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Occupational Asthma In France Caused By...Flour

September 7, 2014 - 2:21pm

Wheat is the latest fad diet victim and a new study presented at the European Respiratory Society's International Congress adds to its villainy. It says flour is worse for occupational asthma in French workers than toxic chemicals.

The scholars analyzed all cases of occupational asthma in France to understand who was most affected by the condition and what the main causes were. Data were collected over a 3-year period from a network of respiratory doctors specialized in occupational diseases. 330 cases were analyzed.  


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Would You Change The Way You Wee To Save The World?

September 7, 2014 - 2:56am

Sewage would be useful if it wasn't mixed in together.Credit: EPA

By Jonathan Bridge, University of Liverpool

The critical links between water, sanitation, and our global consumption of energy – the “energy-water nexus” are more obvious than ever before. But how many of us will take direct action at the most basic level of all?

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Vampires Are Right: Fresh Blood Is Better

September 6, 2014 - 8:11pm

Blood may look like blood but it doesn't always behave like blood. 

The longer blood is stored, the less it can carry oxygen into the tiny microcapillaries of the body, says a new study that used optical techniques to measure the stiffness of the membrane surrounding red blood cells over time. They found that, even though the cells retain their shape and hemoglobin content, the membranes get stiffer, which steadily decreases the cells' functionality.


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Genetic Modification Of Peaches In 5,500 BC

September 6, 2014 - 5:24pm
If you enjoy a sweet, fleshy peach today, give some thanks to scientifically minded, free-market farmers in China 7,500 years ago.

A new analysis has found that the domestic peaches popular worldwide today can trace their ancestry back to the lower Yangtze River Valley in Southern China at least that long ago.  Radiocarbon dating of ancient peach stones (pits) discovered in the Lower Yangtze River Valley indicates that the peach seems to have been diverged from its wild ancestors as early as 7,500 years ago. 
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American Politics: Old Media Losing Role As Gatekeepers To Twitter

September 6, 2014 - 2:17pm

The Obama administration opened up a new front in the culture wars by creating a stunning social media campaign to get out the vote, and they have leveraged new media since; only one internal photographer gets to take pictures, for example, and those pictures go right to social media.

And they don't involve media organizations in reaching places like the Middle East and North Africa, they go right to Twitter.


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New Blood Test Predicts How Ovarian Cancer Cells To Which Treatment

September 6, 2014 - 2:00pm
A new blood test could allow doctors to predict which ovarian cancer patients will respond to particular types of treatment. The test could be developed and used in hospitals within the next few years.  

It would mean medics could see which patients could benefit from blood vessel-targeting drugs - such as bevacizumab - in addition to conventional therapy. Meanwhile, others who are not going to benefit would be spared the time and side effects associated with having the drug.  

The test would also help to reduce the cost to the NHS. Ovarian cancer has seen little increase in survival rates over the last few decades and scientists are seeking new treatment strategies to improve the standard approach of surgery and chemotherapy.
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4 Things You Should Know About Gene Patents

September 6, 2014 - 1:00pm

A gene patent means only the patent-holder has the right to undertake research and development involving that gene.Credit: Shutterstock

By Rodney Scott, University of Newcastle

The Federal Court’s decision that gene patenting is permitted in Australia will have ramifications for all gene patents, even though the case involved only one gene associated with breast cancer.

A gene patent means only the patent-holder has the right to undertake research and development involving that gene. These patents generally last for 20 years.

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The Irony Of Twelve Triple Three

September 6, 2014 - 7:56am
The NSA is not allowed to gather intel on US citizens (at least not without a FISA court order), but there is an obscure Reagan era loophole--Executive Order 12333, or Twelve Triple Three--that allows NSA to scoop up data on millions of Americans and store these data (about 350 billion searchable records—that’s “billion” with a “B”) for up to five years.

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Debate Education Efficiency, But Don’t Rank Countries On It

September 6, 2014 - 2:40am

Finland is the country to beat. Kimmo Brandt/EPA

By Daniel Muijs, University of Southampton

There has been a recent explosion of interest in the effectiveness of education systems around the world, largely driven by international studies that compare the performance of large samples of students from a wide range of countries.

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If More People Switched To Being Vegetarians, We'd Solve Global Warming

September 6, 2014 - 2:23am

If Americans adopted the recommendations the USDA's "Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010," diet-related greenhouse gas emissions would increase 12 percent, according to scholars, and if Americans reduced their daily caloric intake to the recommended level of about 2,000 calories while shifting to a healthier diet, greenhouse gas emissions would decrease by only 1 percent.

What must happen is that Americans must switch to no animal products, say Martin Heller and Gregory Keoleian of the University of Michigan's Center for Sustainable Systems, who looked at the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the production of about 100 foods, as well as the potential effects of shifting Americans to a diet recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 


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The Stigma Of Mental Health Is A Barrier To Getting Care

September 6, 2014 - 1:01am

Millions of Americans are thought to experience mental illness in a given year, and the impacts of mental illness are undoubtedly felt by millions more in the form of family members, friends, and coworkers.

Though there are concerns about a lack of evidence-based treatment in mental health, it is better than doing nothing - yet nothing is what up to 40% of individuals with serious mental illness get, according to a new report in Psychological Science in the Public Interest. They cite stigma as a significant barrier to care for many individuals with mental illness.


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Dengue Vaccine May Cause Short-Term Increase

September 6, 2014 - 12:33am

Dengue is a serious illness diminished in importance in much of the developed world. Some efforts evolve around genetic modification while other efforts work on a vaccine.


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Magma Plumes In The Earth's Interior Crack Continents

September 5, 2014 - 11:00pm
Researchers say that magma columns in the Earth's interior can cause continental breakup – under the right circumstances.

In some parts of the Earth, material rises upwards like a column from the boundary layer of the Earth's core and the lower mantle to just below the Earth's crust hundreds of kilometers above. Halted by the resistance of the hard crust and lithospheric mantle, the flow of material becomes wider, taking on a mushroom-like shape. Specialists call these magma columns mantle plumes or simply plumes.
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Older Women: Eat More Bananas, Cut Risk Of Stroke

September 5, 2014 - 11:00pm

Postmenopausal women who eat foods higher in potassium, like bananas, are less likely to have strokes and die than women who eat less potassium-rich foods, according to new research in Stroke.


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Herbals, Dietary Supplements Linked To Liver Injury

September 5, 2014 - 4:04am
Supplements are more likely than medications to lead to death or liver transplantation, according to a new paper in Hepatology.

The new research shows that liver injury caused by herbals and dietary supplements increased from 7% to 20% in the study group over a ten-year period. Liver injury caused by non-bodybuilding supplements is most severe, occurring more often in middle-aged women and more frequently resulting in death or the need for transplantation than liver injury from bodybuilding supplements or conventional medications.
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Customer Experience Matters Most When The Economy Is Doing Well

September 5, 2014 - 3:23am

Unless you are part of the 1 percent with your stock portfolio climbing, you are probably not an American who factors your experience into which price you pay these days. 

A common belief is that the economy affects what one purchases and that is independent of income; all people feel nervous when the economy is doing poorly. Yet the authors find that the influence of the economy even impacts the degree to which consumers incorporate past service experiences into their future purchases - especially when the economy is doing better. Counter to popular wisdom that firms should double down on improving customer experience when economic times are challenging, the authors of a new paper find that firms should do so when times are good.  


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WHO Is Misleading On E-Cigarettes, Say Experts

September 5, 2014 - 12:17am

A recently published World Health Organization (WHO)-commissioned review of evidence on e-cigarettes contains serious errors, misinterpretations and misrepresentations, which may lead to policy-makers and the public not understanding the potential public health benefits of e-cigarettes. 

The authors, writing today in the journal Addiction, analyze the WHO-commissioned Background Paper on E-cigarettes, which looks to have been influential in the recently published WHO report calling for greater regulation of e-cigarettes. 


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Not So Simple Climate Science: Past Temperature In Greenland Adjusted

September 4, 2014 - 10:30pm

One of the common misconceptions about climate, brought about by the blight of 'framing' that afflicted science media in the last decade, is that the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, solar radiation and temperature follow each other – the more solar radiation and the more carbon dioxide, the hotter the temperature. 

Climate experts always knew better but let the analogies go in hopes that it would get policy action done regarding too much CO2, but too much simplification has done more harm than good, and now more people than ever assume science is just another extension of politics - in issues ranging from the climate to genetic modification to vaccines and even energy policy.


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Kurt Vonnegut Was Right: Wear Sunglasses

September 4, 2014 - 9:57pm

Exfoliation syndrome (XFS) is an eye condition that is a leading cause of secondary open-angle glaucoma and can lead to an increased risk of cataract and cataract surgery complications. 


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