26 Nov 2014

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Smoking in US Declines to All-Time Low

Cigarette smoking has hit the lowest point ever among American adults, a new report finds. The percentage of U.S. adults who smoke cigarettes was 17.8 percent in 2013, a drop from 20.9 percent in 2005, and the lowest rate of smoking since researchers began tracking this figure in 1965, according to the report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

26 Nov 2014 10:21pm GMT

Many People with Dementia May Go Unscreened, Untreated

The majority of people with dementia in the United States may have never seen a doctor about their memory and thinking problems, according to a new study of older adults. The researchers found that 55 percent of patients screened for dementia as part of the University of Michigan Health and Retirement Study had never been evaluated prior to participating in this study, despite showing a clear cognitive decline. Although the study was small - it included 845 people - the results imply that upwards of 1.8 million Americans ages 70 and older with dementia also have either never been screened, or are not receiving treatment. "Early evaluation and identification of people with dementia may help them receive care earlier" and help reduce societal costs, said Dr. Vikas Kotagal, lead author on the paper and assistant professor of neurology at the University of Michigan Health System in Ann Arbor.

26 Nov 2014 10:19pm GMT

Welcoming the Era of In-Space Manufacturing

Welcoming the Era of In-Space ManufacturingMike Snyder, lead engineer for the company Made In Space, which designed and built the 3D printer currently aboard the International Space Station, contributed this article to Space.com's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights. At this moment, if the space station absolutely needs a part that the 3D printer can build, I can start producing the part onboard the ISS within minutes - from my chair in California. The 3D printer can build files that are created after launch and sent to orbit when needed. Our printer is part of the NASA-funded 3D Printing in Zero-G Technology Demonstration, which is setting out to characterize the performance and demonstrate the functions of additive manufacturing in orbit.

26 Nov 2014 10:01pm GMT

Turkey Talk: Anatomy of the Thanksgiving Centerpiece

Steve Zack is coordinator of Bird Conservation for the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). Thanksgiving is upon us, as families and friends gather for food, drink and conversation. Thanksgiving cutting boards hold the centerpiece of our beloved autumn feast.

26 Nov 2014 9:50pm GMT

Thanksgiving Nor'easter Seen from Space (Photos, Video)

Thanksgiving Nor'easter Seen from Space (Photos, Video)The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's weather satellites captured the beginning of the nor'easter that is expected to wreak havoc for Thanksgiving travelers today (Nov. 26) with rain and snow. The video shows another group of clouds blowing over the Northeast on Sunday (Nov. 23) and Monday, but the Thanksgiving storm starts to take shape farther south, following a curved path that dips all the way down to Mexico. The National Weather Association said in a statement that this will be a rapidly moving storm, and that most of the precipitation will fall in a 12-hour time frame. The storm is already dropping rain on Florida and will reach Canada's eastern provinces by Thanksgiving morning (Nov. 27).

26 Nov 2014 8:29pm GMT

Ultra-strong graphene's weak spot could be key to fuel cells

By Kate Kelland LONDON (Reuters) - In a discovery that experts say could revolutionize fuel cell technology, scientists in Britain have found that graphene, the world's thinnest, strongest and most impermeable material, can allow protons to pass through it. The researchers, led by the Nobel prize winner and discoverer of graphene Andre Geim of Manchester University, said their finding also raised the possibility that, in future, graphene membranes could be used to "sieve" hydrogen gas from the atmosphere to then generate electricity. ...

26 Nov 2014 6:18pm GMT

Exclusive: First gene therapy drug sets million-euro price record

An operator installs a chromatography column to purify the gene therapy drug Glybera at Dutch biotech company uniQure in AmsterdamBy Ludwig Burger and Ben Hirschler FRANKFURT/LONDON (Reuters) - The Western world's first gene therapy drug is set to go on sale in Germany with a 1.1 million euro ($1.4 million) price tag, a new record for a medicine to treat a rare disease. The sky-high cost of Glybera, from Dutch biotech firm UniQure and its unlisted Italian marketing partner Chiesi, shows how single curative therapies to fix faulty genes may upend the conventional pharmaceutical business model. ...

26 Nov 2014 5:52pm GMT

Gut check: how vultures dine on rotting flesh, and like it

File of vultures feasting on a road kill as commuters pass by real estate for sale in Great FallsBy Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - They snack on danger and dine on death, merrily munching on rotting flesh that would certainly sicken or kill any person and most other animals. But how do vultures do it? These feathery scavengers have one of the toughest guts on the planet, that is how. Scientists said on Tuesday that their analysis of two species of North American vultures showed that the birds possess a ferociously acidic digestive system and intestines loaded with two fiendish kinds of bacteria. ...

26 Nov 2014 12:50pm GMT

Thanksgiving Science: Why Gratitude Is Good for You

Thanksgiving may be the only major American holiday focused on giving thanks for all of life's blessings, but gratitude isn't just a good excuse for chowing down on turkey and pumpkin pie; it's also a way to promote good health and well-being, experts say.

26 Nov 2014 12:06pm GMT

25 Nov 2014

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One for every leg: scientists map centipede genome

"Bug Chef" David Gordon holds a Vietnamese centipede during his 4th annual "Bug-A-Thon" event at Ripley's Believe It or Not museum in HollywoodLONDON (Reuters) - An international team of more than 100 researchers has mapped the genome of the centipede and found that, while it easily outpaces humans on number of legs, it falls short when it comes to genes. Sequencing the genome of Strigamia maritima, a northern European centipede, the 106-strong team found it has around 15,000 genes - some 7,000 fewer than a human. ...

25 Nov 2014 8:20pm GMT

'Interstellar' Science: Is Wormhole Travel Possible?

'Interstellar' Science: Is Wormhole Travel Possible?Wormholes are theoretical tunnels through the fabric of space-time that could potentially allow rapid travel between widely separated points - from one galaxy to another, for example, as depicted in Christopher Nolan's "Interstellar," which opened in theaters around the world earlier this month. The novel came out in 1985, while the movie (which also stars Matthew McConaughey, apparently a wormhole connoisseur) was released in 1997.

25 Nov 2014 2:46pm GMT

Cosmic Case of Missing Stars Baffles Scientists

Cosmic Case of Missing Stars Baffles ScientistsA massive population of stars is missing, and scientists are stumped as to where it could be. New observations from the Hubble Space Telescope challenge a previous theory for the apparent disappearance of a massive number of stars. Because some star clusters around our Milky Way galaxy have fewer stars than observations suggest they should, astronomers suspected many of these stars were ejected from their clusters to ultimately find new homes in the Milky Way. "If these kicked-out stars were there, we would see them - but we don't!" Frank Grundahl of Aarhus University in Denmark, a co-author on the paper, said in a statement. The finding draws into question whether the missing stars were ever present at all, in globular clusters around Fornax or the Milky Way.

25 Nov 2014 12:14pm GMT

Physicists solve mystery of why cats rule, dogs drool

File picture shows a Greyhound dog drinking water after a race in Santiago city(Reuters) - Popular web videos showing that "cats rule and dogs drool" have new scientific evidence to support that felinophilic sentiment, at least when it comes to drinking. While cats expertly manipulate water to quench thirst neatly, dogs smash, slosh, spill, and splash their way, according to research unveiled on Monday. The latest findings, which focus on dogs and were presented at a meeting in San Francisco of the American Physical Society, build on an earlier discovery of how cats drink. ...

25 Nov 2014 1:06am GMT

24 Nov 2014

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Nobel Medal for DNA discovery could fetch $3.5 million at auction

By Patricia Reaney NEW YORK (Reuters) - A Nobel Prize gold medal awarded to American scientist Dr. James Watson, a co-discoverer of DNA, is expected to sell for up to $3.5 million at auction next month in New York, Christie's said on Monday. Watson, along with Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins, unraveled the double-helix structure and function of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) in England in 1953 in a discovery that heralded the modern era of biology. The medal, the first to be offered by a living recipient, will go under the hammer on Dec. 4, with a pre-sale estimate of $2.5 million to $3. ...

24 Nov 2014 2:02pm GMT

Multi-national crew reaches space station

ISS crew Shkaplerov matches palm with his daughter Kira from a bus window before the launch of the Soyuz-FG rocket at the Baikonur cosmodromeBy Irene Klotz (Reuters) - A Russian Soyuz rocket blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazahkstan on Sunday to deliver three new crew members to the International Space Station, including Italy's first female astronaut. A Soyuz capsule carrying incoming station commander Terry Virts from U.S. space agency NASA, Soyuz commander Anton Shkaplerov from the Russian Federal Space Agency and first-time flier Samantha Cristoforetti of the European Space Agency lifted off at 2101 GMT (4.01 p.m. EST) Sunday. ...

24 Nov 2014 4:34am GMT

21 Nov 2014

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Small Volcanic Eruptions Slow Global Warming

Small Volcanic Eruptions Slow Global WarmingSmall volcanic eruptions account for part of the global warming slowdown since 2000, a new study suggests. Until now, the climate impacts of small volcanic blasts were overlooked because their planet-cooling particles cluster below the reach of satellites, scientists reported Oct. 31 in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. The stratosphere is the second layer of Earth's atmosphere, above the one in which humans live (the troposphere). Closer to the polar regions, the boundary drops to about 6 miles (10 km), said lead study author David Ridley, an atmospheric scientist at MIT.

21 Nov 2014 1:24pm GMT