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Male elephant seals use 'voice recognition' to identify rivals, study finds

Male elephant seals use voice recognition to identify rivals, study finds
2015-08-12
Male elephant seals compete fiercely for access to females during the breeding season, and their violent, bloody fights take a toll on both winners and losers. These battles are relatively rare, however, and a new study shows that the males avoid costly fights by learning the distinctive vocal calls of their rivals. When they recognize the call of another male, they know whether to attack or flee depending on the challenger's status in the dominance hierarchy. Researchers from UC Santa Cruz have been studying the behavior of northern elephant seals at Año Nuevo ...

Researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess examine the impact of OpenNotes on patient safety

2015-08-12
BOSTON - Researchers from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) are homing in on the potential benefits of allowing patients access to the notes their clinicians write after a visit. An article published in the August edition of The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety suggests that this kind of patient engagement has the power to improve safety and quality of care. The practice of sharing visit notes more readily began with the OpenNotes study in 2010. More than 100 primary care doctors at three hospitals invited 20,000 of their patients to ...

Paying off small debts first may get you in the black quicker

2015-08-12
In debt and don't know what to do? Conventional economic wisdom says to pay off high-interest loans first. Yet according to a new study in the Journal of Marketing Research, paying off your smallest debts first can provide the motivation you need to successfully pay off even the most burdensome debts. "Winning what are known as 'small victories' by paying off small debts first can give consumers a real boost in eventually paying off all their debts," write the authors of the study, Alexander L. Brown (Texas A&M University) and Joanna N. Lahey (Texas A&M University). "The ...

Do Legos, standardized testing, and Googling hamper creativity?

2015-08-12
Legos, the popular toy bricks, may be great for stimulating creativity in little kids. But when it comes to adults, things might be a little different. According to a new study in the Journal of Marketing Research, when adults are given a set of Legos to solve a well-defined problem, their creativity may suffer when tackling subsequent tasks. "There are a lot of studies that explore what enhances creativity. Ours is one of the few that considers ways in which creativity may be undermined," write the authors of the study, C. Page Moreau (University of Wisconsin) and Marit ...

Predicting the weather or the economy? How to make forecasts more trustworthy

2015-08-12
Attention all you would-be forecasters out there. Do you want people to think you know the future? Then predict with a high degree of certainty that something will happen. According to a new study in the Journal of Marketing Research, people trust a forecaster more when she predicts that something is more likely to occur. "When a forecaster predicts that something has a high likelihood of happening, consumers infer that the forecaster is more confident in her prediction, that she is basing the prediction on more in-depth analysis, and that she is more trustworthy," write ...

Want your company to remain innovative? Think twice before going public

2015-08-12
New companies are often successful because they are innovative. In search of new capital, these companies often go public. But does going public affect a company's ability to remain creative and at the cutting edge--the very qualities that allowed it be successful in the first place? A new study in the Journal of Marketing Research says yes. According to the study, when companies go public, they actually innovate more--but their innovations are far more conservative and less groundbreaking than before. "Going public is a mixed bag for firms when it comes to innovation. ...

Planning and improvisation actually play well together in export markets

2015-08-12
Exporting is a popular way to enter an international market. But just how are export decisions made? In a rapidly changing economic environment, can exporting companies rely on improvisation? Or should they commit to carefully thought out and executed plans? According to a new study in the Journal of Marketing Research, companies need to do both, to plan as well as improvise, as there is no one "best way" for export managers to make decisions. "That both planning and improvisation are needed may come as a surprise. Historically, observers have viewed planning and improvisation ...

Rapid eye movements in sleep reset dream 'snapshots'

2015-08-12
Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, the period in which we experience vivid dreams, was discovered by scientists in the 1950s. Because REM sleep is associated with dreaming, on the one hand, and eye movement, on the other, it has been tempting to assume that each movement of the eye is associated with a specific dream image. But despite decades of intense research by leading international scientists, this intuitive hypothesis has remained unproven. A new study based on rare neuronal data offers the first scientific evidence of the link between rapid eye movement, dream images, ...

Seller beware: International transactions require much more than a contract

2015-08-12
Suppose China wants to buy microprocessors from the United States. The two countries sign a contract--and then the United States hopes that China, as the buyer, holds up its end of the bargain. (One could say the same for China, by the way.) One might think that a contract spelling out in detail the terms of sale and delivery would eliminate the chance that the buyer would violate those terms. A new study in the Journal of International Marketing, however, suggests that well-specified contracts are effective in reducing violations on the part of the buyer only if the buyer ...

Scientists uncover a difference between the sexes

2015-08-12
Male and female brains operate differently at a molecular level, a Northwestern University research team reports in a new study of a brain region involved in learning and memory, responses to stress and epilepsy. Many brain disorders vary between the sexes, but how biology and culture contribute to these differences has been unclear. Now Northwestern neuroscientists have found an intrinsic biological difference between males and females in the molecular regulation of synapses in the hippocampus. This provides a scientific reason to believe that female and male brains ...

Researchers reveal mystery of how contractions in labor grow stronger

2015-08-12
Scientists, for the first time, have identified a mechanism in the muscle cells of the uterus that could point to how contractions in childbirth grow stronger. It is understood that the hormone oxytocin plays a significant role in stimulating contractions during labour, which helps to move a baby down the birth canal. It is not known, however, how these contractions increase and sustain their strength during hours of labour. A team at Liverpool investigated how uterine contractions grow stronger when the human body's 'biological rules' dictates that contractions ...

New study finds GeneSight CPGx precision medicine test provides significant health care cost savings

2015-08-12
Mason, Ohio - August 12, 2015 - A new study published in Current Medical Research and Opinion demonstrated $1,036 in annual prescription savings per patient when healthcare providers used the GeneSight® combinatorial pharmacogenomic (CPGx™) test results to guide treatment decisions compared with usual trial-and-error prescribing. CPGx is the evaluation of multiple genetic factors that influence an individual's response to medications. Unlike other tests, GeneSight measures multiple clinically important genomic variants for each patient and weights them together ...

New research from the Population Council shows child marriage can be delayed

2015-08-12
Washington, DC (12 August 2015) - Today the Population Council released new evidence on what works to delay the age of marriage for extremely vulnerable girls in sub-Saharan Africa. Researchers also shared rarely available data on the cost of interventions that were tested, and issued recommendations for policymakers, donors, and organizations concerned about child marriage. Each year, more than 14 million girls around the world get married before the age of 18. In sub-Saharan Africa, more than 1 in 10 girls are married before the age of 15. Four in ten are married before ...

New life of old molecules: Calcium carbide

2015-08-12
Over the last few decades, researchers have focused their attention on very large molecules and molecular systems. Scientists from all over the world study proteomics, genomics, construct complex proteins, nucleic acids, decode the genomes of entire organisms, and design new sub-cellular structures. Outstanding enthusiasm for these important and essential areas of science has become so widespread that the question arose: "Is there a place for small organic molecules in modern science?" It might seem that old and well-known small organic molecules, as well as some areas ...

Nicotine-eating bacteria could one day help smokers kick the habit

2015-08-12
Most people who smoke cigarettes know it's bad for their health, but quitting is notoriously difficult. To make it easier, scientists are taking a brand-new approach. They are turning to bacteria that thrive on nicotine, the addictive component in tobacco. In ACS' Journal of the American Chemical Society, they report successful tests on a bacterial enzyme that breaks down nicotine and could potentially dull its effects in humans. Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable disease, disability and death in the U.S. Smokers who want to quit can turn to various ...

Better estimates of worldwide mercury pollution

2015-08-12
Once mercury is emitted into the atmosphere from the smokestacks of power plants, the pollutant has a complicated trajectory; even after it settles onto land and sinks into oceans, mercury can be re-emitted back into the atmosphere repeatedly. This so-called "grasshopper effect" keeps the highly toxic substance circulating as "legacy emissions" that, combined with new smokestack emissions, can extend the environmental effects of mercury for decades. Now an international team led by MIT researchers has conducted a new analysis that provides more accurate estimates of ...

Average EU consumer wastes 16 percent of food; most of which could be avoided

2015-08-12
A new study analysing available statistics on consumer food waste has estimated that Europeans waste an average of 123 kg per capita annually, or 16% of all food reaching consumers. Almost 80% (97 kg) is avoidable as it is edible food. Averaged for all EU citizens, this translates into 47 million tonnes of avoidable food waste annually. The JRC scientists who carried out the research also calculated the water and nitrogen resources associated with the avoidable food waste, by means of the water and nitrogen footprint concepts. The study, 'Lost water and nitrogen resources ...

A new CSI tool could pinpoint when fingerprints were left behind (video)

2015-08-12
The crime scene investigators on TV's popular CSI: Crime Scene Investigation series seem able to solve any mystery thanks to a little science and a lot of artistic license. But now there is a real-life technique that could outperform even fictional sleuths' crime-busting tools. Scientists report in ACS' journal Analytical Chemistry a way to tell how old fingerprints are. This could help investigators determine which sets are relevant and which ones were left long ago. Law enforcement officials have long relied on fingerprints left behind by criminals to help solve cases. ...

Flexible, biodegradable device can generate power from touch (video)

2015-08-12
Long-standing concerns about portable electronics include the devices' short battery life and their contribution to e-waste. One group of scientists is now working on a way to address both of these seeming unrelated issues at the same time. They report in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces the development of a biodegradable nanogenerator made with DNA that can harvest the energy from everyday motion and turn it into electrical power. Many people may not realize it, but the movements we often take for granted -- such as walking and tapping on our keyboards ...

Breakthrough in 'marriage-broker' protein

2015-08-12
This news release is available in French. Scientists at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital -The Neuro, at McGill University and the McGill University Health Centre, have made a breakthrough in understanding an important protein that appears to act as a kind of cellular "marriage broker." The protein called Netrin1 brings cells together and maintains their healthy relationships. Netrin1 plays an essential role in the growth of the human organism, directing cell migration and the formation of cell circuits both at the embryo stage and after birth. The ...

Antidepressant drug trials criteria not generalizable

2015-08-12
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Mark Zimmerman, M.D., a clinical researcher at Rhode Island Hospital, and his team analyzed the criteria used in antidepressant efficacy studies (AETs) and learned that the inclusion/exclusion criteria for AETs have narrowed over the past five years so that the most patients are excluded. The research was published today in Mayo Clinic Proceedings. "The inclusion/exclusion criteria for AETs have narrowed over the past five years, thereby suggesting that AETs may be even less generalizable than they were previously," said Zimmerman, director of outpatient ...

Rice University bioengineers advance computing technique for health care and more

Rice University bioengineers advance computing technique for health care and more
2015-08-12
Rice University scientists have developed a big data technique that could have a significant impact on health care. The Rice lab of bioengineer Amina Qutub designed an algorithm called "progeny clustering" that is being used in a hospital study to identify which treatments should be given to children with leukemia. Details of the work appear today in Nature's online journal Scientific Reports. Clustering is important for its ability to reveal information in complex sets of data like medical records. The technique is used in bioinformatics -- a topic of interest to ...

This week from AGU: Natural arches, Italian earthquake, Canadian rivers & research papers

2015-08-12
GeoSpace Natural arches hum their health and scientists are listening For the first time, scientists have found a way to detect if the breathtaking natural arches of Utah's Canyonlands and Arches national parks are suffering from internal damage that could lead to their collapse, according to a new study in Geophysical Research Letters. 16th century Italian earthquake changed river's course In 1570, a 5.8-magnitude earthquake struck the northern Italian city of Ferrara, causing dozens of deaths, major damage to the city and thousands to flee. A new study in Journal ...

Pulmonary hypertension: A growing problem in US children

2015-08-12
Fast Facts: Study reveals pediatric pulmonary hypertension hospitalizations on the rise, resulting in skyrocketing costs. Findings uncover need to initiate a national registry to track individual patients over time and to provide a foundation for clinical trials to test new and better treatments. Study finds pulmonary hypertension hospitalizations now higher in children without congenital heart disease. A review of 15 years' worth of data in a national pediatric medical database has documented a substantial increase in the rate of hospitalizations for children ...

Brain plasticity after vision loss has an 'on-off switch'

2015-08-12
KU Leuven biologists have discovered a molecular on-off switch that controls how a mouse brain responds to vision loss. When the switch is on, the loss of sight in one eye will be compensated by the other eye, but also by tactile input from the whiskers. When the switch is off, only the other eye will take over. These findings may help improve patient susceptibility to sensory prosthetics such as cochlear implants or bionic eyes. Our brain adjusts to changes of all kind. This brain plasticity is useful for neural development and learning, but also comes into play when ...
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