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Updated: 48 min 11 sec ago

Radiation Detectors Click By Design

July 4, 2015 - 2:13pm

The most popular form of radiation detector used is probably the Geiger-Mueller (GM) detector.  A GM detector is typically the device seen being used on TV shows and movies when measuring radiation.  The GM detector is the device which is making clicking noises which clicks faster and faster when it is exposed to increasingly greater amount of radiation.

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Patients With Recurrent Depression Have Smaller Hippocampi

July 4, 2015 - 1:30pm

The brains of people with recurrent depression have a significantly smaller hippocampus (the part of the brain most associated with forming new memories) than healthy individuals, according to a study of nearly 9,000 people called the ENIGMA study.

The researchers say this is the largest international study to compare brain volumes in people with and without major depression. It highlights the need to identify and treat depression effectively when it first occurs, particularly among teenagers and young adults. Using magnetic resonance imaged (MRI) brain scans, and clinical data from 1,728 people with major depression and 7,199 healthy individuals, the study combined 15 datasets from Europe, the USA and Australia. 


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Obese Teens Are Less Likely To Use Contraception

July 3, 2015 - 11:42pm

A study of nearly 1,000 teens found that sexually active obese adolescents were significantly less likely to use contraception than normal weight peers, putting them at higher risk of unintended pregnancy. Obese adolescents who did use contraception were also less likely to use it consistently, according to the paper. 

Researchers analyzed 26,545 weekly journal surveys measuring sexual practices and contraceptive use from a longitudinal study of 900 women ages 18-19 in Michigan. They examined the association between weight and sexual behaviors.


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Almost One In Three US Adults Owns A Gun But Murder Rates Have Plummeted

July 3, 2015 - 6:14pm

There is a paradox when it comes to guns in America. In states like California, gun ownership has doubled in the last 15 years while murder rates dropped substantially in that time. Today,
almost one in three US adults owns at least one gun, and owners are more likely to be white married men over the age of 55, hardly a high crime demographic.

Instead of being for crime, most guns are used for suicide - and even then fewer people commit suicide with guns in the US than do by hanging in Japan. Though Switzerland had always scoffed at the notion that guns cause crime - gun ownership is even higher there - similar results in more than one country dispel the myth that more legal guns lead to more crime or more murders.


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Why Horror Games Give Us The Fright We're Looking For

July 3, 2015 - 4:00pm
Why play horror-themed videogames designed to shock and scare?

As with horror films or novels, they provide a means to indulge in the pleasure of frightening ourselves.
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Head Start In The South Also Helped Create Future Civil Rights Leaders

July 3, 2015 - 3:41pm

A federal preschool program did more than improve educational opportunities for poor children in Mississippi during the 1960s - it created activists. 


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Protein-Based Elastic Gel Heals Wounds

July 3, 2015 - 2:54pm

A team of bioengineers at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH), led by Ali Khademhosseini, PhD, and Nasim Annabi, PhD, of the Biomedical Engineering Division, has developed a new protein-based gel that, when exposed to light, mimics many of the properties of elastic tissue, such as skin and blood vessels. In a paper published in Advanced Functional Materials, the research team reports on the new material's key properties, many of which can be finely tuned, and on the results of using the material in preclinical models of wound healing.


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Acidification Stunts Growth Of Developing Pink Salmon

July 3, 2015 - 1:00pm

Pink salmon that begin life in freshwater with high concentrations of carbon dioxide, which causes acidification, are smaller and may be less likely to survive, according to a new study.

The risks of ocean acidification on marine species have been studied extensively but the impact of freshwater acidification is not well understood. The study is one of the first to examine how rising carbon dioxide levels caused by climate change can impact freshwater fish.


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Cancer Abducts Immune Cells – This May Stop It

July 3, 2015 - 10:26am

Cancer cells play it dirty to get what they want. They are survival artists with a strong criminal streak. They surround themselves with a protective shield of extra-cellular material and then secure supply lines by attracting new blood vessels.

To achieve both of these aims, they set immune cells a honey trap by releasing attractants in the form of messenger molecules which lure immune cells to growing tumours. At the cancer site, the abducted immune cells release growth hormones to guide new blood vessels to the tumour and help build a protective shield.


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Gene Therapy For Cystic Fibrosis Shows Beneficial Effect On Lung Function

July 3, 2015 - 10:14am

For the first time gene therapy for cystic fibrosis has shown a significant benefit in lung function compared with placebo, in a phase 2 randomized trial. The technique replaces the defective gene response for cystic fibrosis by using inhaled molecules of DNA to deliver a normal working copy of the gene to lung cells.

“Patients who received the gene therapy showed a significant, if modest, benefit in tests of lung function compared with the placebo group and there were no safety concerns,” said senior author Professor Eric Alton from the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial College London. “Whilst the effect was inconsistent, with some patients responding better than others, the results are encouraging.”


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You Are A Citizen Scientist Researcher In The Genetic Arms Race Between Humans And Mosquitoes

July 2, 2015 - 3:30pm

Every time you put on bug spray this summer, you're another front in the ongoing war between humans and mosquitoes - and being a citizen scientist in a complex evolutionary experiment.

Scientists have found that between 5 and 20 percent of a mosquito population's genome is subject to evolutionary pressures at any given time, creating a strong signature of local adaptation to environment and humans. This means that individual populations are likely to have evolved resistance to whatever local selection pressures are typical in their area, and that understanding the genomes of those populations could one day help inform agencies about which pesticides are likely to be most effective against them.


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A Single Mutation Helped Last Year's Flu Virus Gain An Advantage Over The Vaccine

July 2, 2015 - 3:14pm

The 2014-2015 flu vaccine didn't work as well compared to previous years because the H3N2 virus recently acquired a mutation that concealed the infection from the immune system. A study published on June 25 in Cell Reports reveals the major viral mutation responsible for the mismatch between the vaccine strain and circulating strains. The research will help guide the selection of viral strains for future seasonal flu vaccines.


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Attractive Females Harmed By Male Sexual Harassment

July 2, 2015 - 2:00pm

Too much male sexual attention harms attractive females, according to a new Australian and Canadian study on fruit flies.

Associate Professor Steve Chenoweth from The University of Queensland's School of Biological Sciences said the study showed that male harassment of females hampered the species' ability to adapt to new environmental conditions.

"We found that sexually attractive females were overwhelmed by male suitors," he said.

"Female fruit flies with superior genes that allow them to lay more eggs were so attractive to male suitors they spent most of the time fending off male suitors rather than actually laying eggs. The end result was that these supposedly 'superior' genes could not be passed on to the next generation."


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Is Abortion In America About To Get Restricted?

July 2, 2015 - 1:30pm

The Supreme Court seems poised to take on the abortion issue again, and with reason.

On June 29, by a five-to-four vote, the Court temporarily blocked a Texas law that would force many clinics to close, guaranteeing that the state’s new law would not take effect until the justices decide whether to rule on its constitutionality. And just today, June 30, the Court did not take action on a case involving a similar abortion restriction passed in Mississippi.


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First Species Of Yeti Crab Found In Antarctica

July 2, 2015 - 12:51pm

The first species of Yeti Crab from hydrothermal vent systems of the East Scotia Ridge in the Southern Ocean, Antarctica, has been described in a study by Sven Thatje from University of Southampton, and colleagues.

The species of Yeti crab Kiwa tyleri belongs to an enigmatic group of squat lobsters, known as Kiwaidae, that thrive in the hot waters surrounding the geothermally heated hydrothermal vents. It is the dominant species at these sites, occurring at extremely high densities exceeding 700 specimens per square meter.


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Medial Temporal Lobe And How New Memories Are Formed

July 2, 2015 - 12:46pm

In a new study, researchers found that neurons in a specific brain region play a key role in rapidly forming memories about every day events, a finding that may result in a better understanding of memory loss and new methods to fight it in Alzheimer’s and other neurological diseases.

Specifically, the study examined neurons in the medial temporal lobe associated with episodic memory, the brain’s ability to consciously recall experienced events and situations like running into an old school friend at the opera. Episodic memory logs these unique experiences and relies on the very rapid formation of new associations in the brain.


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What May Be Missing From Quantum Computing - A Quantum Middle Man

July 2, 2015 - 11:16am
Quantum computing is well into its second decade of hype with little progress being made. Computer chip companies have continued to optimize available physics and have left the quantum kind to the academic sandbox. It's not stable long enough to make calculations.

Perhaps what is needed is an intermediary to transmit information, say researchers at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST).
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Sepsis Is Largely Unknown But It Puts One Million People In The Hospital Each Year

July 1, 2015 - 7:30pm
Most Americans have never heard of it, but according to new federal data, sepsis is the most expensive cause of hospitalization in the US.

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Flying Feminism: Drones Drop Abortion Pills On Catholic Poland

July 1, 2015 - 4:37pm

A Dutch feminist pro-choice activist organization, Women on Waves, has been using a drone to drop abortion pills across the Polish-German border.

The aim of the flight has been to highlight Poland’s restrictive abortion laws – a consistent topic of debate since the fall of communism in 1989.

Abortion was available virtually on demand in Poland between 1956 and 1989. Under state socialism, difficult living conditions or a difficult personal situation were grounds for termination. But in 1993, the country’s comparatively liberal abortion laws were comprehensively overturned. With post-communism came one of the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe.

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Predictive Coding Theory: How Our Brains Recognize Faces From Minimal Information

July 1, 2015 - 12:30pm

Our brain recognizes objects within milliseconds, even if it only receives rudimentary visual information. Researchers believe that reliable and fast recognition works because the brain is constantly making predictions about objects in the field of view and is comparing these with incoming information.

Only if mismatches occur in this process do higher areas of the brain have to be notified of the error in order to make active corrections to the predictions. Now scientists at the Goethe University have confirmed this hypothesis. Those brain waves that are sent to higher brain areas increase their activity when a predictive error occurs. 


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