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The Lead

Autistic Kids Have Extra Brain Synapses

August 22, 2014 | by Columbia Univ. Medical Center | Comments

Children with autism have a surplus of synapses in the brain, and this excess is because of a slowdown in a normal brain “pruning” process during development, according to a study by neuroscientists. Because synapses are the points where neurons connect and communicate with each other, the excessive synapses may have profound effects on how the brain functions.

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Citizen Scientists Save Lives

August 22, 2014 2:00 pm | by Univ. of East Anglia | Comments

Citizen scientists are saving the lives of people living in the shadow of deadly volcanoes, according to new research. A report reveals the success of a volunteer group set up to safeguard communities around the “Throat of Fire” Tungurahua volcano in the Ecuadorian Andes.

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Ibuprofen May Pose Threat to Fish

August 22, 2014 2:00 pm | by Univ. of York | Comments

Using a new modeling approach, researchers in England estimated the levels of 12 pharmaceutical compounds in rivers across the UK. They found that while most of the compounds were likely to cause only a low risk to aquatic life, ibuprofen might be having an adverse effect in nearly 50 percent of the stretches of river studied.

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Restored Footage Maps Neptune's Strange Moon

August 22, 2014 2:00 pm | by Jet Propulsion Laboratory | Comments

NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft gave humanity its first close-up look at Neptune and its moon Triton in the summer of 1989. Like an old film, Voyager's historic footage of Triton has been "restored" and used to construct the best-ever global color map of that strange moon.

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Pomegranate Drug May Stem Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s

August 22, 2014 2:00 pm | by Univ. of Huddersfield | Comments

The onset of Alzheimer’s disease can be slowed and some of its symptoms curbed by a natural compound that is found in pomegranate. Also, the painful inflammation that accompanies illnesses such as rheumatoid arthritis and Parkinson’s disease could be reduced.

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Electric Sparks May Alter Lunar Soil

August 22, 2014 2:00 pm | by Univ. of New Hampshire | Comments

The moon appears to be a tranquil place, but new modeling suggests that, over the eons, periodic storms of solar energetic particles may have significantly altered the properties of the soil in the moon’s coldest craters through the process of sparking. This find could change our understanding of the evolution of planetary surfaces in the solar system.

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GPS Stations See Huge Water Loss in Western U.S.

August 22, 2014 2:00 pm | by Associated Press | Comments

About 63 trillion gallons of water have been lost to drought in the western U.S., enough to blanket the region with four inches of water, according to a study. Researchers arrived at the conclusion by measuring the level of the earth's crust with a network of GPS stations that is normally used to predict earthquakes.

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Filthy Dentist Cedes License

August 22, 2014 2:00 pm | by Associated Press, Kristi Eaton | Comments

An Oklahoma oral surgeon, whose filthy clinics led to the testing of thousands of patients for HIV and hepatitis, permanently surrendered his professional license today.

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China's Energy Plan Holds Climate Risks

August 22, 2014 2:00 pm | by Associated Press, Jack Chang | Comments

China wants to build 60 coal-to-gas plants as part of a controversial energy plan. The country hopes the plants will churn out desperately needed natural gas and electricity while cleaning up the toxic skies above. However, the plants will also release vast amounts of heat-trapping CO2, even as the world struggles to curb greenhouse gas emissions and stave off global warming.

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Many Considerations Needed for Water Conservation Strategy

August 22, 2014 7:00 am | by UCLA | Comments

A new health impact assessment provides short- and long-term recommendations for urban water conservation that save water while also protecting and promoting public health.

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Laser Reveals Mysterious Order in Liquid Helium

August 22, 2014 7:00 am | by SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory | Comments

An experiment has revealed a well-organized 3-D grid of quantum "tornadoes" inside microscopic droplets of super-cooled liquid helium. This is the first time this formation has been seen at such a tiny scale.

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One-two Punch Best Way to Fight Polio

August 22, 2014 7:00 am | by Associated Press, Lauran Neergaard | Comments

New research suggests a one-two punch could help battle polio in some of the world's most remote and strife-torn regions. Giving a single vaccine shot to children who've already swallowed drops of an oral polio vaccine greatly boosted their immunity.

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Algorithm Lets Drones Monitor Their Health

August 22, 2014 7:00 am | by MIT, Jennifer Chu | Comments

A team has developed an algorithm that enables a drone to monitor aspects of its “health” in real time. With the algorithm, a drone can predict its fuel level and the condition of its propellers, cameras and other sensors throughout a flight, and take proactive measures— for example, rerouting to a charging station— if needed.

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Photosynthesis Inspires Better Fuels

August 22, 2014 7:00 am | by Max Planck Institute | Comments

Thanks to new insights into the details of photosynthetic water splitting, the prospects for the development of clean fuels based on water and sunlight are improving.

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Wound-healing Compound is a Success

August 22, 2014 7:00 am | by Virginia Tech | Comments

A scientist developed a wound-healing peptide while researching how electrical signals trigger heartbeats. He never imagined that the peptide, ACT1, would prove to heal venous leg ulcers twice as quickly as the current standard of care.

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3-D Printers Produce Custom Medical Implants

August 22, 2014 7:00 am | by Louisiana Tech Univ. | Comments

A team of researchers has developed an innovative method for using affordable, consumer-grade 3-D printers and materials to fabricate custom medical implants that can contain antibacterial and chemotherapeutic compounds for targeted drug delivery.

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