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Why scratching makes you itch more

Turns out your mom was right: scratching an itch only makes it worse. New research reveals that scratching causes the brain to release serotonin, which intensifies the itch sensation. Scientists uncovered serotonin's role in controlling pain decades ago, but this is the first time the release of the chemical messenger from the brain has been linked to itch, they say.

Hubble sees 'ghost light' from dead galaxies

The universe is an infinite sea of galaxies, which are majestic star-cities. When galaxies group together in massive clusters, some of them can be ripped apart by the gravitational tug of other galaxies. Astronomers using the HubbleShow More Summary

Sistine Chapel gets new LED lighting, climate control systems

The Vatican debuted a cutting edge new LED lighting system in the Sistine Chapel on Wednesday. Designed and installed by the German company Osram, the new system features more than 7,000 light-emitting diodes mounted behind a cornice high up on the walls. It’s energy efficient, requiring up to 90% less electricity than the 1980s halogen [...]

Together we are strong -- or insufferable

Everyone can have an impact on the dynamics of a group, particularly if they join forces with others, experts say. "What interested us most, however, was how the individual can contribute to the development of stable cooperation within the group," they say of their research, which was actually able to calculate mathematically which strategies promote cooperation.

Identifying the source of stem cells

When most animals begin life, cells immediately begin accepting assignments to become a head, tail or a vital organ. However, mammals, including humans, are special. The cells of mammalian embryos get to make a different first choice -- to become the protective placenta or to commit to forming the baby.

Clock gene dysregulation may explain overactive bladder

If you think sleep problems and bladder problems are a fact of life in old age, you may be right. A new report shows that our sleep-wake cycles are genetically connected to our bladder, and disruptions to one may cause problems with the other.

New molecule sneaks medicines across blood/brain barrier

Delivering life-saving drugs across the blood-brain barrier (BBB) might become a little easier thanks to a new study. In the new report, scientists describe an antibody, called 'FC5,' is one-tenth the size of a traditional antibody and able to cross the BBB.

Size matters: Baby's size at birth may predict risk for disease later in life

Being overweight might be better in the long term than being underweight, at least when it comes to infants. "These findings support the hypothesis that common long-term variation in the activity of genes established in the womb may underpin links between size at birth and risk for adult disease," said one of the authors.

BPA exposure by infants may increase later risk of food intolerance

Scientists show, for the first time, that there is a link between perinatal exposure to Bisphenol A (BPA) at low doses and the risk to develop food intolerance in later life. "We may look back one day and see BPA exposure as one of the more important public health problems of our time," said one expert. Show More Summary

Female frogs modify offspring development depending on reproduction date

Global warming is altering the reproduction of plants and animals, notably accelerating the date when reproduction and other life processes occur. A new study has discovered that some amphibians are capable of making their offspring grow at a faster rate if they have been born later due to the climate.

Active, biodegradable packaging for oily products

The increase in the presence of plastic in our lives is an unstoppable trend due to the versatility of this material. So innovation in the packaging industry has been focusing on the development of new, more sustainable, economically...Show More Summary

Adapative 'nowcasting' key to accurate flu data trends using Google search terms

Google search data really can provide a more accurate real time picture of current flu infections, researchers have found. Official reports of influenza infection rates are produced with a delay of at least one week. Yet researchersShow More Summary

Device developed for running shoes that prevents injuries

A prototype running shoe has been designed with an integrated device that improves training management and prevents injuries. The device consists of a microelectronic measuring system capable of gathering biomechanical parameters that characterize the runner's technique during a race. Show More Summary

Clinical practice guidelines address multimodality treatment for esophageal cancer

New clinical practice guidelines for treating cancer of the esophagus and gastroesophageal junction (area where the esophagus meets the stomach) have been released. The guidelines include nine evidence-based recommendations that address...Show More Summary

Can parents make their kids smarter?

Reading bedtime stories, engaging in conversation and eating nightly dinners together are all positive ways in which parents interact with their children, but according to new research, none of these actions have any detectable influence on children's intelligence later in life. Show More Summary

Bat influenza viruses unlikely to pose a threat to human health

Veterinary researchers have completed new research that suggests the bat influence virus poses a low risk to humans.

Reef-builders with a sense of harmony

Cold-water corals of the species Lophelia pertusa are able to fuse skeletons of genetically distinct individuals. Scientists have made the first-ever discovery of branches of different colors that had flawlessly merged. The ability to fuse supports the reef stability and thus contributes to the success of corals as reef-builders of the deep sea.

Ion adsorption matter in biology

Biological membranes are mainly composed of lipid bilayers. Gaining a better understanding of adsorption of solution ions onto lipid membranes helps clarify functional processes in biological cells. A new study provides a quantitative description of the equilibria between lipid membranes and surrounding solution ions. Show More Summary

Breakdown in gut barriers to bacteria may promote inflammation and craving in alcoholics

Bacteria in the GI tract fulfill many vital functions and are critical for digestion. Yet, these same bacteria can induce strong inflammatory responses by the immune system if they penetrate the gut and enter the bloodstream. Prior research...Show More Summary

Pterostilbene, a molecule similar to resveratrol, as a potential treatment for obesity

Pterostilbene is a phenolic compound in the same family as resveratrol and is present in small amounts in a large variety of foods and beverages like blueberries or red wine. Researchers have observed in animal models that its administration reduces the build-up of body fat, which could reduce the risk of developing other diseases like diabetes.

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