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Posts

April 16, 2014

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3:46 AM | How Pathogenic E. Coli O157:H7 Binds To Fresh Vegetables
Food-poisoning outbreaks linked to Escherichia coli are often associated with tainted meat products but up to 30% of these are caused by people eating contaminated vegetables, and that has risen with the popularity of the organic process, as was seen in the 2011 outbreak in Europe that caused 53 deaths. A new presentation at the Society for General Microbiology's Annual Meeting in Liverpool showed that disease-causing E. coli O157:H7 interacts directly with plant cells, allowing it to […]
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12:30 AM | Antibiotics Improve Health Of Children In Developing Countries
Antibiotics improve growth in children at risk of undernourishment in low and middle income countries, according to a literature review in the British Medical Journal. Malnutrition in early childhood, reflected in poor growth, is the cause of nearly half of all mortality worldwide in children less than five years old. Antibiotics are currently recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) for severely malnourished children, and those infected or exposed to HIV, to reduce mortality. But […]
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12:07 AM | Prolonged Heavy Bleeding During Menopause Is Common
Women going through menopause most likely think of it as the time for an end to monthly periods - and it will be, but not without some false alarms. Researchers at the University of Michigan say it's normal for the majority of women to experience an increase in the amount and duration of bleeding episodes, which may occur at various times throughout the menopausal transition. The scholars offer the first long-term study of bleeding patterns in women of multiple race/ethnicities who were going […]
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12:00 AM | Fialuridine Redux: New Mouse Model Would Have Predicted Fatal Outcome In Human Clinical Trial
In 1993, five people died in a clinical trial of fialuridine, a nucleoside analogue to treat hepatitis B virus infection. An analysis by the US National Academy of Sciences of all preclinical fialuridine toxicity tests, which included studies in mice, rats, dogs, and monkeys, concluded that the available animal data provided no indication that the drug would cause liver failure in humans. So it's been a 21 year search to try and find ways to make trials safer. read more

April 15, 2014

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11:30 PM | Antifungal Drug Amphotericin: Potent, Puzzling And Now Less Toxic To Humans
Invasive fungal infections kill about 1.5 million people in 3 million cases each year, more than are killed by malaria or tuberculosis. That half of the patients who enter a hospital with an invasive fungal infection in their blood die anyway makes it a medical crisis that isn't going away.   Amphotericin is the most effective broad-spectrum antifungal drug available, but its use is limited by its toxicity to human cells.  Scientists have long sought to make amphotericin less toxic, […]
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11:30 PM | Ménière's Disease: New Insight Into Rare Inner Ear Condition
Ménière's Disease is a rare condition affecting the inner ear.  It can cause tinnitus, hearing loss, vertigo attacks and a feeling of pressure deep within the ear and is a long term but non-fatal illness, making it low profile in scientific community. But 160,000 sufferers in the UK are getting some help from the University of Exeter Medical School, which has been able to suggest what goes wrong in the body when people develop the disease, and provide an insight into factors […]
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11:01 PM | That beard is only hot because it’s not cool
There’s more to facial hair than whether you can grow it. A new study shows that attractiveness increases when your style of facial hair is rare.
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11:00 PM | In Deaf People, The Language They Learned As Kids Affected Brain Structure
People who are deaf and those with hearing differ in brain anatomy, no surprise in that. But studies of individuals who are deaf and use American Sign Language (ASL) from birth aren't telling the whole science story. 95 percent of the deaf population in America is born to hearing parents and use English or another spoken language as their first language, usually through lip-reading. Since both language and audition are housed in nearby locations in the brain, understanding which differences […]
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11:00 PM | CHRONO: The Missing Piece In The Mammalian Circadian Clock Puzzle
All organisms, from mammals to fungi, have daily cycles controlled by a tightly regulated internal clock called the circadian clock. The circadian clock is influenced by exposure to light and dictates the wake-sleep cycle. At the cellular level, the clock is controlled by a complex network of genes and proteins that switch each other on and off based on cues from their environment and most genes involved in the regulation of the circadian clock have been characterized, but a key component was […]
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10:54 PM | That beard is only hot because it’s not cool
A new study suggests that rarity increases the attractiveness of facial hair ScicuriousPsychology by Bethany Brookshire 7:01pm, April 15, 2014 James Harden of the Houston Rockets might earn some of his attractiveness from his beard as well as his ball-handling skills.Game Face/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0)Every hipster knows that something is only cool before it becomes […]
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10:24 PM | Casual Marijuana Use Linked To Brain Abnormalities
Young adults who used marijuana recreationally show significant abnormalities in two key brain regions that are important in emotion and motivation, according to a study in the Journal of Neuroscience. The authors document how casual use of marijuana is related to major brain changes and showed the degree of brain abnormalities in these regions is directly related to the number of joints a person smoked per week. The more joints a person smoked, the more abnormal the shape, volume and density […]
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9:57 PM | The Human Food Relationship: It's Complicated
Home can sometimes literally be in the kitchen. A Puerto Rican community - in Connecticut of all places - creates cuisine authentic it has caught the attention of scientists. Like immigrants throughout history who ventured forth with their favorite plants in tow, the Puerto Ricans of Hartford maintain cuisine as an important component of their identity. But this strong relationship to food has had a profound impact on human health by reshaping environmental biodiversity, influencing the diets […]
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9:24 PM | Rock Paper Scissors - How Biological Mutation Wins
Without knowing it, organisms search for the next “winning” strategy in evolution. Mutation plays a key role in the evolution of new, and sometimes successful, traits. It's a lot like rock-paper-scissors - roshambo.(1)read more
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9:00 PM | Pollution Ghettos? Study Finds Minority Neighborhoods Have Worse Air Than White Ones
A study by has determined that, on average nationally, minorities are exposed to 38 percent higher levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) outdoor air pollution compared to white people.Nitrogen dioxide comes from sources like vehicle exhaust and power plants. Breathing NO2 is linked to asthma symptoms and heart disease. The Environmental Protection Agency has listed it as one of the seven key air pollutants it monitors. The researchers studied NO2 levels in urban areas across the country and compared […]
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8:30 PM | After The Blood Moon: Do Some Post-Apocalypse Science
Since the Blood Moon - whatever that is, it sounds Biblical - was last night, and it spells the beginning of our doom, according to a guy trying to sell some books, it's time to start prepping for the days of ultimate holy war. That means no more Southern blots and particle colliders, it's back to basics.In preparation, this weekend the kids and I decided to see what kind of life we could make for ourselves while the Four Horsemen duke it out with the Holy Ghost in what would arguably be the […]
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7:43 PM | MiR-25 Shuts Down The Overworked Heart
Cardiovascular disease often causes the heart to work harder than usual, a condition that triggers the chronic buildup of cardiac pressure and the onset of heart failure. A new study now shows that microRNA-25 is a new molecular switch that is activated in the overworked heart to drive the onset of heart failure. Heart failure is the progressive decline in heart’s contractile function, and is commonly caused by a number of cardiovascular diseases including hypertension, atherosclerosis, […]
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7:33 PM | If I’m to be skeptical of open access publishing, I’d like to have good reasons
A.A. Agrawal (whose alliterative name I envy) has penned a letter saying the people should be skeptical of open access publishing. In brief, his reasons are:1. “Some are for profit!” Just like most traditional scientific publishers. WHile Agrawal says this creates a conflict of interest, the profit incentive can also move journals to provide more and better services for authors at lower prices; see this interview with open access publisher Ahmed Hindawi.Hindawi’s argument […]
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7:05 PM | Herding Cells With Electrcity Could Lead To Smart Bandages
Researchers have used an electrical current to orchestrate the flow of a group of cells, an achievement that could establish the basis for more controlled forms of tissue engineering and for potential applications such as "smart bandages" that use electrical stimulation to help heal wounds.In the experiments, the researchers used single layers of epithelial cells, the type of cells that bind together to form robust sheathes in skin, kidneys, cornea and other organs. They found that by applying […]
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6:53 PM | Puppet Plagiarism - Copycats Are Just Not Cute
Kids know it is wrong to steal stuff - they also seem to know it's wrong to steal an idea. They just discover it a little later.University of Washington psychologist Kristina Olson and colleagues discovered that preschoolers often don't view a copycat negatively but by the age of 5 or 6, they do. It holds true even across cultures that typically view intellectual property rights in different ways, like in Germany where they violate international trademarks and hold a Science 2.0 conference […]
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6:40 PM | Breaking Bad Mitochondria
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have identified a mechanism that explains why people with the hepatitis C virus get liver disease and why the virus is able to persist in the body for so long. The hard-to-kill pathogen, which infects an estimated 200 million people worldwide, attacks the liver cells' energy centers – the mitochondria – dismantling the cell's innate ability to fight infection. It does this by altering cells mitochondrial […]
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5:43 PM | Regenerated Esophagus Successfully Transplanted Into Rat
A research team led by Paolo Macchiarini, MD, PhD at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden has successfully transplanted a regenerated esophagus into a rat using a bioreactor developed by Harvard Apparatus Regenerative Technology (HART), a spin-off of Harvard Bioscience. Macchiarini has previously done several successful regenerated trachea transplants in human patients using a HART bioreactor.read more
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4:50 PM | Marijuana Dependence and Legalization
Making best guesses about pot. One essential question about state marijuana legalization continues to dog the debate:  Namely, as marijuana becomes gradually legal, how do we estimate how many people will become dependent? How can we estimate the number of cannabis users who will become addicted under legalization, and who otherwise would not have succumbed?Back in 2011, neuroscientist Michael Taffe of the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego, writing on the blog TL neuro, referenced […]
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4:45 PM | Is it Possible to Inherit a Resistance to Cocaine?
     As to date, human genetic studies have shown that cocaine addiction is heritable. Shocking? Not really. When you think of a cocaine addict producing offspring, you’d assume that the offspring would be at high risk or rather, predisposed to using cocaine. We’ve thought for years that yes, addiction is heritable and tends to […]
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4:10 PM | Less Salt Intake Credited With Lower Cardiovascular Disease Deaths
The 15% fall in dietary salt intake, which is implicated in increased blood pressure, over the past decade in England is likely to have had a key role in the 40% drop in deaths from heart disease and stroke over the same period, according to a paper in BMJ Open. Average salt intake across the nation is still far too high, the authors warn, and much greater effort is needed to curb the salt content of the foods we eat.  The authors base their findings on an analysis of data from more than […]
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4:08 PM | Meta-Analysis Supports Whey Protein, Resistance Exercise For Improved Body Composition
 A meta-analysis that included 14 randomized controlled trials with a total of 626 adult participants found that  whey protein, either as a supplement combined with resistance exercise or as part of a weight-loss or weight-maintenance diet, may provide men and women benefits related to body composition. read more
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3:43 PM | Passion? Commitment? High drama? I’m a scientist; give me a break
Happy Easter holiday, everyone. And the same season brings a certain date, so Happy Birthday to me. Yes, it’s around this time of year that the annual involuntary review of achievements (or lack thereof) looms large. Each year it seems to arrive a little sooner. I shall be spending my birthday entirely alone. Well, not […]
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3:43 PM | Religious Belief and Depression Resilience
Identifying risk factors for brain disorders is a key element in clinical research.Understanding protective or resilience factors for brain disorders is also important and receiving increased attention in clinical research.Factors that promote resilience to brain disorders may come from a variety of domains. Religious belief is one domain receiving attention as a potential resilience factor.Miller and colleagues recently published a longitudinal study of religious belief and risk for major […]
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3:06 PM | Welcome Peggy: Saturn's Newest Moon?
A small icy object within the rings of Saturn may be a new moon, according to interpretation of images taken with Cassini's narrow angle camera on April 15, 2013 which show disturbances at the very edge of Saturn's A ring -- the outermost of the planet's large, bright rings. One of these disturbances is an arc about 20 percent brighter than its surroundings, 750 miles (1,200 kilometers) long and 6 miles (10 kilometers) wide. Scientists also found unusual protuberances in the usually smooth […]
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2:20 PM | Outgoing Behavior Makes For Happier Humans
PULLMAN, Wash. - Happy is as happy does, apparently—for human beings all over the world. Not only does acting extroverted lead to more positive feelings across several cultures, but people also report more upbeat behavior when they feel free to be themselves. These findings were among those recently published in the Journal of Research in Personality in a paper by Timothy Church, professor of counseling psychology and associate dean of research in the College of Education at Washington […]
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2:20 PM | Bizarre Parasite May Provide Cuttlefish Clues
University of Adelaide research into parasites of cuttlefish, squid and octopus has uncovered details of the parasites' astonishing life cycles, and shown how they may help in investigating populations of their hosts. Researcher Dr Sarah Catalano has described 10 new parasite species− dicyemid mesozoans −, which live in the kidneys of cephalopods (cuttlefish, squid and octopus). They are the very first dicyemid species to be described from Australian waters. read more
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