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Research into tobacco dependence published online today (Friday 17 October 2008) in the November issue of Addiction, has shown that recent ex-smokers who find exposure to other people's cigarette smoke pleasant are not any more likely to relapse than those who find it unpleasant.

Led by Dr Hayden McRobbie and Professor Peter Hajek of the Tobacco Dependence Research Unit at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, researchers examined the hypothesis that those who find the smell of smoke pleasant are more likely to relapse than those who have a neutral or negative reaction to it. Surprisingly, they concluded that finding the smell of other people's cigarettes pleasant does not make abstaining smokers any more likely to relapse.

The DNA's double helix--the sub-microscopic core of our life--has been the subject of intense study and scrutiny for decades.

Observations and measurements at the scale of DNA are tricky. The distance between the rungs in DNA's ladder (or base pairs), for example, was thought to be barely over 3 millionths of a millimeter, or 3.4 Å (angstroms). And this ladder has been typically assumed to be very rigid.

But now a team of Stanford scientists, supported in part by the National Science Foundation, have used a novel molecular ruler to cast doubts on this picture. Using this molecular ruler, they marked each end of a snippet of DNA with electron-dense gold nanocrystals. These markers scattered X-rays directed at the sample differently than the rest of the molecules, and allowed for a more precise calculation.

A new University of Sussex study provides evidence that gorilla communication is linked to the left hemisphere of the brain - just as it is in humans.

Psychologist Dr Gillian Sebestyen Forrester developed a new method of analysing the behaviour of gorillas in captivity and found there was a right-handed bias for actions that also involved head and mouth movements. The right side of the body is controlled by the left hemisphere of the brain, which is also the location for language development.

As the world’s money markets do their best to combat the 'credit crunch', a University of Sunderland politics lecturer says that the root of modern democracy’s money woes may lay with the first corporations – pirates.

Dr Peter Hayes is Senior Lecturer in politics at the University of Sunderland. In his latest paper ‘Pirates, Privateers and the contract theories of Hobbes and Locke’ Dr Hayes argues that the roots of modern democracy were not in Britain or the USA, but were the ‘corporations’ which were created on pirate ships during the golden age of buccaneering.

Newswise — With the economy in crisis and foreclosures at an all time high, financial anxiety among Americans seems to be soaring to new heights. In a poll distributed by the American Psychological Association (APA) to more than 1,700 U.S. adults, eight out of 10 surveyed said the economy is a significant cause of stress.

“When there is a sense of uncertainty about the future or when folks feel as if their long-term goals such as retirement or children’s college funds are being threatened, a number of emotions may surface,” says Michael Groat, PhD, a psychologist for the Professionals in Crisis program at The Menninger Clinic in Houston. “We may feel as if we are no longer in control or there may be feelings of anger or lack of trust in our government leaders. All these factors together may make it difficult for people to cope, causing not only emotional distress, but stress related physical ailments as well.”

Is there a connection between what children believe and how they act, and how strong is the link? Researchers from four universities who studied these questions were surprised by the results.

"For me the biggest surprise was how the link between beliefs and behaviors changed from kindergarten to later in childhood and adolescence," said Jennifer Lansford, one of the researchers from Duke University's Center for Child and Family Policy. "Often we assume that if someone believes something, they will act in a way consistent with those beliefs, but that wasn't necessarily the case for the kindergarteners in our sample."