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Showing posts from December 16, 2015

Lawmakers call for British trials of genetically modified insects

By Kate Kelland LONDON (Reuters) - Britain should challenge "woefully inadequate" European regulations and launch field trials of genetically modified insects that are designed to wipe out disease-carrying bugs that harm crops and people, lawmakers said on Thursday. An influential committee of parliament's upper house said GM insects, such as mosquitoes altered to be sterile or "self-limiting" diamondback moths, had powerful potential against diseases like malaria and dengue, and in controlling crop pests that cost billions in lost production. "But the development of GM insect technologies has come to a screeching halt because the EU (European Union) regulatory system is woefully inadequate," the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee said in a report.

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Hairy Situation: More Mustaches, Fewer Women in Top Medical Spots

Even if you count only the men who have mustaches, you'll find a group that holds more leadership positions in medicine than women, a new study finds. Women hold 13 percent of department leader positions at U.S. medical schools, whereas men with mustaches hold 19 percent of these positions, according to the study, published today (Dec. 16) in the annual Christmas issue of the BMJ, which is a tongue-in-cheek edition of the medical journal that normally publishes serious research. For the study, the researchers looked at photos of department heads in 19 specialties at the top 50 NIH-funded medical schools in the U.S. They chose to compare the number of women heading departments to the number of men with mustaches heading departments because mustaches are rare, according to the study.

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US Ebola Survivors Suffering Health Problems, Report Finds

The small number of people in the U.S. who contracted Ebola have all experienced complications from the disease after they recovered, including hair loss, joint pain and eye problems, according to a new report. Five survivors said they had eye problems, including pain, discomfort or blurriness, and two patients — Dr. Ian Crozier and Dr. Richard Sacra — required treatment for eye inflammation. The findings suggest that Ebola survivors may benefit from evaluation for eye, muscle, bone and nerve problems, the researchers said.


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The Truth about Pre-Workout Supplements

Everyone wants to get the most out of the time they spend exercising, and "preworkout" supplements claim to help you do exactly that. It might be tempting to try one of these supplements before hitting the gym or heading out for a run, in hopes of increasing your energy levels, muscle power or endurance during your workout. Preworkout supplements often contain a mystery blend of ingredients ranging from caffeine to guarana to creatine.

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Crews remove equipment from contested Hawaii telescope site

Construction crews for what would be one of the world's largest telescopes have removed equipment from the dormant volcano in Hawaii where it was set to be built after the state Supreme Court revoked its permit, project officials said on Wednesday. The move by TMT International Observatory signals the project faces a potentially significant delay if the team behind it ever applies to state officials for a new permit to build at the Mauna Kea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island. The Hawaii Supreme Court found on Dec. 2 that the permit for the project issued by state officials in 2013 was invalid because at that time, a public hearing to air objections to the plan had not been held.

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Men with moustaches outnumber women in top U.S. academic medical jobs: researchers

By Alex Whiting LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Men sporting moustaches are more likely than women to head medical departments in 50 leading U.S. medical schools, highlighting a need to redress the balance of sexes, researchers said on Wednesday. Women accounted for 13 percent of department leaders in the top U.S. medical schools funded by the National Institutes of Health, while mustachioed men made up 19 percent, the U.S. team of researchers said in a study published in The BMJ. "We want to increase the representation of women in academic medical leadership by drawing attention to sex disparities," they said.

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Unusual 'sail-backed' dinosaur roamed Spain 125 million years ago

By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Along a lush river delta in what is now northeastern Spain, a herd of dinosaurs munched on ferns and conifers similar to modern-day cypresses 125 million years ago. Scientists announced on Wednesday the discovery near the town of Morella in Spain's Castellón Province of the fossil remains of a medium-sized dinosaur they named Morelladon, a four-legged herbivore that measured 6 meters (20 feet) long. "The sail could help in heat exchange - thermoregulation - focused on releasing excess body heat into the environment, like the ears of the modern-day elephants, or as a storage place for fat to be used during periods of low food supply," said paleontologist Fernando Escaso of the National University of Distance Education's Evolutionary Biology Group in Spain.


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Unusual 'sail-backed' dinosaur roamed Spain 125 million years ago

By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Along a lush river delta in what is now northeastern Spain, a herd of dinosaurs munched on ferns and conifers similar to modern-day cypresses 125 million years ago. Scientists announced on Wednesday the discovery near the town of Morella in Spain's Castellón Province of the fossil remains of a medium-sized dinosaur they named Morelladon, a four-legged herbivore that measured 6 metres (20 feet) long. "The sail could help in heat exchange - thermoregulation - focused on releasing excess body heat into the environment, like the ears of the modern-day elephants, or as a storage place for fat to be used during periods of low food supply," said paleontologist Fernando Escaso of the National University of Distance Education's Evolutionary Biology Group in Spain.


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Citizen Scientists Reveal Wildlife Changes as Sea Ice Melts (Op-Ed)

Seabird McKeon a biodiversity scientist with the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History contributed this article to Live Science's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights. Increasingly, citizen scientists are stepping in to monitor the shifts, a positive step in an uncertain path forward. In particular, birders and whale watchers are documenting wildlife sightings and revealing shifts in animal movements in the planet's northern hinterlands.


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When Is 'Gene Editing' Dangerous? (Video)

Robert Sanders, media relations officer for the University of California, Berkeley, contributed this article to Live Science's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights. What if correcting the sickle cell mutation in the human genome made people more susceptible to malaria? These are the potential dangers of making changes to the human genome that can be passed down to future generations, and an issue that has become more urgent with the advent of CRISPR-Ca9, an easy-to-use and cheap way to precisely edit animal and plant genomes.

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Should Families Going Through Divorce Have Court-Ordered Psychiatrists? (Op-Ed)

In 2003, Mejias became the first Latino elected to the Nassau County Legislature, where he served from 2004 to 2010. Divorce is an all too common occurrence that can cause families to put their children at risk for a lifetime of daily mental and emotional problems. According to psychologist Judith Wallerstein, who followed a group of children of divorce for 25 years, divorce is not a sudden obstacle the child faces, but a life-changing occurrence that alters their self-views and their opinion of the world at large.

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The Universe is Dying? Now What?

Paul Sutter is a visiting scholar at The Ohio State University's Center for Cosmology and AstroParticle Physics (CCAPP). Yes, the universe is dying. The universe, as defined as "everything there is, in total summation," isn't going anywhere anytime soon.


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Shingles Linked to Increased Risk of Heart Attack, Stroke

A bout of shingles may increase your risk for other serious health conditions — namely, a stroke or a heart attack — a new study finds. People in the study who had shingles, a disease caused by the herpes zoster virus, faced a 2.4-fold increased risk of stroke, and a 1.7-fold increased risk of heart attack during the first week following their shingles diagnosis, according to the findings published today (Dec. 15) in the journal PLOS Medicine. Because cardiovascular events are major causes of mortality, it's important to understand what causes these events, and what can be done to prevent them, said Caroline Minassian, a researcher at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and the lead author on the study.

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Zika Virus Spreading in the Americas: What You Should Know

Infections with Zika virus, which is carried by mosquitos, are on the rise across the Americas, raising concerns among health officials. On Thursday (Dec. 10), officials in Panama announced the country's first case of locally acquired Zika virus — meaning that a person caught the disease from a mosquito in that country, rather than while traveling elsewhere — raising the number of countries in the Americas with reported cases of Zika infections to 10. Previously, on Dec. 1, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) had issued an alert about the virus.


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Better Watch Out for Deer Ticks This Holiday Season

Unusually high fall temperatures in the northeastern United States have let blacklegged ticks (Ixodes scapularis), also known as deer ticks, remain active later into December than usual. This means that a visit to a Christmas tree farm could bring an unexpected encounter with a bloodsucking hitchhiker. Adult ticks are normally at their most active during the spring and summer months, and their activity usually tapers off as cold weather arrives.


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Young Smokers May Be Switching to Cigarette Alternatives

The percentage of young adults in the United States who smoke cigarettes has dropped in recent years, but the decline could be due to this population switching from cigarettes to other forms of tobacco, a new poll suggests. The Gallup poll found that over the last decade, the smoking rate among 18- to 29-year-olds in the United States dropped 12 percentage points: from 34 percent of people in this age group smoking in 2001-2005 to 22 percent in 2011-2015. In past years, young adults were more likely than people over 30 to smoke cigarettes, but now, the smoking rate among young adults is similar to the rate among people ages 30 to 49 and those ages 50 to 64, Gallup said.

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Stress May Raise Risk of Memory Problems in Older People

Feeling very high amounts of stress may increase older people's risk of developing the memory problems that often precede Alzheimer's disease, a new study shows. Researchers found that older people in the study who were highly stressed were more than twice as likely to develop problems with their memory as those who had low levels of stress. The new results suggest that finding ways to lower stress levels in older people early on may help delay, or even prevent, the onset of Alzheimer's disease, the researchers said.

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Satellite Imagery Reveals Most Lightning-Prone Places on Earth

The place most likely to be struck by lightning in the world is one spot above Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela, according to new data. 283 of the most lightning-prone villages, cities or towns were in Africa.


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Drought Could Kill Off Many of the World's Trees

Drought could kill vast swaths of forests around the world if global warming isn't contained, new research suggests. What's more, climate predictions seem to suggest that droughts will be much more common in the United States, said William Anderegg, a biologist at Princeton University who studies forests and climate change. "The droughts of the future look to be more frequent and more severe," Anderegg said here yesterday (Dec. 14) at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union.

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New X Prize Challenge: Map Ocean Floor

Yesterday (Dec. 14), Peter Diamandis, chairman and CEO of X Prize, announced the launch of the Shell Ocean Discovery X Prize, a three-year global competition that challenges researchers to build better technologies for mapping what Diamandis called one of the "greatest unexplored frontiers" — Earth's seafloor. “Our oceans cover two-thirds of our planet’s surface and are a crucial global source of food, energy, economic security and even the air we breathe, yet 95 percent of the deep sea remains a mystery to us,” Diamandis said yesterday at a keynote address during the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in San Francisco. Right now, researchers have better maps of Mars than they do of Earth's seafloor, he added.

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Smuggled Ancient Wall Carving Returned to Egypt

A 2-foot-long wall carving featuring the pharaoh Seti I is back in Egypt after being repatriated from the United Kingdom, the Egyptian minister of antiquities announced Monday (Dec. 14). Egypt has long pushed for the return of ancient artifacts — an effort that is only intensifying as political upheaval deters Egyptian tourism. The stela was smuggled out of Egypt from an illegal dig, according to the Ministry of Antiquities.


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See the 'Star Wars' Worlds Exoplanet Scientists Can't Help But Love

From the icy reaches of Hoth to the tiny inferno of Mustafar, every "Star Wars" fan has a favorite alien world from this iconic science fiction franchise. Space.com took the opportunity to ask 20 of these folks about their favorite "Star Wars" worlds. The scientists we polled were almost evenly split among three worlds from the "Star Wars" original trilogy: Hoth (from "Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back,"), Tatooine (from "Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope,"), and the moon of the planet Endor (from "Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi.").


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