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"Bionic" eye restores vision after three decades of darkness

When vision fails, it's often the result of damage to the eye caused by an injury or degenerative disease. In an attempt to restore such vision loss, researchers for more than a decade have been working to develop an optical prosthetic that can restore sight by delivering images directly to the brain...

March 4, 2009 — Larry Greenemeier

Last 100 Balkan lynx face possible extinction

Cat species don’t get much rarer than the Balkan lynx ( lynx lynx martinoi ). At most, 100 members of this critically endangered subspecies of the Eurasian lynx ( lynx lynx ) remain in the wilds of Macedonia and Albania, according to extensive surveys organized* by the Coordinated Research Projects for the Conservation and Management of Carnivores (KORA), based in Switzerland...

March 4, 2009 — John Platt

Astronomers spot two black holes in an orbital dance

Black holes, as frighteningly extreme as they may be, are relatively commonplace across the universe. Like most large galaxies, our own Milky Way packs a supermassive black hole at its core, a lurking monster some four million times as massive as the sun...

March 4, 2009 — John Matson

Drill, baby, drill: Our first core samples

Editor's Note: University of Southern California geobiologist Katrina Edwards is taking part in a three-week drilling project at the Atlantic's North Pond—a sediment-filled valley on the ocean floor—designed to locate and study what she calls the “intraterrestrials”: the myriad microbial life-forms living inside Earth's crust...

March 4, 2009 — Katrina Edwards

What's "surprising" about HIV in 50-somethings?

The amount of HIV infection among people over 50 is “surprisingly high,” World Health Organization (WHO) officials say, and despite much speculation about why, there’s little definitive information that might shed light on the trend...

March 3, 2009 — Jordan Lite

New Koobface worm lets hackers play tricks on Facebook, MySpace members

Is there a new generation of the so-called "Koobface" worm that's been plaguing social networking sites?

Apparently so. Rik Ferguson, a researcher with computer security software maker Trend Micro, earlier this week reported on the company's Web site that he had found a new variant of Koobface, which first surfaced in December, after investigating a Facebook message he received that appeared to have come from someone on his friends list and directed him to a spoofed YouTube site...

March 3, 2009 — Larry Greenemeier

What's the best Rx for lower-back pain?

Suffer from inexplicable lower-back pain? Exercise may be the best way to keep it away, according to a new analysis of remedies, including workouts, shoe inserts and support belts. 

"We did an evaluation of high quality studies on the prevention of back problem episodes in adults [and] found that, surprisingly, exercise is the only intervention that works, and other popular interventions don't work," says Stanley Bigos, emeritus professor of orthopedic surgery at the University of Washington in Seattle, and lead author of the analysis published recently in The Spine Journal ...

March 3, 2009 — Coco Ballantyne

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Scientific American Health & Medicine

Scientific American Health & Medicine