SITN Flash

Our “Science in the News Flash” is your twice-monthly source for information on recent high profile science issues. Most often, each issue of the SITN Flash features two articles. The SITN Flash also produces occasional special editions, such as a feature on the year of chemistry or the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity. These special editions contain multiple articles on a single topic, including current research as well as opinions and interviews of researchers in the field. SITNFlash is a free resource that can help you find easy-to-understand explanations of the science behind the hottest science stories you’ll read in newspapers and see on TV. By joining our email list, you will receive an update each time a new issue of the SITN Flash is released. Or follow us on Twitter @sitnflash


  • Why do male smokers have higher cancer rates than female smokers? 'Cigarette' via Creative Commons DomainWhen it comes to smoking and cancer, men are mysteriously worse off: over 30% of cancer deaths in males are connected to smoking, compared to ~20% in women. It’s not all due to lung cancer either - male smokers also have a higher incidence of non-lung cancers compared to female smokers. Why the difference?. A…
  • Are blood biomarkers the new way to diagnose concussion? Not quite yet, but we’re getting closer. By U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Jayme Pastoric [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsMild traumatic brain injuries (mTBIs - the hot new word for concussions) often transition from minor/temporary injuries to major/long-term problems when multiple head traumas occur before the brain fully recovers. The current methods for diagnosis are suboptimal: psychological tests are inconsistent and brain scans are slow, expensive, and often unavailable. Finding a ‘concussion biomarker’ -…
  • An easier way to break down Cellulose for energy? Sawdust- “wood wool”; by Priwo (photo taken by de:Benutzer:Priwo) [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsHumans can’t digest cellulose. Similarly, we’ve found it hard to efficiently break down cellulose in biomass for energy applications, until now. Researchers show a more efficient breakdown of cellulose than current methods that require energy-intensive pretreatment steps to separate the parts that can be easily broken down from those that cannot, consuming more energy than…
  • The Reason for the Season: why flu strikes in winter EM_of_influenza_virus“Did you get your flu shot?” If your friends are anything like mine, you heard this question at least a dozen times before Thanksgiving. You probably got your fair share of disdainful looks too, if you answered “No.” But why are we worried about getting the flu shot now and not in May? Why is…
  • Seeds of poison: new research suggests that the world’s most widely used insecticide is linked to declining bird populations CB FIgure 1As children, we learn about one of Nature’s most beautiful and ingenious inventions:  the seed. We learn that the coat of a seed provides both protection and nutrition for the fledging plant inside. We learn later in life about the less beautiful truth of commercial seeds. Our modern-day seeds are often covered in a layer…
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Check out our January Special Edition on Stem Cells!