Archive for March 28th, 2012
Astronomers have discovered a planetary system that formed nearly 13 billion years ago, suggesting the early universe harbored more planets than has been thought.
The system consists of a star called HIP 11952 and two Jupiter-like alien planets. It is just 375 light-years from Earth, in the constellation Cetus (the Whale). The planets are likely the oldest yet found; at 12.8 billion years old, they're just 900 million years younger than the universe itself, according to the commonly accepted Big Bang theory.
For comparison, Earth and the other planets in the solar system formed about 4.5 billion years ago.
"This is an archaeological find in our own backyard," Johny Setiawan, of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany, said in a statement. Setiawan led the group that discovered the alien planets, which are called HIP 11952b and HIP 11952c. "These planets probably formed when our galaxy itself was still a baby.
“Lucy” Lived Among Close Cousins: Discovery of Foot Fossil Confirms Two Human Ancestor Species Co-Existed
A team of scientists has announced the discovery of a 3.4 million-year-old partial foot from the Woranso-Mille area of the Afar region of Ethiopia. The fossil foot did not belong to a member of “Lucy’s” species, Australopithecus afarensis, the famous early human ancestor. Research on this new specimen indicates that more than one species of early human ancestor existed between 3 and 4 million years ago with different methods of locomotion.
… Consumption of too few or too many calories is an important — arguably the most important — cause of public health nutrition problems in the world today. Problems with calories affect billions of people in rich as well as poor countries. Consuming too few calories leads to malnutrition (undernutrition), which makes people more susceptible to infectious disease. The result is stunted growth, misery, and premature death in children and adults. More than a billion people, most of them in poor countries, go hungry for lack of food.
At the same time, just as many people in the world are consuming more calories than they need and becoming overweight and obese. The numbers of obese people are rising rapidly, even in the poorest countries. Obesity is now so common that the populations of some poor countries contain nearly equal numbers of people who are undernourished and overnourished. Obesity raises risks for any number of chronic diseases, most notably type 2 diabetes.
Nurses unions say an increasing number of hospitals nationwide are asking nurses to adhere to standard scripts when talking to patients…Hospital executives and consultants deny they require nurses to follow scripts and argue that having nurses use 'key words at key times'…makes patients more comfortable and less anxious, thereby promoting healing…In October, Medicare…will start basing 1 percent of payments to hospitals in part on their 'patient experience' scores. Good scores can mean millions of dollars to a hospital that treats large numbers of Medicare patients…As a result, hospitals are rushing to hire consultants to help improve patients’ experiences.
A Mellman Group poll commissioned by a group called Just Label It found that 91% of 1,000 voters said they support labeling of food with genetically modified organisms, while 5% were opposed. The group is awaiting an FDA response on a petition to require labeling as a safety measure. Opponents, however, say there is no safety concern with GMOs and that a mandate would be expensive and would lead to higher food prices and lawsuits.
A study of 945 adults in PLoS One indicated that trans-fat intake might be linked to irritability, impatience and aggression, according to U.S.-based researchers. "We need to keep in mind that food labels tend to not differentiate between manufactured and natural trans fats. These are chemically different, and research is needed to clarify the roles of each type on behavior," said Dr. Karen Davison, who was not part of the research.
Insulin-treated men with type 2 diabetes who did not have a history of cardiovascular disease were 40% more likely than women to develop the condition, and their risk of having a heart attack or dying from CVD was 70% higher than that of nondiabetic men who had a history of heart trouble, according to a study presented at the American College of Cardiology annual meeting. The findings underscore the importance of cholesterol screening, tailored exercise programs and blood pressure control among men with diabetes who use insulin, researchers said.