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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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3.3-million-year-old fossil reveals origins of the human spine

Dom, 05/21/2017 - 22:00
Analysis of a 3.3 million-year-old fossil skeleton reveals the most complete spinal column of any early human relative, including vertebrae, neck and rib cage. The findings, published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, indicate that portions of the human spinal structure that enable efficient walking motions were established millions of years earlier than previously thought.

Scientists find 7.2-million-year-old pre-human remains in the Balkans

Dom, 05/21/2017 - 22:00
Scientists analyzing 7.2 million-year-old fossils uncovered in modern-day Greece and Bulgaria suggest a new hypothesis about the origins of humankind, placing it in the Eastern Mediterranean and not -- as customarily assumed -- in Africa, and earlier than currently accepted. The researchers conclude that Graecopithecus freybergi represents the first pre-humans to exist following the split from the last chimpanzee-human common ancestor.

Johns Hopkins study shows one of the deadliest hospital-acquired infections is preventable

Dom, 05/21/2017 - 22:00
In a recent paper published online in the journal Critical Care Medicine, researchers at the Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute of Patient Safety and Quality led a study that demonstrated that health care providers can take steps to curb ventilator-associated events.

Weathering of rocks a poor regulator of global temperatures

Dom, 05/21/2017 - 22:00
Evidence from the age of the dinosaurs to today shows that chemical weathering of rocks is less sensitive to global temperature, and may depend on the steepness of the surface. The results call into question the role of rocks in setting our planet's temperature over millions of years.

Obamacare support: When polls mention repeal it seals the deal

Dom, 05/21/2017 - 22:00
Does the American public want former President Obama's health care law repealed and replaced? It depends on how you ask the question.

UNLV study: Warming news from Russia

Dom, 05/21/2017 - 22:00
UNLV research in Russia challenges widely held understanding of past climate history; study appears in latest issue of top journal Nature Geoscience.

Micro delivery service for fertilizers

Dom, 05/21/2017 - 22:00
Plants can absorb nutrients through their leaves as well as their roots. However, foliar fertilization over an extended period is difficult. In the journal Angewandte Chemie, German researchers have now introduced an efficient delivery system for micronutrients based on biohybrid microgels. Special peptides anchor the 'microcontainers' onto the leaf surface while binding sites inside ensure gradual release of the 'cargo'.

Scientists propose synestia, a new type of planetary object

Dom, 05/21/2017 - 22:00
There's something new to look for in the heavens, and it's called a 'synestia,' according to planetary scientists Simon Lock at Harvard University and Sarah Stewart at UC Davis. A synestia, they propose, would be a huge, spinning, donut-shaped mass of hot, vaporized rock, formed as planet-sized objects smash into each other.

Researchers find computer code that Volkswagen used to cheat emissions tests

Dom, 05/21/2017 - 22:00
An international team of researchers has uncovered the mechanism that allowed Volkswagen to circumvent US and European emission tests over at least six years before the Environmental Protection Agency put the company on notice in 2015 for violating the Clean Air Act. During a year-long investigation, researchers found code that allowed a car's onboard computer to determine that the vehicle was undergoing an emissions test.

Kepler telescope spies details of TRAPPIST-1 system's outermost planet

Dom, 05/21/2017 - 22:00
A University of Washington-led international team of astronomers has used data gathered by the Kepler Space Telescope to observe and confirm details of the outermost of seven exoplanets or-biting the star TRAPPIST-1.

NASA adds up record Australia rainfall

Dom, 05/21/2017 - 22:00
Over the week of May 15, extreme rainfall drenched northeastern Australia and NASA data provided a look at the record totals.

The secret to combating pancreatic cancer may lie in suppression of a common protein

Dom, 05/21/2017 - 22:00
Research indicates that in mice with a KRAS mutation, present in 90 percent of pancreatic cancer patients, expressing only half the amount of the glucose-regulated protein GRP78 is enough to halt the earliest stage of pancreatic cancer development, resulting in delayed tumor development and prolonged survival.

Human-induced deforestation is causing an increase in malaria cases

Dom, 05/21/2017 - 22:00
A new study of 67 less-developed, malaria-endemic nations led by Lehigh University sociologist Dr. Kelly Austin, finds a link between deforestation and increasing malaria rates across developing nations.

Mindfulness takes practice

Dom, 05/21/2017 - 22:00
Mindfulness meditation practice is set at 45 minutes a day at home, as well as weekly group sessions with the teacher. And the 45 minutes is every day, six days a week as long as the course lasts. These are the guidelines for students taking part in the standard Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy or Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction courses, but an average course student practices only 30 minutes. Nevertheless, this practice is related to positive benefit.

Ultrafast nanophotonics: Turmoil in sluggish electrons' existence

Dom, 05/21/2017 - 22:00
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behavior of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

South African team performs second successful penis transplant

Dom, 05/21/2017 - 22:00
A team from Stellenbosch University and the Tygerberg Academic Hospital has performed a second penis transplant, making it the first medical centre in the world to successfully perform this procedure twice.

New cancer drug can prevent reactions to common airborne allergens

Dom, 05/21/2017 - 22:00
A cancer drug for patients with certain types of leukemia and lymphoma can also prevent reactions to some of the most common airborne allergies, according to a recent Northwestern Medicine study. The promising data from this pilot study could have greater implications for adults with food allergies.

Sunflower genome sequence to provide roadmap for more resilient crops

Dom, 05/21/2017 - 22:00
University of Georgia researchers are part of an international team that has published the first sunflower genome sequence. This new resource will assist future research programs using genetic tools to improve crop resilience and oil production.

New findings on formation and malformation of blood vessels

Dom, 05/21/2017 - 22:00
In diseases like cancer, diabetes, rheumatism and stroke, a disorder develops in the blood vessels that exacerbates the condition and obstructs treatment. Researchers at Karolinska Institutet now show how blood vessels can normally change their size to create a functional circulatory system and how vascular malformation during disease can occur. In the study, published in Nature Cell Biology, the researchers managed to treat vascular malformation in mice, a discovery of potential significance to numerous vascular diseases.

Smoke from wildfires can have lasting climate impact

Dom, 05/21/2017 - 22:00
Researchers have found that carbon particles released into the air from burning trees and other organic matter are much more likely than previously thought to travel to the upper levels of the atmosphere, where they can interfere with rays from the sun -- sometimes cooling the air and at other times warming it.

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