A simple artificial heart could permanently replace a failing human one

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Nearly 4,000 people in the US are waiting for heart transplants. And on average, it takes about six months to get one, during which time some patients will die.

So researchers have been trying for decades to make an artificial heart that can be permanently implanted. But building one that imitates a real heart over a long period of time without breaking or causing infections or blood clots is incredibly difficult. One problem is that the more parts there are, the more things could go wrong.

To solve the problem, Sanjiv Kaul and his team at Oregon Health and Science University are developing an artificial heart with an extremely simple design—it contains a single moving piece with no valves. They believe it could be the first such device that could last the rest of a person’s life.

Read Article:  https://www.technologyreview.com/s/610462/a-simple-artificial-heart-could-permanently-replace-a-failing-human-one/?source=download-metered-content

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Three new species of zoantharians described from coral reefs across the Indo-Pacific

coral

Three new species of zoantharians — relatives of the better-known hard corals and sea anemones – were discovered in southern Japan. One of them, Antipathozoanthus remengesaui, was named after the current president of Palau, Tommy Remengesau, in honor of his and the nation’s support to the authors and marine conservation as a whole. The species can be found widely across the Indo-Pacific.

Read Article: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/01/180104120320.htm

An intriguing way that science is being taught to elementary school students in Florida.

In elementary schools throughout Miami-Dade County, students snack on cranberry hibiscus during class and eat lemongrass-infused rice in the cafeteria.

They help grow the fresh fruits and vegetables themselves in on-campus gardens.

School staff incorporate the crops into lunch menus and send them home with the kids in “harvest bags.”

But the gardens don’t just feed the community. They also help improve students’ science achievement, according to the Education Fund, the nonprofit in charge of the project.

Read Article:  http://wlrn.org/post/food-forests-students-grow-vegetables-and-their-science-test-scores

The science behind kids’ belief in Santa

santa

LAURA SANDERS
12:30pm, December 22, 2017
Over the past week, my little girls have seen Santa in real life at least three times (though only one encounter was close enough to whisper “yo-yo” in his ear). You’d think that this Santa saturation might make them doubt that each one was the real deal. For one thing, they looked quite different. Brewery Santa’s beard was a joke, while Christmas-tree-lighting Santa’s beard was legit. Add to that variations in outfits and jolliness levels.

But as I delved into the Santa-related research, I found I was wrong to think his omnipresence might throw my kids off. It turns out that the more kids see real, live Santa Clauses, the more likely they are to think he’s real. More exposure actually tracked with stronger belief, scientists reported in Cognitive Development in 2016.

Read Article:  https://www.sciencenews.org/blog/growth-curve/science-kids-belief-santa?tgt=nr

A fascinating article about what dogs actually hear when their owners speak to them.

dogs

We often say the same sweet, nonsensical things to our dogs that we say to our babies—and in almost the same slow, high-pitched voice. Now, scientists have shown that puppies find our pooch-directed speech exciting, whereas older dogs are somewhat indifferent. The findings show, for the first time, that young dogs respond to this way of talking, and that it may help them learn words—as such talk does with human babies.

Read Article:  http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/01/what-dogs-hear-when-we-talk-them

The truth about some persistent holiday myths.

hilidy myths

Are poinsettias really poisonous? Are snowflakes really pure as the driven snow? Does feasting really put on the pounds? Sure as sugarplums, myths and misconceptions pop up every holiday season. Here’s what science says about some of them:

FLOWER POWER

Poinsettias, those showy holiday plants with red and green foliage, are not nearly as harmful as a persistent myth says. Mild rashes from touching the plants or nausea from chewing or eating the leaves may occur but they aren’t deadly, for humans or their pets. Poinsettias belong to the same botanical family as rubber plants that produce latex, so some skin rashes occur in people allergic to latex. According to a Western Journal of Emergency Medicine research review, the plants’ toxic reputation “stems from a single unconfirmed death of a 2-year-old in Hawaii in 1919.”

Dr. Rachel Vreeman, an Indiana University pediatrician who has researched holiday myths, cited a study on more than 20,000 poison control center reports involving contact with poinsettias.

Read Article:  http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/science-poinsettias-poisonous-holiday-truths-51916710

Smart people have better connected brains

brain

In intelligent persons, some brain regions interact more closely, while others de-couple themselves

Date:
November 22, 2017
Source:
Goethe University Frankfurt
Summary:
Differences in intelligence have so far mostly been attributed to differences in specific brain regions. However, are smart people’s brains also wired differently to those of less intelligent persons? A new study supports this assumption. In intelligent persons, certain brain regions are more strongly involved in the flow of information between brain regions, while other brain regions are less engaged.

Read Article:  https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/11/171122103552.htm

Amputees can learn to control a robotic arm with their minds

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Neuroscientists have shown how amputees can learn to control a robotic arm through electrodes implanted in the brain. The research details changes that take place in both sides of the brain used to control the amputated limb and the remaining, intact limb. The results show both areas can create new connections to learn how to control the device, even several years after an amputation.

Read Article:  https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/11/171127135811.htm