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Showing posts from February 17, 2016

China looks to reward academic innovation to drive economic growth

China will give greater financial rewards to innovative academics and small research bodies in a drive to convert interesting scientific ideas into commercial realities and rev up its high-tech industries as wider economic growth stalls. China's State Council said research bodies and university units who transferred their work to outside firms to develop and market should receive no less than half of the net income earned from the product as a reward. China is trying to boost its high-tech industries, from medicines to computer chips, to offset a slowdown in manufacturing and exports that has dragged its economic growth to its slowest level in a quarter of a century.

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'Good' Bacteria Lacking in City Homes

The researchers found that homes in urban areas in South America tended to have lower levels of certain microbes commonly found in the environment, compared with homes in rural areas. However, homes in urban areas had higher levels of microbes associated with human presence, which could potentially mean an increase in the transmission of the bacteria that cause disease, the researchers said. For now, the researchers don't know with certainty whether the differences in bacterial composition found in the new study may affect people's health, said study author Maria Gloria Dominguez-Bello, an associate professor in the Human Microbiome Program at the New York University School of Medicine.

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Adderall Misuse Is a Growing Problem, Experts Warn

Improper use of the stimulant Adderall is becoming a bigger problem among young adults — a growing percentage say they use the drug without a prescription, a new study finds. The results from a nationwide health survey show that from 2006 to 2011, the percentage of adults who said they took Adderall without a prescription increased from 0.73 percent to 1.2 percent. Young adults should be aware that Adderall can cause serious side effects, including high blood pressure and stroke, the researchers said.

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Surgery Leaves Woman with 'Temporary Kleptomania'

A woman in Brazil who had cosmetic surgery ended up with not only a flatter stomach and larger breasts, she also developed kleptomania for a few weeks, a new case report reveals. A few days after being released from the hospital following her cosmetic surgery, the 40-year-old woman began to have "recurring, intrusive thoughts and an irresistible compulsion towards stealing," according to the case report, published online Jan. 29 in the journal BMJ Case Reports. The most likely explanation for her symptoms is that the woman suffered from inadequate blood flow to the brain at some point during or right after the surgical procedure, said case report co-author Dr. Fabio Nascimento, who is currently a neurologist at Toronto Western Hospital in Canada, but who was part of the medical team during the woman's hospitalization in Brazil at the time of the case.

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Out of Africa, and into the arms of a Neanderthal

By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Research showing that our species interbred with Neanderthals some 100,000 years ago is providing intriguing evidence that Homo sapiens ventured out of Africa much earlier than previously thought, although the foray appears to have fizzled. Scientists said on Wednesday an analysis of the genome of a Neanderthal woman whose remains were found in a cave in the Altai Mountains in southern Siberia near the Russia-Mongolia border detected residual DNA from Homo sapiens, a sign of inter-species mating. Previous research had established that Homo sapiens and our close cousins the Neanderthals interbred around 50,000 to 60,000 years ago, said geneticist Sergi Castellano of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany.


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Whoa! Mind-Controlled Arm Lets Man Move Prosthetic Fingers

A new mind-controlled prosthetic arm was used to help a patient wiggle the device's fingers simply by thinking about it, and required very little training on the patient's part, according to a new study. "We believe this is the first time a person using a mind-controlled prosthesis has immediately performed individual digit movements without extensive training," study senior author Dr. Nathan Crone, a professor of neurology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said in a statement.


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Why 10,000-Plus Sharks Are Hanging Out in Florida Waters

Approximately 10,000 to 12,000 blacktip sharks are currently swimming off the Florida coast, but while these numbers may seem menacing, shark researchers say it's not unusual to see these animals — visible as tiny dark spots in aerial photos and video — in the area at this time of year. These annual visitors are there to feed on fish and bask in warm coastal waters, according to Stephen Kajiura, a professor of biological sciences at Florida Atlantic University who conducts a survey of the migrating sharks every winter. Visitors to those beaches could even catch a glimpse of the blacktips breaching, leaping out of the water "like dolphins," Kajiura said.


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Bee Pollen Could Boost Battery Performance

Pollen — the pesky, sneeze-inducing stuff that makes allergy sufferers everywhere miserable — could be the next greatest thing in battery research, according to a new study. Scientists at Purdue University, in West Lafayette, Indiana, have been researching ways to make better batteries, and recently discovered that pollen grains, and their unique microstructures, could be put to use as a more efficient type of energy storage unit.


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