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Vampire bats, the only mammals to feed exclusively on blood, including human blood, recognize their prey by the sound of its breathing. In a study published today in the open access journal BMC Biology, vampire bats of the species Desmodus rotondus could recognise recorded human breathing sounds much better than human participants could.

Vampire bats feed on the same prey over several nights and the authors of the study propose that the bats use breathing sounds to identify their prey in the same way as humans use voice to recognise each other.

Cooked or raw, garlic has been a favorite ingredient of cooks for thousands of years, but almost any cook will tell you there's a major difference: raw garlic is much more pungent than cooked.

Now, a group of scientists from The Scripps Research Institute, the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation, and the Korea University College of Medicine is explaining the biological basis of raw garlic's burn.

In the latest issue of the journal Current Biology, the scientists, led by Scripps Research Associate Professor Ardem Patapoutian and Lindsey Macpherson, who is a graduate student in the Kellogg School of Science and Technology at Scripps Research, describe the cellular and molecular basis of raw garlic's pungency.

Burdensome though it is, the $5.2 trillion national debt never killed anyone. But the national sleep debt is another story, according to Cornell University psychologist and sleep expert James Maas - the man who coined the term 'power nap.' One hundred thousand traffic accidents caused by drivers falling asleep claim some 1,500 lives each year in the United States, Maas reports, while sleep deprivation and sleep disorders cost the American economy at least $150 billion a year.

"We've become a nation of walking zombies. More than half the adult population of the United States is carrying a substantial sleep debt," Maas said.

Werewolves notwithstanding, the full moon does not influence the frequency of epileptic seizures, reports a University of South Florida study.

"Contrary to the myth, epileptic seizures are not more common during a full moon," said Selim Benbadis, MD, associate professor of neurology and neurosurgery at the USF College of Medicine. "In fact, we found the number of epileptic seizures was lowest during the full moon and highest in the moon's last quarter."

The study was published in the journal Epilepsy & Behavior.

Dr. Benbadis said he decided to investigate the possible relationship between phases of the moon and the frequency of seizures after repeatedly hearing patients claim that their seizures were triggered or worsened by the full moon.

XEUS, which stands for X-ray Evolving Universe Spectroscopy, aims to study the fundamental laws of the Universe. With unprecedented sensitivity to the hot, million-degree universe, XEUS will explore key areas of contemporary astrophysics: growth of supermassive black holes, cosmic feedback and galaxy evolution, evolution of large-scale structures, extreme gravity and matter under extreme conditions, the dynamical evolution of cosmic plasmas and cosmic chemistry.

Professor Martin Turner of the University of Leicester is also Chair of the XEUS International Steering committee.

Britain could throw away a lead in biopesticides because of outmoded styles of regulation, researchers at a University of Warwick conference have warned today.

Biopesticides – Green pest control using natural predators such as insects, fungi and bacteria – are the subject of a conference for scientists and industry experts at the University of Warwick this week ‘Biopesticides, the Regulatory Challenge’.

Professor Wyn Grant has led a three-year project with researchers at Warwick HRI looking at biological alternatives to chemical pesticides. He said: “Globally the biopesticides market is worth $268m. The European market has doubled in size in recent years, but the EU can only meet 45 percent of the demand for biopesticides.