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Showing posts from April 28, 2016

Slumber party: reptiles, like us, have REM sleep and may dream

By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Research in a German laboratory involving five lizards called Australian bearded dragons indicates that these reptiles may dream and could prompt a fundamental reassessment of the evolution of sleep. Scientists said on Thursday they have documented for the first time that reptiles, like people, experience rapid eye movement, or REM, sleep and another sleep stage called slow-wave sleep. Because REM sleep is when dreaming occurs in people, the findings suggest that these lizards dream, too.


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SpaceX undercut ULA rocket launch pricing by 40 percent: U.S. Air Force

By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - The U.S. Air Force will save 40 percent by buying a GPS satellite launch from Elon Musk’s SpaceX compared with what United Launch Alliance has been charging, the head of the Space and Missile Systems Center said on Thursday. The Air Force on Wednesday awarded SpaceX an $83 million contract to launch the satellite, breaking the monopoly that ULA partners Lockheed Martin Corp and Boeing Co had held on military space launches for more than a decade. The disclosure of the cost gap between SpaceX and ULA highlights the challenge the latter will face in competing for future launch business.


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Fit in 60 Seconds? 1-Minute Workout May Be Good Enough

People who say they don't have time to exercise may be out of excuses: A new study finds that just 1 minute of sprinting, along with 9 minutes of light exercise, leads to similar improvements in health and fitness as a 50-minute workout at a moderate pace. Such exercise may be an option for people who want to boost their fitness, but don't have a whole lot of time to commit to regular exercise, the study suggests. "Most people cite 'lack of time' as the main reason for not being active", study co-author Martin Gibala, a professor of kinesiology at McMaster University in Ontario, said in a statement.

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'Mindfulness' May Keep Depression from Coming Back

People in the study who received this type of therapy, called mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), were 31 percent less likely to experience a relapse of depression beyond the first year compared with those who did not receive this type of therapy, according to the findings, which were published today (April 27) in the journal JAMA Psychiatry. MBCT combines two approaches for keeping depression symptoms at bay: the practice of mindfulness, or being aware of your emotions, and cognitive therapy, which involves identifying unhealthy thought patterns and developing constructive ways to approach them, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Ultimately, MBCT may work to prevent depression because it teaches people the "skills to stay well," the researchers wrote in the study, which was led by Willem Kuyken, a professor of clinical psychology at the University of Oxford in England.

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Unlucky 7? Emergency Surgery Usually Means These Operations

Just seven common operations account for the vast majority of emergency surgeries performed in the U.S., a new study finds. Those seven surgeries made up 80 percent of all emergency surgical procedures, according to the study. The researchers focused on a broad category of operations called general surgery, which includes a wide-range of surgeries, many of which are performed on the abdomen.

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Scientists Find New Way to Tan or Lighten Skin

Scientists have uncovered how human skin cells control pigmentation — a discovery that could lead to safer ways to tan or lighten the skin. Researchers found that skin color can be regulated by estrogen and progesterone, two of the main female sex hormones. Although this much was known to a limited degree, the new research revealed two cellular receptors that appear to control this process in skin cells called melanocytes.

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In risks to bees, study finds not all neonicotinoids are equal

By Kate Kelland LONDON (Reuters) - A group of chemical insecticides known as neonicotinoids that have been banned in Europe due to fears about potential harm to bees have been found in new research to have very differential risks for bumblebees. Scientists who conducted the research said their findings showed that at least one neonicotinoid in the banned group - clothianidin – may have been unfairly named as among the offenders. This insecticide did not show the same detrimental effects on bee colonies as the others, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam, the researchers found.


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Acting Sorry: Why Johnny Depp Owed Australia an Apology

Johnny Depp's latest most-watched (and highly critiqued) performance is just a little more personal than his typical thespian challenges. In a video shared on YouTube on April 17 by Australian officials, Depp appeared with his wife, actress Amber Heard, offering words of apology for violating the country's biosecurity regulations last year. Heard had illegally brought the couple's two pet Yorkshire terriers into Australia on April 21, 2015, without an import permit and without first subjecting them to a mandated quarantine — a requirement for all cats and dogs introduced into the country.


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Ancient Hyenas Ate Human Relatives Half a Million Years Ago

Tooth marks on the leg bone of a hominin, an ancient human relative, suggest that the poor soul had a gristly end, a new study finds. The tooth marks and fractures on the roughly 500,000-year-old femur indicate that a large carnivore, likely an extinct hyena, chewed on the bone, the researchers said. It's not surprising that a large, carnivorous predator would hunt down a hominin, said study lead researcher Camille Daujeard, a researcher in the Department of Prehistory at the National Museum of Natural History in France.


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Earth Gets Greener as Globe Gets Hotter

The excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has created a greener planet, a new NASA study shows. The radical greening "has the ability to fundamentally change the cycling of water and carbon in the climate system," lead author Zaichun Zhu, a researcher from Peking University in Beijing, said in a statement. Green leafy flora make up 32 percent of Earth's surface area.


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Why Pregnant Women Are More Prone to Yeast Infections

The Food and Drug Administration is investigating whether a medication used for treating yeast infections may pose risks if women take it during pregnancy. Today, the agency announced that it is reviewing the results of a recent study from Denmark that found a link between the medication, called oral fluconazole (brand name Diflucan) and an increased risk of miscarriages. The study, published Jan. 5 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that pregnant women who took oral fluconazole were 48 percent more likely to have a miscarriage than women who didn't take the drug.

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Half Australia's Great Barrier Reef northern coral 'dead or dying': scientists

(This April 20 story has been corrected in headline and first paragraph to show that 50 percent of northern coral is dead or dying not entire reef) By Colin Packham SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australian scientists said on Wednesday that just seven percent of the Great Barrier Reef, which attracts around A$5 billion ($3.90 billion) in tourism every year, has been untouched by mass bleaching that is likely to destroy half of the northern coral. In the northern Great Barrier Reef, it's like 10 cyclones have come ashore all at once," said Professor Terry Hughes, conveyor of the National Coral Bleaching Taskforce, which conducted aerial surveys of the World Heritage site. "Our estimate at the moment is that close to 50 percent of the coral is already dead or dying," Hughes told Reuters.


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