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Success For Olaparib In BRCA-Related Cancers

November 7, 2014 - 2:00pm

Olaparib, an experimental twice-daily oral cancer drug, produces an overall tumor response rate of 26 percent in several advanced cancers associated with BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations, according to results of a Phase II study.


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Genetics Show How Earliest Europeans Weathered The Last Ice Age

November 7, 2014 - 1:30pm

Scientists believe that Eurasians separated into at least three populations around 36,000 years ago: Europeans,Asians and a mystery third lineage, all whose descendants would develop the unique features of most non-African peoples after interbreeding with Neanderthals. 

A new study on DNA recovered from a fossil of one of the earliest known Europeans, who lived 36,000 years ago in Kostenki, western Russia, has shown that the earliest European humans' genetic ancestry survived the Last Glacial Maximum - the peak point of the last ice age. 


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How To Determine The Color Of The Ancient Archaeopteryx Wing

November 7, 2014 - 1:30pm

Reconstructing ancient life has long required a certain amount of inference and imagination - especially speculative is the coloration of long-extinct organisms.

New methods of investigation are being incorporated into paleontology that may shed light (and color) on fossils.

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Coffee Tree Gets Its Genome Sequenced

November 7, 2014 - 1:00pm
A reference genome for coffee trees has been sequenced for the first time. It improves understanding of the organization of the genome, which is academic, but it also offers new possibilities for selection or improvement of coffee tree varieties. 

The researchers chose Robusta coffee because of its average sized genome (710 million pairs of DNA bases) and its diploid nature contrary to Coffea arabica, which is tetraploid. The genetic map of the coffee tree studied was produced in the 1980s and also had the advantage of being a homozygous plant (two identical sets of eleven chromosomes), which is easier to analyze than natural heterozygotes.
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Quantum Teleportation Controversy: The Peres Conjecture Is False, Says Paper

November 7, 2014 - 1:00pm

Since 1999, a conjecture by Asher Peres, the 'inventor' of quantum teleportation, that the weakest form of quantum entanglement can never result in the strongest manifestation of the phenomenon, has been debated. 

Peres thought about the phenomenon of quantum entanglement and its different manifestations. When two objects (take photons, for example) are entangled, they remain correlated regardless of the distance that separates them physically: whether they are separated by a millimeter or by several kilometers, any action done to one of them will immediately affect the other. To check whether a system is entangled, scientists test for Bell's inequality.

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Blocking Some Mitochondrial Fission May Reverse Parkinson's Disease

November 7, 2014 - 2:56am

A new study finds that the inhibition of a particular mitochondrial fission protein, GTPase dynamin-related protein-1 – Drp1, could hold the key to treating Parkinson's Disease.

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Chromatin Discovery In Maize Could Bring New Era Of Genetic Optimization

November 6, 2014 - 11:30pm

A new biology paper sheds light on how chromatin (the complex of DNA and proteins) is organized in a cell and how plants regulate genetic material, so that some genes are turned on and others are turned off - and it could make it possible for a new generation of plants to better adapt to and survive environmental swings such as droughts or floods.

The research in The Plant Cell could mean major advances for the agriculture industry. 

"If you understand how plants regulate their genetic material, you can possibly manipulate that in certain circumstances so that plants can withstand environmental changes," said Daniel Vera, a Florida State University graduate student and the lead author of the paper.


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The Story Of The Bra

November 6, 2014 - 11:00pm

Bras have come a long way in 100 years. Credit: EPA/HO

By Deirdre McGhee, University of Wollongong

This year marks the 100-year anniversary of the first bra patent.

Amazingly for the time – 1914 – it was made by a woman in her twenties, Mary (Polly) Phelps Jacob (nee Crosby).

Polly made her bra initially from two handkerchiefs and some ribbon with the intent to show off her substantial cleavage in a sheer evening gown that had a plunging neckline. The handkerchiefs formed the bra cups and the ribbons formed the straps.

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Oral Cancers Differ In Smokers And Nonsmokers

November 6, 2014 - 10:31pm

The location of oral cancers differ in smokers and nonsmokers and nonsmokers have a higher proportion of cancers occur on the edge of the tongue, according to a new paper in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head&Neck Surgery.


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IPS Cells And Banned SCNT-Derived Stem Cells Are Similar

November 6, 2014 - 10:07pm

Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT)-derived cells are world's apart. iPSCs became a major research force because they are adult stem cells and lack the controversy of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) while SCNT is banned by the Obama administration even though most biologists are in favor of it.

Yet that is politics. Scientifically, they have far more in common, which makes the scientization of politics issue more odd. A team led by the New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF) Research Institute did a study comparing iPS cells and embryonic stem cells created using SCNT and they found that the cells derived from these two methods resulted in cells with highly similar gene expression and DNA methylation patterns.


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How To Help Take Control Of Your Brain And Make Better Decisions

November 6, 2014 - 8:56pm

Our brains make judgments about images before we're even aware of making a decision. A Health Blog/Flickr, CC BY-NC

By Daniel Bennett, University of Melbourne

What makes us decide? At one level, this seems like an easy question: we think our options through, pick the one we like best and act on it.

If we dig a little deeper, though, the question becomes more difficult to answer. How do we settle on what our options are? What makes us prefer one option to another?

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Jets, Bubbles And Bursts Of Light 450 Light-Years Away

November 6, 2014 - 8:00pm

The XZ Tauri star system has been imaged blowing a hot bubble of gas into the surrounding space, which is filled with bright and beautiful clumps that are emitting strong winds and jets. These objects illuminate the region, creating a truly dramatic scene.

This dark and ominous landscape is located some 450 light-years away in the constellation of Taurus The Bull. It lies in the north-eastern part of a large, dark cloud known as LDN 1551, as seen in the Hubble telescope image below..


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Complete Frozen Bison Mummy From 7,000 B.C. Found In Siberia

November 6, 2014 - 7:25pm

Many large mammals went extinct at the end of the most recent Ice Age (about 11,000 years ago), including the Steppe bison, Bison priscus.

Recently an intact one was found, literally frozen in time. This most complete frozen mummy of the Steppe bison yet discovered dates to 9,300 years ago and was uncovered in the Yana-Indigirka Lowland. 

The Yukagir bison mummy, as it is named, has a complete brain, heart, blood vessels and digestive system, although some organs have shrunk significantly over time. The necropsy of this unique mummy showed a relatively normal anatomy with no obvious cause of death. However, the lack of fat around abdomen of the animal makes researchers think that the animal may have died from starvation. 


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Arm Pain In Young Baseball Players Is Common But Preventable

November 6, 2014 - 6:41pm


Arm pain is common among healthy young baseball players, according to a recent survey. Nearly half say they have been encouraged to keep playing despite arm pain, which suggests that more individualized screening is needed to prevent overuse injury in young ballplayers. 

The questionnaire was designed to learn more about the frequency, severity, and psychosocial effects of arm pain among active adolescent baseball payers. The questionnaire was completed by 203 players from New York and New Jersey between the ages of 8 and 18. All of the surveys were completed without input from parents or coaches.


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Cyborg Cockroaches Track You By Sound

November 6, 2014 - 6:01pm

Tiny biobots - cyborg cockroaches - can trace the source of a sound and home in on it. But don't fear, an invisible fence keeps them in their assigned area, which would be disaster areas to find victims.

The biobots are equipped with electronic backpacks that control the cockroach's movements. Bozkurt's research team has created two types of customized backpacks using microphones: One type of biobot has a single microphone that can capture relatively high-resolution sound from any direction to be wirelessly transmitted to first responders. 


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Britain Faces Winter Energy Cuts

November 6, 2014 - 5:00pm

The Drax plant in Yorkshire. Gareth Davies, CC BY

By Richard Tol, University of Sussex

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Ancient Horse Fossil Contains Unborn Foal

November 6, 2014 - 3:09pm

A fossil of the ancient horse Eurohippus messelensis found in Germany contains a fetus as well as parts of the uterus and associated tissues.

Eurohippus messelensis had four toes on each forefoot and three toes on each the hind foot, and it was about the size of a modern fox terrier. Though different in size and structure, reproduction in early horses was very similar to that of modern horses. The new find was unveiled at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology in Berlin.


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In Modern Leaders, Looking Healthy Is More Important Than Looking Smart

November 6, 2014 - 2:30pm

John F. Kennedy didn't just win the presidential election in 1960 because an alarming number of dead people in Chicago and Texas voted for him, it was only close in the first place because his debate with Vice-President Richard Nixon was televised - and he thought makeup was unmanly. While Kennedy looked healthy and vigorous, Nixon looked pale and sweaty. History was made and politics was changed forever.

Two generations later, a healthy complexion is vital - but looking intelligent is not as important, except for positions that require negotiation between groups or exploration of new markets, find the authors of a paper in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.


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New Estimates Of Heat Waves Predicts Their Magnitude

November 6, 2014 - 2:30pm

A new index to measure the magnitude of heat waves finds that under the worst climate scenario of temperature rise, estimated to be as much as 8.6 degrees Fahrenheit, extreme heat waves might become the norm by the end of the century.

They project that heat waves like the one that hit Russia in summer 2010, the strongest in recent decades, could occur as often as every two years.


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Postpone Brain Aging With A High-Fat Diet

November 6, 2014 - 2:00pm

There's a new reason not to go on a low-fat diet. The signs of brain aging can be postponed in mice if placed on a high-fat diet, which opens up the possibility for treatment of patients with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. 

When we get older, defects begin to develop in our nervous system and our brain loses some of its intellectual capacity. The risk of developing diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's also increases. Alzheimer's disease is currently the fastest-growing age-related disease.


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