This Week In Science

The Indian superbug

A new paper in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy sheds more light on the terrifying gene factor named NDM, also known as “the Indian superbug” for its resistance to virtually all antibiotics. NDM travels in gut bacteria and can spread between people through the fecal-oral route. Because only a few known drugs are able to treat infections caused by NDM, the research staff at Public Health England state that it presents a huge challenge to medicine as we know it.

Rethinking Neanderthals

A recent paper published in the journal PLOS ONE argues against the conventional notion that the Neanderthals went extinct because they were cognitively inferior to modern humans. Study authors Paolo Villa and Wil Roebroeks say that the Neanderthals were accomplished big game hunters and used pitch to make their own weapons, demonstrating an abstract reasoning ability. There were more complex factors involved in their disappearance, such as male sterility from interbreeding with Homo sapiens.

Ivy League students and their need for speed

A new study from the American Academy of Pediatrics finds that 18 percent of Ivy League students misuse ADHD medication when studying. While colleges often wage campaigns against drug and alcohol abuse, they often neglect to emphasize the harm of prescription drug abuse. Natalie Colaneri, a research assistant at Cohen Children’s Medical Center, hopes that these findings will raise awareness about this important medical and ethical problem.

The price of being unfit

Michigan State University researchers found that college students who were less fit had more difficulty retaining information than their healthier counterparts. The study is published in Cognitive, Affective & Behavioral Neuroscienceand is one of the first to focus on young adults in the field of fitness and memory. Kimberly Fenn, a study co-author, says that a surprising number of students were out of shape and had more trouble with memory, representing the increasingly sedentary lifestyles in the U.S.