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Diabetes Drug Metformin Linked To Intersex Fish

May 1, 2015 - 1:47pm

Metformin, a medication commonly taken for Type II diabetes, is being found in freshwater systems worldwide, and a new study says that it causes physical changes in male fish exposed to doses similar to the amount in wastewater effluent. It causes intersex in fish - male fish that produce eggs - according to the study in Chemosphere.

Because intersex fish occur more often downstream from wastewater treatment plants, studies have investigated the effect of hormones from birth control pills, but metformin is not a hormone and it targets blood sugar regulation so the correlation is surprising.


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How Accurate Is US Patient Outcome Health Data?

May 1, 2015 - 1:30pm

A new study concludes that most U.S. clinical registries that collect data on patient outcomes are substandard and lack critical features necessary to render the information they collect useful.

A paper in the Journal for Healthcare Quality reveals poor data monitoring and reporting that researchers say are hurting national efforts to study disease, guide patient choice of optimal treatments, formulate rational health policies and track in a meaningful way how well physicians and hospitals perform.


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Sudden Oak Death Path Predicted By Citizen Scientists

May 1, 2015 - 1:11pm

Citizen science, where the public pitches in to make large-scale analyses of data possible, has successfully predicted the path of a deadly plant disease, Sudden Oak Death, over a six-year period. 

The disease has killed millions of oak and tanoak trees in California and Oregon and can infect more than 100 susceptible host plants and can spread from nursery stock to residential landscapes. Starting in 2008, 1,000 volunteers collected leaf samples from trees in metropolitan and urban-wildland areas. 


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The Murky Ethical Waters Of Marketing To Cancer Patients

May 1, 2015 - 1:00pm

By Lisa Marie Potter, Inside Science — A group of doctors clad in white lab coats smiles beneath the heading: "Standing behind your cancer care with nationally recognized excellence."

The advertisement was part of the 2009 Dartmouth-Hitchcock health care marketing campaign promoting the Norris Cotton Cancer Center, which has locations in Vermont and New Hampshire. The ad focuses on the facility's reputation and backs up its claims by including its awards of recognition.

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Homophobia And Starfish

May 1, 2015 - 12:51pm

Recently on Real Clear Science, Ross Pomeroy published an article Why Nothing Can Be Truly ‘Unnatural’, in which he denounces attempts to oppose homosexuality on scientific grounds.  However, after reading it, I am left with the feeling that he is not simply reporting science, but perhaps being a little bit like an old-fashioned nanny telling her charges what is or is not proper.  If so, he will be firing a shot in

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Most People Don't Think About The Calories Of Alcohol

May 1, 2015 - 12:31pm
Top image: Chandler Collins, CC BY-SAAlcoholic drinks should all carry calorie counts according to a leading UK public health doctor writing in the BMJ today, because of their contribution to obesity. Fiona Sim, Chair of the UK Royal Society for Public Health, writes that while adults who drink may be getting as much as 10% of their daily calories from alcohol, most people are unaware drinking contributes to their energy intake.

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SIRT1 Discovery May Lead To New Treatment For MS

May 1, 2015 - 3:30am

Scientists have discovered a way to prevent the development of multiple sclerosis in mice. Using a drug that blocks the production of a certain type of immune cell linked to inflammation and autoimmunity, the researchers successfully protected against the onset of MS in an animal model of the disease. 

In the immune system, two kinds of T cells strike a delicate balance--T helper cells (Th17) activate the immune system, protecting against infections and cancers, while regulatory T cells (Tregs) suppress the system, keeping it in check. A disparity between these cell types, where there are too many Th17 and not enough Tregs, can lead to a hyperactive immune system, resulting in inflammation, tissue damage, and autoimmune disease. 


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Does This Cow Really Exist?

May 1, 2015 - 3:07am
I really need to quit starting all of these things with "just when you think..." because I'm starting to sound like a cliche. 
But sometimes, there are just no alternatives. My apologies.

Because just when you think things can't get any (stranger, dumber, crazier...) something like this comes around. I seriously doubt I will need to use the cliche again. This cannot be topped. It's impossible. Just like the "science" that is behind it.

At least there some good news: The vegans in Britain are sure gonna be happy, since the country won't be eating much meat. Thanks to a bunch of fine minds on the European Commission, sick cattle will no longer be treated with medicine. Nope—just homeopathy. I don't think the cows are gonna as happy.
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Best Reason For Better Green Energy: Incomes Are Rising And More People Will Want Air Conditioning

May 1, 2015 - 2:05am

Global incomes continue to rise, more people are living more comfortably, globalization has been a huge win for many developing nations and that means more people than ever can afford air conditioning.

While some policy makers live in an idealized developed world where more wind and solar power at ever higher costs will solve the emissions problem, that lacks fairness for people who are only now able to afford to live well. More people are going to need electricity and that means we need to embrace true green energy and not fudge numbers to where political winners look like viable solutions for the future. Without viable clean energy the stress on energy prices and infrastructure will mean poorer people stay shackled to the past.


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Multifractals Point To Existence Of Unknown Physical Mechanism On The Sun

April 30, 2015 - 11:11pm
The famous sunspots on the surface of the Earth's star result from strong magnetic fields. Their numbers are an important indicator of the state of activity on the Sun.

At the Institute of Nuclear Physics of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Kraków, Poland, researchers have been conducting multifractal analysis into the changes in the numbers of sunspots and found that the graphs were asymmetrical in shape, suggesting that sunspots may be involved in unknown physical processes.
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The Pillars Of Creation Visualized In 3-D

April 30, 2015 - 10:25pm

The original NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image of the famous Pillars of Creation - in the Eagle Nebula, Messier 16 - was taken two decades ago and immediately became its most famous picture. Since then, these billowing clouds, which extend over a few light-years, have awed the public. 


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High-Pitched Noises Linked To Seizures In Old Cats, According To Owner Survey

April 30, 2015 - 10:21pm

One of the concerns about the switch from incandescent to fluorescent lighting was that while the ballasts are higher frequency now - humans do not have to hear that annoying hum - they were right in the range that pets still hear.


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'Excellent Clinical Outcomes' For Brain Blood Vessel Malformation Surgery

April 30, 2015 - 9:50pm

Interventional treatments such as surgery provide good functional outcomes and a high cure rate for patients with lower-grade arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) of the brain, according to a new study. These findings contrast with a recent trial reporting better outcomes without surgery or other interventions for AVMs.


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How Yoga Changed To Appeal To The Changing US Market

April 30, 2015 - 9:25pm
To many practitioners of yoga in the United States, its original form would be unrecognizable in everything but the name. What was once about spirituality is now about health and physical fitness. 

If you are going to be a guru in the US, one tenet of yoga remains from the past - go with the flow. As the medical claims of yoga became more prevalent and yoga catapulted into a $10-billion-a-year enterprise, practitioners embraced new marketing success or fell by the wayside. Sanskrit names for postures and religious "om"-ing are out, 'feeling the burn' is in. 
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Ovarian Cancer Surgery And The Risks Of Buying Time

April 30, 2015 - 6:36pm
More than two decades have passed, but Erika Archer Lewis clearly recalls the fear, uncertainty and struggle required to bring her 42-year-old mother back from the edge of stage 4 breast cancer. Lewis, a senior studying at the University of Texas when her mother was diagnosed, shuttled between Austin and Houston, supporting her through surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and, later, reconstructive procedures.

“It was a four-year ordeal,” Lewis recounts, sitting beside her husband one autumn morning in a sandwich shop north of Houston.

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This Mutation May Be The Key Driver Of Human Aging

April 30, 2015 - 6:30pm

A study in Science has tied the aging process to the deterioration of tightly packaged bundles of cellular DNA known as heterochromatinand say that the genetic mutations underlying Werner syndrome, a disorder that leads to premature aging and death, results in the deterioration of these bundles.

The discovery used stem cell and gene-editing technologies and could lead to ways of countering age-related physiological declines by preventing or reversing damage to heterochromatin.


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Just In Case You Thought Your Wine Was Vegan

April 30, 2015 - 6:11pm

By Sara Rennekamp, Inside Science - Is your wine vegan? It seems like an odd question: wine is made of grapes, grapes fall solidly under the "not an animal product" label, therefore it would seem that wine is a vegan-friendly beverage.

However, many people who adhere to a vegan diet refrain from consuming any food or drink that is processed using animal products as well as the animal products themselves. Unfortunately for vegans, some wines are processed using animal products.

The culprit: a process called fining.

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Bats Use Both Sides Of The Brain To Listen - The Only Animal Besides Humans To Do So

April 30, 2015 - 4:39pm

Researchers have shown that, like humans, mustached bats use the left and right sides of their brains to process different aspects of sounds.

No other animal, not even monkeys or apes, has proved to use such hemispheric specialization for sound processing - meaning that the left brain is better at processing fast sounds, and the right processing slow ones. 

"These findings upset the notion that only humans use different sides of their brains to distinguish different aspects of sound," says the study's senior author, Stuart Washington, PhD, a neuroscientist at Georgetown.

Washington says the findings of asymmetrical sound processing in both human and bat brains make evolutionary sense.


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Eat More Protein For Breakfast, Have Fewer Diabetic Blood Sugar Spikes

April 30, 2015 - 3:49pm

Individuals with Type 2 Diabetes have difficulty regulating their glucose - blood sugar - levels, particularly after meals but a new study has found that Type 2 diabetics can eat more protein at breakfast to help reduce glucose spikes at both breakfast and lunch.

Researchers monitored Type 2 diabetics' levels of glucose, insulin and several gut hormones -- which help regulate the insulin response -- after breakfast and lunch. The participants ate either high-protein or high-carbohydrate breakfasts, and the lunch included a standard amount of protein and carbohydrates.


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Longevity Underestimated: People Will Outlive Official Estimates

April 30, 2015 - 3:02pm

A new study forecasting how life expectancy will change in England and Wales has predicted people will live longer than current estimates - and that means they could have an oncoming economic train wreck because of the need for additional investments in health and social services and pensions for the elderly.


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