Posts

February 25, 2015

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2:50 PM | Sunlight continues to damage skin in the dark
Much of the damage that ultraviolet radiation (UV) does to skin occurs hours after sun exposure, a team of Yale-led researchers concluded in a study that was published online Feb. 19 by the journal Science. Subject:  Health & Medicine

February 24, 2015

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6:28 PM | How to live forever
The fact that we cannot agree on whether our sense of self would survive copying is a reminder that our general understanding of consciousness and self-awareness is incredibly weak and limited. Subject:  Brain & Behavior
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5:47 PM | New precision drugs target cancer weak spots
Scientists have identified weak spots in cancer cells that could be targeted and attacked by new precision drugs. A major computational analysis by scientists at the University of Sussex and The Institute of Cancer Research, London, has found a number of potential targets for drugs that exploit the inherent weaknesses of cancer cells. Subject:  Health & Medicine
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4:58 PM | Time travel consciousness
Can you change your mind after the deed is done? Ezequiel Di Paolo thinks you can, sometimes. More specifically, he believes that acts can become intentional after they have already been performed. His theory, which seems to imply a kind of time travel, is set out in a paper in the latest Journal of Consciousness Studies. Subject:  Brain & Behavior
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4:46 PM | Anger may trigger a heart attack!
University of Sydney research reveals that the risk of a heart attack is 8.5 times higher in the two hours following a burst of intense anger. Published today in European Heart Journal: Acute Cardiovascular Care, this is the first Australian study to investigate the link between acute emotional triggers and high risk of severe cardiac episodes. Subject:  Health & Medicine

February 23, 2015

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7:46 PM | The next generation of antibiotics might be right under our feet
The discovery of a new antibiotic called teixobactin was announced by international team of researchers, in January this year. It is the most significant new antibiotic to be discovered in more than 30 years, and it may help combat the growing number of drug-resistant bacteria. Subject:  Health & Medicine
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7:40 PM | Radio chip for the “Internet of things”
A circuit that reduces power leakage when transmitters are idle could greatly extend battery life. At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the big theme was the “Internet of things” — the idea that everything in the human environment, from kitchen appliances to industrial equipment, could be equipped with sensors and processors that can exchange data, helping with maintenance and the coordination of tasks. Subject:  […]
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7:35 PM | Human genes mutate at different rates
A study that examined 17 million mutations in the genomes of 650 cancer patients concludes that large differences in mutation rates across the human genome are caused by the DNA repair machinery. 'DNA spellchecker' is preferentially directed towards more important parts of chromosomes that contain key genes. The study illustrates how data from medical sequencing projects can answer basic questions about how cells work. Subject:  Genetics
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5:37 PM | Epigenome orchestrates embryonic development
The early stages of embryonic development shape our cells and tissues for life. It is during this time that our newly formed cells are transformed into heart, skin, nerve or other cell types. Scientists are finding that this process is largely controlled not by the genome, but by the epigenome, chemical markers on DNA that tell cells when to turn genes on and off. Subject:  Genetics
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5:18 PM | Outing A.I.: Beyond the Turing Test
Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) is having a moment, albeit one marked by crucial ambiguities. Cognoscenti including Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk and Bill Gates, among others, have recently weighed in on its potential and perils. After reading Nick Bostrom’s book “Superintelligence,” Musk even wondered aloud if A.I. may be “our biggest existential threat.” Subject:  Artificial Intelligence
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4:56 PM | How brain waves guide memory formation
Our brains generate a constant hum of activity: As neurons fire, they produce brain waves that oscillate at different frequencies. Long thought to be merely a byproduct of neuron activity, recent studies suggest that these waves may play a critical role in communication between different parts of the brain. Subject:  Brain & Behavior
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4:42 PM | The brain's code breaker
When making simple decisions, neurons in the brain apply the same statistical trick used by Alan Turing to help break Germany's Enigma code during World War II, according to a new study in animals by researchers at Columbia University's Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute and Department of Neuroscience. Results of the study were published Feb. 5 in Neuron. Subject:  Brain & Behavior
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4:38 PM | Researchers bring oxygen back to dead fjord
More and more of the world's waters are seriously lacking oxygen. Could we use pumps to bring oxygen and thus higher life back into these waters? A Danish/Swedish research team says yes. They installed pumps in a Swedish fjord that showed a strong oxygen deficit and now they report that all the right oxygen-loving organisms have come back to the fjord. Subject:  Biology & Aging
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4:33 PM | Radio chip for the 'Internet of things'
At this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the big theme was the "Internet of things" -- the idea that everything in the human environment, from kitchen appliances to industrial equipment, could be equipped with sensors and processors that can exchange data, helping with maintenance and the coordination of tasks. Realizing that vision, however, requires transmitters that are powerful enough to broadcast to devices dozens of yards away but energy-efficient enough to last […]
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5:49 AM | Iron may be a factor in dementia
Alzheimer's disease is no respecter of fame or fortune. Former US president Ronald Reagan had it. Legendary AC/DC guitarist Malcolm Young has been diagnosed. Hazel Hawke suffered until her death in 2013. And author and broadcaster Anne Deveson is experiencing the distressing progression of Alzheimer's, the most common form of dementia, a group of brain disorders affecting thinking and memory. Subject:  Brain & Behavior
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1:31 AM | Experimenting preteens may have different brain processes
Preteens who experiment or explore new things may have brain processes that work differently than those of preteens who do not, according to a study released today that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 67th Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, April 18 to 25, 2015. Subject:  Brain & Behavior

February 22, 2015

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12:11 AM | Black holes follow the rules
Rather than having random sizes, massive black holes seem to follow a predictable rule in relation to the physical properties of the galaxy in which they are located. Research at Swinburne University of Technology has shown that it is possible to predict the masses of black holes in galaxies for which it was previously thought not possible. In large galaxies, the central black hole is related to the mass of the spheroid-shaped distribution of stars at the centre of the galaxy, known […]

February 21, 2015

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11:46 PM | Ancient and modern cities aren't so different
Despite notable differences in appearance and governance, ancient human settlements function in much the same way as modern cities, according to new findings by researchers at the Santa Fe Institute and the University of Colorado Boulder.
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8:07 PM | Deconstructing mental illness through ultradian rhythms
Might living a structured life with regularly established meal times and early bedtimes lead to a better life and perhaps even prevent the onset of mental illness? That's what's suggested in a study led by Kai-Florian Storch, PhD, of the Douglas Mental Health University Institute and McGill University, titled "A highly tunable dopaminergic oscillator generates ultradian rhythms of behavioral arousal," and published in eLife. Subject:  Brain & Behavior […]
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4:33 PM | Benadryl use linked to increased dementia risk
A new study links long-term use of common medications — including over-the-counter drugs for insomnia and hay fever — to a higher risk of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. Medications in the study included antihistamines found in Benadryl, sleep aids found in Tylenol PM, and certain antidepressants and treatments for bladder control. Subject:  Brain & Behavior
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4:13 PM | For the first time, spacecraft catch a solar shockwave in the act
Solar storm found to produce “ultrarelativistic, killer electrons” in 60 seconds. On Oct. 8, 2013, an explosion on the sun’s surface sent a supersonic blast wave of solar wind out into space. This shockwave tore past Mercury and Venus, blitzing by the moon before streaming toward Earth. The shockwave struck a massive blow to the Earth’s magnetic field, setting off a magnetized sound pulse around the planet. Subject:  Astronomy/Cosmology […]
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7:05 AM | Evolving a bigger brain with human DNA
The size of the human brain expanded dramatically during the course of evolution, imparting us with unique capabilities to use abstract language and do complex math. But how did the human brain get larger than that of our closest living relative, the chimpanzee, if almost all of our genes are the same? Subject:  Evolution
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7:01 AM | That's Just Religion
Brian Dalton's (Mr. Diety) thoughts on the hypocrisy over the Chapel Hill murders.

February 20, 2015

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10:20 PM | Do Cell Phones Cause Brain Tumors?
Do cell phones cause brain tumors? The answer may surprise you.
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10:16 PM | Job seeker's voice reveals intelligence
A résumé highlighting stellar professional credentials and experience could pique the interest of a prospective employer, but it's your voice that may actually help you land the job. Subject:  Brain & Behavior
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4:34 PM | Beyond genetics: illuminating the epigenome
If you are attracted to the more mysterious areas of science, such as quantum mechanics and cosmology, and your special interest is Lamarckian epigenetic inheritance, then you may be aware that Nature has just published articles summarising progress of the Roadmap Epigenomics Project tow Subject:  Genetics
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4:24 PM | Did humans migrate from Africa quickly or in phases?
Considerable debate surrounds the migration of human populations out of Africa. Two predominant hypotheses concerning the timing contrast in their emphasis on the role of the Arabian interior and its changing climate. In one scenario, human populations expanded rapidly from Africa to southern Asia via the coastlines of Arabia approx. 50,000 to 60,000 years ago. Another model suggests that dispersal into the Arabian interior began much earlier (approx. Subject:  […]
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4:12 PM | Why memories are unreliable
We all know that our memories are unreliable. We forget things that happened and we ‘remember’ things that didn’t. Recent events have put back in the spotlight the issue of false memories. I have written about my own experience with false memories. Subject:  Brain & Behavior
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3:57 PM | Bacterial memories
Monika Ehling-Schulz's group from the Institute of Microbiology, together with Mathias Müller's group at the Institute of Animal Breeding and Genetics studied the influence of host organisms on bacterial metabolism. The researchers infected three different lineages of mice with the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes. The mouse strains showed significant differences in their response to the infection and in the severity of the clinical symptoms. Subject:  Biology […]
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6:29 AM | New potent drug destroys all forms of HIV
In a remarkable new advance against the virus that causes AIDS, scientists from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have announced the creation of a novel drug candidate that is so potent and universally effective, it might work as part of an unconventional vaccine. The research, which involved scientists from more than a dozen research institutions, was published February 18 online ahead of print by the prestigious journal Nature. Subject:  Health & […]
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