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Potentially harmful chemicals found in plastic toys
New research suggests that more than 100 chemicals found in plastic toy materials may pose possible health risks to children. The study provides findings that may lead to stricter international regulations. (2021-02-22)

Research findings can help to increase population size of endangered species
The findings of a new study examining the behaviours of alligator and caiman hatchlings have enhanced our understanding of how we can conserve, and increase, the population of endangered crocodilian species. (2021-02-03)

Scientists develop method to detect fake news
Social media is increasingly used to spread fake news. The same problem can be found on the capital market - criminals spread fake news about companies in order to manipulate share prices. Researchers at the Universities of Göttingen and Frankfurt and the Jožef Stefan Institute in Ljubljana have developed an approach that can recognise such fake news, even when the news contents are repeatedly adapted. The results of the study were published in the Journal of the Association for Information Systems. (2021-02-01)

Not too big, not too small: Goldilocks analogy found in maze navigation
Research from the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University has taken a close look at how fluids navigate around mazes and obstacles and has found a surprising randomness in how they choose their path. (2021-02-01)

Deep learning helps predicting occult peritoneal metastasis in stomach cancer
A new study led by the Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology (SIAT) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences shows that deep learning can help predicting the occult peritoneal metastasis in stomach cancer. It provides a novel and noninvasive approach for stomach cancer patients and may inform individualized surgical management of stomach cancer. (2021-01-07)

COVID's collateral damage: Germicidal lamps may damage corneas
In a paper published in the journal of Ocular Immunology and Inflammation, physicians from the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine reported that several patients using germicidal lamps in an attempt to sanitize against the coronavirus, developed painful inflammation of the cornea, a condition called photokeratitis. These consumer-available ultraviolet (UV) emitting devices were being usedin an attempt toeliminate coronavirusfrom homes and offices. (2020-11-24)

Automatic decision-making prevents us harming others - new study
The processes our brains use to avoid harming other people are automatic and reflexive - and quite different from those used when avoiding harm to ourselves, according to new research. (2020-10-15)

Consumers who avoid products with harmful chemicals on the label have lower body burden
New research shows that paying close attention to what's in the products you buy can pay off. In a study led by Silent Spring Institute, researchers found that consumers who avoided products containing specific endocrine disruptors had significantly lower levels of the chemicals in their bodies. (2020-09-30)

Reward and punishment take similar paths in the mouse brain
One brain pathway, originating from the striosome, regulates the motivations that influence behavior. Previously, this part of the brain was thought to support reward-seeking and positive reinforcement for learning. The discovery that some neurons in this pathway contribute instead to negative-reinforcement learning reveals the striosome to be a complex motivation-processing hub. Motivation processing is impaired in people with certain mental illnesses. (2020-09-15)

Romantic partners influence each other's goals
Over the long-term, what one partner in a two-person relationship wishes to avoid, so too does the other partner -- and what one wants to achieve, so does the other. These effects can be observed regardless of gender, age and length of the relationship, as researchers from the University of Basel report in a study of more than 450 couples. (2020-09-08)

Pain 'catastrophizing' may lead to little exercise, more time sedentary
Chronic pain affects the majority of older adults in the US, and getting enough exercise plays a key role in pain management. New research suggests that how people think about their pain can have a significant effect on whether they get enough physical activity - or if they spend more time sedentary. (2020-08-25)

People can make better choices when it benefits others
People are better at learning and decision-making when trying to avoid harm to others, according to new research published in JNeurosci. (2020-08-24)

New recommendations: People with high cholesterol should eliminate carbs, not saturated fat
An international team of experts on heart disease and diet say there's no evidence that a low-saturated fat diet reduces cholesterol in people with familial hypercholesterolemia. (2020-07-06)

Ethics and AI: An unethical optimization principle
EPFL professor Anthony Davison and co-authors provide a mathematical basis for concerns about ethical implications of AI. (2020-06-30)

Bugs resort to several colours to protect themselves from predators
New research has revealed for the first time that shield bugs use a variety of colours throughout their lives to avoid predators. For years it has been thought that animals living in the same environment -- like nymphs and adults of the same species -- should use similar warning colours, not different ones. (2020-06-25)

An ant-inspired approach to mathematical sampling
In a paper published by the Royal Society, a team of Bristol researchers observed the exploratory behaviour of ants to inform the development of a more efficient mathematical sampling technique. (2020-06-19)

Be clear, positive, and targeted, to help public stick to social distancing, governments urged
Clear, positive, messaging that is segmented by age, culture, and geography is key to helping the public stick to social distancing measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 infection, say behavioral experts in a commentary accepted for publication in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. (2020-05-06)

Molecular switch plays crucial role in learning from negative experiences
Neurobiologists at KU Leuven have discovered how the signalling molecule Neuromedin U plays a crucial role in our learning process. The protein allows the brain to recall negative memories and, as such, learn from the past. The findings of their study on roundworms have been published in the journal Nature Communications. (2020-04-29)

Renewable energy developments threaten biodiverse areas
More than 2000 renewable energy facilities are built in areas of environmental significance and threaten the natural habitats of plant and animal species across the globe. A University of Queensland research team mapped the location of solar, wind and hydropower facilities in wilderness, protected areas and key biodiversity areas. (2020-03-25)

Study reveals how long COVID-19 remains infectious on cardboard, metal and plastic
The virus that causes COVID-19 remains for several hours to days on surfaces and in aerosols, a new scientific study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found. The study suggests that people may acquire the coronavirus through the air and after touching contaminated objects. (2020-03-20)

Zoology: Western gorillas may be territorial
Groups of western gorillas may defend the centres of their home ranges against neighbouring groups, a study in Scientific Reports suggests. These findings may suggest that western gorillas are territorial. (2020-03-12)

Watching TV helps birds make better food choices
By watching videos of each other eating, blue tits and great tits can learn to avoid foods that taste disgusting and are potentially toxic, a new study has found. (2020-02-20)

Tougher start could help captive-bred game birds
Tougher early lives could help captive-bred game birds develop survival skills for adulthood in the wild, new research suggests. (2020-01-29)

UBC research reveals young children prefer to learn from confident people
Researchers found that young children between the age of four and five not only prefer to learn from people who appear confident, they also keep track of how well the person's confidence has matched with their knowledge and accuracy in the past (a concept called 'calibration') and avoid learning new information from people who have a history of being overconfident. (2020-01-27)

How the brain balances pleasure and pain
The region of the brain called the ventral pallidum balances signals that either excite or inhibit neurons to influence the motivation of an animal to seek pleasure or avoid pain. An imbalance skews positive vs. negative motivation and may explain behaviors associated with psychiatric disorders like depression or anxiety. (2019-12-31)

Women with a low desire to avoid pregnancy still use contraception
A new study challenges assumptions that women with the highest preference against pregnancy use more effective contraceptive methods and that women who might welcome pregnancy do not use contraception. Overall, women with a stronger preference to avoid pregnancy were far more likely to use any contraceptive method. Still, over half of the women studied who reported low preference to avoid pregnancy nevertheless used a contraceptive method. (2019-12-16)

New algorithms train AI to avoid specific bad behaviors
Robots, self-driving cars and other intelligent machines could become better-behaved if machine-learning designers adopt a new framework for building AI with safeguards against specific undesirable outcomes. The researchers dub their approach 'Seldonian algorithms' -- a reference to the Hari Seldon character of sci-fi author Isaac Asimov, who coined the laws of robotics starting with: 'A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.' (2019-11-21)

Ants: Jam-free traffic champions
Whether they occur on holiday routes or the daily commute, traffic jams affect cars as well as pedestrians. Scientists at the CNRS, Université Toulouse III - Paul Sabatier (France) and the University of Arizona (United States) have demonstrated that ant colonies, however, are spared these problems and circulate easily, even in the event of extremely dense traffic, thus ensuring consistent efficiency in their foraging. These findings appear in the 22 October 2019 edition of eLife. (2019-10-22)

Female gorillas detect and avoid sick groups
Gorillas are social animals, living in groups that females will migrate to join, becoming members of harems. Though some factors motivating these migrations were previously known, a research team has just demonstrated that female gorillas are able to avoid conspecifics liable to transmit yaws, which leads to conspicuous ulcers on the animals' faces. (2019-09-11)

Amateur investors fail to diversify and are better off choosing stocks at random
A new study from the UBC Sauder School of Business has found that less experienced investors are failing to diversify -- and could be putting themselves at serious financial risk. The effect is so pronounced that many amateur investors would be better off choosing stocks at complete random. (2019-08-14)

Migration can promote or inhibit cooperation between individuals
A new mathematical analysis suggests that migration can generate patterns in the spatial distribution of individuals that promote cooperation and allow populations to thrive, in spite of the threat of exploitation. Felix Funk and Christoph Hauert of the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, present these findings in PLOS Computational Biology. (2019-08-08)

The impacts of smoking on patients with ulcerative colitis
Because smokers are less likely to develop ulcerative colitis (UC), a type of inflammatory bowel disease, patients with UC may be tempted to start smoking to lessen their symptoms. (2019-08-07)

Male black widows piggyback on work of rivals in a desperate attempt to find a mate
A new U of T study finds male black widow spiders will hijack silk trails left by rival males in their search for a potential mate. (2019-08-02)

Caterpillars of the peppered moth perceive color through their skin
It is difficult to distinguish caterpillars of the peppered moth from a twig. The caterpillars not only mimic the form but also the color of a twig. In a new study, researchers of Liverpool University in the UK and the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Germany demonstrate that the caterpillars can sense the twig's color with their skin. (2019-08-02)

Protective protein guards against DNA damage & could help target fast growing cancer cells
The discovery that an essential protein plays a protective role during cell division, could open the door to better targeted treatment of fast-growing cancer cells. (2019-07-31)

New research helps predict locations of blue whales so ships can avoid them
A new model based on daily oceanographic data and the movements of tagged whales has opened the potential for stakeholders to see where in the ocean endangered blue whales are most likely to be so that ships can avoid hitting them. (2019-07-10)

Researchers identify maximum weight children should carry in school backpacks
Scientists from the University of Granada and Liverpool John Moores University (UK) have established that school children who use backpacks should avoid loads of more than 10% of their body weight -- and those who use trolleys, 20% of their body weight. (2019-07-02)

The clinical and biological significance of HER2 over-expression in breast ductal carcinoma in situ: A large study from a single institution
Upcoming publication from the British Journal of Cancer, investigating HER2 expression as a predictor of recurrence and development in patients with DCIS. (2019-05-07)

It's hard to be a nomad in Mongolia
Scientists tracked 22 Mongolian gazelles (Procapra gutturosa) over the vast grasslands of Mongolia for a 1-3 year period using GPS. (2019-05-02)

Intentions attributed to other people change how we see their actions
Academics in the School of Psychology at the University of Plymouth have suggested our apparent ability to see the intent in other's behaviour leads us to cling to our false judgements. (2019-04-18)

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