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Daily marijuana use among US college students highest since 1980

2015-09-01
ANN ARBOR--Daily marijuana use among the nation's college students is on the rise, surpassing daily cigarette smoking for the first time in 2014. A series of national surveys of U.S. college students, as part of the University of Michigan's Monitoring the Future study, shows that marijuana use has been growing slowly on the nation's campuses since 2006. Daily or near-daily marijuana use was reported by 5.9 percent of college students in 2014--the highest rate since 1980, the first year that complete college data were available in the study. This rate of use is up ...

Giant 'sea scorpion' fossil discovered

Giant sea scorpion fossil discovered
2015-09-01
The fossil of a previously unknown species of 'sea scorpion', measuring over 1.5 meters long, has been discovered in Iowa, USA, and described in the open access journal BMC Evolutionary Biology. Dating back 460 million years, it is the oldest known species of eurypterid (sea scorpion) - extinct monster-like predators that swam the seas in ancient times and are related to modern arachnids. The authors named the new species Pentecopterus decorahensis after the 'penteconter' - an ancient Greek warship that the species resembles in outline and parallels in its predatory ...

In September's Physics World: The secret life of scientific ideas...

2015-09-01
Many of the most memorable stories in the history of science revolve around the conscious realization of an idea - the "Eureka!" moment. But what triggers these moments? Is there always some serendipitous event preceding a sudden epiphany, such as when Isaac Newton famously figured out gravity when he saw a falling apple? Writing in September's Physics World, Vitor Cardoso talks about how these questions led him on a quest of discovery through the web-based project The Birth of an Idea, which he co-founded with artist Ana Souse Carvalho. "Ana and I had been talking ...

Women in poor areas twice as likely to develop clinical anxiety as men

2015-09-01
Women living in poor areas in the UK are almost twice as likely to develop clinical anxiety as women in richer areas. However, whether men lived in poorer or richer areas made no difference to their levels of generalised anxiety disorder (GAD). These are amongst the main findings of a major survey on how socio-economic factors affect mental health in the UK. Generalised anxiety disorder is one of the most common mental health conditions in modern society, but little objective work has taken place to show the factors in society which can lead to the development of anxiety. ...

'But doctor, I'm not ill' -- insight in psychotic patients

2015-09-01
How do you convince someone with schizophrenia or other psychotic disorders that they are ill if they don't want to believe it? If you don't recognize that you are ill, you may resist treatment, but is there something which causes this lack of awareness? Awareness of illness, also known as 'insight', is a serious problem in the treatment of psychotic patients. Now work being presented at the ECNP Congress in Amsterdam investigates whether concentrations of a marker of brain cell dysfunction are associated with impaired insight. Past studies have indicated that an area ...

Study: Some with low-risk prostate cancer not likely to succumb to the disease

2015-08-31
Men with relatively unaggressive prostate tumors and whose disease is carefully monitored by urologists are unlikely to develop metastatic prostate cancer or die of their cancers, according to results of a study by researchers at the Brady Urological Institute at Johns Hopkins, who analyzed survival statistics up to 15 years. Specifically, the researchers report, just two of 1,298 men enrolled over the past 20 years in a so-called active surveillance program at Johns Hopkins died of prostate cancer, and three developed metastatic disease. "Our study should reassure ...

Team harnesses intense X-ray beam, observes unusual phenomenon for the first time

2015-08-31
Lincoln, Neb., Aug. 31, 2015 -- Using an enormous X-ray laser -- one of only two such machines on Earth -- University of Nebraska-Lincoln physicist Matthias Fuchs and scientists from around the world beat formidable odds to observe one of the most fundamental interactions between X-rays and matter. The findings can aid future studies and may lead to novel new ways to diagnose matter in the future. Fuchs and his colleagues induced two X-ray photons to simultaneously collide with a single atom, which converts them into a single higher-energetic X-ray photon. It's a phenomenon ...

Columbia engineers develop new approach to modeling Amazon seasonal cycles

Columbia engineers develop new approach to modeling Amazon seasonal cycles
2015-08-31
New York, NY--August 31, 2015--With the rise of CO2 in Earth's atmosphere, understanding the climate of tropical forests--the Amazon in particular--has become a critical research area. A recent NASA study showed that these regions are the biggest terrestrial carbon dioxide sinks on our planet, absorbing 1.4 billion metric tons of CO2 out of a total global terrestrial absorption of 2.5 billion. To simulate the tropical climate to learn more about its processes, climate scientists have typically been relying on general circulation models (GCMs) to simulate the tropical climate. ...

Sea temperature changes linked to mystery North Pacific ecosystem shifts

2015-08-31
Longer, less frequent climate fluctuations may be contributing to abrupt and unexplained ecosystem shifts in the North Pacific, according to a study by the University of Exeter. Researchers have long been puzzled by two rapid and widespread changes in the abundance and distribution of North Pacific plankton and fish species that impacted the region's economically important salmon fisheries. In 1977, and again in 1989, the number of salmon in some areas plummeted, while it increased in other areas. These events have been dubbed regime shifts by researchers. Now, in ...

Short sleepers are 4 times more likely to catch a cold

2015-08-31
A new study led by a UC San Francisco sleep researcher supports what parents have been saying for centuries: to avoid getting sick, be sure to get enough sleep. The team, which included researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, found that people who sleep six hours a night or less are four times more likely to catch a cold when exposed to the virus, compared to those who spend more than seven hours a night in slumber land. This is the first study to use objective sleep measures to connect people's natural sleep habits and ...

New type of prion may cause, transmit neurodegeneration

2015-08-31
Multiple System Atrophy (MSA), a neurodegenerative disorder with similarities to Parkinson's disease, is caused by a newly discovered type of prion, akin to the misfolded proteins involved in incurable progressive brain diseases such Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD), according to two new research papers led by scientists at UC San Francisco. The findings suggest new approaches to developing treatments for MSA, which currently has no cure, but also raise a potential concern for clinicians or scientists who come in contact with MSA tissue. The new findings mark the first ...

New research confirms lack of sleep connected to getting sick

2015-08-31
Scientists have long associated sufficient sleep with good health. Now they've confirmed it. In 2009, Carnegie Mellon University's Sheldon Cohen found for the first time that insufficient sleep is associated with a greater likelihood of catching a cold. To do this, Cohen, who has spent years exploring psychological factors contributing to illness, assessed participants self-reported sleep duration and efficiency levels and then exposed them to a common cold virus. Now, Cohen, the Robert E. Doherty University Professor of Psychology in the Dietrich College of Humanities ...

Plastic in 99 percent of seabirds by 2050

Plastic in 99 percent of seabirds by 2050
2015-08-31
Researchers from CSIRO and Imperial College London have assessed how widespread the threat of plastic is for the world's seabirds, including albatrosses, shearwaters and penguins, and found the majority of seabird species have plastic in their gut. The study, led by Dr Chris Wilcox with co-authors Dr Denise Hardesty and Dr Erik van Sebille and published today in the journal PNAS, found that nearly 60 per cent of all seabird species have plastic in their gut. Based on analysis of published studies since the early 1960s, the researchers found that plastic is increasingly ...

Single mothers much more likely to live in poverty than single fathers, study finds

2015-08-31
URBANA, Ill. - Single mothers earn significantly less than single fathers, and they're penalized for each additional child they have even though the income of single fathers remains the same or increases with each added child in their family. Men also make more for every additional year they invest in education, further widening the gender gap, reports a University of Illinois study. "Single mothers earn about two-thirds of what single fathers earn. Even when we control for such variables as occupation, numbers of hours worked, education, and social capital, the income ...

Study reveals human body has gone through four stages of evolution

2015-08-31
BINGHAMTON, NY - Research into 430,000-year-old fossils collected in northern Spain found that the evolution of the human body's size and shape has gone through four main stages, according to a paper published this week. A large international research team including Binghamton University anthropologist Rolf Quam studied the body size and shape in the human fossil collection from the site of the Sima de los Huesos in the Sierra de Atapuerca in northern Spain. Dated to around 430,000 years ago, this site preserves the largest collection of human fossils found to date anywhere ...

Older people getting smarter, but not fitter

2015-08-31
Older populations are scoring better on cognitive tests than people of the same age did in the past --a trend that could be linked to higher education rates and increased use of technology in our daily lives, say IIASA population researchers. People over age 50 are scoring increasingly better on tests of cognitive function, according to a new study published in the journal PLOS ONE. At the same time, however, the study showed that average physical health of the older population has declined. The study relied on representative survey data from Germany which measured cognitive ...

Gene leads to nearsightedness when kids read

Gene leads to nearsightedness when kids read
2015-08-31
NEW YORK, NY (August 31, 2015) -- Vision researchers at Columbia University Medical Center have discovered a gene that causes myopia, but only in people who spend a lot of time in childhood reading or doing other "nearwork." Using a database of approximately 14,000 people, the researchers found that those with a certain variant of the gene - called APLP2 - were five times more likely to develop myopia in their teens if they had read an hour or more each day in their childhood. Those who carried the APLP2 risk variant but spent less time reading had no additional risk ...

Dialect influences Appalachian students' experiences in college

2015-08-31
An in-depth dialect study from NC State University researchers shows that some students from rural Appalachia feel that their dialects put them at a disadvantage in a college classroom, even in the South. The Journal of Higher Education study raises important questions about language as a type of diversity that isn't always celebrated on campus, says lead author Stephany Dunstan, a linguist and associate director of assessment at NC State. In their interviews, some rural Appalachian students recalled times when they spoke up in class only to be met with snickers for ...

We've all got a blind spot, but it can be shrunk

2015-08-31
You've probably never noticed, but the human eye includes an unavoidable blind spot. That's because the optic nerve that sends visual signals to the brain must pass through the retina, which creates a hole in that light-sensitive layer of tissue. When images project to that precise location, we miss them. Now researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on August 31 have some good news: this blind spot can be effectively "shrunk" with training, despite the fact that the hole in our visual field cannot be. The findings raise the possibility that similar ...

Heart rate, heart rate variability in older adults linked to poorer function

2015-08-31
A higher resting heart rate and lower heart rate variability in older adults at high risk of heart disease are associated with poorer ability to function in daily life as well as future decline, according to a new research in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal). "It has been hypothesized that heart rate and heart rate variability are markers of frailty, an increased vulnerability to stressors and functional decline," writes Dr. Behnam Sabayan, Department of Gerontology and Geriatrics, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, the Netherlands, with coauthors. "However, ...

Lyme disease testing: Canadians may receive false-positives from some US labs

2015-08-31
Lyme disease is becoming increasingly common in Canada, and Canadians with Lyme disease symptoms may seek diagnoses from laboratories in the United States, although many of the results will be false-positives, according to a commentary in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal). "Patients with chronic subjective symptoms without a diagnosis can be vulnerable and desperate for an answer as to the cause of their illness," writes Dr. Dan Gregson, divisions of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, departments of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, and Medicine, ...

Temple Lung Center study shows benefits for COPD patients using digital health application

2015-08-31
(Philadelphia, PA) - Early intervention facilitated by a digital health application for reporting symptoms of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) provides key benefits for patients, according to the results of a Temple-led, two-year clinical study. COPD is a serious chronic respiratory disease that is often characterized by flare-ups, called acute exacerbations, in which the patient may experience increased coughing, mucus, shortness of breath, wheezing, and a feeling of tightness in their chest. If exacerbation symptoms are not detected and treated in a timely ...

Raising pay can reduce smoking rates

2015-08-31
(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) -- In addition to restricting when and where tobacco is used at work, UC Davis Health System research shows that employers can do something else to reduce smoking: raise wages. Published in the August issue of the Annals of Epidemiology, the study found that a 10 percent increase in wages leads to about a 5 percent drop in smoking rates among workers who are male or who have high school educations or less and improves their overall chances of quitting smoking from 17 to 20 percent. "Our findings are especially important as inflation-adjusted wages ...

Magnetic stimulation effective in helping Parkinson's patients walk

2015-08-31
Amsterdam, NL, August 31, 2015 - About 50% of patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) experience freezing of gait (FOG), an inability to move forward while walking. This can affect not only mobility but also balance. In a new study published in Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience, researchers report that repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) can reduce FOG and improve other motor skills in PD patients. In a study conducted by researchers at the Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea, 17 PD patients experiencing FOG were treated with either ...

Medication treatment for opioid use disorders in primary care increases patient access

2015-08-31
BOSTON - Clinicians at Boston Medical Center (BMC) showed that expanding the number of sites offering office-based opioid treatment with buprenorphine (OBOT B) utilizing addiction nurse care managers, trainings and technical support resulted in more physicians becoming waivered to prescribe buprenorphine and more patients accessing treatment at sites across Massachusetts. This model, highlighted online in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, demonstrates the efficacy of this medication-assisted treatment modality as a sustainable way to treat greater numbers of patients ...
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