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Atacama Desert Has Highest Levels of UV Radiation on Earth

Aug 01 2018 - 22:08

The Atacama Desert is an inhospitable place.

Covering some 40,000 square miles, the desert is located mostly in Chile, but its outer regions stretch into nearby Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina. Given some of the striking imagery from the area, you could be forgiven for thinking you are gazing at a photograph of Mars.

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Alan Alda, Vocal Science Communicator: Early Action is Key to Battling Parkinson's

Aug 01 2018 - 14:08

The main reason the 82-year-old actor decided to publicly disclose that he has Parkinson's disease is that Alda is a self-proclaimed science communicator. And he's sharing what he's learning about dealing with this condition, so others can learn how to live with it more effectively and not be "immobilized by fear."

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Carvone: One Molecule, Two Different Scents And Flavors

Aug 01 2018 - 12:08

A plant-based chemical called carvone is found in a number of plants, especially spearmint and caraway. Carvone is commonly used to flavor foods. There is an interesting chemical factoid here. Carvone actually comes in two almost identical forms and they have different scents and flavors. Welcome to stereochemistry. 

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Kicking Butts in New England; MA to Raise Smoking Age to 21

Aug 01 2018 - 07:08

Congratulation to the state of Massachusetts for raising the legal age to purchase tobacco products and cigarettes to 21, from 18. Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican, signed the bill into law late last week, and the new law will take effect in five months, on New Year's Eve.

The measure also includes added restrictions on e-cigarette purchase and use. The Bay State becomes the sixth state in the U.S. to raise its legal age to 21, joining California, Hawaii, Maine, New Jersey and Oregon.

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Do Migratory Patients, Snowbirds, Use Healthcare Differently?

Aug 01 2018 - 03:08

Snowbirds, humans migrating from North to South at approaching winter seem to use health care resources in the same way, irrespective of where they may be. 

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McDonald's Outbreak: What Is Cyclospora?

Jul 31 2018 - 15:07

E. coli. Salmonella. Campylobacter. Norovirus. When somebody gets sick eating at a restaurant, these are often the culprits. But McDonald's has been hit by an outbreak of Cyclospora. I'm a PhD microbiologist -- who has taken two classes in medical microbiology -- and I'd never heard of that. What is it?

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Lawsuit Against Anthem Aims To Protect Patients From Insurer’s Bad Policy

Jul 31 2018 - 11:07

When health insurers keep trying to practice medicine without a license, we all lose. 

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Upside To Tariffs: Fewer Supplements in the U.S.

Jul 31 2018 - 10:07

While trade groups and economists debate the merits or impacts of tariffs designed to create more equality in U.S. trade, one group of barnacles that remain a free rider on the ships of commerce using FDA exemptions, a lack of common sense, and a tariff imbalance is really nervous: The $45 billion American dietary supplement industry.

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Smokers Likely To Have Worse Diets Too

Jul 31 2018 - 09:07

A new study using data from 5,293 U.S. adults determined that smokers consumed around 200 more calories a day than non-smokers or former smokers, despite eating smaller portions of food. That means more snacking, treating treats like meals. This is in contrast to a time when smokers gained weight after they stopped, because they ate more to occupy their hands and mouths.

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Does Case Volume Promote Safety While Reducing Access? CMS and Physicians Wrestle With The Trade-Off

Jul 31 2018 - 08:07

Greater patient volumes result in more experience and better outcomes. But for rural and underserved areas there may not be enough volume to maintain a clinically safe practice. The trade-off of access and outcome is at the heart of a discussion of TAVR, transcatheter aortic valve replacement, a replacement for open surgery. 

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ACSH Explains: What's The Story On Bromopropane?

Jul 31 2018 - 07:07

The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act amends the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and was signed into law June 22, 2016. It created a mandatory requirement for EPA to evaluate existing chemicals with clear and enforceable deadlines, to do so in a transparent fashion, and to do so using risk-based chemical assessments rather than rely on simple epidemiological correlations. 

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Humanities Enrollment Is in Free Fall

Jul 31 2018 - 01:07

Enrollment in the humanities is collapsing. Why? Probably because (1) There is a widespread belief that humanities degrees should be avoided; (2) the humanities generate too much nonsensical research; and (3) the humanities, and academia in general, are politically biased.

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Humanities Enrollment Is in Free Fall

Jul 31 2018 - 01:07

Enrollment in the humanities is collapsing. Why? Probably because (1) There is a widespread belief that humanities degrees should be avoided; (2) the humanities generate too much nonsensical research; and (3) the humanities, and academia in general, are politically biased.

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Two Anti-Opioid Zealots Run Into A Biostatistician. Here's What Happened.

Jul 30 2018 - 15:07

Dr. Stan Young is a man on a mission. So when the renowned biostatistician happened across a substandard paper by two anti-opioid zealots, Young spoke up. Just like he always does.

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"Seasoning" A Frying Pan Leads To A New Approach For Food Safety

Jul 30 2018 - 12:07

In the same way one "seasons" a cast iron frying pan, scientists have found a way to create a slippery coating, improving food safety and reducing bacterial contamination. Mother was right again.

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From the Cast Iron Frying Pan To Better Food Safety

Jul 30 2018 - 12:07

In the same way one "seasons" a cast iron frying pan, scientists have found a way to create a slippery coating, improving food safety and reducing bacterial contamination. Mother was right again.

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When You Have a Hereditary Disease, Who Has The Right To Know?

Jul 30 2018 - 07:07

In 2007, a middle-aged British man shot and killed his wife. He was declared mentally incapacitated, convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to hospital care. Two years later, he was diagnosed with Huntington’s disease – an inherited condition that damages nerve cells in the brain, causing both mental and physical deterioration until finally proving fatal – which may have contributed to his diminished mental state at the time of the shooting.

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Minnesota Public Radio Believes Science Is A Vast Corporate Conspiracy, And More Media Links

Jul 30 2018 - 06:07

1. In Puget Sound Business Journal, Dr. Alex Berezow takes Seattle to task for engaging in Californication - desiring to play nanny state to the rest of the country while ignoring its problems at home. Like it's runaway homeless drug user population that is driving people and businesses away. You can read it here.

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American Academy of Pediatrics Goes Crybaby Over 'Scary' Chemicals

Jul 28 2018 - 23:07

The American Academy of Pediatrics recently issued a policy statement which is riddled with chemophobic nonsense. Why are they being crybabies? We explain.

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Geosmin: Why We Like The Smell Of Air After A Storm

Jul 28 2018 - 10:07

I'm in New York City and a storm just finished. Though the forecast had only shown a slight chance of rain a few hours earlier, suddenly there were flash flood warnings and the Yankees went ahead and postponed their game.

After it had passed, I immediately wanted to go outside. One of my favorite smells is the air after a storm. It is a smell so profound and distinct that a word had to be invented for it - and so it was In 1964, when chemists Isabel Bear and R.G. Thomas coined "petrichor" from the Greek "petros" (stone) and "ichor", the blood of the gods.

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