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Updated: 56 min 23 sec ago

Telemedicine Catches Retinopathy Of Prematurity Blinding Disease In Premature Babies

June 27, 2014 - 6:01pm

About 450,000 (12 percent) of the 3.9 million babies born each year in the United States are premature. Thanks to modern medicine, the number of preterm infants who survive has also surged in middle income countries in Latin America, Asia, and Eastern Europe. 

In these parts of the world, rates of childhood blindness from retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) are estimated at 15 to 30 percent—compared to 13 percent in the United States. Some degree of  retinopathy of prematurity appears in more than half of all infants born at 30 weeks pregnancy or younger—a full-term pregnancy is 40 weeks—but only about 5 to 8 percent of cases become severe enough to require treatment.


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Hot Hand Bias: Monkeys Believe In Winning Streaks Too

June 27, 2014 - 5:31pm

The sign of a bad gambler is the belief that they are on a winning streak, that luck is just going their way.

Gambling is math and luck. If you can afford to keep doubling, you will win. And as long as you stop after you win, you can never lose. That is why casinos have table minimums and maximums, to prevent winning. 

But humans have a well-documented tendency to see instead winning and losing streaks in situations that, in fact, are random. Psychologists disagree about whether this "hot-hand bias" is a cultural artifact picked up in childhood or a predisposition deeply ingrained in the structure of our cognitive architecture. 


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More Than 40 Melanoma-specific Genes That Determine Aggressiveness Discovered

June 27, 2014 - 5:00pm

Melanoma is one of the worst, most metastatic cancers known today.

Researchers from the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) have discovered more than 40 genes that predict the level of aggressiveness of melanoma and that distinguish it from other cancers with a poor prognosis. The discovery will help to identify unique aspects of melanoma that could contribute to determine the risk of developing metastasis in patients with this disease. It explains why a drug, also described by CNIO, is being used to selectively attack the melanoma tumor cells.  

What is the function of these genes? Strangely, the factors that are increased in melanoma share a common mechanism: the formation of vesicles called endosomes.


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Live Like The Poor, Die Like The Rich - More Money Does Not Solve Health Care Issues

June 27, 2014 - 5:00pm

Advocates for subsidized health care insist we face a black and white issue - the rich have health care and the poor do not.

Yet poor people in developing nations are healthier than wealthier countries. 

Hans Rosling,  Professor of International Health at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, is giving a presentation at
the 64th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting where he intends to underscore the fact that false assumptions regarding the reality of life for people throughout the world are an impediment to the urgently needed potential solutions to the rising global demand for health care. 

That the world of health is divided between rich and poor is more cliché


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Kids, Don't Imbibe: That's How Alcoholic Hobos Started

June 27, 2014 - 5:00pm

Surveys of 20 homeless, alcohol-dependent patients who had four or more annual visits to Bellevue Hospital's emergency department for two consecutive years determined that all began drinking in childhood or adolescence, and 13 reported having alcoholic parents. 13 patients reported abuse in their childhood homes and 19 left home by age 18. Only one was married and none of the subjects was employed. The three who were military veterans said that military life amplified their alcohol use. 


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Cherokeea Attakullakulla: New Species Of Moth From The Appalachian Mountains

June 27, 2014 - 4:31pm

A small, drab and highly inconspicuous moth has been flitting nameless about its special niche among the middle elevations of one of the world's oldest mountain ranges, the southern Appalachian Mountains in North America. A team of American scientists has now identified this new to science species as Cherokeea attakullakulla.

It was frequenting these haunts for tens of millions of years before the first humans set foot on this continent, all the while not caring in the least that it had no name or particular significance, but it will probably still get listed as endangered. 


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Proof Of Concept For New Tuberculosis Therapy

June 27, 2014 - 4:31pm


Tuberculosis (TB) remains a major cause of disability and death worldwide. An estimated 8.6 million people fell ill and 1.3 million people died from the disease in 2012, according to the World Health Organization. Although TB is curable, adherence to therapy is difficult as treatment requires taking antibiotic drugs for at least six months and sometimes up to two years. Poor adherence to medication and other factors have resulted in drug-resistant strains, and currently no effective TB vaccine exists.  

A new paper describes a type of tuberculosis (TB) treatment that involves manipulating the body's response to TB bacteria rather than targeting the bacteria themselves, a concept called host-directed therapy.


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Acid-sensitive Ion Channels Affect Addiction-Related Behavior

June 27, 2014 - 4:01pm

A new form of neurotransmission influences the long-lasting memory created by addictive drugs, like cocaine and opioids, and the subsequent craving for these drugs of abuse, according to a recent study.

Loss of this type of neurotransmission creates changes in brains cells that resemble the changes caused by drug addiction so targeting it might lead to new therapies for treating drug addiction.


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Will Coupons And Discounts On Stuff Lead To Healthier Behavior?

June 27, 2014 - 4:00pm

A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down but apparently the public will also happily accept movie tickets, cell phone minutes and discounts on air travel.

A private South African health plan, Discovery Health, increased patient use of preventive care using a program that incentivized healthy behavior using discounts on retail goods and travel. 

"Even though most people know that preventive care is important, too few people take advantage of it," said Ateev Mehrotra, associate professor of health care policy at  Harvard Medical School. "Incentive plans like this try to reinforce those long-term gains with more immediate rewards." 


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Estradiol Hormone Levels At Midlife Linked To Heart Disease Risk In Women

June 27, 2014 - 3:30pm

As hormone levels change during the transition to menopause, the quality of a woman's cholesterol carriers degrades, leaving her at greater risk for heart disease, according to researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. 

Their evaluation was done using an advanced method to characterize cholesterol carriers in the blood and was published in the Journal of Lipid Research. They believe the results call for further research to evaluate the menopause-related dynamic changes in sex hormones on the quality of cholesterol carriers over time, as well as increased emphasis on the importance of healthy diet and exercise for women undergoing menopause. 


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Ocean Salinity: New Hypothesis On Cause Of Ice Age 2.6 Million Years Ago

June 27, 2014 - 3:30pm

A paper in Scientific Reports posits a new cause of the ice age that covered large parts of the Northern Hemisphere 2.6 million years ago.

The study found a previously unknown mechanism by which the joining of North and South America changed the salinity of the Pacific Ocean and caused major ice sheet growth across the Northern Hemisphere. The change in salinity encouraged sea ice to form which in turn created a change in wind patterns, leading to intensified monsoons. These provided moisture that caused an increase in snowfall and the growth of major ice sheets, some of which reached over a mile in thickness.


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Extinct Undersea Volcanoes Cause Tsunami Earthquakes

June 27, 2014 - 3:02pm

Tsunami earthquakes are rare but they happen at relatively shallow depths in the ocean. So while are small in terms of their magnitude, they create very large tsunamis, with some earthquakes that only measure 5.6 on the Richter scale generating waves that reach up to 30 feet high when they hit the shore. 

A global network of seismometers enables researchers to detect even the smallest earthquakes. However, the challenge has been to determine which small magnitude events are likely to cause large tsunamis.  New research has revealed the causes and warning signs of these rare tsunami earthquakes, which may lead to improved detection measures. 


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The Ecology Of Fear In Climate Change

June 27, 2014 - 2:54pm

Climate change is predicted to have major impacts on the many species that call our rocky shorelines home.

Species living in these intertidal habitats, which spend half their day exposed to air and the other half submerged by water, could subjected to a double whammy if air and water temperatures rise. 


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Genetics Are Dominant Risk Factor In Common Cancers

June 27, 2014 - 2:36pm

Though cultural advocates invoke cancer for their causes, genetics is the dominant risk factor in common breast, prostate and colorectal cancers. 


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Night Owls Shouldn't Drive In The Morning

June 27, 2014 - 2:22pm

It's no secret that people who are tired don't perform well but a new study tackles the impact of being a morning person or a night owl on driving performance.

By measuring people when they are out of sync with their "chronotype" whether they are physiologically more active during the day or night - influences driving performance, and which chronotype performs better at a non-optimal time.


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Facebook Users Don't Recommend Products Because It Seems Too Pushy - Religion, Politics Are Just Fine

June 27, 2014 - 1:57pm

Facebook has more than 1.23 billion active users. Most of them are not actually friends with each other and because they are not friends with each other, they feel pushy recommending products or services. They're fine hammering on politics and religion, but endorsing a car looks too corporate.

That's bad news for Facebook's business model, which has so far convinced advertisers they need to spend money. Facebook has tinkered with everything from forcing contributors to pay to have their posts seen by people on their list to pushing ads more aggressively based on everything from browser cookies to media use on the PCs of members.


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Previously Unheralded Microbes Cause And Prevent Severe Diarrhea

June 27, 2014 - 1:40pm

Moderate to severe diarrhea (MSD) is a major cause of childhood mortality in developing countries and ranks as one of the top four causes of death among young children in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. In a finding that may one day help control this major cause of death among children in developing countries, a team has identified microorganisms that may trigger diarrheal disease and others that may protect against it.

These microbes were not widely linked to the condition previously and a much better understanding of these interactions is important because they could lead to possible dietary interventions.  


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Thank Ancient Ocean Currents We're Not In An Ice Age Right Now.

June 27, 2014 - 1:00pm

If your glass is half full, you recognize that in recent geological history, 90,000 of every 100,000 years have been ice ages, and it's been 12,000 years since the last one. In that light, global warming might be a good thing.


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The Real Reason Tesla Opened Its Patents, And Why It Makes Business Sense

June 27, 2014 - 12:00pm

Tesla Motors CEO and Tony Stark do-alike Elon Musk recently raised a great deal of consternation by releasing Tesla’s patents for anyone to use “in good faith”.  Amid the hue and cry of befuddled business analysts, multiple theories bubbled up.

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