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Kindergartners Who Share Tablets Do Better On Achievement Tests

April 18, 2015 - 12:09am

Using technology like tablets in schools has turned into a heated political debate. Los Angeles infamously spent $1.3 billion on a program to give iPads to each student, a program that has been plagued with problems.

In the United Kingdom, the head of the National Association of Head Teachers claimed he was dubious about using tech as a teaching aid in non-IT classes. 


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As Dawn Approaches, The First Color Images Of Ceres

April 17, 2015 - 10:24pm

Astronomers and planetary scientists have been waiting with bated breath for the first detailed close-up images of Ceres, the solar system’s largest asteroid. Now, with NASA’s Dawn spacecraft approaching closer each day, tantalizing new color imagery has revealed new details of the geological processes that formed Ceres.

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Oxytocin As Amplifier And Suppressor Of Neural Signals In The Brain

April 17, 2015 - 10:14pm

Neuroscientists say the brain hormone oxytocin acts on individual brain cells to prompt specific social behaviors. 

Until now, oxytocin - the "love" hormone - has been linked to sexual attraction and things like regulating breast feeding and promoting maternal-infant bonding, but its precise effect in social behaviors is not known.


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Uninsured People Pay Far More For Cancer Drugs Than Medicare Patients

April 17, 2015 - 7:18pm

Uninsured cancer patients are asked to pay anywhere from 2 to 43 times what Medicare would pay for chemotherapy drugs, according to a new paper. Uninsured patients who did not negotiate the billed amounts could expect to pay $6,711 for an infusion of the colorectal cancer drug oxaliplatin. However, Medicare and private health plans only pay $3,090 and $3,616 for the same drug, respectively.

Although uninsured cancer patients were asked to pay on average two times more than Medicare paid for expensive chemotherapy drugs, very high payment differences were seen for drugs that were quite inexpensive on Medicare. For example, carboplatin was estimated at $26 for one infusion with Medicare, but the estimate for uninsured patients was $1,124.


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Can Moons Have Moonlets? Or Rings? Moonlets Of Pluto's Moons?

April 17, 2015 - 4:16pm

New Horizons will soon reach Pluto, and is expected to find new moons and possibly a ring system. Could it find a moon of a moon? Or a moon with rings?

As we search for an answer, we will find out about why our Moon finds it hard keep a satellite at all, even just for a few years, and why an early satellite released by Apollo 16 unexpectedly crashed into the Moon. Also we'll chase up an intriguing puzzle about Saturn's moon Rhea.

Let's start with our own Earth / Moon system. Why is the Moon's orbit stable - and why can't our Moon have moonlets, or can it?

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Eating In Restaurants Linked To High Blood Pressure In College Students

April 17, 2015 - 3:54pm

A study of college students links eating in restaurants with high blood pressure, even in young people.

Globally, high blood pressure - hypertension - is the leading risk factor for death associated with cardiovascular disease. Studies have shown that young adults with slightly elevated blood pressure are at very high risk of hypertension. Eating meals away from home has been shown to be associated with higher caloric intake, higher saturated fat intake and higher salt intake, which are thought to cause high blood pressure.


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What Savants Can Teach Us

April 17, 2015 - 3:30pm

When Seattle man, Jason Padgett, walked into a bar for a drink a few years ago, he was an ordinary man with seemingly average intelligence leading an unremarkable life. He worked contentedly in his father's furniture shop and had never done well academically or ever cared to do so. On exiting the bar that night, he was viciously mugged, hit on the head and knocked out.


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Virgin Births: Here Is Why Males Are Still Not Irrelevant

April 17, 2015 - 3:01pm
Evolution has endowed females of certain species of amphibians, reptiles and fish with the ability to clone themselves and perpetuate offspring without males.

It has even happened more recently but these virgin births don't mean males are unneeded. Fertilization is still ensuring the survival of the maximum number of healthy offspring.

A species can increase its numbers faster in harsh environments when its females do not have to find worthy males and scientists have speculated that this ability arose independently in certain species, either due to conflict between the sexes or to ensure survival when mates were scarce. Many of these species now consist entirely of females.
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Chemobrain: Even A Cancer Diagnosis Affects Cognitive Function

April 17, 2015 - 2:52pm
Breast cancer patients often display mild cognitive defects even before chemotherapy and doctors are attributing that to a kind of preemptive post-traumatic stress disorder induced by diagnosis of the disease.

Studies have shown that cancer patients often exhibit mild attention deficit and some decrease in memory and other basic cognitive functions. The phenomenon has generally been attributed to putative side-effects of chemotherapeutic drugs on the brain, and the condition is therefore popularly referred to as chemobrain - but more recent investigations have detected symptoms of chemobrain in patients who had not yet embarked on a course of chemotherapy.
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Physician Support For Obamacare In California Is Along Party Lines

April 17, 2015 - 2:00pm

A survey of California doctors found that a majority of the 525 who responded believe the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA, also called Obamacare) will steer the country's health care in the right direction, but California has only 28 percent Republicans so that isn't a huge surprise. Doctors were on the side of their political affiliations but were also distinctly divided by medical specialties.

Private practices are on the decline and independent business owners are strongly Republicans. In California, more doctors work for institutions but even with that partisan divide 39 percent thought their practice would be hurt by the legislation and only 36 percent thought it would have no effect. 25 percent believe it will help.


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How Salmonella Survives Macrophage's Acid Attack

April 17, 2015 - 1:30pm

Macrophages destroy bacteria by engulfing them in intracellular compartments, which they then acidify to kill or neutralize the bacteria.

Some pathogenic bacteria, such as Salmonella enterica, have evolved to exist and even grow within these acidified compartments. Yet, how Salmonella responds to the acidic environment and how that environment affects the virulence of this pathogen are unclear. New research reveals that Salmonella fights acid with acid, by lowering the pH of its own interior in response to the acidification of the Salmonella-containing compartment by the macrophage, and by using that low pH as a signal to turn on genes needed to establish an infection.


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LP Resurgence: The Reasons Behind Vinyl's Unlikely Comeback

April 17, 2015 - 1:14pm

In a music buying industry now dominated by iTunes and music streaming sites such as Spotify, Napster, Pandora and Jay-Z’s recently released Tidal, the CD and physical music store are reportedly in sharp (and potentially terminal) decline. But a curious development in music consumption has seen vinyl, the format ostensibly rendered extinct by the compact disc with its “perfect” digital sound, make an unlikely, but significant cultural and commercial comeback.

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Typhoon Haiyan May Contaminate Philippines Aquifer For Years

April 17, 2015 - 1:00pm

In 2013, Typhoon Haiyan killed more than 6,000 people and destroying nearly $3 billion worth of property in the Philippines. While the country is still recovering from the storm, researchers have found that an aquifer on the island of Samar inundated with salt water by the storm surge could remain undrinkable for up to 10 years - a second aquifer on the island that was also inundated has recovered much more quickly.

Geology and infrastructure play key roles in determining whether aquifers that provide drinking water are inundated with seawater during a typhoon or hurricane and how long the contamination lasts.


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3 Easy Steps To Making Beer The Scientific Way

April 17, 2015 - 1:00pm

Karin Heineman, Inside Science TV –  Beer! Most Americans choose it over all other alcoholic beverages.

It's also one of the world's oldest beverages. In fact the first evidence of beer production dates back to Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia in the fifth millennium BC. People have been brewing beer for a very long time, even before anyone really understood what turns its ingredients into alcohol.

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Genetic Modification Led To Maize Roots Evolving To Be More Nitrogen Efficient

April 17, 2015 - 12:30pm
Genetic modification of maize over the last century has led to desirable shoot characteristics and increased yield - and that likely contributed to the evolution of root systems that are more efficient in acquiring nutrients, such as nitrogen, from the soil, according to a new study. 

About half of the yield gains in commercial corn in the last 100 years has come from improved plant genetics, explained Larry York, a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Nottingham. The other half came largely from agronomic practices, such as fertilizer use and higher planting densities. 
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Professional Golf: For Most It Is A Lonely Life On A Meager Income

April 17, 2015 - 2:25am
If you just watched the Master's Tournament in Augusta, Georgia, you saw the second-youngest player ever to win. That is a pretty good way for a young man to spend the next year.

But for most golfers, like most young baseball players, the reality is much different. 

An EPGA tour player for 12 years commented to Dr. John Fry of Myerscough College on the life: "The word that jumps in my head is lonely".
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Myth: You Have To Finish All Your Antibiotics

April 16, 2015 - 11:11pm

Most people believe – and have been told by health professionals – that it’s essential to finish a course of antibiotics to prevent antibiotic resistance.

But this advice is not only wrong, it could actually be harmful.

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LEM - Newly Discovered Protein Boosts Immunity To Cancer

April 16, 2015 - 9:53pm
A newly discovered protein plays a central role in promoting immunity to viruses and cancer, according to experiments in mice and human cells.

 The hitherto unknown protein, which the researchers named lymphocyte expansion molecule, or LEM, modulates the proliferation of human T cells as well as in mice, by promoting the proliferation of cytotoxic T cells, which kill cancer cells and cells infected with viruses.

The discovery was unexpected because the new protein had no known function and doesn't resemble any other protein. Researchers from Imperial College London who led the study are now developing a gene therapy designed to boost the infection-fighting cells, and hope to begin human trials in three years. 
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Do All These Health Awareness Day Campaigns Actually Help Anyone?

April 16, 2015 - 9:44pm
In 2014, there were almost 200 health awareness days, weeks or months on the 2014 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' National Health Observances calendar.  

Since there are only 250 days in a working year, that means one day each week was not given over to some kind of health awareness effort. H.H.S. says their mission is to advocate for "evidence-based" interventions for health problems, so what evidence did they use that 200 health "awareness" campaigns were making a difference? Are they really helping anyone, or is it just less-successful attempts to get people to dump water on their own heads?
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No Batteries Required - New Camera Runs Forever

April 16, 2015 - 9:12pm

A research team has created a prototype video camera that is fully self-powered.

Solar panels and digital cameras obviously have different purposes - one converts light to power while the other simply measures it - but both are constructed from essentially the same components. At the heart of any digital camera is an image sensor, a chip with millions of pixels. The key enabling device in a pixel is the photodiode, which produces an electric current when exposed to light. This mechanism enables each pixel to measure the intensity of light falling on it. The same photodiode is also used in solar panels to convert incident light to electric power. 


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