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Science News
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U.S. CDC says it 'may never know' how bird flu mishap occurred

CDC Director Frieden testifies before a hearing on Capitol Hill in WashingtonBy Julie Steenhuysen CHICAGO (Reuters) - The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention "may never know" how a fairly harmless form of bird flu was cross-contaminated with a dangerous bird flu strain before it was sent to a laboratory outside of the CDC, an agency spokesman said on Monday. The CDC disclosed the bird flu incident as part of an internal investigation into the agency's mishandling of live anthrax in June, potentially exposing dozens of its own lab workers to the pathogen. While no humans fell ill as a result of the bird flu breach, CDC Director Dr Thomas Frieden has called it the most distressing" in a series of safety breaches at the agency because of the public risk posed by the virus.

Mon, 21 Jul 2014 17:11:33 -0400
Drugmakers to share neglected compounds with British academia

A group of seven leading drugmakers has agreed to share an array of neglected experimental medicines with British academic researchers in the latest example of the deepening ties between industry and external scientists. British business minister Vince Cable announced the new partnership on Tuesday between the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the companies, under which the researchers will gain access to "deprioritized" pharmaceutical compounds. AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Eli Lilly, Pfizer, Takeda and UCB have all signed up to the scheme, which builds on the success of an earlier two-way program between AstraZeneca and the MRC.

Mon, 21 Jul 2014 19:22:03 -0400
Forty-five years after Apollo landing, U.S. debates next lunar step

NASA file image shows Neil Armstrong on the moon next to the Lunar Module EagleBy Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - Forty-five years after the first Apollo lunar landing, the United States remains divided about the moon's role in future human space exploration. Ten more U.S. astronauts followed Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin's July 20, 1969, visit to the moon before the Apollo program was canceled in 1972. Instead, NASA was directed to begin planning for a human expedition to an asteroid. This path, however, is fraught with technological cul-de-sacs that do not directly contribute to radiation protection, landing systems, habitats and other projects needed to build the road to Mars, a National Research Council panel concluded in June.

Sun, 20 Jul 2014 13:06:30 -0400
Experts map deep magma reservoir below Washington's Mt. Rainier

By Victoria Cavaliere SEATTLE (Reuters) - Experts have mapped a huge magma reservoir below Mount Rainier in Washington state that begins melting deep in the Earth's mantle before pushing upwards to where it will eventually be tapped for eruption. Their findings, published this week in the journal Nature, are aimed at helping experts understand the volcano's inner workings, and eventually determine when it might again erupt. A state landmark, Mount Rainier last erupted in the 19th century. The tallest volcano and fifth-highest peak in the contiguous United States, it towers some 14,410-feet (4,392 meters) about 58 miles (93 km) southeast of Seattle, from most of which it is visible.

Fri, 18 Jul 2014 16:55:16 -0400
New Schizophrenia Gene Links Uncovered

A new genetic analysis of people with schizophrenia and the largest study investigating the genetic basis of any psychiatric disorder to date provides hints that the disease may sometimes be connected with infections as some researchers have long suggested. There have been few innovative drug treatments for schizophrenia over the last 60 years. "In the past, people thought schizophrenia must happen because of some really bad mutations in a person not seen in people around them," said study co-author Steve McCarroll, director of genetics at the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in Cambridge, Massachusetts. "This study shows a substantial part of the risk of schizophrenia comes from many tiny nudges to the genome that all humans share."

Tue, 22 Jul 2014 02:37:50 -0400
Deadly Coral Diseases Surge Near Dredging Sites

Deadly Coral Diseases Surge Near Dredging SitesIn a first study of its kind, researchers have linked dredging to increased sickness in nearby coral reefs. Researchers studied the effects of such digging operations on the health of corals around Barrow Island, which is located off the west coast of Australia. "At dredging sites, we found more than twice as much coral disease than at our control sites," study lead author Joe Pollock, a postdoctoral candidate from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University and the Australian Institute of Marine Science, said in a statement. About 40 percent of the world's coral reefs are near large urban areas and coastlines undergoing rapid development, highlighting the importance of understanding how sediment and murky water can affect the health of coral reefs.

Mon, 21 Jul 2014 17:00:55 -0400
Doctors Can Help Identify Child Sex Trafficking in US

Child sex trafficking crimes occur every day in the United States, and doctors can play a role in identifying victims, getting them care and ultimately preventing such crimes, researchers say. Any sexual activity with a minor in exchange for money or something of value is considered child sex trafficking. Although the scope of child sex trafficking in the United States is unclear, such crimes "may be overlooked and under-reported because they frequently occur at the margins of society," said three experts, writing in an editorial published today (July 21) in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, Doctors may encounter child sex-trafficking victims who are seeking medical attention for illness or injury, but medical professionals may lack the tools to identify this type of abuse, according to the editorial by Dr. Angela Diaz, of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York;

Mon, 21 Jul 2014 16:57:35 -0400
Russia Launches Live Animals on Two-Month Space Mission

Russia Launches Live Animals on Two-Month Space MissionA high-flying package of live animals, plant seeds, and materials samples shot into space Friday (July 18) aboard a retrievable Russian Foton satellite, launching a two-month mission focusing on microgravity research into biological and physical sciences. The workhorse launcher fired its kerosene-fueled engines and lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 2050 GMT (4:50 p.m. EDT), rocketing into a clear sky over the historic spaceport. The three-stage Soyuz 2-1a rocket, a modernized version of the venerable launch vehicle, put the Foton M4 space capsule in orbit less than 10 minutes later. The Russian Federal Space Agency, or Roscosmos, declared the launch a success on its website.

Mon, 21 Jul 2014 17:27:03 -0400
NASA Names Historic Operations Building for 1st Moonwalker Neil Armstrong

NASA Names Historic Operations Building for 1st Moonwalker Neil ArmstrongCAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. NASA on Monday (July 21) paid tribute to the first man to walk on the moon by naming a building at its Florida spaceport where work is being advanced to send astronauts to Mars. The "Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building" at NASA's Kennedy Space Center added the late astronaut's name to the historic facility where he, his crew mates and their Apollo 11 spacecraft were readied for a launch to the moon 45 years ago this past week. Today, the building is being used to ready Orion, NASA's next-generation space capsule being developed to send astronauts beyond Earth orbit for the first time since the Apollo lunar landings. "It is altogether fitting that we rename this facility," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said during a ceremony held inside the Operations and Checkout (O&C) building, where hundreds of space workers gathered.

Mon, 21 Jul 2014 16:27:40 -0400
Full Moon Looms Large Over Your Sleep

Some folk stories and superstitions hold that a full moon affects people's sleep, and new research lends support to this idea. In the study, researchers found that people slept for 20 to 25 minutesless on average on nights with a full moon, compared with how long they slept on nights with a quarter moon. The people in the study also said they had more trouble falling asleep during the full moon than the quarter moon, according to the results, published July 8 in the journal Current Biology. The researchers stressed that further studies are needed to confirm whether there is a relationship between moon phases and sleep duration.

Fri, 18 Jul 2014 13:02:55 -0400
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