25 Aug 2016

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In Babies, Zika Can Linger for Months, Brazilian Case Suggests

A baby in Brazil who became infected with Zika in the womb still had the virus in his body for months after he was born, according to a new report of the case. The baby's mother, who lived in São Paulo, showed symptoms of Zika when she was 26 weeks pregnant, according to the report, published today (Aug. 24) in the New England Journal of Medicine. This congenital condition can be caused by the Zika virus if a woman is infected during pregnancy.

25 Aug 2016 2:44pm GMT

How Do EpiPens Work?

The price of EpiPens has increased more than 400 percent since 2007. People who need to keep them on hand - often because they may need the emergency drug in case they have a life-threatening allergic reaction - brought the price increase to light, and eventually it reached Congress: In a letter to Mylan, the company that makes EpiPens, Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa has now asked the company to explain its pricing. But how do EpiPens work?

25 Aug 2016 2:42pm GMT

America's No. 1 Killer Is Changing

Cancer has passed heart disease as the leading cause of death in nearly half of U.S. states, according to a new report. In 2014, cancer was the leading cause of death in 22 states, including many in the West and Northeast. In the rest of the 28 states, heart disease remained the leading cause of death in 2014.

25 Aug 2016 2:41pm GMT

GM mustard clears hurdle in India but more remain

An Indian scientist holds a GM rapeseed crop under trial in New DelhiBy Mayank Bhardwaj and Krishna N. Das NEW DELHI (Reuters) - A government panel has cleared commercial use of what would be India's first genetically modified (GM) food crop, but politicians still have to give final approvals amid wide-spread public opposition. Technical clearance for indigenously developed GM mustard seeds was given on Aug. 11 by the panel of government and independent experts, following multiple reviews of crop trial data generated over almost a decade, said two sources with direct knowledge of the matter. The decision to go ahead is likely to be made public soon by the environment ministry's Genetic Engineering Approval Committee, and is expected eventually to move to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's desk via Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave.


25 Aug 2016 1:30pm GMT

24 Aug 2016

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Jackpot: Scientists find Earth-like planet at star next door

This artist rendering provided by the European Southern Observatory shows a view of the surface of the planet Proxima b orbiting the red dwarf star Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the Solar System. The double star Alpha Centauri AB also appears in the image to the upper-right of Proxima itself. Proxima b is a little more massive than the Earth and orbits in the habitable zone around Proxima Centauri, where the temperature is suitable for liquid water to exist on its surface. (European Southern Observatory via AP)WASHINGTON (AP) - After scanning the vast reaches of the cosmos for Earth-like planets where life might exist, astronomers have found one right next door.


24 Aug 2016 7:19pm GMT

Scientists hope new test could help contain meningitis outbreaks

By Umberto Bacchi LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A test has been developed that could help diagnose bacterial infections including meningitis in minutes, but it could take several years before a cheap testing device is available to developing countries, scientists said on Wednesday. The new test could save lives, allow treatment of disease - which is difficult to diagnose - to start much sooner and reduce the risk of life-changing after effects, an international team of researchers led by Imperial College London said. "We would very much hope this could become something cheap enough to be applied even in resource poor regions," Imperial College Professor Michael Levin told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

24 Aug 2016 6:11pm GMT

Scientists find Earth-like planet circling sun's nearest neighbor

The planet Proxima b orbiting the red dwarf star Proxima Centauri, the closest star to our Solar System, is seen in an undated artist's impressionThe relative proximity of the planet, known as Proxima b, gives scientists a better chance to eventually capture an image of it, to help them establish whether it has an atmosphere and water, which is believed to be necessary for life. Future studies may reveal if any atmosphere contains tell-tale chemicals of biological life, such as methane, according to a paper published in this week's issue of the journal Nature. The planet, located about 4.2 light-years from Earth, or 25 trillion miles (40 trillion km), is the closest of some 3,500 planets that have been discovered beyond the solar system since 1995, according to the paper.


24 Aug 2016 5:43pm GMT

Scientists find Earth-like planet circling sun's nearest neighbour

The planet Proxima b orbiting the red dwarf star Proxima Centauri, the closest star to our Solar System, is seen in an undated artist's impressionScientists have discovered a planet that appears to be similar to Earth circling the star closest to the sun, potentially a major step in the quest to find out if life exists elsewhere in the universe, research published on Wednesday showed. The relative proximity of the planet, known as Proxima b, gives scientists a better chance to eventually capture an image of it, to help them establish whether it has an atmosphere and water, which is believed to be necessary for life. Future studies may reveal if any atmosphere contains tell-tale chemicals of biological life, such as methane, according to a paper published in this week's issue of the journal Nature.


24 Aug 2016 5:08pm GMT

Scientists find Earth-like planet circling sun's nearest neighbor

The planet Proxima b orbiting the red dwarf star Proxima Centauri, the closest star to our Solar System, is seen in an undated artist's impressionScientists have discovered a planet that appears to be similar to Earth circling the star closest to the sun, potentially a major step in the quest to find out if life exists elsewhere in the universe, research published on Wednesday showed. The relative proximity of the planet, known as Proxima b, gives scientists a better chance to eventually capture an image of it, to help them establish whether it has an atmosphere and water, which is believed to be necessary for life. Future studies may reveal if any atmosphere contains tell-tale chemicals of biological life, such as methane, according to a paper published in this week's issue of the journal Nature.


24 Aug 2016 5:08pm GMT

China shows first images of Mars rover, aims for 2020 mission

Concept portrayal of China's Mars rover and landerChina has showed off its first images of a rover it plans to sent to Mars in mid-2020, which is designed to explore the planet surface for three months, state media said, the latest aim of China's ambitious space program. China in 2003 became the third country to put a man in space with its own rocket after the former Soviet Union and the United States. It has touted its plans for moon exploration and in late 2013 completed the first lunar "soft landing" since 1976 with the Chang'e-3 craft and its Jade Rabbit rover.


24 Aug 2016 4:23am GMT

23 Aug 2016

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Scientists: Puffin chicks starving with less food available

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - Atlantic puffin chicks on Machias Seal Island in the Gulf of Maine have had the worst breeding season ever recorded, with the majority of chicks starving to death in burrows, scientists said.

23 Aug 2016 5:06pm GMT

Alien Megastructure? 'Tabby's Star' Continues to Baffle Scientists

Alien Megastructure? 'Tabby's Star' Continues to Baffle ScientistsNearly a year after first making headlines around the world, "Tabby's star" is still guarding its secrets. In September 2015, a team led by Yale University astronomer Tabetha Boyajian announced that a star about 1,500 light-years from Earth called KIC 8462852 had dimmed oddly and dramatically several times over the past few years. Boyajian and her colleagues suggested that a cloud of fragmented comets or planetary building blocks might be responsible, but other researchers noted that the signal was also consistent with a possible "alien megastructure" - perhaps a giant swarm of energy-collecting solar panels known as a Dyson sphere.


23 Aug 2016 11:34am GMT

22 Aug 2016

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What are the origins of life? There's a rocket for that

Artist rendering of NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is seen in an undated handout imageBy Ben Gruber CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - NASA scientists are putting the finishing touches on a spacecraft designed to rendezvous with Asteroid Bennu in 2018 to find clues about the origins of life. "We are days away from encapsulating into our rocket faring and lifting this spacecraft on to the Atlas V vehicle and beginning the journey to Bennu and back," Dante Lauretta, the principal investigator of the mission told Reuters at the Kennedy Space Center. The $1 billion mission, known as OSIRIS-REx, is scheduled for launch on Sept. 8, 2016 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.


22 Aug 2016 8:45pm GMT

Eat your food packaging, don't bin it - scientists

By Alex Whiting ROME (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Scientists are developing an edible form of packaging which they hope will preserve food more effectively and more sustainably than plastic film, helping to cut both food and plastic waste. The packaging film is made of a milk protein called casein, scientists from the U.S. Department of Agriculture said at a meeting of the American Chemical Society. The film looks similar to plastic wrapping, but is up to 500 times better at protecting food from oxygen, as well as being biodegradable and sustainable, the researchers said at the meeting in Pennsylvania, which runs until Thursday.

22 Aug 2016 5:03pm GMT

'RNA World': Scientists Inch Closer to Recreating Primordial Life

'RNA World': Scientists Inch Closer to Recreating Primordial LifeScientists studying the origin of life think that the first molecules to replicate themselves - the very first living things - lived in what is called "RNA world." The RNA world hypothesis says that before there was DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, there was RNA (ribonucleic acid) serving as a kind of primitive genetic material and simple enzymes. This is simpler than the protein-based chemistry that governs life today, in which the genetic material and enzymes are separate. In the new study, David Horning and Gerald Joyce, both at The Scripps Institute in La Jolla, California, mixed a cocktail of water, RNA and an enzyme called ribozyme.


22 Aug 2016 3:48pm GMT

Lochte's Lies: How Science Explains Fibbers

Nearly a week after Ryan Lochte and three other U.S. swimmers claimed to have been robbed at gunpoint in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, it seems the men are admitting their story seriously bent the truth. The 12-time Olympic medalist also said he regretted taking focus away from those still competing in the Olympics, and thanked Brazil for hosting. In the swimmers' original version of events, Lochte and three fellow swimmers said their taxi was pulled over and they were robbed at gunpoint early in the morning of Aug. 14.

22 Aug 2016 3:51am GMT