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Updated: 27 min 41 sec ago

1.1 Billion-Year-Old Bright Pink Pigments Discovered

Jul 10 2018 - 10:07
The oldest colors in the geological record have been discovered. At 1.1 billion-years-old, the bright pink pigments extracted from marine black shales of the Taoudeni Basin in Mauritania, West Africa, are actually molecular fossils of chlorophyll that were produced by ancient photosynthetic organisms - cyanobacteria.

The fossils range from blood red to deep purple in their concentrated form, and bright pink when diluted and are more than half a billion years older than previous pigment discoveries. The rocks deep beneath the Sahara desert in Africa, remnants of an ancient ocean that has long since vanished, were rocks to powder (yes, you read that right, but nature has a lot more) before extracting and analyzing molecules of ancient organisms from them.

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Vaping: Get Rid Of Flavors And You Get Rid Of Smoking Cessation Among Cigarette Users

Jul 09 2018 - 18:07
There has been recent concern about the impact of vaping flavors on young people but the numbers are fuzzy. The US FDA has rightly cracked down on companies flagrantly violating copyright in packaging but cartoon characters don't lead young people to vaping. Instead, former smokers note, young people who experiment with it but don't already smoke often just want to seem cool, and there is nothing cool about bubble gum flavor.

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How To Avoid Physician Burnout - Have A Smaller Practice

Jul 09 2018 - 18:07
Physicians who work in small, independent primary care practices, offices with five or fewer physicians, report dramatically lower levels of burnout than the national average, according to survey results published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine.

The findings indicate that the independence and sense of autonomy that doctors have in small practices may provide some protection against symptoms of burnout. Whether that feeling of autonomy will last as health care becomes more centralized is another issue, but for now 13.5 percent reporting being burned out in smaller practices versus 54.4 percent at large ones.

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Gonorrhoea Map Shows How Antibiotic Resistance Spreads Across Europe

Jul 09 2018 - 13:07
If you want to understand the spread of antibiotic resistance across Europe, sexually transmitted diseases seem to be a decent barometer.

Gonorrhoea, caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae, is the second most prevalent bacterial sexually transmitted disease globally. The WHO estimates that gonorrhoea infects 88 million people globally each year. Amongst other complications, it can cause pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility if left untreated, and in some cases leads to life-threatening complications such as meningitis. Transmitted during unprotected sex, many strains of gonorrhoea are now difficult to treat due to the rise in antibiotic resistance.

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Selection Bias In Publication? Minorities, Women And Republicans Are All Penalized. But Women Are Improving

Jul 09 2018 - 12:07
A new study using a massive database of scientific articles, 486,644 articles with two to nine authors published in medical journals by U.S. scientists between 1946 and 2009, suggests that minority women  are not double penalized by being minorities and women, but they do have what might be called a "one-and-a-half bind." They are still worse off than other groups, but their disadvantage is less than the disadvantage of being black or Hispanic plus the disadvantage of being a woman.

There are obvious confounders. Medical journals are a small subset of journals and journals will have more academic representation, since that is the metric government panels use to give out grants, a concern private sector scientists don't have. 

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AI May Improve Medical Diagnostics - But The Limit Is Algorithms

Jul 09 2018 - 11:07
A.I. - artificial intelligence - has seen a resurgence of buzzword activity. It's the Internet of Things for 2018. But if the limitation is the algorithm underneath, it's not really AI.

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Natural Fatty Acid As A Potential Anti-Inflammatory

Jul 09 2018 - 11:07
Francisella tularensis bacteria are the cause of tularemia, a life-threatening disease spread to humans via contact with an infected animal or through the bite of a mosquito, tick or deer fly. The bacteria are able to suppress host inflammation when infecting mouse and human cells - and lipids help. A lipid is waxy, fatty acid but what helps bacterium to impair the host immune response and increase the chance of infection may also be a potent inflammation therapy against bacterial and viral diseases. 

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P120C - Largest Rocket Motor Ever Built Goes To The Test Stand

Jul 09 2018 - 11:07
The P120C solid-fuel rocket motor that will power Ariane 6 and Vega-C at liftoff has been transferred to the test stand for its first hot firing at Europe’s Spaceport.

P120C will replace P80 as the first stage motor of Vega-C, which is expected to debut in mid-2019 and comprises four stages. Three stages will use solid-propellant motors and one will use liquid propellants.  The first stage is the P120C, the largest monolithic carbon fiber solid-propellant rocket motor ever built. Two or four P120Cs will also be strapped onto Ariane 6 as boosters for liftoff.

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The Long Peace - 1945, 1965 Or Just A Statistical Blip?

Jul 09 2018 - 10:07
What accounts for modern peace? There are varying ideas. When America won World War II and occupied Germany and Japan in 1945, two militant cultures were off the table, while psychologist Steven Pinker argues in 2011's "The Better Angels of Our Nature" argues that there has been a continuous decline in the relative levels of virtually all types of violence, and he writes of a “humanitarian revolution”, driven by democracy, trade and information. Perhaps World War II, and the implementation of "total war" and nuclear weapons, sent wars into decline - at least major wars.

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High-Fructose Corn Syrup And Sucrose - Is There A Health Difference?

Jul 08 2018 - 22:07

High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is made from corn starch whereas sucrose us usually made from sugarcane or beets. Because starch itself is asimple sugar, a chain of glucose molecules joined together, once it's broken down into individual glucose molecules, it's corn syrup, which is essentially 100% glucose. It becomes high-fructose corn syrup when enzymes are 

HFCS is sometimes called isoglucose and is used in the food industry to sweeten processed foods such as soft drinks, creams, cakes, confectionery, yogurts etc. to keep costs lower. It's sweeter than regular sugar, more like honey.

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Ichthyosis: Progress Addressing This Severe Skin Disease Affecting Dogs And Humans

Jul 08 2018 - 18:07

Skin, with its densely packed layers of cells and lipids, keeps foreign substances from leaking in and water from leaking out. It's a reverse raincoat for our organs. 

In ichthyosis and other skin diseases, this barrier breaks down, and problems arise. Unlike more commonly known skin diseases, in ichthyosis thick layers of scales can build up because the lipid-synthesis process in the skin goes awry. Besides causing discomfort and a scaly appearance, the condition can make the skin prone to secondary infections.

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Oxygen Loss In The Coastal Baltic 'Unprecedentedly Severe'

Jul 06 2018 - 17:07

The Baltic Sea is home to some of the world's largest areas of oxygen-starved waters where most marine animals can't survive - dead zones - and it has been that way for as long as records have been kept, but a new study estimates that oxygen loss in coastal areas over the past century is unprecedented in the last 1500 years.

According to the researchers, human-induced pollution, from fertilizers and sewage running off the countries surrounding the Baltic into the sea, is the main driver of recent oxygen loss in the region's coastal waters. If low-oxygen areas spread it can reduce fish yields for indigenous people and even lead to increased mortality of marine animals.

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Tropical Forest Conservation Is A Rich Country Solution Paid For By Poor Indigenous People

Jul 06 2018 - 15:07

In ireland 100 years ago, 1 percent of the island was forest, now it is 11 percent, and Irish people have no problem with food. They even grow Spruce, which is not native, to craft and sell furniture.

Given that developed countries have lots of forest now, despite going through periods of growth where they felled far more than they planted, it smacks of hypocrisy that wealthy nations tell poor ones how vital the rainforest is.  

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Faulty Cancer Claim Driving Weed Killer Lawsuits

Jul 06 2018 - 12:07

Thousands of lawsuits around the nation claim glyphosate—the active ingredient in Monsanto’s popular weed killer Roundup—causes cancer. These cases are based on pretty much zero evidence, but if trial lawyers can get a jury to accept their false narrative, thousands of more cases may proceed. 

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Suicide Nation: What's Behind It?

Jul 06 2018 - 01:07

Suicide rates in the U.S. have increased nearly 30 percent in less than 20 years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported June 7. These mind-numbing statistics were released the same week two very famous, successful and beloved people committed suicide – Kate Spade, a tremendous entrepreneur, trendsetter and fashion icon, and Anthony Bourdain, a distinguished chef and world traveler who took us on gastronomic journeys to all corners of the world through his TV shows.

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30 Percent Of Indians Are Anemic - Switching From Rice (Or Bioengineering Better Stuff) Would Help

Jul 05 2018 - 17:07
Starting in the 1960s, a Green Revolution in India led to a boom in rice and wheat production and that helped reduce hunger - but it meant demands on the water supply and pollution from fertilizer.

When Indians have embraced modern technology more recently, pollution from fertilizer has gone down, but rice takes a lot of water. And "natural" rice is not great nutritionally. Nutrient deficiencies are already widespread in India today--30 percent or more are anemic--and many regions are chronically water-stressed. 

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Cover Crops Enhance Soil Quality - At A Cost

Jul 05 2018 - 17:07
Replacing fallow lands with cover crops in order to increase the levels of carbon and soil nitrogen  also enhances its quality and mitigates nitrate leaching in an agricultural land, according to a new analysis. 

After collecting data for ten years, results indicate that such cover crops, which maintain the soil protected during winter months, reduce degradation and provide an extra organic matter after their completion, though not without cost.

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Chasing The Higgs Self Coupling: New CMS Results

Jul 04 2018 - 08:07
Happy Birthday Higgs boson! The discovery of the last fundamental particle of the Standard Model was announced exactly 6 years ago at CERN (well, plus one day, since I decided to postpone to July 5 the publication of this post...).

In the Standard Model, the theory of fundamental interactions among elementary particles which enshrines our current understanding of the subnuclear world,  particles that constitute matter are fermionic: they have a haif-integer value of a quantity we call spin; and particles that mediate interactions between those fermions, keeping them together and governing their behaviour, are bosonic: they have an integer value of spin. 

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500 Million Year Old Gene Could Mean A Path To New Treatments For Influenza, Arthritis - And You Can Help Name It

Jul 02 2018 - 14:07
A gene called called C6orf106, or "C6", has existed for 500 million years, but understanding how it controls the production of proteins involved in infectious diseases, cancer and diabetes is only being understood more recently. The human genome was first fully sequenced in 2003, which means there are still thousands of genes that we know very little about.

Our immune system produces proteins called cytokines that help fortify the immune system and work to prevent viruses and other pathogens from replicating and causing disease. C6 regulates this process by switching off the production of certain cytokines to stop our immune response from spiralling out of control.

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