding of the immune system as a whole.We still don't know "what maintains the size of the immune system" and keeps it in homeostasis, Peter Doherty, of the University of Melbourne's Department of Microbiology and Immunology, said September 11, at the European Scientific Working Group on Influenza (ESWI) fourth annual conference in Malta...

September 12, 2011 — Katherine Harmon
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