The ALS Association is crediting money raised through the Ice Bucket Challenge for the discovery of a gene they say is among the most common that contribute to the progressive disease. Those who accepted the challenge allowed buckets of ice water to be dumped on their heads to raise awareness of ALS. The challenge became a viral sensation in 2014 and raised more than $100 million for the association. Some of that money helped fund a global effort to help find genetic drivers of the condition called Project MinE. The ALS Association says a paper published this week in the journal Nature Genetics reveals Project MinE researchers have identified the NEK1 gene's connection to ALS. It says understanding
The European Space Agency says it is switching off its radio link to the probe that landed on a comet, after receiving no signal from the lander for a year. The agency says the decision to shut down a communications instrument on the Rosetta spacecraft Wednesday was taken to conserve energy. Rosetta had used the instrument to communicate with its lander, Philae, which touched down on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in November 2014. During the next two months, Rosetta will use its remaining power to conduct scientific measurements before it crash-lands on the comet Sept. 30. Data collected by Rosetta and Philae have improved scientists' understanding of comets and the role they played in the
A computerized brain training program cut the risk of dementia among healthy people by 48 percent, U.S. researchers said on Sunday in reporting an analysis of the results of a 10-year study. The preliminary findings, presented at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference in Toronto, are the first to show that any kind of intervention could delay the development of dementia in normal, healthy adults. To date, cognitive psychologists and neuroscientists have largely rejected evidence that computer-based cognitive-training software or "brain games" have any effect on cognitive function. The new findings would be quite promising if they hold up through peer review and publication in a scientific journal, said Dr. John King, an expert in social research at the National Institute of Aging.
What began as a brush fire last Friday rapidly morphed into a raging blaze over the weekend, burning more than 33,000 acres and destroying at least 18 homes in Los Angeles County. Only about 10 percent of the wildfire was contained by Sunday night, the Los Angeles County Fire Department reported. “All the experience we’ve had with fires is out the window,” John Tripp, the county’s deputy fire chief, told the Associated Press.
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If you want to see a tall population of men, go to the Netherlands. National height averages are useful as an indicator of nutrition, health care, environment and general health that people have experienced from the womb through adolescence, said Majid Ezzati of Imperial College London, who led the research. The tallest men in the new analysis were Dutch, with an average height of about 6 feet (182.5 centimeters).
Futuristic technologies that promise to improve people's strength and smarts by editing genes, implanting brain chips or super-charging blood have raised more concern than enthusiasm among Americans, a poll showed on Tuesday. The survey by the Pew Research Center included more than 4,700 US adults, and is considered a nationally representative sample. The prospect of brain implants that could increase intelligence and focus also raised concern for 69 percent of people, as did the potential of synthetic blood that could improve speed, strength and stamina (63 percent).
Israel's national museum is set to display a 2,200-year-old Egyptian mummy of a man who was afflicted with some modern-day illnesses such as osteoporosis and tooth decay, the museum said on Tuesday. The mummy is the only such relic in Israel, named the "Protective Eye of Horus," after a pharaonic deity. It was kept for decades at a Jesuit institute in Jerusalem before it was loaned to the Israel Museum.
As local fishermen tell it, the deep blue “Dragon Hole” in the Xisha Islands, called the “eye” of the South China Sea, is where the Monkey King in Journey to the West acquired his famous golden cudgel. After nearly a year of exploration, Chinese researchers have determined that the underwater sinkhole is likely the world’s deepest, reaching about 987 feet below the surface and surpassing the previous record holder, Dean’s Blue Hole near the Bahamas, by more than 300 feet, Xinhua News Agency reported. Blue holes are named as such for their rich, dark blue coloring, a stark contrast to the otherwise aqua waters that surround them. Researchers with the Sansha Ship Course Research Institute for Coral Protection began exploring Dragon Hole, known as Longdong, in August 2015 and completed the project last month, Xinhua reported.
A footprint measuring over a meter wide that was made by a meat-eating predator some 80 million years ago has been discovered in Bolivia, one of the largest of its kind ever found. The print, which measures 1.2 meters (1.3 yards) across, probably belonged to the abelisaurus, a biped dinosaur that once roamed South America, said Argentine paleontologist Sebastian Apesteguia, who is studying the find. The print was found some 64 kilometers (40 miles) outside the city of Sucre in central Bolivia by a tourist guide earlier this month.
The clock is ticking for the rats, possums and weasels that have invaded New Zealand over the past few hundred years. Before humans landed in New Zealand less than 800 years ago, precious few mammals lived on the islands — a vibrant archipelago that provided a home for flightless birds, such as the kiwi, takahe and kakapo parrot, as well as geckos and lizard-like tuataras. "While once the greatest threat to our native wildlife was poaching and deforestation, it is now introduced predators," Key said in a statement.
NEWS BRIEF Using remote sensing technologies, U.S. archaeologists have unlocked a lost piece of early North American history—all without actually digging. The fort of San Marcos, located in present-day Parris Island, South Carolina, was one of five forts that existed in 1577 in the Spanish colonial town of Santa Elena, the remains of which were first uncovered almost 40 years ago. After two years of research, Chester DePratter of the University of South Carolina and Victor Thompson of the University of Georgia were able to uncover the missing fort by employing ground-penetrating radar, soil testing, and monitoring magnetic fields to detect the landscape of the ancient settlement. The 16th-century
Super volcanic eruptions are so catastrophically powerful that they could devastate the entire planet. In a worst case scenario, these kinds of eruptions can eject 1000s of cubic kilometers of magma and ash in the matter of days or few months. That much ash in the atmosphere could block out the light and heat of the sun for years or decades. Unlike most volcanic eruptions, what makes super-eruptions different is that they are unable to erupt easily.
Four billion years ago, sometime around Earth's 560 millionth birthday, Luca was born. Luca is your great-to-an-infinite-degree grandmother and grandfather, as it is your dog's and your goldfish's and your ficus'. Every living thing on Earth owes it existence to Luca, whose very name stands for "Last Universal Common Ancestor." It is the origin of life on Earth, from which the rest of us evolved. And now scientists believe they have mapped a genetic picture of the qualities that would have belonged to Luca, giving us a startling look at how life on Earth might have begun: ...By comparing their sequence of DNA letters, genes can be arranged in evolutionary family trees, a property that enabled
It was definitely déjà vu in the media today. Reuters, The New Yorker, Los Angeles Times, and more were back on the "brain training prevents dementia" bandwagon. STAT's headline was particularly boosterish: Play on! In a first, brain training cuts risk of dementia years later. It's just a few months since the US Federal Trade commission fined a company $2 million for false advertising based on brain training claims like this. And in October 2014, an international scientific consensus statement tried to stem this tide. Yet here we are again. Sigh! This time, the results aren't even just getting the usual claim of being "promising": in the STAT article, they're "highly, highly promising"! And that's
Spanish troops intervened Tuesday as a wildfire near the eastern city of Valencia spread to a nature reserve after laying waste to some 1,400 hectares (3,500 acres) of land, regional authorities said.
A nocturnal species of weasel with a robber-mask-like marking across its eyes has returned to the remote ranchlands of western Wyoming where the critter almost went extinct more than 30 years ago. Wildlife officials on Tuesday released 35 black-footed ferrets on two ranches near Meeteetse, a tiny cattle ranching community 50 miles east of Yellowstone National Park. Black-footed ferrets, generally solitary animals, were let loose individually over a wide area.
Archaeologist Arnoldo Gonzalez said researchers believe the tomb and pyramid were purposely built atop a spring between AD 683 and 702. Attention has focused on the heavily carved stone sarcophagus in which Pakal was buried, and which some erroneously believe depict the Maya ruler seated at the controls of a spaceship. The director of archaeology for the National Institute of Anthropology and History, Pedro Sanchez Nava, said the theory makes sense in light of other pre-Hispanic peoples, such as those who lived at Teotihuacan, near Mexico City, where another water tunnel was found.
Earlier this month, MacCormac, a member of the Red Bull Air Force's collection of skydivers and pilots, strapped a board to his feet and "surfed" down the edge of a storm cloud over central Florida. "It's one of those things that's so wrong," MacCormac told Live Science. What may be even more unreasonable is that this wasn't MacCormac's first jump into a thunderstorm.
In a violent end to a four-month hostage crisis, Peruvian forces stormed the Japanese ambassador's mansion in Lima on April 22,1997 freeing 72 captives of the rebel group Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement, one of two major rebel groups that operated in Peru for some two decades. When one of the strongest El Niños ever recorded hit the South American country of Peru in 1982, the abnormal warming it brought to the Pacific Ocean was a catastrophic blow to the already economically fragile nation. Crops in the south and the highland were battered, too, with a drought that for some areas seemed to be the continuation of a short but intense dry spell that had ended just two years before. Poverty was widespread but particularly overwhelming for the indigenous population, and the Shining Path, a terrorist insurgency that went on to kill more than 70,000 until its demise in the mid-1990s, was ramping up deadly coordinated attacks.
Legos are one of the most versatile toys around because you can, with enough bricks and imagination, build anything you want. “[Right now,] if you want to do a lot of different things in science, you need a lot of different instruments,” William Grover, assistant pofessor of boengineering, tells Digital Trends. Researchers could use these blocks to build virtually any instrument they might need.
With the Delta Aquarid meteor shower going on right now, and the crowd-favorite Perseid meteor shower hot on its heels, the next few weeks are going to be the prime-time to watch some shooting stars light up the night sky. NASA is on the lookout for any cosmic objects on a crash course with our planet, and it's found that the chances of us colliding with a comet or asteroid anytime soon are pretty low. If a comet of this size struck Earth, then the energy of the impact would be about as much as 300 times that of the asteroid that scientists believed wiped out the dinosaurs, Donald Yeomans, a senior research scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, told LiveScience.
Solar Impulse 2 on Monday neared the end of its epic journey to become the first sun-powered airplane to circle the globe without a drop of fuel to promote renewable energy. When the experimental aircraft touches down in Abu Dhabi it will cap a remarkable 42,000-kilometre (26,097 mile) journey across four continents, two oceans and three seas. Solar Impulse 2 was expected to enter UAE airspace at around 1:30 am local time on Tuesday (2130 GMT Monday), and land in Abu Dhabi at around 4:00 am (0000 GMT).
Dr. Luc Hoffmann, a Swiss ornithologist and naturalist with a passion for wetlands who helped create the World Wildlife Fund for Nature and many other conservation groups, has died, wildlife groups said. Hoffmann died Thursday at his home in the Camargue wetlands of southeastern France, which is known for flamingos and other birds, said the Tour de Valat, a research center he founded there over a half-century ago. A grandson of the founder of the pharmaceutical company Hoffmann-La Roche, now Roche, Lukas "Luc" Hoffmann developed an early fascination with nature.