The National Park Service has banned drones from flying over the Appalachian Trail. The Park Service said the interim rule prohibits launching, landing or operating unmanned aircraft from or on Appalachian National Scenic Trail lands.
The ban takes effect immediately and lasts until the Park Service can develop an appropriate policy. The Park Service says drones could affect resources and visitors in ways it has yet to analyze so more study is needed.
After nearly three weeks of treatment, the two American aid workers who were infected with the deadly Ebola virus in Africa have been discharged from an Atlanta hospital, officials have said.
Their release poses no public health risk, Bruce Ribner of Emory Univ. Hospital stressed. Kent Brantly, 33, and Nancy Writebol, 59, show no evidence of Ebola, and generally patients do not relapse and they are not contagious once they’ve recovered, said Ribner, director of the hospital’s infectious disease unit.
Teenagers who don’t get enough sleep may wake up to worse consequences than nodding off during chemistry class. According to new research, risk of being obese by age 21 was 20 percent higher among 16-year-olds who got less than six hours of sleep a night, compared with their peers who slumbered more than eight hours. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends nine to ten hours of sleep for teenagers.
Researchers at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia Univ. and the Univ. of North Carolina Gillings School of Public Health are the first to examine the effect of sleeplessness on obesity in teenagers over time, providing the strongest evidence yet that lack of sleep raises risk for an elevated BMI. Results appear in Journal of Pediatrics.
Toothpaste Ingredient May Have Formed in Dying Stars
The fluorine that is found in products such as toothpaste was likely formed billions of years ago in now dead stars of the same type as our sun. This has been shown by astronomers at Lund Univ. in Sweden, together with colleagues from Ireland and the U.S.
Fluorine can be found in everyday products such as toothpaste and fluorine chewing gum. However, the origins of the chemical element have been somewhat of a mystery. There have been three main theories about where it was created. The findings now presented support the theory that fluorine is formed in stars similar to the sun but heavier, towards the end of their existence. The sun and the planets in our solar system have then been formed out of material from these dead stars.
Coffee contains antioxidants. Antioxidants fight gum disease. Does coffee, then, help fight gum disease?
That is the question researchers at Boston Univ. Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine explored in a study published in the August issue of the Journal of Periodontology. Lead author and 2014 DMD graduate Nathan Ng said, “We found that coffee consumption did not have an adverse effect on periodontal health, and, instead, may have protective effects against periodontal disease.”
Beauty, it is said, is in the eye of the beholder. And yet, there are many faces that a majority would find beautiful, say, George Clooney’s or Audrey Hepburn’s.
Psychologists interested in mate selection and the visual processing of faces have long sought to understand why some faces are widely regarded as attractive. Researchers have identified several cues associated with facial beauty, including “averageness” – faces close to the population mean are judged attractive – and “sexual dimorphism” – faces that accentuate characteristics that distinguish males and females are desirable.
There has also been long-standing interest in facial symmetry. Most faces appear broadly symmetric. Close inspection, however, almost always reveals subtle deviations from perfect symmetry. It is common for one eye to be positioned slightly above the other, or further away from the mid-line, and features are rarely perfectly symmetric in shape. Having examined the relationship between degree of facial symmetry and perceived attractiveness, many studies have found that beautiful faces exhibit greater symmetry.
Stimulating nerves in your ear could improve the health of your heart, researchers have discovered.
A team at the Univ. of Leeds used a standard TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) machine like those designed to relieve labor pains to apply electrical pulses to the tragus, the small raised flap at the front of the ear immediately in front of the ear canal.
Authorities have evacuated tourists from an area north of Iceland’s largest glacier amid increased seismic activity around a volcano in the past few days.
Iceland’s Civil Protection Department says 300-500 people, mostly visitors, have been evacuated from the highlands north of the Vatnajokull glacier. The area is uninhabited, but popular with hikers in the summer.
Breastfeeding May Lower Risk of Postnatal Depression
A new study of over 10,000 mothers has shown that women who breastfed their babies were at significantly lower risk of postnatal depression than those who did not.
The study, by researchers in the UK and Spain, and published in the journal Maternal and Child Health, shows that mothers who planned to breastfeed and who actually went on to breastfeed were around 50 percent less likely to become depressed than mothers who had not planned to, and who did not, breastfeed. Mothers who planned to breastfeed, but who did not go on to breastfeed, were over twice as likely to become depressed as mothers who had not planned to, and who did not, breastfeed.
North Carolina State Univ. researchers have developed methods for electronically manipulating the flight muscles of moths and for monitoring the electrical signals moths use to control those muscles. The work opens the door to the development of remotely-controlled moths, or “biobots,” for use in emergency response.
“In the big picture, we want to know whether we can control the movement of moths for use in applications such as search and rescue operations,” says Alper Bozkurt, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at NC State and co-author of a paper on the work. “The idea would be to attach sensors to moths in order to create a flexible, aerial sensor network that can identify survivors or public health hazards in the wake of a disaster.”
Every Thursday, Laboratory Equipment features a Scientist of the Week, chosen from the science industry’s latest headlines. This week’s scientist is Alan Feduccia from the Univ. of North Carolina Chapel Hill. He and Stephen Czerkas, from the Dinosaur Museum, found that a birdlike fossil, called a Scansoriopteryx, is actually not a dinosaur, as previously thought, but much rather the remains of a tiny tree-climbing animal that could glide. Their find challenges the commonly held belief that birds evolved from ground-dwelling theropod dinosaurs that gained the ability to fly.
A new study suggests that colds and other minor infections may temporarily increase stroke risk in children. The study is published in the online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
“While the study does show an increased risk, the overall risk of stroke among children is still extremely low,” said Lars Marquardt, of the Univ. of Erlangen-Nuremberg, who wrote a corresponding editorial. “Minor infections are very common in children while strokes are thankfully very rare. Parents should not be alarmed whatsoever if a child catches a simple cold.”
Your chairs, synthetic rugs and plastic bags could one day be made out of cocoa, rice and vegetable waste rather than petroleum, scientists are now reporting. The novel process they have developed and their results, which could help the world deal with its agricultural and plastic waste problems, appear in the ACS journal Macromolecules.
Athanassia Athanassiou, Ilker Bayer and colleagues at the Italian Institute of Technology point out that plastic’s popularity is constantly growing. In 2012, its production reached 288 million tons worldwide, but its ubiquity comes at a cost. Synthetic plastics persist for hundreds or thousands of years while releasing toxic components with the potential to harm the environment and human health. Also, plastics are made out of petroleum, which is a nonrenewable source. The shift to more environmentally friendly bioplastics has been challenging and expensive. Athanassiou’s team wanted to find a simple, less costly way to make the transition.
Have you ever wondered why we give birth to live young rather than lay eggs? Scientists have pondered this for a long time and answers have come from an unlikely source: some of Australia’s lizards and snakes.
In research published this month in the American Naturalist, Oliver Griffith and colleagues at the Univ. of Sydney studied reptile pregnancy to identify the factors necessary for a placenta to evolve.