Discovered: Space, brought to you in 3D; thin diabetics worse off than overweight ones; for some women, giving birth is a traumatic event; Nipah virus can be prevented in monkeys.
Slowing the spread of Nipah contagion. Nipah virus, the deadly inspiration for the Steven Soderbergh's Contagion, has killed hundreds of people since it emerged in the late 1990s in Southeast Asia. But this week, researchers announced that they've found a vaccine that protects monkeys against the deadly virus, and they're hoping it can lead to treatments for humans. The Nipah virus is borne by fruit bats and transmitted to humans through date palm sap. This week, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences' Katharine Bossart and colleagues discovered that a vaccine they previously developed to protect monkeys against the Hendra virus can also guard against Nipah. "In the event Nipah ever goes viral off the silver screen, this vaccine could become an important tool for public health," says W. Ian Lipkin, scientific consultant for the film Contagion. [New Scientist]
Outer space, in 3D. Have you ever wished that flat images of space could pop out at you, enveloping your field of vision with bright stars and swirling galaxies? Well, the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics has your back. Astronomers there have created the largest ever 3D map of space landscapes which cover a volume encased in a cube four billion light-years long on each side. "We want to map the largest volume of the universe yet, and to use that map to understand how the expansion of the universe is accelerating," says Daniel Eisenstein, director of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey III, which oversaw the project. Drool over one of these eye-popping images below. [Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics]
Can giving birth cause PTSD? We usually associate Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) with soldiers returning from war, or survivors of violent attacks, but what about mothers? Rael Strous, a researcher at Tel Aviv University, finds that a whopping one in three women exhibit signs of PTSD after giving birth. A much smaller percentage goes on to develop full-blown PTSD, but still, Strous believes that giving birth constitutes a traumatic event for many women. PTSD symptoms were more prevalent in women who opted for natural births, forgoing any pain relief. "The less pain relief there was, the higher the woman's chances of developing post-partum PTSD," says Strous. [American Friends Tel Aviv University]
Thin is not in, when you have diabetes. Many type 2 diabetes sufferers contract the disease in part due to obesity. But some type 2 diabetics remain thin, and they actually have worse health outcomes than their overweight peers, researchers have found. Mercedes Carnethon of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago studied thin diabetics, and found evidence that die sooner than overweight diabetics, perhaps because of frail bones or wasting muscles. "This study raises a lot more questions than answers," says epidemiologist Lynne Wagenknecht, who thinks this study does "a really nice job examining every which way, upside down and right side up of what might be going on here." [Science News]