Tag Archives: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Health Study: HIV Becoming Less Deadly


Study: HIV Becoming Less Deadly

HIV is evolving into a less infectious and deadly form, according to a study by the University of Oxford. When HIV infects an individual with an immune system better equipped to battle the virus, it may become less effective at replicating. This weaker version of the virus may then be passed on. The findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, demonstrate evidence of this process occurring in Africa by comparing versions of the virus in Botswana and South Africa. Researchers warn that even less infectious forms of HIV could still cause AIDS. More… Discuss

word: quiescence


quiescence

Definition: (noun) A state of quiet (but possibly temporary) inaction.
Synonyms: dormancy
Usage: The volcano erupted after centuries of quiescence. Discuss.

Formula for Happiness


Formula for Happiness

Scientists have developed an equation for happiness. It takes into account expectations, rewards, and past outcomes in order to predict momentary delight. The researchers formulated their equation in an experiment with just 26 participants, but they then confirmed their findings with a smartphone game played by more than 18,000. Overall, they found that people were happiest when they performed better than expected on a risk-reward task. More… Discuss

NEWS: Wrongful Convictions in US Capital Cases Higher than Thought


Wrongful Convictions in US Capital Cases Higher than Thought

Capital punishment is a highly controversial topic, and new calculations about the rate of wrongful death sentences in the US are adding fuel to the fire. Using data about US death sentence convictions and exonerations, researchers concluded that about 4 percent of people sentenced to death between 1973 and 2004—some 300 people—were actually innocent, a higher rate than previously thought. While 117 were subsequently exonerated, the majority of those wrongfully sentenced to death were not. More… Discuss

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NEWS: INVESTORS FAVOR HANDSOME PITCHMEN


Investors Favor Handsome Pitchmen

Gentlemen may prefer blondes, but investors, it seems, prefer handsome men. Researchers have found that investors are more likely to back a business if it is pitched to them by a man rather than a woman. Furthermore, physical attractiveness seems to also play a role in swaying investors, but only when the entrepreneurs are male; handsome pitchmen were more likely than their less attractive counterparts to persuade potential investors to back their ventures, whereas attractiveness was not a determining factor when it came to female entrepreneurs. More… Discuss

 

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NEWS: FOOD SECURITY THREATENED BY GLOBALIZED DIETS


Food Security Threatened by Globalized Diets

Traditional crops and diets around the globe are falling victim to globalization. Over the past five decades, diets have become 36 percent more similar. At the same time, farmers are increasingly giving up traditional crops, like cassavasorghum, and millet, in favor of things like wheat, rice, soybeans, and sunflowers. This trend of cultivating less diverse food crops poses a threat to food security, as a single pest or disease has the potential to wipe out crops on a mass scale. Furthermore, though these staple crops have played a major role in combating hunger, they are also contributing to the rapid rise of obesity. More… Discuss

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NEWS: GIANT, DORMANT VIRUS REVIVED AFTER 30,000 YEARS


Giant, Dormant Virus Revived after 30,000 Years

virus that for 30,000 years lay dormant in the permafrostof Siberia has been revived by scientists. Called Pithovirus sibericum, it is not only the oldest virus ever revived but also the largest virus ever found, measuring 1.5 micrometers in length. Though this virus poses little threat to humans—it infects amoebas—researchers fear that other long-dormant viruses will be unleashed as the permafrost continues to thaw and the area is mined for resources. More…

 

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NEWS: FIRST BIOMARKER FOR DEPRESSION IDENTIFIED


First Biomarker for Depression Identified

Researchers have identified the first biomarker for clinical depression, and it could be helpful in identifying teenage boys at risk of developing the mental illness. Teen boys with depressive mood symptoms, such as feelings of misery, loneliness, or of not being loved, who also had high levels of the stress hormone cortisol were 14 times more likely to develop depression than those with low cortisol levels and no depressive symptoms. During the course of one three-year study, about half of the boys identified as high-risk using this screening tool went on to be diagnosed with clinical depression. More… Discuss

 

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AFTERNOON NAPS BOOST KIDS’ BRAINPOWER


Afternoon Naps Boost Kids’ Brainpower

Naptime for youngsters may be more valuable than we realize. Anyone involved in caring for a young child knows how far a nap can go in combating afternoon crankiness, but even more importantly, daytime sleep can also help kids learn. In a recent study, preschoolers appeared to better remember their lessons when put to sleep for an hour after lunch. Experts have long believed that sleep plays a role in the learning process, though they do not yet fully understand precisely how, and this study suggests that this holds true even in children as young as three. More… Discuss

 

MUSICIANS JUDGED BY THEIR PERFORMANCES, BUT NOT AS YOU MIGHT EXPECT


Musicians Judged by Their Performances, But Not as You Might Expect

In the classical music world, sound is considered the most important element of a musical performance, yet it appears that competition judges are actually most heavily influenced by how performers look, their stage presence, passion, uniqueness, and creativity. More than 1,000 people ranging from musical novices to professional musicians were asked to identify the top three finalists from 10 international classical music competitions using audio, video, or silent video samples from those competitions. The only participants whose accuracy was above chance levels were those assigned the silent videos. More… Discuss