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Updated: 58 min 37 sec ago

The SARS-CoV-2 Envelope Protein Is Close Enough To SARS That FDA-Approved Drugs May Work

Jul 27 2020 - 10:07
A protein in the viruses causing COVID-19 and SARS is almost identical, which means existing FDA-approved drugs, already tested in mice infected with SARS, could improve the outcomes for COVID-19 patients experiencing severe respiratory symptoms.

A team of scientists compared the genomes of 24 Betacoronaviruses, including four SARS-CoV-2 viruses, which causes COVID-19. Two of the four were sequenced in the United States, while the other two were sequenced in China.

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Reconciling Evolution And Cooperation

Jul 24 2020 - 10:07
In order to evolve you must first survive, and Darwin posited that this "survival of the fittest" was a driver in natural selection. To the casual reader in 1859, cooperation was hard to reconcile with that, but humans had become the apex predator by both cooperating and competing. 

Cooperation is actually quite common. We have bacteria in our guts which can be helpful or harmful but are often helpful. Root bacteria fix nitrogen from the atmosphere, thus making it available to plants. In return, the plant supplies its root bacteria with nutritious sugars. Our own energy cells, mitochondria, have to have been created after mutually benefiting by trading energy for protection - they even have their own genome.

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The Importance Of Love And Marriage In Happiness

Jul 24 2020 - 10:07
A recent survey results analysis sought to quantify the happiness of married, formerly married and single people at the end of their lives - to find out just how much love and marriage played into overall well-being. 

The 7,532 participants were surveyed periodically from ages 18 to 60 and the psychologists sought to determine who reported to be happiest at the end of their lives.

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Parasites Are What Kill Bees, So More Beekeepers Won't Stop Colony Collapse Disorder - But This Mitigation Might

Jul 23 2020 - 14:07
Bees face a variety of challenges in the modern world. Changes to land use and evolving parasites have always been significant issues. For as long as beekeeping records have been kept, 1,100 years, there have been accounts of colony collapse disorder. Just about the only thing science has determined is not killing them off periodically are neonicotinoid pesticides, the one thing environmentalists insist is the problem.

While not in crisis, they rebounded fine after the latest periodic blip in numbers, it's good to think about how to prevent losses without incurring the cost of chemicals. One way, according to a new paper, is to prevent spread between species.

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Native Honey Tastes Better? Okay, But Diabetes Health Claims Don't Add Up

Jul 23 2020 - 14:07
In Australia, native people have long contended that  native stingless bee honey had special health properties. Like the well-known Apis mellifera honeybees, stingless bees live in permanent colonies made up of a single queen and workers, who collect pollen and nectar to feed larvae within the colony.

And a new paper does find that nearly 85 percent of its sugar is trehalulose, not maltose, and trehalulose has a lower glycemic index, but claims that makes it healthier are going to deceive the public. Sugar is still sugar. Claims that native peoples who eat a lot of it have lower diabetes ignore too many other confounders to count. 

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Nerves Embedded In Body Fat Boost Its Calorie-Burning Capacity

Jul 23 2020 - 14:07
There is no magic food that causes weight gain, in every study people who consume fewer calories than they burn lose weight while people who consume more gain it. Energy balance, like evolution and Einstein, has survived all challengers. 

Yet the biology underlying the breakdown of stored fat molecules is not well known. A new paper posits that nerves embedded in fat tissue have previously unrecognized capability. If they receive the right signal, they have an astonishing capacity to grow. At least in mice.

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Bat1K Consortium Genomes Show How Bats Survive The Deadly Viruses They Spread

Jul 23 2020 - 13:07
We're going to learn a lot more about how bats do all of the things they do, in part due to the work of the Bat1K consortium to sequence the genome of six widely divergent living bat species.

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Planned Parenthood Is Finally Jettisoning The Eugenics Legacy of Their Founder Margaret Sanger

Jul 22 2020 - 16:07
Today, Planned Parenthood of Greater New York announced it is finally going to remove Margaret Sanger’s name from the Manhattan Health Center, which means they finally recognize what everyone knew; Sanger's first goal of birth control was eugenics.

Sanger was an institutional racist, part of the progressive elite that believed they had scientific justification for advancing white supremacy. She was not alone, she was joined by luminaries such as H.G. Wells and John Maynard Keynes. They had Oliver Wendell Holmes on the Supreme Court, who wrote that a rape victim should be sterilized because he believed she was simply promiscuous and she would be the “probable potential parent of socially inadequate offspring, likewise afflicted”.

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Modeling Chaos: How To Anticipate Riot Dynamics And Social Unrest

Jul 22 2020 - 11:07
Is it possible to predict nonlinear behavior, such as when a protest will become a riot? Perhaps, though parameters bring special challenges.

We've seen the weaknesses of numerical modeling when it comes to disease epidemiology, and many of those concerns were evident before SARS-CoV-2 took the world by storm. In Chile of 2019, social unrest disrupted the daily routines of many citizens so scholars recently combined well-known epidemic models with tools from the physics of chaos and interpreted their findings through the lens of social science as economics.

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'It's Working' Can Be Destructive - 10 Ways To Get Good At Constructively Disagreeing

Jul 22 2020 - 11:07
In many groups, everyone seems to agree more or less all the time. Meetings are dominated by a few individuals or even one while everyone else plays along - until you talk to people individually.  

Why does such meeting inertia happen? For some, voicing disagreement is difficult. Some may want the meeting to be over, so piping up five minutes before it is scheduled to end brings rancor that has nothing to do with the content. Some may want to just get along. Others believe that the process is working so nothing needs to change.

Yet if you ask leaders they will tell you "it's working" is destructive, even if they subtly invoke it.

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Systematic Uncertainties: The Heart Of The Matter In Physics Measurement

Jul 22 2020 - 08:07
Experimental physics is about investigating the world in a quantitative manner, by exploiting our technology to carefully map the wealth of phenomena that make planets turn around stars, atoms stick together, and hearts to beat. All of that can be understood by creating models of the underlying physics processes. These models need to be fed with input parameters which we must measure.

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For Moms With COVID-19 And The Medical Community, Race And Ethnicity Are Irrelevant

Jul 21 2020 - 17:07
Though there is concern about inequality in outcomes when it comes to medicine, how much is due to lifestyle choices and the co-morbidities they bring and if any is prejudice by care providers is unclear.

Yet data can inform smaller populations. And an analysis of women with the SARS-CoV-2 infection who gave birth at two hospitals in northern Manhattan during the height of New York City's COVID-19 pandemic, the national epicenter, did not find a difference in impact on obstetric complications and symptoms of COVID-19 in different groups of women, regardless of income, race or ethnicity. 

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Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals And The Secret Sex Lives Of Leeches

Jul 21 2020 - 17:07
Leeches are found on every continent in freshwater habitats where there is little flow. They are popular bait for fishing, and doctors continue to use them in medical treatments. Environmentalists have even been using them to advance their beliefs that trace levels of "endocrine disrupting" chemicals are harmful.

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A False Start For Women: Why Are Women With Cardiovascular Disease Undertreated?

Jul 20 2020 - 14:07
by Gurkiran Dhuga & Glen Pyle

The fight for equality between the sexes has undoubtedly made significant advances recently. But a new meta-analysis examining sex differences in treatment for cardiovascular risk factors presents a depressing snapshot of the current state of medicine. In fact, it suggests that in order to make progress, we may need to go all the way back to the beginning. Back to primary care.

A Primary Deficiency

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There Are Detectable Brain Differences Between Musicians And Non-Musicians

Jul 20 2020 - 11:07
Music is in most aspects of our lives we probably don't even notice it - but it can be noticed in our brains.

A new study examined the brains of non-musicians, western classical musicians, and eastern classical musicians, as they were exposed to unfamiliar rhythms and non-rhythmic patterns. As you would expect, trained musicians have mastered auditory statistical learning, so they showed greater powers of rhythmic prediction compared to non-musicians, but what was intriguing were differences between those trained in Japanese and Western classical music. 

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Defensive Medicine Increases Costs In Dermatology

Jul 20 2020 - 11:07
Dermatopathologists, skin cancer specialists, may be ordering additional tests or second opinions out of caution but they may also be thinking about checking off boxes to prevent malpractice lawsuits.

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Weekend Science: Are You Bitter? You're More Likely To Drink IPA Beers

Jul 18 2020 - 12:07
After centuries of converging on balanced, smooth beers, the industry suddenly lurched sideways in the 21st century. While large brands now have to fear for their existence, men in beards are making a fortune selling pronounced, bitter craft brews.

The business segment may have been with us all along, according to a new analysis. The survey of 109 beer consumers in a blind experiment found that greater perceived bitterness increased the appeal of beers. This is the opposite of most foods.

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SARS-CoV-2 Is Not Transmitted By Mosquitoes

Jul 17 2020 - 18:07
In some good news for 2020, it is confirmed that SARS-CoV-2, the 2019 form of coronavirus that has led to worldwide COVID-19 disease, is not transmitted by mosquitoes, so ecologically useless disease vectors like Aedes aegypti, that carry so many other diseases, can't get blame for the spread of this one during the summer season.

The World Health Organisation had already said mosquitoes did not transmit it, but they also claimed that it did not spread human-to-human and that China was a reliable source of data, so their credibility is suspect. While their hand-picked epidemiologists may trust the word of dictatorships, scientists elsewhere don't, so the new study is the first independent assurance that mosquitoes won't make this worse.

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Does Genomics Hold Back Advancement Against Racism In Medical Equality?

Jul 17 2020 - 14:07
A new Hastings Report compilation is based on the notion that genomics are the reason we still have medical inequality. Since genomics is a field that exists to sequence our DNA content and therefore help understand disease, it seems odd to posit that it could promote inequality when studying biology we all share.

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While Men Talked About Climate Change, Eunice Foote Pioneered The Science

Jul 16 2020 - 14:07
In 1787, U.S. Founding Father Thomas Jefferson wrote "Notes on the State of Virginia" and included five chapters relating to science. Of its climate he wrote a note about warming: "From the year 1741 to 1769, an interval of twenty-eight years, there was no instance of fruit killed by the frost in the neighborhood of Monticello."

A short while later, Noah Webster, later famous for his dictionary, went after Jefferson, noting that thermometers, which Jefferson loved, were terrible ways to record data and his micro-climate observations didn't mean anything.

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