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  • Gene map traces ancient bears across North America

    Futurity » Science and Technology
    Jeff Sossamon-U. Missouri
    21 May 2015 | 1:10 pm
    Black bears in Alaska are more closely related to bears in the eastern regions of the United States and Canada than those located in western regions, according to a new “genetic map” that reveals the animals’ ancient movement patterns. The findings could help conservation management officials maintain healthy bear populations throughout North America. “This is the first genomics study of black bears across their range,” says Emily Puckett, who recently received her doctoral degree from University of Missouri. “Using advanced nuclear genomics, the team…
  • Nature or nurture? Twins suggest it’s a tie

    Futurity » Science and Technology
    Mikaeli Costello-Queensland
    22 May 2015 | 6:11 am
    The question of whether nature or nurture governs our health is one of science’s great debates. Scientists reviewed almost every twin study across the world from the past 50 years, involving more than 14.5 million twin pairs. The findings, published in Nature Genetics, reveal on average the variation for human traits and diseases is 49 percent genetic, and 51 percent due to environmental factors and/or measurement errors. “There has still been conjecture over how much variation is caused by genetics and how much is caused by environmental factors—what people call nature versus…
  • Probiotics might ease your allergies

    Futurity
    Matt Batcheldor-Vanderbilt
    25 May 2015 | 6:44 am
    Probiotics may be a way to alleviate the symptoms of seasonal or perennial allergies. “When you look at all the studies combined, there was a statistically significant improvement in both the rhinitis-specific quality of life of those patients and in their nasal specific quality of life,” says lead author Justin Turner, assistant professor of otolaryngology at Vanderbilt University. But the jury is still out. Probiotics are microorganisms that are present in some foods, such as yogurt, and can also be taken as a dietary supplement. They’re believed to have gastrointestinal…
  • Wave machine links sea spray to clouds

    Futurity » Earth and Environment
    Kat Kerlin-UC Davis
    22 May 2015 | 6:04 am
    In a wooden building overlooking the Pacific Ocean, 3,800 gallons of seawater empty into a long, clear, covered tank—a wave machine. On one side of the 33-meter-long flume is a mechanical paddle, working like a kid in a bathtub to push water forward. The water builds into a wave that breaks on the machine’s “beach,” a board representing the coastline. As the broken wave falls, bubbles burst, producing sea spray particles that are sucked up into sampling tubes. Analyzing these particles has let a team of scientists gain insights into how microbes in ocean water control the…
  • Probiotics might ease your allergies

    Futurity » Health and Medicine
    Matt Batcheldor-Vanderbilt
    25 May 2015 | 6:44 am
    Probiotics may be a way to alleviate the symptoms of seasonal or perennial allergies. “When you look at all the studies combined, there was a statistically significant improvement in both the rhinitis-specific quality of life of those patients and in their nasal specific quality of life,” says lead author Justin Turner, assistant professor of otolaryngology at Vanderbilt University. But the jury is still out. Probiotics are microorganisms that are present in some foods, such as yogurt, and can also be taken as a dietary supplement. They’re believed to have gastrointestinal…
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    Futurity

  • Probiotics might ease your allergies

    Matt Batcheldor-Vanderbilt
    25 May 2015 | 6:44 am
    Probiotics may be a way to alleviate the symptoms of seasonal or perennial allergies. “When you look at all the studies combined, there was a statistically significant improvement in both the rhinitis-specific quality of life of those patients and in their nasal specific quality of life,” says lead author Justin Turner, assistant professor of otolaryngology at Vanderbilt University. But the jury is still out. Probiotics are microorganisms that are present in some foods, such as yogurt, and can also be taken as a dietary supplement. They’re believed to have gastrointestinal…
  • Happy World Turtle day: How the turtle got its shell

    Eric Gershon-Yale
    23 May 2015 | 4:09 am
    New evidence pushes back the origin of the turtle’s shell by about 40 million years, linking it to a 260-million-year-old fossil reptile from South Africa. The connection to Eunotosaurus strengthens the fossil record and bolsters an existing theory about shell development while providing new details about its precise evolutionary pathway, researchers say. “Now we’ve got an intermediate shell, a transitional form that bridges the gap between turtles and other reptiles and helps explain how the turtle shell evolved,” says Tyler Lyson, a curatorial affiliate of the Peabody Museum…
  • Can good food protect your ears from loud noises?

    Morgan Sherburne-Florida
    22 May 2015 | 8:24 am
    A healthy diet may offer some protection from hearing loss due to noise exposure, however it can’t reverse hearing damage, a new study shows. Researchers examined the eating habits of 2,366 people who answered questionnaires about their health and were given a four-part hearing test. The findings showed a strong connection between a healthy diet, hearing, and noise exposure. The hearing of people who ate well but had higher noise exposure was comparable to the hearing of people with lower noise exposure who ate less healthy diets. For the study, published in the International…
  • Higher drug use among teens who go to raves

    Christopher James-NYU
    22 May 2015 | 7:58 am
    A new study finds that use of illegal drugs other than marijuana was about 20 percent higher among teenagers who attend raves, compared to those who don’t. In addition, those who go to raves were more likely to report more frequent use for each of 18 drugs asked about in a survey. Deaths among attendees of electronic dance music festivals (“raves”) have gone up in recent years, but no nationally representative studies have looked at potential associations between nightlife attendance and drug use. A new study, published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence, is the first to examine…
  • Smokers 4x more likely to be emergency room ‘super-users’

    Marcene Robinson-Buffalo
    22 May 2015 | 7:54 am
    Smokers are four times more likely than non-smokers to frequently visit emergency rooms. A new study, which explores how much patients replace visits to a primary care physician with a trip to a hospital emergency room, also shows Americans with chronic diseases use both services equally. In fact, overall, medical care visits of all types have soared in recent years. “There are a few super-users who have been in the ER 40 or 50 times, but when we step back and look at the whole population, we see a different pattern,” says Jessica Castner, assistant professor of nursing at…
 
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    Futurity » Earth and Environment

  • Wave machine links sea spray to clouds

    Kat Kerlin-UC Davis
    22 May 2015 | 6:04 am
    In a wooden building overlooking the Pacific Ocean, 3,800 gallons of seawater empty into a long, clear, covered tank—a wave machine. On one side of the 33-meter-long flume is a mechanical paddle, working like a kid in a bathtub to push water forward. The water builds into a wave that breaks on the machine’s “beach,” a board representing the coastline. As the broken wave falls, bubbles burst, producing sea spray particles that are sucked up into sampling tubes. Analyzing these particles has let a team of scientists gain insights into how microbes in ocean water control the…
  • Survival in hottest sea may be death trap for coral

    U. Southampton
    21 May 2015 | 11:07 am
    The success of corals that adapt to survive in the world’s hottest sea could actually contribute to their demise. A new study shows that local adaptation to high salinity levels in the southern Persian/Arabian Gulf (PAG) may prevent coral escaping their fate, as they lose their superior heat tolerance in waters with normal salinity levels. Warm water corals depend on a vital partnership with unicellular algae of the genus Symbiodinium. Damage to the algal symbiont through heat stress can result in the breakdown of the association, leading to fatal coral bleaching. Coral bleaching Most…
  • Did Arctic heat cause extreme winters in US, UK?

    Clare Parkin-Sheffield
    21 May 2015 | 10:59 am
    Arctic temperatures are increasing two to three times faster than those at the mid-latitudes, and researchers say there’s fresh evidence suggesting a link between that warm-up and extreme weather in other parts of the world. Some scientists have suggested that warming Arctic temperatures contribute to weaker upper level westerly winds and a wavier jet stream. This wavier path may have caused cold weather conditions to stall over the eastern seaboard and midwest United States during recent winters, according to these theories. In a new paper published in the Journal of Climate,…
  • Hungry ‘bugs and slugs’ keep seagrass healthy

    Kat Kerlin-UC Davis
    21 May 2015 | 5:52 am
    Marine “bugs and slugs” make ideal houseguests for valuable seagrass ecosystems. They gobble up algae that could smother the seagrass, which keeps the habitat clean and healthy, according to results from experiment spanning the Northern Hemisphere. The study took place simultaneously at 15 sites across seven countries through a project called the Zostera Experimental Network, or ZEN, after the seagrass species Zostera marina. “Our results show that small marine invertebrates are really important,” says project coordinator Pamela Reynolds, a postdoctoral scholar at the…
  • Endangered monkeys get sick after grooming pals

    Carol Clark-Emory
    20 May 2015 | 1:00 pm
    Wild primates are known for helping their pals stay clean and free of lice. But by picking ecto-parasites out of friends’ fur, they may be picking up internal ones themselves. A new study of critically endangered brown spider monkeys shows that physical contact is linked to the spread of several common gastrointestinal parasites. Communal living “Previously, it was generally assumed that animals are more likely to pick up these parasites from feces or other environmental sources,” says Thomas Gillespie, a disease ecologist at Emory University whose lab led the study.
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    Futurity » Health and Medicine

  • Probiotics might ease your allergies

    Matt Batcheldor-Vanderbilt
    25 May 2015 | 6:44 am
    Probiotics may be a way to alleviate the symptoms of seasonal or perennial allergies. “When you look at all the studies combined, there was a statistically significant improvement in both the rhinitis-specific quality of life of those patients and in their nasal specific quality of life,” says lead author Justin Turner, assistant professor of otolaryngology at Vanderbilt University. But the jury is still out. Probiotics are microorganisms that are present in some foods, such as yogurt, and can also be taken as a dietary supplement. They’re believed to have gastrointestinal…
  • Can good food protect your ears from loud noises?

    Morgan Sherburne-Florida
    22 May 2015 | 8:24 am
    A healthy diet may offer some protection from hearing loss due to noise exposure, however it can’t reverse hearing damage, a new study shows. Researchers examined the eating habits of 2,366 people who answered questionnaires about their health and were given a four-part hearing test. The findings showed a strong connection between a healthy diet, hearing, and noise exposure. The hearing of people who ate well but had higher noise exposure was comparable to the hearing of people with lower noise exposure who ate less healthy diets. For the study, published in the International…
  • Higher drug use among teens who go to raves

    Christopher James-NYU
    22 May 2015 | 7:58 am
    A new study finds that use of illegal drugs other than marijuana was about 20 percent higher among teenagers who attend raves, compared to those who don’t. In addition, those who go to raves were more likely to report more frequent use for each of 18 drugs asked about in a survey. Deaths among attendees of electronic dance music festivals (“raves”) have gone up in recent years, but no nationally representative studies have looked at potential associations between nightlife attendance and drug use. A new study, published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence, is the first to examine…
  • Smokers 4x more likely to be emergency room ‘super-users’

    Marcene Robinson-Buffalo
    22 May 2015 | 7:54 am
    Smokers are four times more likely than non-smokers to frequently visit emergency rooms. A new study, which explores how much patients replace visits to a primary care physician with a trip to a hospital emergency room, also shows Americans with chronic diseases use both services equally. In fact, overall, medical care visits of all types have soared in recent years. “There are a few super-users who have been in the ER 40 or 50 times, but when we step back and look at the whole population, we see a different pattern,” says Jessica Castner, assistant professor of nursing at…
  • How herpes revealed coughing’s trigger

    Lynda Flower-UQ
    22 May 2015 | 6:54 am
    The herpes virus led researchers to discover the respiratory tract links two different parts of the nervous system. The findings could improve treatments for coughing. Led by the University of Queensland’s Stuart Mazzone, the team made the finding after setting out to learn more about the triggers behind excessive coughing. “Different physical sensations arise from the upper and lower respiratory tracts in people with respiratory diseases,” says Mazzone, from the School of Biomedical Sciences. “The irritating sensations from the upper respiratory tract are a major…
 
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    Futurity » Science and Technology

  • Watch paralyzed man move robotic arm with his mind

    Deborah Williams-Hedges-Caltech
    22 May 2015 | 6:49 am
    A man who is paralyzed from the neck down can now move a robotic arm just by thinking about it. Neural prosthetic devices implanted in the brain’s movement center, the motor cortex, have allowed patients with amputations or paralysis to control the movement of a robotic limb—one is either connected to or separate from the patient’s own limb. But, current neuroprosthetics produce motion that is delayed and jerky—not the smooth and seemingly automatic gestures associated with natural movement. Now, by implanting neuroprosthetics in a part of the brain that controls not the…
  • Nature or nurture? Twins suggest it’s a tie

    Mikaeli Costello-Queensland
    22 May 2015 | 6:11 am
    The question of whether nature or nurture governs our health is one of science’s great debates. Scientists reviewed almost every twin study across the world from the past 50 years, involving more than 14.5 million twin pairs. The findings, published in Nature Genetics, reveal on average the variation for human traits and diseases is 49 percent genetic, and 51 percent due to environmental factors and/or measurement errors. “There has still been conjecture over how much variation is caused by genetics and how much is caused by environmental factors—what people call nature versus…
  • Wave machine links sea spray to clouds

    Kat Kerlin-UC Davis
    22 May 2015 | 6:04 am
    In a wooden building overlooking the Pacific Ocean, 3,800 gallons of seawater empty into a long, clear, covered tank—a wave machine. On one side of the 33-meter-long flume is a mechanical paddle, working like a kid in a bathtub to push water forward. The water builds into a wave that breaks on the machine’s “beach,” a board representing the coastline. As the broken wave falls, bubbles burst, producing sea spray particles that are sucked up into sampling tubes. Analyzing these particles has let a team of scientists gain insights into how microbes in ocean water control the…
  • Gene map traces ancient bears across North America

    Jeff Sossamon-U. Missouri
    21 May 2015 | 1:10 pm
    Black bears in Alaska are more closely related to bears in the eastern regions of the United States and Canada than those located in western regions, according to a new “genetic map” that reveals the animals’ ancient movement patterns. The findings could help conservation management officials maintain healthy bear populations throughout North America. “This is the first genomics study of black bears across their range,” says Emily Puckett, who recently received her doctoral degree from University of Missouri. “Using advanced nuclear genomics, the team…
  • Astronomers see supernova crash into star

    Allie Akmal-Caltech
    21 May 2015 | 12:48 pm
    When dense stars called white dwarfs explode they produce one of the most dazzling displays in the universe: a Type Ia supernova. At their peak, these supernovae can outshine an entire galaxy. Although thousands of supernovae of this kind were found in the last decades, the process by which a white dwarf becomes one has been unclear. That began to change on May 3, 2014, when a team of Caltech astronomers working on a robotic observing system known as the intermediate Palomar Transient Factory (iPTF) discovered a Type Ia supernova, designated iPTF14atg, in nearby galaxy IC831, located 300…
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    Futurity » Society and Culture

  • Frequent moves make school tough for foster kids

    Jim Barlow-Oregon
    21 May 2015 | 7:36 am
    Foster children are four times more likely to move and change elementary schools during an academic year than children not in foster care. All those new homes and new schools can lead to academic and behavior problems that require special intervention. A new study clarifies the negative impact of school moves experienced by children in foster care but also points out ways to limit the damage. 3 moves by age 4 Researchers tracked 86 foster children and compared them with 55 children from non-foster families from preschool to fifth grade, using data collected from children, caregivers, school…
  • We tend to talk alike when we think alike

    Monique Patenaude-U. Rochester
    20 May 2015 | 12:38 pm
    People are more likely to mimic how other people talk if their views on social issues align, new research shows. “Few people are aware that they alter their word pronunciation, speech rate, and even the structure of their sentences during conversation,” says Florian Jaeger, associate professor of brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester and coauthor of the study recently published in Language Variation and Change. “What we have found is that the degree to which speakers align is socially mediated.” To test the social effects of how greatly we…
  • Polarized politics get more centrists to vote

    Clifton B. Parker-Stanford
    20 May 2015 | 12:07 pm
    It is not the political left that tends to abstain from voting, as common wisdom would have it, but rather the center, according to new research. Toni Rodon, a visiting postdoctoral researcher in Stanford University’s political science department, says that his study debunks conventional wisdom by showing that the political middle is less likely to vote when parties do not distinguish themselves ideologically. “When parties fail to show ideological differences, centrist abstention is higher,” he writes in the journal Party Politics. For his research, Rodon used a dataset of…
  • Can another ‘war’ on poverty save California kids?

    Clifton B. Parker-Stanford
    20 May 2015 | 7:32 am
    A new approach to reducing poverty focuses on creating equal opportunities for children at the most critical points in their lives. Researchers in California say the state needs an aggressive anti-poverty plan to ensure that it has enough high-skill labor for its emerging 21st-century economy. According to the Census Bureau, the poverty rate for Californians, 23.4 percent, is the highest in the country under a measure that takes into account noncash transfers (food stamps and tax credits, for example) and the cost of living. Same access The new approach, dubbed the Equal Opportunity Plan,…
  • Why children should pick their summer reading

    Sean Dobbin-Rochester
    20 May 2015 | 7:07 am
    At the end of the school year, districts often send stacks of books home with their students in the hopes of combating the “summer slide” in reading skills. This type of literacy loss hits low-income students particularly hard. But a new study shows that these programs are significantly more effective with only a small tweak: Let the kids choose the books. The study, conducted in kindergarten, first-, and second-grade classrooms in the Rochester City School District, shows that students who were allowed to choose their own summer reading saw lower levels of literacy loss over…
 
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