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Oxytocin Regulates Sexual Behavior

October 11, 2014 - 5:30pm

Oxytocin, called the "love hormone" because it has been linked to social behaviors like cuddling, maternal care and pair bonding, is also necessary for female social interest during estrus.

A study Cell Press found oxytocin-responsive brain cells that are necessary for female social interest in male mice during estrus, the sexually receptive phase of their cycle. These neurons, found in the prefrontal cortex, may play a role in other oxytocin-related social behaviors such as intimacy, love, and mother-child bonding. 


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Enlist: What You Need To Know About New Dual Herbicide Resistant GMOs

October 11, 2014 - 3:39pm
by Marc Brazeau, Genetic Literacy Project

Next week, the Environmental Protection Agency is set to approve Enlist Duo–a new herbicide formulation that combines two popular herbicides, 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) and glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup), which are used to control weeds.

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Is Space Still Awesome?

October 11, 2014 - 3:02pm

The pale blue dot. Credit: NASA

By Monica Grady, The Open University

World Space Week is one of a series of events co-ordinated by the UN to celebrate the global nature of space exploration. It was established in 1999.

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Men Twice As Likely As Women To Die After A Hip Fracture

October 11, 2014 - 2:01pm

A new paper from the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) says that one-third of all hip fractures worldwide occur in men, with mortality rates as high as 37% in the first year following fracture.

This makes men twice as likely as women to die after a hip fracture. Osteoporosis experts warn that as men often remain undiagnosed and untreated, millions are left vulnerable to early death and disability, irrespective of fracture type. 


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Bio-Hairpins And Polymer Spaghetti

October 11, 2014 - 1:00pm

When a sturdy material becomes soft and spongy, it's been damaged in some way. But when it comes to complex fluids and biological cells, things may be different.

By looking at the microscopic building blocks – known as "filaments" – of biopolymer networks, researchers from Forschungszentrum Jülich, Germany and the FOM Institute AMOLF in the Netherlands, revealed (Nature Communications DOI: 10.1038/ncomms5060)  that such materials soften by undergoing a transition from an entangled spaghetti of filaments to aligned layers of bow-shaped filaments that slide past each other. 


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Science 2.0: 'Data Smashing' With An Algorithm Could Unshackle Automated Discovery

October 11, 2014 - 12:00pm

A little known secret in data mining is that simply feeding raw data into a data analysis algorithm is unlikely to produce meaningful results.

From recognizing speech to identifying unusual stars, new discoveries often begin with comparison of data streams to find connections and spot outliers. But most data comparison algorithms today have one major weakness – somewhere, they rely on a human expert to specify what aspects of the data are relevant for comparison, and what aspects aren't. But experts aren't keeping pace with the growing amounts and complexities of big data.


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Cold Fusion: A Better Study On The Infamous E-Cat

October 11, 2014 - 10:03am
Do you remember the E-Cat ? That is an acronym for "energy catalyzer", the device invented by the Italian philosopher Andrea Rossi. The E-Cat is claimed to produce nuclear energy through the heating of a "secret" powder made up of nichel, hydrogen, and lithium plus some additives. A new chapter was added to the saga of the E-Cat this week, with the publication of a new study by an allegedly independent group of Italian and Swedish researchers.
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Decaffeinated Coffee May Benefit Liver Health

October 10, 2014 - 11:00pm

Decaffeinated coffee drinking may benefit liver health, according to a paper in Hepatology by  Researchers from the National Cancer Institute whichsayss that higher coffee consumption, regardless of caffeine content, was linked to lower levels of abnormal liver enzymes.

This suggests that chemical compounds in coffee other than caffeine may help protect the liver. 


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Genetically Modified Bacteria As Biofertilizers

October 10, 2014 - 9:50pm
Researchers are working to select autochthonous bacteria with biofertilizing potential as a result of the stimulating effect they have on the take-up of nutrients by plants, phytohormone production and phytopathogen control.

Both organic and synthetic fertilizers are expensive and not very sustainable from an environmental power of view so researchers from Neiker-Tecnalia, the Basque Institute for Agricultural Research and Development, in Spain, believe farmers would embrace bacteria-based biofertilizers.
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Receiver Operating Characteristics And 5 Ways To Improve Eyewitness Identification Of Criminals

October 10, 2014 - 9:27pm
Psychologists recently carried out hundreds of mock police lineups to determine the most successful procedure for identification of criminals. Inaccurate identification can obviously lead to the prosecution of innocent people while guilty ones go free.
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When Are Randomized Controlled Trials Unethical? When Disease Gets News Coverage

October 10, 2014 - 8:09pm
It is difficult for pharmaceutical companies to have good public relations in an immediate news and social media world - no matter how many trials are done, people can still have adverse effects or even suffer real harm - and social media detractors can just claim they are corrupt and convince a large segment of their followers. 

To make sure the public has as much confidence as possible in new products, all drugs have to undergo exhaustive, time-consuming and expensive testing. When high-profile media events like ebola, which killed 1/13,000th as many Americans this week as heart disease did, happen, there are calls to throw ethics and testing protocols out the window.
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Elevated Cholesterol And Triglycerides May Increase The Risk For Prostate Cancer Recurrence

October 10, 2014 - 6:30pm

PHILADELPHIA — Higher levels of total cholesterol and triglycerides, two types of fat, in the blood of men who underwent surgery for prostate cancer, were associated with increased risk for disease recurrence, according to a study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.


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The GPS In Our Brains, The ‘Doorway Effect’ And How We Orient Ourselves

October 10, 2014 - 4:59pm

By Ben Locwin, Genetic Literacy Project

The 2014 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was just awarded to three neuroscientists for refining some past research and developing some pioneering new results to understand how our brains keep track of where we are spatially.

 

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Enlist Duo: Michael Pollan, Marion Nestle Play Agent Orange Scare Card On GMOs

October 10, 2014 - 4:26pm

By Jon Entine, Genetic Literacy Project

New genetically modified corn and soybean traits, already approved by the US Department of Agriculture, is likely to gain Environmental Protection Agency next week, the Genetic Literacy Project has learned.

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What Gone Girl Tells Us About American Degrowth

October 10, 2014 - 3:30pm


David Fincher's film shows the desolation of failed suburban promises. Credit: Twentieth Century Fox

By Julie McIntyre, University of Newcastle

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The Obesity Paradox—Seriously?

October 10, 2014 - 3:22pm

Obesity is a significant risk factor for the development of a number of diseases, but the first that comes to mind is type 2 diabetes. 

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PCBs May Have Altered Thyroid Hormone Activity During Pregnancy

October 10, 2014 - 1:30pm

A new study of human placenta has provided evidence that  flame retardant chemicals called polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), implicated as being endocrine disrupting chemicals, and find they can interfere with thyroid hormone action in pregnant women.

The implication is that PCBs can infiltrate the placenta during pregnancy and affect thyroid hormone activity at the cellular level. PCBs were used in transformers and other electrical equipment, paints, adhesives and tape. Although the endocrine-disrupting chemicals were banned in the United States in 1979, PCBs still are released into the environment from disposal sites or products manufactured prior to the ban. Most people have only been exposed to low levels of PCBs.


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Antioxidants Of Wild Tomato Species Get Studied

October 10, 2014 - 1:30pm

Tomatoes contain antioxidants such as vitamin C, lycopene, β-carotene, and phenolics. Antioxidants are substances capable of delaying or inhibiting oxidation processes caused by free radicals and are of interest to both consumers and plant biologists. Consumers, for their health-related contributions, and plant breeders for their ability to provide plants with natural resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses.


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VSV-EBOV: The Race For An Ebola Vaccine Heats Up

October 10, 2014 - 1:00pm
Canada, which has roughly 1,500 vials of an ebola vaccine called VSV-EBOV, has offered 1,000 vials to the World Health Organization and said the rest would be used for upcoming clinical trials in 5 locations: two in the United States, and one each in Germany, Switzerland and a non-Western-African country that isn't battling ebola.  
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Optogenetics: Manipulating Memories With Light

October 10, 2014 - 1:00pm

Look into the light - unless you want to keep your memories.

UC Davis psychologists have used light to erase specific memories in mice and proved a basic hypothesis fpr how different parts of the brain work together to retrieve episodic memories. Optogenetics, created by Karl Diesseroth at Stanford University, is an effort at manipulating and studying nerve cells using light. The techniques of optogenetics are becoming popular for brain function studies.


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