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The premier online source for science news since 1996. A service of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
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Precision editing of gut bacteria: Potential way to treat colitis

Jan 04 2018 - 00:01
UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have used precision editing of the bacterial populations in the gut to prevent or reduce the severity of inflammation in a mouse model of colitis.
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Maternal mortality rates are on the rise, but more accurate estimates are needed

Jan 04 2018 - 00:01
A new Birth analysis has uncovered dramatic increases in the rates of maternal mortality -- the death of a mother during pregnancy, childbirth, or post-partum -- in Texas in recent years. There was an 87 percent increase when comparing 2011-2015 data with 2006-2010 data. Some of the increase is likely due to increased overreporting of maternal deaths due to errors in the data collection system, however.
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'Will I look dumb?' When virtual assistants deter help-seeking

Jan 04 2018 - 00:01
Virtual assistants have become increasingly sophisticated -- and more humanlike -- since the days when Clippy asked if you needed help with your document. These assistants are intended to make programs and apps easier to use, but research published in Psychological Science suggests that humanlike virtual assistants may actually deter some people from seeking help on tasks that are supposed to measure achievement. 
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People who sleep less than 8 hours a night more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety

Jan 04 2018 - 00:01
Sleeping less than the recommended eight hours a night is associated with intrusive, repetitive thoughts like those seen in anxiety or depression, according to new research from Binghamton University, State University of New York.
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Newly published report outlines roadmap for modernizing inhalation toxicity testing

Jan 04 2018 - 00:01
A report outlining the findings from an international expert workshop have been published in the journal Toxicology in Vitro. This comprehensive report recommends specific steps toward achieving global regulatory acceptance of non-animal testing approaches to acute inhalation toxicity. As a result of these recommendations, working groups have been formed to gather reference data, develop a state-of-the-science review article on existing in silico and in vitro approaches, and conduct testing to show the value of these approaches
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Sedentary desk jockeys, stand up for your health: Western University study

Jan 04 2018 - 00:01
A few simple, strategic changes can move people from sedentary behaviour to better health, a study by researchers at Western University says. A group of students who cued themselves with timers and text reminders for six weeks took more frequent breaks from prolonged sitting; and those cues became habits even after those six weeks.
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Multiple sclerosis: Cholesterol crystals prevent regeneration in central nervous system

Jan 04 2018 - 00:01
Multiple Sclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease of the central nervous system, in which the immune cells attack myelin sheaths. Regeneration of myelin sheaths is necessary for patients to recover from MS relapses. Nevertheless, the ability to regenerate decreases with age. A team from Technical University Munich has published an explanation in "Science": Fat derived from myelin, which is not carried away rapidly enough by phagocytes can trigger chronic inflammation that in turn impedes regeneration.
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Mechanism for resistance to immunotherapy treatment discovered

Jan 04 2018 - 00:01
Two research groups from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have independently discovered a genetic mechanism in cancer cells that influences whether they resist or respond to immunotherapy drugs known as checkpoint inhibitors. The scientists say the findings reveal potential new drug targets and might aid efforts to extend the benefits of immunotherapy treatment to more patients and additional types of cancer.
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Specific microbes in digestive tract can boost success for cancer immunotherapy

Jan 04 2018 - 00:01
Specific strains of intestinal bacteria can improve the response rate to immunotherapy for patients being treated for advanced melanoma. Patients with a higher ratio of 'beneficial' bacteria to 'non-beneficial' bacteria all showed a clinical response: a reduction in tumor size.
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Weighing massive stars in nearby galaxy reveals excess of heavyweights

Jan 04 2018 - 00:01
An international team of astronomers has revealed an 'astonishing' overabundance of massive stars in a neighboring galaxy. The discovery, made in the gigantic star-forming region 30 Doradus in the Large Magellanic Cloud galaxy, has 'far-reaching' consequences for our understanding of how stars transformed the pristine Universe into the one we live in today.
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DNA analysis of ancient mummy, thought to have smallpox, points to Hepatitis B instead

Jan 04 2018 - 00:01
A team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of an ancient strain of the Hepatitis B virus (HBV), shedding new light on a pervasive, complex and deadly pathogen that today kills nearly one million people every year. While little is known about its evolutionary history and origin, the findings confirm the idea that HBV has existed in humans for centuries.
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Worm species lost 7,000 genes after evolving to fertilize itself

Jan 04 2018 - 00:01
Reproduction in most animal species requires breeding between two individuals. But some worms have evolved the ability to go it alone. In these species, a single individual can breed with itself to produce offspring.A new University of Maryland-led study found that gaining this ability, known as 'selfing,' may have caused a worm species to lose a quarter of its genome, including genes that give male sperm a competitive edge during mating.
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How cholesterol contributes to age-related neuron impairment

Jan 04 2018 - 00:01
A new study in mice sheds light on why neurons of older individuals are less able to repair their fatty, protective sheaths; excess cholesterol may be overburdening certain immune cells, resulting in lingering inflammation that interferes with the natural repair process.
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How genes will save or fail birds in the face of climate change

Jan 04 2018 - 00:01
A new study analyzing the genomes of yellow warblers in North America reveals how some subpopulations are more 'genetically vulnerable' to changes associated with climate change; furthermore, it finds that genes linked to exploratory and migratory behavior may be important for successful climate adaptation.
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Frequency of coral bleaching has increased nearly fivefold since the 1980s

Jan 04 2018 - 00:01
Globally, the frequency of severe coral bleaching events has increased nearly fivefold in the past four decades, from once every 25 to 30 years in the early 1980s to once every 5.9 years in 2016, a new study reports.
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Big stars are more abundant than thought

Jan 04 2018 - 00:01
Observations of a nearby star-forming region reveal that large stars are more prevalent than models have predicted.
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Common birth control shot linked to risk of HIV infection

Jan 04 2018 - 00:01
Transitioning away from a popular contraceptive shot known as DMPA could help protect women in Sub-Saharan Africa and other high-risk regions from becoming infected with HIV, according to a research review published in the Endocrine Society's journal Endocrine Reviews.
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Soft, self-healing devices mimic biological muscles

Jan 04 2018 - 00:01
A new class of soft, electrically activated devices is capable of mimicking the expansion and contraction of natural muscles. These devices, which can be constructed from a wide range of low-cost materials, are able to self-sense their movements and self-heal from electrical damage, representing a major advance in soft robotics.
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The ocean is losing its breath -- here's the global scope

Jan 04 2018 - 00:01
In the past 50 years, the amount of water in the open ocean with zero oxygen has gone up more than fourfold. In coastal water bodies, including estuaries and seas, low-oxygen sites have increased more than tenfold since 1950. Scientists expect oxygen to continue dropping even outside these zones as Earth warms.
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The window for saving the world's coral reefs is rapidly closing

Jan 04 2018 - 00:01
For the first time, an international team of researchers has measured the escalating rate of coral bleaching at locations throughout the tropics over the past four decades. The study documents a dramatic shortening of the gap between pairs of bleaching events, threatening the future existence of these iconic ecosystems and the livelihoods of many millions of people.
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