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Updated: 16 weeks 5 days ago

Lead In Soil Another Known Factor In Flint

March 31, 2016 - 4:19pm

EAST LANSING, Mich. - For years, the city of Flint has been trying to fight another battle with lead...and it lies within the soil.

A new study, involving a Michigan State University researcher, has found that higher rates of Flint children showed elevated lead levels in their blood during drier months of the year, even before the switch to a new water supply. The findings suggest that lead contaminated soil is most likely the culprit especially in the older, more industrial areas of the city.

The research is published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.


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Journey To The Center Of Our Galaxy

March 31, 2016 - 4:19pm

Peering deep into the heart of our home galaxy, the Milky Way, the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope reveals a rich tapestry of more than half a million stars. Apart from a few, blue, foreground stars, almost all of the stars pictured in the image are members of the Milky Way nuclear star cluster, the densest and most massive star cluster in the galaxy. Hidden in the centre of this cluster is the Milky Way's resident supermassive black hole.


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Outdated Science And Alarmism Drives Flame Retardant Debate

March 31, 2016 - 4:05pm

Learning from history should keep us from repeating our mistakes. Yet when it comes to environmental politics, the opposite seems to be true. History and improved scientific understanding fail to inform, while alarmism and irrational fears drive policy.

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The Secret Life In Soil Revealed

March 31, 2016 - 1:00pm

Most of us think nothing of rainfall or where it goes, unless it leads to flooding or landslides. But soil scientists have been studying how water moves across or through soil for decades. Daniel Hirmas, a professor at University of Kansas, and his team may be taking the study of soil hydrology to some exciting new territory. Territory that may help soil scientists manage water resources better.

Why is Hirmas trying to predict water movement in soil?

"There are a number of reasons why more accurate predictions of water flow is important. Better management of water resources is one," Hirmas says.


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Generating Good Fat By Pushing The Right Buttons

March 31, 2016 - 1:00pm

Lake Nona, Fla., March 30, 2016 -- Researchers at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP) have identified a protein complex that is required for conversion of "bad" white fat to "good" brown fat. The findings, published online in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, could help treat metabolic disorders such as obesity.

"Our study points to mTORC1--a protein complex that senses nutrient levels--as a key regulator of fat browning," said Sheila Collins, Ph.D., professor in SBP's Integrative Metabolism Program and senior author of the paper. "Therapies that promote browning, or an increase in brown fat-like cells within the typical white fat tissue, are being actively pursued as a way to help people burn more calories independent of exercise."


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Rethinking Induced Seismicity

March 31, 2016 - 12:59pm

A survey of a major oil and natural gas-producing region in Western Canada suggests there may be a link between induced earthquakes and hydraulic fracturing, not just wastewater injection, according to a new report out this week in the journal Seismological Research Letters.

Hydraulic fracturing is the process of drilling and injecting fluid into the ground at a high pressure in order to fracture shale rocks to release the oil and natural gas trapped inside. That release brings the oil and natural gas up to the surface and with it comes water, chemical additives and other substances picked up during the injection process. All that fluid has to be disposed of and, often, it's reinjected underground into what's referred to as a wastewater injection well.


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Superconductivity Seen In A New Light

March 31, 2016 - 11:06am

Superconducting materials have the characteristic of letting an electric current flow without resistance. The study of superconductors with a high critical temperature discovered in the 1980s remains a very attractive research subject for physicists. Indeed, many experimental observations still lack an adequate theoretical description. Researchers from the University of Geneva (UNIGE) in Switzerland and the Technical University Munich in Germany have managed to lift the veil on the electronic characteristics of high-temperature superconductors. Their research, published in Nature Communications, show that the electronic densities measured in these superconductors are a combination of two separate effects.


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Inherited Gene Changes Take Years Off Life Expectancy, Study Finds

March 31, 2016 - 11:06am

Scientists have identified DNA changes that can cut a person's lifespan by up to three years.

They have discovered two separate areas of the human genome where differences in the DNA code may affect how long a person lives.

The two changes - known as variants - are relatively common in the population. More than two thirds of us will inherit a single copy of one of them from either our mother or father.

Having a copy of one variant may reduce expected lifetime by up to a year, the study found. Around three in 1000 people will inherit two copies of both variants and can expect to die an average of three years earlier, the team predicts.


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Researchers Reproduce Mechanism Of Slow Earthquakes

March 31, 2016 - 11:06am

Up until now catching lightning in a bottle has been easier than reproducing a range of earthquakes in the laboratory, according to a team of seismologists who can now duplicate the range of fault slip modes found during earthquakes, quiet periods and slow earthquakes.

"We were never able to make slow stick slip happen in the laboratory," said Christopher Marone, professor of geosciences, Penn State. "Our ability to systematically control stick velocity starts with this paper."


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Exercise Keeps Muscles -- And You -- Young: Study

March 30, 2016 - 10:45pm

A University of Guelph professor has uncovered the "secret" to staying strong as we age - superb fitness.

Geoff Power found elderly people who were elite athletes in their youth or later in life - and who still compete as masters athletes -- have much healthier muscles at the cellular level compared to those of non-athletes.

His research was published recently in the Journal of Applied Physiology.

The study compared world-class track and field athletes in their 80s with people of the same age who are living independently. There have been few such studies of aging and muscle weakening in masters athletes in this age group.


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Finnish Study Confirms Link Between Zika Virus And Fetal Brain Damage

March 30, 2016 - 10:45pm

A study led by Olli Vapalahti, professor of zoonotic virology at the University of Helsinki, Finland, has found that small amounts of genetic material from the Zika virus can be detected from a blood sample taken from a pregnant woman even weeks after the acute rash caused by the infection has passed, when the development of brain damage in the fetus is underway. Severe brain abnormalities can be detected through neuroimaging already at this early stage, even before the development of the intracranial calcifications and microcephaly previously associated with Zika virus infections.


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Starvation As Babies Makes Bees Stronger As Adults

March 30, 2016 - 10:45pm

Tempe, Ariz. -- A lack of adequate nutrition is blamed as one of many possible causes for colony collapse disorder or CCD -- a mysterious syndrome that causes a honey bee colony to die. Parasites, pesticides, pathogens and environmental changes are also stressors believed responsible for the decline of honey bees.

Since bees are critical to the world's food supply, learning how bees cope with these stressors is critical to understanding honey bee health and performance.

In two new studies, researchers from Arizona State University's School of Life Sciences have discovered that the stress of short-term nutritional deprivation as larvae (baby bees) actually makes honey bees more resilient to starvation as adults.


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Gold Star: Seeking The Origin Of Gold In The Universe

March 30, 2016 - 3:28pm

So you think the gold in your ring or watch came from a mine in Africa or Australia? Well, think farther away. Much, much farther.

Michigan State University researchers, working with colleagues from Technical University Darmstadt in Germany, are zeroing in on the answer to one of science's most puzzling questions: Where did heavy elements, such as gold, originate?

Currently there are two candidates, neither of which are located on Earth - a supernova, a massive star that, in its old age, collapsed and then catastrophically exploded under its own weight; or a neutron-star merger, in which two of these small yet incredibly massive stars come together and spew out huge amounts of stellar debris.


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Are You What You Sweat?

March 30, 2016 - 3:28pm

Spanish researchers have analysed how the sodium lost through sweat during a marathon influences the maintenance of stable and physiologically sound conditions that allow the body to carry out its functions. Excessive electrolyte loss may lead to a medical problem known as hyponatraemia.

For years, scientists have emphasised the importance of staying properly hydrated during exercise. Maintaining the body's sodium levels has become a key priority for the success of elite athletes and enthusiasts alike.

The amount of sweat that is lost during the majority of athletic activities (football, basketball, volleyball) is relatively low due to the duration of these sports.


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Cyclophosphamide, Old Dogs With New Tricks?

March 30, 2016 - 3:28pm

Key opinions leaders in the field of haematopoetic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) will address the role of Cyclophosphamide, an anti-cancer chemotherapy drug, during the 42nd Annual Meeting of the European Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (EBMT) that will welcome more than 4,500 delegates in the host city of Valencia, Spain from the 3rd to the 6th of April 2016.

Allogeneic bone marrow or stem cell transplantation is a curative treatment for many patients with yet incurable blood cancers. One major limitation of this therapy is the need to find a fully matched or compatible donor. Unfortunately, only a minority of the patients can have access to such fully matched donors.


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Variable Speed Fan With Snap Circuits, Kano Computer

March 30, 2016 - 1:01pm
In a previous How-To Guide I demonstrated how to blink a Snap Circuits LED with the Kano Computer (blinking an LED is the “Hello World!” of hardware hacking) and in this guide I’ll demonstrate how to drive a variable speed fan with Snap Circuits and the Kano Computer. I’ll actually use the same Scratch program that I used to blink the LED to control the speed of the motor. When I pressed the up arrow on the Kano keyboard, the LED blinked faster and faster. Conversely, when I pressed the down arrow the LED flashed slower and slower. -->

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Market Reactions To Sudden CEO Deaths Highlight Importance Of Management

March 30, 2016 - 12:00pm

When Tootsie Roll chairman and CEO Melvin Gordon died unexpectedly on Jan. 20, 2015, the firm's value saw an immediate 7 percent increase, which was equivalent to about $140 million. Craig Crossland, an assistant professor of management at the University of Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business, and his research colleagues examined 240 sudden and unexpected CEO deaths like Gordon's to determine how shareholders' perceptions of CEO significance have changed over time. They found that market reactions to these events in U.S. public firms have increased markedly between 1950 and 2009.

"Our results indicate that shareholders act in ways consistent with the belief that CEOs have become increasingly more influential in recent decades," Crossland said.


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Blood Clot Risk Lower For Estrogen-only, Transdermal, And Vaginal Estrogen At Menopause

March 30, 2016 - 11:26am

CLEVELAND, Ohio (Wednesday, March 30, 2016)--A Swedish population study is helping answer lingering questions about hormone therapy safety. Published online today in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society, the study shows that estrogen-only therapy carries a lower risk of blood clots than combined estrogen-progestogen therapy, but there is no significantly increased risk of clots with combination therapy when the estrogen is transdermal, and vaginal estrogen doesn't raise the risk at all.


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Not All Mind Wandering Is Created Equal

March 30, 2016 - 11:26am

Mind wandering--sometimes seen as daydreaming or "zoning out"--has been shown to facilitate creative thinking and problem solving, but in the wrong context it can become distracting or even dangerous. Inattentive students can get behind in class, and drivers who aren't paying attention to the road are far more likely to end up in accidents. And for some professions, like surgeons or air traffic controllers, zoning out on the job can lead to disaster.

Most research looking at mind wandering has assumed that all mind wandering is inherently unintentional, but findings from a new study suggest otherwise: People frequently report zoning out on purpose, and the causes of this "intentional" type of mind wandering can differ from the causes of unintentional mind wandering.


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Tsukuba Scientists Solved The Spallanzani's Dilemma

March 30, 2016 - 11:26am

Imagine losing an eye, an arm or even your spinal cord. When we are wounded, our bodies, and those of other mammals, generally respond by sealing the wound with scar tissue. The newt, however, has evolved unique strategies that allow it to repeatedly regenerate lost tissues, even as an adult.

Newts are the masters of regeneration. No other animal can match their regenerative abilities in body parts including the limbs, the tail and spinal cord, parts of the eye (such as the retina and the lens), the brain, the heart and the jaws. What happens when a newt loses, for example, a leg? A mass of cells, called a blastema, is generated at the stump, from which a new, fully functional leg is eventually regenerated.


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