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).

Friday, March 26, 2010

Research news: You are what your mother ate

The News: The placentas of female fetuses proved most sensitive to maternal diet, producing more of a protein that responds to estrogen, say researchers led by Cheryl Rosenfeld, a reproductive biologist at the University of Missouri in Columbia. The extra sensitivity could make female offspring more susceptible to estrogen-mimicking chemicals in the environment. More from a March 8, 2010 article in Science News by Tina Hesman Saey.

The Research:
Read the research behind this story in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, March 23, 2010 vol. 107 no. 12 5557-5562

Monday, March 22, 2010

Research News: Dog Origins Tracked to Middle East

The News: Borrowing methods developed to study the genetics of human disease, researchers have concluded that dogs were probably first domesticated from wolves somewhere in the Middle East, in contrast to an earlier survey suggesting dogs originated in East Asia. (Read more in the New York Times for 17 Mar 2010.)

The Research: Read the research behind this story in the letters section of the journal Nature for 17 Mar 2010 [doi:10.1038/nature08837]...

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Research News: Global Warming & Arctic Sea Methane?

The News: Scientists studying global warming in the Arctic have discovered a previously unknown source of methane working its way into the atmosphere, a source that is releasing large amounts of the gas each year. Methane is, molecule for molecule, a far more potent global-warming gas than carbon dioxide. The newly discovered emissions are welling up from the continental shelf off Siberia's northern coast. (Read more from the Mar 4th Christian Science Monitor.)

The Research:
Read the research behind this story in Science 327, 1246 (2010): "Extensive Methane Venting to the Atmosphere from Sediments of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf." Natalia Shakhova, et al.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Research News: Shields up

The News:
Magnetized rocks push back origin of earth's magnetic field. Earth's churning interior produced a protective magnetic field as early as 3.45 billion years ago, closer to when life began. Continued in Scientific American, March 4, 2010 by John Matson.

The Research:
Read the research by John Tarduno et al. behind this story in March , 2010 edition of Science, Vol. 327. no. 5970, pp. 1238 - 1240

Research News: Alcohol and aggression in large men

The News:

As St. Patrick’s Day approaches, it may pay to keep in mind that there is a kernel of truth to the stereotype that large men are especially prone to being DWI — dangerous while intoxicated.
When they were drunk, bigger men became especially aggressive when given the opportunity to administer electric shocks to a fictitious opponent in a laboratory contest, say psychologist Nathan DeWall of the University of Kentucky in Lexington and his colleagues. Yet larger men showed no aggression increases after downing a nonalcoholic placebo drink. More in Science News, by Bruce Bower.

The Research:
Read the research behind this story in Journal of Experimental Social Psychology

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Research Behind the News: Frail Pharoah Tut

The News: A frail King Tut died from malaria, broken leg. Egypt's most famous pharaoh, King Tutankhamun, was a frail boy who suffered from a cleft palate and club foot. He died of complications from a broken leg exacerbated by malaria and his parents were most likely brother and sister. (Read more in the Feb 16th Guardian Online)

The Research:
Read the research behind this story in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Vol. 303 No. 7, February 17, 2010, p. 638-47.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Research News: Faster internet possibilities, among other things

The News: A new, more efficient low-cost microring resonator for high speed telecommunications systems has been developed and tested by Professor Roberto Morandotti's INRS team in collaboration with Canadian, American, and Australian researchers. This technological advance capitalizes on the benefits of optical fibers to transmit large quantities of data at ultra-fast speeds. Read more in ScienceDaily.

The Research:
Read the research behind this story "CMOS-compatible integrated optical hyper-parametric oscillator" by L. Razzari, D. Duchesne, M. Ferrera, R. Morandotti, S. Chu, B. E. Little & D. J. Moss in Nature Photonics 4, 41 - 45 (2009).

Research News: Neural basis of spirituality

The News: New research provides fascinating insight into brain changes that might underlie alterations in spiritual and religious attitudes. More in ScienceDaily (Feb. 11, 2010)

The Research:
Read the research behind this story "The Spiritual Brain: Selective Cortical Lesions Modulate Human Self-Transcendence", by Cosimo Urgesi, Salvatore M. Aglioti, Miran Skrap and Franco Fabbro in Neuron, Volume 65, Issue 3, 11 February 2010, Pages 309-319.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Is There an Ecological Unconscious?

The News: A branch of psychology says that there is-- and that ignoring it puts not just the planet but also our minds at risk... (read more in the New York Times Magazine, from 31 Jan 10)

The Research:
Read some of the research behind this story in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, Volume 28, Issue 2, June 2008, Pages 192-199

Friday, January 22, 2010

Research News: Less Salt Could Mean Fewer Heart Attacks, Strokes and Deaths

The News:
"Even Small Dietary Reductions in Salt Could Mean Fewer Heart Attacks, Strokes and Deaths" Reducing salt in the American diet by as little as one-half teaspoon (or three grams) per day could prevent nearly 100,000 heart attacks and 92,000 deaths each year, according to a new study. Such benefits are on par with the benefits from reductions in smoking and could save the United States about $24 billion in healthcare costs, the researchers add. ... more in Science Daily ... more at NPR

The Research:
Read the research behind this story in New England Journal of Medicine, Projected Effect of Dietary Salt Reductions on Future Cardiovascular Disease, Bibbins-Domingo K, et al., Jan. 20, 2010.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Research News: How Plants 'Feel' the Temperature Rise

The News: Plants are incredibly temperature sensitive and can perceive changes of as little as one degree Celsius. Now, a report in the January 8th issue of the journal Cell, a Cell Press publication, shows how they not only 'feel' the temperature rise, but also coordinate an appropriate response -- activating hundreds of genes and deactivating others; it turns out it's all about the way that their DNA is packaged. Read more in Science Daily.

The Research: Read the research behind this story in Cell, January 8, 2010.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Research News: Out for an early stroll

The News:
Trackways preserved in 395-million-year-old rocks push back evidence for tetrapods by at least 18 million years, researchers say. The center diagram depicts individual footprints and the schematic at right shows a walking style that may have produced this pattern. Read more in Science News.

The Research:
Read the research behind this story in Nature Jan. 7, 2010.