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Showing posts from October 31, 2016

From gene editing to death traps, Seattle scientists innovate in race to end malaria

By Kieran Guilbert SEATTLE (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - When Kayode Ojo first fell sick with malaria as a young boy in Nigeria, his grandfather shunned modern medicine, venturing into the bush to search for herbs and plants to treat the disease. Having succumbed to malaria a further 50 or more times in his life, the United States-based scientist, now in his forties, is determined that his research - to develop a drug to stop transmission from humans back to mosquitoes - will help to eradicate the deadly disease. "When people in Nigeria, the world's hardest-hit country, get malaria, many simply shrug their shoulders and see it as normal ... that needs to change," Ojo told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in a lab at the University of Washington in Seattle.

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From gene editing to death traps, Seattle scientists innovate in race to end malaria

By Kieran Guilbert SEATTLE (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - When Kayode Ojo first fell sick with malaria as a young boy in Nigeria, his grandfather shunned modern medicine, venturing into the bush to search for herbs and plants to treat the disease. Having succumbed to malaria a further 50 or more times in his life, the United States-based scientist, now in his forties, is determined that his research - to develop a drug to stop transmission from humans back to mosquitoes - will help to eradicate the deadly disease. "When people in Nigeria, the world's hardest-hit country, get malaria, many simply shrug their shoulders and see it as normal ... that needs to change," Ojo told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in a lab at the University of Washington in Seattle.


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Telescope group chooses Canary Islands as alternative to Hawaii

The team behind a project to build one of the world's largest telescopes said on Monday it has chosen Spain's Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean as a possible alternative to Hawaii. The decision follows opposition from Native Hawaiians and environmentalists to plans for constructing the so-called Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT), which would cost $1.4 billion, at the Mauna Kea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island. Henry Yang, chair of the TMT International Observatory Board, said in a statement the board explored a number of alternative sites for the telescope.

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Deadly Measles Complication More Common Than Doctors Thought

A deadly complication of the measles, which can occur years after a person is infected with the virus, is more common than researchers previously thought, according to a new study. The complication, called subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE), is a progressive neurological disorder that involves inflammation in the brain. People with SSPE die, on average, within one or two years of being diagnosed with the disease.


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Man's Death from 'Heartland Virus' Shows Wide-Ranging Effects on the Body

The death of a 68-year-old Tennessee man in 2015 sheds light on a rare tick-borne pathogen known as the Heartland virus, according to a new report of the man's case. The Heartland virus was first found in patients in Missouri in 2009. The 68-year-old man first came to the hospital because he had pain and a rash on his leg where he thought he had been bitten by a tick, said Dr. Mary-Margaret Fill, an epidemic intelligence service officer at the Tennessee Department of Health and the lead author of the study.


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Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Can Hitch a Ride on Hospital Scrubs

Dangerous bacteria, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), can spread from sick patients in a hospital to the scrubs of health care workers, a new study finds. These pathogens can also find their way from the patient to items in their hospital room, such as the bed rail, according to the study, presented here at IDWeek 2016, a meeting of several organizations focused on infectious diseases. "We know there are bad germs in hospitals, but we're just beginning to understand how they spread," Dr. Deverick Anderson, an associate professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina and the lead author of the study, said in a statement.


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Male Birth Control Shots Lower Pregnancy Odds, But Have Side Effects

An experimental type of male birth control that uses shots of hormones to lower men's sperm counts works relatively well to prevent pregnancy, according to a new study. However, the study had to be stopped early because of the high rate of side effects seen in men who got the shots. The findings mean that more research is needed before this method of contraception could become available to men, said study co-author Dr. Mario Philip Reyes Festin, a medical officer on the human reproduction team at the World Health Organization in Geneva.


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Ancient Bird Coughed Up 'Fishy' Pellet 120 Million Years Ago

About 120 million years ago, a bird dunked its beak into the water, caught a fish and, after digesting the meal, coughed up a pellet full of fish bones. The bird died moments later, but now its fossils are the oldest evidence of a bird pellet on record, a new study reported. The pellet — the first that is unambiguously from a bird that lived during the Mesozoic, the age of the dinosaurs — indicates that the ancient bird had a two-chambered stomach, much like birds do today, the researchers said.


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Snowy 'Veins' of Siberia Captured in Haunting Image from Space

The European Space Agency's (ESA) Copernicus Sentinel-2A satellite captured the detailed topography of the snowy Putorana Plateau in central Siberia on March 2. The image highlights the region's stark and branching appearance, created by the area's flat-topped mountains and intricate lake and river systems. Flat-topped mountains are formed by plume volcanism.


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Why Kids Feel the Loss of a Pet So Deeply

The new results show that kids "often see themselves as the center of their pet's affections," study author Joshua Russell, an assistant professor of environmental studies at Canisius College in Buffalo, New York, said in a statement. In the study, Russell asked 12 children between ages 6 and 13 in Toronto how they felt about the deaths of animals, including the deaths of their own pets. Although some of the children said they were devastated by the deaths of their furry friends for long periods of time, others said they were able to make peace with the deaths.


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2,500-Year-Old Burial Hints at Ancient Cannabis Use

About 2,500 years ago, mourners buried a man in an elaborate grave, and covered his chest with a shroud made of 13 Cannabis plants, according to a new study. The grave is one of a select few ancient Central Eurasian burials that archaeologists have found to contain Cannabis. This particular grave, located in northwestern China, sheds new light on how prehistoric people in the region used the plant in rituals, the researchers said.


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Getting in Character: The Psychology Behind Cosplay

But for people who cosplay — dress in costumes to role-play characters from movies, TV shows, books, comics and video games — the challenge of transformation is one they happily accept at various times year-round. Cosplayers can invest considerable time, money and effort into crafting or commissioning head-to-toe presentations that are one-of-a-kind. Cosplayers and psychologists who study the phenomenon reveal the individual and community features that make dressing up so enticing and rewarding.


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Halloween Fright: The Unusual Sex Lives of Dark Fishing Spiders

Similar in size, shape and coloration to large wolf spider species, the lesser-known dark fishing spider would no doubt give anybody with arachnophobia a decent scare. Dark fishing spiders (Dolomedes tenebrosus), as you'd expect from their name, are nocturnal and live near water. "They're around, but you have to go look for them at night, with a headlight," said Steven Schwartz, a behavioral ecologist and fishing-spider researcher at Gonzaga University in Washington.


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Ancient Hebrew Papyrus Seized from Looters, But Is It Authentic?

A rare, 2,700-year-old papyrus with Hebrew script that had been looted from a cave in the Judean Desert has been seized in an elaborate operation by the Israel Antiquities Authority, archaeologists announced today (Oct. 26). The papyrus' Hebrew text translates as: "from the king's maidservant, from Na'arat, jars of wine, to Jerusalem," the capital city of the Kingdom of Judah, according to a statement from the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA).


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Scary Science: How Your Body Responds to Fear

For many people, fall is the spooky season. Daylight wanes as nights become longer, a chill touches the air, and trees lose their leaves and take on a skeletal silhouette.


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