World Topics

Pre-humans' hands suggest tool use 3.2 million years ago

The hand structure of early human ancestors who lived 3.2 million years ago suggests they had the ability to grasp and use tools, even if they hadn’t invented them yet, anthropologists said Thursday. One key attribute that separates humans from other animals is the opposable thumb, giving us a strong ...

Jan 29, 2015

'Expensive' placebo beats 'cheap' one in Parkinson's disease: study

When patients with Parkinson’s disease received an injection described as an effective drug costing $1,500 per dose, their motor function improved significantly more than when they got one supposedly costing $100, scientists reported on Wednesday. Underlining the power of expectations, the motor improvements, measured ...

Fossils push back snake origins by 65 million years

Jan 28, 2015

Fossils push back snake origins by 65 million years

Snakes have been slithering on Earth far longer than anyone ever realized. Scientists on Tuesday described the four oldest-known snake fossils, the most ancient of which was a 10-inch-long (25-cm) reptile called Eophis underwoodi that lived about 167 million years ago and was unearthed ...

Eyelids give surgeons new path to the brain

Jan 27, 2015

Eyelids give surgeons new path to the brain

Doctor after doctor said removing the tumor causing Pamela Shavaun Scott’s unrelenting headaches would require cutting open the top of her skull and pushing aside her brain. Then one offered a startling shortcut — operating through her eyelid. The idea: Make a small incision ...

Jan 27, 2015

Planning may start in the brain's amygdala, study finds

Thinking of a new career? Buying a home? Have you consulted your amygdala? These almond-shaped clusters of neurons deep in the brain may play a vital part in long-term planning, said a study published on Monday. Experiments conducted on lab monkey amygdala may also ...

Jan 27, 2015

Mountain-sized asteroid set to skim by Earth

An asteroid the size of a mountain is about to shave by Earth, in a rare type of flyby that will not be seen for another decade, astronomers said Monday. The asteroid, known as 2004 BL86, runs no risk of a colliding with Earth ...

NASA craft set to beam home close-ups of Pluto

Jan 26, 2015

NASA craft set to beam home close-ups of Pluto

Nine years after leaving Earth, the New Horizons spacecraft is at last drawing close to Pluto and on Sunday was expected to start shooting photographs of the dwarf planet. The first mission to Pluto began in January 2006 when an Atlas V rocket blasted ...

Jan 25, 2015

Nevada considering strict condom regulation for porn films

Adult film production migrated from California to Nevada after voters in Los Angeles County approved a law requiring condom use on set. Now, a condom use requirement could follow. Nevada health officials said Friday that they’re considering strict brothel-style regulations for a booming adult ...