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Showing posts from November 15, 2016

Space Scientists Rally Support for 2020 Asteroid-Deflection Mission

If a large asteroid were headed for a direct hit with Earth, humanity probably couldn't count on Bruce Willis and a nuclear bomb to save the world from certain doom, "Armageddon"-style. That's the possibility the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA want to investigate with their Asteroid Impact and Deflection Assessment (AIDA) mission, proposed to launch in 2020. Though scientists believe that big, Earth-threatening asteroids are relatively rare, the 2013 Chelyabinsk meteor strike offered a stark reminder that there could be potentially dangerous objects in Earth's solar system that have yet to be discovered and studied.


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Move Over, Sweet Tooth: Introducing the Salt Tooth

People in the study who had a certain variation of a gene called TAS2R48 were more likely to eat too much sodium than those who did not have this variant, according to the study, presented today (Nov. 13) at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions meeting in New Orleans. "By identifying which gene variant a person has, we may be able to help them make better food choices through education that is personally tailored to them," Jennifer Smith, a Ph.D. student in nursing at the University of Kentucky College of Nursing and the lead author of the study, said in a statement. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that people limit the sodium in their diet to 2,300 milligrams (mg) per day.


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Arthritis Drug Helps People Regrow Hair, More Cases Show

Two patients, who each lost all of their hair 10 years ago due to a medical condition, recently regrew some of their hair after taking an arthritis drug, according to a new report of the cases. The patients, one man and one woman, suffered from alopecia universalis, a condition in which people lose all of the hair on their entire body because their immune system attacks hair follicles. However, after the patients took the arthritis drug, called tofacitinib, every day for two months, some hair regrew on their scalp, eyebrows and under the arms, according to the report.


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How Eating Right in Middle Age Can Set You Up For Long Life

Several food groups appeared to be linked to a lower risk of dying in the study participants about 20 years down the line, said Dr. Nilay Shah, an internal medicine resident at the Stanford Cardiovascular Institute and the lead author of the study. Shah presented his findings here today (Nov. 13) at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions annual meeting. These food groups were predominantly fruits, nuts, whole grains and vegetables, Shah added.


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To Keep the Weight Off, Keep Tracking Your Diet

Keeping track of the foods you eat is an important strategy for weight loss, but continuing to monitor what you eat is also important to prevent regaining that weight. Now, a new study finds that stopping food tracking is linked to regaining weight. In order to prevent re-gaining weight, people should make an effort four months after starting a diet to refocus on food tracking, according to the study, presented here Sunday (Nov. 13) at the American Heart Association's annual meeting called the Scientific Sessions.


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Australian Continent Moves as Seasons Change

The continent of Australia tilts and shifts a visible amount as the seasons change, new research suggests. "That motion causes quite a detectable, sizable deformation in Australia," said the study's lead author, Shin-Chan Han, a professor of engineering at the University of Newcastle in Australia. The new findings could help researchers calculate exactly where the Earth's center of mass lies, which could provide a sanity check for ultra-precise GPS and satellite measurements.


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New Zealand Quake's Strange Side Effect: What Are Earthquake Lights?

The magnitude-7.8 earthquake that rattled New Zealand early Monday morning local time (Sunday morning EST), killing at least two people and stranding many others in the region, also had a strange side effect: eerie blue and green flashes of light in the sky during the shaking. The strange light shows — which may appear as sizzling flames emanating from the ground, flashes of lightning, ghostly globes or blue and green shimmers — usually occur at rifts where huge chunks of Earth are pulling away from each other, according to a 2014 study published in the journal Seismological Research Letters. Also in 2014, researchers showed that shifting grains surrounding a fault may generate an electrical charge, though exactly why this happens is poorly understood.


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Built by the Huns? Ancient Stone Monuments Discovered Along Caspian

A massive, 1,500-year-old stone complex that may have been built by nomad tribes has been discovered near the eastern shore of the Caspian Sea in Kazakhstan. The complex contains numerous stone structures sprawled over about 300 acres (120 hectares) of land, or more than 200 American football fields, archaeologists reported recently in the journal Ancient Civilizations from Scythia to Siberia. The smallest stone structures are only 13 feet by 13 feet (4 by 4 meters), and the biggest are 112 feet by 79 feet (34 by 24 m).


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More than 40 Shipwrecks Discovered in Black Sea

A geological exploration of the Black Sea has turned up a surprising bonus: more than 40 beautifully preserved shipwrecks, some dating back to the Ottoman and Byzantine empires. Researchers were surveying the Bulgarian portion of the Black Sea, an inland sea, to better understand its geologic history. During the survey, they stumbled across the ships, which the investigators imaged with "astonishing" detail, said project leader and marine archaeologist Jon Adams of the University of Southampton in England.


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