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Jan 10, 2019

Gene governing body’s biological clock acts differently in males versus females

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, sex

Research suggests that a gene that governs the body’s biological (circadian) clock acts differently in males versus females and may protect females from heart disease. The study is the first to analyze circadian blood pressure rhythms in female mice. The research, published ahead of print in the American Journal of Physiology—Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, was chosen as an APSselect article for January.

The body’s circadian clock—the biological clock that organizes bodily activities over a 24-hour period— contributes to normal variations in blood pressure and heart function over the course of the day. In most healthy humans, blood pressure dips at night. People who do not experience this temporary drop, called “non-dippers,” are more likely to develop heart disease. The circadian clock is made up of four main proteins (encoded by “clock genes”) that regulate close to half of all genes in the body, including those important for blood pressure regulation.

These results suggest that the lack of PER1 acts differently in males and females. The findings are consistent with research showing that premenopausal women are less likely to be non-dippers than men of the same age. “This study represents an important step in understanding sex differences in the regulation of cardiovascular function by the circadian clock,” the researchers wrote.

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Jan 10, 2019

Earth’s magnetic field is acting up and geologists don’t know why

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Erratic motion of north magnetic pole forces experts to update model that aids global navigation.

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Jan 10, 2019

Scientists Discover That Our Brains Can Process the World in 11 Dimensions

Posted by in categories: neuroscience, supercomputing

Neuroscientists have used a classic branch of maths in a totally new way to peer into the structure of our brains. What they’ve discovered is that the brain is full of multi-dimensional geometrical structures operating in as many as 11 dimensions.

We’re used to thinking of the world from a 3D perspective, so this may sound a bit tricky, but the results of this new study could be the next major step in understanding the fabric of the human brain – the most complex structure we know of.

This latest brain model was produced by a team of researchers from the Blue Brain Project, a Swiss research initiative devoted to building a supercomputer-powered reconstruction of the human brain.

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Jan 10, 2019

Japan’s pioneering detector set to join hunt for gravitational waves

Posted by in categories: cosmology, physics

The ¥16.4-billion (US$148-million) observatory — Japan’s Kamioka Gravitational Wave Detector (KAGRA) — will work on the same principle as the two detectors of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) in the United States and the Virgo solo machine in Italy. In the past few years, these machines have begun to detect gravitational waves — long-sought ripples in the fabric of space-time created by cataclysmic cosmic events such as the merging of two black holes or the collision of two neutron stars.

LIGO’s Asian cousin will this year deploy ambitious technology to improve sensitivity in the search for these faint, cosmic ripples — but its biggest enemy could be snowmelt.

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Jan 9, 2019

Baby boomers more likely to share fake news—study

Posted by in category: futurism

Interestingly, the study also found that Facebook users over 65 years old, on average, shared nearly seven times as many fake news articles as the youngest age group (18−29 years old). #INQLifestyle

A study by researchers from Princeton University and New York University found age as the prime factor that determined whether someone would share “fake news” on social media.

The study, published in the peer-reviewed Science Advances journal on Jan. 9, shed light on the concerns about the prevalence and effects of spreading misinformation during the 2016 US presidential campaign.

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Jan 9, 2019

NASA telescope spots black hole shrinking after devouring a star

Posted by in categories: cosmology, evolution

About 10,000 light years away from Earth, a black hole is engaged in a stellar feast, devouring the gases of a nearby star.

A stellar meal provides tantalizing new evidence about black hole evolution.

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Jan 9, 2019

Study overturns dogma of cancer metabolism theory

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension

Scientists at the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA have discovered that squamous cell skin cancers do not require increased glucose to power their development and growth, contrary to a long-held belief about cancer metabolism.

The findings could bring about a better understanding of many cancers’ metabolic needs and lead to the development of more effective therapies for squamous cell skin and other forms of epithelial cancer.

The research, led by senior authors Heather Christofk and Bill Lowry, was published in the journal Nature Communications.

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Jan 9, 2019

Asteroid-circling spacecraft grabs cool snapshot of home

Posted by in categories: habitats, space travel

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — An asteroid-circling spacecraft has captured a cool snapshot of home.

NASA’s Osiris-Rex spacecraft took the picture days before going into orbit around asteroid Bennu on New Year’s Eve.

The tiny asteroid — barely one-third of a mile (500 meters) across — appears as a big bright blob in the long-exposure photo released last week. Seventy million miles (110 million kilometers) away, Earth appears as a white dot, with the moon an even smaller dot but still clearly visible.

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Jan 9, 2019

‘New’ apple and pear varieties found

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

A total of 73 previously unrecorded varieties of apples and pears believed to be unique to Wales have been discovered by researchers.

About 200 trees were DNA-tested in the two-year project to find, catalogue and preserve new varieties.

Some have been propagated and are now being grown in 13 community orchards around Wales.

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Jan 9, 2019

Nature’s magnifying glass reveals unexpected intermediate mass exoplanets

Posted by in category: space

Astronomers have found a new exoplanet that could alter the standing theory of planet formation. With a mass that’s between that of Neptune and Saturn, and its location beyond the “snow line” of its host star, an alien world of this scale was supposed to be rare.

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