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11 articles in the December issue of Neurosurgical Focus are dedicated to concussions in sports, focusing on methods of diagnosing concussion and evaluating its consequences, structural and functional changes that can occur in the brain following concussion, and changing attitudes and legislation concerning sports that traditionally carry risks of brain injury.

Concussion, also called mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) by virtually no one outside concussion article writing, has been hyped into a "silent epidemic" in 2012 because the event and its consequences, such as cognitive and behavioral changes, may be subtle and are not always recognized, which means they can be correlated to almost anything.

Can advertising make kids fat? 

Childhood obesity rates have tripled in the past 30 years and food marketing has been implicated as one factor contributing to this trend.  A week after the Hostess company, makers of Twinkies, went bankrupt, a member of Congress tried to raise unemployment even more and kill the entire industry by proposing elimination of marketing as a legitimate expense.

Every year, companies spend more than $10 billion in the US marketing their food and beverages to children and 98% of the food products advertised to children on television are high in fat, sugar, or sodium. In a new study, researchers used neuroimaging to look at the effects of food logos on obese and healthy weight children.

Paternal recognition, being able to identify males from your father's line, is one way that mammals avoid inbreeding - some can do this is through recognizing the calls of paternal kin. This was thought to occur only in large-brained animals having complex social groups, but a new study shows it can happen in a tiny, solitary primate.

The study finds that the grey mouse lemur (Microcebus murinus) – a small-brained, solitary foraging mammal endemic to Madagascar – is able to recognize paternal relatives via vocalizations, thus providing evidence that this is not dependent upon having a large brain and a high social complexity, as previously suggested.

At the Excellence in Paediatrics Conference, Madrid, academics from the International Scientific Forum on Home Hygiene (IFH),  a not‐for profit, non‐governmental organization which works to develop and promote home hygiene practice based on sound scientific principles, call for a radical change in how we think about cleanliness and hygiene in the home. 

The Grand Canyon is spectacular to look at but figuring out how old it is can be frustrating. A new paper says that conventional models and estimates of the last 150 years are way off - it is far older than the 5 to 6 million years old commonly thought.

"Rather than being formed within the last few million years, our measurements suggest that a deep canyon existed more than 70 million years ago,"  says Kenneth A. Farley, Keck Foundation Professor of Geochemistry at Caltech and coauthor of the study.

Astronomers find planets in strange places and wonder if they might support life. One such place would be in orbit around a white or brown dwarf. While neither is a star like the sun, both glow and so could be orbited by planets with the right ingredients for life.

No terrestrial, or Earth-like planets have yet been confirmed orbiting white or brown dwarfs, but there is no reason to assume they don't exist. However, new research by Rory Barnes of the University of Washington and René Heller of Germany's Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam hints that planets orbiting white or brown dwarfs will prove poor candidates for life.