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(Toronto - July 21, 2016) Since the discovery of their true nature 140 years ago, lichens have been the poster children for symbiosis. In the textbook definition of a lichen, the filaments of a single fungus provide protection for photosynthetic algae or cyanobacteria, which in turn provide food for the fungus.

But 140 years after the term "symbiosis" was coined to describe lichen, it turns out there's a third party involved in the relationship - a yeast that may help provide the structure found in large "leafy" and "branching" lichens.


The combination of two plant compounds that have medicinal properties - curcumin and silymarin - holds promise in treating colon cancer, according findings in the Journal of Cancer.

Curcumin is the active ingredient in the spice turmeric, which is present in spicy curry dishes, and silymarin is a component of milk thistle, which has been used to treat liver disease.


Think tanks are designed to help policy makers shape decisions by giving them evidence-based information in an apolitical format.

Who doesn't claim to be doing that? Though Sierra Club and Environmental Defense Fund were both inspired by rabid eugenics proponents who simply reframed their beliefs about the poor being vermin into the "population control" rhetoric after World War II, they still claim they are more consumer advocacy oriented than corporations that actually help people. And government-controlled panels like the International Agency for Research on Cancer agree, an expert on a pesticide who works for the private sector can't be on their pesticide working group but an anti-pesticide consultant for EDF can be.


WASHINGTON -- Is empathy the result of gut intuition or careful reasoning? Research published by the American Psychological Association suggests that, contrary to popular belief, the latter may be more the case.

"Cultivating successful personal and professional relationships requires the ability to accurately infer the feelings of others - that is, to be empathically accurate. Some are better at this than others, a difference that may be explained in part by mode of thought," said Jennifer Lerner, PhD, of Harvard University, a co-author of the study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. "Until now, however, little was known about which mode of thought, intuitive versus systematic, offers better accuracy in perceiving another's feelings."


The death of King Albert I of Belgium in 1934 -- officially a climbing accident -- still fuels speculation. Forensic geneticist Maarten Larmuseau and his colleagues at KU Leuven (University of Leuven, Belgium), have now compared DNA from blood found on the scene in 1934 to that of two distant relatives. Their analysis confirms that the blood really is that of Albert I. This conclusion is at odds with several conspiracy theories about the king's death.


Human childbirth is not only unpleasant, it's also assumed to take a toll on women's health, even while women have a greater life expectancy. A new study led by UC Santa Barbara researchers, however, finds that indigenous women in the Bolivian Amazon with some of the highest birth rates in the world today experience negligible health costs from their intense reproductive effort.