Science2.0

Why Some People Have Trouble Telling Left From Right

Science2.0 - March 25, 2015 - 12:30pm

Do you ever have trouble telling right from left? For example, you’re taking a driving lesson and the instructor asks you to take a left turn and you pause, struggling to think of which way is left.

If so, you’re not on your own – a significant proportion of our population has difficulty in telling right from left.

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Intellectually Gifted Kids And Learning Disabilities Often Go Hand In Hand

Science2.0 - March 25, 2015 - 8:00am

Mention the terms “intellectual giftedness” and “learning disability” and there is a general understanding of what each term means. However, most people are unaware that in many circumstances the two can go hand in hand.

Current US research suggests that 14% of children who are identified as being intellectually gifted may also have a learning disability. This is compared to about 4% of children in the general population. No-one has been able to explain this discrepancy.

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Updating Fermi's Paradox – The Super Fermi Paradox

Science2.0 - March 25, 2015 - 6:41am


The Fermi Paradox roughly states that: The universe is both big enough and old enough to have birthed advanced civilizations.

Statistically, we are likely not the first. Far older super ETs should have left super artifacts around for us to find, by intention or not.

The observational evidence, however, strongly suggests otherwise. 

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OsteoProbe Tells Good Bone From Bad

Science2.0 - March 25, 2015 - 5:44am

For people taking glucocorticoids such as prednisone, the increased risk of bone fracture is a well-documented side effect. Used to treat a variety of medical conditions, including autoimmune diseases and allergies, glucocorticoids are known to cause rapid deterioration in bone strength.

Until now, doctors have been able to measure bone loss -- a process that happens slowly, over time -- but haven't had the means for gauging actual bone strength. That has changed thanks to a new hand-held instrument developed in the Hansma Lab at UC Santa Barbara. Called the OsteoProbe, the device uses reference point indentation (RPI) to measure mechanical properties of bone at the tissue level.


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Greater-than-additive Management Effects Key In Reducing Corn Yield Gaps

Science2.0 - March 25, 2015 - 5:17am

While many recent studies have documented that agricultural producers must significantly increase yields in order to meet the food, feed, and fuel demands of a growing population, few have given practical solutions on how to do this. Crop science researchers at the University of Illinois interested in determining and reducing corn yield gaps are addressing this important issue by taking a systematic approach to the problem.


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Self-expanding Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement Widens Advantage Over Surgery At 2 Years

Science2.0 - March 25, 2015 - 5:17am

Two-year data show a continued survival advantage for self-expanding transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) over standard surgery in high-risk patients with severe aortic stenosis, according to research presented at the American College of Cardiology's 64th Annual Scientific Session.

Aortic stenosis--a problem that occurs when the valve in the heart's main artery doesn't open fully--forces the heart to work harder to pump blood and is life-threatening over time. Valve replacement is common when this condition becomes severe, but the health profile of many patients makes standard surgical valve replacement especially risky.


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Air Pollutants Could Boost Potency Of Common Airborne Allergens

Science2.0 - March 25, 2015 - 4:15am

A pair of air pollutants linked to climate change could also be a major contributor to the unparalleled rise in the number of people sneezing, sniffling and wheezing during allergy season. The gases, nitrogen dioxide and ground-level ozone, appear to provoke chemical changes in certain airborne allergens that could increase their potency. That, in combination with changes in global climate, could help explain why airborne allergies are becoming more common.

The findings will be presented today at the 249th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world's largest scientific society. The meeting features nearly 11,000 reports on new advances in science and other topics. It is being held here through Thursday.


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Electric Vehicles Have This Little Known Intangible Benefit

Science2.0 - March 25, 2015 - 4:15am

A new study adds fuel to the already hot debate about whether electric vehicles are more environmentally friendly than conventional vehicles by uncovering two hidden benefits.

They show that the cool factor is real - in that electric vehicles emit significantly less heat. That difference could mitigate the urban heat island effect, the phenomenon that helps turn big cities like Beijing into pressure cookers in warm months.

Moreover, the cooling resulting from replacing all gas-powered vehicles with electric vehicles could mean city dwellers needing less air conditioning, another environmental win.


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Recipe For How To Grow A Human Lung

Science2.0 - March 25, 2015 - 3:13am

Scientists have grown the first 3-D mini lungs from stem cells, which means research is one step closer to being able to create one of the Big 5 organs from a patient's stem cells rather than having waiting lists for donors.

The University of Michigan scientists succeeded in growing structures resembling both the large proximal airways and the small distal airways.

Their recipe: 

Embryonic stem cells

Proteins involved in lung development

Growth factors

Inhibitors of intestine development

Growing media

Petri dish

Protein mixture

Method for "morphogenesis in a dish"


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Disease Mongering: "Low T" And Marketing Testosterone For Aging

Science2.0 - March 25, 2015 - 12:16am
The marketing, prescribing and selling of testosterone and growth hormone as panaceas for age-related problems is disease mongering, write the authors of a paper in Journal of the American Geriatrics Society .

Disease mongering is inventing new broader definitions of disease in conjunction with widespread marketing to increase sales of specific drugs and therapies.
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Was The Recent NY Times Fiasco A Failure For Journalism Or Science?

Science2.0 - March 24, 2015 - 10:28pm

A columnist at the New York Times has written that he believes that technologies like Apple’s upcoming watch could be as as dangerous as cigarettes and cause cancer.

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What Happens When An Antarctic Iceberg The Size Of A Country Breaks Away?

Science2.0 - March 24, 2015 - 9:56pm

You never forget the first time you see an iceberg. The horizon of a ship at sea is a two dimensional space and to see a three dimensional piece of ice appear in the ocean is quite something.

But, in truth, the first iceberg you see is likely to be small.

Most icebergs that make it far enough north from Antarctica to where they are danger to shipping are sometimes many years old and at the end of their lives. They are small fragments of what once left the continent.

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Holistically Tuned - The Brain Sees Words As Pictures, Not A Series Of Letters

Science2.0 - March 24, 2015 - 9:40pm
When we look at a known word, our brain sees it more like a picture than a series of letters needing to be processed, according to a new paper in the Journal of Neuroscience.

Neurons respond differently to real words, such as turf, than to nonsense words, such as turt, showing that a small area of the brain is "holistically tuned" to recognize complete words, says the study's senior author, Maximilian Riesenhuber, PhD, who leads the Georgetown University Medical Center Laboratory for Computational Cognitive Neuroscience. 

The brain learns words quickly by tuning neurons to respond to a complete word, not parts of it.   -->

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Varied Immunity In Children Vaccinated With Serogroup B Meningococcus

Science2.0 - March 24, 2015 - 9:13pm

Young children who received the 4CMenB vaccine as infants to protect against serogroup B meningococcal disease had waning immunity by age 5, even after receiving a booster at age 3 ½, according to new research in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal)

Serogroup B meningococcal disease is the leading cause of meningitis and blood infections in developed countries. Infants and young children under the age of 5 years are especially at risk, and there is a second peak of cases in the late teenage years.


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Is Myopia The New Rickets? Are Schools To Blame?

Science2.0 - March 24, 2015 - 8:14pm
Is Myopia the new Rickets? A new study compares the history of school myopia with the bone disease rickets. During the 17th century, rickets was common among children in England and then reached epidemic levels through northern Europe and North America. In some cities, 80 percent of children were affected.

The remedy proved elusive until the 1920s, when scientists discovered that a lack of sunlight, resulting in vitamin D deficiency, was the cause of rickets. 
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One Tommy John Surgery Is Good For Baseball Careers, But A Second...

Science2.0 - March 24, 2015 - 7:39pm

Ulnar collateral ligament (UCLR) reconstruction surgery, called "Tommy John Surgery" after the New York Yankees pitcher who made it famous in 1974, is now a common procedure for Major League Baseball pitchers after they get a damaged or torn ulnar collateral ligament.

It has been a boon for athletes. It had once been a career-ending injury but John pitched for 14 more years and racked up 164 more victories. But it has limits, according to a new study, namely in athletes who have it twice.

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When Does Quantum Mechanics Become Classical Physics?

Science2.0 - March 24, 2015 - 6:58pm
When most people think of quantum mechanics they think of Schroedinger's cat, a thought experiment describing a cat inside a closed box, that may be either dead or alive. Only when the classical physics world enters the box do we know. But what is the tipping-point between that cat's life and death, when does quantum behavior give way to classical physics?

Where, on the small scale, is Schroedinger's cat small enough size to be perceived as being both alive and dead at the same time?

A new study in Physical Review Letters has an answer, thanks to a fiber-based nonlinear process that allowed physicists to observe how, and under what conditions, classical physical behavior emerges from the quantum world.
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The Obstacles Women Face Reaching The Top In Science

Science2.0 - March 24, 2015 - 4:00pm

Women are playing an increasing role in science today but there are still barriers that can prevent them from achieving success comparable to their male colleagues.

This feeds the argument that there is a gender pay gap in earnings in science, although that doesn’t tell the full story of the challenges facing women scientists.

The Institute of Public Affairs senior researcher Mikayla Novak took the opportunity on International Women’s Day to exhort us to “avoid sensationalist, but misleading average pay gap statistics”, and instead focus on individual choices.

She argued that:

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New Wastewater Purification Process Boosts Removal Of Medical Contaminants

Science2.0 - March 24, 2015 - 3:40pm
Our bodies do not absorb all of the medicines we might take, some are excreted and though the impact individually is minor, over time and in a large population, there are concerns that such medical waste will lead to issues like antibiotic resistance.
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Bionic Hand Has Muscles Made From Smart Metal Wires

Science2.0 - March 24, 2015 - 3:24pm
In cultural perception, an artificial hand looks something like a Steampunk reworking of a hand, with gears and pistons and rods. In the future, an artificial hand would look just like a hand, except with muscles made from smart metal wires.

Engineers at Saarland University have equipped an artificial hand with muscles made from  nickel-titanium shape-memory wire, enabling the fabrication of flexible and lightweight robot hands for industrial applications and novel prosthetic devices. The muscle fibers are composed of bundles of the ultra-fine nickel-titanium alloy wires, each about the width of a human hair, and they are able to tense and flex and the material has sensory properties allowing the artificial hand to perform extremely precise movements. 
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