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Vol. 343 ,
- 6 March 2014 1:04 pm , Vol. 343 , #6175
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Top Stories: Chimpanzee 'Personhood,' a Probiotic Autism Treatment, and Cavity-Fighting Candy
6 December 2013 2:45 pm
Many autistic children have unusually severe tummy problems, like chronic constipation or diarrhea. Now, a provocative study claims that a probiotic treatment for gastrointestinal issues can reduce autismlike symptoms in mice—and suggests that this treatment could work for humans, too.
This week, an animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed three lawsuits in New York in an attempt to get judges to declare that chimpanzees are legal persons and should be freed from captivity. The suits target two research chimps at Stony Brook University and two chimps on private property and are the opening salvo in a coordinated effort to grant “legal personhood” to a variety of animals across the United States. Meanwhile, scientists in Italy have petitioned lawmakers to revise a measure that sharply restricts the use of animals in scientific research.
You may actually be able to fight cavities by sucking on candy—if it’s laced with the right dead bacteria. A new study shows that candy containing probiotics actually lowers the level of cavity-causing bacteria in saliva, presumably because the dead bacteria tie up the living ones, which are then swallowed.
NASA is restructuring how its Planetary Science Division funds grant proposals, and researchers are rattled. Some say that it threatens to delay funding for their projects by up to a year and could put them out of work.
Theoretical physicists have forged a connection between a mysterious quantum mechanical concept called entanglement and wormholes. The insight could help physicists reconcile quantum mechanics and Einstein's general theory of relativity, perhaps the grandest goal in theoretical physics.