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New Test Could Predict Dementia Risk During Routine GP Visits

January 21, 2016 - 2:32am

It may be possible to assess the risk of developing dementia by analyzing information gathered during routine visits to the family doctor, according to research published in the open access journal BMC Medicine.


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Building A Health Care Information Economy Based On Patients' Control Of Data

January 20, 2016 - 11:40pm

The time is right for a broad range of stakeholders to push for a health care information economy founded on the basic principle that patients should have control over their data, Boston Children's Hospital informatics researchers say in a Perspective article in The New England Journal of Medicine. The technologies, demand and benefits are there, they note; what remains are the incentives and will to make it happen.


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Biomarker Predicts Which Stage II Colon Cancer Patients May Benefit From Chemotherapy

January 20, 2016 - 11:40pm

NEW YORK, NY (January 20, 2016)--A multicenter research team has identified a biomarker that predicts which stage II colon cancer patients may benefit from chemotherapy after surgery to prevent a recurrence of their disease.

The study was published today in the online edition of the New England Journal of Medicine.

The majority of patients with stage II colon cancer--cancer that has grown into or through the outer layer of the colon but has not spread to lymph nodes or distant organs--are cured by surgery alone. However, about 15 to 20 percent of these patients eventually relapse and die of metastatic disease.


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Can Performance Brands Cause A Placebo Effect?

January 20, 2016 - 10:09pm

From the middle-school child considering the premier brands of soccer shoes, to the college graduate weighing which graduate test prep course to take, a common marketing message from consumer brands is "you will perform better with us."

In a new study, Frank Germann, of the Department of Marketing in the University of Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business, and colleagues Aaron Garvey of the University of Kentucky and Lisa Bolton of Penn State University examine if such performance brands can cause a placebo effect.


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Genetics And Environment Impact Familial Depression

January 20, 2016 - 9:46pm

Building on a 30-year, three-generation study of depressed individuals, their children and offspring, a study published in the journal Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging provides a better understanding of the familial risk for depression and the role neuroplasticity might have in increasing the risk of developing depression.

The research by scientists at Children's Hospital Los Angeles and Columbia University shows a link between a particular allele for serotonin found at a higher frequency in those at risk of depression because of family history, and those who go on to develop major depressive disorder.


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Planet Nine: Not Pluto, A New Planet Discovered In Our Solar System

January 20, 2016 - 7:42pm

Caltech researchers have found evidence of a giant planet tracing a bizarre, highly elongated orbit in the outer solar system. The object, which the researchers have nicknamed Planet Nine, has a mass about 10 times that of Earth and orbits about 20 times farther from the sun on average than does Neptune (which orbits the sun at an average distance of 2.8 billion miles). In fact, it would take this new planet between 10,000 and 20,000 years to make just one full orbit around the sun.

The researchers, Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown, discovered the planet's existence through mathematical modeling and computer simulations but have not yet observed the object directly.


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Zuckerberg Or Buffett -- Is Youth Or Experience More Valuable In The Boardroom?

January 20, 2016 - 7:41pm

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Approximately half of the companies listed with Standard & Poor have adopted policies mandating retirement based on age. A new study from the University of Missouri has found that although these mandatory retirement polices represent an effective way to address underperforming CEOs, accumulated job experience improves performance and counters age-related declines.


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Omega 3 Levels Affect Whether B Vitamins Can Slow Brain's Decline

January 20, 2016 - 12:20pm

While research has already established that B vitamin supplements can help slow mental decline in older people with memory problems, an international team have now found that having higher levels of Omega-3 fatty acids in your body could boost the B vitamins' effect.

The team, from the Universities of Cape Town, Oslo, Oxford and the UAE, studied more than 250 people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) in Oxford. MCI is when brain function is below what is normally expected for a person's age but is not significant enough to interfere with daily life. While it is not as serious as dementia, if untreated it often progresses to become dementia.


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Disrupting Cell's Supply Chain Freezes Cancer Virus

January 20, 2016 - 12:20pm

DURHAM, N.C. -- When the cancer-causing Epstein-Barr virus moves into a B-cell of the human immune system, it tricks the cell into rapidly making more copies of itself, each of which will carry the virus.

To satisfy a sudden increase in demand for more building parts, rapidly dividing host cells will chew up their insides to free up more amino acids, fats and nucleotides.

But if supplies of these materials run low, the cell will enter a suspended state called senescence and cell division will stop, freezing the advance of the virus, according to new findings from a Duke University research team that appear in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


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Easier Access To Children's GP Appointments Linked To Reduced Use Of Emergency Departments

January 20, 2016 - 12:20pm

Children whose GPs are easy to access are less likely to visit A&E than those whose GPs are less able to provide appointments. During weekdays, children's visits to A&E peak after school hours.


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Fitbit Extreme: Catching Heartbeats With Millimeter-Wave Radar From A Distance

January 20, 2016 - 11:18am

Heartbeats can now be measured without placing sensors on the body, thanks to a new way to measure heartbeats remotely, in real time, and under controlled conditions with as much accuracy as electrocardiographs.

The researchers say this will allow for the development of "casual sensing" -- taking measurements as people go about their daily activities, for instance, when they are going to bed or getting ready to start the day. Kind of like a Fitbit, except accurate

"Taking measurements with sensors on the body can be stressful and troublesome, because you have to stop what you're doing," says Hiroyuki Sakai, a researcher at Panasonic. "What we tried to make was something that would offer people a way to monitor their body in a casual and relaxed environment."


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Are People Suffering As A Result Of Ultrasound In The Air?

January 20, 2016 - 1:12am

New research from the University of Southampton indicates that the public are being exposed, without their knowledge, to airborne ultrasound.

The study found increasing exposure to ultrasound in locations such as railway stations, museums, libraries, schools and sports stadiums, in which there have been complaints of nausea, dizziness, migraine, fatigue and tinnitus.

Ultrasound in public places can be generated from a number of sources including loudspeakers, door sensors and public address systems.


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Study: First Ever To Quantify Crop By Crop Where African Farmers Obtain Seed

January 20, 2016 - 1:12am

NAIROBI, KENYA (20 January 2016)--Small, family farmers in Africa purchase more than half of their seeds every year through local markets and other informal sources--neglected outlets that present a major opportunity for improving access to better crop varieties crucial to dealing with climate, nutrition, and other production challenges in a region where food security remains a major concern. That's a key finding from comprehensive new research released today in the Journal Food Security that examined some 10,000 seed transactions across five African countries and Haiti.


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How Face-to-face Still Beats Facebook

January 20, 2016 - 1:12am

Social media may seem to be a way to make and maintain hundreds of friendships. But University of Oxford research, supported by Dorset bakers Thomas J. Fudge's, suggests that the constraints that limit the number of friends we have offline also apply online. The study is published in the journal Royal Society Open Science.

Offline, research has given rise to what's called the Social Brain Hypothesis. This says that our brain's ability to process multiple relationships creates a natural group size for humans of 100 - 200 people. This size is also constrained by the time required to maintain relationships - we only have so much time to devote to meeting or talking to people.


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Forget Pacific Garbage Patch Hype, Focus On Coastal Litter

January 20, 2016 - 12:17am

Though hyper-exaggerated pictures of garbage patches and models extrapolated from a fishing line study in the 1980s get all of the media attention when it comes to pollution, it causes activist groups to raise money by focusing on the wrong thing. The most efficient way to clean up ocean plastics and avoid harming ecosystems is to stop litter on the coasts.


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Ancient Genomes Reveal That The English Are One-third Anglo-Saxon

January 19, 2016 - 8:54pm

For the first time, researchers have been able to directly estimate the Anglo-Saxon ancestry of the British population from ancient skeletons, showing how Anglo-Saxon immigrants mixed with the native population.

Human remains excavated from burial sites near Cambridge provided the material for the first whole-genome sequences of ancient British DNA. Using a new analysis method to compare these ancient genomes with modern-day sequences, researchers have estimated that approximately a third of British ancestors were Anglo-Saxon immigrants.


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China Is Beginning To Catch Up To The US In Science And Technology Leadership

January 19, 2016 - 8:11pm

In the 1990s, the Clinton administration sharply reduced the number of foreign work visas - the reason was protectionism, the belief that foreign workers were taking American jobs.

Things didn't work out as planned. Jobs instead went overseas and since we did not reduce student visas, Asian students learned at the best schools in the world and were forced to return home to compete with Americans, rather than becoming Americans.


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Young People After Obamacare: Mental Health Costs Way Up

January 19, 2016 - 7:30pm

The reason to force young people to buy health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was because they are an easy profit center. They won't use much in the early years but they will when they are old, when a new generation of young people will be forced to pay.

It hasn't really worked out that way. While emergency room visits did go down slightly, visits were instead done more in an office for the difference, the cost of mental illness ER visits in this age group increased "significantly," as did diseases of the circulatory system, according to a paper in Annals of Emergency Medicine.


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A Way To 'Dial Down' Autoimmunity Without Compromising Immune Response

January 19, 2016 - 6:46pm

A new study shows how dangerous autoimmune responses, seen in diseases such as lupus and multiple sclerosis, might be "dialed down" without compromising the immune system's ability to fight viruses and bacteria. 

The new study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences defines a mechanism at work in an anti-autoimmune drug candidate called ozanimod, currently in advanced phase 3 clinical trials for multiple sclerosis and ulcerative colitis.


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Infant-friendly Flu Vaccine Developed With Key Protein

January 19, 2016 - 6:42pm

According to the World Health Organization, influenza causes serious illness among millions of people each year, resulting in 250,000 to 500,000 deaths. Those most at risk include infants younger than six months, because they cannot be vaccinated against the disease. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri School of Medicine have identified a naturally occurring protein that, when added to the flu vaccine, may offer protection to babies during their first months of life.


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