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War On Fun: Banning Legal Highs A New Low For Freedom

August 3, 2015 - 8:00am
Most of us would choose to experience pleasure – however we may define it – as often as possible. The public health and criminal justice systems are set up by the government partly to shape how, when and where we find pleasure, so that we balance our enjoyment with working and paying taxes.
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We're Overdosing On Medicine: Time To Embrace Uncertainty Instead

August 2, 2015 - 10:35pm

The more we learn about the problem of too much medicine and what’s driving it, the harder it seems to imagine effective solutions. Winding back unnecessary tests and treatments will require a raft of reforms across medical research, education and regulation.

But to enable those reforms to take root, we may need to cultivate a fundamental shift in our thinking about the limits of medicine.

It’s time to free ourselves from the dangerous fantasy that medical technology can deliver us from the realities of uncertainty, aging and death.

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Clinical Validation For LOXO-101 Against TRK Fusion Cancer

August 2, 2015 - 6:30pm

Loxo Oncology, Inc. and The University of Colorado Cancer Center today announced the publication of a research brief describing the first patient with a tropomyosin receptor kinase (TRK) fusion cancer enrolled in the Phase 1 dose escalation trial of LOXO-101, the only selective TRK inhibitor in clinical development. Additional contributors to the paper include the Knight Cancer Institute at Oregon Health&Science University and Foundation Medicine, Inc. (Nasdaq:FMI).


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Resolving The Cancer/Diet Paradox

August 2, 2015 - 6:02pm

How much does diet affect the cancer patient? Do "antioxidants" really play an important role in health - or are they causing more cancers than they cure? And what exactly is the relationship between obesity and cancer?

The latest Special Issue in ecancermedicalscience collects four original articles from experts in cancer and metabolism, addressing the hottest areas of research in this rapidly developing field.

"In our clinical practice, cancer patients often ask 'Doctor, is there something specific I should eat or avoid eating?'" says Guest Editor of this Special Issue, Dr Luca Mazzarella of the European Institute of Oncology, Milan, Italy.


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Earth’s Magnetic Field May Be 4 Billion Years Old

August 2, 2015 - 6:02pm
Since 2010, the best estimate of the age of Earth’s magnetic field has been 3.45 billion years but new research says the magnetic field is far older. John Tarduno, a geophysicist at the University of Rochester and a leading expert on Earth’s magnetic field, and his team of researchers say they believe the Earth’s magnetic field is at least four billion years old.
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Non-Genetic Cancer Mechanism Found

August 2, 2015 - 4:44pm

Cancer can be caused solely by protein imbalances within cells, a study of ovarian cancer has found. The discovery is a major breakthrough because genetic aberrations have been seen as the main cause of almost all cancer. 


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Parasitic Flatworms Flout Global Biodiversity Patterns

August 2, 2015 - 1:30pm

The odds of being attacked and castrated by a variety of parasitic flatworms increases for marine horn snails the farther they are found from the tropics. A Smithsonian-led research team discovered this exception to an otherwise globally observed pattern--usually biodiversity is greatest in the tropics and decreases toward the poles.

The study makes a case for using host-parasite relationships as a tool to understand why there are typically more species--and more interactions between species--in the tropics than anywhere else in the world.


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What If We Can 'Pre-Diagnose' Autism In Babies?

August 2, 2015 - 1:00pm
For children with autism, early intervention is critical. Therapies and education – especially in the first two years of life – can facilitate a child’s social development, reduce familial stress and ultimately improve quality of life.

But while we can reliably diagnose autism spectrum disorder (ASD) at 24 months, most children are diagnosed much later.

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For Now We See Through A Brewing Class, Darkly

August 2, 2015 - 12:54am

Next time you are in your local grocery store, step in to look a little more closely at the beer cooler. Amid the brightly colored, creative packaging lies the final battle for the ultimate goal – your purchases.

But, what battles were fought to get the beer to that particular cooler? More importantly, what might those battles say about larger trends in business today?

At Miami University’s Farmer School of Business, we designed an experiential class to go in depth with these issues, leveraging the lessons of the beer industries as a way to better understand larger trends in business strategy and supply chains.

What can the beer industry teach us?


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Psychologists Link Premature Birth To Withdrawn Personality

August 2, 2015 - 12:54am

A new paper links adults born very premature with being socially withdrawn and displaying signs of autism. The work was led by Professor Dieter Wolke at the department of psychology and Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick. He and coauthors correlate adults born very preterm scored highly for displaying a socially withdrawn personality, indicated by autistic features, neuroticism, introversion and decreased risk taking.


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Multi-Meter Sea Level Rise This Century? That's Not A Consensus

August 2, 2015 - 12:54am

There’s a new study that’s getting a fair amount of attention in the climate science community and the popular press.


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How Viruses Fool The Immune System

August 1, 2015 - 4:00pm

The immune system protects us from the constant onslaught of viruses, bacteria and other types of pathogens we encounter throughout life. It also remembers past infections so it can fight them off more easily the next time we encounter them.

But the immune system can sometimes misbehave. It can start attacking its own proteins, rather than the infection, causing autoimmunity. Or, it can effectively respond to one variant of a virus, but then is unable to stop another variant of the virus. This is termed the original antigenic sin (OAS).

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Animal Sex Is Spicier Than We Thought

August 1, 2015 - 2:01pm

There’s an idea circulating that humans are the only animal to experience sexual pleasure; that we approach sex in a way that is distinct from others. As with many questions about sex, this exposes some interesting facts about the way we discuss the subject.

On one level, the question of whether humans and non-humans experience sex in the same way is fairly simply dismissed: how would we know? We cannot know how a nonhuman experiences anything – they can’t be asked. Sex as an experiential phenomenon for non-humans is, quite simply, inaccessible. Science is obliged to propose questions that are answerable, and “how does a leopard slug experience sex?” is, at time of writing, about as unanswerable as they get.

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Bang! Meet The Highest-Energy Hadron Collision Ever Imaged!

July 31, 2015 - 6:24pm
The 13 TeV data from LHC collisions taken this summer is quickly going through analysis programs and being used for new physics results, and everybody is wondering whether there are surprises in store... Of course that will require some more time to be ascertained.
For the time being, I can offer a couple of very inspiring pictures. CMS recorded a spectacular event featuring two extremely high-energy jets in the first 40 inverse picobarns of data that was collected and reconstructed by the experiment with all detector component properly working.
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It's Naive To Pretend Differences Between Women And Men Are Just Genetics

July 31, 2015 - 3:00pm
It's naïve to pretend there are no profound genetic and epigenetic differences between the sexes. Elephant Gun Studios, CC BY-NC

Gender differences and sexual preferences are frequently a point of conversation. What produces the differences between men and women? Are they trivial or profound? Are they genetic or environmental, or both?

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Concussion May Impact Men And Women Differently

July 31, 2015 - 1:00pm

New research suggests concussion may not significantly impair symptoms or cognitive skills for one gender over another, however, women may still experience greater symptoms and poorer cognitive performance at preseason testing. The study released today will be presented at the Sports Concussion Conference in Denver, July 24 to 26, 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.


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Building Blocks Of Life Found Among Organic Compounds On Comet 67P

July 31, 2015 - 12:00pm
Scientists analyzing the latest data from Comet 67P Churyumov-Gerasimenko have discovered molecules that can form sugars and amino acids, which are the building blocks of life as we know it. While this is a long, long way from finding life itself, the data shows that the organic compounds that eventually translated into organisms here on Earth existed in the early solar system.

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Bees: Activists Remain Silent While This Pollinator Killer Decimates Millions

July 31, 2015 - 11:31am

We know that Greenpeace and other activist groups really,really care about bees. Really.

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Suggestion: The EM Drive Is Getting The Appropriate Level Of Attention From The Science Community

July 31, 2015 - 9:11am

There have been many news stories saying that the EM Drive will solve almost all problems in interplanetary travel, permit low cost flying cars and who knows what else. Other stories say that it is flat out impossible and we shouldn't spend a single publicly funded research dollar on it. But I haven't seen a single article with the rather boring suggestion that perhaps in this case the research community has got it exactly right. That it's not a perpetual motion machine, doesn't deserve to be dismissed out of hand. But it's far too soon to justify huge research programs into it, even if it is a real effect. We just have to be patient and see how the experiment develops. So, here is a news story to say - that. In detail:

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Coffee Consumption Linked To Lower Risk Of Mild Cognitive Impairment

July 30, 2015 - 8:03pm

A new study by researchers at the University of Bari Aldo Moro, Bari, Italy, Geriatric Unit&Laboratory of Gerontology and Geriatrics, IRCCS "Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza", San Giovanni Rotondo, Foggia, Italy, and Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS), Roma, Italy, estimates the association between change or constant habits in coffee consumption and the incidence of mild cognitive impairment (MCI), evaluating 1,445 individuals recruited from 5,632 subjects, aged 65-84 year old, from the Italian Longitudinal Study on Aging (ILSA), a population-based sample from eight Italian municipalities with a 3.5-year median follow-up. These findings are published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.


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