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Mutations In CTR9 Gene Essential For Cell Regulation Cause Kidney Cancer In Kids

August 7, 2014 - 1:31pm

Mutations in a gene named
CTR9 gene
that helps regulate when genes are switched on and off in cells have been found to cause rare cases of Wilms tumor, the most common kidney cancer occurring in children.


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In The Antibiotics Game, It's The EU 21 - US 0

August 7, 2014 - 1:00pm



Europe is so far ahead of the US in its thinking on antibiotics and antibiotic resistance that we should all be ashamed.

For the last 15 years, Europe has led the way on the regulatory front making antibiotic development a top priority for its regulatory body the European Medicines Agency.  None of the recent US administrations going back to Bill Clinton nor the FDA itself ever made such a statement nor have they acted in a way commensurate with this thinking.

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Making Smarter Smart Homes

August 7, 2014 - 12:30pm


The 21st century will be the century of the 'smart home', where your home and your portable technology all interact seamlessly with one another.
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Rebellious Young Loggerhead Turtles Don't Go With The Flow

August 7, 2014 - 10:30am

Juvenile loggerhead turtles don't just passively drift through life, they swim into oncoming ocean currents, according to a new study.


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Photon Hunting In The Mesopelagic Twilight Zone

August 7, 2014 - 10:01am

Lanternsharks produce and perceive bioluminescent light in order to communicate, find prey, and camouflage themselves against predators in the mesopelagic twilight zone.

The mesopelagic twilight zone is 200-1000 meters deep in the sea - a vast, dim habitat, where, with increasing depth, sunlight is progressively replaced by point-like bioluminescent emissions. To better understand strategies used by bioluminescent predators inhabiting this region that help optimize photon capture, the authors of a new study analyzed the eye shape, structure, and retinal cell mapping in the visual systems of five deep-sea bioluminescent sharks, including four Lanternsharks (Etmopteridae) and one kitefin shark (Dalatiidae).


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Parasites FTW: Galápagos Hawks Hand Down Lice Like Family Heirlooms

August 7, 2014 - 8:31am

Parasite is colloquially a bad word but about half of all known species are parasites and biologists have long hypothesized that the strategy of leeching off other organisms is a major driver of biodiversity. 

Perhaps being called a parasite is a negative but in the evolution of life on Earth, being one is a winner. Studying populations of Galápagos hawks (Buteo galapagoensis) and feather lice that live in their plumage (Degeeriella regalis), a group led by University of Arizona ecologists and evolutionary biologists has gathered some of the first field evidence suggesting that a phenomenon called co-divergence between parasites and hosts is indeed an important mechanism driving the evolution of biodiversity.


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Upside To Stress: It Promotes Skin Healing

August 7, 2014 - 7:30am

Brief, acute psychological stress promoted healing in mouse models of three different types of skin irritations, according to a study
the Journal of Investigative Dermatology

The scientists found that healing was brought about by the anti-inflammatory effects of glucocorticoids – steroid hormones – produced by the adrenal glands in response to stress.


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War On Cancer 40 Years Later: Most Survival Rates Have Gone Up, But Not This One

August 7, 2014 - 6:30am

Since President Richard Nixon declared a War on Cancer over 40 years ago, survival rates have improved dramatically and cancer rates have even gone down, despite claims that everything from DDT to nuclear energy to genetically modified foods would cause a cancer epidemic.

Yet not all cancer survival has improved. Pancreatic cancer still has  the lowest survival rate of the 21 most common cancers, and in 40 years just over 3 percent of pancreatic cancer patients survive for at least five years, only a fraction more than the 2 percent who survived that long in the early 1970s.


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Human Milk Is Baby Food, But For Critically Ill Infants, It's Also Medicine

August 7, 2014 - 6:00am

Human milk is obviously baby food, but for sick, hospitalized infants, it's also medicine, according to a series of articles in Advances in Neonatal Care devoted to best practices in providing human milk to hospitalized infants. 

"The immunological and anti-inflammatory properties of human milk are especially important for the critically ill infants in our intensive care units," said Diane L. Spatz, Ph.D., R.N.-B.C., FAAN, nurse researcher and director of the Lactation Program at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), and the invited guest editor of the August 2014 issue of the journal, published by the National Association of Neonatal Nurses.


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Pesticides: Arctic Mammals Metabolize Them And Even Limit Human Exposure

August 7, 2014 - 4:52am

You aren't always what you eat – and that's a good thing. It's also why pesticides in reasonable usage haven't harmed arctic mammals such as caribou. Not only can caribou metabolize some current-use pesticides ingested in vegetation, they also limit the exposure of humans, including those who eat caribou.


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Stealth Cancer: Brain Tumors Fly Under The Body's Radar

August 7, 2014 - 4:00am

Brain tumors avoid the body's defense forces by coating their cells with extra amounts of a specific protein - they use biological stealth technology to evade detection by the early-warning immune system that should detect and kill them. By the time the tumors are detected it's too late for the body to defeat them. 

The findings in mice and rats show the key role of a protein called galectin-1 in some of the most dangerous brain tumors, called high grade malignant gliomas. They had actually been trying to study how the extra production of galectin-1 by tumor cells affects cancer's ability to grow and spread in the brain.


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PALB2 Gene Increases Risk Of Breast Cancer To 1 In 3 By Age 70

August 7, 2014 - 3:00am

BRCA1/2 genes are the most important breast cancer risks but after that, women with mutations in the PALB2 gene have on average a one in three chance of developing breast cancer by the age of seventy, according to a report in the New England Journal of Medicine.

In a study run through the international PALB2 Interest Group a team of researchers from 17 centres in eight countries led by the University of Cambridge analysed data from 154 families without BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations, which included 362 family members with PALB2 gene mutations. The effort was funded by the European Research Council, Cancer Research UK and multiple other international sources.


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Cancer Prevention Benefits Of Aspirin Are Worth It

August 7, 2014 - 3:00am

Aspirin has been linked to a significant reduction in the risk of developing – and dying from – the major cancers of the digestive tract, i.e. bowel, stomach and esophageal cancer in a recent Annals of Oncology paper. Some have been concerned about side effects, such as instances of bleeding, due to aspirin.

The review of the available evidence assessed both the benefits and harms of preventive use of aspirin. The researchers, led by Professor Jack Cuzick, Head of  Queen Mary University of London's Centre for Cancer Prevention, found taking aspirin for 10 years could cut bowel cancer cases by around 35% and deaths by 40%. Rates of esophageal and stomach cancers were cut by 30% and deaths from these cancers by 35-50%.


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Needed: Increased Conservation Efforts For Black Bears

August 7, 2014 - 2:42am

It's no surprise that between 1880 and 1920, as the population increased and America became more settled, Missouri, Oklahoma and Arkansas had increased deforestation and that decreased the habitat for black bears and other forest species.

To remedy that and repopulate that mountainous region known as the Central Interior Highlands (CIH), more than 250 bears from Minnesota and Manitoba were relocated to Arkansas in the 1950s and 1960s. Researchers have analyzed genetic diversity in black bears in the 
the Central Interior Highlands
and determined that conservation management has worked, but bears are not out of the woods yet.


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Hospital Incentives Reduce Patient Death

August 7, 2014 - 1:52am

A variety of programs have been introduced in UK hospitals to reduce patient deaths over the past decade and Advancing Quality - imported from the United States - was first to demonstrate a significant reduction in patient deaths. 

It was introduced in the North West region of England in 2008 and Advancing Quality was found to have reduced patient deaths by 890 in the first 18 months of the policy's introduction.  


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Pyrazoles And Neonicotinoids Linked To Reduced Honeybee Mitochondrial Activity

August 6, 2014 - 11:38pm

A new paper has found that two broad-spectrum systemic insecticides, fipornil and imidacloprid, may be impacting honeybees.

Fipronil, part of the phenylpyrazole chemical family, is a highly effective insecticide which can be applied at very low doses for everything from crop to veterinary pests. Imidacloprid is in the class of chemicals called neonicotinoids - it mimics nicotine, which can be toxic to sucking insects like fleas and termites but has no effect on mammals.
 


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Do GMO Crops Foster Monocultures?

August 6, 2014 - 11:37pm
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Jumping Genes Help Black Truffles Adapt To Their Environment

August 6, 2014 - 8:00pm

Tuber melanosporum - black or Périgord truffles - are fungi that grow in symbiosis with the roots of oak and hazelnut trees. In the world of haute cuisine, they are expensive and highly prized.

Epigenetics is the study of changes in gene expression caused by mechanisms other than changes in the DNA sequence.
In the world of epigenetics, black truffles are of major interest because of their unique pattern of DNA methylation, a biochemical process that chemically modifies nucleic acids without changing their sequence. 

A newly published reports on the truffle's unique genetic makeup.


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How Much Mercury Is Floating In The Ocean?

August 6, 2014 - 8:00pm

Mercury is a naturally occurring element and a part of human enterprises like burning coal and making cement and compact fluorescent light bulbs.

Knowing how much of both natural and unnatural mercury is bioavailable - uptaken by animals and humans— is important in international agreements to protect humans and the environment from mercury emissions and establishing public policies behind warnings about seafood consumption. Yet little is known about how much mercury in the environment is the result of human activity, or even how much bioavailable mercury exists in the global ocean.


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Science 2.0 And Learning Dimension Distributions: Using Bayes To Rank The Quality Of Wikipedia

August 6, 2014 - 7:18pm

Wikipedia is a free, online, user-generated database of articles on topics and people. Because of its popularity, it has become the default first link in Google search, which means it is frequently read and cited, making it even more authoritative in Google search.

There are numerous problems with the veracity of content, deliberate vandalism and incomplete entries - the Science 2.0 entry, for example, has been repeatedly hijacked and reverted by one user and the first reference is from a Wired article written in 2012 even though Science 2.0 came into existence in 2006. There are no links to Science 2.0 and that user even refuses to allow mention that it is a registered trademark and in the US and the European Union.


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