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What Caused Angola's First Yellow Fever Outbreak In Three Decades

April 5, 2016 - 9:17pm

The World Health Organisation has declared the yellow fever outbreak in Angola a grade 2 emergency.This means that it can have moderate public health consequences. This requires an emergency support team run from the organizations regional office providing support. Health and medicine editor Candice Bailey spoke to Jacqueline Weyer, a senior medical scientist from the National Institute for Communicable Diseases in South Africa, to understand the latest outbreak.

How serious is the outbreak in Angola? When last did this happen?

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New Study Reports On Suicidal Thinking Among US Veterans

April 5, 2016 - 8:13pm

Nearly 14 percent of veterans reported suicidal thinking at one or both phases of a two-year Veterans Affairs (VA) study.

The study, now online, is slated for publication in the June 2016 issue of the Journal of Affective Disorders.

The finding is based on a nationally representative sample of more than 2,000 U.S. veterans who were surveyed twice as part of the National Health and Resilience in Veterans Study, led by Dr. Robert Pietrzak of the Clinical Neurosciences Division of VA's National Center for PTSD. The first wave was conducted in 2011, the second in 2013.


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Financial Incentives Are Highly Effective In Helping Pregnant Women Quit Smoking

April 5, 2016 - 8:10pm

BURLINGTON, VT - Smoking during pregnancy is the leading preventable cause of poor pregnancy outcomes. Studies further indicate that in-utero smoke exposure contributes to respiratory and cardiac illnesses later in life.

The good news is that the prevalence of smoking during pregnancy has decreased. The bad news is that economically disadvantaged pregnant women continue to smoke at much higher rates than affluent women.


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Online Comment Sections May Influence Readers' Opinions On Health Issues

April 5, 2016 - 8:10pm

Quebec City, March 5, 2016--A study published in the April edition of Health Affairs reveals that one-sided comments posted on online news articles may influence readers' opinions about health-related topics. This raises questions about how health social media should be moderated, especially considering the potentially polarized nature of these forums.


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The Secret Science Behind Bodily Secretions

April 5, 2016 - 7:24pm

The salivary gland secretes saliva that helps us chew and swallow the food we eat while the pancreas secretes digestive juices that enable our bodies to break down the fat, protein, and carbohydrates in the food.

Secretions like these are important in countless activities that keep our bodies running day and night. A new study uncovers a previously mysterious process that makes these secretions possible - and it involves calcium, which is sure to set off a new supplement fad among the Dr. Oz, Mark Hyman, Joe Mercola sect.  


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Is It Really Give And Take? New Research Examines How Young People Talk About Oral Sex

April 5, 2016 - 3:04pm

Popular culture may suggest we live in an era where men and women have achieved sexual equality. But new research finds that, when it comes to oral sex, disparities persist - and young men and women tend to gloss over these gender inequalities.

The study, conducted in England by University of the Pacific sociologist Ruth Lewis and Cicely Marston of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, appears online in the Journal of Sex Research.

The researchers interviewed 71 men and women ages 16 to 18, and conducted follow-up interviews a year later. The study focused on accounts of oral sex between men and women, rather than same-sex partners.


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Scientists Reveal Endocardial Origin Of Liver Vasculature

April 5, 2016 - 3:04pm

On March 29, Nature Genetics published a research article entitled "Genetic lineage tracing identifies endocardial origin of liver vasculature", from Prof. ZHOU Bin's lab at the Institute for Nutritional Sciences (INS), Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, CAS.

Taking advantage of genetic lineage tracing and tissue specific gene knockout technology, researchers found that part of the liver vasculature is derived from the endocardium in the developing heart. During this process, endocardial VEGF/VEGFR2 signaling plays an important role in liver angiogenesis and organogenesis.


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Anomaly! - Choosing The Book Cover

April 5, 2016 - 2:21pm
My book "Anomaly! - Collider Physics and the Quest for New Phenomena at Fermilab" is in production at World Scientific, with an expected publication date somewhere in August or September. I have explained what this work is about in previous posts, but maybe what I can do here is to just paste here the few lines of description that have been put together for the back cover: -->

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A Chink In The Armor Of Breast Cancer Cells

April 5, 2016 - 12:24pm

Working with human breast cancer cells, a team of scientists from Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago have successfully turned off a misbehaving protein that fuels the growth of a particularly aggressive, drug-resistant form of the disease known as triple-negative breast cancer.

In a set of lab experiments, the team managed to neutralize the protein, called Nodal, a growth factor already known for its role in early embryonic development.

A description of the work is published in the March 23 issue of the journal Cell Cycle.


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No Improvements With Losmapimod After Heart Attack

April 5, 2016 - 12:24pm

CHICAGO (April 4, 2016) -- Patients taking losmapimod, an anti-inflammatory drug currently being developed, for 12 weeks following a heart attack did not show improvements in the trial's primary endpoint, the rate of cardiovascular death, subsequent heart attack or urgent coronary revascularization, which includes placement of a stent or coronary artery bypass surgery, according to research presented at the American College of Cardiology's 65th Annual Scientific Session.


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Disparities In Pain Management To Racial Bias

April 5, 2016 - 11:30am

A new survey has documented that black Americans are systematically under-treated for pain relative to white Americans, and the authors allege it is due to the over-prescription and over-use of pain medications among white patients and the under-prescription of pain medications for black patients. Statistics show that black patients are under-treated for pain not only relative to white patients, but relative to World Health Organization guidelines. 


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World's Smallest Diode Created, Using A Single Molecule Of DNA

April 5, 2016 - 11:00am

Researchers have demonstrated for the first time that nanoscale electronic components can be made from single DNA molecules.

For two decades, the search has been on to replace the silicon chip in order to keep the hope of Moore's Law alive.  To find a solution to this challenge, the group turned to DNA, whose predictability, diversity and programmability make it a leading candidate for the design of functional electronic devices using single molecules.


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Valley Less Uncanny: We're Already Wired To Like Robot Sex

April 5, 2016 - 10:44am

When "The Polar Express" film came out, it was creepy to a lot of people. It was a cartoon with faces modeled after the real actors, but still a digital creation. The same response happens when people are around a robot that veers closer to being human in appearance.

It's called The Uncanny Valley - robots have an upward curve of fascination and then suddenly plummet into a valley of repulsion. But it's getting uncanny as we get more comfortable with robots, according to a new study. So much so that touching a robot's intimate areas elicited physiological arousal in humans.


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How To Survive Extinction: Live Fast, Die Young

April 5, 2016 - 10:36am

Two hundred and fifty-two million years ago, a series of Siberian volcanoes erupted and sent the Earth into the greatest mass extinction of all time. Billions of tons of carbon were propelled into the atmosphere, radically altering the Earth's climate. Yet, some animals thrived in the aftermath and scientists now know why. In a new study published in Scientific Reports, paleontologists from The Field Museum and their collaborators demonstrate that some ancient mammal relatives, known as therapsids, were suited to the drastic climate change by having shorter life expectancies. When combined with results from survivorship models, this observation leads the team to suggest that these animals bred at younger ages than their predecessors.


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New Metallic Glass Bounces

April 5, 2016 - 12:26am

Engineers have created a new material with an unusual chemical structure that makes it incredibly hard and yet elastic.

The material can withstand heavy impacts without deforming - even when pushed beyond its elastic limits, it doesn't fracture, instead retaining most of its original strength. That makes it potentially useful in a variety of applications from drill bits to body armor for soldiers to meteor-resistant casings for satellites.

In the journal Scientific Reports, researchers from USC; the University of California, San Diego; and Caltech announced the creation of the material, which was produced by heating a powdered iron composite up to exactly 630 degrees Centigrade (1166 degrees Faherenheit) and then rapidly cooling it.


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Recent Evolutionary Change Allows A Fruit Fly To Dine On A Toxic Fruit

April 5, 2016 - 12:26am

MADISON, Wis. -- A fruit called the noni -- now hyped for a vast array of unproven health benefits -- is distinctly unhealthy for the fruit fly, which has fascinated geneticists for a century. For the species of Drosophila that lives in labs around the world, noni signifies extermination with extreme prejudice: A fly will die if it eats yeast growing on noni.

And yet when collectors swung nets and baited traps with rotting banana on a small island between Madagascar and Africa, they found a close relative, Drosophila yakuba, that merrily gobbles yeast growing on these forbidden fruits.


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Chasing After A Prehistoric Kite Runner

April 5, 2016 - 12:25am

New Haven, Conn. - Scientists have discovered an ancient animal that carried its young in capsules tethered to the parent's body like tiny, swirling kites. They're naming it after "The Kite Runner," the 2003 bestselling novel.

The miniscule creature, Aquilonifer spinosus, was an arthropod that lived about 430 million years ago. It grew to less than half an inch long, and there is only one known fossil of the animal, found in Herefordshire, England. Its name comes from "aquila," which means eagle or kite, and the suffix "fer," which means carry.


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Colonoscopies And Mammograms Top List Of 'most-shopped' Health Care Services

April 5, 2016 - 12:24am

Boston, MA - Colonoscopies, mammograms, and childbirth services are the most searched-for medical services when it comes to cost information--and millennials with higher annual deductible spending are the most frequent comparison shoppers--according to an analysis of a large national health insurance plan database by researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

The study appears in the April issue of Health Affairs.

Other top searched-for services in the study included MRIs, vasectomies, physician office visits, and other non-emergency services.


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Engaging Patients And The Public With Health Care Evidence

April 5, 2016 - 12:24am

At a time when public health agencies and health care providers are striving to make health care and health policy decisions on the basis of evidence, it is important for patients and the public to engage with the production, consumption and evaluation of evidence too. But such engagement is challenging, write Hastings Center scholars in the April issue of Health Affairs, because "evidence alone is never definitive," People will prioritize different values, and weigh risks and benefits differently.


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Bio-Banding: How Ballet Training Can Learn From Football

April 4, 2016 - 3:52pm

A new paper says that current practices for grouping and evaluating young dancers in ballet can be counterproductive, because it places late-maturing girls at a significant disadvantage during important phases of their development and at greater risk for injury.

The authors endorse an approach to training known as 'bio-banding', which groups individuals by their biological rather than chronological age and is popular in sports like football. 


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