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Showing posts from December 13, 2016

Lab coats vs. climate change: Scientists rally for research

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Scientists in lab coats hoisting signs saying "Ice has no agenda, it just melts" have rallied in San Francisco to defend climate-change research ahead of a skeptical Trump administration.


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Personal-genome cancer-risk profile may not inspire lifestyle changes

By Lisa Rapaport People who use personal genome profiles to learn their genetic risk for certain cancers don't seem to do much with the results, a recent study suggests. Although most cancer-gene testing is done within the healthcare system, a small but growing number of people are getting broader cancer-risk profiles on their own through direct-to-consumer companies like 23andMe and Pathway Genomics. ...

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What Doomed Franklin's Polar Expedition? Thumbnail Holds Clue

For 170 years, scientists, historians and amateur sleuths alike have been trying to figure out what led to the demise of the Franklin Expedition, one of the deadliest disasters in polar exploration, which left all 129 crew members dead in the Canadian Arctic. Researchers were able to reconstruct some information about the health and diet of one of Sir John Franklin's men in the weeks before his death, based on chemicals stored in his fingernail. On behalf of the British Royal Navy, Franklin set out in 1845 with two ships, the HMS Erebus and the HMS Terror, in search of a northwest passage that would connect the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.


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Age-Old Problem: River in Jordan Polluted by Copper 7,000 Years Ago

The first river polluted by humanity may have been discovered in Jordan, contaminated by copper about 7,000 years ago, a new study finds. Scientists examined a now-dry riverbed in the Wadi Faynan region of southern Jordan. Archaeologist Russell Adams at the University of Waterloo in Canada and his colleagues have been studying the area for more than 25 years to learn more about a critical turning point in history — the origins of metallurgy, when humans began moving from making tools out of stones to making tools out of metal.


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Santa's Reindeer Feel the Heat as Numbers Shrink Worldwide

Reindeer populations in northern Russia are falling, according to a new study. The new findings dovetail with other research showing that reindeer populations are falling in other parts of the Arctic as well. Polar bear populations could decline by about one-third over the next 30 or 40 years based on sea ice estimates, another study found.


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World's Oldest Wild Breeding Bird Is Expecting Her 41st Chick

Rather, most lay an egg one year and then take a break the next, instead investing their time and energy into molting their feathers, said researchers at the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge and Battle of Midway National Memorial, located about 1,400 miles (2,250 kilometers) northwest of Hawaii.


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Rudolph Is Shrinking: Climate Change Is Starving Santa's Reindeer

Rather, climate change is making it difficult for them — and their gestating fetuses — to survive extreme winters, new research shows. The findings are the culmination of a 16-year study on the reindeer living in Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago located between Norway and the Arctic. In 1994, the adult reindeer in Svalbard weighed an average of 120 lbs. (55 kilograms), but in 2010, they weighed less than 108 lbs. (49 kg), on average — a 10- to 12-percent drop in weight, said lead study researcher Steve Albon, an emeritus population ecologist at the James Hutton Institute in Scotland.


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1 in 6 Americans Takes a Psychiatric Drug

One in six U.S. adults reported taking a psychiatric drug, such as an antidepressant or a sedative, in 2013, a new study found. The new data comes from an analysis of the 2013 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), which gathered information on the cost and use of health care in the United States. An earlier government report, from 2011, found that just over one in 10 adults reported taking prescription drugs for "problems with emotions, nerves or mental health," the authors wrote in a research letter published today (Dec. 12) in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.


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Benefits of 'Kangaroo Mother Care': Do They Last?

Vulnerable babies who are held close by their parents, skin to skin, may reap the benefits of this so-called "kangaroo mother care" for at least two decades, according to a new study from Colombia. Researchers found that premature and low-birth-weight babies who had been held by their moms or dads, with skin-to-skin contact, during their first weeks of life were less likely to be hyperactive and aggressive as young adults, compared with those premature and low-birth-weight babies who did not receive this type of care. "This study indicates that Kangaroo Mother Care has significant, long-lasting social and behavioral protective effects 20 years after the intervention," lead study author Dr. Nathalie Charpak, a pediatrician at the Kangaroo Foundation in Bogotá, said in a statement.


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Smallpox Found in Lithuanian Mummy Could Rewrite Virus' History

The mummy of a child discovered in a crypt beneath a Lithuanian church harbors the oldest sample found to date of the virus that causes smallpox, a new report said. But the researchers' analysis of the virus, called the variola virus, suggests that smallpox first appeared in humans much more recently than thought, the researchers said. Scientists had thought that smallpox was an ancient disease that plagued humanity for millennia.


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