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Showing posts from February 10, 2017

Snapshot of Hawaii: Why NASA Is Studying Islands' Volcanoes & Reefs

Whether it's the noxious gases rising from the Kilauea volcano, or the lively coral reefs that sprawl across the seafloor around the island chain, Hawaii's ecosystems are under some serious scientific scrutiny this month. Researchers are here gathering data using NASA's high-altitude airplanes, outfitted with cameras that capture visible light as well as infrared radiation. One airplane, the ER-2, can soar to 67,000 feet, or "the edge of space," as NASA systems engineer Michael Mercury put it.


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Daily Low-Dose Aspirin May Boost Chances of Successful Pregnancy

The analysis, which looked at women who'd had a prior pregnancy loss and taken part in an earlier study, found that women who benefited from the aspirin regimen had high blood levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammation in the body. Among these women, those who took a daily aspirin were 31 percent more likely to become pregnant, and 35 percent more likely to carry a pregnancy to term, than those who took a placebo. However, it's too soon to officially recommend daily aspirin to prevent pregnancy loss, the researchers said.


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Can the HPV Vaccine Protect Against Skin Cancer?

The HPV vaccine, which protects against several strains of the human papillomavirus, shows potential for preventing new spots of skin cancer from popping up in people who have had skin cancer in the past, a new report of two patients’ cases suggests. Previous research has suggested that there's a link between HPV and certain types of skin cancer. However, the study was very small, and more research in larger groups of patients is needed before scientists can determine if the HPV vaccine really does reduce skin cancer risk.


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Eww! Live Cockroach Pulled from Woman's Nose in Rare Case

The 42-year-old woman, who lives in Chennai, India, said she woke up after feeling that something had crawled up her nose, reported the New Indian Express. "I could not explain the feeling, but I was sure it was some insect. Whenever it moved, it gave me a burning sensation in my eyes," the woman told the New Indian Express.


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Your Brain on Music: Why Certain Songs Bring Pleasure

When people in the study took a drug to block the chemical compounds in the brain that activate the so-called pleasure center, they no longer responded to music, according to the study, published today (Feb. 8) in the journal Scientific Reports. "This is the first demonstration that the brain's own opioids are directly involved in musical pleasure," senior study author Daniel Levitin, a professor of psychology at McGill University in Canada, said in a statement. To determine whether opioids also played a role in how people experience pleasure from music, the researchers gave participants a drug called naltrexone that blocks the effects of opioids in the brain (the second phase of pleasure).


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Dark Science: Total Solar Eclipse Gives Researchers Brief Window

During the Aug. 21, 2017 total solar eclipse, 11 teams of NASA-sponsored researchers will soak up as much science as they can — in less than 3 minutes. A total solar eclipse is a rare and unique event. When the disc of the moon completely covers the sun, it reveals previously hidden features of the star and casts Earth into a strange, otherworldly twilight in affected areas.


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'The Space Between Us': The Science Behind the Science Fiction

"The Space Between Us" may be a science-fiction film, but the science behind the story is a lot more factual than it may seem. The movie tells the story of the first child to be born on Mars, after an astronaut realizes she's pregnant en route to the Red Planet. When the Mars-born boy becomes a teenager, he makes his first journey to Earth.


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