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The premier online source for science news since 1996. A service of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
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Many cases of dementia may arise from non-inherited DNA 'spelling mistakes'

Dom, 10/14/2018 - 22:00
Only a small proportion of cases of dementia are thought to be inherited -- the cause of the vast majority is unknown. Now, in a study published today in the journal Nature Communications, a team of scientists led by researchers at the University of Cambridge believe they may have found an explanation: spontaneous errors in our DNA that arise as cells divide and reproduce.

Blood test biopsy for kids with brain tumors is simple, safe way to see if treatment is working

Dom, 10/14/2018 - 22:00
A new blood test for children with brain tumors offers a safer approach than surgical biopsies and may allow doctors to measure the effectiveness of treatment even before changes are identified on scans, according to research led by UCSF Benioff Children's Hospitals and Children's National Health System.

Immune health maintained by meticulously ordered DNA

Dom, 10/14/2018 - 22:00
Walter and Eliza Hall Institute researchers have revealed how immune health is maintained by the exquisite organisation skills of a protein called Pax5.

How common are tobacco, marijuana use in hip-hop music videos?

Dom, 10/14/2018 - 22:00
Popular hip-hop music videos frequently feature tobacco and marijuana use, and because of the genre's broad appeal, this may contribute to growing public health concern about the use of these products in traditional combustible or new electronic forms.

Mammals cannot evolve fast enough to escape current extinction crisis

Dom, 10/14/2018 - 22:00
The sixth mass extinction is underway, this time caused by humans. A team of researchers from Denmark and Sweden have calculated, that species are dying out so quickly, that nature's built-in defence mechanism, evolution, cannot keep up. If current conservation efforts are not improved, so many mammal species will become extinct during the next five decades that nature will need 3-5 million years to recover to current biodiversity levels. And that's a best-case scenario.

Tracking the movement of the tropics 800 years into the past

Dom, 10/14/2018 - 22:00
For the first time, scientists have traced the north-south shifts of the northern-most edge of the tropics back 800 years. The movement of the tropical boundary affects the locations of Northern Hemisphere deserts including the Sonoran, Mohave and Saharan. The Earth's climate system affects the movement of the tropics, which have been expanding since the 1970s. The research team found that in the past, periods of tropical expansion coincided with severe droughts.

Oldest evidence for animals found by UCR researchers

Dom, 10/14/2018 - 22:00
Researchers at the University of California, Riverside, have found the oldest clue yet of animal life, dating back at least 100 million years before the famous Cambrian explosion of animal fossils.

Cancer survivors at risk for heart failure during, after pregnancy

Dom, 10/14/2018 - 22:00
Young women previously treated for cancer with chemotherapy or radiation therapy with a prior history of cardiotoxicity are more likely to develop clinical congestive heart failure (CHF) during and after pregnancy, according to a study published today in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Technique quickly identifies extreme event statistics

Dom, 10/14/2018 - 22:00
Engineers at MIT have developed an algorithm that quickly pinpoints the types of extreme events that are likely to occur in a complex system, such as an ocean environment, where waves of varying magnitudes, lengths, and heights can create stress and pressure on a ship or offshore platform. The researchers can simulate the forces and stresses that extreme events -- in the form of waves -- may generate on a particular structure.

Analyzing half a million mouse decisions

Dom, 10/14/2018 - 22:00
Mice can be used to study the neural circuits underlying complex decision-making, suggests an analysis of more than 500,000 mouse decisions reported in JNeurosci.

Study finds potential benefits of wildlife-livestock coexistence in East Africa

Dom, 10/14/2018 - 22:00
A study of 3,588 square kilometers of privately owned land in central Kenya offers evidence that humans and their livestock can, in the right circumstances, share territory with zebras, giraffes, elephants and other wild mammals -- to the benefit of all.

Don't sweat the sweet stuff

Dom, 10/14/2018 - 22:00
Sweet and bitter flavors are identified as soon as they are tasted, according to human neural and behavioral data published in eNeuro. The study provides new insight into how the brain rapidly detects and discriminates between potentially nutritious and toxic substances.

How beetle larvae thrive on carrion

Dom, 10/14/2018 - 22:00
The burying beetle Nicrophorus vespilloides buries the cadavers of small animals to use them as a food source for its offspring. However, the carcass is susceptible to microbial decomposition. Researchers from the Max-Planck-Institute for Chemical Ecology and the Universities of Mainz and Giessen, Germany, show that the beetles replace harmful microorganisms with their own beneficial gut symbionts, thus turning a carcass into a nursery with a microbial community that even promotes larval growth.

Early sleep loss accelerates Alzheimer's pathology in mice

Dom, 10/14/2018 - 22:00
Lack of sleep during adolescence and early adulthood accelerates Alzheimer's disease (AD)-related tau pathology, finds a study of male and female mice published in JNeurosci. These results support the importance of establishing healthy sleep habits in early adult life to help stave off progression of neurodegenerative diseases.

Two degrees decimated Puerto Rico's insect populations

Dom, 10/14/2018 - 22:00
While temperatures in the tropical forests of northeastern Puerto Rico have climbed two degrees Celsius since the mid-1970s, the biomass of arthropods - invertebrate animals such as insects, millipedes, and sowbugs - has declined by as much as 60-fold, according to new findings published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

National bans on slapping children linked to less youth violence

Dom, 10/14/2018 - 22:00
National bans on parents slapping or spanking their children to punish them for bad behaviour are linked to lower rates of youth violence, reveals an international study published in the online journal BMJ Open.

Global warming will have us crying in what's left of our beer

Dom, 10/14/2018 - 22:00
In a study published today in Nature Plants, researchers from the University of California, Irvine and other institutions report that concurrent droughts and heat waves, exacerbated by anthropogenic global warming, will lead to sharp declines in crop yields of barley, beer's main ingredient.

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