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Humans Adapted to Arsenic

March 4, 2015 7:00 am | by Molecular Biology and Evolution | News | Comments

For thousands of years, in some regions of the Andes, people have been exposed to high levels of arsenic, a naturally occurring phenomenon that happens when arsenic in the volcanic bedrock is released into the groundwater. Studying these people, researchers have identified the first evidence of a population uniquely adapted to tolerate the toxic chemical arsenic.

Airlines Won't Ship Rechargeable Batteries for Fear of Fires

March 3, 2015 3:00 pm | by Associated Press, Joan Lowy | News | Comments

Some of the world's largest airlines are banning bulk shipments of rechargeable batteries in the face of mounting evidence of their potential to cause catastrophic in-flight fires. Citing safety concerns, United Airlines has become the second major U.S. airline to announce it will no longer accept bulk shipments of lithium-ion batteries, which are used to power everything from smartphones to laptops to power tools.

Pollution Levels Linked to Cognitive Development Speed

March 3, 2015 3:00 pm | by PLOS | News | Comments

Attendance at schools exposed to high levels of traffic-related air pollution is linked to slower cognitive development among seven to 10-year-old children in Barcelona. Researchers measured three cognitive outcomes— working memory, superior working memory and attentiveness— every three months over a 12-month period in 2,715 primary school children attending 39 schools.

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It’s Probably Not the Flu

March 3, 2015 3:00 pm | by PLOS | News | Comments

Adults over the age of 30 only catch flu about twice a decade, a new study suggests. Flu-like illness can be caused by many pathogens, making it difficult to assess how often people are infected by influenza.

DNA Supports Human Migration Theory

March 3, 2015 3:00 pm | by Associated Press, Frank Jordans | News | Comments

A wave of migrants from the eastern fringes of Europe some 4,500 years ago left their trace in the DNA— and possibly the languages— of modern Europeans. Scientists have discovered evidence of this Stone Age migration by analyzing the DNA of 69 people who lived across Europe between 8,000 and 3,000 years ago.

Salty Diet May Fight Invading Microbes

March 3, 2015 3:00 pm | by Cell Press | News | Comments

Most people consume more salt than they need and therefore have a higher risk of heart disease and stroke, which are the two leading causes of death worldwide. But a new study has revealed that dietary salt could have a biological advantage: defending the body against invading microbes.

Chemistry of Smog May Reveal Pollution Sources

March 3, 2015 7:00 am | by Univ. of Utah | News | Comments

The chemical signature of water vapor emitted by combustion sources such as vehicles and furnaces has been found in the smoggy winter inversions that often choke Salt Lake City. The discovery may give researchers a new tool to track down the sources of pollutants and climate-changing carbon dioxide gas.

Coffee Lessens Heart Risks

March 3, 2015 7:00 am | by BMJ | News | Comments

There has been much debate over the effect of coffee consumption on cardiovascular health. Despite earlier concerns about a potential increase in heart disease risk associated with drinking coffee, a recent meta-analysis of 36 studies showed that moderate coffee consumption was associated with a decreased risk of heart disease.  

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Scientists Solve Seashell Stumper

March 3, 2015 7:00 am | by MIT, David Chandler | News | Comments

For almost a century, scientists have been puzzled by a process that is crucial to much of the life in Earth’s oceans: why does the material of seashells and corals sometimes take the form of calcite and, at other times, aragonite. Now, scientists have carried out a detailed, atomic-level analysis of the process. The new explanation could be a step toward enabling the directed synthesis of new materials on demand in the lab.

Peanuts Linked to a Better Heart

March 2, 2015 3:00 pm | by Vanderbilt Univ. Medical Center | News | Comments

If you're looking for a simple way to lower your risk of dying from a heart attack, consider going nuts. Researchers have examined the association of nut consumption with mortality among low-income and racially diverse populations and found that intake of peanuts was associated with fewer deaths, especially from heart disease.

Busted: Vitamin D Deficiency Doesn't Cause Depression

March 2, 2015 3:00 pm | by ScienceNetwork WA | News | Comments

Researchers have long thought that low vitamin D could cause depression. However, new research indicates that this association is most likely because of reverse causality: a low concentration of vitamin D is a consequence of depression because people with depression move less and are less exposed to sunlight.

Environment Doesn't Alter Queen Bees' Microbiome

March 2, 2015 3:00 pm | by North Carolina State Univ. | News | Comments

Researchers have characterized the gut microbiome of honey bee queens. This is the first thorough census of the gut microbiome in queen bees. They found that the microbiome changes as the queen matures, but the microbiomes of different queens are very similar– regardless of their environment.

Microscopy Takes Giant Leap

March 2, 2015 7:00 am | by Univ. of Cambridge | Videos | Comments

There is a resolution revolution underway. Building powerful instruments that shatter the physical limits of optical microscopy, scientists are beginning to watch molecular processes as they happen, and in three dimensions.  

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Printing Offers New Drug Delivery Method

March 2, 2015 7:00 am | by Society of Interventional Radiology | News | Comments

Researchers and engineers collaborated to print catheters, stents and filaments that were bioactive, giving these devices the ability to deliver antibiotics and chemotherapeutic medications to a targeted area in cell cultures.

Commercialization Boot Camp for Scientists

March 2, 2015 7:00 am | by Michelle Taylor. Editor-in-Chief | Articles | Comments

In the last three years, the NSF has taught more than 700 teams of scientists how to commercialize their technology using serial entrepreneur Steve Blank’s “Lean Startup” method. Sharing a common interest to promote societal benefits, NSF teamed with the NIH to pioneer the same program to support biomedical innovation and translation.  

Laughs from Lab: March 2

March 2, 2015 7:00 am | News | Comments

The editors of Laboratory Equipment want you to start your week with a smile on your face. With years of science experience, we've heard every science joke there is. This week’s joke was submitted to us by Mark. Q: Why did the chemist die? 

Cancer Drug Tested in Dogs Moves on to Humans

February 27, 2015 3:00 pm | by Univ. of Illinois | News | Comments

A new drug that prompts cancer cells to self-destruct while sparing healthy cells is now entering phase I clinical trials in humans. The drug, called PAC-1, first showed promise in the treatment of pet dogs with spontaneously occurring cancers, and is still in clinical trials in dogs with osteosarcoma.

Smokers Use Nicotine in Multiple Forms

February 27, 2015 3:00 pm | by Associated Press, Lauran Neergaard | News | Comments

The first peek at a major study of how Americans smoke suggests many use combinations of products, and often e-cigarettes are part of the mix. It's a preliminary finding, but it highlights some key questions as health officials assess electronic cigarettes.

Cheap Catalyst Performs as Well as Traditional

February 27, 2015 3:00 pm | by Case Western Reserve Univ. | News | Comments

For nearly half a century, scientists have been trying to replace precious metal catalysts in fuel cells. Now, for the first time, researchers have shown that an inexpensive metal-free catalyst performs as well as costly metal catalysts at speeding the oxygen reduction reaction in an acidic fuel cell.

Immune ‘Hotspots’ Improve Breast Cancer Outcome

February 27, 2015 3:00 pm | by The Institute of Cancer Research | News | Comments

Scientists have developed a new test that can predict the survival chances of women with breast cancer by analyzing images of “hotspots” where there has been a fierce immune reaction to a tumor. Researchers used statistical software previously used in criminology studies of crime hotspots to track the extent to which the immune system was homing in and attacking breast cancer cells.

Asian Herb May Treat Ebola

February 27, 2015 7:00 am | by Texas Biomedical Research Institute | News | Comments

A team of scientists has announced that a small molecule called Tetrandrine, derived from an Asian herb, has shown to be a potent small molecule inhibiting infection of human white blood cells in vitro or petri dish experiments and prevented Ebola virus disease in mice.

Cats Prefer Sight Over Scent

February 27, 2015 7:00 am | by Univ. of Lincoln | News | Comments

Felines have a tremendous sense of smell and vision, but a new study using a maze test has investigated which sense they prefer to use under test conditions and found that sight may be more important than smell.

Mollusks Produce Optical Displays

February 27, 2015 7:00 am | by MIT, Jennifer Chu | Videos | Comments

Scientists have identified two optical structures within the limpet’s shell that give its blue-striped appearance. The structures are configured to reflect blue light while absorbing all other wavelengths of incoming light. The findings represent the first evidence of an organism using mineralized structural components to produce optical displays.

Wheat Discovery Points to Ancient Trading Links

February 27, 2015 7:00 am | by Associated Press, Frank Jordans | News | Comments

Britons may have discovered a taste for bread thousands of years earlier than previously thought, thanks to trade with more advanced neighbors on the European continent. That's the conclusion scientists have drawn after discovering that samples from a now-submerged prehistoric camp in southern England contained traces of ancient wheat DNA.

Pollution Drives Nuisance Algae Growth

February 27, 2015 7:00 am | by McGill Univ. | News | Comments

The organisms commonly known as blue-green algae have proliferated much more rapidly than other algae in lakes across North America and Europe over the past two centuries– and in many cases the rate of increase has sharply accelerated since the mid-20th century.

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