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Showing posts from February 2, 2016

Scientists map bedbug genome, follow pest through NYC subway

NEW YORK (AP) — Scientists have mapped the genome of bedbugs in New York City, then traced fragments of the nefarious pests' DNA through the subway system.


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Sleep tight: genome secrets could help beat the bedbug's bite

No. Bedbugs! These tiny insects have staged a global resurgence in the past two decades after being nearly eradicated in many regions, but scientists on Tuesday unveiled a complete genetic map of the bedbug that could guide efforts to foil the resilient parasite. "This is an enormous new tool for researchers interested in controlling this pest," said George Amato, director of the Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. "Bed bugs are now very widespread in most major cities around the world, and they have increasingly become resistant to insecticides, making them harder to control," American Museum of Natural History entomologist Louis Sorkin said.


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Scientists' path to usable Zika vaccine strewn with hurdles

Making a shot to generate an immune response against Zika virus, which is sweeping through the Americas, shouldn't be too hard in theory. For a start, scientists around the world know even less about Zika than they did about the Ebola virus that caused an unprecedented epidemic in West Africa last year. Ebola, due to its deadly power, was the subject of bioterrorism research, giving at least a base for speeding up vaccine work.

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As the World Tackles Climate Change, is Meat Off the Table? (Op-Ed)

Alexandra Clark is a sustainable-food campaigner at Humane Society International. Prior to joining HSI, Clark worked for the vice president of the European Parliament and was responsible for a number of high-profile parliamentary initiatives on sustainable food systems. There is extensive research showing the outsize impacts of animal agriculture on the environment.

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'Climate Snow Job'? Scientists Respond to Attack on Evidence (Op-Ed)

Emmanuel Vincent holds a Ph.D. in climate science and is the founder of Climate Feedback (@ClimateFdbk), a global network of scientists who provide readers, authors and editors with feedback about the accuracy of climate change media articles. Daniel Nethery is editor of Climate Feedback. An opinion piece published Jan. 24 in The Wall Street Journal presented false and misleading statements as if they were fact.


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Want to Make a Volcano Explode? Just Add Heat

Volcanoes erupt explosively when gas-charged magma reaches Earth's surface. The formation and growth of gas bubbles are complex processes that fascinate nearly every volcanologist. There are volcanologists who peer inside tiny crystals to measure minuscule amounts of dissolved gas, and there are volcanologists who use spectroscopy — specifically studies of how minerals absorb ultraviolet light — to measure the copious gases billowing from a vent.


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Scientists' path to usable Zika vaccine strewn with hurdles

Making a shot to generate an immune response against Zika virus, which is sweeping through the Americas, shouldn't be too hard in theory. For a start, scientists around the world know even less about Zika than they did about the Ebola virus that caused an unprecedented epidemic in West Africa last year. Ebola, due to its deadly power, was the subject of bioterrorism research, giving at least a base for speeding up vaccine work.


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The Stars Within Us: Why Everything in You is Stellar

Paul Sutter is a visiting scholar at The Ohio State University's Center for Cosmology and AstroParticle Physics (CCAPP). Sutter is also host of the podcasts "Ask a Spaceman" and "RealSpace," and the YouTube series "Space in Your Face." Sutter contributed this article to Space.com's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.


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Scientists' path to usable Zika vaccine strewn with hurdles

Making a shot to generate an immune response against Zika virus, which is sweeping through the Americas, shouldn't be too hard in theory. For a start, scientists around the world know even less about Zika than they did about the Ebola virus that caused an unprecedented epidemic in West Africa last year. Ebola, due to its deadly power, was the subject of bioterrorism research, giving at least a base for speeding up vaccine work.


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US Military’s F-35 Fighter Jets to Make British Debut in July

The U.S. military's next-generation F-35 fighter jets will make their long-awaited overseas debut this summer at two air shows in the United Kingdom, Air Force officials recently announced. The 56th Fighter Wing, stationed at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, will showcase F-35A Lightning IIs at the Royal International Air Tattoo in Gloucestershire and the Farnborough International Airshow in Hampshire, both in July. The summer events will be the first time the F-35s cross the Atlantic Ocean for the overseas air shows.


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What's That Word? Marijuana May Affect Verbal Memory

Years of smoking pot may have an effect on a person's verbal memory, which is the ability to remember certain words, a new study finds. For every five years of marijuana use, researchers found that, on average, one out of two people remembered one word fewer from a list of 15 words, according to the study. Long-term use was not, however, significantly associated with decreases in other measures of cognitive function, such as processing speed or executive function, the researchers wrote in the study, published today (Feb. 1) in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

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Microcephaly Linked to Zika Virus Is a 'Public Health Emergency,' Officials Say

The recent, dramatic increase in babies in Brazil born with microcephaly — underdeveloped skulls and brains — that has been linked with the Zika virus constitutes "a public health emergency of international concern," Dr. Margaret Chan, director-general of the World Health Organization, said today. Clusters of microcephaly and other neurological complications that are possibly linked to the virus make up "an extraordinary event and a public health threat to other parts of the world," Chan said at a news conference in Geneva today (Feb. 1). However, Chan noted that the Zika virus itself, which is spread by mosquitos and typically causes only mild symptoms and sometimes none at all, did not merit emergency status.


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Prehistoric man enjoyed roasted tortoise appetizers, Israeli archaeologist says

Prehistoric cave-dwellers enjoyed munching on tortoises roasted in their shells as an appetizer or side dish, Ran Barkai, an archaeologist at Tel Aviv University, said on Tuesday. Barkai helped lead a research team who found 400,000-year-old tortoise shells and bones in a cave in Israel that showed hunter-gatherers butchered and cooked tortoises as part of a diet dominated by large animals and vegetation. "Now we know they ate tortoises in a rather sophisticated way," Barkai said.


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Flu Season Is Here; CDC Warns of Severe Cases in Young Adults

Flu season has started, and although so far it has not been as bad as last year's, there have been reports of some young and middle-age adults developing severe cases of influenza, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Today (Feb. 1), the CDC announced that flu cases are increasing across the country. The most common flu strain circulating now is H1N1, the same strain of flu that caused a pandemic in 2009.

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Moms' Beneficial Vaginal Microbes Given to C-Section Babies by New Method

In a new procedure, doctors wiped down the skin of newborns delivered by cesarean section with a gauze carrying their mothers' vaginal fluid. The doctors found that this was a successful way to transfer beneficial microbes from pregnant women to their infants, a new pilot study suggests. This small study showed that this swabbing procedure, known as vaginal microbial transfer, can safely and effectively change the microbial communities of babies delivered by C-section to make them more closely resemble those of vaginally born babies, said José Clemente, an assistant professor of genetics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City and a co-author of the research, published today (Feb. 1) in the journal Nature Medicine.

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