Zika articles made open-source to accelerate research

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Nature, the Lancet and many other medical publishers and researchers have announced that all Zika-related scientific articles will be published freely in the wake of the recent outbreak. “We announce that Nature journals will make all papers relating to Zika virus free to access until further notice,” a statement reads. “Nature journals will also now encourage authors who haven’t already deposited

Couch potatoes have smaller brains

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People with very low levels of physical activity may have smaller brains later in life, a new study found.

Getting tasered impairs cognition, and might violate “right to remain silent”

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Police departments all over the world use tasers to pacify aggressive criminals. The stun gun ejects two wires at high speed that hook to the body of a person and send a 50,000 volt current, stunning the target. It certainly hurts, and the physical damage might take a while to heal. Researchers investigated, however, the psychological and cognitive effects of getting stunned with a taser. Their findings suggest those who get tasered experience short-term cognitive decline to the point of borderline dementia. This can last for a full hour, during which the victim might be unable to understand questioning by police properly and could interfere with their Miranda Rights, the “right to remain silent”.

Prenatal exposure to paracetamol (acetaminophen) linked to asthma

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Researchers have made a stronger case for the negative effects of paracetamol on pregnant women. It was already documented that prenatal paracetamol consumption is associated with asthma; now, a team has shown that this is not because the underlying condition for which the drug was taken. Paracetamol, also known as acetaminophen and often sold under the name Tylenol, is one of the

For every dollar spent, vaccines offer a return of 44$

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Vaccines are arguably one of the most impactful medical developments ever. According to the CDC, vaccines given to infants and young children over the past two decades will prevent 322 million illnesses, 21 million hospitalizations and 732,000 deaths over the course of their lifetimes. If that’s not impressive, a group of researchers put this into another perspective that almost all people seem to appreciate: money. Their findings suggest that though it costs a lot to research new vaccines, manufacture and implement them, the return of investment is absolutely stunning. Pharmaceutical companies make a nice profit, but the bulk goes to society.

How our ancestor’s promiscuous genes became more discriminating.

Gene families are made up of different genes with similar genetic sequences.  They arise through gene duplications the allow evolution to take place in the copy, taking on new functions.

A new study examined the way gene families evolve from ancestral genes, finding the original genes were promiscuous in that they had a wider range of function than the later descendant genes, which often evolved to be more selective in their effects.

Viking gene may carry predisposition to lung disease

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A previous study found that Vikings suffered from massive worm infestations, and this may be the key to an inherited predisposition to emphysema and other lung conditions.

What is Kombucha and is it good for you?

Kombucha. Image: Colorado State University

Many label it as a magic drink that cures anything from constipation to cancer. Is there any truth to these claims?

This is how the brain makes you sigh every 5 minutes

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Sighing is a fundamental biological reflex that’s a lot more important than most people care to think. We don’t just sigh when we’re in a position of weariness or relief, but quite regularly for no particular reason — about 12 times an hour.

An incursion in the colorful world of fluorescent proteins

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The discovery of green fluorescent proteins heralded a revolution in cell biology, enabling researchers to monitor cellular processes by applying themselves to a variety of protein and enzyme targets. Over the years, they’ve enabled thousands of successful experiments, triggering events that ultimately saved many lives. In 1961, Osamu Shimomura and Frank Johnson, working at the Friday Harbor Laboratories of the University of