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Journalists Must Get Better At Science

Science2.0 - June 17, 2015 - 3:00pm

Media are important. Especially the media we trust. One might express the effect of a piece of journalism (J) about, say, a particular drug or food, as a factor of media authority (A), multiplied by the size of audience (D), divided by the availability of credible alternative sources (S).

The more of the latter which are accessible to the audience, and thus the greater the challenge to the “truthiness” of (J), the lesser the impact on individual and collective behavior. Where people trust the news source, and the issue is complex, and alternative analyses are not easily sourced, the effect is greater.

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Exposure To Secondhand Smoke Among Kids In England Dropped 80 Percent Since 1998

Science2.0 - June 17, 2015 - 2:00pm

A new study in Addiction finds that in England, children's exposure to second-hand smoke has declined by approximately 80% since 1998. 

Also, an emerging social norm in England has led to the adoption of smoke-free homes not only when parents are non-smokers but also when they smoke. The proportion of children living in a home reported to be smoke-free increased from 63% in 1998 to 87.3% in 2012.


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Is New Drug Discovery As Expensive As Claimed?

Science2.0 - June 17, 2015 - 1:30pm
Ever wonder how much it costs to develop a new drug? The independent, non-profit research group, The Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development, estimates US$2.6 billion, almost double the centre’s previous estimate a decade ago. But how accurate is this figure? -->

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SafeTraces: Biological Barcoding Could Contain Health Contamination Crises, So Why Is It Controversial?

Science2.0 - June 17, 2015 - 1:30pm

Blue Bell Creameries has been battling a Listeria monocytogenes outbreak for the past five years. The potentially killer bacteria was found in ice cream served at a Kansas hospital and sold by retailers. Reports most recently are blaming plants in Alabama, Oklahoma and Texas.

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To Sustain Innovation, Randomized Controlled Trials Must Be Simplified

Science2.0 - June 17, 2015 - 1:00pm

Randomized controlled trials must be simplified to sustain innovation in cardiovascular diseases, which are still the biggest killer in Europe, according to the Cardiovascular Round Table (CRT), an independent forum established by the European Society of Cardiology and comprised of cardiologists and representatives of the pharmaceutical, device and equipment industries. 

The paper outlines barriers to investing in cardiovascular research and the authors recommend new ways to conduct clinical research to make investment more attractive and bring drugs to market sooner.


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Being Calm Is Contagious

Science2.0 - June 17, 2015 - 12:36pm

Woodlice are able to calm their excited neighbors according to findings made by Pierre Broly and Jean-Louis Deneubourg of the Free Brussels University (Belgium).

Woodlice, familiar to the amateur gardeners, are easily observable living in groups sheltered under stones or barks. Research published in PLOS Computational Biology shows how a 'contagion' between the different behavioral states of woodlice may govern the stability of their groups.


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"Super Positive" Outcomes For Search For Life In Hidden Extra Terrestrial Oceans Of Europa And Enceladus

Science2.0 - June 17, 2015 - 5:03am

The ancient oceans of Jupiter's Europa and Saturn's tiny Enceladus are hidden beneath an ice sheet kilometers thick. They may have ET microbes, even multicellular swimming creatures around hydrothermal vents. Or they could have imperfectly reproducing "protocells"; a window into the first stages of evolution. 

These conditions, which make them so habitable, and interesting for astrobiology, may also make them especially vulnerable to invasive species. Cassini orbiter found geysers at the south pole of Enceladus, continually venting sea water from its ocean into space, as ice particles. This may give us a wonderful opportunity to look at ET life in our solar system without interference from Earth life.

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Underpinnings Of Drought Tolerance In Plants Revealed

Science2.0 - June 16, 2015 - 11:52pm

Regions all over the globe are suffering from severe drought, which threatens crop production worldwide. This is especially worrisome given the need to increase, not just maintain, crop yields to feed the increasing global population.

Over the course of evolution, plants have developed mechanisms to adapt to periods of inadequate water, and as any gardener can tell you, some species are better able to handle drought than others. Accordingly, scientists have invested much effort to understand how plants respond to drought stress and what can be done to increase the drought tolerance of economically important plants.


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Mysteries In The Mushrooms: First Records Of Fungi-feeding Gnat Larvae From South America

Science2.0 - June 16, 2015 - 9:42pm

A team of researchers from Brazil and Canada has found a South American example of interactions between a group of flies and the mushrooms they feed on as larvae. Though this group of flies has more than 1,100 species known from South and Central America, this is the first report of a species from the family being reared from, and associated with, a host fungus from the South America.

Even with the large amount of recent research on South American biodiversity, there are still large areas of study that remain unexplored. The natural history and diversity of the mushroom eating fauna (i.e., fungivores) in the region falls into this category.


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Hormone That Differentiates Sugar, Artificial Sweeteners Exists In Flies - And Could Exist In Humans

Science2.0 - June 16, 2015 - 5:00pm

In the developed world, companies want to make food as delicious as possible and consumers want to buy what tastes good. To compensate for nutritionist concerns about sugar, artificial sweeteners began to be used.

But then there was speculation that since artificial sweeteners don't contain the calories or energy that evolution has trained the brain to expect from sweet-tasting foods, they don't fool the brain into satisfying hunger.


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Active Video Gaming Is Much Activity As Unstructured Outdoor Play

Science2.0 - June 16, 2015 - 4:30pm

The increasing use of video games is often blamed for children's lack of interest in physical activity and for obesity, but a study in the Games for Health Journal suggests that active video games may actually be a source of moderate or intense physical activity in children five to eight years old. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that children participate in at least 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity each day. 


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Discovered: Way To Disrupt Brain Tumor Stem Cells

Science2.0 - June 16, 2015 - 3:30pm

Some brain tumors are notoriously difficult to treat. Whether surgically removed, zapped by radiation or infiltrated by chemotherapy drugs, they find a way to return.

The ability of many brain tumors to regenerate can be traced to cancer stem cells that evade treatment and spur the growth of new tumor cells.

But some brain tumor stem cells may have an Achilles' heel, scientists have found. The cancer stem cells' remarkable abilities have to be maintained, and researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have identified a key player in that maintenance process. When the process is disrupted, they found, so is the spread of cancer.


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Substitute Lean Pork For Chicken Or Fish To Reduce Blood Pressure

Science2.0 - June 16, 2015 - 3:00pm

Adults who are following the DASH-style eating pattern to lower their blood pressure can expand their protein options to include lean, unprocessed pork, according to research from Purdue University.

'This study supports that the DASH diet can include lean, unprocessed red meats in the appropriate serving sizes,' said Wayne Campbell, a professor of nutrition science.

The study compared lean, unprocessed pork with chicken and fish as the predominant protein source in a DASH-style diet.

This study applies only to cuts of unprocessed lean pork, such as tenderloin and fresh, uncured ham trimmed of visible fat. Each serving size was three ounces. These findings should not be extrapolated to other pork products with higher fat and salt content, Campbell said.


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Fish Declines Linked To Effects Of Excess Nutrients On Coastal Estuaries

Science2.0 - June 16, 2015 - 2:30pm

A comprehensive study of a major California estuary has documented the links between nutrient runoff from coastal land use, the health of the estuary as a nursery for young fish, and the abundance of fish in an offshore commercial fishery. The study focused on Elkhorn Slough and Monterey Bay on California's central coast. 


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Floods As Weapons Of War

Science2.0 - June 16, 2015 - 2:00pm

A new study shows that, from 1500 until 2000, about a third of floods in southwestern Netherlands were deliberately caused by humans during wartimes. Some of these inundations resulted in significant changes to the landscape, being as damaging as floods caused by heavy rainfall or storm surges. 


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Total Marrow Irradiation Provides Greater Precision, Fewer Side Effects

Science2.0 - June 16, 2015 - 1:30pm

This month marks the 10-year anniversary of the first successful total marrow irradiation (TMI) using the TomoTherapy System, first performed at City of Hope in Duarte, California. Since then, numerous centers around the world have adopted the approach, once considered to be impossible because of limitations inherent to conventional radiation therapy systems.

TMI is an advanced form of total body irradiation, which has traditionally been an important part of bone marrow transplants (BMT). People with certain types of cancers or other diseases including leukemias, lymphomas and multiple myeloma may undergo a BMT as part of their treatment. Before the transplant, chemotherapy and/or radiation may be given to neutralize any cancer in the marrow.


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Nutrition: Credentialed Providers Have Greater Knowledge

Science2.0 - June 16, 2015 - 1:00pm

Nutritionists take a lot of criticism - conferences that revolve around Yogic flying instructors and actresses who think their breast milk has "otherworldly power" will do that to your field, but there is at least one way to know if someone knows what they are talking about - multidisciplinary health care professionals who hold the Certified Nutrition Support Credential (CNSC) scored significantly higher on a survey about their approaches to nutrition support practice than those who do not hold the credential according to new study. Multidisciplinary may be more important than the CSNC, if it means actual knowledge of biology and medicine.


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Homophobic Europe May Be Paving Way For Rise In HIV Cases

Science2.0 - June 16, 2015 - 10:32am

Europe's most homophobic countries may be paving the way for a rise in HIV cases among gay and bisexual men, according to new research published in the journal AIDS.

An international team of researchers from Europe and the US looked at HIV-related service use, need and behaviours among 175,000 gay or bisexual men living in 38 European countries with differing levels of national homophobia.

They found that men in homophobic countries had fewer sexual partners and were less likely to be diagnosed with HIV. However, they also found those men knew less about HIV, were less likely to use condoms and are at greater potential risk of getting HIV when they do have sex.


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Arctic Ocean Rapidly Becoming More Corrosive To Marine Species

Science2.0 - June 16, 2015 - 1:30am

New research shows that surface waters of the Chukchi and Beaufort seas could reach levels of acidity that threaten the ability of animals to build and maintain their shells by 2030, with the Bering Sea reaching this level of acidity by 2044. 

"Our research shows that within 15 years, the chemistry of these waters may no longer be saturated with enough calcium carbonate for a number of animals from tiny sea snails to Alaska King crabs to construct and maintain their shells at certain times of the year," said Jeremy Mathis, an oceanographer at NOAA's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory and lead author. "This change due to ocean acidification would not only affect shell-building animals but could ripple through the marine ecosystem."


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Kit Enzyme May Mean Lean - Regardless Of Calories

Science2.0 - June 15, 2015 - 6:04pm

Metabolism experts are increasingly convinced that obesity and many of the pathogenic changes it entails, such as Metabolic Syndrome and type 2 diabetes, are a result of chronic inflammatory processes in fatty (adipose) tissue. The adipose tissue of obese people exhibits higher-than-normal quantities of almost all types of immune and inflammatory cells.


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