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Why Resilient Humans Would Survive Giant Asteroid Impact - Even With Over 90% Of Species Extinct

December 15, 2016 - 4:00am

This is something you hear said so often - that we risk being hit by an asteroid that could make humans extinct. But do we really? This is the article I’m commenting on, a recently breaking news story: Earth woefully unprepared for surprise comet or asteroid, Nasa scientist warns. Some are already worrying that it means that we are all due to die in the near future from an asteroid impact. Well, no, it doesn't mean that. So, what is the truth behind it? 

The source of all this is a comment by Dr Joseph Nuth who warns:

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When Prophecy Fails: Analyzing Post-Election, Post-American Grief

December 14, 2016 - 11:40pm

One of the many classics in social psychology from the mid-20th century was Leon Festinger’s When Prophecy Fails (1956). The point of the study was to infiltrate a doomsday cult. It was a cult whose leader had declared the world would come to an end on a specific day.

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Over 7 Million Bacterial Genes In The Pig Gut

December 14, 2016 - 2:31pm

Pigs are a main livestock species for food production worldwide and is also widely used as an animal model in biomedical research. Today we know that the many types of bacteria that inhabit the gut are important for health and disease. Knowledge of the genes of these bacteria and their function therefore constitutes the first step towards a more comprehensive understanding of how bacteria in the gut affect health and disease.

An international consortium of researchers from INRA (France), University of Copenhagen and SEGES (Denmark), BGI-Shenzhen (China) and NIFES (Norway) has now established the first catalog of bacterial genes in the gut of pigs. This achievement is published in the latest issue of Nature Microbiology.


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Vitamin D Linked To Bladder Cancer In Systematic Review

December 14, 2016 - 2:11pm

Vitamin D, which is produced by the body through exposure to sunshine, helps the body control calcium and phosphate levels, important for healthy bones. It can also be obtained from food sources such as fatty fish and egg yolks but it can be difficult to obtain enough vitamin D from food alone in countries with little sunlight so food is often fortified. 

For the benefit of the never-ending supplement fad industry, some papers have linked vitamin D deficiency with a host of health problems including cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment, autoimmune conditions, and now Vitamin D levels have been linked to an increased risk of bladder cancer, though the source is a systematic review of just seven studies so it may not warrant a panic attack just yet.


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Obscure Tools Of The Practical Experimental Physicist: The Brazil Band

December 14, 2016 - 1:47pm
As I am traveling around Europe this week, giving seminars in several places (Hamburg yesterday, Berlin today, and Clermont-Ferrand on Friday) my connectivity is erratic and my capability to follow the development of data analysis and new publications is strongly lowered. My connections to the world of LHC research continues through email exchanges, though.
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But, Who’s Really Manipulating The Science On Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals?

December 13, 2016 - 9:59pm

On November 29, an op-ed article, co-signed by 94 scientists, and entitled “Let’s Stop the Manipulation of Science” was published in Le Monde.  It makes numerous allegations, most prominent among them that industry is “manufacturing doubt” about the science on endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs).  But as anyone who has followed the issue of endocrine disruptors knows, it is highly controversial and polarized with serious questions

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But, Who’s Really Manipulating The Science On Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals?

December 13, 2016 - 9:56pm

On November 29, an op-ed article, co-signed by 94 scientists, and entitled “Let’s Stop the Manipulation of Science” was published in Le Monde.  It makes numerous allegations, most prominent among them that industry is “manufacturing doubt” about the science on endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs).  But as anyone who has followed the issue of endocrine disruptors knows, it is highly controversial and polarized with serious questions

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Paper Hopes To Link Diet, Gut Microbiome And Colorectal Cancer

December 12, 2016 - 6:58pm
A new paper links specific types of intestinal bacteria in the development of colorectal cancer - in animal models, at least. Finding it in humans is another matter.

But if such a link is ever found, and currently these findings are only exploited by people selling something, it could lead to dietary-based therapeutic interventions which may be able to modify the composition of the gut microbiome and reduce colorectal cancer risk.
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Natural Symptoms May Be Misdiagnosed As Tamoxifen Side-Effects

December 9, 2016 - 3:03pm
Women taking tamoxifen for breast cancer were less likely to continue taking the drug if they suffered nausea and vomiting - yet so were women given a placebo who experienced the same symptoms. This is evidence that drugs are being unfairly blamed for natural symptoms. 

It's a chemophobia culture. People embrace homeopathy, naturopathy and various alternative techniques because they aren't required to have elaborate disclosures of side effects like real medicines have. And there is a culture war against drug companies, so if symptoms occur it may be easy to blame Big Pharma or Big Generic.
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Determining Prostate Cancer Risk With A DNA Methylation Biomarker

December 8, 2016 - 11:36am
Currently, prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and other biomarkers are used for diagnosing and monitoring prostate cancer. However, biomarkers to selectively identify patients with high risk of recurrence, those who might benefit from intervention, and those who can safely choose active surveillance, are lacking. A new study in The Journal of Molecular Diagnostics describes a biomarker, PITX2 DNA methylation, which is capable of distinguishing cancerous tissue from non-cancerous tissue and predicting the risk of cancer recurrence using only small amounts of tissue obtained from core needle biopsies.
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Are Marijuana Warning Labels Needed? Users Say Yes

December 7, 2016 - 1:56pm
In the United States, legalization of marijuana is happening at a record pace, thanks to governments hoping for new tax streams and public health claims giving it a free pass that literally no other product has ever gotten. However, a few experts and some users agree that package warnings stating the health risks are needed, yet what marijuana smokers think is needed is different from what the medical community believes should be required. 

Given the craze, it is no surprise journal publishers are scrambling to push out new places to lend marijuana a veneer of scientific authenticity. One new one, Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research,  -->

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Running Sounds May Contain Clues To Injury Prevention

December 6, 2016 - 11:31am

The number of Australians who run for exercise has doubled since the mid-2000s. Preventing and managing injuries are common concerns, and can present an ongoing health burden and high cost if not addressed appropriately.

But what if listening to the sound of running could help prevent injuries?

We recently conducted the first study to relate running technique with the sound of feet hitting the ground. Listening could prove a simple and effective feedback mechanism for runners, coaches and clinicians to understand how runners land their feet and the potential for certain injuries.

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