Science2.0

MRI For A Quantum Simulation

Science2.0 - August 19, 2014 - 2:48am
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is the medical application of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and a powerful diagnostic tool.

It works by resonantly exciting hydrogen atoms and measuring the relaxation time -- different materials return to equilibrium at different rates; this is how contrast develops (i.e. between soft and hard tissue). By comparing the measurements to a known spectrum of relaxation times, medical professionals can determine whether the imaged tissue is muscle, bone, or even a cancerous growth.
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From 4 To 14: Drawings Indicate Later Child Intelligence

Science2.0 - August 19, 2014 - 1:00am

In Psychological Science, results from 7,752 pairs of identical and non-identical twins (a total of 15,504 children) from the Medical Research Council (MRC) funded Twins Early Development Study (TEDS) showed that how 4-year old children draw pictures of a child was an indicator of intelligence at age 14 - and the link between drawing and later intelligence was influenced by genes.


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Two Vaccines Cut Spread Of Meningitis Up To 40 Percent

Science2.0 - August 19, 2014 - 12:30am

Two new vaccines can prevent the transmission of meningitis from person to person by reducing 'carriage' of the responsible bacteria in the nose and throats of the population.

Meningitis can be a devastating condition. The most common causes of meningitis are viral infections that usually get better without treatment but bacterial meningitis infections are extremely serious and may result in death or brain damage, even if treated.


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There Is No Magic Bullet For Climate Change

Science2.0 - August 18, 2014 - 11:30pm

Climate change has happened throughout history, there are abandoned cities in places we would consider inhospitable, but they weren't at the times. As the climate changed, it has altered habitats not just for birds and bees and everything in between, but humans as well.

1990 is not some special time in world history, despite some claims that fixing one greenhouse gas would prevent climate change. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Aarhus University in Denmark say that by looking at estimates of climate and land-use change speeds they can determine the potential combined impacts of both climate and land-use change on plants, animals and ecosystems across the country. 


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Why Pregnant Women Don't Get The Flu Vaccine

Science2.0 - August 18, 2014 - 11:00pm

Both mother and baby are at increased risk for complications of flu infection during pregnancy and prenatal care providers say they advise women to get the flu vaccine, but many pregnant women don't do it.

Robert Arao, MPH, a biostatistician at Group Health Research Institute, did a statewide survey to assess what doctors think and do about flu vaccines for pregnant women. 


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Zombie Ant Fungi Manipulate Where Victims Die

Science2.0 - August 18, 2014 - 11:00pm
A parasitic fungus - Ophiocordyceps camponoti-rufipedis, known as the "zombie ant fungus" - must kill its ant hosts outside their nest to reproduce and transmit their infection,so they manipulate its victims to die in the vicinity of the colony, ensuring a constant supply of potential new hosts, according to a new paper.

 Previous research shows that zombie ant fungi control the behavior of carpenter ant workers -- Camponotus rufipes -- to die with precision attached to leaves in the understory of tropical forests, noted study lead author Raquel Loreto, doctoral candidate in entomology, Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences. 
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Pygmy Phenotype Adapted To Rainforest, But They're Not All The Same

Science2.0 - August 18, 2014 - 10:00pm

The small body size associated with the African pygmy phenotype is probably a selective adaptation for rainforest hunter-gatherers, according to a new study, but since all African pygmy phenotypes do not have the same genetic underpinning it is likely a more recent adaptation than previously thought, according to a new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science.

 A phenotype is the outward expression of genetic makeup and while two individuals with the same phenotype may look alike, their genes may differ substantially. The pygmy phenotype exists in many parts of Africa, Southeast Asia, the Philippines and perhaps South America and is usually associated with rainforest hunter-gathers rather than people who farm.


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Older Adults Weathering Recession With Less Financial Strain

Science2.0 - August 18, 2014 - 9:53pm

The "Great Recession" and over 90 million Americans unemployed has impacted everything except the stock market and hole sales of wealthy elites, but 40 percent of elders reported a decrease in "financial strain" between 2006 and 2010.  


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Beyond X And Y Chromosomes: A New Genetic Basis For Sex Determination

Science2.0 - August 18, 2014 - 9:21pm

Men and women differ in plenty of ways,and scientists have long known that genetic differences buried deep within our DNA underlie these distinctions but past research has primarily focused on understanding how the genes that encode proteins act as sex determinants. In a new Genetics paper, scientists show that a subset of very small genes encoding short RNA molecules -
miRNAs
- also play a key role in differentiating male and female tissues in the fruit fly. 

A miRNA is a short segment of RNA that fine-tunes the activation of one or several protein-coding genes. miRNAs are able to silence the genes they target and, in doing so, orchestrate complex genetic programs that are the basis of development.


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Addictive Online Games Make Citizen Science A Hit

Science2.0 - August 18, 2014 - 4:11pm
By Ladan Cockshut, Durham University

A few days ago, I was an astrophysicist and contributed to a research project by organizing sunspot images in order of complexity. After I’d had enough of that, I became a biochemist and worked late into the night on a project creating synthetic RNA.

Actually, I am not a scientist. Before yesterday I hadn’t really studied sunspots and I am still not entirely sure what RNA does. And yet, I was welcomed by the research team. It turns out they didn’t care about my lack of scientific knowledge. What they needed were my visual and gaming skills.

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Electric Vehicle Consumers Are Better Off With Small Driving Ranges

Science2.0 - August 18, 2014 - 3:28pm

The downside to electric cars is both cost and driving range. Cost simply takes time and adoption; as has been shown in every technology from agriculture to computers, it only gets affordable for the masses after enough rich people have uptake. Driving range is a show-stopper for many, though. The stories in Silicon Valley of 'charge rage', where employees at companies are firing off angry emails at each other over available plugs rather than working, have made fewer companies want to install charging stations at all. But without them, many people can't get home.


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White Heterosexual Women 2X As Likely To Get Fertility Treatments

Science2.0 - August 18, 2014 - 2:00pm

Heterosexual white women in America were twice as likely as racial or sexual minority women to obtain medical help to get pregnant, according to an analysis of surveys from 2002 and 2006.

Will political involvement in health care coverage make the difference now? In some cases. Health insurance coverage was listed as a key factor for lesbian women but not minority women. Surveys taken today would likely have a dramatically different result, with everyone who wants an option covered insisting they can't do it unless it's in their health insurance plan.


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Meet BPA-Free, The New BPA

Science2.0 - August 18, 2014 - 12:30pm

There’s an emerging trend, of late, in the seemingly endless saga of the chemical bisphenol A (BPA), which is most commonly used to make polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins.  Although the BPA saga has not yet become completely passé, much of the attention that had been given to BPA is now focused on alt

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Was The 'Clash Of Civilizations' Wrong?

Science2.0 - August 18, 2014 - 11:31am

By Mark Beeson, Murdoch University

Like him or loathe him, the late Samuel Huntington was one of the towering figures in political science and international relations. Even those who disagreed with his ideas were forced to engage with them. He helped shape a number of key debates about areas as diverse as civil-military relations, political order, institutional development and the spread of democracy.

But if there is one ‘big idea’ for which he is likely to be remembered more than any other it is the now infamous claim that the future was going to be defined by a looming ‘clash of civilizations’.

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Tight Constraints On Dark Matter From CMS

Science2.0 - August 18, 2014 - 10:41am
Although now widely accepted as the most natural explanation of the observed features of the universe around us, dark matter remains a highly mysterious entity to this day. There are literally dozens of possible candidates to explain its nature, wide-ranging in size from subnuclear particles all the way to primordial black holes and beyond. To particle physicists, it is of course natural to assume that dark matter IS a particle, which we have not detected yet. We have a hammer, and that looks like a nail.
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How Kid Brains Memorize Facts

Science2.0 - August 17, 2014 - 11:00pm

As children learn arithmetic, they gradually switch from solving problems by counting on their fingers to pulling facts from memory. That comes more easily for some kids than for others and no one knows why but new brain images and a longitudinal provide some clues to how the brain reorganizes itself as children learn math facts.


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In Vitro Diagnostic Market Is $54 Billion

Science2.0 - August 17, 2014 - 3:07pm
The world market for diagnostics was about $54.6 billion in 2013 and is expected to grow 4% annually, to $65 billion, by 2018.

That figure in Kalorama's biennial survey of the IVD industry, The Worldwide Market for In Vitro Diagnostic Tests, 9th Edition, includes all laboratory and hospital-based products, and OTC product sales. New technology is leading the charge, according to Kalorama. Diagnostic laboratory technology has changed dramatically due to the publication of the human genome project and advances in functional genomics, bioinformatics, miniaturization and microelectronics.   -->

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Is Eradicating Polio Realistic?

Science2.0 - August 17, 2014 - 2:02pm
In a world that is constantly changing, are attempts to eradicate disease realistic?

Over 40 years ago, researchers were happy to have a War on Cancer. President Richard Nixon made it a national priority and it came with a lot of funding, so no one corrected what became an obvious point decades and billions of dollars later; you can't cure cancer.

Efforts at eradicating diseases may be doomed because of a mismatch between the ways humans structure the world and the ways pathogens move through the world, according to a paper in The Lancet Infectious Diseases. Polio is the poster child for diseases science has successfully conquered but the deadline for its eradication came and went in 2013 and is now 2018. What is going to change by then?
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Winds Blowing May Not Prevent Ocean 'Dead Zones' Growing

Science2.0 - August 17, 2014 - 1:00pm
By Raquel Vaquer-Sunyer, Lund University

The world’s oceans are plagued with the problem of “dead zones”, areas of high nutrients (such as nitrogen and phosphorus) in which plankton blooms cause a major reduction of oxygen levels in the water. Sea creatures need oxygen to breathe just as we do, and if oxygen levels fall low enough marine animals can suffocate. This commonly happens around coastlines where fertilisers are washed from fields into rivers and the sea, but also mid-ocean, where currents trap waters in gyres (large systems of rotating ocean currents).

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Two Whacks To Technology’s Dark Side

Science2.0 - August 17, 2014 - 12:06pm
It’s banal to mention that technology is a two-edged sword. That it solves practical problems and creates new ones. That it makes our lives more comfortable and more complex, and stresses and at the same time sustains our social relationships. Today we’ll go beyond these commonplaces to explore two lesser-known aspects of tech’s dark side: Inequality and unhappiness. Will the dark side prevail? Maybe, but we’ll see glimmers of hope for the team of truth and goodness.

The growing gap

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