Science news

Ebola-hit countries in West Africa are at risk for a measles outbreak, which could infect hundreds of thousands of people.

That’s according to a study in the journal Science

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Wednesday was “change the world” day at Northern Illinois University. And since the students were away on Spring Break, it was a good opportunity to invite local high schoolers interested in medical careers to meet one of their own.  

HRT Pill Takers May Face Increased Blood Clot Risk

Mar 10, 2015

Women on HRT pills may face an increased risk of blood clots and stroke.

That’s according to a study from the international Cochrane group.

While the pills can ease menopausal symptoms and could help prevent heart disease, officials say the benefits must be weighed against other possible harms.

NIU Today

A fish found under a half-mile thick ice sheet in Antarctica could imply so much for Northern Illinois University scientists...including extraterrestrial life.

Flickr user mahalie stackpole / "pregnant silhouette" (CC BY 2.0)

No alcohol when trying to conceive or during the first three months of pregnancy--that’s the updated advice from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. 

The group previously said a couple of glasses of wine a week during pregnancy was okay. However, there is no proven and safe amount of alcohol that women can drink while pregnant. 

Drinking while trying to get pregnant or during the first trimester of pregnancy could increase the chance of miscarriage. 

Flickr user frankieleon / "Vaccination" (CC BY 2.0)

Illinois Representative Mike Zalewski filed legislation to clarify state regulations on child vaccines. 

Zalewski's resolution follows a widely reported measles infection at a Palatine day care center. Seven of the eight cases in Cook County are tied to the measles cluster health officials started investigating last week at the KinderCare Learning Center. The total cases include two adults and six infants, all of whom were not vaccinated.

Flickr user mahalie stackpole / "pregnant silhouette" (CC BY 2.0)

The safest time to fly during pregnancy is before 37 weeks, or before 32 if carrying twins. 

That’s according to new advice from The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

The college says flying is not harmful to pregnant women and babies during a low-risk pregnancy, but there may be side effects.

Flickr user Claus Rebler / "Sick" (CC BY 2.0)

Illinois and Cook County public health officials are investigating several measles cases in a KinderCare Learning Center in Palatine.

All students and staff at the facility were notified, and anyone who has not received the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine is instructed to stay home for the next 21 days.

The cluster includes five children younger than one year old. It is unknown if the cases can be traced back to another case in Cook County or the outbreak that began at Disneyland.

Flickr user ynse / "dna rendering" (CC BY 2.0)

People who carry a gene variant associated with longevity also have a larger part of the brain involved in planning and decision-making.

That’s according to a study in the journal Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology.

Researchers found replicating the mutation in mice enhanced learning and memory.

Common Meds May Be Linked To Dementia

Jan 27, 2015

Over-the-counter meds for conditions like insomnia and hay-fever may be linked to dementia.

That’s according to a study in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

Researchers say the findings suggest prolonged use for three years or more posed a higher risk of dementia for elderly people.