SCIENCE IN THE NEWS WEEKLY
Biomedicine: A Plateau in Childhood Obesity?
Federal officials say childhood obesity may have leveled off in the United States. A new analysis of the most recent data found the first sign since the 1980s that the number of 2-to-19-year-olds who are overweight may have stopped rising.
Another study found that lead exposure early in life could be linked to higher arrest rates later on. Experts say the first study to follow lead-exposed children from before birth into adulthood could provide the strongest evidence yet that lead exposure plays a major role in crime.
Meanwhile, researchers in Maryland are trying to determine why flu vaccines aren't as effective for older people. Flu vaccines reportedly work in only 30 percent to 40 percent of those over age 65 - compared with 80 percent to 90 percent of younger adults.
And, finally, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute is expanding its flagship investigators program through a $600 million initiative. By endowing scientists' research over many years, the institute hopes they will make major discoveries in a variety of fields, including genetics and biology.
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PODCASTS: From Balloons to Space Stations: Studying Cosmic Rays
Cosmic rays have mysterious qualities about them that scientists continue to research in order to better understand their origins and composition. Dr. Eun-Suk Seo, a professor of physics at the University of Maryland, and her colleagues, fly enormous balloons as large as a football stadium and a volume of 40-million-cubic feet for extended periods over Antarctica to study particles coming from cosmic rays before they break up in the atmosphere.
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