When complex systems fail: The mammalian dive response and sudden unexpected death

When complex systems fail: The mammalian dive response and sudden unexpected death

The mammalian dive response (MDR) conserves oxygen when a person is swimming or diving. Usually the MDR serves as a built-in safety feature of the body. Sometimes, though, the MDR interacts with other factors to cause sudden unexpected death. In particular, risk of death increases when the MDR is combined with a heart condition called long QT syndrome. In a […]

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Cooperation with autonomous machines through culture and emotion

As robots become ubiquitous to society, human-machine cooperation becomes unavoidable.

People tend to be less cooperative with machines than with humans. Dr Celso de Melo, a computer scientist with the US Army Research Laboratory, and Dr Kazunori Terada, an Associate Professor at Gifu University, Japan, demonstrate how incorporating simple cultural and emotional cues, such as virtual faces showing positive or negative emotion, can help mitigate unfavourable bias toward machines and […]

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Climate change is driving the expansion of zoonotic diseases

The team researches the spread of zoonotic diseases such as the Zika virus.

Climate change is expanding the range of many infectious diseases. In particular, vector-borne diseases, such as dengue or malaria, are advancing. Predictions of disease risk need to take into account both biological and abiotic factors. Dr Jeanne M. Fair and her colleagues at Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico, USA, are pioneering a multidisciplinary approach to the problem. By combining […]

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Taxonomy of affective curriculum for gifted learners: A framework for providing social–emotional learning to gifted children

Girl in a classroom: social skills are the basis of the affective curriculum.

As the demand for adequate social–emotional learning grows globally, in the United States there has been an emphasis on the power of affective education. Dr Derek Cavilla, from the University of Central Florida, has developed a framework called Cavilla’s Taxonomy of Affective Curriculum for Gifted Learners, which aims to help gifted learners achieve their potential through the power of social–emotional […]

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Mitonucleons: A new chapter in the story of mitochondria?

The mitonucleon consists of multiple mitochondria.

Mitonucleons are a newly recognised type of mitochondrial superstructure. Consisting of multiple mitochondria enveloping chromatin, mitonucleons appear to be responsible for the development of unusual structures called spheroids. Dr Honoree Fleming of Castleton State College, Vermont, USA, has identified mitonucleons in human endometrial cells in vitro. Using microscopy, Dr Fleming has also observed mysterious structures called tubules, which appear to […]

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Design of Experiments: New research design could lead to better crops

Design of Experiments

As the world’s population continues to grow, new ways to ensure the future food supply are needed. Many crops undergo genetic transformation – a process where new genes are introduced into a plant cell, which are then grown into a mature plant. One way to hasten crop improvement is to optimise the transformation process. With this aim, Uyen Cao Chu of […]

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Home advantage in the NHL

The NHL had previously relied on a "player's code": a player was allowed to punish an opponent with his fists as he saw fit.

Since his retirement in 2003, Dr Marshall Jones, a professor at Penn State’s College of Medicine, has focused his research efforts on trying to explain how the home advantage in team sports works. The home advantage is the tendency for the home team to win more often than it loses. In the National Hockey League (NHL) the home advantage had […]

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Timely intervention helps protect the sexual health of adolescents

Timely intervention helps protect the sexual health of adolescents

Teenagers often take risks and make poor choices around their sexual health. In young people, particularly those living in deprived areas, HIV, sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancy remain major challenges. Dr Dianne Morrison-Beedy of The Ohio State University College of Nursing, Columbus, Ohio, USA, has developed an evidence-based sexual risk reduction intervention for adolescents called The Health Improvement Project […]

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Stentor coeruleus: Do these tiny cells have out-of-body experiences?

Female patient has an out-of-body experience.

Occasionally, a person who recovers from a medical crisis reports an “out-of-body experience”. In unique research, Dr Benjamin Scherlag of the University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City, USA, is using a single-celled organism called Stentor coeruleus to re-create the events that occur during an out-of-body experience. Dr Scherlag has shown that these cells can be revived from an apparently dead state […]

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Who makes the decisions? Patient “compliance” in modern medicine


Traditionally, the term “patient compliance” was used to define how closely a patient followed their doctor’s advice. Now, with the ever-expanding information and resources available to patients, the idea of “compliance” is in need of an update. Professor Karen Lutfey Spencer, of the University of Colorado Denver, USA, looked at the experiences of patients receiving end-of-life care to gain an […]

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