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Showing posts from September 8, 2016

Statins' benefits understated and harms exaggerated, scientists warn

By Kate Kelland LONDON, (Reuters) - The benefits of statins - cholesterol-busting drugs that can dramatically reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes - have been underestimated and their harms exaggerated, scientists said on Thursday in a major review of research. In an effort to counter what they said were misleading reports of high levels of side effects, the scientists said in the Lancet medical journal there was a "serious cost to public health" in such claims, which can dissuade people from taking beneficial medicines. "Our review shows that the numbers of people who avoid heart attacks and strokes by taking statin therapy are very much larger than the numbers who have side effects," said Rory Collins, a professor at the Clinical Trial Service Unit at Britain's Oxford University.

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ULA chief says recovery from space launch accident typically 9-12 months

By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - If history is any guide, Elon Musk's SpaceX could be grounded for nine to 12 months while it investigates the cause of last week's launch pad accident and makes any repairs, according to the chief executive of SpaceX's primary U.S. competitor on Thursday. Bruno did not mention SpaceX by name. A SpaceX Falcon 9 booster exploded on the launch pad on Sept. 1 as it was being fueled for a routine pre-launch test.


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NASA probe blasts off on quest to collect asteroid samples

By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - An Atlas 5 rocket blasted off from Florida on Thursday carrying a robot space probe on NASA's first quest to collect samples from an asteroid and return them to Earth in hopes of learning more about the origins of life. The 19-story rocket, built and flown for NASA by United Launch Alliance, lifted off at 7:05 p.m. (2305 GMT) from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, hurling the satellite explorer Osiris-Rex on its voyage to the near-Earth asteroid Bennu. It will take Osiris-Rex two years to reach its destination, a dark, rocky mass roughly a third of a mile wide and shaped like a giant acorn orbiting the sun at roughly the same distance as Earth.


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Rocket carrying NASA asteroid probe blasts off from Florida

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - A NASA space probe was launched aboard an Atlas 5 rocket from Florida on Thursday on an unprecedented quest to collect samples from an asteroid and return them to Earth in hopes of learning more about the origins of life. The United Launch Alliance booster lifted off at 7:05 p.m. EDT from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Perched on top of the 19-story rocket was NASA’s robot explorer Osiris-Rex, built by Lockheed Martin to carry out the seven-year, $1 billion mission to and from the near-Earth asteroid Bennu. ...

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Statins' benefits understated and harms exaggerated, scientists warn

By Kate Kelland LONDON, (Reuters) - - The benefits of statins - cholesterol-busting drugs that can dramatically reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes - have been underestimated and their harms exaggerated, scientists said on Thursday in a major review of research. In an effort to counter what they said were misleading reports of high levels of side effects, the scientists said in the Lancet medical journal there was a "serious cost to public health" in such claims, which can dissuade people from taking beneficial medicines. "Our review shows that the numbers of people who avoid heart attacks and strokes by taking statin therapy are very much larger than the numbers who have side effects," said Rory Collins, a professor at the Clinical Trial Service Unit at Britain's Oxford University.

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SpaceX could be grounded for 9-12 months: ULA chief

By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - Elon Musk's SpaceX likely will be grounded for nine to 12 months while it investigates the cause of last week's launch pad accident and makes any repairs, the chief executive of SpaceX's prime U.S. competitor said on Thursday. A SpaceX Falcon 9 booster exploded on the launch pad on Sept. 1 as it was being fueled for a routine pre-launch test. A $200 million Israeli communications satellite was destroyed in the blast, the second failed mission for technology entrepreneur Elon Musk's privately owned SpaceX in 14 months.


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Tall tale: study reveals that giraffes are four species, not one

By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Genetic research on the world's tallest land animal has found that there are four distinct species of giraffe, not just one as long believed, with two of them at alarmingly low population levels. Scientists on Thursday unveiled a comprehensive genetic analysis of giraffes using DNA from 190 of the towering herbivores from across their range in Africa. The genetic data showed that four separate species of giraffes that do not interbreed in the wild inhabit various parts of the continent.


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Ancient 4-Limbed Creatures Were Too Young for Trip Ashore

The finding took researchers by surprise, as they thought that the fossil specimens of the animal, known as Acanthostega, belonged to water-dwelling adults, not young'uns. Regardless, the discovery is painting a more detailed picture of Acanthostega. "Understanding the life history of these early tetrapods, which are iconic transitional forms between fishes and land animals, is of great interest for studying the tetrapod move to land," said lead study researcher Sophie Sanchez, who researches the bones of fossil vertebrates at Uppsala University in Sweden.


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Oklahoma Just Experienced Its Largest Earthquake on Record

The earthquake that shook Pawnee, Oklahoma, on Sept. 3 is now the state's largest temblor on record, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, which just upgraded the magnitude to 5.8. "Changes in estimated magnitude for an earthquake are common in the hours-to-days following the event, as more data are analyzed in greater detail than is possible in the first minutes after the earthquake occurs," according to a USGS statement.


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Partial Skull Removal Can Save Lives After Injury

A controversial procedure that involves removing a portion of a patient's skull can save lives when people have severe brain injuries, a new study finds. The surgery, called a decompressive craniectomy, nearly halved a patient's risk of dying following a severe traumatic brain injury compared with patients who received other medical treatment for their injuries but did not have the operation, the study said. Doctors have previously questioned whether to perform the surgery, because it was unclear if the operation saved lives, and if so, what quality of life the person would have afterward, said Dr. Peter Hutchinson, a professor of neurosurgery at the University of Cambridge in England and the lead author of the study.

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Here's Why Drinkers Should Hit the Gym

If alcohol is a part of your weekly routine, you should make sure to find time to hit the gym: A new study from the United Kingdom suggests that regular exercise can help balance out the harmful effects of alcohol. People in the study who drank alcohol — but also exercised on a regular basis — were less likely to die from any cause during the study period, compared with those who drank but didn't exercise. And exercise had a particularly strong effect on drinkers' risk of dying from cancer.

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Crying Zika: Virus Material Found in Tears

When an animal is infected with Zika, the virus can spread to the eyes, and genetic material from the virus can find its way into the tears, according to a new study in mice. The finding raises the possibility that people might contract Zika through contact with the tears of an infected person, the researchers said. In the new study, the researchers did not find live Zika virus in the tears of mice.

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Full Moon Baby Boom? Cow Births Increase During Certain Moon Phases

Does a full moon really induce labor? Scientists have examined this popular old wives' tale, but have found conflicting evidence about whether the moon affects the timing of human births. A new study, however, has shown there may be some truth to this bit of folklore — for dairy cows, at least.

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Forget Loch Ness — Storr Lochs Monster Ruled Ancient Scotland

Move over, Nessie! There's a new ancient sea monster in town: the Storr Lochs Monster, a fierce, dolphin-like predator that lived 170 million years ago, during the age of dinosaurs. Found on a beach in 1966 near the SSE Storr Lochs Power Station by the facility's manager, Norrie Gillies, the fossil is the most complete skeleton of a Jurassic-era, sea-living reptile that has ever been found in Scotland. "Ichthyosaurs like the Storr Lochs Monster ruled the waves, while dinosaurs thundered across the land," Steve Brusatte, a paleontologist at the University of Edinburgh, said in a statement.


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'Magic' Picture Frame Slows Time — Or So it Seems

Maybe we all have, but unless you have Hermione Granger's Time Turner, the ability to control the clock's hands is probably not in your toolbox. However, an invention called the "Slow Dance" frame opens a window into what it might look like to see things move in slow motion in the real world. Jeff Lieberman, the creator of "Slow Dance," is no stranger to slow motion.


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Some like it hot: scientists drill off Japan for sizzling life

By Alister Doyle OSLO (Reuters) - Scientists will start drilling off Japan this month to seek the hottest place where life can survive in a hellish uncharted realm deep below the seabed. The drilling under the Nankai Trough in the Pacific Ocean will be part of a project by 900 experts to map carbon underground, hoping for clues to everything from the origin of life on Earth to the formation of oil and gas. Previously, microbes have been found living at a torrid 121 degrees Celsius (249.8°F) around a volcanic vent on the seabed in the Pacific Ocean off the United States.

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Some like it hot: scientists drill off Japan for sizzling life

By Alister Doyle OSLO (Reuters) - Scientists will start drilling off Japan this month to seek the hottest place where life can survive in a hellish uncharted realm deep below the seabed. The drilling under the Nankai Trough in the Pacific Ocean will be part of a project by 900 experts to map carbon underground, hoping for clues to everything from the origin of life on Earth to the formation of oil and gas. Previously, microbes have been found living at a torrid 121 degrees Celsius (249.8°F) around a volcanic vent on the seabed in the Pacific Ocean off the United States.

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