Science 2.0

Ashitaba Won't Make You Live Longer, It Won't Even Help You Become A Samurai

Science 2.0 - Feb 20 2019 - 17:02
The race is on to be the food craze of 2019 and the leading contenders so far are biltong - beef jerky from South Africa - and angelica keiskei koidzumi (ashitaba) from Japan.

If a plant can have a leaf cut off and have it grow back the next day, why not assume eating it will help humans? Because we know more science now than 18th century soldiers did. 

But once a supplement takes off, more studies showing magical benefits will be soon to follow, and Nature Communications is helping get things going - perhaps because the credit card cleared. It certainly can't have gone through real peer review.

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Journalist travel grants for Heidelberg Laureate Forum

Science 2.0 - Feb 20 2019 - 13:02
From September 22-27, 2019, recipients of the Abel Prize, ACM A.M. Turing Award, ACM Prize in Computing, Fields Medal, and the Nevanlinna Prize will gather in Heidelberg to meet with 200 young researchers from all over the world at the 7th Heidelberg Laureate Forum (HLF). 

To get mathematicians and computer scientists some more recognition, the Heidelberg Laureate Forum Foundation (HLFF) is giving travel grants for journalists to cover the event. Grants cover travel costs as well as board and accommodation during the stay in Heidelberg from September 21-28, 2019.

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Grasses Have Been Genetically Modifying For Millenia - By Stealing

Science 2.0 - Feb 20 2019 - 12:02
Grasses have been able to short cut evolution by taking genes from their neighbors, finds a new study.

Since Darwin, much of the theory of evolution has been based on common descent, where natural selection acts on the genes passed from parent to offspring. But sometimes what seems to be natural selection is really artificial, like lateral gene transfer that allows organisms to bypass evolution and skip to the front of the queue by using genes that they acquire from distantly related species. Even by stealing them.

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70 Million Years Ago: Earliest Example Of Nest Sharing Discovered

Science 2.0 - Feb 20 2019 - 11:02
Fossilized eggshells unearthed in western Romania represent the earliest known nest site shared by multiple animals. The shells – some complete and others broken into thousands of pieces – are densely packed and encased in mudstone which formed part of the remains of a bird breeding colony, probably comprising hundreds of seperate nests. 

Now in the collections of the Transylvanian Museum Society in Cluj Napoca, Romania, the samples date from the late-Cretaceous period (approx. 70 million years ago) and were discovered near the city of Sebeş in Transylvania by local palaeontologist Mátyás Vremir about nine years ago.

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Clark Kent Was Right: Subtle Disguises Are Effective

Science 2.0 - Feb 20 2019 - 10:02
In the comics and films, Clark Kent wore reading glasses while Superman had no glasses but sported a lock of hair on his forehead - and no one figured it out. Ridiculous, it was later said.

Perhaps it was ridiculous if keen reporters who knew Kent well did not figure it out, but for the most part even subtle disguises work well for most people, according to a new study. Something as minor as complexion changes or a hairstyle are enough to convince people that in a world of six billion people, a one in a million chance of seeing a person who looks like someone you know is not that bad.

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Single Top Production Nailed By LHC Experiments

Science 2.0 - Feb 20 2019 - 08:02
The ATLAS and CMS collaborations released yesterday a joint document where they discuss the combination of their measurements of the rate of production of single top quarks in proton-proton collisions delivered by the LHC collider. The exercise is not an idle one, as the physics behind the production processes is interesting, and its study as well as the precise comparison of experimental results and theory predictions improves our ability to predict other reactions, wherein we might find deviations from the currently accepted theory, the Standard Model.

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Ants, Twinkies, Cockroaches; What Could Really Survive A Nuclear Apocalypse?

Science 2.0 - Feb 20 2019 - 08:02
Cockroaches have a reputation for resilience, likely contributing to the belief that they could even survive a nuclear bomb and subsequent radiation exposure.

And though Fukushima was not a nuclear bomb, or even a real disaster (more people died trying to escape than from radiation), the claim that cockroaches were found led weight to their constitutions.(a) But is it really accurate? In the future, if a disgraced doctor finds Alita: Battle Angel in a junk pile, will she be with a cockroach? 

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Dear Believers In Vampires And Integrative Medicine - Plasma From Young Donors Is Not A Remedy For Anything Except Wealth

Science 2.0 - Feb 19 2019 - 16:02
One new craze in the alternatives to medicine community is infusions of plasma from young donors, sold with the claim that it can prevent aging, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and even PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder.

Vampires are just a story people choose to buy, like homeopathy and organic food. Plasma in blood does contain proteins that help blood clot blood but unless you are a trauma patient or have a medically diagnosed clotting condition, you are not benefiting from plasma.

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There's Finally A Name For Studies Done In Feces And It's...

Science 2.0 - Feb 19 2019 - 14:02

In vitro, in utero, these are science terms that have become commonly known. In vitro means studies in cells, like using test tubes, or a test for a fetus in the womb in the case of in utero.

Studies done in feces - yes, excrement - haven't really had a name, they though are common in gut bacteria analyses. Now they might, thanks to UNC School of Medicine scientist Aadra Bhatt, PhD, and colleagues; in fimo. Their proposal is published in the journal Gastroenterology.

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Like Stonehenge? Brits May Have To Thank The French

Science 2.0 - Feb 19 2019 - 12:02
By Charles Choi, Inside Science – New research suggests that megaliths -- monuments such as Stonehenge created from large rocks during the Stone and Copper Ages in Europe -- owe their origins to a mysterious culture from northwest France with advanced seafaring technology.

Roughly 35,000 megaliths are known throughout Europe, including standing stones, stone circles and megalithic tombs. Most megaliths date from 4500 to 2500 B.C., are concentrated in coastal areas along the Atlantic and Mediterranean, and share similar or even identical architectural features, said archaeologist Bettina Schulz Paulsson at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.

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Immune Checkpoint Molecule Can Stop Cancer All By Itself

Science 2.0 - Feb 19 2019 - 11:02

An immune checkpoint molecule, SA-4-1BB developed for cancer immunotherapy also protects against future development of multiple types of cancer when administered by itself, shows a new study.

The recombinant protein molecule SA-4-1BBL has been used to enhance the therapeutic efficacy of cancer vaccines with success in pre-clinical animal models. It accomplishes this by boosting the effectiveness of CD8+ T cells, adaptive immune cells trained to target the tumor for destruction. When the researchers treated normal healthy mice with SA-4-1BBL alone, the mice were protected when the researchers later exposed them to different types of tumor cells.

Patrolling the body instead of generating an immune response after the tumor is present

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'Cellular Barcoding' Reveals How Breast Cancer Spreads

Science 2.0 - Feb 18 2019 - 16:02

Cellular barcoding has been used to tag, track and pinpoint cells responsible for the spread of breast cancer from the main tumor into the blood and other organs, and also revealed how chemotherapy temporarily shrinks the number of harmful cells, rather than eliminating them, explaining how the cancer could eventually relapse.

Pinpointing the 'seeders' of disease

Most deaths from breast cancer are caused by the metastasis, or spread, of cancerous cells from the main tumor site into other organs. 

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Paper Claims A Link Between Glyphosate And Cancer But Fails To Show Evidence

Science 2.0 - Feb 18 2019 - 12:02
A new analysis,which appeared in the journal Mutation Research, claims To show evidence linking exposure to the common weedkiller glyphosate to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), a rare form of cancer, but it provides no new data and is not what it presents itself to be.

Could exposure to glyphosate -- an herbicide often paired with genetically engineered corn, soybeans, cotton, and other crops – be causing cancer? That question has become the central contention advanced by critics of agricultural biotechnology.

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Women Wear White To Promote Equality - But Other Colors Were Historically Important Also

Science 2.0 - Feb 16 2019 - 09:02

During President Donald Trump’s Feb. 5 State of the Union address, scores of Democratic congresswomen wore white to pay tribute to suffragists and their fight for women’s rights.

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The Good News And Bad News Of Cannabis-Infused Drinks

Science 2.0 - Feb 15 2019 - 13:02
Former Denver Broncos running back Terrell Davis, who trained by running with tractor tires strapped to his waist and all that, has an easy marketing hook for his new cannabis 'athletic recovery' drink; if I am wrong, then why do I have two Super Bowl rings and a spot in the NFL Hall of Fame?(1) 

It sounds ridiculous when it's so on-the-nose, but that kind of strategy is common because it works. It is why athletes lend their name to products, and why friends of athletes want them involved in companies. As is happening with this Defy beverage, which touts that it contains cannabidiol (CBD) extracted from the marijuana and is being pushed by David, a friend of the CEO.

The bad news: there is no way this is an anti-inflammatory

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Statisticians Link Glyphosate To Greater Chance Of NHL Cancer In Meta-Analysis

Science 2.0 - Feb 14 2019 - 18:02
Exposure to glyphosate — at 45 years of age the world’s most widely used, broad-spectrum herbicide and the primary ingredient in the weedkiller Roundup — increases the risk of some cancers by more than 40 percent, according to a meta-analysis published in the online journal Mutation Research/Reviews in Mutation Research, an imprint of publishing giant Elsevier.

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Kids Running Lemonade Stands Understand The U-Shaped Curve Isn't Real, Why Don't Journalists?

Science 2.0 - Feb 14 2019 - 15:02
Friends of the Earth, the kooky offshoot of Sierra Club that hates science even more, is dumping its advertising budget into a claim it commissioned from a Maharishi Institute scholar who runs what is apparently an uncredentialed lab claiming they were able to detect a weedkiller in common food.

Any scientist could have told them that and saved their money.

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"Ultra-Processed" Food Is Not Killing People In France - Too Many Calories Are

Science 2.0 - Feb 13 2019 - 10:02
A recent paper in JAMA Internal Medicine had all of the ingredients mainstream media love in food stories; a cosmic sounding number of participants (44,551), which sounds like it adds statistical power, and a provocative conclusion about the perils of the modern world - in this case that eating "ultra-processed food" is lowering life expectancy.

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Raw Milk Linked To Possible Bacterial Infections In 19 States

Science 2.0 - Feb 12 2019 - 20:02
Raw milk sold by Miller’s Biodiversity Farm in Quarryville, Pennsylvania and laced with Brucella strain RB51 has been linked to exposures in 19 states by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Raw milk, a recent trend by organic food lovers, lacks pasteurization, a process created by Louis Pasteur that has saved millions of lives by removing harmful bacteria like RB51. A cow that tested positive for RB51 has been removed from the milking herd and after one case of infection was confirmed in New York in November 2018, there are concerns that an unknown number of people may have been infected due to the milk from this farm. 

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The Genetics Of Having Perfect Pitch

Science 2.0 - Feb 12 2019 - 14:02
Perfect pitch may be more strongly under genetic control than previously thought, according to a new study.

Mozart, Bach, and Beethoven were able to precisely identify musical notes and there is certainly a genetic component to music like there is math or sprinting - while anyone can be functional with practice being truly great may take biology. Perfect (absolute) pitch is rare, even among expert musicians, and the relative contribution of genetics and experience to this ability remains debated.

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