Current and recent students at the NYU program for science, health and environmental reporting (SHERP) have published some great stuff recently. Here is a sampling for your enjoyment:

Rachel Nuwer teamed up with Cornelia Dean and published an article in the New York Times (Nation section):

Salmon-Killing Virus Seen for First Time in the Wild on the Pacific Coast:

A lethal and highly contagious marine virus has been detected for the first time in wild salmon in the Pacific Northwest, researchers in British Columbia said on Monday, stirring concern that it could spread there, as it has in Chile, Scotland and elsewhere...

Sarah Fecht, currently an intern at Scientific American, had fun combining text and video:

D.C. Power Play: Students Vie to Build Affordable, Energy Self-Sufficient Homes in U.S. Solar Decathlon:

The bankruptcy of solar panel manufacturer Solyndra last month has left many people wondering about the future of solar industry in the U.S. That turn of events didn’t stop the U.S. Department of Energy from sponsoring its biennial Solar Decathlon this fall, during which college-age students designed and built houses powered by sunlight. Nineteen teams from around the world gathered from September 23 to October 2 to show off their solar-powered homes on the National Mall in Washington, D.C....

Ritchie King wrote this in the Health section at New York Times:

New Way to Gain a Clear View of the Brain:

A group of Japanese neuroscientists is trying to peer into the mind — literally. They have devised a way to turn the brain’s opaque gray matter into a glassy, see-through substance. ...

Madeleine Johnson had this article published in Slate:

Pets With Problems: Does spaying cause depression in dogs and cats?:

Not even PETA objects to cutting the testicles off a cat. For decades, pet owners have been taking their companion animals for genital snips and other forms of ungendering, with the laudable goal of reducing the number of unwanted offspring and staving off unpleasant behavior around the house. Animal welfare organizations concur, neutered pets are less likely to escape and roam the neighborhood, get hit by a car, or scent mark the furniture. Spayed females don’t go into yowling heat or bleeding estrous, and have a reduced risk of breast cancer. A male without gonads has zero risk of the various diseases that afflict them. There’s hardly any controversy over the unsexing of America’s cats and dogs: According to an epidemiological study published in April, something like four-fifths of the former and two-thirds of the latter have been spayed or neutered. But how does it feel for the animals? Could losing its genitals make your cat a little blue?...

Douglas Main, at Discover:

The Brain’s Medicine: Natural Marijuana-Like Chemicals Play Important Role in Placebo Effect:

Placebos are inactive treatments that shouldn’t, in some sense, have a real effect. And yet they often do. But the chemical basis of the placebo effect, despite its enormous importance, is still largely a mystery. A study published this week in Nature Medicine shows that cannabinoid receptors are involved in the placebo response to pain, which hasn’t been demonstrated before. The finding implies that the brain’s own endocannabinoids can fight pain, and actually do it via the same pathway as several compounds in the cannabis plant...

Aimee Cunningham, in Scientific American MIND:

Painkillers Thwart Prozac: Over-the-counter pain relievers may block some antidepressants:

People with depression encounter a lot of pharmaceutical frustration. For largely unknown reasons, roughly one in three patients receive no benefit from any antidepressant. A recent study, however, suggests that something as simple as over-the-counter painkillers could play a role. Ibuprofen, aspirin and other anti-inflammatory drugs may disrupt the action of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), the most commonly prescribed type of antidepressant.....

Rose Eveleth, at Scienceline:

Why do women orgasm? Unraveling the elusive female orgasm:

There might be nothing more mysterious in the world than the female orgasm. But there is one, big question that science still can’t answer about it: Why does it exist?

Now, if you’re a woman, you probably just said to yourself: “What do you mean, why does it exist?” But hear me out — there is actually a long running scientific debate over why women have orgasms. While the male orgasm is a necessary feature of reproduction, there are loads of species that reproduce successfully without any kind of female orgasm. So why do we have it?...

...and Rose again:

Are there different kinds of female orgasm? No, we don’t mean fake and not fake:

A while ago, Robert King was studying the female orgasm. He went to women and asked them: “Describe an orgasm.” And their responses surprised him. Often, they would reply, “Well, what kind do you mean?” King’s response: You tell me.

Using the data from those surveys, King and his colleagues at the University of East London tried to sort out the variety of ways in which women describe their orgasms. What they found was that their accounts tended to sort into two distinct categories....

Kathryn Doyle at Scienceline:

The city that never sleeps: Light pollution threatens humans, animals :

Ian Cheney misses the stars. As a boy in Maine he designed his own telescope and mapped new constellations over the roof of his family’s barn. Now he lives in New York City, where eight million people share only a few dozen stars per night. Lately, he has been screening his film “The City Dark” under that blank, grey sky...