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Observations

Observations

Opinion, arguments & analyses from guest experts and from the editors of Scientific American

Vitamin D deficiency linked to genetic polymorphisms

At least half of adults in developed countries have deficient levels of vitamin D, and low levels of this vitamin have been linked to bone fragility, cancer, heart disease and immune system problems...

June 10, 2010 — Katherine Harmon

Back in style: An ancient shoe from 3500 B.C. looks like moccasins worn in the 1950s

Talk about vintage footwear—an international team of archaeologists has discovered the world's oldest leather shoe. One thousand years older than the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt, the 5,500-year-old shoe was perfectly preserved by the cool, dry conditions in the sheep dung–lined cave in Armenia where it was found."We thought initially that the shoe and other objects were about 600 to 700 years old because they were in such good condition," Ron Pinhasi said in a prepared statement...

June 9, 2010 — Katie Moisse

Babies born early--even by a week--are more likely to have special education needs

Premature infants have a known higher risk for poor neurological development, often leading to developmental and educational issues. However, these babies, born before 37 weeks, make up a small number of any generation, and new research shows that the 40 percent of babies born any more than a week before a full 40-week term are also at higher risk for having special education needs during childhood...

June 9, 2010 — Katherine Harmon

Apple takes the wraps off its new iPhone 4

Apple will start selling the iPhone 4 in the U.S., France, Germany, Japan and the U.K. on June 24, although customers can pre-order the new gadget beginning June 15 from Apple's Web site, it was announced Monday...

June 7, 2010 — Larry Greenemeier

Did CIA doctors perform torture research on detainees?

Doctors and other health professionals working for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) might have been illegally performing research on detainees after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, according to a new report issued by the advocacy group Physicians for Human Rights...

June 7, 2010 — Katherine Harmon

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