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The Guardian (U.K.) 

Man’s headaches due to tapeworm living in his brain for four years

Parasitic worm normally found in amphibians and crustaceans in China may have scavenged nutrients from patient’s brainA man who went to see his doctor after suffering headaches and experiencing strange smells was found to have been living for more than four years with a rare parasitic worm in his brain.In the first case of its kind in Britain, the ribbon-shaped tapeworm was found to have b

Brain damage could be repaired by creating new nerve cells

Researchers have regenerated damaged areas in the brains of mice by converting structural cells into functioning neuronsScientists have raised hopes that brain damage caused by strokes, stab wounds and even bullets could one day be repaired by converting structural cells into functioning neurons.For the first time, they have managed to regenerate damaged areas of the cerebral cortex of liv

‘Happy gene’ may increase chances of romantic relationships

Having a double dose of a gene that boosts levels of serotonin appears to increase students’ chances of romanceChinese scientists claim to have found a gene variant that nudges up the odds of university students being in romantic relationships.They found that students who inherited two copies of the gene type were more likely to have a romantic partner than other students. The researchers

Bacteria on Russian ‘sex satellite’ survive reentry

Geckos used to study reproduction in space die in orbit, but thermophilic microbes still able to multiply after landingA Russian “sex satellite” mission studying the cosmic reproduction of geckos, flies and bacteria has returned to Earth with the geckos dead but some of its bacteria still alive.Two basalt discs with bacteria samples had been affixed to the outside of a Foton-M satellite that

Philae comet probe detects organic molecules – video report

Scientists from the European Space Agency say the lander Philae has discovered organic molecules containing carbon – the basis of life on Earth – on the comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. The find may give clues to our planet's early history. The ESA probe touched down on the comet on 12 November after a 10-year journey Continue reading...

Sun’s magnetic field sparks lightning on Earth

Changes in the field could be used to forecast lightning in an area, alerting power companies and hill walkers to risksLightning is by its very nature unpredictable, but forecasting when and where it will strike has become easier following new research.Space scientists have found that lightning strikes in the UK are being driven by changes that are occurring millions of miles away deep insid

Electrical brain stimulation beats caffeine – and the effect lasts longer

Half an hour of brain stimulation on sleep-deprived military staff improved their performance twice as much as caffeineResearchers in the US have used electrical brain stimulation to boost the vigilance of sleep-deprived military personnel working on an airforce base.Experiments on 18- to 42-year old men and women on active duty found that half an hour of electrical brain stimulation impro

New books Party: Books that arrived recently

Today I share my first impressions of books about urban birds, materials science and a children’s dystopian novel that was recently adapted into a film. Continue reading...

Smoking, squirrels and Saatchi - blogs roundup

Posts on our network this week included a new study on Australian attitudes towards plain packaging, the announcement that a major brain pathway has been rediscovered, and a look at the effectiveness of motivational posters Continue reading...

Does Miss America really promote gender equality in science?

Despite good intentions and a strong dedication to the promotion of science and technology, pageant winners chosen largely by their attractiveness in swimsuits perpetuate gender inequality and serve as poor role models Continue reading...

Banking turns people into rotten cheats

A new study suggests that while bankers are no more flawed as human beings than the rest of us, the culture of the financial sector needs to change Continue reading...

World Toilet Day. Yuck!

The psychology of disgust helps explain why there is resistance to talking about toilets and how to get around it. Continue reading...

Motivational posters: do they actually work?

Motivational and inspirational quotes and images seem to saturate every facet of our daily lives. Given how widespread they’ve become, it would be fair to assume they actually work. However, the science behind it suggests otherwise Continue reading...

How to nip antisocial personality disorder in the bud

A study suggests that an intensive programme of intervention starting at six reduces long-term risk of mental illness and drug or violence-related convictions Continue reading...

Attacking critics is no way to fix the Saatchi bill

The Medical Innovation bill, also known as the Saatchi bill, has drawn strong criticism from across the medical and legal professions, from patient groups and charities. Instead of acting on that criticism, Lord Saatchi has gone on the offensive Continue reading...

Major brain pathway rediscovered

A massive white matter tract at the back of the brain, overlooked for the past century, might be crucial for skills such as reading. Continue reading...

Eye Benders wins Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize

Eye Benders, a children’s book by Clive Gifford & Professor Anil Seth, is filled with optical illusions. The authors explain the science behind how these illusions work and demonstrate the many different ways that they trick your brain. Continue reading...

History of science books: Pickstone Prize shortlist announced

The British Society for the History of Science has announced the shortlist for its new prize for the best scholarly book in the field Continue reading...

Study finds cigarette smokers in Australia now support plain packaging

Despite Australian smokers being against it before implementation, survey data suggests overall support for the tobacco control policy after its introduction there Continue reading...

What's in your bag?

On roadmaps, scanners, ducks, and a mystery object Continue reading...

Smokers learn to cut down while they sleep

A single session of aversive smell conditioning administered during sleep reduces smoking for several days. Continue reading...

Become a Bird Song Hero

Today’s caturday video introduces the online game, Bird Song Hero. It uses audio and visual cues to help people learn birdsongs so they can identify wild birds by voice alone. Continue reading...

New books party: Books that arrived recently

This week, I share my first impressions about a scientific biography about John Napier, a Very Small Introduction about Alexander the Great, and a novel by an Australian writer. Continue reading...

Comets, crowdfunding and chief scientific advisers - blogs roundup

Posts on our network this week included the link between glühwein and gravitational waves, how to game Altmetrics, and extensive coverage of Rosetta’s historic mission Continue reading...

Animals in the news: in pictures

A tiger has been spotted near a French supermarket and other animals that have made it into the news this week Continue reading...

How to be a pickup artist (with science)

With the recent backlash against Julien Blanc and Dapper Laughs resulting in successful campaigns against them, the world of pick-up artists has lost some powerful figures. But fear not, because with this handy scientific guide you too could become the sort of immoral soulless harassment machine that the ladies just love (allegedly) Continue reading...

Itchcraft by Simon Mayo - review

Our teen-aged hero, Itch, is back. This, the third book in a mystery-thriller trilogy, follows Itch’s continuing adventures as he and his friends try to outwit criminal masterminds who are desperately seeking radioactive chemical element 126 -- an element that still lurks out there. Somewhere. Continue reading...

67P and the sounds of the universe

Listen to the strange music of the spheres with recordings gathered by spacecraft – and encounter the terrifying power of the cosmos Space. The final frontier. And so are the sounds it makes. Yes, yes I know: there are no actual “sounds” in the spectrum of human hearing in the firmament, but we can “hear” what’s out there when the electromagnetic waves of celestial bodies like stars, moons, c

From the archive, 20 November 1970: The diary of a persistent schoolboy zoologist

‘25 Oct. Bought a French grass snake for 15s. The snake has not eaten yet. I offered it some flies but it refused to eat them’The “Schools Bulletin” of the West Riding Education Committee, published yesterday, told the story of the persistent schoolboy zoologist by quoting extracts from the diary he kept during rural studies leading to the Certificate of Secondary Education examination:196

Chimera: the play about the twin inside

A woman finds out she has two sets of DNA – and her son is really her nephew – in a new play about genetics and motherhood by Deborah Stein and Suli HolumWe all have moments when we don’t quite feel ourselves. For some, though, fragmentation of the self is a biological as well as a psychological fact. Chimerism describes the medical state of having two sets of genetic material; it means, in o


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