MAGAZINE ISSUE DATE: 27 AUGUST 2005 (Vol. 187 No 2514)

EXCLUSIVE REPORT:TRAUMA OF WAR HITS TROOPS YEARS LATERAs the US agonises over how long its soldiers should stay in Iraq, New Scientist has pieced together evidence showing that veterans will be paying the price for decades to come. It is well recognised that soldiers returning home from combat with post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, suffer psychological problems such as insomnia and anxiety. What's less well known is that PTSD can also trigger poorer physical health. Recent and soon-to-be published research reveals that soldiers suffering from PTSD after experiencing the type of fighting taking place in Iraq are more likely to develop heart disease, diabetes and even cancer later in life.Pages 6-7, Plus EDITORIAL Page 3

OTHER NEWS:A PERSONAL SEARCH ENGINEA new search engine can automatically rank results from a search according to your personal tastes or hobbies. The system indexes emails, documents and web pages on a user's desktop and then deduces their interests. It then reorders results produced from a search according to words found from its desktop search. Page 21

CROP REVIVAL FOR ACEH AFTER THE TSUNAMIFears of a lasting agricultural crisis in Indonesia's Aceh province after the devastating tsunami of 26 December 2004 appear to be unfounded. An Australian team have been studying the crops and salt levels in one part of the province, and say they have seen good rice and soybean crop production. However, peanuts have been badly hit, with no crops left unaffected by the tsunami. Page 9

MORE ANIMALS JOIN THE LEARNING CIRCLEA new study of killer whales adds to evidence that cultural learning is widespread among animals. An animal behaviourist from New York discovered a male killer whale had devised a new way to catch birds, and had later passed his strategy on to his group mates. Page 8

US ON COURSE FOR SHRINK-TO-FIT LASERA lightweight, high-powered laser has been designed in the US which can be fitted to fighter aircraft to track and destroy missiles. Details were released by the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency, who says it has managed to fit all the hardware for such a weapon into the space of a small refrigerator. Page 24

HOW TO STOP THE SLAUGHTER OF INNOCENTSLives could be saved by re-engineering cars to make them safer to pedestrians. Persuading car owners to spend money on devices to protect pedestrians is difficult. But new legislation will ensure all new cars are designed to be a bit kinder to other road users. The first phase of the EU legislation, which comes into force in October, will require a car bumper to absorb some of the energy of impact. And in 2007 the EU will start a research programme to develop a "collision-free" vehicle. Pages 22-23

HOW AFRICAN FROG HUNTS WITH EYES WIDE SHUTAfrican claw frogs can distinguish between edible and inedible insects, even when blinded, by the characteristic frequencies the insects generate as they struggle in the water. So why do they need eyes in the first place? A team of physicists in Germany propose that a frog's visual system trains its sensory receptors, and they have developed a mathematical model to explain how this can be achieved. Page 13


THE FLAW IN THE THAWMany climate change activists have seized on the striking images of shrinking glaciers as proof of global warming. But there's more to it than that, reports Fred Pearce. The evidence for a worldwide meltdown is overwhelming, but the question, however, is why. Researchers are pointing out that ice has been receding long before man-made climate change could have had any impact. Pages 27-30

FATHER NATUREIt used to be widely assumed that our male ancestor's role as the macho hunter has been hard-wired into the brains of men today. But in the past two decades the father's role in family life has been re-examined by anthropologists and primatologists. They have challenged our preconceptions that throughout history it has always been the responsibility of women to look after young children. It seems it all comes naturally to a new dad " but only if the situation is right. Pages 38-41

KEEPING YOUR NERVESResearchers are discovering that the same culprit might play a role in a range of neurological disorders " from motor neuron disease to Alzheimer's. Evidence is now increasingly implicating the failure of the neuron transport systems, which carry important proteins from the nerve cell body to the target cell or organ. A growing number of scientists believe that finding a way to protect axons from these transport problems could bring enormous medical benefits.Pages 31-33


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