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Utilizing Fat's Healing Properties In Heart Disease

July 21, 2014 - 6:00pm

Too much dietary fat is bad for the heart, everyone knows that by now, but not all fats are equal. The right kind of fat keeps the heart healthy, and a paper in The Journal of Experimental Medicine shows how it works.

Unlike saturated fats discussed in popular media, unsaturated dietary fatty acids, such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), are known to protect against cardiovascular diseases. However, the mechanism and the specific fat metabolites responsible for this protection were unknown. 


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A Genetic Cause Of Common Breast Tumors

July 21, 2014 - 5:00pm

A team of researchers made a seminal breakthrough in understanding the molecular basis of fibroadenoma, one of the most common breast tumors diagnosed in women. Led by Professors Teh Bin Tean, Patrick Tan, Tan Puay Hoon and Steve Rozen, the team used advanced DNA sequencing technologies to identify a critical gene called MED12 that was repeatedly disrupted in nearly 60% of fibroadenoma cases. 


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Mapping Environmental Effects On DNA One Cell At A Time

July 21, 2014 - 4:18pm

A new single-cell technique can help investigate how the environment affects our development and the traits we inherit from our parents. It can be used to map all of the 'epigenetic marks' on the DNA within a single cell,which will boost understanding of embryonic development, enhance clinical applications like cancer therapy and even reduce the number of mice used in research.


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Delayed Language More Nature Than Nurture

July 21, 2014 - 2:48pm

"She'll grow out of it," used to be a common phrase about raising kids, meaning it wasn't anything that was wrong physically or in upbringing, it is just the diversity of human existence. Some kids develop later. But in today's hyper-diagnosis culture, researchers have wanted to figure out if that old saying was true, or just wishful thinking.

A  study of 473 sets of twins followed since birth has found that, compared to single-born children, 47 percent of 24-month-old identical twins had language delay compared to 31 percent of non-identical twins. Overall, twins had twice the rate of late language emergence of single-born children. None of the children had disabilities affecting language acquisition. 


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Mitochondria And Antioxidants: A Tale Of Two Scientists

July 21, 2014 - 1:53pm



There is a little miracle of science happening in your body right now. As you read this, a minuscule 5 grams of a high-energy molecule called adenosine triphosphate - ATP - is causing all kinds of reactions in order to give you the energy to sit at your computer. In total, 8 ounces of ATP is being recycled hundreds of times each day, so many times that a human can use their body weight - 200 pounds of ATP in my case – every 24 hours. 

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You Don't Stop Learning To Read In 4th Grade - Study

July 21, 2014 - 11:32am

Teaching remains more art than science and a popular conjecture that has caught the attention of the education business has been that fourth grade is when students stop learning to read and start reading to learn.  People love to swap terms around that way. But is it accurate?

A new paper in Developmental Science says there is nothing special about fourth grade at all, there is no change in automatic word processing, a crucial component of that reading shift conjecture. Instead, some types of word processing become automatic before fourth grade, while others don't switch until after fifth.


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Probiotic Plus: Fecal Transplants Let Packrats Eat Toxic Food

July 21, 2014 - 9:00am

Woodrats lost their ability to eat toxic creosote bushes after antibiotics killed their gut microbes. Woodrats that never ate the plants were able to do so after receiving fecal transplants with microbes from creosote-eaters, University of Utah biologists found.

The new study confirms what biologists long have suspected: bacteria in the gut – and not just liver enzymes – are "crucial in allowing herbivores to feed on toxic plants," says biologist Kevin Kohl, a postdoctoral researcher and first author of a new paper in Ecology Letters.


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Looking For Alien Life? Look To The Oceans

July 21, 2014 - 5:00am

A new paper in Astrobiology says we will need to look to oceans to find life on Earth-like planets. Most computer simulations of habitable climates on Earth-like planets have focused on their atmospheres, but as is easily seen on Venus, the presence of oceans is vital for optimal climate stability and habitability.

Their model simulated pattern of ocean circulation on a hypothetical ocean-covered Earth-like planet. They looked at how different planetary rotation rates would impact heat transport with the presence of oceans taken into account. 


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More People In The UK Complain About Doctors - Media Implicated

July 21, 2014 - 2:09am

When you get something for free, how much complaining can you really do? Apparently quite a bit, in the UK, according to a new report. There has been a large increase in complaints, which may be due to wider social trends rather than localized issues. A large number of complaints did not progress because the issues raised could not be identified, which suggests that the General Medical Council (GMC) is getting complaints due to a wider complaint-handling system and culture but they are outside its scope.


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Sea Level Rise In Western Tropical Pacific Will Be Caused By Man

July 21, 2014 - 12:00am

A new study indicates sea levels likely will continue to rise in the tropical Pacific Ocean off the coasts of the Philippines and northeastern Australia as humans continue to alter the climate.

The study authors combined past sea level data gathered from both satellite altimeters and traditional tide gauges to find out how much a naturally occurring climate phenomenon called the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, or PDO, influences sea rise patterns in the Pacific.


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In Plants, Size And Age Impact Productivity More Than Climate And Rain - Study

July 20, 2014 - 11:28pm

The size and age of plants has more of an impact on their productivity than temperature and precipitation, according to a landmark study by University of Arizona researchers.

Professor Brian Enquist and postdoctoral researcher Sean Michaletz, along with collaborators Dongliang Cheng from Fujian Normal University in China and Drew Kerkhoff from Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, have combined a new mathematical hypothesis with data from more than 1,000 forests across the world to show that climate has a relatively minor direct effect on net primary productivity, or the amount of biomass that plants produce by harvesting sunlight, water and carbon dioxide.  


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Material Can Extract Radon, Radioactive Elements From Air And Water

July 20, 2014 - 8:39pm

 An 'organic cage molecule' called CC3 has been found to separate krypton, radon and xenon from air at concentrations of only a few parts per million. 

Gases such as radon, xenon and krypton all occur naturally in the air but in minute quantities – typically less than one part per million. As a result they are expensive to extract for use in industries such as lighting or medicine and, in the case of radon, the gas can accumulate in buildings.

In the US, radon accounts for around 21,000 lung cancer deaths a year.


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60 Percent Of The Risk Of Developing Autism Is Genetic - Study

July 20, 2014 - 8:31pm

A new paper in Nature Genetics finds that nearly 60 percent of the risk of developing autism is genetic and most of that risk is caused by inherited variant genes that are common in the population and present in individuals without the disorder.

Although autism is thought to be caused by an interplay of genetic and other factors, there has been no consensus on their relative contributions and the nature of its genetic architecture. Recently, evidence has been mounting that genomes of people with autism are prone to harboring de novo mutations - rare, spontaneous mutations that exert strong effects and can largely account for particular cases of the disorder.


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Using Twitter To Track Lady Gaga - Oh, And Flu

July 20, 2014 - 7:30pm

A site called Social Predictor (sociadictor.com) predicts future trends based on the number of tweets, sentiment of tweets, number of news stories and sentiment of the news stories about celebrities and culture. It can also try and predict stock prices or daily sales of a product, based on the chatter related to user-input keywords, such as a stock ticker or the name.

The creators said trading strategy based on their model outperformed other baseline strategies by between 1.4 percent and nearly 11 percent and did better than the Dow Jones Industrial Average during a four-month simulation. 
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Red Planet: Global Geologic Map Of Mars Shows It's Older Than Thought

July 20, 2014 - 6:30pm
A new global geologic map of Mars is the most thorough representation of the "Red Planet's" surface, bringing together observations and scientific findings from four orbiting spacecraft that have been acquiring data for more than 16 years.
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Robotic Grasp Gives You Two Extra Fingers

July 20, 2014 - 6:02pm

An MIT robotic device is worn around the wrist and basically works like two extra fingers adjacent to the pinky and thumb.

A novel control algorithm enables it to move in sync with the wearer's fingers to grasp objects of various shapes and sizes. Wearing the robot, a user could use one hand to, for instance, hold the base of a bottle while twisting off its cap. The robot, which the MIT researchers have dubbed "supernumerary robotic fingers," consists of actuators linked together to exert forces as strong as those of human fingers during a grasping motion.


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Watching Electrons Jump Between The Fragments Of Exploding Molecules

July 20, 2014 - 5:27pm

Ultra-short X-ray flashes have enabled scientists to watch electrons jumping between the fragments of exploding molecules. The study reveals up to what distance a charge transfer between the two molecular fragments can occur, marking the limit of the molecular regime.

The technique used can show the dynamics of charge transfer in a wide range of molecular systems. Such mechanisms play a role in numerous chemical processes, including photosynthesis.


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Combination Drug Therapy Cures Hepatitis C In Patients Co-infected With HIV

July 20, 2014 - 3:00pm

A multicenter team of researchers report that in a phase III clinical trial, a combination drug therapy cures chronic hepatitis C in the majority of patients co-infected with both HIV and hepatitis C.

"In many settings, hepatitis C is now a leading cause of death among HIV co-infected patients," says Mark Sulkowski, M.D., medical director of the Johns Hopkins Infectious Disease Center for Viral Hepatitis and professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Approximately one-third of HIV patients in the United States have hepatitis C, with an estimated 7 million co-infected patients worldwide.


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Natural Hormone Trigger For Ovulation Could Make IVF Safer

July 20, 2014 - 2:45pm

Researchers have successfully used a new and potentially safer method to stimulate ovulation in women undergoing IVF treatment.  One in six couples in the UK experiences infertility, and 48,147 women underwent IVF treatment in 2011. 


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Why There's A Bend In The Appalachian Mountain Chain

July 20, 2014 - 2:30am

The Appalachian mountain chain runs along a nearly straight line from Alabama to Newfoundland— 1,500 miles - except for a curious bend in Pennsylvania and New York.

Why it bends has been a mystery. When the North American and African continental plates collided more than 300 million years ago, the North American plate began folding and thrusting upwards as it was pushed westward into the dense underground rock structure—in what is now the northeastern United States. The dense rock created a barricade, forcing the Appalachian mountain range to spring up.  Yet the bend was cause for speculation.


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