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Showing posts from November, 2016

Human ancestor 'Lucy' adept at tree climbing as well as walking

By Jon Herskovitz AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - Scientists using sophisticated scanning technology on the fossil bones of the ancient human ancestor from Ethiopia dubbed "Lucy" have determined that she was adept at climbing trees as well as walking, an ability that in her case may have proven fatal. Researchers on Wednesday announced the results of an intensive analysis of the 3.18 million-year-old fossils of Lucy, a member of a species early in the human evolutionary lineage known as Australopithecus afarensis. The scans of Lucy's arm bones showed they were heavily built, like chimpanzees, indicating that members of this species spent significant time climbing in trees and used their arms to pull themselves up in the branches.


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Science panel urges rewrite of food allergy warning labels

WASHINGTON (AP) — "Made in the same factory as peanuts." ''May contain traces of tree nuts." A new report says the hodgepodge of warnings that a food might accidentally contain a troublesome ingredient is confusing to people with food allergies, and calls for a makeover.


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Gatlinburg Burning: How a Tennessee Wildfire Spread So Fast

Great Smoky Mountain National Park is closed, and thousands of residents in the nearby towns of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, have fled their homes after a wildfire from the park turned into a rapidly spreading inferno last night (Nov. 28). At least 14,000 people have evacuated from the two resort towns, and hundreds of structures have been damaged or destroyed, according to the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency. Most of East Tennessee has been in exceptional or severe drought all summer, said Sam Roberts, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service forecast office in Morristown, Tennessee.


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Antarctic Ice Shelf Could Collapse Within 100 Years, Study Finds

A massive iceberg splintered off one of West Antarctica's largest glaciers last year, and now, scientists have discovered the "troubling" reason why, they said. In 2015, an iceberg measuring almost 225 square miles (580 square kilometers) broke off from the Pine Island Glacier, which forms part of the ice shelf that bounds the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Recently, while reviewing satellite images taken before the giant iceberg broke off, researchers found evidence of a rift at the very base of the ice shelf.


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Calf Bones Bolster Evidence Plymouth Settlement Was Pilgrims' First

Nearly 400 years after the first Thanksgiving, researchers have uncovered evidence of the Pilgrims' original 1620 settlement in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Archaeologists discovereda calf's remains and 17th-century artifacts at an archaeological site on Burial Hill in Plymouth — thought to be the location of the first Pilgrim settlement. The bones of the calf, dubbed Constance, were found buried in a deep pit and offered the first clear evidence that the dig site was the original settlement, because Native Americans did not have domestic cattle, said David Landon, an archaeologist at the University of Massachusetts and leader of the dig.


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Nesting Doll Pyramid: Ancient Mayan Structure Found Inside Chichen Itza

What do a Russian nesting doll and a Mayan pyramid have in common? Archaeologists have confirmed that the iconic Pyramid of El Castillo in eastern Mexico is actually a pyramid within a pyramid within a pyramid. In the 1930s, the first hidden pyramid was revealed within the Kukulkan tomb at Chichén Itzá in Mexico, which researchers estimate was built between about A.D. 850 and A.D. 900.


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Sweat Detectors? Tiny Sensors Use Perspiration to Track Health

A new study finds that a tiny adhesive sensor can read what's going on in your body based on your sweat, and relay information about your well-being wirelessly to a smartphone. Perspiration is a rich chemical full of molecules ranging from simple electrically charged ions to more complex proteins that can shed light on what is happening inside the human body. Doctors can use sweat to diagnose certain diseases, uncover drug use and reveal insight into athletic performance.


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New HIV Vaccine Study Starts in South Africa

A new HIV vaccine is now being tested in South Africa in a study that aims to enroll several thousand people, officials announced today. The study is the first in seven years to test the effectiveness of a vaccine against HIV, said the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which is funding the study. "If deployed alongside our current armory of proven HIV-prevention tools, a safe and effective vaccine could be the final nail in the coffin for HIV," Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in a statement.


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Good Cognition in Older Women Linked to Pregnancy History

Women who have their last baby when they are older than age 35 may have sharper cognitive skills later in life than those who finished with their pregnancies at a younger age, a new study suggests. Researchers found that the women in the study who had their last baby when they were older than 35 were better at memorizing lists of words at age 60, compared with those who stopped bearing children earlier on. "The study provides strong evidence that there is a positive association between later age at last pregnancy and late-life cognition," lead study author Dr. Roksana Karim, an assistant professor of clinical preventive medicine at the University of Southern California, said in a statement.


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How to Talk to Kids About Divorce

Research shows that children may experience a range of behavioral changes as a result of their parents' divorce, the authors of the report said. Because that last factor — the parents' own functioning — affects children's ability to cope with their parents' divorce, parents should make sure they can cope with their own emotions related to the separationin order to be able to offer stronger support to their children, said Dr. Carol C. Weitzman, a co-author of the report and a professor of pediatrics at Yale School of Medicine.


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New Pyramid in Antarctica? Not Quite, Say Geologists

But Occam's razor — the idea that the simplest explanation is usually the right one — points to a far more mundane cause: Those steep, pyramid-like sides are likely the work of hundreds of millions of years of erosion, experts told Live Science. "This is just a mountain that looks like a pyramid," Eric Rignot, a professor of Earth system science at the University of California, Irvine, told Live Science in an email. The pyramidal mountain, which doesn't have a formal name, is one of the many peaks that make up Antarctica's Ellsworth Mountains, which were discovered by the American aviator Lincoln Ellsworth during a flight on Nov. 23, 1935, according to a 2007 research paper that was published by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).


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Surprise! Life Thrives Under Ice-Covered Lakes

In winter, an icy freshwater lake can appear frozen in time. But frozen freshwater lake ecosystems don't take a winter break after all. In fact, cyclical winter activity of tiny aquatic organisms, like zooplankton and photosynthesizing algae, could play critical roles in the lake ecosystems' overall health, infusing the water with nutrients to fuel other organisms' spring and summer growth.


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California targets dairy cows to combat global warming

GALT, Calif. (AP) — California is taking its fight against global warming to the farm. The nation's leading agricultural state is now targeting greenhouse gases produced by dairy cows and other livestock.


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Scientists record biggest ever coral die-off on Australia's Great Barrier Reef

By Tom Westbrook SYDNEY (Reuters) - Warm seas around Australia's Great Barrier Reef have killed two-thirds of a 700-km (435 miles) stretch of coral in the past nine months, the worst die-off ever recorded on the World Heritage site, scientists who surveyed the reef said on Tuesday. "The coral is essentially cooked," professor Andrew Baird, a researcher at James Cook University who was part of the reef surveys, told Reuters by telephone from Townsville in Australia's tropical north. Mildly bleached coral can recover if the temperature drops and the survey found this occurred in southern parts of the reef, where coral mortality was much lower.


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Scientists record biggest ever coral die-off on Australia's Great Barrier Reef

By Tom Westbrook SYDNEY (Reuters) - Warm seas around Australia's Great Barrier Reef have killed two-thirds of a 700-km (435 miles) stretch of coral in the past nine months, the worst die-off ever recorded on the World Heritage site, scientists who surveyed the reef said on Tuesday. "The coral is essentially cooked," professor Andrew Baird, a researcher at James Cook University who was part of the reef surveys, told Reuters by telephone from Townsville in Australia's tropical north. Mildly bleached coral can recover if the temperature drops and the survey found this occurred in southern parts of the reef, where coral mortality was much lower.


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Hair Ball! How Cats' Tongues Get Them So Clean

Alexis Noel, a mechanical engineer at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, began investigating the spines on cat tonguesafter she watched a cat lick a thick blanket and it immediately got its tongue stuck. "I was home for the holidays and watching TV with the family cats," Noel said. "When I was done laughing at this curious cat, the scientist in me began to question how a soft, wet tissue could stick to something so easily," Noel told Live Science.


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Is your T-shirt clean of slavery? Science may soon be able to tell

By Liz Mermin LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Shoppers lured by a bargain-priced T-shirt but concerned about whether the item is free of slave labor could soon have the answer - from DNA forensic technology. James Hayward, chief executive of U.S.-based Applied DNA Sciences Inc. that develops DNA-based technology to prevent counterfeiting and ensure authenticity, said his researchers have been working in the cotton industry for up to nine years. Hayward said cotton was one of the most complex supply chains he had come across because it was grown in more than 100 countries and goes through a multi-stage transformation process before emerging in "fast fashion" that is cheap and disposable.

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'Miniantibodies' Reduce Inflammation and Pain

Researchers in Europe say a new type of biological molecule called nanobodies, or miniantibodies, can block inflammation and reduce pain in mice — a technique they describe as a next-generation strategy against inflammatory diseases. In experiments on mice, the nanobodies appeared to be more effective at controlling inflammation than either regular antibodies or the anti-inflammatory drugs that are typically used, the researchers said. The nanobodies could one day be a potent treatment for chronic pain, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis and other inflammatory disorders, they said.


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Exercise May Prevent the Inflammation That Comes with Overeating

Exercise may protect against the inflammation that can come with overindulging for a week, a very small new study suggests. Previous studies have shown that even one week of overeating can impair people's glucose tolerance.However, none of the adults in the study developed impaired glucose tolerance. The samples showed that the study participants did not have increases in important markers of fat tissue inflammation, which otherwise would have been expected in people who consumed 30 percent extra calories for a week, the researchers said.


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Hidden Beneath Bolivian Volcano, Enough Water to Fill a Great Lake

The Bolivian volcano Cerro Uturuncu is a massive barren peak rising from the high plateau of South America's Altiplano. There is no actual lake under Cerro Uturuncu — but there is an incredible amount of water locked up in the melted rock beneath the volcano, approximately enough to fill Lake Superior. This sort of dissolved water is a well-known driver of eruptions for volcanoes in subduction zones, where one piece of the Earth's crust is being pushed under another.


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Muddy Demise: Bird-Like Dinosaur Died While Struggling to Free Itself

More than 66 million years ago, a feathered dinosaur with two skinny legs and a bony crest on top of its head got mired in the mud, likely putting up a mighty struggle before dying and eventually fossilizing, a new study finds. The donkey-size dinosaur, known as an oviraptorid, was preserved nearly intact, and found lying on its chest with its neck and wings outstretched, the researchers said. Like other oviraptorids, which were close cousins to birds, it couldn't fly, but it had a sharp, toothless beak that likely enabled it to eat shellfish, plants, nuts and eggs.


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Smash! Super-Stabby Mantis Shrimp Shows Off in Video

The video, produced by KQED San Francisco's Deep Look, shows how some species of mantis shrimp use knockout blows to break open the shells of tasty snails. There are more than 400 species of mantis shrimp around the world, most of which live in subtropical and tropical waters. Mantis shrimp have long fascinated scientists because of the animal's array of near-superpowers.


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Twisters Pop Up in Weird 'Big Bang' Soup

Smashing atoms together could produce a weird kind of fluid that makes whirlpools and rings, revealing secrets of some of the least-understood forces of nature that hold matter together, according to new research. The weird substance is a mix of the subatomic particles called quarks, which make up protons and neutrons, and gluons, which transmit the strong nuclear force that holds quarks together. How this plasma behaves has been the subject of much interest because it can reveal the behavior of the strong nuclear force.


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Got Milk? People Living 9,000 Years Ago Did, Ceramic Pots Show

Humankind has gulped down mouthfuls of milk and other dairy products from animals, such as sheep, goats and cows, for at least 9,000 years, a new study suggests. Researchers made the discovery after analyzing and dating more than 500 prehistoric pottery vessels discovered in the northern Mediterranean region, which includes the modern-day countries of Spain France, Italy, Greece and Turkey. During each examination, they looked for remnants of milk, which indicated that people had used animal dairy products.


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Surprise Find: More Than 80 Anglo-Saxon Coffins Uncovered in England

An ancient Anglo-Saxon cemetery with more than 80 rare wooden coffins containing skeletons has been unearthed in England. Earlier this year, archaeologists were investigating the ground around a river in the village of Great Ryburgh in eastern England, ahead of the construction of a lake and flood defense system. "We had no idea it [the cemetery] was going to be there," James Fairclough, an archaeologist with the Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA), told Live Science.


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Great Molasses Flood of 1919: Why This Deluge of Goo Was So Deadly

A bubbling flood of molasses that sent a towering wave of goo down the streets of Boston in 1919, catching everything from horses to humans in its sticky grasp, killing 21 people, injuring 150 more and flattening buildings in its wake. Cool temperatures may have caused the spilled molasses to flow more slowly, complicating attempts to rescue victims and to begin recovery and cleanup, researchers report in a new study. On Jan. 15, 1919, shortly after 12:40 p.m. local time, a giant storage tank 50 feet (15 meters) tall and 90 feet (27 m) wide on Boston's waterfront at the Purity Distilling Co. collapsed in the city's crowded North End, according to newspapers at the time.


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'Singing Snake' Busted: Real Voice Behind Legend Discovered

Local folklore in the Amazon region and in parts of Central America claims that the bushmaster — a giant and deadly viper — can "sing." The breathy, repetitive notes of this call are associated with the venomous snake, and they instill fear in people living in the northwestern Amazon River basin, researchers have reported. The scientists were researching frog populations in Ecuador and Peru when they learned of the alleged singing ability of the viper Lachesis muta from their field assistants, the researchers wrote in a new study. A singing frog — Tepuihyla tuberculosa — sits at the entrance of its tree hole in Amazonian Ecuador.


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'Lover' Cockroaches Grow Bigger Testicles to Woo Mates

Cockroaches are known for their superior survival skills, but it seems these bugs have another evolutionary advantage when it comes to the mating game: Male roaches can grow bigger testicles, if need be, to woo a mate. Roaches compete for females in various ways, with two main approaches being to defend a female by force, or to sneak past larger males to mate. Based on these two strategies, the researchers think that males from two species of giant cockroaches from Madagascar evolved different physical characteristics based on their tactics for winning a female.


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Altar of Miracle-Making Viking King Discovered in Norway

The original shrine to a Viking-king-turned-saint has been discovered in Norway, archaeologists say.


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130-Million-Year Old Proteins Still Present in Dinosaur-Age Fossil

Microscopic pigment structures and proteins that graced the feathers of a Cretaceous-age bird are still present in its 130-million-year-old fossil, a new study finds. The tiny and ancient structures were found on Eoconfuciusornis, a crow-size early bird that lived in what is now northern China during the early Cretaceous. Eoconfuciusornis is one of the first birds known to have a keratinous beak and no teeth.


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The Clever Way Females Fend Off Male Fish with Big Genitals

Male mosquitofish with bigger genitals are typically best at coercing females into the "sack," but now researchers have found that females that are not interested in such pushy lovers grow bigger brains to fight back. "We did not expect to find that female, but not male, brain size increased in lines selected for a longer gonopodium," said study lead author Séverine Buechel, an evolutionary biologist at Stockholm University.


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People with Alzheimer's Disease Can Still Have Sharp Memories

Some older people who have signs of Alzheimer's disease in their brains may actually have pretty good memories, a small new study suggests. The results suggest that some individuals with Alzheimer's disease may be protected against some of its symptoms, like memory problems, said lead study author Changiz Geula, a professor of cognitive neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, Illinois. It is not clear why some people's brains and memories seem to be protected against such symptoms, but the researchers suspect that genetic and environmental factors may be at work, Geula told Live Science.


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Why Your Problem-Solving Skills May Sharpen with Age

You may get better at creative problem solving as you age, new research suggests. The scientists found that, generally, older adults' ability to focus and avoid distraction was not as strong as that of young adults' — but that this in turn may help older adults to perform better on some creativity and problem-solving tasks.


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What All Effective Weight-Loss Diets Have in Common

Low-fat, low-carb, low-sugar, high-protein, Mediterranean — with so many diets out there and new, sometimes-conflicting research coming out all the time on the best ones for weight loss, how can you possibly know which one will be the most effective in helping you shed pounds? And for doctors and scientists who spend their time designing and carrying out studies, fad diets make for an added challenge. But instead of trying to figure out which diet is best overall, doctors and scientists should focus on determining which diet is best for a certain person, said Christopher Gardner, a research professor of medicine at the Stanford University School of Medicine.


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Destination Moon? Belgium joins the space race

The Interfederal Space Agency of Belgium (ISAB) will be set up next year, science minister Elke Sleurs said, arguing that it would help a local industry hang on to what is now a 5-percent share of the EU's 7 billion-euro a year space industry. Challenges from the likes of rising powers India and China and changing rules for EU-wide tenders meant Belgium should pool resources to help its companies compete, she said: "If we just keep the status quo, we risk losing out on space contracts." About 60 firms in the local sector include the 96-year-old SABCA, which has worked on Europe's Ariane rocket program. Images from Tintin space stories, starting with "Destination Moon" in 1950, have become Belgian national treasures and fed popular fascination worldwide with cosmic adventure.


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Ant Overlords? Supercolony in Ethiopian Forests Set to Invade Globe

The forests of Ethiopia are teeming with a supercharged ant that is poised to invade the globe, new research suggests. The infamous ant species, Lepisiota canescens, is demonstrating the behavior needed for supercolony formation and for global invasion — (insect world domination, anyone?), the researchers say. "The species we found in Ethiopia may have a high potential of becoming a globally invasive species," study author D. Magdalena Sorger, a postdoctoral researcher at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, said in a statement.


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4,000-Year-Old 'Thinker' Sculpture Uncovered in Israel

A ceramic vessel bearing the sculpture of a pensive-looking figure has been found in the Israeli city of Yehud. Archaeologists found the artifact during excavations in advance of a new housing development. "It seems that at first the jug, which is typical of the period, was prepared, and afterwards, the unique sculpture was added, the likes of which have never before been discovered in previous research," Gilad Itach, the IAA excavation director, said in a statement.


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Weather vs. Climate: Why Trump's Global Warming Stance Is Flawed

Is there reason to doubt climate change because some of the nation's hottest days happened in 1898, as President-elect Donald Trump told the New York Times in an interview yesterday? In an exchange with Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and staff about climate changeon Tuesday (Nov. 22), Trump said, "I have an open mind to it," but later added, "You know the hottest day ever was in 1890-something, 98. However, it's misleading to single out a weather event — such as a particularly hot day in 1898 — as evidence for or against climate change, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Ocean Service (NOS).


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Prepare for 'surprise' as global warming stokes Arctic shifts - scientists

By Megan Rowling BARCELONA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Unless the world stops burning fossil fuels that are fuelling global warming, irreversible changes in the Arctic could have disastrous effects for the people that live there and for the rest of the planet, researchers warned on Friday. The Arctic's ecosystems are fundamentally threatened by climate change and other human activities, such as oil and gas extraction, they said in a report for the Arctic Council, an inter-governmental forum working to protect the region's environment. "Arctic ecosystems are changing in dramatic ways: the ice is melting, sea levels are rising, coastal areas are eroding, permafrost is thawing, and the areas where plants and animals live are shifting," said the report.


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Notes from Mars 160: The Science Work We're Doing

The Mars Society is conducting the ambitious two-phase Mars 160 Twin Desert-Arctic Analogue mission to study how seven crewmembers could live, work and perform science on a true mission to Mars. Mars 160 crewmember Annalea Beattie is chronicling the mission, which will spend 80 days at the Mars Desert Research Station in southern Utah desert before venturing far north to Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station on Devon Island, Canada in summer 2017.


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Astronauts enjoy a zero-gravity 'Spacegiving' dinner

(Reuters) - An international crew of astronauts celebrated Thanksgiving on Thursday with a special 'spacegiving feast' of rehydrated foods on board the International Space Station. The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) published a photograph of the six astronauts enjoying their meal, which included rehydrated turkey, stuffing, potatoes and vegetables. The meal was rounded off with cherry blueberry cobbler for dessert, NASA Commander Shane Kimbrough said in a preview statement made some 200 miles (320 km) from earth on Nov 18. (Reporting by Reuters TV. ...

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Many LASIK Patients Have New Eye Problems After Surgery

A significant percentage of people who undergo LASIK eye surgery to correct their vision may experience side effects from the surgery, according to a new study. Researchers found that, three months after the participants had LASIK surgery, more than 40 percent of them reported experiencing new visual symptoms, such as seeing glare or halos around objects, that they did not experience before undergoing the surgery. "To our knowledge, our study is one of the few that have reported the development of new visual symptoms" after the surgery, the researchers at the Food and Drug Administration wrote in the study, published today (Nov. 23) in the journal JAMA Ophthalmology.


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100 Years of Infectious Disease Deaths in US: Study Shows What's Changed

We've come a long way in treating infectious diseases over the last century, but in recent decades, the rates of death from some infectious diseases have actually increased, according to a new study. The researchers analyzed information on deaths from infectious diseases in the United States from 1900 to 2014. Overall, the death rate from infectious diseases dropped from about 800 deaths per 100,000 people in 1900 to 46 deaths per 100,000 people in 2014, the study found.


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Teens on Special Diets Can Stir Thanksgiving Conflicts

Politics might not be the only source of family conflict this Thanksgiving: Many parents say troubles arise when their teens have specialized diets.


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Scientists say gut microbes may play role in yo-yo dieting, obesity

By Kate Kelland LONDON, (Reuters) - Scientists studying yo-yo dieting in mice say the tendency for people to regain excess weight rapidly after successfully slimming may well be due to their microbiome - the trillions of microorganisms in the gut. The researchers found that changes in the gut microbiome that occur when an obese mouse loses weight can persist for many months, and that this contributes to accelerated weight regain later if the diet lapses. In a telephone briefing about their work, professors Eran Segal and Eran Elinav of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, said that while there has been good progress in studying obesity and its causes, relapsing obesity is poorly understood.

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Scientists say gut microbes may play role in yo-yo dieting, obesity

By Kate Kelland LONDON, Nov 24 (Reuters) - - Scientists studying yo-yo dieting in mice say the tendency for people to regain excess weight rapidly after successfully slimming may well be due to their microbiome - the trillions of microorganisms in the gut. The researchers found that changes in the gut microbiome that occur when an obese mouse loses weight can persist for many months, and that this contributes to accelerated weight regain later if the diet lapses If, as the researchers believe, a similar thing happens in obese people, they said, it could help explain why so many of them fail to keep their lost weight off, and often put on more than they lost in the first place. In a telephone briefing about their work, professors Eran Segal and Eran Elinav of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, said that while there has been good progress in studying obesity and its causes, relapsing obesity is poorly understood.

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Czech scientists develop human lung model to aid treatments

Czech scientists have developed a model of a functioning human lung that can be used to simulate problems like asthma or other chronic diseases and their treatments. The research group from the Brno University of Technology says its mechanical- and computer-based model of the lung can help devise treatment methods with more precision than past testing and tailor it to individual patients. It can also be used as a reference model for developing inhaled drugs.

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Czech scientists develop human lung model to aid treatments

Czech scientists have developed a model of a functioning human lung that can be used to simulate problems like asthma or other chronic diseases and their treatments. The research group from the Brno University of Technology says its mechanical- and computer-based model of the lung can help devise treatment methods with more precision than past testing and tailor it to individual patients. It can also be used as a reference model for developing inhaled drugs.


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Scientists go big with first aquatic species map for US West

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — It sounds like a big fish story: a plan to create a biodiversity map identifying thousands of aquatic species in every river and stream in the western U.S.


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Scientists develop skin patch with on-the-spot sweat monitor app

By Kate Kelland LONDON (Reuters) - Scientists in the United States have developed a flexible microfluidic device that easily sticks to the skin and measures sweat levels to show how the wearer's body is responding to exercise. The low-cost device, which can quickly analyse key elements such as lactate, Ph or glucose levels and let the user know if they should stop or change their activity, could also in future help diagnose and monitor disease, the researchers said. "Sweat is a rich, chemical broth containing a number of important chemical compounds with physiological health information," said John Rogers, a professor Northwestern University in the United States who led the development of what he called a "lab on the skin" Reporting results of the trial of the device in the journal Science Translational Medicine, the researchers said one of its attractions is that it allows people to monitor their health on the spot without the need for blood sampling.

from Sci…

Why Fewer Americans Say They Want to Lose Weight

The reason for the findings is not clear, but Gallup also found that Americans' perception of their ideal weight is changing. Americans surveyed in the 1990s said that their ideal weight was 153 lbs., on average. "The benchmark for their ideal weight continues to be set higher," Gallup said.


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Australia's Bizarre Outbreak: What Is 'Thunderstorm Asthma'?

Hundreds of people in Melbourne, Australia, experienced breathing problems during a recent storm, in what's being called an outbreak of "thunderstorm asthma." But what's behind this rare phenomenon? On Monday (Nov. 21) evening, the ambulance service in Melbourne, called Ambulance Victoria, received more than 1,800 calls during the storm, which is about six times more than usual, according to the BBC. About 200 calls were for cases of asthma, and 600 calls were for people with breathing difficulties, Mick Stephenson, executive director of emergency operations at Ambulance Victoria, told the BBC.


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Are Colds and Flu Worse in Women Than in Men?

The women in the study were more likely than the men in the study to report severe fatigue and muscle aches when they had a cold or the flu, according to the findings, presented in New Orleans last month at IDWeek 2016, a meeting of several organizations focused on infectious diseases. In addition, women's severe symptoms lasted longer than men's, according to the study participants' self-reports, the researchers found. In the study, the researchers compared self-reported cold and flu symptoms in 777 men and women who were seen between 2009 and 2014 at five military treatment facilities across the U.S., said study co-author Dr. Robert Deiss, a research physician with the Infectious Disease Clinical Research Program, a program of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.


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Huge Underground Ice Deposit on Mars Is Bigger Than New Mexico

A giant deposit of buried ice on Mars contains about as much water as Lake Superior does here on Earth, a new study reports. "This deposit is probably more accessible than most water ice on Mars, because it is at a relatively low latitude and it lies in a flat, smooth area where landing a spacecraft would be easier than at some of the other areas with buried ice," co-author Jack Holt, of the University of Texas, Austin, said in a statement. The researchers, led by Cassie Stuurman of the Institute for Geophysics at the University of Texas, analyzed observations of Mars' Utopia Planitia region made by the ground-penetrating Shallow Radar (SHARAD) instrument aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.


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Navigation system failure cited in crash of European Mars lander

Europe's Schiaparelli Mars lander crashed last month after a sensor failure caused it to cast away its parachute and turn off braking thrusters more than two miles (3.7 km) above the surface of the planet, as if it had already landed, a report released on Wednesday said. The error stemmed from a momentary glitch in a device that measured how fast the spacecraft was spinning, the report by the European Space Agency said. "When merged into the navigation system, the erroneous information generated an estimated altitude that was negative - that is, below ground level.


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Crustacean revelation: coconut crab's claw is stunningly strong

By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - It may not be wise to get into a scrap with a coconut crab. Scientists on Wednesday said they measured the pinch strength of this large land crab that inhabits islands in the Indian and southern Pacific oceans, calculating that its claw can exert up to an amazing 742 pounds (336.5 kg) of force. The coconut crab's pinch strength even matches or beats the bite strength of most land predators.

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Scientists develop skin patch with on-the-spot sweat monitor app

By Kate Kelland LONDON (Reuters) - Scientists in the United States have developed a flexible microfluidic device that easily sticks to the skin and measures sweat levels to show how the wearer's body is responding to exercise. The low-cost device, which can quickly analyse key elements such as lactate, Ph or glucose levels and let the user know if they should stop or change their activity, could also in future help diagnose and monitor disease, the researchers said. "Sweat is a rich, chemical broth containing a number of important chemical compounds with physiological health information," said John Rogers, a professor Northwestern University in the United States who led the development of what he called a "lab on the skin" Reporting results of the trial of the device in the journal Science Translational Medicine, the researchers said one of its attractions is that it allows people to monitor their health on the spot without the need for blood sampling.

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Europe's New Mars Orbiter Begins Testing Science Gear

The Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) arrived at Mars on Oct. 19 and is currently circling the planet once every 4.2 days. TGO was scheduled to begin testing and calibrating its four instrument suites on Sunday (Nov. 20), and this work should continue through next Monday (Nov. 28), European Space Agency (ESA) officials said late last week. "We’re excited we will finally see the instruments perform in the environment for which they were designed, and to see the first data coming back from Mars," Håkan Svedhem, ESA’s TGO project scientist, said in a statement on Friday (Nov. 18).


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First-Ever Madagascar Dolphin Fossil Discovered

A single fossilized backbone is the first evidence on record that dolphins once swam around the waters of ancient Madagascar, scientists say. The fossil backbone, or vertebra, dates to between 5 million and 9 million years ago during the late Miocene epoch, and belongs to a previously unknown and still unnamed species of dolphin, the researchers said. "This exciting discovery marks the first fossil cetacean [a group including dolphins, whales and porpoises] from Madagascar," said study lead researcher Karen Samonds, an associate professor of biological sciences at Northern Illinois University.


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2 Dome-Headed Dinosaurs the Size of German Shepherds Discovered

The discovery of a pair of fossilized skulls from dome-headed dinosaurs is shedding light on how these bizarre creatures called pachycephalosaurs evolved, researchers say. The location of these skulls — in the southern Mountain states — indicates that pachycephalosaurids may have diversified in the south before they moved north and gave rise to the pachycephalosaur known as Stegoceras, said study lead researcher David Evans, an associate professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Toronto. Pachycephalosaurids (which means "thick-headed lizards") were bipedal, herbivorous and possibly head-butting dinosaurs that lived during the Cretaceous period (145.5 million to 65.5 million years ago).


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Aging Bonobos Become Farsighted, Just Like Humans

Bonobos have a decidedly low-tech solution to farsightedness, scientists have found. Researchers noted that when older bonobos groomed their neighbors, they sat back and extended their arms farther than younger bonobos did — and they stretched their arms even more over time. Scientists had previously observed this behavior in wild bonobos, though no one had investigated it closely enough to interpret it, according to study co-author Heungjin Ryu, a researcher at the Primate Research institute of Kyoto University, in Japan.


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