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Changing the perspective on the 'Cinderella of the cytoskeleton'
SETD2, known for its involvement on gene expression, also can affect functions controlled by the cytoskeleton, such as movement, metastasis and migration, which are very important for cancer cells.
15d
AI-designed serotonin sensor may help scientists study sleep and mental health
Researchers have described how they used advanced genetic engineering techniques to transform a bacterial protein into a new research tool that may help monitor serotonin transmission with greater fidelity than current methods. Preclinical experiments, primarily in mice, showed that the sensor could detect subtle, real-time changes in brain serotonin levels during sleep, fear, and social interacti
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No. 1 news release on EurekAlert!'s 2020 Trending List smashes previous all-time record for visits
The most-visited news release on EurekAlert! in 2020 racked up just under 1 million hits — the most in the site's near 25-year history.
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A New Human Reference Genome Represents the Most Common Sequences
Researchers create a "consensus genome" that halves the number of errors when mapping transcripts, although they say the current standard is still a good tool.
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The Biggest Science News of 2020
Neanderthal DNA surprises in modern humans, the first blood test for Alzheimer's, a discovery of new human salivary glands, and, oh yeah, a pandemic
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Evidence mounts: a new coronavirus variant is more transmissible
That may mean stricter lockdowns lie ahead
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Covering faces around kids won't mask emotions
The proliferation of face coverings to keep COVID-19 in check isn't keeping kids from understanding facial expressions, according to a new study.
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Capturing 40 years of climate change for an endangered Montana prairie
Over 40 years of monitoring, an endangered bunchgrass prairie became hotter, drier and more susceptible to fire annually — but dramatic seasonal changes (not annual climate trends) seem to be driving the biggest changes in plant production, composition, and summer senescence.
15d
Evidence for a massive paleo-tsunami at ancient Tel Dor
Underwater excavation, borehole drilling, and modelling suggests a massive paleo-tsunami struck near the ancient settlement of Tel Dor between 9,910 to 9,290 years ago, according to a new study.
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Ancient DNA retells story of Caribbean's first people, with a few plot twists
The history of the Caribbean's original islanders comes into sharper focus in a new study that combines decades of archaeological work with advancements in genetic technology.
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Survival of the thickest: Big brains make mammal populations less dense
Body size and diet are known to influence mammal abundance in different areas, but brain size had not been considered previously. This new study shows that larger brains correlate with lower population densities, likely because of the additional resources they require.
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Highest levels of microplastics found in molluscs, new study says
Mussels, oysters and scallops have the highest levels of microplastic contamination among seafood, a new study reveals.
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Molecular reporters expose the allies of the brain tumor
Until recently, it was unclear how and why cancer cells adapt to their environment. A team has now developed a technology that can be used to observe the molecular processes in living cells.
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Climate crisis is causing lakes to shrink
Climate change is impacting not only the oceans, but also large inland lakes. As the world's largest lake, the Caspian Sea is a perfect example of how a body of water can and will change. Researchers now discuss the possible ecological, political and economic consequences, as well as viable solutions.
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Genetic engineering without unwanted side effects helps fight parasites
Modified CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing scissors are enabling researchers to make alterations to the genetic material of single-cell organisms that are indistinguishable from natural mutations. This method is making it possible to develop a (harmless) experimental live vaccine for the widespread parasite Toxoplasma gondii.
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Light flips genetic switch in bacteria inside transparent worms
Researchers have shown that colored light can both activate and deactivate genes of gut bacteria in the intestines of worms. The research shows how optogenetic technology can be used to investigate the health impacts of gut bacteria.
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Putting on the pressure improves glass for fiber optics
Rapid, accurate communication worldwide is possible via fiber optic cables, but as good as they are, they are not perfect. Now, researchers suggest that the silica glass used for these cables would have less signal loss if it were manufactured under high pressure.
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2020 in Scientists' Own Words
The world was rocked by the COVID-19 pandemic this year, but researchers rose to all manner of challenges.
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2020 in Animal News
These are the stories about birds, bugs, fish and mammals that surprised and delighted readers the most this year.
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Elon Musk Will Run Into Trouble Setting up a Martian Government, Lawyers Say
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is steadfast in realizing his dreams of establishing a permanent colony on Mars, but any new government there will face immense legal challenges. We got an early glimpse of what such a future society could look like, buried deep inside the user agreement for SpaceX's Starlink satellite internet service. "For services provided on Mars, or in transit to Mars via Starship or oth
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About Desires And Love
submitted by /u/SundayDiscovery [link] [comments]
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Are You a Left or Right Brain Person ? Which part of your Brain dominates more ?? Have you thought about this ??
The popular theory is that people are either left-brained or right-brained, meaning that one side of their brain is dominant. Which means that if you're one of those analytical and methodical types, you're most likely to be left-brained. On the other hand, if you're all artsy and creative, you're most certainly to be right-brained. However, it seems safe to say that for the most part we all use b
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Surgery may extend life for women with metastatic breast cancer
Surgery, in addition to treatments like chemotherapy and radiation therapy, may increase the length of survival for metastatic breast cancer patients, according to a new study. Researchers studied nearly 13,000 stage four breast cancer patients and found that those who had surgery in addition to their other treatments had a survival advantage over those who had other treatments alone. Stage four
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Catalyzing ammonia formation at lower temperatures with ruthenium
Nitrogen is an essential nutrient for plant growth. While about 80% of earth is nitrogen, it is mostly contained in the atmosphere as gas, and hence, inaccessible to plants. To boost plant growth, especially in agricultural settings, therefore, chemical nitrogen fertilizers are needed. A crucial step in the production of these fertilizers is the synthesis of ammonia, which involves a reaction betw
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U.K. variant puts spotlight on immunocompromised patients' role in the COVID-19 pandemic
A weakened immune system may give the virus a chance to evolve rapidly, scientists say
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Kids on TikTok Are Convinced We're Living in a Simulation
Hot New Trend For the past few weeks, simulation theory has been spreading across TikTok. A growing number of TikTokers are signing on to — or at least considering — the idea that our world is a giant, Matrix-like simulation, as demonstrated in a roundup by YourTango . The idea spreading across the platform is that some super-advanced civilization, be it human or alien, built a virtual environmen
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Covering faces around kids won't mask emotions
The proliferation of face coverings to keep COVID-19 in check isn't keeping kids from understanding facial expressions, according to a new study by University of Wisconsin-Madison psychologists.
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Weedy Seadragon genomics reveal highly distinct populations
To describe weedy seadragons as unique is an understatement. With a fused, elongated jaw, body armour, leafy appendages and no pelvic fins, these fish are like no other. Found only along Australia's temperate coast, numbers have been declining. Now a landmark study using genomics reveals four distinct populations in south-eastern Australia. The research team recommends these populations be managed
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Capturing 40 years of climate change for an endangered Montana prairie
Over 40 years of monitoring, an endangered bunchgrass prairie became hotter, drier and more susceptible to fire annually–but dramatic seasonal changes (not annual climate trends) seem to be driving the biggest changes in plant production, composition, and summer senescence. Gary Belovsky and Jennifer Slade of The University of Notre Dame, Indiana, present these findings in the open-access journal
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VR simulations shed potential light on goalkeepers' ability to stop free kicks
Virtual reality simulations of football (soccer) free kicks suggests placing a defensive wall can block a goalie's view and hamper their performance – and simulations might be useful in other sports too.
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Children's emotion inferences from masked faces during the COVID-19 pandemic
Children struggle to discern emotions for mask-wearing faces, though masks are "unlikely to dramatically impair" their everyday interactions.
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Evidence for a massive paleo-tsunami at ancient Tel Dor, Israel
Underwater excavation, borehole drilling, and modelling suggests a massive paleo-tsunami struck near the ancient settlement of Tel Dor between 9,910 to 9,290 years ago, according to a study published December 23, 2020 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Gilad Shtienberg, Richard Norris and Thomas Levy from the Scripps Center for Marine Archaeology, San Diego CA, USA, and colleagues from Utah St
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South African Covid-19 variant has reached the UK, says Matt Hancock
Two people in UK test positive for variant as government bans travel to England from South Africa Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage A "highly concerning" new variant of coronavirus that is suspected of fuelling a rise in cases in South Africa has been detected in the UK, Matt Hancock has said. Surveillance by Public Health England on Tuesday identified two people who c
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Google Reportedly Forcing Its Researchers to Say Its Tech Is Good
Careful Packaging When Google AI scientists publish work on topics deemed to be "sensitive," the company subjects them to extra scrutiny and makes sure that they portray the technology in a positive light. Starting this past summer, according to a bombshell NBC News investigation , the company imposed a "sensitive topics" review that seems to be preventing scientists from accurately tackling the
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Capturing 40 years of climate change for an endangered Montana prairie
Over 40 years of monitoring, an endangered bunchgrass prairie became hotter, drier and more susceptible to fire annually—but dramatic seasonal changes (not annual climate trends) seem to be driving the biggest changes in plant production, composition, and summer senescence. Gary Belovsky and Jennifer Slade of The University of Notre Dame, Indiana, present these findings in the open-access journal
15d
Evidence for a massive paleo-tsunami at ancient Tel Dor, Israel
Underwater excavation, borehole drilling, and modelling suggests a massive paleo-tsunami struck near the ancient settlement of Tel Dor between 9,910 to 9,290 years ago, according to a study published December 23, 2020 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Gilad Shtienberg, Richard Norris and Thomas Levy from the Scripps Center for Marine Archaeology, University of California, San Diego, U.S., and
15d
Weedy Seadragon genomics reveal highly distinct populations
Charismatic, iconic and Instagram-friendly, the weedy seadragon is a favorite with divers and snorkellers. The first genomic study of east coast Australian seadragon populations can now reveal "weedies" from NSW, Victoria and Tasmania are significantly different.
15d
Capturing 40 years of climate change for an endangered Montana prairie
Over 40 years of monitoring, an endangered bunchgrass prairie became hotter, drier and more susceptible to fire annually—but dramatic seasonal changes (not annual climate trends) seem to be driving the biggest changes in plant production, composition, and summer senescence. Gary Belovsky and Jennifer Slade of The University of Notre Dame, Indiana, present these findings in the open-access journal
15d
Weedy Seadragon genomics reveal highly distinct populations
Charismatic, iconic and Instagram-friendly, the weedy seadragon is a favorite with divers and snorkellers. The first genomic study of east coast Australian seadragon populations can now reveal "weedies" from NSW, Victoria and Tasmania are significantly different.
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Scientists in Liverpool mass Covid testing trial defend rapid tests
Professor says programme was very helpful, despite criticism about accuracy of lateral flow tests Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage Scientists involved in the UK's first mass Covid testing trial, in Liverpool , have vigorously defended the use of rapid-result tests, following criticism from some health experts that they are too inaccurate to be helpful . Speaking as th
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Similar factors cause health disparities in cancer, COVID-19
The same societal factors that have caused worse outcomes in cancer for some minority populations are now causing disparities in COVID outcomes. Potential policy changes could help improve outcomes for both diseases.
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With COVID exacerbating superbug threat, researchers ID new weapon
Researchers have discovered a compound capable of pushing through barriers used by Gram-negative bacteria to resist antibiotics, damaging the bugs and preventing them from spreading.
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Cost-effective hood reduces aerosol exposures to patients, otolaryngologists
A new study evaluates the efficacy of a prototype device that can be used during common otolaryngologic procedures that generate significant aerosols and droplets.
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Photos: A Little Midwinter Fun and Beauty
As we approach the holidays and roll into a new year, I thought it would be fun to share some recent images of people across the Northern Hemisphere enjoying themselves in the middle of this winter, and others simply appreciating the beauty of the ice and snow outside.
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Jack Steinberger (1921–2020)
Nature, Published online: 23 December 2020; doi:10.1038/d41586-020-03655-w Particle physicist who shared Nobel for discovering muon neutrinos.
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Coronavirus variant first detected in South Africa identified in Britain
Health minister says new strain may be more infectious than the one discovered in UK
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LGBTQ People Are at Higher Risk in Disasters
A federal report about vulnerability focuses on historically disadvantaged people for the first time — Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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How to guarantee a safe, COVID-19-free holiday
Don't make this a Christmas you'll regret. (unsplash/) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has strongly advised people not to travel or gather for the winter holidays . COVID-19 cases and deaths are holding at alarming rates across the country , and it's thought that Thanksgiving-related travel helped fuel surges in some states . With the pandemic hitting a dangerous new peak , t
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How our brains track where we and others go
A new study reveals how your brain navigates places and monitors someone else in the same location. The findings suggest that our brains generate a common code to mark where other people are in relation to ourselves.
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Disposable surgical masks best for being heard clearly when speaking, study finds
Researchers have published the results of a new study evaluating the acoustic effects of face masks on speech. The team tested medical masks, disposable surgical masks, masks with clear plastic windows around the mouth, and homemade and store-bought cloth masks made of different fabric types and numbers of layers.
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Perfect transmission through barrier using sound
A research team has for the first time experimentally proved a century old quantum theory that relativistic particles can pass through a barrier with 100% transmission.
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Conifers can be green because of a photosynthetic short-cut
How can conifers that are used, for example, as Christmas trees, keep their green needles over the boreal winter when most trees shed their leaves? Science has not provided a good answer to this question but now an international team of scientists has deciphered that a short-cut in the photosynthetic machinery allows the needles of pine trees to stay green.
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Why an early start is key to developing musical skill later in life
Is there, as some have suggested, a developmental period early in life when the brain is especially receptive to musical training? The answer, according to new research, is probably not.
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New electron microscopy technique offers first look at previously hidden processes
Researchers have developed a new microscopy method that allows scientists to see the building blocks of 'smart' materials being formed at the nanoscale.
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The brain's protein factories at work
Protein synthesis is a finely tuned process in the cell by macromolecules known as ribosomes. Which regulators are responsible for controlling protein synthesis in the brain? To address this question, researchers studied the structure of the brain's ribosomal complexes in great detail. The team was able to identify a new factor which is also involved in controlling brain development.
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Environmental effects of purchasing, consuming mislabeled fish
Seafood is the world's most highly traded food commodity, and reports of seafood mislabeling have increased over the past decade. However, proof of the environmental effects of mislabeled seafood has been scant as has research. So, researchers analyzed the impact of seafood mislabeling on marine population health, fishery management effectiveness, and habitats and ecosystems in the United States,
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Even after long-term exposure, bionic touch does not remap the brain
A new study by neuroscientists demonstrates that the brain does not remap itself even with long-term bionic limb use, posing challenges for the development of realistic prosthetic limbs.
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A Guy Who Drives NASA's Mars Rover Is Dishing About the Experience
In less than two months, NASA is planning to land its next rover on the surface of Mars. If all goes well, Perseverance will take off on its adventure in mid-February, carrying out a number of scientific experiments along the way — including the launch of a tiny helicopter . In a new Medium post , NASA engineer Evan Hilgemann explains what it's actually like to drive a Mars rover. Last year, Hilg
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Breaking bad: how shattered chromosomes make cancer cells drug-resistant
UC San Diego and Ludwig Cancer Research scientists describe how a phenomenon known as "chromothripsis" breaks up chromosomes, which then reassemble in ways that ultimately promote cancer cell growth.
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Turning the heat down: Catalyzing ammonia formation at lower temperatures with ruthenium
Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) report that the metal ruthenium, supported with lanthanide oxyhydrides, can efficiently catalyze the synthesis of ammonia at a much lower temperature than the traditional approach. In their new study, they highlight the advantages of the oxyhydride support and its potential in becoming a feasible catalyst for low-temperature ammonia synthesi
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The Eeriness of the 2020 Disco Revival
My aches and chills started on the same day that I'd planned on mingling with strangers to the music of Donna Summer. On March 11, the Brooklyn Museum held an opening party for an exhibit on Studio 54, the iconic '70s nightclub where Bianca Jagger once rode around on a horse led by a naked model . But headlines about the spread of COVID-19 in the U.S. got worse over the course of the day, as did
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Is Caral, Peru the Oldest City in the Americas?
These pyramids in Peru are older than the ones in Egypt, and predate the Incan Empire by roughly 4,000 years.
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South African Covid-19 variant may be 'more effective at spreading'
Research still to confirm threat posed but variant does not appear to provoke more serious symptoms Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage The South African variant of Covid-19, two cases of which have now been detected in the UK, is likely to be more transmissible, may hit young people harder, and may be slightly more resistant to vaccines, scientists in South Africa belie
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COVID Has Laid Bare the Inequities That Face Mothers in STEM
Take a survey and share your experience — Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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Telehealth will save lives—for as long as it has funding
When telehealth visits began skyrocketing after the pandemic began, hospitals had to increase their number of virtual appointments by magnitudes. Most did it seamlessly. Big Think spoke to Dr. Martin Doerfler, senior vice president of clinical strategy and development at Northwell Health, about this transition and how it benefited patients. Telehealth has proven its value during the pandemic, but
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A screen of brain organoids to study neurodevelopmental disease
Nature, Published online: 23 December 2020; doi:10.1038/d41586-020-03636-z A high-throughput technique has been developed to screen genes implicated in neurodevelopmental diseases in 3D cell cultures. It reveals a mechanism that might be involved in a rare disorder called microcephaly.
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Holiday Break
I'll be taking a holiday break, with intermittent blogging. I hope to put in a recipe or two (as often happens around here this time of year), and I'll certainly pop up if we have some big news. Otherwise, from now until January 2nd I'll be on my end-of-the-year schedule. 2020 has been. . .well, adjectives fail me. Or rather, too many of them are trying to get through the door at the same time. 2
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Ask Dr. Hamblin: Is My Fear of Vaccine Allergies Overblown?
Editor's Note: Every Wednesday, James Hamblin takes questions from readers about health-related curiosities, concerns, and obsessions. Have one? Email him at paging.dr.hamblin@theatlantic.com . Dear Dr. Hamblin, I had an anaphylactic reaction 25 years ago to a routine tetanus shot, and it was terrifying. After being shot full of adrenaline, I was told that that should be the last tetanus shot I e
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Klapphetsen: Hur mycket ska man ge barnen?
"I år ska vi inte ha så mycket klappar". Många känner igen det där löftet, men det kan vara svårt att hålla när väl julen närmar sig. Kanske känner man sig stressad för att man inte har råd att ge det man tror man borde. Hur mycket julklappar ska man ge egentligen?
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Quantum wave in helium dimer filmed for the first time
Anyone entering the world of quantum physics must prepare themself for quite a few things unknown in the everyday world: Noble gases form compounds, atoms behave like particles and waves at the same time and events that in the macroscopic world exclude each other occur simultaneously.
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Cost-effective hood reduces aerosol exposures to patients, otolaryngologists
The COVID-19 pandemic has continued to cause dramatic shifts in the practice of otolaryngology. In an effort to mitigate exposure to these airborne particles, researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) designed and tested a prototype nasolaryngoscopy hood, worn by the patient that offers safe and effective protection in reducing aerosols exposures.
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TikTok Parent Company Says It'll Develop Drugs Using AI
ByteDance, the Chinese tech company behind both TikTok and its Chinese counterpart Douyin, is taking a hard pivot into the world of pharmaceutical research. The company recently posted new job openings for a team that will develop artificial intelligence algorithms to discover and manufacture new drugs, according to TechCrunch . ByteDance is no stranger to building AI — and it seems to be trying
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What do we know about the two new Covid-19 variants in the UK?
One appears to have arisen in Kent, the other brought in from South Africa. Both are highly transmissible Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage Two new variants of Covid-19 have been identified as of concern in the UK, both said to be more transmissible than the previously dominant version. Here's what we know so far. Continue reading…
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Blaming the public for a rise in Covid lets the government off the hook | Owen Jones
Helped by a spineless press, ministers are set to get away with causing one of the biggest catastrophes in recent history It takes effort to imagine how the government could have mishandled the pandemic more disastrously than it has, yet people are blaming the crisis on themselves. For those who wish to hold our authorities to account for one of the worst death tolls in the world, polls offer ble
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Our Favorite Comments of the Year
Writing about medical science, such as it was 2,400 years ago, Hippocrates identified "knowledge" as belonging to those truly in the know and "opinion" as the province of the ignorant. Today, with so much of the world's scientific knowledge just a few thumb taps away but competing for sunlight with prickly online opinions that multiply like thistles, it's fair to ask why a magazine dedicated to i
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The Year in Biology
When it comes to choosing this year's biggest story in the life sciences, there's really no competition. This will always be remembered as the year the COVID-19 pandemic exploded. With about 78 million confirmed cases worldwide, the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, has directly caused more than 1.7 million deaths, hammered the global economy, all but eliminated public gatherings and social events,
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The Year in Math and Computer Science
For mathematicians and computer scientists, 2020 was full of discipline-spanning discoveries and celebrations of creativity. Several long-standing problems yielded to sustained collaboration, sometimes answering other important questions as a happy byproduct. While some results had immediate applications, with researchers improving on the findings or incorporating them into other work, others ser
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Research reveals compromised transfer of SARS-CoV-2-specific antibodies through placenta
Lower than expected levels of protective SARS-CoV-2 antibodies pass through the placenta from mothers who are infected in the third trimester with the virus that causes COVID-19. This low level of transfer from mother to fetus may be caused by altered attachments of carbohydrates to the SARS-CoV-2-specific antibodies.
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High-brightness source of coherent light spanning from the UV to THz
An international team of scientists reports in Nature Photonics on a novel technique for a high-brightness coherent and few-cycle duration source spanning 7 optical octaves from the UV to the THz.
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Immersive virtual reality boosts the effectiveness of spinal cord stimulation for chronic pain
For patients receiving spinal cord stimulation (SCS) for chronic pain, integration with an immersive virtual reality (VR) system – allowing patients to see as well as feel the effects of electrical stimulation on a virtual image of their own body – can enhance the pain-relieving effectiveness of SCS, reports a study in PAIN®, the official publication of the International Association for the Study
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AI-designed serotonin sensor may help scientists study sleep and mental health
In an article in Cell, National Institutes of Health-funded researchers described how they used advanced genetic engineering techniques to transform a bacterial protein into a new research tool that may help monitor serotonin transmission with greater fidelity than current methods. Preclinical experiments, primarily in mice, showed that the sensor could detect subtle, real-time changes in brain se
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Changing the perspective on the 'Cinderella of the cytoskeleton'
SETD2, known for its involvement on gene expression, also can affect functions controlled by the cytoskeleton, such as movement, metastasis and migration, which are very important for cancer cells.
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Remarkable new species of snake found hidden in a biodiversity collection
A graduate research assistant at the University of Kansas was intrigued by an overlooked snake in the collections of the KU Biodiversity Institute. It turned out it's both a new genus, and a new species, published today in the journal Copeia.
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Discovery of chemical clue may lead to solving cacao's black pod rot mystery
The finding of relatively high levels of the antimicrobial compound clovamide in the leaves of a disease-resistant strain of cacao has significant implications for breeding trees that can tolerate black pod rot, according to Penn State researchers who conducted a novel study.
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Discovery of chemical clue may lead to solving cacao's black pod rot mystery
The finding of relatively high levels of the antimicrobial compound clovamide in the leaves of a disease-resistant strain of cacao has significant implications for breeding trees that can tolerate black pod rot, according to Penn State researchers who conducted a novel study.
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A New Population of Blue Whales Was Discovered Hiding in the Indian Ocean
The whales in the group seem to sing a unique song.
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Astrology is definitely not written in the stars | Letter
We need to follow rationality and logic, not hocus-pocus, says John Zarnecki I read with rising horror the piece by Emily Segal ( The 'great conjunction' kicks off a new astrological epoch. So what now? , 21 December). After the third sentence, it is frankly bunkum and hocus-pocus. Especially at a time when surely we must be following rationality and logic, promoting astrological nonsense such as
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Interventions in school years can prevent "deaths of despair"
A decades-long study suggests childhood interventions are effective against deaths of despair. The students who had interventions went on to drink less, engage in less risky behavior, and reported less self-harm. The findings suggest that similar programs have the potential to save countless lives. The increase in the number of deaths of despair over the past few years has been catastrophic to so
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Chemists convert plastic bottle waste into insecticide sorbent
Scientists of Tomsk Polytechnic University proposed a method to create a sorbent for imidacloprid insecticide removal from water. The sorbent belongs to metal-organic frameworks, a class of non-conventional materials. The TPU chemists grew such a framework on polyethylene terephthalate (PET), a material used to produce regular plastic bottles. The method is quite simple and allows converting used
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How Mink, Like Humans, Were Slammed by the Coronavirus
Rampaging infections at farms caused scandal, scientific head-scratching and a search for a vaccine — for mink.
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The Year in Physics
By now you've probably heard the original quarantine-genius story: Isaac Newton, having fled the plague , revolutionized mathematics and reinvented physics. In a pandemic-afflicted year like 2020, it's natural to hope for some parallel silver lining. Maybe another prodigy's ideas are being given the time and space to gestate, and who knows what wonders await. The dour among us might point out tha
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DeepMind's AI agent MuZero could turbocharge YouTube
The successor to AlphaGo is being used to create a more efficient type of video compression.
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Remarkable new species of snake found hidden in a biodiversity collection
To be fair, the newly described Waray Dwarf Burrowing Snake (Levitonius mirus) is pretty great at hiding.
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Tracing the many paths of vision
New study decodes the molecular diversity of neurons in the zebrafish retina.
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Light smokers may not escape nicotine addiction, study reveals
Even people who consider themselves to be casual cigarette smokers may be addicted, according to current diagnostic criteria. Researchers at Penn State College of Medicine and Duke University found that many light smokers — those who smoke one to four cigarettes per day or fewer — meet the criteria for nicotine addiction and should therefore be considered for treatment.
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New mechanisms to control dental procedure spray emissions
Since the onset of COVID-19 the potential risk of dental procedure spray emissions for SARS-CoV-2 transmission has challenged care providers and policy makers alike. The study, 'Mechanisms of atomization from rotary dental instruments and its mitigation,' published in the Journal of Dental Research (JDR), found that there are multiple mechanisms for atomization of fluids from rotatory instruments
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Scientists identify new gene involved in autism spectrum disorder
UT Southwestern scientists have adapted a classic research technique called forward genetics to identify new genes involved in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In a study published this week in eLife, the researchers used this approach in mice to find one such gene called KDM5A.
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Discovery of chemical clue may lead to solving cacao's black pod rot mystery
The finding of relatively high levels of the antimicrobial compound clovamide in the leaves of a disease-resistant strain of cacao has significant implications for breeding trees that can tolerate black pod rot, according to Penn State researchers who conducted a novel study.
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Remarkable new species of snake found hidden in a biodiversity collection
To be fair, the newly described Waray Dwarf Burrowing Snake (Levitonius mirus) is pretty great at hiding.
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Publisher Correction: A network of transcriptional repressors modulates auxin responses
Nature, Published online: 23 December 2020; doi:10.1038/s41586-020-03066-x
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The effect of interventions on COVID-19
Nature, Published online: 23 December 2020; doi:10.1038/s41586-020-3025-y
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Reply to: The effect of interventions on COVID-19
Nature, Published online: 23 December 2020; doi:10.1038/s41586-020-3026-x
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Our podcast highlights of 2020
Nature, Published online: 23 December 2020; doi:10.1038/d41586-020-03622-5 The Nature Podcast team select some of their favourite stories from the past 12 months.
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Nociceptive nerves regulate haematopoietic stem cell mobilization
Nature, Published online: 23 December 2020; doi:10.1038/s41586-020-03057-y Stimulation of pain-sensing neurons, which can be achieved in mice by the ingestion of capsaicin, promotes the migration of haematopoietic stem cells from the bone marrow into the blood.
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Chromothripsis drives the evolution of gene amplification in cancer
Nature, Published online: 23 December 2020; doi:10.1038/s41586-020-03064-z Chromothripsis—a process during which chromosomes are 'shattered'—drives the evolution of gene amplification and subsequent drug resistance in cancer cells.
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Pairing of segmentation clock genes drives robust pattern formation
Nature, Published online: 23 December 2020; doi:10.1038/s41586-020-03055-0 The pairing of genes is essential for robust expression of segmentation clock genes during development in zebrafish embryos.
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Molecular basis of nucleosomal H3K36 methylation by NSD methyltransferases
Nature, Published online: 23 December 2020; doi:10.1038/s41586-020-03069-8 Cryo-electron microscopy structures of the nucleosome-bound NSD2 and NSD3 histone methyltransferases reveal the molecular basis of their histone modification activity, and show how mutations in these proteins can lead to oncogenesis.
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Cell-type-specific asynchronous modulation of PKA by dopamine in learning
Nature, Published online: 23 December 2020; doi:10.1038/s41586-020-03050-5 The net PKA activities in each class of spiny projection neuron in the nucleus accumbens of the mouse are dichotomously modulated by asynchronous positive and negative dopamine signals during different phases of learning.
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IspH inhibitors kill Gram-negative bacteria and mobilize immune clearance
Nature, Published online: 23 December 2020; doi:10.1038/s41586-020-03074-x A class of compounds with a dual mechanism of action—direct targeting of IspH and stimulation of cytotoxic γδ T cells to enhance pathogen clearance—are active against multidrug-resistant bacteria.
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A genetic history of the pre-contact Caribbean
Nature, Published online: 23 December 2020; doi:10.1038/s41586-020-03053-2 Ancient DNA reveals genetic differences between stone-tool users and people associated with ceramic technology in the Caribbean and provides substantially lower estimates of population sizes in the region before European contact.
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Astrocytes phagocytose adult hippocampal synapses for circuit homeostasis
Nature, Published online: 23 December 2020; doi:10.1038/s41586-020-03060-3 In adult mice, astrocytes carry out phagocytosis of excitatory hippocampal synapses through MEGF10 to maintain synaptic and circuit homeostasis.
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Superconducting qubit to optical photon transduction
Nature, Published online: 23 December 2020; doi:10.1038/s41586-020-3038-6 A chip-scale platform is developed for the conversion of a single microwave excitation of a superconducting qubit into optical photons, with potential uses in quantum computer networks.
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Mastering Atari, Go, chess and shogi by planning with a learned model
Nature, Published online: 23 December 2020; doi:10.1038/s41586-020-03051-4 A reinforcement-learning algorithm that combines a tree-based search with a learned model achieves superhuman performance in high-performance planning and visually complex domains, without any knowledge of their underlying dynamics.
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Xolography for linear volumetric 3D printing
Nature, Published online: 23 December 2020; doi:10.1038/s41586-020-3029-7 By combining the use of photoswitchable photoinitators and intersecting light beams, objects and complex systems can be produced rapidly with higher definition than is possible using state-of-the art macroscopic volumetric methods.
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Mechanism of EBV inducing anti-tumour immunity and its therapeutic use
Nature, Published online: 23 December 2020; doi:10.1038/s41586-020-03075-w Expression of the Epstein–Barr virus protein LMP1 in B cells increases expression of—and promotes T cell responses to—tumour-associated antigens, delineating a mechanism of infection-induced anti-tumour immunity, which could inform immune-based approaches to cancer treatment.
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Plasmonic topological quasiparticle on the nanometre and femtosecond scales
Nature, Published online: 23 December 2020; doi:10.1038/s41586-020-3030-1 Topological plasmonic spin textures are excited by shining light on a structured silver film, and imaging defines how these quasiparticle field and spin textures evolve on the nanometre and femtosecond scales.
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Evolving schema representations in orbitofrontal ensembles during learning
Nature, Published online: 23 December 2020; doi:10.1038/s41586-020-03061-2 Rats learning to solve a succession of odour-sequence problems developed an orbitofrontal cortical representation that reflected the structure—or schema—common across problems.
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Boundary-anchored neural mechanisms of location-encoding for self and others
Nature, Published online: 23 December 2020; doi:10.1038/s41586-020-03073-y In real-world spatial navigation and observation tasks, oscillatory activity in the human brain encodes representations of self and others, with oscillatory power increasing at locations near the boundaries of the room.
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RANK links thymic regulatory T cells to fetal loss and gestational diabetes in pregnancy
Nature, Published online: 23 December 2020; doi:10.1038/s41586-020-03071-0 RANK promotes the hormone-mediated development of thymic regulatory T cells during pregnancy; loss of RANK is associated with impaired maturation of maternal regulatory T cells, leading to fetal loss and the development of gestational diabetes.
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High-resolution 3D printing in seconds
Nature, Published online: 23 December 2020; doi:10.1038/d41586-020-03543-3 A 3D-printing technique has been developed that can produce millimetre- to centimetre-scale objects with micrometre-scale features. It relies on chemical reactions triggered by the intersection of two light beams.
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Brain rhythms that help us to detect borders
Nature, Published online: 23 December 2020; doi:10.1038/d41586-020-03576-8 Oscillations in neuronal activity in the medial temporal lobe of the human brain encode proximity to boundaries such as walls, both when navigating while walking and when watching another person do so.
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Pain-sensing neurons mobilize blood stem cells from bone marrow
Nature, Published online: 23 December 2020; doi:10.1038/d41586-020-03577-7 Pain-sensing nerve cells can mobilize blood stem cells in mice, with a component of chilli peppers being one stimulus. The finding holds the promise of improving procedures for stem-cell transplantation.
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Could robots make better therapy animals?
University of Portsmouth researchers held play sessions with real dogs and their biomimetic counterparts. The more time school children spent with the robot dog, the higher their opinion of him. Robotic dogs could offer an entirely new line of emotional support animals. In 2018 a woman tried to board a plane at Newark International Airport with her emotional support animal—a peacock. That didn't
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Swaths of England to be moved into tougher Covid restriction tiers
Hancock says decision taken after rapid spread of new, more transmissible variant of virus
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Sex Differences in Death After Stroke
Women were 39% more likely to die by 1 year after a first stroke. The sex difference was due to advanced age and more severe strokes in women
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What does 'do not resuscitate' mean? Varying interpretations may affect patient care, reports American Journal of Nursing
When patients have a do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order, it means they have chosen not to receive cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). But hospital nurses report significant variations in the way DNR orders are perceived or acted on in clinical practice, reports a survey study in the January issue of the American Journal of Nursing (AJN). The journal is published in the Lippincott portfolio by Wolters
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With COVID exacerbating superbug threat, researchers ID new weapon
Researchers have discovered a compound capable of pushing through barriers used by Gram-negative bacteria to resist antibiotics, damaging the bugs and preventing them from spreading.
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Scientists at Tel Aviv University develop new gene therapy for deafness
A new study from Tel Aviv University (TAU) presents an innovative treatment for deafness, based on the delivery of genetic material into the cells of the inner ear. The genetic material "replaces" the genetic defect and enables the cells to continue functioning normally. They maintain that this novel therapy could lead to a breakthrough in treating children born with various mutations that eventua
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New mammal reference genome helps ID genetic variants for human health
A new reference genome assembly identified more than 85 million genetic variants in the rhesus macaque, the largest database of genetic variation for any one nonhuman primate species to date.
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Physician-led Spanish-speaking volunteers address health care inequities during a crisis
In a perspective published in the Journal of Hospital Medicine, experts from the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Department of Medicine, Office of Equity and Inclusion and Center for Diversity and Inclusion call for a more inclusive and culturally competent approach to clinical care based on best practices developed during the COVID-19 surge in Massachusetts.
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Quantum wave in helium dimer filmed for the first time
For the first time, an international team of scientists from Goethe University and the University of Oklahoma has succeeded in filming quantum physical effects on a helium dimer as it breaks apart. The film shows the superposition of matter waves from two simultaneous events that occur with different probability: The survival and the disintegration of the helium dimer. This method might in future
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Cancer's intelligence
Dr. J. James Frost and The International Journal of Unconventional Computing will soon be publishing 'Cancer's Intelligence' which reports that Cancer can be analyzed as an intelligent system of collaborating and computing cells.
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SpaceX Moves Next Starship Prototype to Launch Pad
Next Up SpaceX has rolled out its next full-scale Starship prototype onto the launchpad, setting the stage for yet another riveting high-altitude test flight. The Elon Musk-led space company is moving fast with the development of its Mars-bound rocket, the latest prototype of which is called SN9. It's been less than two weeks since it launched its SN8 prototype to a height of roughly 40,000 feet.
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COVID's impact on homeowners has gotten worse
Without more intentional, long-term solutions and investments, an extension of the moratorium on evictions for renters will only postpone an inevitable housing crisis, a new survey shows. "Data from our recent survey indicates that the impact of COVID-19 on homeowners not only still exists, but it has significantly worsened, especially among Black and Hispanic households and young adults," says M
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What to Know of Covid-19 Antibody Drugs: Cost, Availability and More
Here's information about who these therapies can help, how much they cost and how to find out if you can get them where you live.
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Understanding nanoparticle entry mechanism into tumors
Announcing a new publication for BIO Integration journal. In this commentary the authors Phei Er Saw and Sangyong Jon from Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, China and the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Daejeon, Korea, consider how the entry mechanism of nanoparticles into tumors determines the future direction of nanomedicine development.
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Metabolic syndrome 'interacts' with COVID-19
Announcing a new publication for BIO Integration journal. In this review article the authors Zeling Guo, Shanping Jiang, Zilun Li and Sifan Chen from Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, China review how metabolic syndrome 'interacts' with COVID-19.
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Trophoblast motility in a gelatin hydrogel
Trophoblast cells, which surround the developing blastocyst in early pregnancy, play an important role in implantation in the uterine wall. A new multidimensional model of trophoblast motility that utilizes a functionalized hydrogel.
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Cooperation with R&D organizations is significantly distinctive for advanced innovators
The innovation performance of firms depends on their ability to innovate in cooperation with external partners. In a study, HSE researchers found that most of innovation in Russian manufacturing happens in a sort of open processes, but extensive cooperation networks are barely detectable. The study was published in the December issue of Foresight and STI Governance.
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Ancient DNA retells story of Caribbean's first people, with a few plot twists
The history of the Caribbean's original islanders comes into sharper focus in a new Nature study that combines decades of archaeological work with advancements in genetic technology.
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How our brains track where we and others go
As COVID cases rise, physically distancing yourself from other people has never been more important. Now a new UCLA study reveals how your brain navigates places and monitors someone else in the same location.
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Wistar reports new class of antibiotics active against a wide range of bacteria
Wistar Institute scientists have discovered a new class of compounds that uniquely combine direct antibiotic killing of pan drug-resistant bacterial pathogens with a simultaneous rapid immune response for combatting antimicrobial resistance (AMR). These finding were published today in Nature .
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FDA Oncology Center of Excellence during COVID-19
This Viewpoint discusses initiatives of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Oncology Center of Excellence to address COVID-19-related challenges faced by patients with cancer and the health care professionals who provide cancer treatment.
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Assessment of air contamination by SARS-CoV-2 in hospital settings
In this systematic review of current evidence on air contamination with SARS-CoV-2 in hospital settings, the air close to and distant from patients with COVID-19 was frequently contaminated with SARS-CoV-2 RNA; however, few of these samples contained viable viruses. High viral loads found in toilets and bathrooms, staff areas and public hallways suggest that these areas should be carefully conside
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Scientists discover how our brains track where we and others go
For the first time, scientists have recorded how our brains navigate physical space and keep track of others' location. Researchers used a special backpack to wirelessly monitor the brain waves of epilepsy patients as each one walked around an empty room hunting for a hidden, two-foot spot or watched others do the same.
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The thymus as key to healthy pregnancies
How the immune system adapts to pregnancy has puzzled researchers for decades. An international team of researchers, including scientists from IMBA (Institute of Molecular Biotechnology) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences has now discovered that important changes in the thymus occur in order to prevent miscarriages and gestational diabetes. The results are published in the journal Nature.
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New research highlights the importance of a forgotten organ in ensuring healthy pregnancies
An international research team led by UBC has uncovered for the first time the importance of a small gland tucked behind the sternum that works to prevent miscarriage and diabetes in pregnant women.
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New research highlights the importance of the thymus in successful pregnancies
How the immune system adapts to pregnancies has puzzled scientists for decades. Now, findings from an international group of researchers, led by researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, reveal important changes that occur in the thymus to prevent miscarriages and gestational diabetes. The results are published in the journal Nature .
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Experiment takes 'snapshots' of light, stops light, uses light to change properties of matter
The team generated a movie of how light waves churn on their nanometer wavelength scale by imaging electrons that two light photons coming together cause to emit from the surface.
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To beat the winter blues, think like a Norwegian
You might find inspiration for handling the dark months ahead from Norwegians, according to Kari Leibowitz. "…people in Norway didn't see it so much as something to survive—they saw it as an opportunity for lots of things they loved…" Leibowitz , a PhD candidate in social psychology at Stanford University, has studied how Norwegians cope with winter and "polar nights," the period beginning on Nov
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Scientists Say That "Spiteful" Octopuses Punch Fish When They're Angry
Anger Management Octopuses are fascinating creatures. They're amazingly intelligent and, according to new video footage captured by scientists this year, they're also kind of jerks. Apparently, the octopus species Octopus cyanea will occasionally reach out and thwack nearby fish with a tentacle. Sometimes, the octopuses will lash out for seemingly no reason at all, according to research published
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Trump EPA overhaul of lead pipe regulations allows toxic plumbing to stay in the ground in Chicago, other cities
Chicago has more lead water pipes than any other American city, yet federal regulations unveiled this week by the Trump administration likely won't require anything new to prevent homeowners and renters from ingesting the brain-damaging metal.
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Ancient DNA Shows Humans Settled Caribbean in 2 Distinct Waves
Millions of people living on the islands today inherited genes from the people who made them home before Europeans arrived.
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What AlphaGo Can Teach Us About How People Learn
David Silver of DeepMind, who helped create the program that defeated a Go champion, thinks rewards are central to how machines—and humans—acquire knowledge.
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Secondary bloodstream infections associated with severe COVID-19
People with severe COVID-19 and a secondary blood infection were significantly sicker upon hospital admission, had longer hospital stays and poorer outcomes, according to a new study.
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Nature in Verse: What Poetry Reveals about Science
Scientific American has a long history of featuring poetry, and our monthly column once again brings new works to the world — Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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Similar factors cause health disparities in cancer, COVID-19
The same societal factors that have caused worse outcomes in cancer for some minority populations are now causing disparities in COVID outcomes. Potential policy changes could help improve outcomes for both diseases.
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TPU chemists convert plastic bottle waste into insecticide sorbent
Scientists of Tomsk Polytechnic University proposed a method to create a sorbent for imidacloprid insecticide removal from water. The sorbent belongs to metal-organic frameworks, a class of non-conventional materials. The TPU chemists grew such a framework right on polyethylene terephthalate (PET) used to produce regular plastic bottles. The method is quite simple and allows converting used materi
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Study suggests great earthquakes as cause of Arctic warming
A researcher from MIPT has proposed a new explanation for the Arctic's rapid warming. In his recent paper in Geosciences, he suggests that the warming could have been triggered by a series of great earthquakes
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Maternal Immune Activation Induces Sustained Changes in Fetal Microglia Motility
Researchers at the Kobe University Graduate School of Medicine have revealed that alterations in fetal microglia resulting from maternal inflammation could contribute towards the onset of developmental and psychiatric disorders. These results can help clarify how changes in microglial process motility affect the development of the neural network, thus contributing towards the treatment of these di
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Ancient DNA retells story of Caribbean's first people, with a few plot twists
The history of the Caribbean's original islanders comes into sharper focus in a new Nature study that combines decades of archaeological work with advancements in genetic technology.
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Experiment takes 'snapshots' of light, stops light, uses light to change properties of matter
Light travels at a speed of about 300,000,000 meters per second as light particles, photons, or equivalently as electromagnetic field waves. Experiments led by Hrvoje Petek, an R.K. Mellon professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy examined ideas surrounding the origins of light, taking snapshots of light, stopping light and using it to change properties of matter.
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Changes caused by worsening wildfires in California forests will last centuries
The single-engine Cessna was buzzing 1,000 feet above a Northern California burn scar as University of California, Berkeley scientist Scott Stephens shifted excitedly in his seat and peered out the window for a better view.
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Plastic is blowing in the wind
As the plastic in our oceans breaks up into smaller and smaller bits without breaking down chemically, the resulting microplastics are becoming a serious ecological problem. A new study at the Weizmann Institute of Science reveals a troubling aspect of microplastics—defined as particles smaller than 5 mm across. They are swept up into the atmosphere and carried on the wind to far-flung parts of th
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Covid-19 Drug Q&A: Availability, Cost and More
Here's information about who these therapies can help, how much they cost and how to find out if you can get them where you live.
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Study explores diversity-innovation link in pulp and paper industry
Innovation is key to corporations' success, allowing companies to identify and respond to new market opportunities. In a new analysis, researchers from North Carolina State University compared companies ranked among the world's most innovative with the largest pulp and paper companies to understand how diversity among company leaders may affect innovation.
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Plastic is blowing in the wind
The discovery of microplastics in the air above the ocean reveals the spread of this hazardous pollution.
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Christmas trees can be green because of a photosynthetic short-cut
How can conifers that are used for example as Christmas trees keep their green needles over the boreal winter when most trees shed their leaves? Science has not provided a good answer to this question but now an international team of scientists, including researchers from Umeå University, has deciphered that a short-cut in the photosynthetic machinery allows the needles of pine trees to stay green
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The ABCs of species evolution
Almost four decades of research have led scientists at Japan's Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences (iCeMS) to propose that a family of transporter proteins has played an important role in species evolution. One protein in particular, called ABCA1, was likely crucial for vertebrate evolution by helping regulate when signals involved in cell proliferation, differentiation and migration e
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Researcher uses machine learning to demonstrate that DNA impacts cancer risk
University of Calgary researcher uses machine learning to demonstrate that DNA impacts cancer risk. Team identifies seven DNA fingerprints or patterns that define cancer risk. One of the seven germlines offers protection from developing cancer, and the other six germlines present a greater risk for cancer. It is the first time scientists have described these highly-specialized biological patterns
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Giant Antarctic iceberg A68a is not done yet
It might have suffered a big break-up this week but the iceberg is still carrying substantial bulk.
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Ethnic studies curriculum tied to increased graduation, retention rates, study finds
In 1968, San Francisco State University activists made history by organizing the longest student-led strike in the U.S. What did they want? Curricula that represent people of color.
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Perfect transmission through barrier using sound
The perfect transmission of sound through a barrier is difficult to achieve, if not impossible based on our existing knowledge. This is also true with other energy forms such as light and heat.
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Why Covid Antibody Drugs Go Unused as Need Soars
While such treatments are promising, their use has been slowed by testing lags, overwhelmed hospitals and a perception the therapies are only for well-connected people.
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Millions more join tier 4 Covid restrictions in England from Boxing Day
Oxfordshire, most of Hampshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, West Sussex and whole of East Sussex join strictest tier Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage Millions more people in England are to be plunged into the toughest tier 4 restrictions from Boxing Day, it has been confirmed, as the government grapples to contain the "dangerous" spread of the new Covid variant.
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Why radio astronomers need things quiet in the middle of a Western Australia desert
A remote outback station about 800km north of Perth in Western Australia is one of the best places in the world to operate telescopes that listen for radio signals from space.
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Estonian-led international network publishes first study of growing influence of social media
The Global Digital Human Rights Network has published a study on the growing role of social media in the processing of information and the fight against misinformation related to COVID-19.
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Researchers develop new way to break reciprocity law
The breakthrough makes a significant step forward in photonics and microwave technology by eliminating the need for bulky magnets.
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Theory describes quantum phenomenon in nanomaterials
Theoretical physicists Yoshimichi Teratani and Akira Oguri of Osaka City University, and Rui Sakano of the University of Tokyo have developed mathematical formulas that describe a physical phenomenon happening within quantum dots and other nanosized materials. The formulas, published in the journal Physical Review Letters, could be applied to further theoretical research about the physics of quant
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Perfect transmission through barrier using sound
A research team led by Professor Xiang Zhang, President of the University of Hong Kong (HKU) when he was a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, (UC Berkeley) has for the first time experimentally proved a century old quantum theory that relativistic particles can pass through a barrier with 100% transmission.
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