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Odin Tubulin May Be A Missing Link Beween Single-Celled Organisms And Humans

Eukaryogenesis is the point at which animal and plant cells separate from bacteria. In animal and...

Rich People Who Grew Up Poor Are Less Likely To Be Sympathetic To The Poor Than Those Born Wealthy

A saying in psychology goes that more truth comes out when people are drunk. This is even when...

Lost Hammer And A Blueprint For Life On Mars

Some areas on Mars are extremely salty, very cold, and have only a hint of oxygen - just like Earth...

You Don't Want To Be A Billionaire, And That's A Good Thing

Some politicians and cultural activists may claim that humans are propelled by consumerism but...

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In a study spanning the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Asia, researchers writing in the Feb. 15 New England Journal of Medicine say a nasal spray flu vaccine reduced the influenza "attack rate" in children by 55 percent when compared with a group of children who received the traditional flu shot in the arm or thigh.

"Children get the flu twice as often as adults," said Robert Belshe, M.D., a vaccine researcher at Saint Louis University School of Medicine and the lead author of the study. "It's important to vaccinate kids against influenza -- and to identify new and more effective flu vaccine options -- because kids have a higher attack rate for influenza infection than adults.

Whether they're fighting postoperative soreness or relieving chronic discomfort from conditions such as cancer, morphine and other opioids are powerful weapons against pain. Now, in research published online in Nature Neuroscience, Brown University scientists give one reason why these painkillers work so well.

The secret: They act on a special form of N-type calcium channel, the cellular gatekeepers that help control pain messages passed between nerve cells. By blocking these channels, pain signals are inhibited. These findings not only shed important light on how the body controls pain, they could be a boon to drug development.

Fundamental theories in evolutionary biology have long proposed that biological kinship is the foundation of the family unit. It not only creates the sense of altruism that exists among genetically related family members, but also establishes boundaries regarding sexual relations within the nuclear family. Questions have persisted, however, regarding the means by which humans recognize family members -- particularly siblings -- as close genetic relatives.

A team of researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara, has found evidence of a nonconscious mechanism in the human brain that identifies genetic siblings on the basis of cues that guided our hunter-gatherer ancestors. Their findings will be published in the February 15 issue of the science journal Nature.

Certain cancer risks can be passed down through families, the result of tiny changes in a family's genetic code. But not all genetic changes are deadly. To help medical counselors and physicians identify the mutations that pose the greatest health risks, researchers at four institutions, including Johns Hopkins, have developed and validated a new computer tool.

The system, described in the Feb. 16 issue of Public Library of Science Computational Biology, evaluates 16 "predictive features" to help answer a critical question: Is a particular mutation a harmless variation or a genetic glitch that could set the stage for cancer?

Physicists at JILA are using ultrashort pulses of laser light to reveal precisely why some electrons, like ballet dancers, hold their spin positions better than others—work that may help improve spintronic devices, which exploit the magnetism or "spin" of electrons in addition to or instead of their charge. One thing spinning electrons like, it turns out, is some disorder.

JILA is a joint venture of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Using the highest magnetic fields in the world, an international team of researchers has observed the quantum Hall effect – a much studied phenomenon of the quantum world – at room temperature.

The quantum Hall effect was previously believed to only be observable at temperatures close to absolute zero (equal to minus 459 degrees). But when scientists at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory in the U.S. and at the High Field Magnet Laboratory in the Netherlands put a recently developed new form of carbon called graphene in very high magnetic fields, scientists were surprised by what they saw.


This image is a scanning electron microscope micrograph of a strongly crumpled graphene sheet on a silicon wafer.