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Showing posts from January 5, 2016

Wake Up & Smell the Tech: New Devices Use Scents to Help You Rise or Snooze

You might not think that your sense of smell could have anything to do with how much sleep you get, but several new devices aim to harness certain scents to both help you sleep and wake you up. Although it remains to be seen just how effective the devices really are — they have not been tested by independent scientists — some studies do support the idea that scents can modify sleep. One up-and-coming product, called Sleepion, from the Japanese gadget company Cheero, uses a combination of aromas, lights and sounds to promote sleep, according to the company.

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Even After Weight Loss, Obesity Can Reduce Life Span

Among the people in the study, those who had ever been overweight were 19 percent more likely to die during the 23-year study period, compared with those who had never exceeded normal weight. Those who had ever been obese (with a body mass index, or BMI, from 30.0 to 34.9) were 65 percent more likely to die during the study than those who had never exceeded normal weight. The new study "sheds light on the need for greater efforts to stem the obesity epidemic," said study author Andrew Stokes, of the Boston University School of Public Health.

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Aerojet wins U.S. contract to set standard for 3-D printed rocket engines

Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings Inc on Tuesday said it has won a $6 million contract from the U.S. Air Force to define the standards that will be used to qualify components made using 3-D printing for use in liquid-fueled rocket engine applications. The award is part of a larger drive by the U.S. military to end its reliance on Russian-built RD-180 rocket engines now used on the Atlas 5 rocket built by United Launch Alliance, a joint venture of Lockheed Martin Corp and Boeing Co. The Air Force plans to award additional, larger contracts for U.S.-developed propulsion systems later this year. Aerojet said it would draw upon its extensive experience with 3-D printing, or additive manufacturing, to draw up the standards that would be used to qualify 3-D printed rocket engine components for flight.

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Will Concussions Keep Kids from Football? (Op-Ed)

Dr. Uzma Samadani is chair for traumatic brain injury research at Hennepin County Medical Center and associate professor of neurosurgery at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Robert Glatter is director of sports medicine and traumatic brain injury in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital and assistant professor at the Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine. You hear about it in news stories and see it in movies: People are struggling to understand what the risk is of a concussion causing long-term brain damage.

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Micro Porcupines to Snow Leopards: WCS's Favorite Wildlife Photos of 2015

Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights


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Can Games Be a Game-Changer for Climate? (Op-Ed)

2015 will be remembered as a watershed moment in the fight against global warming. It's against this backdrop that Barnard College Arctic scientist Stephanie Pfirman introduced a new toy she developed to explain the impact of climate change. Pfirman and her collaborator, Columbia University professor Joey Lee, set out to design a game that would be as entertaining as it was educational.


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Do Girls Have 'Protection' from Autism? (Op-Ed)

Alycia Halladay, chief science officer for the Autism Science Foundation, contributed this article to Live Science's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights. For years, scientists have reported a higher autism prevalence in males than in females. Most studies show about a 4:1 ratio in the prevalence of autism in boys compared with girls, meaning boys are four times as likely to receive an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnosis.


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Top 5 Space Questions of 2015…with Answers! (Op-Ed)

Paul Sutter is a visiting scholar at The Ohio State University's Center for Cosmology and Astro-Particle Physics (CCAPP). Sutter is also host of the podcasts Ask a Spaceman and RealSpace, and the YouTube series Space In Your Face. Is the light from a supernova dangerous?


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New Oregon Law Allows Pharmacists to Prescribe Birth Control Pills

Women in Oregon no longer need a doctor's prescription to get birth control pills, according to a new state law. Instead, they can fill out a health questionnaire and receive oral contraceptives from a licensed pharmacist. The law removes barriers to birth control — typically, women get a prescription during an annual checkup, which costs both time and money, said Dr. Jill Rabin, co-chief in the division of ambulatory care, Women's Health Programs at Northwell Health in New Hyde Park, New York.

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Strong Social Connections Linked to Better Health

Eating healthy food and exercising play important roles in health and well-being, but if you are feeling lonely, you may also want to consider reaching out: A lack of social connection may have a negative impact on your physical health, new research suggests. For example, older people ages 57 to 91 who felt socially isolated had more than double the risk of high blood pressure as those who didn't feel isolated, the researchers found. Moreover, adolescents and teens ages 12 to 18 who felt socially isolated had a 27 percent increased risk of inflammation, compared with those who did not feel socially isolated, the researchers found.

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New Stick-On Device Could Monitor Heart Problems

An ultrathin and stretchable device that sticks to your skin like a sticker could one day be used to monitor your heart rate, according to a new report. The researchers who designed the device say it could be used by patients who need to have their heart rates monitored continuously, such as those who suffer from heart problems like arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythms), or who have a greater risk of a heart attack. Moreover, the device could be useful for people who are have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, because it could measure how fast the heart goes back to its resting rate after exercise, which is an important indicator of cardiovascular health, the researchers said.

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Digging Up Dinosaurs: 5 Trends That Will Be Bigger Than T. Rex

This year, paleontologists made headlines with news of incredible dinosaur findings the world over, and they expect 2016 will hold just as many surprises, scientists told Live Science. For instance, researchers rocked headlines in 2015 with the discoveries of fossils showing a feathered batlike dinosaur (likely a failed attempt at early dinosaur flight, scientists told Live Science), a mysterious herbivorous cousin of Tyrannosaurus rex and a herd of duck-billed dinosaurs living in the chilly reaches of ancient Alaska. "Part of the fun of paleontology is that you can't really predict what's coming down the road," said Andrew Farke, a paleontologist at the Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology in Claremont, California.


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Archaeologists Return to Neanderthal Cave as ISIS Pushed from Iraq

As the terrorist group ISIS is pushed out of northern Iraq, archaeologists are resuming work in the region, making new discoveries and figuring out how to conserve archaeological sites and reclaim looted antiquities. Several discoveries, including new Neanderthal skeletal remains, have been made at Shanidar Cave, a site in Iraqi Kurdistan that was inhabited by Neanderthals more than 40,000 years ago. Additionally, though ISIS did destroy and loot a great number of sites, there are several ways for archaeologists, scientific institutions, governments and law enforcement agencies in North America and Europe to help save the region's heritage, said Dlshad Marf Zamua, a Kurdish archaeologist and doctoral student at Leiden University in the Netherlands.


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