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Latest Brown University Stories

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2011-05-26 14:45:00

A team of NASA-funded researchers has measured water from the moon that shows some parts of the lunar mantle have as much water as the Earth's upper mantle. The research, from Case Western Reserve University, Carnegie Institution for Science, and Brown University, shows 100 times more water than measured before. Scientists discovered water along with volatile elements in lunar magma trapped inside of crystals that are themselves trapped inside tiny volcanic glass beads. The team of...

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2011-05-20 13:03:07

When you suffer a heart attack, a part of your heart dies. Nerve cells in the heart's wall and a special class of cells that spontaneously expand and contract "“ keeping the heart beating in perfect synchronicity "“ are lost forever. Surgeons can't repair the affected area. It's as if when confronted with a road riddled with potholes, you abandon what's there and build a new road instead.Needless to say, this is a grossly inefficient way to treat arguably the single most important...

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2011-05-19 10:12:56

Analysis of dairy intake and heart attack risk found no statistically significant relation in thousands of Costa Rican adults. Dairy foods might not harm heart health, despite saturated fat content, because they contain other possibly protective nutrients, researchers say. Dairy products can be high in harmful saturated fat but not necessarily in risk to the heart. A newly published analysis of thousands of adults in Costa Rica found that their levels of dairy consumption had nothing to do...

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2011-05-15 09:43:23

More than 200 million years ago, mammals and reptiles lived in their own separate worlds on the supercontinent Pangaea, despite little geographical incentive to do so. Mammals lived in areas of twice-yearly seasonal rainfall; reptiles stayed in areas where rains came just once a year. Mammals lose more water when they excrete, and thus need water-rich environments to survive. Results are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.Aggregating nearly the entire landmass of...

2011-05-05 22:02:40

In hundreds of interviews in five states with family members of persons who had advanced dementia, researchers found that their decision-making process for whether to insert a feeding tube often lacked necessary information for informed consent. Despite evidence that feeding tubes do not improve survival rates or quality of life for elderly patients with advanced dementia, their frequency of use varies widely across the states. A new survey of family members finds that discussions surrounding...

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2011-05-04 09:45:00

The thylacine had the head and body of a dog, but its striped coat resembled a cat and it carried its young in a pouch like a kangaroo. These enigmatic, iconic creatures of Australia and Tasmania have been given conflicting names such as the "marsupial wolf" and the "Tasmanian tiger." Researchers at Brown University may have discovered the answer as to what type of creature the extinct thylacine was. Bones of the thylacines, along with other dog-like and cat-like animals such as pumas,...

2011-04-25 16:14:36

Call them the Jason Bournes of the bacteria world. Going "off the grid," like rogue secret agents, some bacteria avoid antibiotic treatments by essentially shutting down and hiding until it's safe to come out again, says Thomas Wood, professor in the Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering at Texas A&M University. This surreptitious and elaborate survival mechanism is explained in the online April edition of "Nature Chemical Biology," which details the research of Wood and his...

2011-04-20 13:08:06

With certain variations people will stick longer with instructions that contradict experience Researchers at Brown University have found that specific genetic variations can predict how persistently people will believe advice they are given, even when it is contradicted by experience. The story they tell in a paper in the April 20 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience is one of the byplay between two brain regions that have different takes on how incoming information should influence thinking....

2011-04-18 21:17:52

Teens and adolescents who believe that they matter to their family - that is, they feel the make a difference in the family's daily doings- are significantly less likely to threaten or engage in family violence, according to a new study by Brown sociologist Gregory Elliott. The findings are published in the Journal of Family Issues. Adolescents who believe they matter to their families are less likely to threaten or engage in violence against family members, according to a new study led by...

2011-04-04 22:17:27

'Cold sores' connected to cognitive decline Laboratories at the University of New Mexico (UNM), Brown University, and House Ear Institute (HEI) have developed a new technique to observe herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV1) infections growing inside cells. HSV1, the cause of the common cold sore, persists in a latent form inside nerve cells. Re-activation and growth of HSV1 infections contribute to cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer's disease. Details are published in the March 31 issue...


Word of the Day
humgruffin
  • A terrible or repulsive person.
Regarding the etymology of 'humgruffin,' the OED says (rather unhelpfully) that it's a 'made-up word.' We might guess that 'hum' comes from 'humbug' or possibly 'hum' meaning 'a disagreeable smell,' while 'gruffin' could be a combination of 'gruff' and 'griffin.'