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Researchers studying the differential expression of microRNA say they may have discovered a way to treat autism by reversing the effects of the disease.

Taken together with recently published research regarding “DNA tagging” by methylation, they say their new study in Genome medicine illustrates two different “epigenetic” mechanisms controlling gene activity in autism that lie beyond genetic mutations. While methylation inhibits gene expression at the level of DNA, microRNA inhibits at the level of RNA.

MicroRNA are snippets of RNA, each of which can inhibit the expression of hundreds to more than a thousand genes. The effects of microRNA are also reversible by treatment with complementary “anti-sense” RNA.
Scientists studying the effects of particulate matter on cloud cover in the Amazon say increasing air pollution could have serious consequences for local weather patterns, rainfall and thunderstorms.

The results, published in Geophysical Research Letters, could be used by climate scientists trying to understand the impact of pollution on global weather patterns, the author says.

Researchers demonstrated how pollution's effects on cloud development could negatively impact our environment. While low levels of particulate matter actually help the development of thunderstorms, the reverse is true once a certain concentration is reached ― the particles then inhibit the formation of clouds and thunderstorms.
Osteoporosis is a risk factor for hip fractures, and a study published in BMC Research Notes has found that martial arts training is a suitable way to teach seniors with osteoporosis how to fall down safely, avoiding injury.

Working with six healthy adults, scientists measured the force of their falls and compared it to known information about the amount of impact a patient with osteoporosis could withstand. The falls taught in this study all involved turning a fall into a rolling movement by bending and twisting the trunk and neck, and researchers believe it is possible for older people to learn these impact-reducing techniques.
Ocean acidification is a real problem, and unless our weather breaking carbon dioxide emissions are substantially curbed, the ocean will continue to become more acidic, according to a new report by National Research Council.

The long-term consequences of ocean acidification on marine life are unknown, but the problem is apparently serious enough that Hollywood celebrities need to lobby Congress over the issue.

"My hope, one shared by millions of Americans, is that you, our legislators, will put aside your differences and enact climate and
Researchers writing in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology say they have discovered an 11 million-year-old species of Pliopithecus primate, Pliopithecus canmatensis, in the Vallès-Penedès basin in Catalonia.

Named in honor of the place they were discovered in Catalonia, the new fossil species sheds light on the evolution of the superfamily of the Pliopithecoidea, primates that include various genera of basal Catarrhini, a group that diverged before the separation of the two current superfamilies of the group: the cercopithecoids (Old World monkeys) and the hominoids (anthromorphs and humans); and which prospered in Eurasia during the Early and Late Miocene (between 23.5 and 5.3 million years ago).
A new study in the International Journal of Health Geographics has linked cold, dry weather to an increased incidence of prostate cancer in the Northern United States.

While unsure why the association exists, researchers say that meteorological effects on persistent organic pollutants, such as some pesticides and industrial by-products, may be to blame.

The current explanation for the spatial pattern of prostate cancer is low vitamin D levels in individuals living at northerly latitudes. But the authors of the new study contend that this hypothesis doesn't fully explain the higher incidence of the disease.