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The End Of Aggressive Health Care, And Hospitals With Lower Failure-To-Rescue Rates

October 5, 2014 - 3:26pm

In modern times, doctors in medical school and residency are steeped in a 'teach to the protocol' environment, mandated by the government and the threat of lawsuits if bold efforts don't work. With the gradual takeover of health care by governments, creativity and and initiative are going to decline even further but some hospitals still engage in high hospital care intensity (HCI) and they have lower rates of patients dying from a major complication, called failure to rescue. 


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Myrmecophily: Beetle Trapped In Amber For 52 Million Years And Social Parasitism

October 5, 2014 - 2:30pm

A 52-million-year old beetle was able to live alongside ants—preying on their eggs and usurping resources—within the comfort of their nest. Somehow.

The fossil, encased in a piece of amber from India, is the oldest-known example of this kind of social parasitism, known as "myrmecophily." The research also shows that the diversification of these stealth beetles, which infiltrate ant nests around the world today, correlates with the ecological rise of modern ants. 


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Dwell Time As The Missing Link: Counting The Seconds For Immunological Tolerance

October 5, 2014 - 2:12pm

Our immune system must distinguish between self and foreign and in order to fight infections without damaging the body's own cells at the same time. The immune system is loyal to cells in the body, but how this works is not fully understood.

A new study has discovered that the immune system uses a molecular biological clock to target intolerant T cells during their maturation process. 


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Cell Conversion And How DNA 'Bias' May Keep Some Diseases In Circulation

October 5, 2014 - 2:08pm

It's an early lesson in genetics: we get half our DNA from Mom, half from Dad.

But that straightforward explanation does not account for a process that sometimes occurs when cells divide. Called gene conversion, the copy of a gene from Mom can replace the one from Dad, or vice versa, making the two copies identical.

In a new study, researchers investigated this process in the context of the evolution of human populations. They found that a bias toward certain types of DNA sequences during gene conversion may be an important factor in why certain heritable diseases persist in populations around the world. 


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Bisphosphonate Osteoporosis Treatment May Also Benefit Breast Cancer Patients

October 5, 2014 - 1:30pm

Treatment approaches to reduce the risk of bone complications (metastasis) associated with breast cancer may be one step closer to becoming a reality. According to a study led by a team at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC), findings show that medication used to treat bone deterioration in post-menopausal women may also slow skeletal metastasis caused from breast cancer.

This study, published in this month's issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI), is among the first to link bisphosphonate (a common osteoporosis medication) use with improved survival in women with breast cancer.


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Meet 2014 OL339, Earth’s New Quasi-Moon

October 5, 2014 - 12:09pm


Astronomers have discovered an asteroid called 2014 OL339, that is the latest quasi-satellite of Earth – a space rock that orbits the sun but is close enough to Earth to look like a companion.

Our planet has one permanently bound satellite - the Moon, but also a likely large number of mini-moons or transient irregular natural satellites, and temporary natural retrograde satellites or quasi-satellites.
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Exercise Linked With Improved Physical And Mental Health Among Dialysis Patients

October 5, 2014 - 12:38am

Washington, DC (October 2, 2014) — Aerobic physical activity is strongly linked with better health-related quality of life, fewer depressive symptoms, and prolonged life in kidney failure patients on dialysis. The findings, which come from a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (CJASN), suggest that dialysis facilities have an opportunity to improve patients' health by providing exercise programs.


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Moderate Weekly Alcohol Intake Linked To Poorer Sperm Quality In Healthy Young Men

October 5, 2014 - 12:38am

They base their findings on 1221 Danish men between the ages of 18 and 28, all of whom underwent a medical examination to assess their fitness for military service, which is compulsory in Denmark, between 2008 and 2012.

As part of their assessment, the military recruits were asked how much alcohol they drank in the week before their medical exam (recent drinking); whether this was typical (habitual); and how often they binge drank, defined as more than 5 units in one sitting, and had been drunk in the preceding month.

They were also invited to provide a semen sample to check on the quality of their sperm, and a blood sample to check on their levels of reproductive hormones.


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A Discovery Could Prevent The Development Of Brain Tumours In Children

October 4, 2014 - 9:37pm

Montréal, October 2, 2014 – Scientists at the IRCM discovered a mechanism that promotes the progression of medulloblastoma, the most common brain tumour found in children. The team, led by Frédéric Charron, PhD, found that a protein known as Sonic Hedgehog induces DNA damage, which causes the cancer to develop. This important breakthrough will be published in the October 13 issue of the prestigious scientific journal Developmental Cell. The editors also selected the article to be featured on the journal's cover.

Sonic Hedgehog belongs to a family of proteins that gives cells the information needed for the embryo to develop properly. It also plays a significant role in tumorigenesis, the process that transforms normal cells into cancer cells.


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Study: Big-headed Ants Grow Bigger When Faced With Fierce Competitors

October 4, 2014 - 9:37pm

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The big-headed ant (Pheidole megacephala) is considered one of the world's worst invasive ant species. As the name implies, its colonies include soldier ants with disproportionately large heads. Their giant, muscle-bound noggins power their biting parts, the mandibles, which they use to attack other ants and cut up prey. In a new study, researchers report that big-headed ant colonies produce larger soldiers when they encounter other ants that know how to fight back.

The new findings appear in the Biological Journal of the Linnean Society.


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Study Of Mountain Lion Energetics Shows The Power Of The Pounce

October 4, 2014 - 9:36pm

Scientists at the University of California, Santa Cruz, using a new wildlife tracking collar they developed, were able to continuously monitor the movements of mountain lions in the wild and determine how much energy the big cats use to stalk, pounce, and overpower their prey.

The research team's findings, published October 3 in Science, help explain why most cats use a "stalk and pounce" hunting strategy. The new "SMART" wildlife collar--equipped with GPS, accelerometers, and other high-tech features--tells researchers not just where an animal is but what it is doing and how much its activities "cost" in terms of energy expenditure.


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Batteries Included: A Solar Cell That Stores Its Own Power

October 4, 2014 - 6:00pm

A new device invented at The Ohio State University is the world's first hybrid solar generator and battery - it solves the problem of finicky solar power generation by having the storage built in.

The key is a mesh solar panel, which allows air to enter the battery, and a special process for transferring electrons between the solar panel and the battery electrode. Inside the device, light and oxygen enable different parts of the chemical reactions that charge the battery.


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Supreme Delay: Why The Nation's Highest Court Puts Off Big Decisions Until The Last Moment

October 4, 2014 - 4:28pm

As the Supreme Court of the United States begins its fall 2014 session this month, it faces decisions on several "blockbuster" cases, including freedom of speech, religious freedoms in prison, pregnancy discrimination and a possible decision on gay marriage.

Just don't expect any of these decisions until next June, just before the court's session ends.
New research from the Washington University in St. Louis School of Law finds big, or "blockbuster," cases are disproportionately decided at the end of June, just before the court's summer recess.

"We knew that more than 30 percent of the court's decisions are issued in June and more than half of those in the last week," said Lee Epstein, PhD, the Ethan A. H. Shepley Distinguished University Professor.


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In-depth Analysis Of Bat Influenza Viruses Concludes They Pose Low Risk To Humans

October 4, 2014 - 4:28pm

Zoonosis—transmission of infections from other vertebrates to humans—causes regular and sometimes serious disease outbreaks. Bats are a well-known vertebrate reservoir of viruses like rabies and Ebola. Recent discovery of sequences in bats that are resemble influenza virus genes raised the question of whether bat flu viruses exist and could pose a threat to humans. A study published on October 2nd in PLOS Pathogens addresses this question based on detailed molecular and virological characterization.


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Thermotolerant Yeast Can Provide More Climate-smart Ethanol

October 4, 2014 - 4:28pm

The yeast has not been gene modified by the researchers; rather, they have used adaptive laboratory evolution to produce it. The method allows new characteristics to be produced without knowing which mutations are required to achieve them.

Three yeast cultivations were subjected to a temperature of about 40 degrees. After just over three months, when over 300 generations had passed, the yeast suddenly started to grow effectively in all three cultivations. The researchers analysed the genetic structure and metabolism in three yeast strains from each cultivation. They concluded that while several different mutations had occurred in the strains, all the strains had the mutation that produced fecosterol.


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Facebook Will Continue Experimenting On Users Under Closed Guidelines

October 4, 2014 - 1:00pm

Image: author provided

By David Glance, University of Western Australia

In June of this year, Facebook provoked a widespread public outcry after it became known that it had tried to manipulate the emotions of nearly 700,000 of its users as part of a social “experiment.”

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Twitching In Your Sleep Is More About Mapping The Brain Than Chasing Rabbits

October 3, 2014 - 11:00pm

Coming to get you. Credit: D Simmonds, CC BY-SA

By Mark Blumberg, University of Iowa; Alexandre Tiriac, University of Iowa, and Carlos del Rio Bermudez, University of Iowa

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Babies' Gut Bacteria Are Mostly Fixed By Time Spent In The Womb

October 3, 2014 - 10:08pm

Your gut bacteria won't change much. Credit: ponchicaBG

By Nicholas Ellaby, University of Liverpool

From eyes to the gap between the toes, we are covered in bacterial colonies.

Between 500 and 1000 unique species live in our gut alone. We provide an ideal environment for bacteria: warmth, moisture, nutrients and protection.

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As Majority Status Declines, Whites Will Have Less Support For Diversity, Say Psychologists

October 3, 2014 - 10:00pm

UCLA psychologists
using a scale of responses to scenarios are saying that white Americans may view diversity and multiculturalism negatively as the U.S. moves toward becoming a minority-majority nation.

The psychologists divided 98 white Americans from all regions of the country — half male, half female, with an average age of 37 — randomly into two groups. One group was told that whites will no longer be the majority in the U.S. by 2050; in fact, this is likely to be true as soon as 2043, according to some projections. The second group was told that whites would retain their majority status in the U.S. through at least 2050. All participants were then asked a series of questions about their views on diversity.


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Before Life, Where Did Abiotic Oxygen Come From?

October 3, 2014 - 9:20pm

Almost 20 percent of the Earth's atmosphere is oxygen. Green plants produce it as a byproduct of photosynthesis and it, in turn, is used by most living things on the planet to keep our metabolisms running.

Yet before those photosynthesizing organisms appeared about 2.4 billion years ago, the atmosphere was mostly carbon dioxide, a lot like Mars and Venus.

The common hypothesis is that there must have been a small amount of oxygen in the early atmosphere. Where did this abiotic ("non-life") oxygen come from? Oxygen reacts quite aggressively with other compounds, so it would not persist for long without some continuous source.


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