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Showing posts from February 9, 2016

Potent Pot: Marijuana Is Stronger Now Than It Was 20 Years Ago

When the researchers looked at the ratio of THC to CBD, they found that marijuana in 1995 had a THC level that was 14 times its CBD level. "We can see that the ratio of THC to CBD has really, really increased and climbed so much higher," said lead study author Mahmoud A. ElSohly, a professor of pharmaceutics at the University of Mississippi. The researchers also found that, among the cannabis plant material seized over the last four years of the study, there had been an increase in the samples of sinsemilla, which is a type of cannabis that is much more potent than other types of the drug, according to the study, published Jan. 19 in the journal Biological Psychiatry.

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Your Brain May Work Differently in Winter Than Summer

Researchers found that when people in the study did certain cognitive tasks, the ways that the brain utilizes its resources to complete those tasks changed with the seasons. Although people's actual performance on the cognitive tasks did not change with the seasons, "the brain activity for the ongoing process varie[d]," said study author Gilles Vandewalle, of the University of Liege in Belgium.

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5 Things to Know About Zika Virus

The outbreak of the mosquito-borne Zika virus throughout parts of the Americas has raised international concern because of the virus's possible connection to a neurological birth defect called microcephaly. In response to the outbreak, two doctors writing today (Feb. 8) in the Canadian Medical Association Journal have compiled a concise list of things that people should know about the virus, which is carried by certain mosquitoes in the Aedes group — mainly, the species Aedes aegypti. "The spread of this virus is highly dependent upon the mosquito population — we know that this Aedes aegypti is really distributed through really large swaths of the Americas," Dr. Derek MacFadden, one of the authors of the article and an infectious-disease physician at the University Health Network in Toronto, said in a podcast posted on the journal's website.


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Genome offers clues on thwarting reviled, disease-carrying ticks

By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Scientists have unlocked the genetic secrets of one of the least-loved creatures around, the tick species that spreads Lyme disease, in research that may lead to new methods to control these diminutive arachnids that dine on blood. The researchers said on Tuesday they have sequenced the genome of Ixodes scapularis, known as the deer tick or blacklegged tick, which transmits Lyme and other diseases by chomping through the skin of people and animals and releasing infected saliva as they devour blood. "They are so persistent, resilient and tenacious," said Purdue University entomologist Catherine Hill, who led the study published in the journal Nature Communications.


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Genome offers clues on thwarting reviled, disease-carrying ticks

By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Scientists have unlocked the genetic secrets of one of the least-loved creatures around, the tick species that spreads Lyme disease, in research that may lead to new methods to control these diminutive arachnids that dine on blood. The researchers said on Tuesday they have sequenced the genome of Ixodes scapularis, known as the deer tick or blacklegged tick, which transmits Lyme and other diseases by chomping through the skin of people and animals and releasing infected saliva as they devour blood. "They are so persistent, resilient and tenacious," said Purdue University entomologist Catherine Hill, who led the study published in the journal Nature Communications.


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'Moon Glint' Magic: Astronaut's Photo Reveals Dreamy Patterns

When an astronaut aboard the International Space Station trained a camera on a picturesque view of the northern Mediterranean Sea, the space flyer instead captured a unique effect created by the reflection of the moon on the surface of the water. The astronaut's "moon glint" photo shows the twinkling lights of coastal Italian towns and islands of the northern Mediterranean obscured by what looks like dark brushstrokes reminiscent of sweeping clouds. This glare is something that scientists call "sun glint," and it happens according to a mathematical concept called the bidirectional reflectance distribution function (BRDF), according to NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.


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In a Tight Spot? Robo-Roach Can Flatten Itself to Help

Robots that mimic the way cockroaches can scuttle through teeny-tiny cracks might one day help first responders locate and rescue disaster victims trapped in debris, researchers say. Specifically, the researchers have patterned robots after insects for decades — after all, insects are some of the most successful animals on the planet, comprising about 75 percent of all animal species known to humanity. Robert Full, an integrative biologist at the University of California, Berkeley, and his colleagues often use roaches to inspire their robot designs.


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