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August 1 2014

What Somebody's Mummy Can Teach You About Heart Disease


We think of heart disease as a modern scourge, brought on by our sedentary lifestyles and our affinity for fast food.

But a few years ago, a team of researchers discovered something puzzling — CT scans of Egyptian mummies of hardened, narrow arteries. Further scans of mummies from other ancient civilizations turned up the same thing.

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August 1 2014

Otzi 'the Iceman' had heart disease genes


Otzi the Iceman, a well-preserved mummy discovered in the Alps, may have had a genetic predisposition to heart disease, new research suggests.

The new finding may explain why the man who lived 5,300 years ago, stayed active and certainly didn't smoke or wolf down processed food in front of the TV nevertheless had hardened arteries when he was felled by an arrow and bled to death on an alpine glacier.

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August 1 2014

We are all Neanderthal


Better genome sequencing technology is giving new insight into early humans. In December 2013, scientists unveiled the most complete sequence yet of the Neanderthal genome, using DNA from a woman’s 50,000-year-old toe bone recovered from a cave in southern Siberia. That same cave has yielded a small piece of a finger bone from a Denisovan, from which the Denisovan genome was sequenced. One of the most surprising revelations so far is just how much of their genetic legacy we carry with us, even today. About 20 per cent of the Neanderthal genome lives on in modern people, influencing our health, and risk for disease, in ways scientists are now starting to unravel.

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August 1 2014

Decades-old amber collection offers news views of a lost world


Scientists are searching through an extremely large collection of 20-million-year-old amber unearthed in the Dominican Republic over 50 years ago; the effort is displaying new insights into ancient tropical insects and the world they lived in.

When the collection is fully curated, a task that is estimated to take many years, it will be the largest unbiased Dominican amber collection in the world, researchers report.

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August 1 2014

Did Ancient Aliens Make the 150,000-year-old Pipes Baffling Scientists in China?


Ancient tree roots? Fissures that ancient iron magma flowed into? An alien creation?

The origin of mysterious pipe-like structures found in a remote region of China is shrouded in the tubes’ 150,000-year history. That is one thing that scientists have agreed on—that these cylinders, which fill three caves in a pyramid in Qinghai Province pre-date known human technological advances by a good 120,000 years.

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July 31 2014

Early Earth could have been habitable


Isolated pockets of liquid water may have existed on the infant Earth even while it was being smashed by giant asteroids that boiled the oceans and created vast seas of magma, a new study suggests.

This means there could have been habitable regions on the Earth during its violent early period, say the authors in today's issue of the journal Nature.

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July 31 2014

Moon mystery: Why our Earth's satellite is lemon-shaped


Scientists have worked out the reasons for the distorted shape of our Moon.

A US team calculated the effect on the shape of the early Moon of tidal and rotational forces.

They say its own spin and the tidal tug of the Earth created a "lemon-shaped" satellite.

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July 31 2014

Computer model shows moon's core surrounded by liquid and it's caused by Earth's gravity


A team of researchers with team members from China, the U.S. and Japan has created a computer model that shows that the moon is not solid all the way through—instead, it shows a liquid layer surrounding the core. In their paper published in the journal Nature Geoscience, the team suggests the liquid layer, if it's really there, is caused by friction due to Earth's gravity.

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July 31 2014

Mysterious Crop Circle Appears In Wheat Field


A mysterious giant crop circle has appeared overnight in a field belonging to a German farmer.

It has attracted thousands of visitors from far and wide who have flocked to the scene to sing, dance and meditate within the ornate design.

Measuring 75 metres in diameter (246 feet), it was discovered by a balloonist flying over the wheat field near Weilheim.

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July 31 2014

'Beast of Bodmin' photo is evidence big cats are breeding in the wild near Plymouth, it is claimed


PLYMOUTH experts say a teenager's snaps of what appears to be a large cat could indicate they are breeding.

Henry Warren, 19, was taking pictures in fields when the huge cat-like creature leapt out in front of him.

There has been speculation the animal in the images could be the mythical 'Beast of Bodmin'.

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July 31 2014

Are Spirits Upgrading From Ouija Boards to Smartphones?


We know that Ouija boards are still a popular method of communicating with the spirit world, but practitioners may be missing out on some messages from more technically savvy spirits and demons. A priest in Poland found this out when he began getting strange texts after performing an exorcism on a young girl.

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July 31 2014

Learning the smell of fear: Mothers teach babies their own fears via odor, animal study shows


Babies can learn what to fear in the first days of life just by smelling the odor of their distressed mothers’, new research suggests. And not just “natural” fears: If a mother experienced something before pregnancy that made her fear something specific, her baby will quickly learn to fear it too -- through her odor when she feels fear.

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July 31 2014

Long-Term Couples Develop Interconnected Memory Systems


New research from Macquarie University in Australia reveals that intimate couples become part of an interpersonal cognitive system where each is dependent on the other to fill in certain memory gaps.

On the face of it, it seems obvious that we should work with other people when trying to recall shared information. But research shows this isn't always the case; individual recall tends to be more efficient compared to social remembering.

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July 31 2014

Study finds that like yawning, sniffing is contagious.


Here’s another entry to add to our list of contagious behaviors (which currently includes yawning and driving like an old person): sniffing. In this study, the researchers had participants sit in an “odor clean room” and watch the movie Perfume, which contains “28 movie sniff events (MSEs) where a character takes a sniff” in the first 60 minutes of the film. While the movie was playing, the researchers measured how often the subjects sniffed within 7 seconds of hearing and/or seeing a sniff in the movie compared to all other sniffing.

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July 31 2014

A Common Link Among Female Criminals: Brain Injury


Nearly 40 percent of women in prison in Ontario, Canada, have suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI), according to a study published this month in the Journal of Correctional Health Care.

The study, the first to look at the rate of TBIs among prison populations in Canada, contributes to a growing body of evidence associating blows to the head with a multitude of long-term, negative health outcomes, from homelessness and substance abuse to risky behavior and incarceration.

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July 31 2014

A blood test for suicide risk? Alterations to a single gene could predict risk of suicide attempt


Johns Hopkins researchers say they have discovered a chemical alteration in a single human gene linked to stress reactions that, if confirmed in larger studies, could give doctors a simple blood test to reliably predict a person's risk of attempting suicide.

The discovery, described online in The American Journal of Psychiatry, suggests that changes in a gene involved in the function of the brain's response to stress hormones plays a significant role in turning what might otherwise be an unremarkable reaction to the strain of everyday life into suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

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July 31 2014

'Milestone' for child malaria vaccine


Experts say the world's first malaria vaccine could be approved for use in 2015.

Reporting in PLOS Medicine, researchers found that for every 1,000 children who received the vaccine, an average of 800 cases of illness could be prevented.

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