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Showing posts from March 7, 2016

'Unbelievable Event': Uterus Transplanted in a First for US

A 26-year-old woman who learned at age 16 that she would be unable to have children now has a chance to do so, thanks to the first uterus transplant in the U.S. The transplant provides hope for women who are unable to have babies due to uterus-related issues, said the doctors who completed the transplant. A condition called uterine factor infertility — in which a woman is unable to get pregnant because she either does not have a uterus, or the uterus does not function properly — affects an estimated 50,000 women in the United States, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

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This Week's Total Solar Eclipse: Science of the Celestial Event

Skywatchers, to your telescopes! This week, a total solar eclipse will put on a dramatic celestial show, darkening the skies over Southeast Asia in what will be the only total eclipse of the sun this year. This week's eclipse will happen early Wednesday (March 9) local time in Southeast Asia (Tuesday, March 8, EST). The total solar eclipse will begin over the Indian Ocean, casting a shadow over parts of Sumatra, Borneo and other islands, before moving east across the Pacific Ocean.


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Can You Outrun a Supervolcano? Maybe, Study Finds

Can you outrun a supervolcano? "I wouldn't recommend anyone try to outrun a volcano, but there's a few of us that could," said Greg Valentine, a volcanologist at the University at Buffalo in New York. By analyzing rocks trapped in volcanic ash, Valentine and his colleagues discovered the lethal ash flow spread at street speeds — about 10 to 45 mph (16 to 72 km/h).


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Time short to protect Africa's food supply from climate change - scientists

By Megan Rowling BARCELONA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Without action to help farmers adjust to changing climate conditions, it will become impossible to grow some staple food crops in parts of sub-Saharan Africa, with maize, beans and bananas most at risk, researchers said on Monday. In a study of how global warming will affect nine crops that make up half the region's food production, scientists found that up to 30 percent of areas growing maize and bananas, and up to 60 percent of those producing beans could become unviable by the end of the century. ...

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Zika Virus May Infect, Kill Neural Stem Cells

The Zika virus may infect and kill a type of brain cell that is crucial for brain development, according to a new study done in human cells growing in lab dishes. Although the results don't prove the Zika virus can cause the condition called microcephaly in babies, the findings do suggest where and how the virus may cause damage in the brain, the researchers said. The researchers showed that the Zika virus can infect brain cells, in lab dishes;  however, the researchers still don't know if the same thing happens to cells in a developing fetus that is infected with the virus, Song added.

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The Brain Science Behind Raising the Tobacco Buying Age to 21

San Francisco's new tobacco ordinance — which raises the legal age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21 — could help improve the health of a new generation of people by preventing addiction, health officials said. Nationally, 18-year-olds can buy tobacco products, including cigarettes and cigars. These new policies could lead to better brain development among young adults who might have otherwise chosen to smoke at a younger age, said Brian King, the deputy director for research translation at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Office on Smoking and Health.

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Doesn't Make Scents? Snakebite Causes Man to Lose Ability to Smell

In an unusual medical case, a man in Australia lost his sense of smell for more than a year after he was bitten by a venomous snake, according to a new report of his case. The man has since regained some of his sense of smell, but he is still unable to fully detect smells the way he did before his encounter with the reptile, called the mulga snake, said the doctors and other experts who examined the man's neurological condition about a year after he was bitten and who wrote the report of his case. "As far as I know, he is still affected but somewhat improved," said Kenneth D. Winkel, a toxinologist at the University of Melbourne in Australia, who co-authored the report.

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Time short to protect Africa's food supply from climate change - scientists

By Megan Rowling BARCELONA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Without action to help farmers adjust to changing climate conditions, it will become impossible to grow some staple food crops in parts of sub-Saharan Africa, with maize, beans and bananas most at risk, researchers said on Monday. In a study of how global warming will affect nine crops that make up half the region's food production, scientists found that up to 30 percent of areas growing maize and bananas, and up to 60 percent of those producing beans could become unviable by the end of the century. Six of the nine crops - cassava, groundnut, pearl millet, finger millet, sorghum and yam - are projected to remain stable under moderate and extreme climate change scenarios.


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Earth's Fiery Depths Filled with Brimstone

Earth's inner core is a metallic mix of iron and light elements such as sulfur, hydrogen and silicon, a new study finds. This isn't the first time scientists have proposed that Earth's fiery depths are filled with brimstone, another name for sulfur. Researchers at Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan, mimicked the inner core in a laboratory equipped with a laser-heated diamond anvil cell.


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Ancient Burial Ground with 100 Tombs Found Near Biblical Bethlehem

An ancient necropolis that once held more than 100 tombs from as far back as 4,000 years ago has been discovered near the Palestinian town of Bethlehem in the West Bank. In 2014 a team from the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities of Palestine excavated some of the tombs, and in 2015 a joint Italian-Palestinian team surveyed the necropolis and created a plan for future exploration. The archaeologists found that the necropolis covered 3 hectares (more than 7 acres) and originally contained more than 100 tombs in use between roughly 2200 B.C. and 650 B.C.


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How Speedy Beetles 'Ski' Across the Water

Prakash, an assistant professor with the Department of Engineering at Stanford University in California, filmed the beetles as they skittered over plates filled with water, explaining in a statement that working with them in the lab was difficult because they were hard to find when they got loose. "Although these potholes are being generated by the insect itself," Prakash added.


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Rare Amber-Entombed Lizards Preserved in Amazing Detail

The tiny, trapped fossils, found in Myanmar, represent an unparalleled sampling of species diversity for tropical lizards from the Cretaceous era, which lasted from 145.5 million years ago to about 65.5 million years ago. The fossils are astonishingly well-preserved, the researchers said, including specimens with intact skin, visible skin pigment and soft tissues — and in one case, a lolling tongue. One individual's spindly toes earned it the nickname "Nosferatu," after the long-fingered silent-movie vampire, said study co-author David Grimaldi, a curator in the division of invertebrate zoology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.


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Now you're talking: human-like robot may one day care for dementia patients

By Paige Lim SINGAPORE (Reuters) - With her brown hair, soft skin and expressive face, Nadine is a new brand of human-like robot that could one day, scientists hope, be used as a personal assistant or care provider for the elderly. The 1.7-metre tall Nadine was created in the likeness of its maker, Nadia Thalmann, a visiting professor and director of Singapore's Nanyang Technological University's Institute of Media Innovation who has spent three decades researching into virtual humans. Nadine is not commercially available, but Thalmann predicted robots could one day be used as companions for people living with dementia.


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