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Women who breast feed for longer have a smaller chance of getting rheumatoid arthritis, suggests a study published online ahead of print in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

The study also found that taking oral contraceptives, which are suspected to protect against the disease because they contain hormones that are raised in pregnancy, did not have the same effect. Also, simply having children and not breast feeding also did not seem to be protective.

The researchers compared 136 women with rheumatoid arthritis with 544 women of a similar age without the disease. They found that that those who had breast fed for longer were much less likely to get rheumatoid arthritis.

A goal that remained elusive for 25 years has now allowed astronomers to obtain the most precise measurement of the cosmic temperature at an incredible distance; in a well-hidden galaxy whose light has taken almost 11 billion years to reach us - about 80% of the age of the universe.

The only way this galaxy can be seen is through the imprint its interstellar gas leaves on the spectrum of an even more remote quasar [1]. “Quasars are here only used as a beacon in the very distant Universe. Interstellar clouds of gas in galaxies, located between the quasars and us on the same line of sight, absorb parts of the light emitted by the quasars. The resulting spectrum consequently presents dark ‘valleys’ that can be attributed to well-known elements and possibly molecules,” explains Raghunathan Srianand (Pune, India), who led the team making the observations.

600 million years of evolution has taken two unlikely distant cousins, turkeys and scallops, down very different physical paths from their common ancestor but a motor protein, myosin 2, remains structurally identical in both creatures.

Myosin molecules generate tension in smooth muscle by adhering to form a filament, which grabs hold of a neighbouring filament, and relaxes by letting go. When the muscle is in a relaxed state, myosin molecule folds itself up into a compact structure.

The discovery suggests that the tiny motor protein is much more important than previously thought – and for humans it may even hold a key to understanding potentially fatal conditions such as aneurisms.

A University of Leicester space scientist has worked out that sending texts via mobile phones works out to be far more expensive than downloading data from the Hubble Space Telescope. Dr. Nigel Bannister’s calculations were used for the Channel 4 Dispatches program “The Mobile Phone Rip-Off.”

He worked out the cost of obtaining a megabyte of data from Hubble – and compared that with the 5p cost of sending a text.

In the Cerrado region of Brazil, four dogs trained to detect animal feces by scent are helping researchers monitor rare and threatened wildlife such as jaguar, tapir, giant anteater and maned wolf in and around Emas National Park, a protected area with the largest concentration of threatened species in Brazil.

The researchers analyze feces found by the dogs to learn about where and how the threatened mammals live. Data such as numbers, range, diet, hormonal stress, parasites and even genetic identity contribute to a study of how the mammals use environments inside and outside the park, especially on privately owned lands of the region.

The information helps develop conservation and development strategies that meet the needs of both the animals and local farmers. The dogs are rewarded for their good work with tennis balls to chase and chomp.


According to the National Institute of Mental Health, social anxiety disorder affects approximately 15 million American adults and is the third most common mental disorder in the United States, after depression and alcohol dependence.

The essential feature of the disorder is the fear of being evaluated by others, with the expectation that such an assessment will be negative and embarrassing. It tends to run a chronic and unremitting course and often leads to the development of alcoholism and depression. The disorder most often surfaces in adolescence or early adulthood, but it can occur at any time, including childhood.

Using single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), researchers in The Netherlands were able to detect biochemical differences in the brains of individuals with generalized social anxiety disorder (also known as social phobia), providing evidence of a long-suspected biological cause for the dysfunction.