A Blog Around The Clock

My picks from ScienceDaily


Month Of Conception Linked To Birth Defects In United States:

A study published in the April 2009 issue of the medical journal Acta P├Ždiatrica is the first to report that birth defect rates in the United States were highest for women conceiving in the spring and summer.

Action Video Games Improve Vision, New Research Shows:

Video games that involve high levels of action, such as first-person-shooter games, increase a player’s real-world vision, according to research in Nature Neuroscience March 29.

In The Age Of Facebook, Researcher Plumbs Shifting Online Relationships:

A University of Kansas professor is researching details of relationships forged on social networking sites and determining their significance, depth and potential. Nancy Baym, associate professor of communication studies, became interested early on in how the Internet shapes interpersonal communication and of late has focused her research on social networking sites in particular.

Viewers Can Learn A Lot About Objects In Their Field Of Vision, Even Without Paying Attention:

A visual learning study by scientists at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston indicates that viewers can learn a great deal about objects in their field of vision even without paying attention.

Nine Lives: Cats’ Central Nervous System Can Repair Itself And Restore Function:

Scientists studying a mysterious neurological affliction in cats have discovered a surprising ability of the central nervous system to repair itself and restore function. In a study published March 30, 2009 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a team of researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison reports that the restoration in cats of myelin — a fatty insulator of nerve fibers that degrades in a host of human central nervous system disorders, the most common of which is multiple sclerosis — can lead to functional recovery.

Mice And Humans Should Have More In Common In Clinical Trials:

Just as no two humans are the same, a Purdue University scientist has shown treating mice more as individuals in laboratory testing cuts down on erroneous results and could significantly reduce the cost of drug development. Mice have long been used as test subjects for treatments and drugs before those products are approved for human testing. But new research shows that the customary practice of standardizing mice by trying to limit environmental variation in laboratories actually increases the chance of getting an incorrect result.

New Theory On Largest Known Mass Extinction In Earth’s History:

The largest mass extinction in the history of the earth could have been triggered off by giant salt lakes, whose emissions of halogenated gases changed the atmospheric composition so dramatically that vegetation was irretrievably damaged.

Hundreds Of Natural-selection Studies Could Be Wrong, Study Demonstrates:

Scientists at Penn State and the National Institute of Genetics in Japan have demonstrated that several statistical methods commonly used by biologists to detect natural selection at the molecular level tend to produce incorrect results.

Drop In Daddy Long Legs Is Devastating Bird Populations:

Warm summers are dramatically reducing populations of daddy long legs, which in turn is having a severe impact on the bird populations which rely on them for food.

Egg Makes Sure That Sperm Don’t Get Too Old:

In contrast to women, men are fertile throughout life. But new research at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, has now shown that a fertilising sperm can get help from the egg to rejuvenate. The result is an important step towards future stem cell therapy.