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U.S. oil prices rise above $60 per barrel on tightening supply

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Wed, 03/20/2019 - 10:27

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. crude prices rose to a four-month high above $60 a barrel after government data showed tightening oil supplies in the United States, but gains were capped by concerns over global economic growth due to the ongoing U.S.-China trade dispute.

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Can the U.S. Save Brazil’s Cursed Spaceport?

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Wed, 03/20/2019 - 10:23

The author of Spaceport Earth explores Inside the past and future of a spaceport with a tragic, checkered past.

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More evidence that breastfeeding may lower the risk of heart disease

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Wed, 03/20/2019 - 10:19

New Australian research has found that breastfeeding may help protect women against developing or dying from cardiovascular disease (CVD). The findings, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, showed that women who breastfed had a 14 percent lower risk of developing, and a 34 percent lower risk of dying from CVD, compared to women who had children but hadn't breastfed. The results also held true even after the researchers had taken into account potentially influencing socio-economic and lifestyle risk factors.

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NICHD Data and Specimen Hub (DASH) Releases New Functionality for Biospecimen Requests

NIH Funding Opportunities - Wed, 03/20/2019 - 10:17
Notice NOT-HD-19-004 from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts
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Ocean mission's emergency ascent caused by motor burning out

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Wed, 03/20/2019 - 10:10

ALDABRA, Seychelles (AP) — A drama in which a submersible made an emergency ascent from 250 meters (820 feet) below the Indian Ocean was caused by condensation burning out a small motor in the cockpit, the director of the British-led Nekton Mission said on Wednesday.

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U.S. government failed to consider climate impacts of oil, gas: judge

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Wed, 03/20/2019 - 10:09

The ruling, by U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Judge Rudolph Contreras, was issued late on Tuesday, according to court documents. The Department of Interior, which is the defendant in the lawsuit, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. DOI oversees the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which is responsible for oil and gas development on federal lands.

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Merkel Forms ‘Climate Cabinet’ as Carbon Pollution Fines Loom

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Wed, 03/20/2019 - 09:57

Cabinet members including Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, Economy and Energy Minister Peter Altmaier and Environment Minister Svenja Schulze will meet regularly to devise policy to cut carbon emissions in sectors from power generation to agriculture, the government said on Wednesday. While the group’s main job is to map out steps to reduce carbon emissions in their sectors by 2030 in line with Paris Climate Accord pledges, their efforts will come too late to make good on Germany’s current record, Schulze’s ministry said in an email.

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Dementia rates falling thanks to smoking reductions, report finds

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Wed, 03/20/2019 - 09:55

The risk of developing dementia is falling, thanks to lifestyle improvements such as reductions in smoking, new research has found. Researchers have said that while the overall number of cases is rising due to the population living longer, an individual’s chances of having the disease is going down. A review of five studies including nearly 60,000 people across Europe and the US found that rates are declining by up to 15 per cent every 10 years. Dementia currently affects 850,000 people in the UK and is the leading cause of death. Prof Albert Hofman, who led the research at the Harvard School of Public Health, said: “We know that recent decades have seen a radical decline in smoking rates for men. While many people may have been persuaded to stop smoking due to an increased risk of cancer or heart disease, it is also a key risk factor for dementia. “With other dementia risk factors such as obesity and diabetes on the rise, this apparent decline in dementia rates may not continue for long." A recent poll conducted by the Alzheimer’s Research UK, at whose conference the new results were presented, found just a third of people think it is possible to reduce their risk of developing dementia while 77 per cent of people think it’s possible to reduce their risk of heart disease. Prof Alina Solomon, from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, told the gathering: “In future, prevention strategies that combine drug treatments and lifestyle changes may be the most effective strategy to limit the impact of dementia. “While new drugs take many years to develop, lifestyle changes are available to us all.” “We’re working to identify diet, physical activity and brain training programmes that will be most impact on dementia risk.”

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Study links drinking hot tea with elevated esophageal cancer risk

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Wed, 03/20/2019 - 09:40

The research hails from the Tehran University of Medical Sciences in Iran and is published in The International Journal of Cancer. Scientists followed 50,045 individuals between the ages of 40 and 75 from 2004 to 2017. During this period, 317 new cases of esophageal cancer were identified. Drinking 700ml of tea per day at a temperature greater than or equal to 60°C was associated with a 90% higher risk of esophageal cancer.

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Finland tops world's happiest countries list again: U.N. report

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Wed, 03/20/2019 - 09:37

Finland topped the ranking of the world's happiest countries for the second year in a row, with the Nordic countries taking the leading spots, an annual survey issued on Wednesday showed. South Sudan came last in the U.N. Sustainable Development Solutions Network's 2019 World Happiness Report. It ranked 156 countries according to things such as GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, social freedom, generosity and absence of corruption.

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Lyft Analyst Sees ‘Almost Nothing’ in Filing to Assess Business

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Wed, 03/20/2019 - 09:35

Nine days away from its Nasdaq debut, Lyft’s executives are in Boston on Wednesday as part of a nationwide pitch to potential investors for its initial public offering. Citing Netflix Inc. and Spotify Technology SA as examples of more transparent firms, Wallace said Lyft “had an opportunity to be forthcoming” in its metrics, such as separating the acquisition costs of drivers versus passengers, disclosing churn rates or breaking out scooters and bikes. One reason Triton is bearish about Lyft’s missing metrics is the management compensation structure, which is based on two triggers -- a sale or IPO.

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Pfizer/Merck KGaA End Bavencio+Talzenna Ovarian Cancer Study

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Wed, 03/20/2019 - 09:30

Pfizer (PFE) and Merck KGaA terminate a late-stage study on Bavencio and its new PARP inhibitor, Talzenna. This is the third ovarian cancer study failure in less than six months.

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'Designer baby' shock sparks WHO call for global genetics research register

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Wed, 03/20/2019 - 09:24

An expert panel convened by the World Health Organization has stopped short of calling for a ban on the gene-editing of embryos and instead has said a global registry should be set up to track all research being conducted in the area.  Following a two-day meeting in Geneva, the committee said an "open and transparent" international registry should be set up "immediately" to track all research into human gene-editing.  Although it did not propose a ban on the genetic manipulation of embryos it did say that any such experiments would be "irresponsible". The panel was established in December after the shock announcement that a Chinese scientist, He Jiankui, had edited the embryos of twin girls to give them resistance to HIV. The children, born last autumn, are thought to be the world's first gene-edited babies. The revelation took the world by surprise and was met with global condemnation. Medical ethics were breached because HIV can be treated without gene-editing and the risks that entails.  Editing the genes of embryonic DNA may also have far reaching consequences as it alters the germline - meaning that the changes made are passed from one generation to another and cannot be undone. The Gene Genie | Professor George Church The panel, which included 18 researchers and bioethicists, said there is an “urgent need” to create a transparent global registry which lists all experiments related to human gene-editing, and asked the WHO to set up such a registry immediately.  Dr Margaret Ann Hamburg, co-chair of the WHO panel, said the proposed registry - where scientific journals and funders would have to list anything they publish or finance - would “increase accountability of scientific researchers around the world.” The database should include studies that edit the DNA of eggs, sperm and early embryos, but should also include those that edit adult cells to curtail disease - which is far less controversial. The panel added that over the next two years it aims to produce “comprehensive governance framework” for work in the field, to help prevent maverick uses of the developing technology.  But the panel stopped short of proposing a moratorium on germline gene-editing, which was called for by an international group of scientists in an article in Nature journal last week.  "I don't think a vague moratorium is the answer to what needs to be done," said Dr Hamburg. "What we're trying to do is look at the broad picture. But Dr Hamburg also said: “The committee agrees that it is irresponsible at this time for anyone to proceed with clinical applications of human germline genome editing." Newsletter promotion - global health security - end of article Long-term ethical concern and debate around germline editing revolves around the creation of “designer babies” - embryos modified not just to protect against disease but to produce children with enhanced intelligence, athletic prowess or cosmetic traits.  Stephen Hawking’s final prediction, in an essay published after his death, was that the wealthiest strata of society would soon begin editing their own and their children’s DNA to create a ‘superhuman’ race, with enhanced memory, disease resistance, intelligence and longevity. He argued this risked dividing humanity into genetic ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’. But in an interview in last week's Telegraph George Church, professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School, said the controversy surrounding the editing of human embryos was overblown.  He compared the debate to the short lived moral panic that proceeded the introduction of IVF treatment, predicting that germline editing would eventually be “adopted worldwide”.  “I just don't think that blue eyes and [an extra] 15 IQ points is really a public health threat,” he said, “I don't think it's a threat to our morality.” He did add, however, that there were legitimate concerns about the technology exacerbating inequalities. The WHO’s director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus , welcomed the panel’s proposals. “Gene editing holds incredible promise for health, but it also poses some risks, both ethically and medically,” he said. Protect yourself and your family by learning more about Global Health Security

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Hancock accused of 'astonishing ignorance' after he speaks about his prostate cancer risk

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Wed, 03/20/2019 - 09:20

Matt Hancock has been accused of “an astonishing level of ignorance” after revealing that tests had found he is at increased risk of prostate cancer.   One leading geneticist said the Health Secretary had “massively misinterpreted” his results, and would be wasting NHS resources by booking an appointment to discuss the matter with his GP.   Mr Hancock revealed the results of his genetic tests as he called for the health service to roll out gene tests more widely. But scientists today criticised the drive, with Mr Hancock accused of making “frankly ridiculous” claims, in his speech to The Royal Society. Meanwhile GPs said encouraging people to routinely be tested for common diseases would uncover too many “unimportant” findings which would leave patients needlessly distressed, while heaping pressure on surgeries.   The facts | Prostate cancer Mr Hancock said the tests found he has a 15 per cent chance of suffering prostate cancer by the age of 75 - around 50 per cent higher than average. The Health Secretary, 40, said the news had left him worried, saying he would now be seeking a blood test from his GP, and ensuring he did not miss any screening appointments. He also said he would make sure he did not miss any screening appointments. The NHS normally only provides PSA blood tests - which can show an increased risk of prostate cancer - from the age of 50, if requested, or from the age of 45 when there is a family history of disease. There is no NHS screening programme for prostate cancer. Today  Professor David Curtis, UCL Genetics Institute & Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, said the Health Secretary had “massively misinterpreted the meaning of the score he has been given.” He said Mr Hancock’s score would not be considered high risk, and that the difference between it and average risk could come down to a “margin of error”. Prof Curtis said the Health Secretary would waste scarce resources by booking a “completely unnecessary appointment with his GP to discuss a course of action to address a problem which essentially does not exist.” prostate cancer cases And he said other comments by Mr Hancock displayed “a quite astonishing level of ignorance about the NHS.” “He says he is going to make certain that he does not miss any screening appointments. That should be easy, because there is no such thing as a screening appointment for prostate cancer. We don’t do them because they don’t work, they’re a waste of time and money, they cause unnecessary anxiety to patients and unnecessary work for health professionals.” In a lengthy tirade, the geneticist said: “His claim that this test may have saved his life is frankly ridiculous. It really demonstrates an astonishing and worrying degree of innumeracy and lack of comprehension of health issues.” Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chairman of the Royal College of GPs, urged ministers to be cautious in the rollout of gene testing. She said: “Genomic research will have an increasingly important place in shaping the care we are able to provide to patients in the NHS and advances in medical research must be properly evaluated to ensure that they do benefit patients. But we also need to ensure that genomic data is used responsibly, ethically, and in a way that does not increase pressure on the NHS without the appropriate mitigating measures in place to cope with it. “Many things that will be picked up by genetic testing will be unimportant or of dubious value, and these could leave people unnecessarily confused and distressed. This will undoubtedly lead to an increased number of worried people wanting to visit their GP to discuss their borderline results, at a time when general practice is already struggling to cope with intense demand – and millions of patients are already waiting too long for an appointment,” he said. In the speech today, Mr Hancock said too much data was “locked away” in research labs, as a result of bureaucratic obstacles and scientists refusing to share it. Currently the NHS offers limited gene testing, when patients are thought to be at higher risk because of a family history of disease. The Government has set out an ambition to sequence 5 million genomes over the next five years to build a diagnostic, predictive, preventive and personalised health and care service. So far 100,000 genomes have been sequenced, allowing one in four participants with rare diseases receiving a diagnosis for the first time. Vivienne Parry, head of engagement at Genomics England, said: “Our current focus is those with rare disease or cancer and we are only just beginning to think about risk scoring for healthy people which will need a great deal of work before it is ready for widespread NHS use. "

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EPA chief says unsafe water, polluted oceans a bigger global environmental crisis than climate change

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Wed, 03/20/2019 - 09:10

The head of the top U.S. environmental agency said on Wednesday that the Trump administration considers drinking water quality around the world a bigger crisis than climate change, despite the recent surge in debate around the proposed Green New Deal. Wheeler said the Trump administration wants to do more to address water issues that affect up to 2.5 billion people around the world, according to the United Nations, and infrastructure issues that could cost the U.S. up to $700 billion.

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Exclusive: Trident Energy takes lead in Petrobras oilfield sale - sources

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Wed, 03/20/2019 - 09:09

RIO DE JANEIRO/SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Warburg Pincus-backed firm Trident Energy is in exclusive talks with Petroleo Brasileiro SA to acquire a pair of Brazilian oil clusters, two sources with knowledge of the matter said this week, as the state-run company known as Petrobras moves to revive the sale effort. Petrobras had agreed in July to enter into exclusive talks with Ouro Preto Oleo e Gas, a Brazilian energy company backed by private equity firm EIG Global Energy Partners, to sell its Pampo and Enchova shallow water oil clusters off the coast of Rio de Janeiro. Petrobras has since entered exclusive talks with Trident Energy, which had bid for the fields in 2018 but did not enter into direct talks with Petrobras because its offer was below Ouro Preto's offer, according to the sources.

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U.N. rights boss decries Venezuela crackdown; says sanctions may worsen crisis

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Wed, 03/20/2019 - 09:05

Venezuelan security forces, backed by pro-government militias, have quashed peaceful protests with excessive use of force, killings and torture, the United Nations human rights chief said on Wednesday. Michelle Bachelet, addressing the Human Rights Council, cited allegations that the National Police’s Special Actions Force (FAES) had executed 37 people in January in Caracas in illegal house raids in poor areas supporting the opposition. U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that his administration had held in reserve what he called "the toughest of sanctions" to try to cut off revenues to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

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