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Showing posts from April 6, 2016

Scientists seek crowdfunding to test 'chemical castration' of paedophiles

By Kate Kelland LONDON (Reuters) - Researchers from Sweden are seeking crowdfunding to test a type of "chemical castration" in men who report having paedophilic thoughts and fantasies. The team from Sweden's Karolinska Institute want to see whether a drug called degarelix - a hormone therapy that blocks brain signals which stimulate the testicles to produce testosterone - reduces the men's sexual urges. While not all people with paedophilia molest children, child sexual abuse is a widespread problem with around 1 in 10 girls and 1 in 20 boys suffering abuse, according to Christoffer Rahm, a Swedish consultant psychiatrist leading the planned trial.

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Alaska volcano goes quiet but remains 'restless,' scientists say

An Alaskan volcano that began erupting 10 days ago, belching an ash cloud 20,000 feet (6,906 meters) high that triggered aviation warnings, ended its latest round of seismic activity on Wednesday but may not stay quiet for long, scientists said. Satellite observations showed no evidence of further "eruptive activity" on Mount Pavlof and low levels of seismic activity suggested that the volcano had subsided, the Alaska Volcano Observatory said in a statement. The Federal Aviation Administration issued a "red" aviation alert in response to the ash cloud, which required that local and regional flights, including cargo air traffic out of Anchorage, be re-routed.


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Scientists seek crowdfunding to test 'chemical castration' of paedophiles

By Kate and Kelland LONDON (Reuters) - Researchers from Sweden are seeking crowdfunding to test a type of "chemical castration" in men who report having paedophilic thoughts and fantasies. The team from Sweden's Karolinska Institute want to see whether a drug called degarelix - a hormone therapy that blocks brain signals which stimulate the testicles to produce testosterone - reduces the men's sexual urges. While not all people with paedophilia molest children, child sexual abuse is a widespread problem with around 1 in 10 girls and 1 in 20 boys suffering abuse, according to Christoffer Rahm, a Swedish consultant psychiatrist leading the planned trial.

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Scientists seek crowdfunding to test 'chemical castration' of pedophiles

Researchers from Sweden are seeking crowdfunding to test a type of "chemical castration" in men who report having paedophilic thoughts and fantasies. The team from Sweden's Karolinska Institute want to see whether a drug called degarelix - a hormone therapy that blocks brain signals which stimulate the testicles to produce testosterone - reduces the men's sexual urges. While not all people with paedophilia molest children, child sexual abuse is a widespread problem with around 1 in 10 girls and 1 in 20 boys suffering abuse, according to Christoffer Rahm, a Swedish consultant psychiatrist leading the planned trial.

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South America's prehistoric people spread like 'invasive species'

By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - When the first prehistoric people trekked into South America toward the end of the Ice Age, they found a wondrous, lush continent inhabited by all manner of strange creatures like giant ground sloths and car-sized armadillos. Only much later did people muster exponential population growth after forming fixed settlements with domesticated crops and animals. "Humans are just like any other invasive species," Stanford University biology professor Elizabeth Hadly said.


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A Paradox From Climate Change Past (Video)

Human history is rife with stories of environmental catastrophe and powerful civilizations felled by climate change — the Mayans, the Egyptians, the Sumerians. "Climate change causes crisis, and a generation of scientists and historians have now reconstructed that essential relationship," said Georgetown University historian Dagomar Degroot. Degroot studies the Little Ice Age, a period of global cooling from around 1500 to 1850, during which temperatures dropped 0.6 degrees Celsius in the Northern Hemisphere.


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Testing the Multiverse: Beyond the Limits of Science? (Op-Ed)

Robert Lawrence Kuhn is the creator, writer and host of "Closer to Truth," a public television series and online resource that features the world's leading thinkers exploring humanity's deepest questions (produced and directed by Peter Getzels). This essay is the second in a series of three on the multiverse. The first is available at: "Confronting the Multiverse: What 'Infinite Universes' Would Mean." Kuhn contributed this essay to Space.com's Expert Voices: Op-Ed.


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Suit that mimics life at age 85 has no creases, just creaks

By Barbara Goldberg JERSEY CITY, N.J. (Reuters) - With the push of a button, a perfectly healthy 34-year-old museum-goer named Ugo Dumont was transformed into a confused 85-year-old man with cataracts, glaucoma and a ringing in his ears known as tinnitus. Dumont had volunteered at Liberty Science Center on Tuesday to don a computer-controlled exoskeleton that can be remotely manipulated to debilitate joints, vision and hearing and shared with the crowd what aging feels like decades before his time. Headphones muffled his hearing while goggles left him with only peripheral vision due to macular degeneration while the suit's joints were adjusted to simulate the stiffness of rheumatoid arthritis.


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Distant Volcanic Roars Reveal Eruption Hazards

The roar of a volcano erupting on a remote Alaska island reveals important details about the blast, such as its size and location, a new study reports. Armed with this new information, scientists in Alaska are listening to volcanoes to better pinpoint eruption hazards. "Sound waves are very good at telling you about how, when and where a volcano is erupting," said lead study author David Fee, a research assistant professor at the Alaska Volcano Observatory and Wilson Alaska Technical Center in Fairbanks.


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42 Tombs and a Shrine Discovered in Egypt

Forty-two rock-cut tombs and a shrine decorated with a winged sun disc have been found along the banks of the Nile River in Egypt. "This is actually a major hub of commerce, worship and possibly political [activity]," said John Ward, assistant director of the Gebel el Silsila Survey Project. Survey project mission director Maria Nilsson, Ward and their colleagues have been discovering much more than that at the site, however.


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Think Fast! Caffeine Speeds Up Older Adults' Reaction Time

Coffee has been linked to a slew of health benefits, and now, a new study suggests that it may improve reaction time in older adults. In the study, presented today (April 5) here at the Cognitive Neuroscience Society's annual meeting, researchers set out to examine the effects of caffeine on a number of cognitive abilities in healthy, older adults. Ultimately, their goal is to see what role caffeine may play in treating dementia, said Kanchan Sharma, a neurology researcher at the University of Bristol in England and the lead researcher on the new study.

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Wrong Baby Daddy? It's Not Likely, Science Says

Contrary to what daytime talk shows might have you believe, men are rarely hoodwinked into raising children who aren't their own, according to several recent studies. The findings challenge the evolutionary idea that "women 'shop around' for good genes" for their children by having sex outside a monogamous relationship, said Maarten Larmuseau, a researcher at the Belgian university KU Leuven who wrote a review article on the topic, published today (April 5) in the journal Trends in Ecology & Evolution.

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Brains Scans Reveal How People with Insomnia May Be Wired Differently

To sleep, perchance to dream … and to keep your brain working: Scientists have long known about the importance of getting a good night's sleep to improve memory, learning and mental health. But the underlying cause of primary insomnia — a chronic inability to sleep soundly that's not associated with the use of stimulants, or medical disorders such as depression — has eluded researchers. Now, a small study comparing healthy participants to patients who have primary insomnia has found that the people with insomnia have weakened neural connections to and from the thalamus, the region of the brain that regulates consciousness, sleep and alertness.

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Real-Life 'Moby-Dick'? Testing Sperm Whales' Ramming Ability

Based on an incident described in 1820 involving the Nantucket whaling vessel the Essex, the film relays the terrifying tale of an enraged sperm whale turning the tables on its tormenters, using its enormous head as a battering ram to smash a whaling ship to splinters. Recently, a team of engineers took a look at whether the unusual and oversize head of the sperm whale would be able to sustain the force required to demolish a whaling boat by ramming it. Sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) are the largest of the toothed whales.


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After Their Egg Is Stolen, Condors Raise Foster Chick

After a California condor pair's egg went mysteriously missing in the middle of the night, the duo is back on track, raising a foster chick that biologists surreptitiously slipped into the birds' mountain nest. The two began courting in 2014, and nested together near the Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge in southern California, according to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. A team of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) biologists snuck into the nest on March 2 to set up a bird cam and check the egg's viability with a candle test, in which a bright light is used to check the growing fetus inside.


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Preserved Poop Points the Way to General Hannibal's Historic Path

The question of precisely where the historically acclaimed general Hannibal and his army crossed the Alps into Italy to defeat the Romans — during the Second Punic War, around 218 to 201 B.C. — has perplexed historians for nearly 2,000 years. Mystery solved — not with a smoking gun, but with a once-steaming pile.


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NASA Science Chief, Former Astronaut John Grunsfeld Retiring

NASA science chief John Grunsfeld, a former astronaut who famously helped repair and upgrade the Hubble Space Telescope in orbit, will end his nearly quarter-century of service to the agency at the end of the month. Grunsfeld — who has headed NASA's Science Mission Directorate since January 2012, and has therefore been in charge for big moments such as the Mars rover Curiosity's Red Planet touchdown in August 2012 and the New Horizons spacecraft's epic flyby of Pluto in July 2015 — will retire effective April 30, agency officials announced today (April 5). Grunsfeld, 57, was selected as a NASA astronaut in 1992 and flew on five space shuttle missions between 1995 and 2009, logging more than 58 days in orbit.


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GM adenovirus used by doctors to attack tumor cells

Researchers in Argentina say they have genetically modified an adenovirus - which can cause colds, conjunctivitis and bronchitis - to home in on cancer, killing tumor cells in patients without harming healthy tissue. Scientists have long been intrigued by the idea of using viruses to alert the immune system to seek and destroy cancerous cells. Dr. Osvaldo Podhjacer, Chief of the Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Therapy at the Fundacion Instituto Leloir in Buenos Aires, and his team developed an 'oncolytic' virus designed to target both malignant cells and tumor-associated stromal cells.

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