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Life sciences/Genetics

A new study in dogs reveals two genes responsible for controlling heartbeat rhythm and re-coordinating the action of the heart’s right and left ventricles. These genes may be part of the molecular pathway affected by pacemakers, researchers report in the 14 September issue of the journal Science Translational Medicine.

Using gene therapy or drugs to activate these genes in heart failure patients may help people who cannot use a pacemaker—or possibly replace pacemakers altogether, the study authors propose.

The average American child now spends more than seven hours a day in front of a screen —playing video games, watching TV, surfing the Internet, texting friends via cell phone—and the loss of contact with the natural world has implications not only for the well-being of the child but also for the future of the environment.

That’s the message in the documentary film Play Again, which screened 9 June at AAAS under the auspices of the AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellowships program.