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Showing posts from June 28, 2016

Previous exposure to dengue may make Zika worse, scientists find

By Kate Kelland LONDON (Reuters) - Scientists studying the Zika outbreak in Brazil say previous exposure to another mosquito-borne virus, dengue, may exacerbate the potency of Zika infection. The scientists said their results, published in the journal Nature Immunology, suggested that some dengue antibodies can recognise and bind to Zika due to the similarities between the two viruses, but that these antibodies may also amplify Zika infection in a phenomenon called antibody-dependent enhancement. This effect is already known with dengue, they said, and is thought to explain why, when a person gets dengue fever a second time, the infection is often more serious than the first.


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Supreme Court Abortion Ruling Explained

The Supreme Court has overturned parts of a Texas law that would have caused many abortion clinics in the state to close down. In a 5-3 decision, the court said that parts of law, which imposed a number of restrictions on abortion clinics, were unconstitutional. What did the Texas law require clinics to do?

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Omega-3 Fatty Acids Reduce Risk of Fatal Heart Attack

Eating fish, nuts, seeds and plants with omega-3 fatty acids may significantly lower your risk of dying from a heart attack, according to the most thorough study to date on this contested nutritional topic. Previous research on fish oil supplements and other sources of omega-3 fatty acids has shown mixed results, with some studies revealing heart-healthy benefits and others finding no benefit at all. The latest research, reported today (June 27) in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, was the largest of its kind to measure the actual levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the participants' blood, as opposed to relying on questionnaires in which people report what they eat.

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Magnets Make People Think of Love, Study Finds

Animal magnetism may be a more literal concept than it's given credit for, according to a new study that finds that people are more attracted to their romantic partners after playing with magnets. The idea holds that when people are "primed" or prompted to think about a particular concept — such as physical magnetic attraction — it affects their cognition in surprising ways. In this case, the magnets may make the metaphor of love as a physical force more prominent in people's minds, leading them to report closer feelings with their partners, said Andrew Christy, a graduate student in psychology at Texas A&M University and a co-author of the new study.

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Southeast Asian fires emitted most carbon since 1997 - scientists

By Beh Lih Yi JAKARTA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Forest fires that blanketed Southeast Asia in thick haze last year released the greatest amount of climate-changing carbon since record blazes in 1997, producing emissions higher than in the whole of the European Union, scientists said on Tuesday. Singapore, Malaysia and northern Indonesia choked under a layer of toxic smog in September and October last year, caused by thousands of fires started in Indonesia to cheaply clear land for palm oil crops and for pulp and paper plantations. The study by scientists from the Netherlands, Britain and Indonesia, published in the online journal Scientific Reports recently, was the first scientific report calculating greenhouse gas emissions from the fires using measurements on the ground combined with satellite observations.


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Southeast Asian fires emitted most carbon since 1997: scientists

By Beh Lih Yi JAKARTA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Forest fires that blanketed Southeast Asia in thick haze last year released the greatest amount of climate-changing carbon since record blazes in 1997, producing emissions higher than in the whole of the European Union, scientists said on Tuesday. Singapore, Malaysia and northern Indonesia choked under a layer of toxic smog in September and October last year, caused by thousands of fires started in Indonesia to cheaply clear land for palm oil crops and for pulp and paper plantations. The study by scientists from the Netherlands, Britain and Indonesia, published in the online journal Scientific Reports recently, was the first scientific report calculating greenhouse gas emissions from the fires using measurements on the ground combined with satellite observations.

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Huge Cache of Ancient Helium Discovered in Africa's Rift Valley

Researchers in the United Kingdom and Norway say the newly discovered helium gas field, found in the East African Rift Valley region of Tanzania, has the potential to ease a critical global shortage of helium, a gas that is vital to many high-tech applications, such as the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners used in many hospitals. The researchers say the discovery is the result of a new approach to searching for helium that combines prospecting methods from the oil industry with scientific research that reveals the role of volcanic heat in the production of pockets of helium gas. By one estimate, the newly discovered helium field in the geothermally active East African Rift Valley may contain more helium than the U.S. Federal Helium Reserve near Amarillo, Texas, which holds about 30 percent of the world's helium supply.


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Gateway to Ancient Greek God's Compound Uncovered?

Archaeologists in northern Israel may have unearthed a sanctuary of the Greek god Pan in the ancient city of Hippos. Excavations by the Zinman Institute of Archaeology at the University of Haifa have uncovered a monumental Roman gate, which may have led to a compound dedicated to the worship of Pan, the god of flocks and shepherds, who is depicted as half man and half goat in Greek mythology. The new archaeological find may help researchers better understand previous discoveries in the ancient city.


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Quantum Computer Could Simulate Beginnings of the Universe

Quantum mechanics suggest that seemingly empty space is actually filled with ghostly particles that are fluctuating in and out of existence. This research could help shed light on currently hidden aspects of the universe, from the hearts of neutron stars to the very first moments of the universe after the Big Bang, researchers said. Quantum mechanics suggests that the universe is a fuzzy, surreal place at its smallest levels.


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Aliens Attack! Invasive Lionfish Arrive in Mediterranean

Venomous lionfish are striking to look at, with bold stripes and flowing, sail-like fins. A new study shows that the first wave of a lionfish invasion has struck in the Mediterranean Sea, a region where these fish had not been established before. As ocean temperatures warm, numerous non-native fish have invaded Mediterranean waters — about 130 species since 2001, according to the study authors.


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