Study uses Thai water bug to understand working of human heart

Washington D.C.[USA], Oct. 1 : In a recent research, scientists have studied a rare Thai water bug for a better insight into how the heart muscle works and how sometimes it fails. The breakthrough finding could also lead to novel treatments for cardiomyopathy in the future.

Lead researcher Taylor and his team used an electron microscope to capture the first three-dimensional image of a tiny filament, or strand, of an essential muscle that the palm-sized water bug Lethocerus indicus, uses to fly.

This filament is made of chains of a protein called myosin, which produce the power needed to contract muscles.

This image shows for the first time the individual molecules in the filament in a relaxed state, which is necessary to re-extend muscles.

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Cuddling with cat can lead to brain swelling and heart infection: Study

Washington D. C.[USA], Sept. 20 : According to a recent warning issued by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cuddling with your cat could prove to be fatal, causing brain swelling and heart infection.

Cats could give a life-threatening disease with just a lick and a scratch as they carry rare bacteria in their mouth and claws called Capnocytophaga canimorsus.

While animals do not suffer ill effects, the bacteria can cause chronic infections in humans, reports Daily Mail.

And according to the CDC, side effects of the potentially deadly disease are getting worse. An earlier report revealed 12,000 Americans a year succumb to 'cat-scratch disease'.

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Pigeons can be taught to read: Study

According to a recent study conducted at University of Otago in New Zealand and Ruhr University in Germany pigeons could actually be smarter than perceived earlier as they possess the ability to 'read'.

The feathered creatures can learn to distinguish real words from non-words by looking at their letter combinations, reports Daily Mail.

The study, touted to be the first of its kind, proves that a non-primate species has 'orthographic abilities' that is the capability to recognize a three-dimensional object represented in two dimensions, such as a word.

In the experiment, researchers from, a group of 18 pigeons whittled down to four of the brainiest birds, which were trained over the course of eight months.

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There're 4 species of giraffe, not just 1: Study

Washington D.C. [USA], Sept. 11 : A recent study has found out that giraffes actually are not one species, but four.

For comparison, the genetic differences among giraffe species are at least as great as those between polar and brown bears.

The unexpected findings highlight the urgent need for further study of the four genetically isolated species and for greater conservation efforts for the world's tallest mammal, the researchers said.

"We were extremely surprised, because the morphological and coat pattern differences between giraffe are limited," said researcher Axel Janke.

Giraffes are also assumed to have similar ecological requirements across their range, he added, "but no one really knows, because this megafauna has been largely overlooked by science."

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Early-onset of springs indicate `nightmare` for agriculture

Washington D. C. [USA], Sept. 3 : A recent study has revealed that warm springs in the Great Lakes and Northeast regions which create havoc for agriculture may start earlier by mid-century if greenhouse gas emissions are not reduced.

Very warm springs have been anomalies, but this new analysis of climate model data shows an increased frequency to nearly one in every three years by the end of this century.

Assistant professor Toby Ault said, "The spring of 2012, with its summerlike warmth, brought plants out of dormancy and then had a lengthy freeze. This was a nightmare scenario for many growers, and it showed us a snapshot of what global warming might look like in this region."

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Your mathematics skills will help your kids

Washington D. C. [USA], Sept. 3 : A recent study has pointed out the parents, who excel in mathematics, produce children with the same skill.

The study highlights a distinct transfer of math skills from parent to a child, specifically exploring intergenerational transmission, the concept of parental influence on an offspring's behavior or psychology in mathematic capabilities.

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Explosion at SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch in Florida

Florida (U.S.), Sept.1 : An explosion rocked the launch site for Elon Musk's SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at Cape Canaveral in Florida on Thursday.

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Rude co-workers may compel you to act uncivil: Study

Washington D. C., Aug. 11 - Experiencing rude behaviour by co-workers may reduce employees' self-control and lead them to act in a similar uncivil manner with others, says a study.

"People, who are recipients of incivility at work, feel mentally fatigued as a result because uncivil behaviours are somewhat ambiguous and require employees to figure out whether there was any abusive intent," said lead researcher Russell Johnson.

"This mental fatigue, in turn, led them to act uncivil toward other workers. In other words, they paid the incivility forward," he added.

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Grand Canyon gets solid competitor at Saturn's moon Titan

Washington, Aug 11 : In a significant find, NASA's Cassini spacecraft has discovered deep, steep-sided canyons on Saturn's largest moon Titan that are flooded with liquid methane.

The finding represents the first direct evidence of the presence of liquid-filled channels on Titan and could give scientists insights into its origins and similar geologic processes on the Earth.

The Cassini observations reveal that the channels -- a network of them named Vid Flumina -- are narrow canyons, generally a bit less than a km wide with slopes steeper than 40 degrees.

The canyons also are quite deep -- those measured are 240-570 metres from top to bottom.

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What is the similarity between 'Yin and yang' switch, animal stem cells?

Washington D.C., Aug .10 - A study says that a molecular switch that flips between different versions of genes could be crucial for maintaining stem cells across all animals from simple flatworms to humans.

The study at Center for Genomic Regulation says that flatworms (also known as planarians) have an incredible capacity for self-renewal, with almost any part of their body able to regenerate a whole new worm in a matter of days.

The researchers found that they 'mix and match' certain parts of their genes in particular ways - a process known as alternative splicing. The same analysis of flatworm cells that had changed into more specific cell types revealed a different mixture of gene parts.

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Why do people 'pass the buck'?

Washington D.C., Aug .10 - A new study says that people prefer passing on the responsibility, when faced with choices that affect others, than when those decisions affect only themselves.

A series of experiments by Mary Steffel from Northeastern University and her collaborators found that these findings were particularly true when those choices had potentially negative consequences.

In domains as diverse as making a business decision, choosing a hotel, ordering meals, and even participating in experiments, people were two or three times as likely to delegate an unappealing choice on behalf of someone else than one on their own behalf.

Participants in one experiment imagined that they or their bosses needed a hotel reservation for an upcoming business trip.

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Rights to sexual freedom hampered at retirement homes: Study

Washington D.C., Aug. 9 - Putting up at retirement homes limits older adults' rights to sexual freedom because of a lack of policies regarding the issue and the actions of staff and administrators at these facilities.

According to a Georgia State University study, though assisted-living facilities emphasize independence and autonomy, the staff and administrators behave in ways that create an environment of surveillance.

This indicates conflict between autonomy and the protection of residents in regard to sexual freedom in assisted-living facilities.

Regulations at these facilities may vary, but they share a mission of providing a home-like environment that emphasizes consumer choice, autonomy, privacy and control.

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Turns out, early animals responsible for first mass extinction

Washington D.C, Jul 30 : Newly-discovered fossil evidence from Namibia supports the theory that the world's first mass extinction was caused by " ecosystem engineers" - newly evolved biological organisms that altered the environment so radically it drove older species to extinction.

The event, known as the end-Ediacaran extinction, took place 540 million years ago. The earliest life on Earth consisted of microbes - various types of single-celled organisms. These held sway for more than 3 billion years, when the first multicellular organisms evolved. The most successful of these were the Ediacarans, which spread around the globe about 600 million years ago. They were a largely immobile form of marine life shaped like discs and tubes, fronds and quilted mattresses.

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Driverless cars pose 'safety dilemma'

Washington D.C, Jun 26 : Would you buy a car that might risk your life to save a pedestrian? That's the question researchers are mulling in a recent study about driverless cars.

When it comes to autonomous cars, people generally approve of cars programmed to sacrifice their passengers to save others, but these same people are not enthusiastic about riding in such "utilitarian" vehicles themselves, the survey revealed.

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New technique lets you capture entire brain's activity in a snapshot

Washington D. C, May 29 - A team of researchers at Rockefeller University has come up with a new technique that can capture a detailed snapshot of global activity in the mouse brain.

Study author Nicolas Renier of the Rockefeller University said that they wanted to develop a technique that would show the level of activity at the precision of a single neuron, but at the scale of the whole brain.

The new method takes a picture of all the active neurons in the brain at a specific time. The mouse brain contains dozens of millions of neurons and a typical image depicts the activity of approximately one million neurons, said Marc Tessier-Lavigne. "The purpose of the technique is to accelerate our understanding of how the brain works."

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