Taking two antibiotics at once seems like a great idea—sort of like a one-two punch for bacteria. But a new study has revealed that although a drug combo may knock bacteria out harder at first, it ultimately lets the bugs come back even stronger. Because the two-pronged antibiotic attack initially kills off most, but not all, of the bacteria, the microbes that remain are super-resistant and can thrive without competition for resources, actually speeding up bacterial evolution.
An international panel of experts has concluded that new bird flu H7N9 is "unusually dangerous" and more easily transmissible to humans than H5N1. At the time of publication, H7N9 had killed 22 and infected 108 people since it was detected in March, but the panel warned that the extent of the public health risk remains unclear.
Aggressive cancers are particularly hard to treat because they metastasize, or spread through the body. Now, researchers have developed a potential new treatment method involving radioactive, genetically modified bacteria that target tumor cells throughout the body, but leave healthy tissue alone. The bacteria performed very well in mice, shrinking tumors and reducing cancer cells in the animals' bodies by 90%, but it has yet to be seen whether the treatment will be feasible in humans.
Gentlemen, if you've got a date this weekend, put down your razors. A study of responses to male facial hair revealed that women find men most attractive when they're sporting heavy stubble. If you want her to think that you'll be a good dad though, grow out a nice hipster beard—full facial hair got top marks in the study as an indicator of parenting ability.
As the U.S. Senate debates implementing new immigration policy that includes provisions to make it easier for foreigners with STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) degrees to remain in the country, a new report questions the need for foreign STEM talent. The report argues that the United States already has more homegrown STEM graduates than the job market can absorb and that an influx of foreign workers suppresses wages, discouraging U.S. students from entering certain fields. The report's findings are sure to be contested by other key immigration players. Supporters of the new immigration proposal hope for a final vote on the issue this summer.
A recent avalanche of research is challenging the idea that humans are the only animals that have culture. Two studies in humpback whales and vervet monkeys show how animals pass down (sometimes strange) cultural traditions and reveal how conformity to these traditions can help a species survive.