Parasitic flatworms flout global biodiversity patterns

Parasitic flatworms flout global biodiversity patterns

The odds of being attacked and castrated by a variety of parasitic flatworms increases for marine horn snails the farther they are found from the tropics. A Smithsonian-led research team discovered this exception to an otherwise globally observed pattern--usually biodiversity is greatest in the tropics and decreases toward the poles.

The study makes a case for using host-parasite relationships as a tool to understand why there are typically more species--and more interactions between species--in the tropics than anywhere else in the world.

Spines of boys and girls differ at birth

Looking at measurements of the vertebrae - the series of small bones that make up the spinal column - in newborn children, investigators at Children's Hospital Los Angeles found that differences between the sexes are present at birth. Results of the study, now online in advance of publication in the August issue of the Journal of Pediatrics, suggest that this difference is evolutionary, allowing the female spine to adapt to the fetal load during pregnancy.

Researchers find new method to halt the advance of liver cancer

A new study by researchers at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP), the National Cancer Institute, and the Chulabhorn Research Institute has found that blocking the activity of a key immune receptor, the lymphotoxin-beta receptor (LTβR), reduces the progression of liver cancer. The results, published today in the online edition of Gut, could provide new treatment strategies for the disease, which is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide.

Concussion may impact men and women differently

New research suggests concussion may not significantly impair symptoms or cognitive skills for one gender over another, however, women may still experience greater symptoms and poorer cognitive performance at preseason testing. The study released today will be presented at the Sports Concussion Conference in Denver, July 24 to 26, hosted by the American Academy of Neurology, the world's leading authority on diagnosing and managing sports concussion. The conference will feature the latest scientific advances in diagnosing and treating sports concussion from leading experts in the field.

Global population growth compared to energy use

If you've lived between the year 1560 and the present day, more power to you. Literally.

That's one of several conclusions reached by University of Nebraska-Lincoln ecologist John DeLong, who has co-authored the first study to quantify the relationship between human population growth and energy use on an international scale.

The study compiled several centuries' worth of data from Great Britain, the United States and Sweden to profile the dynamics between a skyrocketing population and its consumption of energy from fossil fuels and renewable sources.

RaxX and rice disease-resistance discovery

When disease-resistant rice is invaded by disease-causing bacteria, a small protein produced by the bacteria betrays the invader. Upon recognizing that protein, the rice plants sense that a microbial attack is underway and are able to mount an immune response to fend off bacterial infection, reports a research team led by the University of California, Davis.

US breast milk is glyphosate free

Washington State University scientists have found that glyphosate, the main ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, does not accumulate in mother's breast milk.

Michelle McGuire, an associate professor in the WSU School of Biological Sciences, is the lead researcher of the study, the first to have its results independently verified by an accredited, outside organization.

Diagnosis of psychiatric disorders not as important as outcomes

Nailing the diagnosis of a psychiatric disorder may not be important in prescribing effective treatment, according to Mark Zimmerman, M.D., a clinical researcher at Rhode Island Hospital. His opinion editorial was published online today in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

Kepler-452b is sure to be hyped as Earth's bigger cousin

An international team of astronomers from NASA's Kepler mission have announced the discovery of a near-Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a Sun-like star. Dr. Daniel Huber from the University of Sydney's School of Physics is part of the team which made the discovery with NASA's Kepler Space Telescope.

The planet, named Kepler-452b is 60 percent larger than Earth, and orbits a Sun-like star with an orbital period of 385 days.

Academics remake the world, prescribe how to make cancer drugs more affordable

A group of 118 academics have drafted a prescription for reducing the high cost of cancer drugs and voiced support for a patient-based grassroots movement demanding action on the issue. Their recommendations and support are outlined in a commentary, co-authored by the group, in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings.