Open-access deal for particle physics

Nature – The entire field of particle physics is set to switch to open-access publishing, a milestone in the push to make research results freely available to readers. Particle physics is already a paragon of openness, with most papers posted on the preprint server arXiv. But peer-reviewed versions are still published in subscription journals, and publishers and research consortia at facilities such as the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) have previously had to strike piecemeal deals to free up a few hundred articles. Read article

Study Divides Breast Cancer Into Four Distinct Types

NY Times – In findings that are fundamentally reshaping the scientific understanding of breast cancer, researchers have identified four genetically distinct types of the cancer. And within those types, they found hallmark genetic changes that are driving many cancers. These discoveries, published online on Sunday in the journal Nature, are expected to lead to new treatments with drugs already approved for cancers in other parts of the body and new ideas for more precise treatments aimed at genetic aberrations that now have no known treatment.Read article

Can it! Soda studies cite stronger link to obesity

Reuters – As Americans debate what is most to blame for the nation’s obesity epidemic, researchers say they have the strongest evidence yet that sugary drinks play a leading role and that eliminating them would, more than any other single step, make a huge difference. Three studies published Friday in the New England Journal of Medicine represent the most rigorous effort yet to see if there is a link between sugar-sweetened beverages and expanding U.S. waistlines. Read article

New Ways to Protect Female Fertility

ScienceDaily — New research offers hope to women whose fertility has been compromised by the side-effects of cancer therapy or by premature menopause. In a study published in Molecular Cell, researchers from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI), Monash University and Prince Henry’s Institute of Medical Research found that two proteins, PUMA and NOXA, cause the death of egg cells in the ovaries. Blocking the activity of the proteins may lead to new strategies to protect women’s fertility. Read article

Queensland: Council won’t be adding fluoride

News Mail – Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett yesterday confirmed that Bundaberg Regional Council will not be forced to fluoridate the region’s water, despite being allocated $4.5 million towards it in the budget. Council water and wastewater spokesman Alan Bush, a long-time opponent of fluoridation, said he was initially concerned the State Government had back flipped on a decision to allow councils to oppose fluoridation on financial grounds after seeing the budget. Read article

The ‘slippery slope to slime’: Overgrown algae causing coral reef declines — Researchers at Oregon State University for the first time have confirmed some of the mechanisms by which overfishing and nitrate pollution can help destroy coral reefs – it appears they allow an overgrowth of algae that can bring with it unwanted pathogens, choke off oxygen and disrupt helpful bacteria. Read article

‘Meteors’ sighted in skies across UK

BBC – Coastguards in Northern Ireland took calls from people who saw the objects from Coleraine on the north coast, to Strangford Lough in the south east. The lights were seen as far north as Caithness in Scotland as well as in Wales and Norfolk in East Anglia. Experts said the sightings could be satellite debris, burning up on entry to the atmosphere. Read article

Washington State Makes It Harder to Opt Out of Immunizations

NY Times – Washington State is home to Bill and Melinda Gates, champions of childhood vaccines across the globe. Its university boasts cutting-edge vaccine research. But when it comes to getting children immunized, until recently, the state was dead last. “You think we’re a cut above the rest,” said Dr. Maxine Hayes, state health officer for Washington’s Department of Health, “but there’s something in this culture out West. It’s a sort of defiance. A distrust of the government.” But last year, the Legislature adopted a law that makes it harder for parents to avoid getting their children vaccinated, by requiring them to get a doctor’s signature if they wish to do so. Since then, the opt-out rate has fallen fast, by a quarter, setting an example for other states with easy policies. Read article

Drug giants fined $11bn for criminal wrongdoing

The Independent – The global pharmaceutical industry has racked up fines of more than $11bn in the past three years for criminal wrongdoing, including withholding safety data and promoting drugs for use beyond their licensed conditions. In all, 26 companies, including eight of the 10 top players in the global industry, have been found to be acting dishonestly. The scale of the wrongdoing, revealed for the first time, has undermined public and professional trust in the industry and is holding back clinical progress, according to two papers published in today’s New England Journal of Medicine. Leading lawyers have warned that the multibillion-dollar fines are not enough to change the industry’s behaviour(OYEN italics). Read article

War causes mental illness in soldiers

EurekAlert – One in every two cases of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in soldiers remains undiagnosed. This is the conclusion reached by a working group led by Hans-Ulrich Wittchen et al. They report their study in the current issue of Deutsches Ärzteblatt International (Dtsch Arztebl Int 2012; 109(35): 559), which is a special issue focusing on the prevalence of psychological stress in German army soldiers. In a second original article, results reported by Jens T Kowalski and colleagues show that more female soldiers contact the psychosocial support services provided by Germany’s armed forces than their male colleagues (Dtsch Arztbl Int 2012; 109 (35): 559). Read article

West Nile virus kills 5 in Balkans, dozens in hospital

Reuters – At least five people in the Balkans have died from West Nile virus and several dozen others have been hospitalized in the past four weeks, according to health authorities in Serbia, Kosovo, Macedonia and Croatia. West Nile virus is a mosquito-borne disease usually found in temperate and tropical regions. While many cases are mild and have no symptoms, severe disease symptoms can include headaches, high fever, neck stiffness, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness and paralysis. Read article

Fat and getting fatter: U.S. obesity rates to soar by 2030

Reuters – If Americans stick to their eating and exercise habits, future historians will look back on the early 21st century as a golden age of svelte. Using a model of population and other trends, a new report released on Tuesday by the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation projects that half of U.S. adults will be obese by 2030 unless Americans change their ways. Read article

Condoms ‘too big’ for Indian men

BBC – A survey of more than 1,000 men in India has concluded that condoms made according to international sizes are too large for a majority of Indian men. The study found that more than half of the men measured had penises that were shorter than international standards for condoms. Read article

China to cut prices of cancer, immunology and blood drugs

Reuters – China will cut the maximum retail prices of 95 cancer, immunology and blood-related drugs by about 17 percent to try to reduce the growing number of chronic, ageing-related diseases in the country and make healthcare more affordable. Healthcare is viewed as a flashpoint of social unrest in China and the central government has been trying for the past decade to revamp the lumbering public healthcare system to make it more accessible. Read article

In Discarding of Kidneys, System Reveals Its Flaws

NY Times — Last year, 4,720 people died while waiting for kidney transplants in the United States. And yet, as in each of the last five years, more than 2,600 kidneys were recovered from deceased donors and then discarded without being transplanted, government data show. But many experts agree that a significant number of discarded kidneys — perhaps even half, some believe — could be transplanted if the system for allocating them better matched the right organ to the right recipient in the right amount of time.Read article

Marijuana And Cancer: Scientists Find Cannabis Compound Stops Metastasis In Aggressive Cancers

Huffington Post – A pair of scientists at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco has found that a compound derived from marijuana could stop metastasis in many kinds of aggressive cancer, potentially altering the fatality of the disease forever. “It took us about 20 years of research to figure this out, but we are very excited,” said Pierre Desprez, one of the scientists behind the discovery, to The Huffington Post. “We want to get started with trials as soon as possible.” Read article

Retraction record rocks community

Nature – One of the biggest purges of the scientific literature in history is finally getting under way. After more than a decade of suspicion about the work of anaesthesiologist Yoshitaka Fujii, formerly of Toho University in Tokyo, investigations by journals and universities have concluded that he fabricated data on an epic scale. At least half of the roughly 200 papers he authored on responses to drugs after surgery are in line for retraction in the coming months. Read article

Related articles: Dutch psychologist admits he made up research data; Publish or perish in China (2010); Q & A: Retractions – Is the pressure of the publish-or-perish mentality driving more researchers to misconduct?; Parkinson’s Researcher Fabricated Data; The time is right to confront misconduct

News Archive In Focus – Arctic and Antarctica (212 articles)

While the Earth’s Polar Regions are similar in many ways, the North and South Poles also display stark differences, with the arctic being far more hospitable in many ways to its polar opposite. The Antarctic has no record of primitive humans and no native groups and the first crossing occurred in 1773 by James Cook. The Arctic on the other hand has been crossed from prehistoric times and is home to natives with a long cultural record. The annual mean temperature at the South Pole is -58F whilst at the North Pole it’s a comfortable 0F. For a comprehensive view of world news about the Arctic and Antarctica; its people, politics and environment read our news archive of 212 articles CLICK HERE

Six million Americans likely to pay healthcare tax in 2016

Reuters – U.S. budget experts raised their forecast on Wednesday of how many Americans will probably have to pay a penalty in 2016 for not buying health insurance to 6 million from 4 million. The 50 percent increase was likely to draw fire from Republicans on the campaign trail who want to repeal President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law and who reject the penalty as a government intrusion into the lives of individuals. Read article

Smoking, drinking tied to earlier pancreatic cancer

Reuters – People who smoke or drink heavily may develop pancreatic cancer at an earlier age than folks who avoid those habits, a new study suggests. It’s long been known that smoking is a risk factor for developing pancreatic cancer – a disease that is rarely caught early and has a grim prognosis. Only about five of every 100 people diagnosed with the cancer are still alive five years later. Read article

Botswana Doctors Stop Cervical Cancer With A Vinegar Swab

NPR – In the U.S., the pap smearhas become a routine part of women’s health care, and it’s dramatically reduced cervical cancer deaths. But in Africa and other impoverished regions, few women get pap smears because the countries lack the laboratories and other resources necessary to offer them. The World Health Organization reports that more than 80 percent of deaths from cervical cancer now occur in low-income nations. Thus, there’s a push to come up with a new, low-tech way to screen women for cervical cancer in the developing world. Now doctors think a bit of vinegar may be a solution. Read article

U.S. needs arsenic limits in rice: Consumer Reports

Reuters – Consumer Reports is urging U.S. limits for arsenic in rice after tests of more than 60 popular products – from Kellogg’s Rice Krispies to Gerber infant cereal – showed most contained some level of inorganic arsenic, a known human carcinogen. The watchdog group said some varieties of brown rice – including brands sold by Whole Foods Markets Inc and Wal-Mart Stores Inc – contained particularly significant levels of inorganic arsenic. Read article