Science2.0

Is Sex Addiction Real?

Science2.0 - July 11, 2014 - 10:33pm

Pornography triggers brain activity in people with compulsive sexual behavior – sex addiction – similar to that triggered by drugs in the brains of drug addicts, according to new paper. 


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Researchers Catch Photosynthesis Oxygen Formation In Action

Science2.0 - July 11, 2014 - 5:48pm

One of your earliest science memories in school is learning that, during photosynthesis, plants take in carbon dioxide sunshine and produce oxygen. Later we all learned that in lakes and oceans a similar process happens due to cyanobacteria. 

What has remained unknown is exactly how that happens.

Oxygen formation in photosynthesis occurs in a reaction sequence that is completed within one thousandth of a second, so it's not surprising that it has been so difficult to prove experimentally how precisely a catalyst consisting of four manganese ions and one calcium ion (Mn4Ca cluster) performs this reaction sequence in photosystem II.


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Text Messages From The ER Can Reduce Binge Drinking

Science2.0 - July 11, 2014 - 3:12pm

Imagine getting this text message when you are at the pub tonight: "Looking forward to seeing you at 2 AM - General Hospital".

Creepy, but it may work. 

Young adults who screened positive for a history of hazardous or binge drinking reduced their binge drinking by more than 50 percent after receiving mobile phone text messages following a visit to the emergency department, according to a new paper. 


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Self Quote Of The Week: Why You Can't Weigh Quarks Directly

Science2.0 - July 11, 2014 - 1:39pm
In the process of revising a chapter of my book, I found a clip I would like to share here, as it contains an analogy I cooked up and which I find nice enough to be proud of. Well, two analogies, as you'll soon find out; here I am speaking of the cat weighing trouble at the end of the piece - the other is quite trivial.
The topic is the widely different masses of fermions, the building blocks of our universe, and the trouble in making sense of it and of measuring precisely their values. Comments welcome!

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Medicare Breast Cancer Costs Skyrocketed A Decade Ago, But No More Were Helped

Science2.0 - July 11, 2014 - 9:30am
While almost everyone agrees that the American health system was not perfect - high quality, but some could not afford it - the solution may not have been more government spending, since government was not spending money all that wisely well before 2009. 

Take one data point:  Medicare breast cancer screening. You are not for breast cancer, right? No one is. Yet while breast cancer screening costs for Medicare patients skyrocketed between 2001 and 2009, there was no earlier detection of breast cancer.
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Ferryl Heme: A Biological Mystery Solved

Science2.0 - July 11, 2014 - 5:30am

By identifying the molecular structure of a vital biological chemical, researchers may have solved a long-standing debate. 

The controversy is about a form of enzyme called a heme (or haem, as in haemoglobin) at the center of which is an iron atom (Fe) called a 'ferryl' which becomes oxidized when a reacting heme is in an intermediate state called Compound I.

The question is whether this oxidation involves just an oxygen atom (O), or a hydroxyl group (OH). The difference being one hydrogen ion, or in other words, a proton.


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53 To 15 Percent: The Drop-Off In Women From Medical School To Academic Medicine

Science2.0 - July 11, 2014 - 4:14am

There is a subset of academia that contends it lacks diversity. They have a point. While at the undergraduate levels there are lots of handicapped people, minorities, women and even Republicans, by the time grad school is finished there are fewer of all of those and at the tenure levels, not much diversity at all.

Even in medicine, where lots of women in the private sector juggle prosperous careers and families. In its academic counterpart, there aren't many women at all, and that may be costing academia valuable research talent.


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Study Points To Potential New Target For Antibiotics Against E. Coli, Other Bugs

Science2.0 - July 11, 2014 - 3:58am

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Scientists have identified a protein that is essential to the survival of E. coli bacteria, and consider the protein a potential new target for antibiotics.

In the study, the researchers confirmed that this protein, called MurJ, flips a fatty molecule from one side of a bacterial cell membrane to the other. If that molecule isn't flipped, the cell cannot construct a critical layer that keeps pressurized contents of the cell contained. If those contents aren't contained, the cell bursts.


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Epigenetics: Inherited 'Memory' Of Environment Is Overhyped

Science2.0 - July 11, 2014 - 3:01am

In recent years, biology has been thrown around like a football. Activists in numerous areas invoke it - those against food science say scientists are tinkerers with no expertise while those against pesticides claim that the biology clearly shows what your grandparents ate made you obese.


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1960s Redux: Injected Polio Vaccine Could Help Eradicate The Disease

Science2.0 - July 11, 2014 - 1:01am

Re-introducing a type of polio vaccine, the injected polio vaccine (IPV), that fell out of favor in the 1960s could hasten eradication of the disease, according to new research.

The injected polio vaccine is rarely used today, it lost in competition against the oral polio vaccine (OPV), but it could provide better and longer lasting protection against infection if used in combination with the more commonly used live OPV, write researchers from Imperial College London and the Christian Medical College in Vellore, India, today in The Lancet.


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7 Dwarf Galaxies Found By Frankenscope

Science2.0 - July 10, 2014 - 11:17pm

A new type of telescope made by stitching together telephoto lenses recently discovered seven celestial surprises while probing a nearby spiral galaxy - previously undetected dwarf galaxies.
 
Pieter van Dokkum, chair of Yale's astronomy department, designed the robotic telescope with University of Toronto astronomer Roberto Abraham. Their Dragonfly Telephoto Array uses eight telephoto lenses with special coatings that suppress internally scattered light. This makes the telescope uniquely adept at detecting the very diffuse, low surface brightness of the newly discovered galaxies.


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Cost Of Expensive Medication In Dialysis Catheters May Be Offset By Reduced Complications

Science2.0 - July 10, 2014 - 10:55pm

Washington, DC (July 10, 2014) — Using an expensive agent to prevent blood clots in kidney failure patients' dialysis catheters may turn out to be less costly overall due to its ability to reduce medical complications, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN).


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Active Shooter Training Increases Comfort Level Of Emergency Responders

Science2.0 - July 10, 2014 - 10:32pm

(Boston) – Emergency Medical Service (EMS) responders felt better prepared to respond to an active shooter incident after receiving focused tactical training according to a new study in the journal Prehospital and Disaster Medicine. This is the first study to specifically examine the EMS provider comfort level with respect to entering a scene where a shooter has not yet been neutralized or working with law enforcement personnel during that response.


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After A Concussion, Which Teens Will Have Emotional Symptoms?

Science2.0 - July 10, 2014 - 10:15pm

CHICAGO – After a concussion, teens who are sensitive to light or noise may be more likely to also have emotional symptoms such as anxiety, according to a study released today that will be presented at The Sports Concussion Conference in Chicago, July 11 to 13, 2014, 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.

The symptoms after a concussion can vary widely from person to person. Symptoms can include physical, emotional and cognitive difficulties.


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High Stress, Hostility, Depression Linked With Increased Stroke Risk

Science2.0 - July 10, 2014 - 9:34pm

Higher levels of stress, hostility and depressive symptoms are associated with significantly increased risk of stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) in middle-age and older adults, according to new research in the American Heart Association journal Stroke.

A TIA is a stroke caused by a temporary blockage of blood flow to the brain.

Researchers investigated how psychological factors might influence risk for chronic disease, using data from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA), an ongoing study on cardiovascular disease risk factors in participants living in six U.S. cities.


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Disappointment: 'Mississippi Baby' Cured Of HIV Has Recurrence

Science2.0 - July 10, 2014 - 9:01pm

The child known as the "Mississippi baby", an infant cured of HIV in a case study published in The New England Journal of Medicine last fall, now has detectable levels of HIV after more than two years without taking antiretroviral therapy and without evidence of virus, according to the pediatric HIV specialist and researchers involved in the case.  


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Can Twitter Address Specific Health Issues?

Science2.0 - July 10, 2014 - 9:01pm

Doctors cringe at the idea that patients may come in with specific information they got from the Internet; an athlete may do something good and the Wikipedia entry will say they are the greatest American since Abe Lincoln, while the entry for Science 2.0 says it was invented by a Wired writer in 2012.

But Wikipedia is absolutely enlightened compared to the misinformation that goes around on Twitter and Facebook. Every day some new graphic or claim about health and politics is invented and shared without any fact-checking of any kind. 

But people like that. They last thing they want is information gate-keepers from the government. The good outweighs the bad. 


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English Channel: 90 Year Analysis Finds 'Fishing Down The Food Web'

Science2.0 - July 10, 2014 - 8:38pm

Marine biologists at Plymouth University and the activist group WorldFish conducted analyses of catches over the past 90 years and found significant evidence of the practice of 'fishing down the food web' - removal of many top predators from the sea that has left fishermen 'scraping the barrel' for increasing amounts of shellfish.

Sharks, rays, cod, haddock and many other species at the head of the food chain are at historic lows with many removed from the area completely, they say.

The report used catch statistics from the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas to establish a 'mean trophic level' for catches – an average for how far up the food chain the fish are located.


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How To Help Kids With Cognitive Disabilities: Have Them Teach A Robot To Play Angry Birds

Science2.0 - July 10, 2014 - 8:26pm

One possible future in the therapy of children with cognitive and motor-skill disabilities could involve the popular Finnish game "Angry Birds" - and a robot.

Georgia Institute of Technology recently paired a small humanoid robot with an Android tablet and then asked kids to teach the robot how to play the game, dragging their finger on the tablet to whiz the bird across the screen.

The robot watches what happens and records "snapshots" in its memory. It notices where fingers start and stop, and how the objects on the screen move according to each other, while constantly keeping an eye on the score to check for signs of success. 


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Sorry, But Drinking Alcohol Provides No Heart Benefit

Science2.0 - July 10, 2014 - 7:53pm

People love to latch onto studies that match their confirmation bias, so studies claiming health benefits for red wine, chocolate and organic food get a lot of attention and not much skepticism about controls. Any epidemiology claim will do when it comes to finding benefit or harm.

A new review calls into question previous studies which suggest that consuming light-to-moderate amounts of alcohol (0.6-0.8 fluid ounces/day) may have a protective effect on cardiovascular health. Instead, they find that reducing the amount of alcoholic beverages consumed, even for light-to-moderate drinkers, is more likely to improve cardiovascular health, body mass index (BMI) and blood pressure. 


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