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Drink Up, Baby Boomer: Alcohol Associated With Better Memory

October 22, 2014 - 11:39pm

A new study found that people ages 60 and older who do not have dementia benefit from light alcohol consumption; it has been associated with higher episodic memory, the ability to recall memories of events. 

Moderate alcohol consumption was also linked with a larger volume in the hippocampus, a brain region critical for episodic memory. The relationship between light alcohol consumption and episodic memory goes away if hippocampal volume is factored in, providing new evidence that hippocampal functioning is the critical factor in these improvements.  


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Will Holding Thermal Printer Paper Really Send Your BPA Levels Soaring?

October 22, 2014 - 11:30pm

Structure of Bisphenol A. Credit: Ian Musgrave

By Ian Musgrave

Bisphenol A is in the news again. A paper just published in the Public Library of Science with the alarming title of “Holding Thermal Receipt Paper and Eating Food after Using Hand Sanitizer Results in High Serum Bioactive and Urine Total Levels of Bisphenol A (BPA)” is bound to ratchet up anxiety levels about this chemical yet again.

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Why Do We Find It So Hard To Write About Ourselves?

October 22, 2014 - 11:30pm

Credit: The Conversation

By Jordan Gaines Lewis, Penn State College of Medicine

If you’ve ever applied for a job, you know how hard it is to write the perfect cover letter that will make you stand out above all the other applicants. It’s a competitive job market, and more often than not, career seekers find themselves face-to-face with blank computer screens in an attempt to pen that one short masterpiece.

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The Comets Of Beta Pictoris

October 22, 2014 - 11:00pm

Beta Pictoris is a young star, only about 20 million years old, located about 63 light-years from us. It is surrounded by a huge disc of material, a very active young planetary system where gas and dust are produced by the evaporation of comets and the collisions of asteroids.


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Cancer Mutations, Now With Faster Modeling

October 22, 2014 - 10:31pm

By sequencing the genomes of tumor cells, thousands of genetic mutations have been linked with cancer.

Sifting through this deluge of information to figure out which of these mutations actually drive cancer growth has proven to be a tedious, time-consuming process but MIT researchers have now developed a new way to model the effects of these genetic mutations in mice. Their approach, based on the genome-editing technique clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) is much faster than existing strategies, which require genetically engineering mice that carry the cancerous mutations.


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How Lymph Nodes Expand During Disease

October 22, 2014 - 10:31pm

A new paper finds that the same specialized immune cells that patrol the body and spot infections also trigger the expansion of the immune organs known as lymph nodes.

The immune system defends the body from infections but can also spot and destroy cancer cells and lymph nodes are at the heart of this response, but it was unclear how they expand during disease. 

Researchers  at Cancer Research UK's London Research Institute found that when a type of immune cell known as dendritic cells recognizes a threat, they make a molecule called CLEC-2 that tells the cells lining the lymph nodes to stretch out and expand to allow for an influx of disease fighting cells. 


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Hand Sanitizers Increase BPA Levels From Cash Register Receipts

October 22, 2014 - 9:25pm

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical that is used in a variety of consumer products, such as water bottles, dental composites and resins used to line metal food and beverage containers. 

It is also used in thermal paper cash register receipts and a new paper finds that is cause for concern. BPA has not been found to be harmful by the Centers for Disease Control, they say levels from all sources is 1/1000th safe levels for the US, the EU and Canada, but it is controversial due to publicity by environmental groups and the guilt-by-association taint of endocrine disruption.  The FDA agrees.


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Tropical Depression 9: Bay Of Campeche In The Gulf Of Mexico

October 22, 2014 - 8:57pm

NOAA's GOES-East Satellite captured the birth of Tropical Depression Nine formed over the western Bay of Campeche, Gulf of Mexico and is forecast to make a quick landfall on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.

The clouds associated with the depression stretched over the Yucatan Peninsula and into the western Caribbean Sea were captured on Oct. 22nd at 1600 UTC (12 p.m. EDT).


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This Is Not The Immigration Crisis You're Looking For

October 22, 2014 - 7:04pm

When is an immigration crisis not an immigration crisis? When people who do not live where it is happening change the definition of an immigration crisis.

A new paper from Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy examines historical immigration data, the "push" and "pull" factors currently motivating Mexicans and Central Americans to migrate to the U.S. and then attempts to explain why current undocumented immigration streaming across the Mexican border is not a crisis. 


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Olive, Corn, Soybean Or Sunflower Oil - The Science Answer As To What Is Best For Frying

October 22, 2014 - 5:29pm

Frying in oil is one of the world's most popular ways to prepare food — chicken and French-fried potatoes are staples but even candy bars and whole turkeys have joined the list of deep-friend goodness. 

Lots of oil make health claims but there is a whole range of physical, chemical and nutritional properties that can degrade oil quality when heated so a paper in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry  tested four different refined oils — olive, corn, soybean and sunflower — and reused the oil 10 times to determine which is truly the best.


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Researchers Created A Laser Bullet To See What It Would Look Like - And Here It Is

October 22, 2014 - 4:51pm

Laser-powered weapons have been a staple of science-fiction movies for so long we think we know what they would look like, but we really don't.

Researchers at the Laser Centre of the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences and the Faculty of Physics, University of Warsaw decided to find out, and make a real film of it. They fired an ultrashort laser pulse through the air and captured it on video and when they slowed it down they found that it looks lot like a regular bullet, and a lot like a "Star Wars" light saber - combined. 


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FOXP2: Silencing Speech Gene Causes Cancer Cells To Metastasize

October 22, 2014 - 4:42pm

Metastasis of breast cancer occurs when cells move from the primary tumor to other parts of the body.


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Epidemiologists Link Air Pollution To Autism

October 22, 2014 - 3:12pm

Children with autism spectrum disorder, a range of conditions characterized by social deficits and communication difficulties, were more likely to have been exposed to higher levels of certain air toxics during their mothers' pregnancies and the first two years of life compared to children without the condition, according to preliminary findings presented today at the American Association for Aerosol Research annual meeting in Orlando.

Other epidemiologists have linked everything from living near farms to organic food to autism, and such studies don't actually measure anything, they just find a map of autism and then correlate it to an environmental factor, in this instance pollution and autism instances in southwestern Pennsylvania.


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Obesity, Cancer, Mental Health: What Links Them All?

October 22, 2014 - 12:30pm

By Alessandro R Demaio, Harvard University

There’s been a lot of discussion about obesity this week. Whether or not it’s a disease (as it is in the USA now) and how this label would positively or negatively influence action taken by society and governments in addressing this large and growing burden.

This conversation is important, but I have noticed very often it ends with confusion. Questions around why we begin talking about obesity - and end discussing mental health, cancer, heart disease or diabetes. To make things even more confusing, the term ‘Non-Communicable Diseases’ might even be mentioned.

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As The Weather Changes, So Do Beliefs About Climate Change

October 22, 2014 - 12:00pm

By: Karin Heineman, Inside Science

(Inside Science TV) – Who can forget the winter of 2013-2014? Record-breaking cold temperatures and heavy snowfall hit from the Rocky Mountains all the way to the East Coast.

Although the majority of Americans still believe that global warming is happening, the especially blustery winter caused some people to question whether global warming is really happening.

“Almost invariably we find that after any winter a drop off in belief in the existence of global warming," said Barry Rabe, a political scientist at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

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Competition, Not Mandates And Subsidies, Keep Health-Care Costs Low - Study

October 22, 2014 - 11:30am

America has a health care problem. It is excellent, the best in the world, but it is expensive. Rather than solving the problems of defensive medicine costs, designed to prevent lawsuits by conducting unnecessary tests, or tort reform to prevent lawyers from convincing people they are 'suing an insurance company' so the cost won't matter, America has instead created mandates so everyone is forced to buy insurance, and then subsidized people who can't afford it.


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ECFA Workshop: Planning For The High Luminosity LHC

October 22, 2014 - 11:04am
I am spending a few days in Aix Les Bains, a pleasant lakeside resort in the French southwest, to follow the works of the second ECFA workshop, titled "High-Luminosity LHC". ECFA stands for "European Committee for Future Accelerators" but this particular workshop is indeed centred on the future of the LHC, despite the fact that there are at present at least half a dozen international efforts toward the design of more powerful hadron colliders, more precise linear electron-positron colliders, or still other solutions.
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Dams Are Not The Smart Way To Secure Water For Agriculture

October 22, 2014 - 11:00am

The Ord River dam, completed in 1971, formed Australia's largest artificial lake in the far north west. Graeme Churchard/Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA

By Willem Vervoort, University of Sydney

Some 27 irrigation and dam projects are highlighted in the green paper for agricultural competitiveness released this week by agriculture minister Barnaby Joyce.

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Why Climate 'Uncertainty' Is No Excuse For Doing Nothing

October 22, 2014 - 3:49am

Science can't tell us exactly when the rising oceans will swallow up the Maldives, but it can give us a good idea. Credit: Hiroyuki-H, CC BY-SA

By Richard Pancost, University of Bristol and Stephan Lewandowsky, University of Bristol

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Violent Immersion: How 3-D Gaming Affects Player Emotions

October 22, 2014 - 1:42am

Playing violent video games in 3-D makes everything seem more real –  and in a new study researchers found that people who played violent video games in 3-D showed more evidence of anger afterward than people who played games on 2-D systems. 

That may have troubling consequences for young players, according to an upcoming paper in Psychology of Popular Media Culture.


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