Friday, July 2, 2010

Research Behind the News-- Scientists Cite Fastest Case of Human Evolution

The News: Tibetans live at altitudes of 13,000 feet, breathing air that has 40 percent less oxygen than is available at sea level, yet suffer very little mountain sickness. The reason, according to a team of biologists in China, is human evolution, in what may be the most recent and fastest instance detected so far. (Read more in the July 1st New York Times.)

The Research: Read some of the research behind this story in the July 2nd, 2010 issue of Science & also in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences for June 22nd of 2010.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Research behind the news: Accupuncture works - the how and why

The News:
As explained in this presentation at, the researchers discovered that acupuncture needles reduce pain by tricking the body into producing high levels of its own natural pain killer, called adenosine. Working with mice, they found that acupuncture treatments increased levels of adenosine by some 24 times above normal, and that the levels of the pain killer remained high even well after the treatment ended. More from the article by Carl Laron in the Consumersearch blog from June 3, 2010.

The Research:
Read the research behind this story: "Adenosine A1 receptors mediate local anti-nociceptive effects of acupuncture," by Nanna Goldman, Michael Chen, et al. in Nature Neuroscience, published online: 30 May 2010.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Research behind the news: Imagine a foldable iPad

The News:
A team of Duke University chemists has perfected a simple way to make tiny copper nanowires in quantity. The cheap conductors are small enough to be transparent, making them ideal for thin-film solar cells, flat-screen TVs and computers, and flexible displays. More from the article by Mary-Russell Roberson reprinted in ScienceDaily on June 2, 2010.

The Research:
Read the research behind this story in The Growth Mechanism of Copper Nanowires and Their Properties in Flexible, Transparent Conducting Films by Aaron R. Rathmell, Stephen M. Bergin, Yi-Lei Hua, Zhi-Yuan Li, Benjamin J. Wiley. Published online in Advanced Materials, May 28 2010.

Research behind the news: Tanning bed use linked to melanoma risk

The News:
People with melanoma are more likely than those without it to have visited an indoor tanning salon, researchers find. More in Science News by Nathan Seppa, Thursday, May 27, 2010. More too in these two NPR reports by Patti Neighmond: Not so healthy glow and Tanning beds substantially raise cancer risks June 2, 2010 and May 27, 2010.

The Research:
Read the research behind this story in Cancer Epidemiology and Biomarkers Preview; 19(6) June 2010 by DeAnn Lazovich and others. More research from JAMA related to tanning beds.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Research Behind the News: Message from the Glaciers

The News: Scientists are now warning that there could be a 43 percent decrease in land mass covered with ice in these mountains by 2070 and that in numerous and complex ways this loss will affect Asia’s ten major rivers—the Yellow, Yangtze, Mekong, Salween, Irrawaddy, Brahmaputra, Ganges, Indus, Amu Darya, and Tarim—around which many of the ancient civilizations of the world arose. It is here, among huge modern-day populations of Asia, that the melting of the Greater Himalayas’ glaciers will have the most significant impact during the coming decades and centuries. (Read the entire story in the May 27th, 2010 issue of The New York Review of Books.)

The Research: Read some of the research behind this story in "The Great Melt" in World Policy Journal, Volume 26, Issue 4 - Winter 2009/10. Also, see these books, available at finer libraries everywhere: The long thaw : how humans are changing the next 100,000 years of Earth's climate, or Too Smart for Our Own Good: The Ecological Predicament of Humankind.

Research Behind the News: Blueberries & ADHD?

The News: Bouchard's analysis is the first to home in on organophosphate pesticides as a potential contributor to ADHD in young children. Although Bouchard's study did not determine the exact method of exposure in the participants, youngsters are most likely to ingest the chemicals through their diet — by eating fruits and vegetables that have been sprayed while growing... (read the entire online Time article for May 17th, 2010)

The Research: Read the research behind this story in the online May 17th, 2010 issue of Pediatrics (doi:10.1542/peds.2009-3058)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Research Behind the News: Antisocial Networking?

The News: “HEY, you’re a dork,” said the girl to the boy with a smile. “Just wanted you to know.” “Thanks!” said the boy. “Just kidding,” said the girl with another smile. “You’re only slightly dorky, but other than that, you’re pretty normal — sometimes.” (Read more in the May 2nd New York Times)

The Research: Read some of the research behind this story in The Future of Children, Vol. 18, # 1, Online Communication & Adolescent Relationships [Spring 2008], pp. 119-146.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Research Behind the News: Giant Palouse Earthworm Found!

The News: Our colleague Bill pointed out this interesting science news--- HELENA, Mont.— Once feared extinct, the giant Palouse earthworm, reputed to grow up to three feet long and smell like lilies, has been found alive. (Read more in the Apr 27th New York Times.)

The Research: Read some of the research behind this story in the journal Biological Invasions Vol. 11, #6, pgs. 1393-1401.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Research Behind the News: Is Marriage Good for Your Health?

The News: In 1858, a British epidemiologist named William Farr set out to study what he called the “conjugal condition” of the people of France... Using birth, death and marriage records, Farr analyzed the relative mortality rates of the three groups at various ages. The work, a groundbreaking study that helped establish the field of medical statistics, showed that the unmarried died from disease “in undue proportion” to their married counterparts. (Read more at the New York Times Magazine for Sunday, April 18th, 201002.)

The Research:
Read some of the research behind this story in "Hostile Marital Interactions, Proinflammatory Cytokine Production, and Wound Healing," published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, Vol. 62, #12, December 2005, pgs. 1377-1384.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Research News: Psychopaths' Brains Wired To Seek Rewards

The News: Scientists have long known what psychopaths lack: emotions like empathy, fear and remorse. Now, a new study focuses on what they may have, a brain abnormality that may lead them to seek rewards like money, sex or fame at any cost. More from NPR, All Things Considered, 3/27/2010.

The Research:
Read the research behind this story in Nature Neuroscience, 13, 419-421 (14 March 2010).