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Thursday, October 23 2014

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Association between air toxics and childhood autism

Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) were more likely to have been exposed to higher levels of certain air toxics during their mothers' pregnancies and the first two years of life compared to children without the condition, according to the preliminary findings of a University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health investigation of children in southwestern Pennsylvania.

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Massive debris pile reveals risk of huge tsunamis in Hawaii

A mass of marine debris discovered in a giant sinkhole in the Hawaiian islands provides evidence that at least one mammoth tsunami, larger than any in Hawaii’s recorded history, has struck the islands, and that a similar disaster could happen again, new research finds. Scientists are reporting that a wall of water up to nine meters (30 feet) high surged onto Hawaiian shores about 500 years ago. A 9.0-magnitude earthquake off the coast of the Aleutian Islands triggered the mighty wave, which left behind up to nine shipping containers worth of ocean sediment in a sinkhole on the island of Kauai.

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University of Tennessee study finds fish just wanna have fun

Fish just want to have fun, according to a University of Tennessee, Knoxville, study that finds even fish "play."

The research is published in the academic journal Ethology and can be viewed at http://bit.ly/1tLunpC.

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Scientists say national Alzheimer's plan milestones must be strengthened to meet goal by 2025

The U.S. Government has initiated a major effort to prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer's disease by 2025. However, a workgroup of nearly 40 Alzheimer's researchers and scientists says the research milestones in the U.S. Government's National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease must be broadened in scope, increased in scale, and adequately funded in order to successfully achieve this goal. A series of proposals by the workgroup to enlarge and strengthen the Plan are published today in Alzheimer's & Dementia: the Journal of the Alzheimer's Association.

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Climate change alters cast of winter birds

Over the past two decades, the resident communities of birds that attend eastern North America's backyard bird feeders in winter have quietly been remade, most likely as a result of a warming climate.

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Annals of Internal Medicine: Conventional medical centers may be unable to prevent spread of Ebola

A group of infectious disease experts suggests that conventional U.S. medical centers are unprepared and ill equipped to manage Ebola and a national network of specialized containment and treatment facilities may be needed to reduce the virus' spread, according to an article being published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

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NASA's Hubble Finds Extremely Distant Galaxy through Cosmic Magnifying Glass

Peering through a giant cosmic magnifying glass, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has spotted a tiny, faint galaxy -- one of the farthest galaxies ever seen. The diminutive object is estimated to be more than 13 billion light-years away.

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Human Cancer Prognosis Is Related to Newly Identified Immune Cell

A newly discovered population of immune cells in tumors is associated with less severe cancer outcomes in humans, and may have therapeutic potential, according to a new UC San Francisco study of 3,600 human tumors of 12 types, as well as mouse experiments.

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Corruption of the U.S. health care delivery system: foundation of evidence-based research has eroded

The foundation of evidence-based research has eroded and the trend must be reversed so patients and clinicians can make wise shared decisions about their health, say Dartmouth researchers in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

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Academies call for consequences from the Ebola virus epidemic

The Ebola virus is spreading rapidly and to an unexpected extent. The outbreak does not follow the patterns experienced in the past and the virus shows a new disease dynamic in regions, where it has never been recorded before. For this reason, the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, acatech – the German Academy of Science and Engineering, and the Union of the German Academies of Sciences and Humanities have presented a statement on the Ebola epidemic today.

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Drexel study suggests 21-day quarantine might not be enough to completely prevent spread of Ebola virus

As medical personnel and public health officials are responding to the first reported cases of Ebola Virus in the United States, many of the safety and treatment procedures for treating the virus and preventing its spread are being reexamined. One of the tenets for minimizing the risk of spreading the disease has been a 21-day quarantine period for individuals who might have been exposed to the virus. But a new study by Charles Haas, PhD, a professor in Drexel's College of Engineering, suggests that 21 days might not be enough to completely prevent spread of the virus.

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Earth’s magnetic field could flip within a human lifetime

Imagine the world waking up one morning to discover that all compasses pointed south instead of north.

It’s not as bizarre as it sounds. Earth’s magnetic field has flipped – though not overnight – many times throughout the planet’s history. Its dipole magnetic field, like that of a bar magnet, remains about the same intensity for thousands to millions of years, but for incompletely known reasons it occasionally weakens and, presumably over a few thousand years, reverses direction.

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What Do Wildfires Have to Do With Climate Change?

As the western U.S. faces its third year of severe drought, firefighters are still battling two large fires in California. The state, which is experiencing its worst drought since record keeping began in 1895, has already exhausted the year’s $209 million budget for fighting wildfires and its fall fire season has just begun. With 1,200 more wildfires than average, state officials have called this wildfire season “unprecedented.” In Oregon and Washington, more acres burned this year than in any other region of the country. So far in 2014, 3,070,737 acres across the U.S. have been ravaged by fires—that’s an area almost the size of Connecticut.

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Three Studies Shed New Light on the Effectiveness of Cannabis in Epilepsy

In advance of the American Epilepsy Society’s (AES) Annual Meeting in December, the organization has offered highlights of groundbreaking research being studied at a number of institutions regarding the effectiveness of cannibidiol (CBD) and its derivatives as a viable treatment for people with epilepsy.

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Rising sea levels this century of 1.8 meters in worst-case scenario, translating into 20 times more frequent Hurricane Sandy level surges

The climate is getting warmer, the ice sheets are melting and sea levels are rising – but how much? The report of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2013 was based on the best available estimates of future sea levels, but the panel was not able to come up with an upper limit for sea level rise within this century. Now researchers from the Niels Bohr Institute and their colleagues have calculated the risk for a worst-case scenario. The results indicate that at worst, the sea level would rise a maximum of 1.8 meters. The results are published in the scientific journal Environmental Research Letters.

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1934 drought was worst of the last millennium, study finds

The 1934 drought was by far the most intense and far-reaching drought of the last 1,000 years in North America, and was caused in part by an atmospheric phenomenon that may have also led to the current drought in California, according to a new study.

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Aluminium and its likely contribution to Alzheimer's disease

A world authority on the link between human exposure to aluminium in everyday life and its likely contribution to Alzheimer’s disease, Professor Christopher Exley of Keele University, UK, says in a new report that it may be inevitable that aluminium plays some role in the disease.

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Icebergs once drifted to Florida, new climate model suggests

Using a first-of-its-kind, high-resolution numerical model to describe ocean circulation during the last ice age about 21,000 year ago, oceanographer Alan Condron of the University of Massachusetts Amherst has shown that icebergs and meltwater from the North American ice sheet would have regularly reached South Carolina and even southern Florida. The models are supported by the discovery of iceberg scour marks on the sea floor along the entire continental shelf.

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A new land snail species named for equal marriage rights -- A. diversifamilia

Scientists from the Department of Life Science, National Taiwan Normal University and the Biodiversity Research Center, Academia Sinica described a new endemic land snail species. The new species Aegista diversifamilia was long confused for the widely distributed A. subchinensis. The study was published in the open access journal ZooKeys.

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New Reports Reveal Pathways to School Pushout for Gender Nonconforming and LGBTQ Youth of Color

Gay-Straight Alliance Network (GSA Network), a national youth empowerment organization, and Crossroads Collaborative, a think-and-do research lab led by University of Arizona faculty, today released a set of reports on Discipline Disparities, School Push-Out, and the School-to-Prison Pipeline for gender nonconforming youth and for LGBTQ youth of color. To accompany the reports, Advancement Project, a national civil rights organization, and GSA Network also released a set of policy recommendations based on the research for school staff, policy makers, and young people advocating for change.

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How dinosaurs divided their meals at the Jurassic dinner table

How the largest animals to have ever walked the Earth fed, and how this allowed them to live alongside one another in prehistoric ecosystems is the subject of new research from the University of Bristol and the Natural History Museum, London.

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The 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry awarded to Eric Betzig, Stefan W. Hell and William E. Moerner

The 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded jointly to Eric Betzig, Stefan W. Hell and William E. Moerner "for the development of super-resolved fluorescence microscopy".

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HIV pandemic began its global spread around 1920 from Kinshasa, the capital of the DRC

An international team, led by Oxford University and University of Leuven scientists, has reconstructed the genetic history of the HIV-1 group M pandemic, the event that saw HIV spread across the African continent and around the world, and concluded that it originated in Kinshasa. The team’s analysis suggests that the common ancestor of group M is highly likely to have emerged in Kinshasa around 1920 (with 95% of estimated dates between 1909 and 1930).

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Climate-KIC launches new online CO2 meter to indicate carbon emissions threat level

A new online meter combines a live data feed drawing on European data, updated regularly to show the precise level of CO2 in the earth’s atmosphere today, and comparison tools to show how CO2 levels have changed over time.

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New web privacy system could revolutionize the safety of surfing

Researchers from UCL, Stanford Engineering, Google, Chalmers and Mozilla Research have built a new system that protects Internet users' privacy whilst increasing the flexibility for web developers to build web applications that combine data from different web sites, dramatically improving the safety of surfing the web.

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Ancient Sabertooth Cats May Have Used Their Jaws Like a Can-Opener

Sabertooth cats (e.g., Smilodon fatalis) have long inspired the imagination of paleontologists and the public alike. With their powerful forelimbs and enormous upper canines, these now-extinct cats were formidable predators that thrived for millions of years. But how did they kill their prey?

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Study of mountain lion energetics shows the power of the pounce

Scientists at the University of California, Santa Cruz, using a new wildlife tracking collar they developed, were able to continuously monitor the movements of mountain lions in the wild and determine how much energy the big cats use to stalk, pounce, and overpower their prey.

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Princeton scientists observe elusive particle that is its own antiparticle

Princeton University scientists have observed an exotic particle that behaves simultaneously like matter and antimatter, a feat of math and engineering that could yield powerful computers based on quantum mechanics.

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New Map Exposes Previously Unseen Details of Seafloor

Accessing two previously untapped streams of satellite data, scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego and their colleagues have created a new map of the world’s seafloor, creating a much more vivid picture of the structures that make up the deepest, least-explored parts of the ocean. Thousands of previously uncharted mountains rising from the seafloor and new clues about the formation of the continents have emerged through the new map, which is twice as accurate as the previous version produced nearly 20 years ago.

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How dinosaur arms turned into bird wings

Although we now appreciate that birds evolved from a branch of the dinosaur family tree, a crucial adaptation for flight has continued to puzzle evolutionary biologists. During the millions of years that elapsed, wrists went from straight to bent and hyperflexible, allowing birds to fold their wings neatly against their bodies when not flying.

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