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Despite the stereotype that girls aren't very good with numbers, it appears that they're just as proficient as boys when it comes to mathematics, and girls from countries where gender equity is acceptable are more likely to perform better on mathematics assessment tests. The findings are detailed in the latest issue of Psychological Bulletin.

 "Stereotypes about female inferiority in mathematics are a distinct contrast to the actual scientific data," said Nicole Else-Quest, PhD, a psychology professor at Villanova University, and lead author of the meta-analysis. "These results show that girls will perform at the same level as the boys when they are given the right educational tools and have visible female role models excelling in mathematics."
According to a new study published in this month's Genomics journal, so called 'junk' DNA may  help doctors diagnose breast and bowel cancer. Researchers from the University of Nottingham discovered that a group of genetic rogue elements--called chimeric transcripts--produced by 'junk' DNA sequences are more common in breast cancer cells. Five were only present in breast cancer cells while two were found in both normal and breast cancer cells.

These chimeric transcripts are produced by DNA sequences called LINE-1 (L1). Despite being labelled as 'junk DNA' it is clear that some of these sequences have important roles in the genome, such as influencing when genes are switched on.
While communicating with out hands is often considered strange (or even rude) today, gesturing may actually improve our communication abilities, according to research conducted by an international team of scientists and published in a recent issue of Psychological Science. The authors say the finding has important social implications for "everyday communicative situations," like political speeches and classroom lectures.
Researchers from the Mayo Clinic and the University of Iowa say that the key to bringing obesity under control is to make our muscle a little less efficient and they may have found a way to do it. In a new study in the January issue of Cell Metabolism, the team discusses the possibility that treatments designed to disrupt so-called sarcolemmal ATP-sensitive K+ (KATP) channels specifically in muscles might allow us to control our weight by increasing the number of calories our muscles will burn with regular activity or exercise.
Using insect cells, scientists in Vienna have developed an alternative method for producing the H1N1 vaccine. The researchers say the discovery, detailed in the Biotechnology Journal, will aid the fight against influenza pandemics by speeding up production and making it easier to meet the demand for vaccines.

 "Recent outbreaks of influenza highlight the importance of a rapid and sufficient vaccine supply for pandemic and inter pandemic strains," said co-author Florian Krammer from the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Science in Vienna. "However, classical manufacturing methods for vaccines fail to satisfy this demand."
By studying unknown high-energy sources detected by NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, radio astronomers have uncovered 17 millisecond pulsars in our galaxy. The  discovery was made  in less than three months, and such a jump in the pace of locating these hard-to-find objects holds the promise of using them as a kind of "galactic GPS" to detect gravitational waves passing near Earth.