Monday, July 28, 2014

Science X Newsletter Week 30

Dear Reader ,

Here is your customized Phys.org Newsletter for week 30:

The first direct-diode laser bright enough to cut and weld metal

Diode lasers—used in laser pointers, barcode scanners, DVD players, and other low-power applications—are perhaps the most efficient, compact, and low-cost lasers available.

Suddenly, the sun is eerily quiet: Where did the sunspots go?

The sun has gone quiet. Almost too quiet. A few weeks ago it was teeming with sunspots, as you would expect since we are supposed to be in the middle of solar maximum-the time in the sun's 11-year cycle when it is the most active.

Mysterious dance of dwarfs may force a cosmic rethink

(Phys.org) —The discovery that many small galaxies throughout the universe do not 'swarm' around larger ones like bees do but 'dance' in orderly disc-shaped orbits is a challenge to our understanding of how the universe formed and evolved.

Boosting the force of empty space

Vacuum fluctuations may be among the most counter-intuitive phenomena of quantum physics. Theorists from the Weizmann Institute (Rehovot, Israel) and the Vienna University of Technology propose a way to amplify their force.

How do we terraform Venus?

It might be possible to terraform Venus some day, when our technology gets good enough. The challenges for Venus are totally different than for Mars. How will we need to fix Venus?

Voyager spacecraft might not have reached interstellar space

In 2012, the Voyager mission team announced that the Voyager 1 spacecraft had passed into interstellar space, traveling further from Earth than any other manmade object.

Earth survived near-miss from 2012 solar storm: NASA

Back in 2012, the Sun erupted with a powerful solar storm that just missed the Earth but was big enough to "knock modern civilization back to the 18th century," NASA said.

Self-cooling solar cells boost power, last longer

Scientists may have overcome one of the major hurdles in developing high-efficiency, long-lasting solar cells—keeping them cool, even in the blistering heat of the noonday Sun.

Material generates steam under solar illumination

A new material structure developed at MIT generates steam by soaking up the sun.

Fiber optic light pipes in the retina do much more than simple image transfer

(Phys.org) —Having the photoreceptors at the back of the retina is not a design constraint, it is a design feature. The idea that the vertebrate eye, like a traditional front-illuminated camera, might have been improved somehow if it had only been able to orient its wiring behind the photoreceptor layer, like a cephalopod, is folly. Indeed in simply engineered systems, like CMOS or CCD image sensors, a back-illuminated design manufactured by flipping the silicon wafer and thinning it so that light hits the photocathode without having to navigate the wiring layer can improve photon capture across a wide wavelength band. But real eyes are much more crafty than that.

Synchronization of North Atlantic, North Pacific preceded abrupt warming, end of ice age

Scientists have long been concerned that global warming may push Earth's climate system across a "tipping point," where rapid melting of ice and further warming may become irreversible—a hotly debated scenario with an unclear picture of what this point of no return may look like.

'Shocking' underground water loss in US drought

A major drought across the western United States has sapped underground water resources, posing a greater threat to the water supply than previously understood, scientists said Thursday.

Giant crater in Russia's far north sparks mystery

A vast crater discovered in a remote region of Siberia known to locals as "the end of the world" is causing a sensation in Russia, with a group of scientists being sent to investigate.

Law of physics governs airplane evolution

Researchers believe they now know why the supersonic trans-Atlantic Concorde aircraft went the way of the dodo—it hit an evolutionary cul-de-sac.

Study vindicates climate models accused of 'missing the pause'

Climate models can recreate the slowdown in global warming since 1998, as long as they correctly factor in crucial variables such as the state of the El Niño system, new research has shown.

Hoverbike drone project for air transport takes off

What happens when you cross a helicopter with a motorbike? The crew at Malloy Aeronautics has been focused on a viable answer and has launched a crowdfunding campaign to support its Hoverbike project, "The Hoverbike is the result of years worth of research and development," said Chris Malloy of Malloy Aeronautics. "We combined the simplicity of a motorbike and the freedom of a helicopter to create the world's first flying motorcycle."

World breaks monthly heat record two times in a row (Update)

The globe is on a hot streak, setting a heat record in June. That's after the world broke a record in May.

Global warming 'pause' since 1998 reflects natural fluctuation, study concludes

Statistical analysis of average global temperatures between 1998 and 2013 shows that the slowdown in global warming during this period is consistent with natural variations in temperature, according to research by McGill University physics professor Shaun Lovejoy.

Physicists discuss quantum pigeonhole principle

The pigeonhole principle: "If you put three pigeons in two pigeonholes at least two of the pigeons end up in the same hole." So where's the argument? Physicists say there is an important argument. While the principle captures the very essence of counting, the investigators said that they showed that in quantum mechanics it is not true.

Museum workers pronounce dobsonfly found in China, largest aquatic insect

Workers with the Insect Museum of West China, who were recently given several very large dragon-fly looking insects, with long teeth, by locals in a part of Sichuan, have declared it, a giant dobsonfly the largest known aquatic insect in the world alive today. The find displaces the previous record holder, the South American helicopter damselfly, by just two centimeters.


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Saturday, July 26, 2014

World Science: Do women prefer mean guys?

* Four billion-year-old chemistry in cells today?:
Some of the chemical processes that first gave rise
to life may be still at work in living cells.

http://www.world-science.net/othernews/140724_primordial.htm


* Fossil suggests flight was common among bird-
like dinosaurs
:
A fossil dinosaur shows an extremely long,
feathered tail that biologists think was crucial
for safe landings.

http://www.world-science.net/othernews/140715_Cyangi.htm


* Some women really do prefer mean guys, 
research suggests
:
What your guy pals told you may be true, according
to new research.

http://www.world-science.net/othernews/140726_responsiveness.htm


* Astronomers detect most distant Milky Way stars 
known
:
They're being called ghosts of galaxies past.

http://www.world-science.net/othernews/140709_milkyway.htm


* Don't tell kids how healthy any food is, study 
hints
:
According to a new study, when children hear about
the benefits of healthy food, they're less likely to
eat it.

http://www.world-science.net/othernews/140722_healthy.htm


ADDITIONAL NEWS


* Study: We could detect aliens by their pollution:
http://www.world-science.net/othernews/140723_pollution.htm

* Mysterious dance of dwarfs may force cosmic 
rethink
:
http://www.world-science.net/othernews/140721_galaxies.htm

* Newfound gene could play role in aging from 
birth
:
http://www.world-science.net/othernews/140717_aging.htm

* Prehistoric "bookkeeping" continued long after 
invention of writing
:
http://www.world-science.net/othernews/140714_tokens.htm

* Consciousness research not dead, scientists insist:
http://www.world-science.net/othernews/140711_consciousness.htm

* Mysterious bursts of radio waves identified far 
outside galaxy
:
http://www.world-science.net/othernews/140710_FRB.htm

* Fossils of tiny, unknown hedgehog found:
http://www.world-science.net/othernews/140708_silvacola.htm

* Specific brain area may aid stock market 
success
:
http://www.world-science.net/othernews/140707_stock.htm


*****************************

World Science homepage
Don't forget to visit our homepage for Science In
Images; links to top science news from other publi-
cations; and other recent World Science stories!

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Friday, July 25, 2014

Science X Newsletter Friday, Jul 25

Dear Reader ,

Here is your customized Phys.org Newsletter for July 25, 2014:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

- Monkeys fear big cats less, eat more, with humans around
- Prototype display uses eyeglass prescription to allow for viewing devices without glasses
- Google Baseline Study aims to define what a healthy human looks like
- New research suggests Saharan dust is key to the formation of Bahamas' Great Bank
- What sign language teaches us about the brain
- New algorithm identifies data subsets that will yield the most reliable predictions
- Breakthrough laser experiment reveals liquid-like motion of atoms in an ultra-cold cluster
- Chemists develop new formulation for the generation of green flames
- Magnets for fusion energy: A revolutionary manufacturing method developed
- Existence of two-dimensional nanomaterial silicene questioned
- The first supercomputer simulations of 'spin–orbit' forces between neutrons and protons in an atomic nucleus
- How do we terraform Venus?
- Bacteria manipulate salt to build shelters to hibernate
- First in-situ images of void collapse in explosives
- New molecule puts scientists a step closer to understanding hydrogen storage

Astronomy & Space news

Earth survived near-miss from 2012 solar storm: NASA

Back in 2012, the Sun erupted with a powerful solar storm that just missed the Earth but was big enough to "knock modern civilization back to the 18th century," NASA said.

Bright like a diamond: lasers and compressed carbon recreate Jupiter's core

While missions like the Kepler can tell us quite a bit about other worlds, but to actually look into the heart of a planet we had to put a diamond through a pretty rough road-test.

OSIRIS images of Rosetta's comet resolve structures at 100 meters pixel scale

In new images of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko taken by Rosetta's onboard scientific imaging system OSIRIS, surface structures are becoming visible. The resolution of these images is now 100 meters per pixel. One of the most striking features is currently found in the comet's neck region. This part of 67P seems to be brighter than the rest of the nucleus.

NASA seeks proposals for commercial Mars data relay satellites

NASA has issued a Request for Information (RFI) to investigate the possibility of using commercial Mars-orbiting satellites to provide telecommunications capabilities for future robotic missions to the Red Planet.

Image: Chandra's view of the Tycho Supernova remnant

More than four centuries after Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe first observed the supernova that bears his name, the supernova remnant it created is now a bright source of X-rays. The supersonic expansion of the exploded star produced a shock wave moving outward into the surrounding interstellar gas, and another, reverse shock wave moving back into the expanding stellar debris.

Biomarkers of the deep

Tucked away in the southwest corner of Spain is a unique geological site that has fascinated astrobiologists for decades. The Iberian Pyrite Belt (IPB) in Spain's Río Tinto area is the largest known deposit of sulfide on Earth, and for decades it has been a field-site for scientists studying chemolithotrophic microbes.

How do we terraform Venus?

It might be possible to terraform Venus some day, when our technology gets good enough. The challenges for Venus are totally different than for Mars. How will we need to fix Venus?

Bacteria manipulate salt to build shelters to hibernate

For the first time, Spanish researchers have detected an unknown interaction between microorganisms and salt. When Escherichia coli cells are introduced into a droplet of salt water and is left to dry, bacteria manipulate the sodium chloride crystallisation to create biomineralogical biosaline 3D morphologically complex formations, where they hibernate. Afterwards, simply by rehydrating the material, bacteria are revived. The discovery was made by chance with a home microscope, but it made the cover of the Astrobiology journal and may help to find signs of life on other planets.

Technology news

Prototype display uses eyeglass prescription to allow for viewing devices without glasses

An experimental display technology being developed by Microsoft, U.C. Berkeley and MIT aims to allow users with vision problems to clearly see device screens without the need for glasses. The technology is based on an algorithm developed by the team that accepts a person's eyeglass prescription and uses it to alter the image projected by a smartphone, tablet, computer, etc. allowing for viewing without eyeglasses.

Google Baseline Study aims to define what a healthy human looks like

Google has announced that it has added a project it's calling Baseline Study, to Google X. The announcement came from project manager Andrew Conrad—he gave an interview to the Wall Street Journal. The aim of the project is simple, study a lot of people as vigorously as possible to see if it's possible to define what it means to be a healthy human being. If that can be accomplished, then logic suggests that any person with deviations from that standard should have cause for concern, because they might have a tendency to develop a particular type of ailment. Put another way, it's a large scale attempt at improving preventive medicine.

Five next-generation technologies for positioning, navigation and timing

It is difficult to imagine the modern world without the Global Positioning System (GPS), which provides real-time positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) data for countless military and civilian uses. Thanks in part to early investments that DARPA made to miniaturize GPS technology, GPS today is ubiquitous. It's in cars, boats, planes, trains, smartphones and wristwatches, and has enabled advances as wide-ranging as driverless cars, precision munitions, and automated supply chain management.

New algorithm identifies data subsets that will yield the most reliable predictions

Much artificial-intelligence research addresses the problem of making predictions based on large data sets. An obvious example is the recommendation engines at retail sites like Amazon and Netflix.

Reinventing entertainment for a digital generation

Children's entertainment is in a mess. This is in no small part due to recent revelations about just what was happening when the stars of earlier generations were producing content.

Software provides a clear overview in long documents

In the future, a software will help users better analyze long texts such as the documents for calls for bids, which are often more than one thousand pages long. Experts at Siemens' global research unit Corporate Technology have developed a search function that enables users to simultaneously look for key words and sections of text in all of the documents of a call for bids, for example, without having to actually open any of the files. This makes the search very fast so that it only takes a few milliseconds before users can read the search results in the documents. The experts also developed a component that checks to see how requirements have changed compared to previous versions of a specific text. As reported in the current issue of "Pictures of the Future" magazine, the ultimate goal is to create a semantic software that recognizes interrelationships in order to find relevant information.

Amazon worker piloted drone around Space Needle

(AP)—Police say an out-of-town Amazon employee was the operator behind a drone that buzzed the Seattle Space Needle this week.

Ride-share service Lyft reaches deal with New York

Ride-share operator Lyft has struck a deal allowing its launch in New York City two weeks after a snag over safety and licensing forced a postponement.

Wikipedia blocks 'disruptive' edits from US Congress

Wikipedia has blocked editing rights from some computers at the US House of Representatives in response to "disruptive" revisions of the online encyclopedia.

Scalping can raise ticket prices

Scalping gets a bad rap. For years, artists and concert promoters have stigmatized ticket resale as a practice that unfairly hurts their own sales and forces fans to pay exorbitant prices for tickets to sold-out concerts. But is that always true?

US Congress decriminalizes cellphone unlocking

US consumers will be allowed to unlock their cellphones and move them to a new carrier under a measure adopted Friday to fix a perceived glitch in copyright law.

Bose sues Beats over headphone patents

Audio technology veteran Bose Corporation on Friday sued Beats Electronics over patented technology for canceling noise in earphones.

Report: China to declare Qualcomm a monopoly

(AP)—Chinese regulators have concluded Qualcomm Inc., one of the biggest makers of chips used in mobile devices, has a monopoly, a government newspaper reported Friday.

Baidu profit up 34 percent as mobile service grows

(AP)—Baidu Inc., which operates China's most popular search engine, said Friday its quarterly profit rose 34 percent over a year earlier as its mobile business grew.

Economical and agile offshore construction ship

Siemens is currently installing the power supply and propulsion systems into a new multi-purpose offshore construction ship for Toisa Ltd. The ship, which is being built by the Korean company Hyundai Heavy Industries Ltd., will be used for a variety of offshore construction tasks at depths of up to 3,500 meters. Among other things, such assignments require the ship to be very maneuverable. This is why Siemens is supplying it with a diesel-electric propulsion system that enables the crew to selectively operate the individual propellers with great precision. Siemens is also providing the ship with a power supply and energy management system that helps to optimize the vessel's fuel consumption.

Lawyer: Claims of botched circumcision are untrue

(AP)—Two doctors are denying claims by an Alabama man who says his penis was amputated during what was supposed to be a routine circumcision.

Medicine & Health news

Diabetes discovery illuminates path to new drugs

To David Altshuler, the recent discovery of a genetic mutation that protects against type 2 diabetes offers hope in fighting more than just diabetes.

Scientists identify body language tied to creativity, learning

The ability to quickly scan another person's body language or expression to get a quick read on what they're thinking or feeling is a handy trick that most humans possess. Show up late for dinner, and all it takes is a glance of your mother's body language to know that you're in trouble.

Faster fish thanks to nMLF neurons

As we walk along a street, we can stroll at a leisurely pace, walk quickly, or run. The various leg movements needed to do this are controlled by special neuron bundles in the spinal cord. It is not quite clear how these central pattern generators know how quickly the legs are to be moved. An international team working with scientists from Harvard University and the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology in Martinsried has now discovered individual neurons in the brain of zebrafish larvae that control the animals' swimming speed. Human movements are also controlled by central pattern generators. The results represent an important step in gaining a better understanding of how rhythmic movements are modulated.

A small group of nerve cells in the fish brain control swim posture

For a fish to swim forward, the nerve cells, or neurons, in its brain and spine have to control the swishing movements of its tail with very close coordination. However, the posture of the tail, which determines swimming direction somewhat like a rudder, also needs to be fine-tuned by the brain's activity. Using the innovative method of optogenetics, scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology in Martinsried have now identified a group of only about 15 nerve cells which steer the movements of the tail fin. Movements of the human body are also controlled via nerve pathways in the same region of the brain, which may therefore use processing mechanisms similar to those in fish.

What sign language teaches us about the brain

The world's leading humanoid robot, ASIMO, has recently learnt sign language. The news of this breakthrough came just as I completed Level 1 of British Sign Language (I dare say it took me longer to master signing than it did the robot!). As a neuroscientist, the experience of learning to sign made me think about how the brain perceives this means of communicating.

How weight, mass, and gravity are represented in the brain

Humans have developed sophisticated concepts like mass and gravity to explain a wide range of everyday phenomena, but scientists have remarkably little understanding of how such concepts are represented by the brain.

Anti-inflammatory drug can prevent neuron loss in Parkinson's model

An experimental anti-inflammatory drug can protect vulnerable neurons and reduce motor deficits in a rat model of Parkinson's disease, researchers at Emory University School of Medicine have shown.

Shift work linked to heightened risk of type 2 diabetes

Shift work is linked to a heightened risk of developing type 2 diabetes, with the risk seemingly greatest among men and those working rotating shift patterns, indicates an analysis of the available evidence published online in Occupational & Environmental Medicine.

Common blood thinner for pregnant women proven ineffective

It's a daily injection to the belly for pregnant women at risk of developing blood clots and it's ineffective, according to a clinical trial led by researchers at The Ottawa Hospital and published today by the prestigious medical journal The Lancet.

Monitoring the rise and fall of the microbiome

Trillions of bacteria live in each person's digestive tract. Scientists believe that some of these bacteria help digest food and stave off harmful infections, but their role in human health is not well understood.

Total darkness at night is key to success of breast cancer therapy

Exposure to light at night, which shuts off nighttime production of the hormone melatonin, renders breast cancer completely resistant to tamoxifen, a widely used breast cancer drug, says a new study by Tulane University School of Medicine cancer researchers. The study, "Circadian and Melatonin Disruption by Exposure to Light at Night Drives Intrinsic Resistance to Tamoxifen Therapy in Breast Cancer," published in the journal Cancer Research, is the first to show that melatonin is vital to the success of tamoxifen in treating breast cancer.

Smartphone experiment tracks whether our life story is written in our gut bacteria

Life events such as visiting another country or contracting a disease cause a significant shift in the make-up of the gut microbiota – the community of bacteria living in the digestive system, according to research published in the open access journal Genome Biology.

Informed consent: False positives not a worry in lung cancer study

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recently recommended computerized tomography (CT) lung screening for people at high risk for cancer, but a potential problem with CT is that many patients will have positive results on the screening test, only to be deemed cancer-free on further testing. Many policymakers have expressed concern that this high false-positive rate will cause patients to become needlessly upset. A new study of National Lung Screening Trial participant responses to false positive diagnoses, however, finds that those who received false positive screening results did not report increased anxiety or lower quality of life compared with participants who received negative screen results.

FDA approves tough-to-abuse formulation of oxycodone

(HealthDay)—Targiniq ER (oxycodone hydrochloride and naloxone hydrochloride extended release) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a long-term, around-the-clock treatment for severe pain when other therapies are ineffective or unavailable.

Maternal gestational weight tied to offspring's asthma risk

(HealthDay)—Maternal obesity in pregnancy (MOP) and high maternal gestational weight gain (GWG) are associated with an elevated risk of childhood asthma, according to a review published online July 21 in Pediatrics.

AAFP: family docs report potential misuse of MGMA data

(HealthDay)—Reports from family physicians have been received that employers may be misusing survey data to set higher compensation rates for general internal physicians than for family physicians, according to a report published by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP).

Ob-gyn guidance issued for young cancer patient concerns

(HealthDay)—Young cancer patients and survivors may have gynecologic concerns, which should be managed before, during, and after treatment, according to a Committee Opinion published in the August issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Race affects opioid selection for cancer pain

(HealthDay)—Racial disparities exist in the type of opioid prescribed for cancer pain, according to a study published online July 21 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Is coffee aggravating your hot flashes?

(HealthDay)—Drinking caffeine may worsen the hot flashes and night sweats that affect roughly two-thirds of women as they go through menopause, new survey data suggests.

FDA approves hard-to-abuse narcotic painkiller

(HealthDay)—A new formulation of a powerful narcotic painkiller that discourages potential abusers from snorting or injecting the drug has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Teenage boys want intimacy, not just sex, survey finds

(HealthDay)—The stereotype of the sex-crazed teenage boy may be dead wrong, according to a small study that asked boys what they really want from romantic relationships.

Tough-to-abuse formulation of oxycodone approved

(HealthDay)—Targiniq ER (oxycodone hydrochloride and naloxone hydrochloride extended release) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a long-term, around-the-clock treatment for severe pain when other therapies are ineffective or unavailable.

Beatings and addiction: Pakistan drug 'clinic' prescribes torture

Hashish addict Noor Rehman has spent three years chained to a concrete slab covered by insects.

Neymar's brain on auto-pilot - Japan neurologists

Brazilian superstar Neymar's brain activity while dancing past opponents is less than 10 percent the level of amateur players, suggesting he plays as if on auto-pilot, according to Japanese neurologists.

Possible risk of folic acid overexposure

A new study has shown that synthetic folic acid, the form taken in folic acid supplements we can buy over the counter, is not processed by the body in the same way as natural folates, the form found in green vegetables.

New technology allows hair to reflect almost any color

What if you could alter your hair to reflect any color in the spectrum? What if you could use a flatiron to press a pattern into your new hair color? Those are possibilities suggested by researchers from the University of New Mexico and Los Alamos National Laboratories.

Viewing dentistry in a new light

Dental X-rays expose patients to radiation, require time to process, and can only "see" a limited amount inside the mouth.

EPFL joins forces with pharmaceutical company to fight tuberculosis

The pharmaceutical company Nearmedic is collaborating with EPFL to participate in the development of a treatment against tuberculosis. The company bought a license covering the use of the molecule in most countries of the former Soviet Union, where multi-resistant strains are prevalent.

Recently identified molecule could lead to new way to repair tendons

It's an all-too familiar scenario for many people. You sprain your ankle or twist your knee. If you're an adult, the initial pain is followed by a long road of recovery, with no promise that the torn ligament or tendon will ever regain its full strength.

Time out for exercise

University of Queensland researcher has found that restructuring our daily routine to include exercise can have unexpected effects on health.

Study reveals how to be socially successful

Romantic, personal and professional relationships are fraught with danger, but a University of Queensland researcher has found the secret to interacting successfully with others in such settings.

Demand for cheap food is to blame for widespread chicken contamination

More than two-thirds of chicken produced in the UK is contaminated with disease-causing bacteria, an investigation by The Guardian has revealed. Although the bug can be killed by proper cooking, it is estimated more than 300,000 people in the UK get diarrhoea from this bug every year. More than 100 people die as a consequence, and many more developing long term neurological and gastrointestinal problems.

Basophils are found to be key drivers of allergy-induced lung inflammation

Many particles and molecules in the environment can trigger allergic asthma in susceptible individuals. The allergic response to some of these allergens results in lung inflammation that can lead to a narrowing of the airways and even severe respiratory difficulty. A research team led by Masato Kubo from the RIKEN Center for Integrative Medical Sciences has now identified that a type of immune cell called a basophil is responsible for initiating a cascade of events that leads to inflammation of the lung in mice after exposure to plant- and dust-mite-derived allergens.

Inadequate mental health care for blacks with depression and diabetes, high blood pressure

A new study in General Hospital Psychiatry confirms that blacks with depression plus another chronic medical condition, such as Type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure, do not receive adequate mental health treatment.

Down syndrome teens need support, health assessed

Young adults with Down syndrome experience a range of physical and mental health conditions over and above those commonly reported in children with the condition—and these health problems may significantly impact their daily lives, according to recent research.

Why do men prefer nice women?

People's emotional reactions and desires in initial romantic encounters determine the fate of a potential relationship. Responsiveness may be one of those initial "sparks" necessary to fuel sexual desire and land a second date. However, it may not be a desirable trait for both men and women on a first date. Does responsiveness increase sexual desire in the other person? Do men perceive responsive women as more attractive, and does the same hold true for women's perceptions of men? A study published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin seeks to answer those questions.

Brain tumor causes and risk factors elude scientists

Today, nearly 700,000 people in the U.S. are living with a brain tumor, and yet, when it comes to pinpointing causes or risk factors, scientists are still searching for answers.

Experiences at every stage of life contribute to cognitive abilities in old age

Early life experiences, such as childhood socioeconomic status and literacy, may have greater influence on the risk of cognitive impairment late in life than such demographic characteristics as race and ethnicity, a large study by researchers with the UC Davis Alzheimer's Disease Center and the University of Victoria, Canada, has found.

Heart attack patients could be treated more quickly

Clinical judgement, combined with an electrocardiogram (ECG) and blood test on arrival, is effective in reducing unnecessary hospital admissions for chest pain, a new study shows.

Test increases odds of correct surgery for thyroid cancer patients

The routine use of a molecular testing panel developed at UPMC greatly increases the likelihood of performing the correct initial surgery for patients with thyroid nodules and cancer, report researchers from the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI), partner with UPMC CancerCenter.

Lift U.S. ban on blood donations by gay men, experts say

(HealthDay)—The United States should repeal a 30-year policy that bans blood donations from gay and bisexual men, according to a team of medical and legal experts writing this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Clearing cells to prevent cervical cancer

A study published online in the International Journal of Cancer earlier this month describes a novel approach to preventing cervical cancer based on findings showing successful reduction in the risk of cervical cancer after removal of a discrete population of cells in the cervix.

Scientists test nanoparticle 'alarm clock' to awaken immune systems put to sleep by cancer

Researchers at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center are exploring ways to wake up the immune system so it recognizes and attacks invading cancer cells. Tumors protect themselves by tricking the immune system into accepting everything as normal, even while cancer cells are dividing and spreading.

Manipulating key protein in the brain holds potential against obesity and diabetes

A protein that controls when genes are switched on or off plays a key role in specific areas of the brain to regulate metabolism, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have found.

New EMS system in Arizona dramatically improves survival from cardiac arrest

A new system that sent patients to designated cardiac receiving centers dramatically increased the survival rate of victims of sudden cardiac arrest in Arizona, according to a study published online yesterday in Annals of Emergency Medicine.

Language barriers don't raise diabetes complication risk

(HealthDay)—For immigrants, language barriers are not associated with an increased risk of diabetes complications, according to a study published online July 15 in Diabetes Care.

Tool assesses psychosocial problems in genetic counseling

(HealthDay)—A questionnaire improves discussion of psychosocial problems during genetic counseling sessions for cancer, according to research published online July 21 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Hormonal contraception may up gestational diabetes risk

(HealthDay)—The type of contraceptives used before pregnancy may influence the risk of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), according to research published July 17 in Preventing Chronic Disease.

Serum free light chain level increase precedes amyloidosis

(HealthDay)—Increased serum free light chains (FLCs) precede the presentation of immunoglobulin light chain amyloidosis (AL amyloidosis), according to a study published online July 14 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Anal, throat cancers on the rise among young adults, study finds

(HealthDay)—Although cervical cancers are declining in the United States and Canada, other cancers linked to human papillomavirus (HPV) are increasing, a new study indicates.

Slow walking speed and memory complaints can predict dementia (w/ Video)

A study involving nearly 27,000 older adults on five continents found that nearly 1 in 10 met criteria for pre-dementia based on a simple test that measures how fast people walk and whether they have cognitive complaints. People who tested positive for pre-dementia were twice as likely as others to develop dementia within 12 years. The study, led by scientists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University and Montefiore Medical Center, was published online on July 16, 2014 in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Less than 1 percent of UK public research funding spent on antibiotic research in past 5 years

Less than 1% of research funding awarded by public and charitable bodies to UK researchers in 2008 was awarded for research on antibiotics, according to new research published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

Patients give high marks to shared medical appointments

(HealthDay)—Shared medical appointments (SMAs) improve patient satisfaction with primary care, according to research published in the July/August issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

Chicken off McDonald's HK menu after food scandal

(AP)—McDonald's restaurants in Hong Kong have taken chicken nuggets and chicken filet burgers off the menu after a mainland Chinese supplier was accused of selling expired meat.

Feds cap fines for not buying health insurance

(AP)—Federal officials have capped the amount of money scofflaws will be forced to pay if they don't buy insurance this year under the new health care law.

How we got ahead in HIV control

When AIDS first emerged in the early 1980s, HIV infection was a death sentence. But a global effort has ensured this is no longer the case for a growing number of people.

More research needed on medication management in dementia

Family carers of people with dementia need more help with medication management according to a new report involving the University of East Anglia, which was led by the University of Aston.

Will 2015 be the year the world agrees how to live sustainably?

Next year will be critical in environmental diplomacy. World governments will be negotiating important global agreements in two areas that will have a major impact on our well-being in coming decades, including the legal framework for climate action beyond 2020.

Ascertaining low-dose radiation impact on the heart

We are all exposed to radiations. Such exposure can be harmless at very low doses but damage our health above certain thresholds. But what happens in between is more difficult to predict. The PROCARDIO project is casting light on part of this mystery, with a focus on radiation-induced heart disease.

Is Europe putting cancer research at risk?

The European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO), the leading pan-European association representing medical oncology professionals, has expressed concern that the proposed EU General Data Protection Regulation could make cancer research impossible and add a significant burden to both doctors and cancer patients.

West Africa Ebola death toll reaches 660: WHO

The death toll in West Africa's Ebola outbreak has risen to 660, with the number of cases surpassing 1,000, the World Health Organization said Friday.

The 'Hobby lobby ruling' and what it means for U.S. health care

(HealthDay)—The U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on contraception coverage—as mandated under the Affordable Care Act—could lead to a legal quagmire that might allow companies to deny insurance coverage for any medical practice that violates their religious principles, some health care experts say.

NRG1 isoforms could be an effective therapeutic candidate to promote peripheral nerve regeneration

Neuregulin 1 (NRG1) is a pleiotropic factor characterized by the existence of numerous isoforms arising from alternative splicing of exons that confer to the protein deeply different characteristics. NRG1 plays an important role for both the myelination occurring during development and the different phases occurring after injury in the peripheral nerve: axon degeneration, axon regrowth, remyelination and target reinnervation

Neurologic recovery from corticospinal tract injury due to subfalcine herniation

After development of diffusion tensor tractography (DTT), which is derived from diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), three-dimensional reconstruction and estimation for three motor tracts, such as the corticospinal tract, the rubrospinal tract, and the corticoreticular pathway became possible.

Study recommends inmate immunity test

(AP)—Federal experts are recommending that California test inmates for immunity to a sometimes fatal soil-borne fungus before incarcerating them at two Central Valley state prisons where the disease has killed nearly three dozen inmates.

Nigeria confirms Liberian man died of Ebola in Lagos (Update)

Nigeria said Friday that Ebola caused the death of a Liberian national who died in quarantine in Lagos, confirmation that the worst-ever outbreak of the virus has reached Africa's most populous country.

Biology news

Monkeys fear big cats less, eat more, with humans around

Some Monkeys in South Africa have been found to regard field scientists as human shields against predators and why not if the alternative is death by leopard? The researchers found the monkeys felt far safer when humans were nearby. It has to do with a life marked by predator fear. The study, appearing in the Oxford journal, Behavioral Ecology, was conducted by researchers from the UK, the Netherlands and South Africa.

Underground amphibians evolved unique ear

Caecilians have developed an oversized organ in their ears to help them sense underground vibrations, say scientists.

It takes two to court: Researchers identify functions of two classes of mouse pheromone receptors

Researchers at the Stowers Institute for Medical Research have identified the functions of two classes of pheromone receptors, and found pheromones crucial to triggering the mating process in mice.

"Light pollution" may affect love lives of birds in the Viennese Forests

Artificial light in cities exerts negative effects on humans, animals, and their environment. In an ongoing research project, behavioral biologists at Vetmeduni Vienna are investigating how blue tits in the Viennese Forests react to "light pollution". The study might help to understand effects of "light-at-night" on reproductive behavior of birds. In consequence, it could help developing concepts, minimizing negative effects on the lives of animals and the ecological system, by reducing light sources in specific regions. The research project started this year and is supported by the city of Vienna.

Thirty new marine protected areas declared in Scotland

This morning, Fauna & Flora International (FFI) received the welcome news that the Scottish Government has announced the designation of 30 new marine protected areas (MPAs) in its waters.

Rising temperatures can be hard on dogs

The "dog days of summer" are here, but don't let the phrase fool you. This hot time of year can be dangerous for your pup, says a Kansas State University veterinarian.


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