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February 5 2015

Why cocaine addicts keep making bad decisions


Chronic cocaine use alters brain circuits that help us learn from mistakes, a new study suggests.

The study, published online Tuesday in the Journal of Neuroscience, could offer a biological marker for the cycle of destructive decisions that many addicts exhibit.


Related: Hungry Bees Lose Self-Control

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February 5 2015

Do you stray or stay? Humans divide into promiscuous or faithful groups


Both men and women fall into two groups, one more inclined to be promiscuous and the other more inclined to be faithful. Unlike other species, which are inclined to be either promiscuous or faithful, both mating strategies seem to be used by humans.

They measured the length of the index (second) finger and the ring (fourth) finger. The shorter the index finger in relation to the ring finger (the 2D:4D ratio), the higher the levels of testosterone that person is likely to have been exposed to while developing in the womb.

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February 5 2015

Men Who Earn More Money are Less Likely to Help Partners With Housework


New research suggests that men on lower incomes are more likely to help their partners with housework than higher-earners.

Researchers at the University of Warwick found that while the burden of keeping the home clean is starting to be shared more equally between couples, signs of a class divide are beginning to emerge. However, women are still by far doing the most around the home, no matter how many hours they work or how much they are paid.

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February 5 2015

Power psychs people up about... themselves


We all know the type -- people who can talk on and on about their latest adventures, seemingly unaware that those around them may not be interested. They also get really psyched up about their own experiences. A new paper suggests that what separates such people from the rest of us is their perceived sense of power: Powerful people, researchers found, draw inspiration from themselves rather than others.

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February 5 2015

When it comes to jogging, less is more, study argues


Hey, fitness junkies, here's something to ponder the next time you lace up your athletic shoes for that long, heart-pounding run: A Danish study recently concluded that high-intensity, high-mileage joggers die at the same rate as channel-surfing couch potatoes.

The study, published Monday in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, is the latest to confront the controversial topic of what constitutes too much exercise.

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February 5 2015

Add nature, art and religion to life's best anti-inflammatories


Taking in such spine-tingling wonders as the Grand Canyon, Sistine Chapel ceiling or Schubert's 'Ave Maria' may give a boost to the body's defense system. Researchers have linked positive emotions -- especially the awe we feel when touched by the beauty of nature, art and spirituality -- with lower levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines.


Related: Collaboration needed on nature and wellbeing links

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February 5 2015

Discovering your inner GPS - Has our sense of direction been found?


The ability of birds to navigate their way back to their nests, often more than thousands of miles each year, is fascinating. Arctic terns, which have the longest migration distance known, travel from their Arctic breeding grounds to overwinter on the Antarctic coast: an annual roundtrip of over 40,000 miles (>64,000 km).

Although we still don’t know the complete story, there are some very strong clues to how birds navigate. But how mammals (including humans) navigate is relatively unexplored. Recent research is however giving some very interesting insights.

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February 5 2015

Eye Tracking in Google Glass: A Window into the Soul?


Eye tracking—a technology that uses infrared light to monitor eye movements—has been around for decades.

Google recently filed patents that industry experts speculate could incorporate eye tracking into Google Glass, the company’s head-mounted smart computer. Many people are concerned about the privacy implications of the front-facing cameras in Glass, which could record snapshots and video of throngs of oblivious bystanders every day. But only a few researchers have pondered what Google could find out about users based on their gaze—and whether we should be worried about a potential invasion of privacy.


Related: Police forces in England and Wales have uploaded up to 18 million "mugshots" to a facial recognition database - despite a court ruling it could be unlawful

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February 5 2015

How We'll Finally Put An End To Organ Donation Shortages


The waiting list for organ transplants is growing at an alarming rate while the number of potential organ donors has failed to keep pace. Encouragingly, scientists are working several high-tech solutions in the field of regenerative medicine.


Related: Recipient of Artificial Heart Goes Home
Related: 3-D printers to make human body parts? It's happening

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February 5 2015

Brains of ‘SuperAgers’ look 50 not 80


Researchers are trying to figure out why the brains of some older adults look 30 years younger than their peers.

While these so-called cognitively elite “SuperAgers” may be 80 or more years old, they have memories as sharp as those decades younger. SuperAgers were first identified in 2007 by scientists at Northwestern University’s Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center.

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February 5 2015

DNA ‘clock’ could predict how long you will live


Chemical changes that take place in a person’s DNA as a person grows older could serve as a “biological clock” which could provide clues as to how long a person will live, according to new research published in the journal Genome Biology.

In the study, scientists from the University of Edinburgh and colleagues from Australia and the US report that these chemical changes can help predict a person’s age, and that they can compare that data with those individuals’ actual ages to predict how long those people will live.

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February 4 2015

Eternal life could be achieved by procedure to lengthen chromosomes


The key to eternal life could be a procedure to lengthen chromosomes.

The procedure would allow scientists to lengthen telomeres, the protective caps that are on the end of chromosomes and shorten with age.

The telomeres protect chromosomes from getting damage as cells divide and grow.

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February 4 2015

Magnetic sense for humans? Electronic skin with magneto-sensory system enables 'sixth sense'


Scientists from Germany and Japan have developed a new magnetic sensor, which is thin, robust and pliable enough to be smoothly adapted to human skin, even to the most flexible part of the human palm. The achievement suggests it may be possible to equip humans with magnetic sense.

Magnetoception is a sense which allows bacteria, insects and even vertebrates like birds and sharks to detect magnetic fields for orientation and navigation. Humans are however unable to perceive magnetic fields naturally.

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February 4 2015

YouTube videos are teaching military robots of the future to cook


Robots are being taught to cook by watching YouTube videos at a research institute in Maryland, and learning skills that could one day help them to be used in war.

The lessons — enabled by a process called “machine learning” that allows robots to learn like humans — are being used to test how well the robots of the future will be able to learn on their own.

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February 4 2015

Artificially intelligent robot scientist 'Eve' could boost search for new drugs


Eve, an artificially-intelligent 'robot scientist' could make drug discovery faster and much cheaper, say researchers writing in the Royal Society journal Interface. The team has demonstrated the success of the approach as Eve discovered that a compound shown to have anti-cancer properties might also be used in the fight against malaria.

Robot scientists are a natural extension of the trend of increased involvement of automation in science. They can automatically develop and test hypotheses to explain observations, run experiments using laboratory robotics, interpret the results to amend their hypotheses, and then repeat the cycle, automating high-throughput hypothesis-led research.

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February 4 2015

Our ancient ‘small brain’ can adapt to robot arms


In order to grasp an object, our brains have to use specialized areas to process visual cues. Then, other areas of the brain work with these signals to control our hands to reach for and manipulate the object.

A new study suggests that the cerebellum, a region of the brain that has changed very little over time, may play a critical role. The findings could lead to advancements in assistive technologies for people with disabilities.

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February 4 2015

MPs vote in favour of 'three-person embryo' law


MPs have voted in favour of making Britain the first country in the world to permit IVF babies to be created using biological material from three different people to help prevent serious genetic diseases.

In a historic debate, the House of Commons voted by 382 to 128 – a majority of 254 – to allow mitochondrial donation through a controversial amendment to the 2008 Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act.

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