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Bring on the night, say National Park visitors in new study

Bring on the night, say National Park visitors in new study
2015-09-04
Natural wonders like tumbling waterfalls, jutting rock faces and banks of wildflowers have long drawn visitors to America's national parks and inspired efforts to protect their beauty. According to a study published Sept. 4 in Park Science, visitors also value and seek to protect a different kind of threatened natural resource in the parks: dark nighttime skies. Almost 90 percent of visitors to Maine's Acadia National Park interviewed for the study agreed or strongly agreed with the statements, "Viewing the night sky is important to me" and "The National Park Service ...

Researchers show effectiveness of non-surgical treatment of lumbar spinal stenosis

2015-09-04
(Boston)--Patients with spinal stenosis (SS) experienced good short term benefit, lasting from weeks to months, after receiving epidural steroid injections (ESI). These findings, which appear in a letter in the journal Pain Medicine, contradict a previously published New England Journal Medicine (NEJM) study that found epidural steroid injections were not helpful in spinal stenosis cases. It has been one year since the publication of "A Randomized Trial of Epidural Glucocorticoid Steroid Injections for Spinal Stenosis." This was a large scale clinical trial evaluating ...

The million year old monkey: New evidence confirms the antiquity of fossil primate

The million year old monkey: New evidence confirms the antiquity of fossil primate
2015-09-04
An international team of scientists have dated a species of fossil monkey found across the Caribbean to just over 1 million years old. The discovery was made after the researchers recovered a fossil tibia (shin bone) belonging to the species of extinct monkey Antillothrix bernensis from an underwater cave in Altagracia Province, Dominican Republic. The fossil was embedded in a limestone rock that was dated using the Uranium-series technique. In a paper published this week in the well renowned international journal, the Journal of Human Evolution, the team use three-dimensional ...

NASA sees Tropical Storm Kevin stream high clouds over Baja California

NASA sees Tropical Storm Kevin stream high clouds over Baja California
2015-09-04
Tropical Storm Kevin's center was several hundred miles south-southwest of Baja California when NASA's Aqua satellite passed overhead and saw some associated high clouds streaming over the peninsula. The MODIS and the AIRS instruments aboard Aqua captured visible and infrared images of Kevin on September 3 at 20:50 UTC (4:50 p.m. EDT). The visible image from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer or MODIS instrument provided look at Kevin's clouds. MODIS showed a somewhat elongated tropical storm with a fragmented band of thunderstorms wrapping into the low-level ...

Scientists unlock the secrets of a heat-loving microbe

2015-09-04
Scientists studying how a heat-loving microbe transfers its DNA from one generation to the next say it could further our understanding of an extraordinary superbug. Sulfolobus is part of the Archaea kingdom - a single-cell organism similar to bacteria - which was isolated in hot springs on the island of Hokkaido, Japan. Some Archaea live ordinary lives in mundane environments such as lakes, seas and insect and mammal intestinal tracts, while others live extraordinary lives pushed to extremes in incredibly harsh habitats such as deep sea hydrothermal vents, volcanic ...

Computer graphics: Less computing time for sand

Computer graphics: Less computing time for sand
2015-09-04
"Objects of granular media, such as a sandcastle, consist of millions or billions of grains. The computation time needed to produce photorealistic images amounts to hundreds to thousands of processor hours," Professor Carsten Dachsbacher of the Institute for Visualization and Data Analysis of KIT explains. Materials, such as sand, salt or sugar, consist of randomly oriented grains that are visible at a closer look only. Image synthesis, the so-called rendering, is very difficult, as the paths of millions of light rays through the grains have to be simulated. "In addition, ...

Real competitors enhance thrill of auctions

Real competitors enhance thrill of auctions
2015-09-04
Nowadays, internet auctions play an important role in online trading. No matter whether you want to buy a hedge trimmer or an antique pocket watch - unlike purchases by a click at a fixed price, online auctions provide the atmosphere of a competition for the auction object. Whoever perceives the competition of real contenders, e.g. by avatars or photos on the screen, wishes to stay in the race - and increases his bid. This is a result of a KIT study with more than 450 test persons. Online auctions combine shopping with entertainment, fun, and excitement. This is the ...

Supervised tooth brushing and floride varnish schemes benefit kids and the health economy

2015-09-04
Action to prevent tooth decay in children, such as supervised tooth brushing and fluoride varnish schemes, are not just beneficial to children's oral health but could also result in cost savings to the NHS of hundreds of pounds per child, so says a leading dental health researcher. Professor Elizabeth Kay, Foundation Dean of the Peninsula Dental School from Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, has carried out the first economic evaluation of public health measures to reduce tooth decay in children at high risk, in association with the National ...

Vestibular organ -- signal replicas make a flexible sensor

2015-09-04
When a jogger sets out on his evening run, the active movements of his arms and legs are accompanied by involuntary changes in the position of the head relative to the rest of the body. Yet the jogger does not experience feelings of dizziness like those induced in the passive riders of a rollercoaster, who have no control over the abrupt dips and swoops to which they are exposed. The reason for the difference lies in the vestibular organ (VO) located in the inner ear, which controls balance and posture. The VO senses ongoing self-motion and ensures that, while running, ...

Esophageal cancer: Positron emission tomography does not improve treatment

2015-09-04
Patients with cancer of the esophagus--also known as the gullet--are often given chemo- or radiotherapy, with the aim of shrinking the tumor before it is surgically removed. Increasingly positron emission tomography (PET) is being used to monitor the size of the tumor during the treatment. To date, however, no benefit for patients has ensued, as Milly Schröer-Günther and co-authors show in an original article in the current issue of Deutsches Ärzteblatt International (Dtsch Arztebl Int 2015; 112: 545-52). PET is an imaging technique that makes a tumor in ...

Community ecology can advance the fight against infectious diseases

2015-09-04
Despite continued medical advances, infectious diseases kill over 10 million people worldwide each year. The ecological complexity of many emerging disease threats--interactions among multiple hosts, multiple vectors and even multiple parasites--often complicates efforts aimed at controlling disease. Now, a new paper co-authored by a University of Colorado Boulder professor is advancing a multidisciplinary framework that could provide a better mechanistic understanding of emerging outbreaks. In a study published today in the journal Science, researchers demonstrate how ...

Fourth wheat gene is key to flowering and climate adaptation

2015-09-04
In the game of wheat genetics, Jorge Dubcovsky's laboratory at UC Davis has hit a grand slam, unveiling for the fourth time in a dozen years a gene that governs wheat vernalization, the biological process requiring cold temperatures to trigger flower formation. Identification of the newly characterized VRN-D4 gene and its three counterpart genes is crucial for understanding the vernalization process and developing improved varieties of wheat, which provides about one-fifth of the calories and proteins that we humans consume globally. The new study, reported online in ...

Girls and boys with autism differ in behavior, brain structure

2015-09-04
Girls with autism display less repetitive and restricted behavior than boys do, according to a study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine. The study also found that brain differences between boys and girls with autism help explain this discrepancy. The study, which will be published online Sept. 3 in Molecular Autism, gives the best evidence to date that boys and girls exhibit the developmental disorder differently. "We wanted to know which specific clinical manifestations of autism show significant gender differences, and whether patterns ...

Extra hour of screen time per day associated with poorer GCSE grades

2015-09-04
Each extra hour per day spent watching TV, using the internet or playing computer games during Year 10 is associated with poorer grades at GCSE at age 16, according to research from the University of Cambridge. In a study published today in the open access International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, researchers also found that pupils doing an extra hour of daily homework and reading performed significantly better than their peers. However, the level of physical activity had no effect on academic performance. The link between physical activity ...

Surgery achieves better long-term control of type 2 diabetes than standard therapy

2015-09-04
Metabolic or bariatric surgery may be more effective than standard medical treatments for the long-term control of type 2 diabetes in obese patients, according to a new study by King's College London and the Universita Cattolica in Rome, Italy. The study, published in the Lancet, is the first to provide data on five-year outcomes of surgery from a randomized clinical trial specifically designed to compare this new approach against standard medical therapy for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. A number of studies have shown that bariatric or weight-loss surgery can result ...

Using stellar 'twins' to reach the outer limits of the galaxy

Using stellar twins to reach the outer limits of the galaxy
2015-09-04
Astronomers from the University of Cambridge have developed a new, highly accurate method of measuring the distances between stars, which could be used to measure the size of the galaxy, enabling greater understanding of how it evolved. Using a technique which searches out stellar 'twins', the researchers have been able to measure distances between stars with far greater precision than is possible using typical model-dependent methods. The technique could be a valuable complement to the Gaia satellite - which is creating a three-dimensional map of the sky over five years ...

The BMJ reveals 'unethical' targets in India's private hospitals

2015-09-04
Many doctors working in India's private hospitals are under pressure to carry out unnecessary tests and procedures to meet revenue targets, according to The BMJ this week. In a special report published today, Meera Kay, a journalist in Bangalore, asks what can be done about financial targets for doctors working in profit driven hospitals that lead to expensive but unnecessary tests and surgery that also come with risk of harm? According to Dr Gautam Mistry, a cardiologist in Kolkata, such unethical practices are widely known about in medical circles but public discourse ...

How kidney injury during combat affects the long-term health of today's soldiers

2015-09-04
Among 51 military service members who experienced severe acute kidney injury during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, 88% of the injuries were due to blasts or projectiles. Twenty-two percent of the patients died within 60 days. Although still high, this mortality rate is significantly less than might be expected historically. The majority of survivors completely recovered their kidney function. Washington, DC (September 3, 2015) -- Acute kidney injury (AKI) leading to an abrupt or rapid decline in kidney function is a serious and increasingly prevalent condition. While ...

'Democratic peace' may not prevent international conflict

2015-09-03
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Using a new technique to analyze 52 years of international conflict, researchers suggest that there may be no such thing as a "democratic peace." In addition, a model developed with this new technique was found to predict international conflict five and even ten years in the future better than any existing model. Democratic peace is the widely held theory that democracies are less likely to go to war against each other than countries with other types of government. In the new study, researchers found that economic trade relationships and participation ...

Rapid testing for TB aims to reduce drug resistance, lower mortality rate

2015-09-03
Researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have documented the accuracy of three new tests for more rapidly diagnosing drug-resistant forms of tuberculosis (TB), which are much harder and more expensive to treat and which, experts say, represent a major threat to global public health. The study is published online in the current issue of PLOS ONE. "Our study shows that TB testing that once took two to three months can now be done in as little as a day," said co-author Richard Garfein, PhD, professor in the Division of Global Public Health ...

Beyond species counts: Using evolutionary history to inform conservation

2015-09-03
Earth's species are disappearing at an astonishing--and troubling--rate. As human activity continues to put pressure on ecosystems around the world, the rate of loss continues to climb. How we slow this devastating loss and protect the enormous number of species on Earth is of considerable importance, and debate. Unfortunately, it is not feasible to simply protect everything. Limited funds require conservation planners and policy makers to prioritize the preservation of specific regions and ecosystems. An often-used strategy is to identify areas of high species richness ...

Increased odds for type 2 diabetes after prenatal exposure to Ukraine famine of 1932-33

2015-09-03
September 3, 2015 - Men and women exposed in early gestation to the man-made Ukrainian Famine of 1932-33 in regions with extreme food shortages were 1.5 times more likely to be diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in adulthood. In regions with severe famine there was a 1.3 fold rise in the odds of Type 2 diabetes, and there was no diabetes increase among individuals born in regions with no famine. Researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, the Komisarenko Institute of Endocrinology and Metabolism in Kiev, Ukraine, and the Cheboratev Institute of Gerontology ...

The science of stereotyping: Challenging the validity of 'gaydar'

2015-09-03
MADISON, Wis. -- "Gaydar" -- the purported ability to infer whether people are gay or straight based on their appearance -- seemed to get a scientific boost from a 2008 study that concluded people could accurately guess someone's sexual orientation based on photographs of their faces. In a new paper published in the Journal of Sex Research, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison challenge what they call "the gaydar myth." William Cox, an assistant scientist in the Department of Psychology and the lead author, says gaydar isn't accurate and is actually a harmful ...

Shared habitats

Shared habitats
2015-09-03
The gut is an important reservoir for drug-resistant bacteria responsible for life-threatening hospital-acquired infections. A study in mice published on September 3rd in PLOS Pathogens reports that two of the most common antibiotic-resistant bacterial species circulating in hospitals occupy and effectively share the same location in the gut, and that they can be eliminated by fecal transplantation of a healthy gut microbiome. Eric Pamer, from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, USA, and colleagues, investigated the interactions between vancomycin-resistant ...

Immune cells take cue from animal kingdom: Together, everyone achieves more

Immune cells take cue from animal kingdom: Together, everyone achieves more
2015-09-03
Much like birds fly in flocks to conserve energy, dolphins swim in pods to mate and find food, and colonies of ants create complex nests to protect their queens, immune cells engage in coordinated behavior to wipe out viruses like the flu. That's according to a new study published today in the journal Science by researchers at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. The findings reveal, for the first time, how immune cells work together to get to their final destination - the site of an injury or infection. The body is expansive and a virus or bacteria ...
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