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The Lead

Does Sperm Harpoon the Egg?

August 27, 2015 | by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter | Comments

Spiky filaments at the head of sperm cells may lash together, effectively allowing the swimming cells to harpoon an egg to facilitate fertilization. The new find could be a revelation in a fundamental process of life that is 14 years in the making.

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Mouth Guard Monitors Health Markers, Transmits Information Wirelessly

September 1, 2015 3:05 pm | by University of California, San Diego | Comments

Engineers have developed a mouth guard that can monitor health markers, such as lactate, cortisol and uric acid, in saliva and transmit the information wirelessly to a smart phone, laptop or tablet. The technology, which is at a proof-of-concept stage, could be used to monitor patients continuously without invasive procedures, as well as to monitor athletes' performance or stress levels in soldiers and pilots.

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Fossil Specimen Reveals New Species of Ancient River Dolphin

September 1, 2015 3:02 pm | by Smithsonian Institute | Comments

​The careful examination of fossil fragments from Panama has led Smithsonian scientists and colleagues to the discovery of a new genus and species of river dolphin that has been long extinct. The team named it Isthminia panamensis.

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New Protein Keeps Ice Cream from Melting

September 1, 2015 12:00 pm | by Roddy Isles, University of Dundee | Comments

Childhood memories of sticky hands from melting ice cream cones could soon become obsolete, thanks to a new food ingredient.

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Think Ewe Know Your Sheep History? Think Again

September 1, 2015 11:47 am | by International Livestock Research Institute | Comments

A groundbreaking new study has used advanced genetic sequencing technology to rewrite the history of sheep breeding and trading along the ancient Silk Road — insights that can help contemporary herders in developing countries preserve or recover valuable traits crucial to their food and economic security.

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Radiocarbon Dating Says Koran at British University was Written at Time of Prophet Muhammad

September 1, 2015 11:36 am | by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter | Comments

A Koran owned by the University of Birmingham could be the world’s oldest. Radiocarbon dating places the time of the text to the time of the Prophet Muhammad himself- meaning the holy book is one of the founding documents of Islam – a “treasure of global significance."

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Reading Could Lead to Nearsightedness in Kids

September 1, 2015 11:32 am | by Columbia University Medical Center | Comments

Vision researchers have discovered a gene that causes myopia, but only in people who spend a lot of time in childhood reading or doing other “nearwork.”

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Russian Lab Plans to Bring Back Woolly Mammoths

September 1, 2015 10:25 am | by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter | Comments

A Siberian laboratory has opened with the goal of cloning extinct species found with frozen and preserved DNA, according to a Russian magazine. The Mammoth Museum Institute of Applied Ecology, at the North-Eastern Federal University in Yakutsk, opened in August – and is planning to recreate species from DNA extracted in the extreme cold of the nearby Arctic.

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Older People Getting Smarter, But Not Fitter

September 1, 2015 8:38 am | by International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis | Comments

Older populations are scoring better on cognitive tests than people of the same age did in the past--a trend that could be linked to higher education rates and increased use of technology in our daily lives. At the same time, however, the study showed that average physical health of the older population has declined.

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Tiny, Wireless Pacemaker Could be Surgery-free Option

September 1, 2015 8:35 am | by Associated Press | Comments

A tiny, wireless pacemaker could offer some heart patients a surgery-free alternative to the traditional devices, a new study says. Some doctors, however, say there are lingering safety questions and warned patients not to rush to get the new technology.

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90 Percent of Seabirds Swallow Plastic

September 1, 2015 8:29 am | by Seth Borenstein, Associated Press | Comments

As many as nine out of 10 of the world's seabirds likely have pieces of plastic in their guts, a new study estimates. Previously, scientists figured about 29 percent of seabirds had swallowed plastic, based on older studies. 

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Midlife Obesity May Spur Risk for Earlier Alzheimer's

September 1, 2015 8:23 am | by Lauran Neergaard, Associated Press | Comments

One more reason to watch the waistline: New research says people's weight in middle age may influence not just whether they go on to develop Alzheimer's disease, but when. Researchers at the National Institutes of Health took a closer look and reported that being overweight or obese at age 50 may affect the age, years later, when Alzheimer's strikes. 

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Study Says Human Body has Gone Through Four Stages of Evolution

September 1, 2015 8:18 am | by Binghamton University | Comments

Research into 430,000-year-old fossils collected in northern Spain found that the evolution of the human body's size and shape has gone through four main stages, according to a paper published this week.

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Fossils Show Big 'Bug' Ruled the Seas 460 Million Years Ago

September 1, 2015 8:12 am | by Yale University | Comments

Almost half a billion years ago, way before the dinosaurs roamed, Earth's dominant large predator was a sea scorpion that grew to 5 feet 7 inches, with a dozen claw arms sprouting from its head and a spike tail, according to a new study.

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Obama Visits Alaska to Tout Climate Policy, Renames Mt. McKinley

September 1, 2015 7:00 am | by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter | Comments

President Barack Obama traveled to Alaska yesterday to push change-policies. Part of the agenda involved renaming North America’s tallest mountain. Alaska, stretching up to the Arctic Circle, has been experiencing wildfires, bigger storm surges, glacier melt and some of the quickest shore erosion seen in the world, the president said in his latest weekly address.

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Three Major Hurricanes Line Up in Pacific

August 31, 2015 1:25 pm | by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter | Comments

Three major hurricanes lined up in the middle of the Pacific Ocean over the weekend. The three Category Four storms Kilo, Ignacio, and Jimena were the first to all be active at that strength during the same time in the Pacific, according to experts.

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