24 Jul 2014

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Your Cat's Poop Could One Day Treat Cancer

A microscopic organism that lives in cat poop could one day be used as a cancer treatment, researchers say. Toxoplasma gondii is a single-celled parasite that lives in cats' intestines, but can infect other animals and people as well. Now, researchers are aiming to harness the immune response triggered by the parasite and direct it to attacking tumors. "We know [that] biologically, this parasite has figured out how to stimulate the exact immune responses you want to fight cancer," said David J. Bzik, a professor of microbiology and immunology at Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire.

24 Jul 2014 4:02pm GMT

Antioxidant Supplements Don't Fight Cancer, Research Suggests

Antioxidants - chemicals found natural foods and man-made pills that may prevent certain types of cell damage - have been touted for their supposed anti-cancer properties, but some research suggests these substances may not lower cancer risk and, in some cases, may even increase it. In a new paper, published July 10 in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers analyzed previous studies on antioxidants and cancer, trying to determine why taking antioxidants hasn't seemed to reduce people's cancer risk. The authors of the paper did not conduct their own study, but rather they analyzed previous research on cancer and antioxidants. Experts who were not involved in the paper told Live Science that people should continue to consume natural sources of antioxidants, such as fruits and vegetables, but they said to be cautious about taking dietary supplements of antioxidants.

24 Jul 2014 4:01pm GMT

Parkinson's Could Enhance Creativity

Parkinson's Could Enhance CreativityPeople with Parkinson's disease may have higher levels of creativity than their healthy peers, a new study finds. Many case studies show that patients with FTD develop a sudden desire to produce art, said Dr. Anjan Chatterjee, a neurology professor at the University of Pennsylvania.

24 Jul 2014 4:00pm GMT

Astronaut Spots Explosions over Israel and Gaza from Space (Photos)

Astronaut Spots Explosions over Israel and Gaza from Space (Photos)As fighting continues in Israel and Gaza, astronauts living aboard the International Space Station can see signs of the deadly conflict from space. Alexander Gerst, a German astronaut with the European Space Agency, posted photos online Wednesday (July 23) showing Israel and the Gaza Strip alongside a grim caption. From the International Space Station we can actually see explosions and rockets flying over Gaza and Israel," Gerst wrote on Facebook and Twitter underneath two nighttime views of the region.

24 Jul 2014 2:50pm GMT

Is Voyager 1 Really in Interstellar Space? New Test Could Prove It for Good

Is Voyager 1 Really in Interstellar Space? New Test Could Prove It for GoodA new test could determine once and for all whether NASA's Voyager 1 probe has indeed entered interstellar space, some researchers say. While mission team members declared last year that Voyager 1 reached interstellar space in August 2012, not all scientists are sold. Two researchers working with Voyager 1 have drawn up a test to show whether the spacecraft is inside or outside of the heliosphere - the bubble of solar particles and magnetic fields that the sun puffs around itself. The scientists who came up with the test predict that Voyager 1 will cross the current sheet - a huge surface within the heliosphere - at some point within the next one to two years.

24 Jul 2014 11:15am GMT

Paracetamol no better than placebo for low back pain, study finds

By Kate Kelland LONDON (Reuters) - Paracetamol, a painkiller universally recommended to treat people with acute low back pain, does not speed recovery or reduce pain from the condition, according to the results of a large trial published on Thursday. A study published in The Lancet medical journal found that the popular pain medicine was no better than placebo, or dummy, pills for hastening recovery from acute bouts of low back pain or easing pain levels, function, sleep or quality of life. Researchers said the findings challenge the universal endorsement of paracetamol as the first choice painkiller for lower back pain. "We need to reconsider the universal recommendation to provide paracetamol as a first-line treatment," said Christopher Williams, who led the study at the University of Sydney in Australia.

24 Jul 2014 7:49am GMT

23 Jul 2014

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Dogs are capable of feeling jealousy: U.S. study

Dogs wear traditional red scarves in PamplonaDogs are capable of feeling a basic form of jealousy, according to a study published in the PLOS ONE scientific journal. The research, said to be the first experiment on canine jealousy, could redefine the view that the complex emotion of envy is a human construct, said Christine Harris, University of California, San Diego psychologist and an author of the study.

23 Jul 2014 11:51pm GMT

NASA puts out call for satellite communication services – on Mars

Handout of NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft passing above Mars' south pole in this artist's concept illustration released by NASABy Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL Fla. (Reuters) - In what may be the ultimate in long-distance telephone service, NASA on Wednesday put out a call for a commercially owned and operated satellite network on Mars. The robotic probes, however, are useless if they cannot relay their results, and the two communication satellites currently in orbit are getting old. Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter followed in 2005. The aging of NASA's Mars communications system comes as the United States, Europe, Russia and India mount a fresh wave of science campaigns, including two atmospheric probes slated to arrive at Mars in September and two life-hunting rovers due to launch in 2018 and 2020.

23 Jul 2014 11:49pm GMT

Happy Birthday, Landsat: Space Science Project Turns 42

Happy Birthday, Landsat: Space Science Project Turns 42The Landsat 1 satellite, a joint project of NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey, flew into orbit on July 23, 1972, from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The camera was designed to be the primary observation instrument, according to NASA, but scientists soon discovered that the scanner was sending back far better data. In 1976, scientists combing through Landsat images found a tiny scrap of land never seen before. To verify the island's existence, Canadian Hydrographic Service hydrologist Frank Hall took a helicopter to the island.

23 Jul 2014 8:55pm GMT

U.S. scientists to map interior of Mount St. Helens volcano

Aerial view of Mt St Helens as it spews steam and ash.By Victoria Cavaliere SEATTLE (Reuters) - A series of explosions set off by a team of scientists were expected to rattle Washington state's Mount St. Helens on Wednesday as researchers map the interior of the volcano, whose 1980 eruption was the deadliest in U.S. history. Mount St. Helens, about 95 miles (150 km) south of Seattle and 50 miles (80 km) north of Portland, erupted in an explosion of hot ash in May 1980, spewing debris over a wide area, killing 57 people and causing more than a billion dollars in damage. Scientists from across the United States are trying to get a better handle on the magma stores and internal workings of the 8,300-foot (2,530-meter) volcano to improve warning systems prior to eruption. "Mount St. Helens and other volcanoes in the Cascade Range threaten urban centers from Vancouver to Portland," lead scientist Alan Levander of Rice University in Houston said in a statement.

23 Jul 2014 7:23pm GMT

String Theory: The Physics of Master Guitar Playing

String Theory: The Physics of Master Guitar PlayingHow do great guitarists bend a string like Eric Clapton or Jimi Hendrix? "Very good guitarists will manipulate the strings to make the instrument sing," David Robert Grimes, a physicist at Oxford University, in England, who plays guitar and was a member of a band in Dublin, Ireland, said in a statement. The physics of string instruments is fairly well understood, but "I wanted to understand what it was about these guitar techniques that allows you to manipulate pitch," Grimes said. Grimes, who normally works on mathematical models of oxygen distribution in radiation therapy for cancer, spent his spare time crafting equations for various guitar techniques, including bending (pushing the strings up or down), tapping (hitting the strings), vibrato (moving the wrist back and forth to change a string's tension) and whammy bar action (a mechanical form of vibrato).

23 Jul 2014 6:24pm GMT

Hacking experts build device to protect cars from cyber attacks

By Jim Finkle (This July 22 story is refiled to include omitted title for Chris Valasek, paragraph 3) BOSTON (Reuters) - Two security experts who a year ago exposed methods for hacking the Toyota Prius and Ford Escape say they have developed technology that would keep automobiles safe from cyber attacks. At last summer's Def Con hacking conference in Las Vegas, the two researchers, Chris Valasek and Charlie Miller, described ways to launch dangerous attacks, including manipulating the brakes of the moving Prius and the Ford Escape.

23 Jul 2014 4:47pm GMT

U.S. scientists urge 'national vision' to curb coastal risks in report

(Reuters) - A group of top scientists has called for a fundamental change to how the United States deals with risks to its Atlantic and Gulf coasts from storms and climate change in a National Research Council report released Wednesday. Urging a "national vision" toward addressing coastal risks, the report comes on the heels of a Reuters analysis published earlier this month showing that coastal flooding along the densely populated Eastern Seaboard of the United States has surged in recent years, with steep financial consequences. The great majority of money - most of it federal dollars -spent on coastal risks goes toward recovery after a disaster rather than on planning for and mitigating against storms, climate change and sea-level rise, the report said. Instead, the federal government should push for a national coastal risk assessment to identify best practices and uniform measures of progress, and move away from the current decentralized approach to coastal management, the report said.

23 Jul 2014 2:12pm GMT

22 Jul 2014

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Elephants Can Outsniff Rats and Dogs

Elephants Can Outsniff Rats and DogsElephants are known for their impressively long trunks, but perhaps less well known is the large number of genes that code for their sense smell. "Rats had the record for the largest number of [these] genes," said the study's lead researcher Yoshiihito Niimura, a researcher of molecular evolution at The University of Tokyo in Japan. The findings support other research on the pachyderm's superior sense of smell. African elephants can smell the difference between two tribes living in Kenya: the Maasai, whose young men prove their virility by spearing elephants, and the Kamba, farmers who usually leave elephants alone, reported a 2007 study published in the journal Current Biology.

22 Jul 2014 10:19pm GMT

Schizophrenia has many genetic links, study says

By Andrew M. Seaman NEW YORK - More than 100 locations on the human genome may play a role in a person's risk of developing schizophrenia, according to a new study. While the results do not have an immediate effect on those living with the psychiatric disorder, one of the study's authors said they open areas of research that had not seen advances in recent years. "The exciting thing about having little openings is it gives you a place to dig and make big openings," said Steve McCarroll, director of genetics for the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts. McCarroll is part of the Schizophrenia Working Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, which published the study in the journal Nature.

22 Jul 2014 9:12pm GMT

Only Zoo Keepers Get to Feed the Penguins (Op-Ed)

Only Zoo Keepers Get to Feed the Penguins (Op-Ed)Nora Beirne, a senior keeper at the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), contributed this article to Live Science's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights. When I went to The College of New Jersey, I was an English major, but I took several pre-med classes. Then, in my senior year, Pat Thomas - associate director of the Bronx Zoo and vice president and general curator for the Wildlife Conservation Society - gave a talk to the biology department. In six years as a zoo keeper, I've trained red pandas for injections, fed black bears jelly off a spoon and held a komodo dragon.

22 Jul 2014 5:38pm GMT