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Showing posts from March 28, 2016

Sanofi poaches AstraZeneca scientist as new research head

French drugmaker Sanofi has poached one of AstraZeneca's top scientists to be its new research head in another high-profile departure for the British drugmaker. Sanofi said on Tuesday that Yong-Jun Liu had been appointed as head of research with effect from April 1, reporting to Elias Zerhouni, the group's president of global research and development. Liu, a specialist in immunology with more than 250 published articles in leading academic journals, currently heads up research at AstraZeneca's MedImmune biotechnology division, a position he has held since 2014.


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Arctic Sea Ice Is at Near Record Lows, NASA Says

The ice covering the Arctic is at near record lows this year, and this icy deficit may impact weather around the world, NASA reports. Every March, the Arctic's sea ice reaches its maximum cover, both in area and thickness, before it recedes to its yearly minimum in September. Live Science spoke with NASA scientist Walt Meier yesterday (March 25) to learn more about the low sea-ice level and what it means for the rest of the planet.


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U.S. scientists develop mouse model to test Zika vaccines, drugs

By Julie Steenhuysen CHICAGO (Reuters) - U.S. scientists have identified a genetically modified strain of mice that develop Zika, an important tool needed for testing vaccines and medicines to treat the virus that is rapidly spreading across the Americas and the Caribbean. "We are going to do experiments to see if we can produce sexual transmission" in these mice, said Scott Weaver, a virologist at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston who worked on the study published on Monday in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. Weaver said the Zika mouse model will provide a critical tool to allow companies and scientists to test vaccines and antiviral drugs against Zika, which has been linked with thousands of cases of microcephaly, a rare birth defect marked by unusually small head size and possible developmental problems.


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U.S. scientists develop mouse model to test Zika vaccines, drugs

By Julie Steenhuysen CHICAGO (Reuters) - U.S. scientists have identified a genetically modified strain of mice that develop Zika, an important tool needed for testing vaccines and medicines to treat the virus that is rapidly spreading across the Americas and the Caribbean. "We are going to do experiments to see if we can produce sexual transmission" in these mice, said Scott Weaver, a virologist at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston who worked on the study published on Monday in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. Weaver said the Zika mouse model will provide a critical tool to allow companies and scientists to test vaccines and antiviral drugs against Zika, which has been linked with thousands of cases of microcephaly, a rare birth defect marked by unusually small head size and possible developmental problems.


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Aloha, You Old Bat: Extinct Critter Doubles Hawaii's Land Mammal Species

Hawaii just doubled the number of known land mammal species that are native to the islands, thanks to the discovery of a number of fossils representing a tiny bat named Synemporion keana. Found in 13 cave sites over five islands — Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Maui and Hawaii —the fossils described in a new study represent at least 110 individuals and reveal a bat that was notably different from the only other land mammal species that is endemic to Hawaii — the Hawaiian hoary bat. Many of S. keana's bones were found in the same locations as hoary bat fossils, suggesting to scientists that the bats shared habitats.


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Season of Birth Genetically Linked to Allergy Risk

People born in the fall and winter seem to have an increased risk of certain allergic diseases such as asthma, studies have shown, and now scientists may have found one reason why. In a new study of people in England, researchers found that certain markers on the DNA are linked to the seasons in which people are born, and these markers also seem to mediate people's risk of allergic diseases. The results suggest that some environmental factor that varies from one season to another may also drive the changes in these markers, the researchers said.

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Alaska Volcano Erupts, Spewing Ash 20,000 Feet into the Air

A snow- and ice-covered volcano located in Alaska's Aleutian Islands erupted Sunday (March 27), spewing a cloud of ash about 20,000 feet (6,000 meters) into the sky, the Alaska Volcano Observatory reported. The area also had elevated seismic activity at 3:53 p.m. local time, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). In response, the Alaska Volcano Observatory raised the volcano alert level to "warning," and the aviation color code to "red," meaning that an eruption is imminent or underway and putting high levels of ash into the atmosphere.


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WWII-Era Bell from Sunken Japanese Submarine Recovered

A bronze bell from a sunken World War II-era Japanese submarine was recently recovered off the coast of Oahu, in Hawaii. The bell was retrieved from the underwater remains of the I-400, an Imperial Japanese Navy mega submarine that was captured and intentionally sunk by U.S. forces in 1946. The massive vessel was one of the Japanese Navy's Sen Toku-class submarines.


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Affordable Hypersonic Jets Could Be High-Flying Reality by 2023

Hypersonic aircraft and weapons that can fly more than five times the speed of sound may seem like a futuristic fantasy, but defense giant Lockheed Martin says it is committed to making these ultrafast innovations a reality. In fact, Lockheed Martin is doubling down on hypersonic aerospace technologies, Lockheed officials said recently at the company's Media Day. "Lockheed Martin continues to invest in propulsion technologies and advanced materials needed for hypersonic speeds," Marillyn A. Hewson, Lockheed Martin president and CEO, said in a statement on March 15.


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New Ultrathin Solar Cells Are Light Enough to Sit on a Soap Bubble

Scientists have created the thinnest, lightest solar power cells yet — so lightweight that they can be draped on top of a soap bubble without popping it. Solar cells, technically known as photovoltaic cells, directly convert energy from light into electricity. The new solar cells are as small as 1.3 microns thick.


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Eating More 'Healthy Fats' May Lower Diabetes Risk

Replacing some of the meat and cheese in your diet with vegetable oils or nuts could help slow the progression of diabetes in some people, according to a small new study. People with "prediabetes" have levels of blood sugar, or glucose, that are higher than normal but not high enough to warrant being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. In 2012, 86 million Americans age 20 and older had prediabetes, and 29.1 million had diabetes, with the vast majority of the cases being type 2, according to the American Diabetes Association.

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Sesame Street's Elmo and Raya Warn Kids About Zika

Two chipper Sesame Street Muppets are lending their cheerful voices to a serious topic in a pair of public-service announcements intended to raise awareness of the Zika virus among children and families. The two 30-second videos were created by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) in collaboration with Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind the children's television show Sesame Street. The recordings are meant to engage young viewers in South and Central America and the Caribbean, where the Zika virus is spreading.


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More Injuries from Bison at Yellowstone: Are Selfies to Blame?

Yellowstone National Park has seen a rise in people getting injured by bison lately, and attempts to take selfies may be to blame for at least some of these injuries, according to a new report. In three of the cases, people were injured when a bison tossed them into the air, and in the other two cases, a bison injured the individual with its horns. All of the injuries occurred when people got too close to the bison.

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Can Apple's 'Night Shift' Really Help You Sleep Better?

A new iPhone feature called "Night Shift" automatically adjusts the screen’s colors to warmer hues after sunset, on the premise that this change could help people sleep better. Night Shift is now available as part of Apple's latest mobile operating system update, iOS 9.3, which was released Monday (March 21). The feature uses the iPhone or iPad's clock and geolocation services to determine when sunset is happening in your area, and then automatically adjusts the screen's colors to redder, or warmer, colors, Apple says.


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After Zika Infection, People Should Wait Months to Conceive Children, CDC Says

People who have been infected with Zika virus should wait at least several months before they attempt to conceive a child, according to new recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Women who are diagnosed with Zika or who experience symptoms of the disease after possible exposure to Zika should wait at least eight weeks after their symptoms started before trying to become pregnant, the CDC said. For men, the recommended wait is much longer: Those who have been infected with Zika or who have symptoms of it should wait at least six months before attempting to conceive a child, the agency said.

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