Science

Science
12:27 pm
Thu April 5, 2012

Autism researchers zeroing in on a genetic cause

If the wrong genetic switch gets flipped, it could trigger autism
danmachold flickr

Scientists have been pretty sure autism must begin very early in development, possibly even at the moment a sperm meets an egg. New research, conducted partially in Seattle, supports two interesting theories:

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Science
10:50 am
Wed April 4, 2012

Confirmation: Pressing the chest saves lives

American Red Cross "hands-only" CPR training, using an inflatable mannequin.
The Associated Press

Focus on your hands. 

That underlying message is getting reinforcement from new research on how to save someone who has a sudden heart attack. Victims who get CPR that emphasizes chest compressions have a survival rate that's nearly double those who get older types of CPR, according to a study from King County.

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Shots - Health Blog
8:31 am
Sat March 31, 2012

Scientific Journals Plan To Publish Contentious Bird Flu Research

Originally published on Fri March 30, 2012 3:12 pm

A government advisory committee has reconsidered its advice to keep certain details of bird flu experiments secret.

Revised versions of manuscripts that describe two recent studies can be openly published, the committee now says. The decision could help end a contentious debate that has raged within the scientific community for months.

In response, the editors of two journals immediately said they planned to publish the research soon.

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heart transplant
1:39 pm
Thu March 22, 2012

Man walks out of Seattle hospital with no heartbeat (just a pump)

Chris Marshall shows off the mobile pump and battery pack for his artificial heart, with his wife Kathy and surgeon Dr. Nahush Mokadam at his side (Mokadam is also holding a sample of an artificial heart), at UW Medical Center.
Keith Seinfeld KPLU

Of all the organs to take out of your body, the heart is the most dramatic. About 90 people in the Pacific Northwest are on a wait-list for a heart transplant. While they're waiting, many are confined to bed, for months or even years at a time, with an artificial heart connected to a 418-pound pump. 

A new artificial heart allows them to walk around, and, now, even leave the hospital. It’s still considered experimental, although it’s been used more than 1,000 times around the world.

The first person to walk onto the streets of Seattle with an artificial heart—plus its external battery pack—exited the University of Washington Medical Center on Wednesday.

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Shots - Health Blog
12:00 pm
Thu March 22, 2012

What your gynecologist doesn't know about your sex life, but should

Having trouble in bed? Don't expect your gynecologist to ask.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu March 22, 2012 11:48 am

If your OB-GYN doesn't ask you about your sex life, who will?

That's the question that comes to mind on reading about a new survey of the women's health specialists and what they don't talk about with their patients.

Most gynecologists did ask a patient if she was sexually active. A measly 14 percent asked about sexual activity and pleasure. Only 28 percent asked about a patient's sexual orientation. Yet one-quarter of the doctors say they had expressed disapproval of their patients' sexual practices.

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Paul Allen research
10:30 am
Wed March 21, 2012

Microsoft co-founder puts $300 million into 'brain observatories'

What the new technology can reveal: a section of a mouse brain that senses 'touch" lights up, along with its connections to other regions of the brain.
Allen Institute for Brain Science

Paul Allen, a co-founder of Microsoft, is more than doubling his investment in unraveling mysteries of the brain – and bringing some of America’s top scientists to a new lab in Seattle. They say they're building "brain observatories," where they hope to answer big questions about how the mind works.

They'll peer inside the brain, similar to how groups of astronomers gather at major observatories to peer into the stars for answers about the formation of the universe.

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taxes and services
1:04 pm
Tue March 20, 2012

Sales tax boost would create safety net for mentally ill

If you live anywhere in the Puget Sound region you probably pay a small sales tax to support mental health services. The main exception is in Pierce County.

That may change, at least within Tacoma city limits.

A proposal in front of the Tacoma City Council would raise the sales tax by 1/10th of a percent, or a penny per $10 purchase. That’s the same as residents pay in King, Snohomish, Thurston and many other counties. The revenue would be dedicated to a broad array of services to assist people with serious mental illness or drug abuse problems.

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space exloration
12:06 pm
Tue March 20, 2012

NASA considering space station for Mars dry run

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The International Space Station may provide the setting for a 500-day pretend trip to Mars in another few years.

NASA said Tuesday that consideration is under way to use the space station as a dry run for a simulated trip to and from Mars. It would be patterned after Russia's mock flight to Mars that lasted 520 days at a Moscow research center. Six men were involved in that study, which ended late last year. They were locked in a steel capsule.

Diversions: Space travel
4:46 pm
Mon March 19, 2012

Kutcher becomes 500th Virgin Galactic space customer

Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo is carried to its launch altitude by a mothership, the Scaled Composites White Knight Two, before being launched to fly on into the upper atmosphere, powered by a rocket motor.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Richard Branson says his venture to launch paying tourists into space has netted its 500th customer, and it's none other than Ashton Kutcher.

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health insurance
10:33 am
Fri March 16, 2012

Centerpiece of health care reform launches in Washington

Consultant David Smith of GMMB recommended this name and logo for the new entity currently called the Health Benefits Exchange - but it made some board members nervous.

Washington is one of the first states to begin tackling the requirements of President Obama's health care reform, even though the U.S. Supreme Court will approve or kill the controversial national system this summer.

The fist step in the reform is to create a Health Benefits Exchange. Each state is supposed to create its own insurance exchange as a new way for individuals and small businesses to purchase insurance.

Washington's board set up to create this exchange had its first meeting on Thursday.

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quality medical care
11:40 am
Wed March 14, 2012

Medical ratings: Western Washington good, but not the best

Where you live definitely affects the quality of your health care. That’s clear in a new report comparing communities across the country. Western Washington is divided into three zones and they all score above average – but not in the top 10 percent.

The best score goes to the Everett/Snohomish/Skagit area.

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Space exploration
4:11 pm
Mon March 12, 2012

Cassini spacecraft glimpses new views of moon Rhea

NASA's Cassini spacecraft took this raw, unprocessed image of Saturn's moon Rhea on March 10, 2012. The camera was pointing toward Rhea at approximately 26,019 miles (41,873 kilometers) away.
NASA

PASADENA, Calif. — The pockmarked surface of Saturn's second-largest moon has come into sharper focus in new images released by NASA.

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Cancer
12:24 pm
Mon March 12, 2012

Research: Circumcision might protect against prostate cancer

Researchers studying men in Seattle have found more evidence that sexual behaviors and cancer may be linked. In this case, they’re looking at prostate cancer.

The connection is through viruses and circumcision's role in possibly limiting some infections.

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Science
9:57 am
Thu March 8, 2012

WSU studying bear hibernation in hunt for diabetes cure

A group of Washington State University scientists performing an echocardiogram on an adult female grizzly bear named Kio during the hibernation period. Photo courtesy Mike Madel

Originally published on Wed March 7, 2012 12:00 am

WSU Researchers Studying Bears’ Hibernation To Narrow Down A Cure For Diabetes

030712AK_Bears.wav :57 Wrap 3/7/12 Anna King/CF

RICHLAND, Wash. – Hibernating bears do things that doctors tell humans not to do. They eat fatty foods, lay around for months on end and get high cholesterol. Yet they don’t suffer the same ill effects we would.

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The Two-Way
1:34 pm
Wed March 7, 2012

Scientists Say They've 'Cornered' The Elusive 'God Particle'

Fermilab and the Tevatron sit in the Illinois countryside near Chicago.
AP

Originally published on Wed March 7, 2012 2:37 pm

Scientists from Fermilab say they've basically "cornered" the elusive Higgs boson — that's the particle that some have nicknamed the "God Particle," because it is thought to give atoms mass and is also a key component of the Standard Model.

This is complicated stuff, of course, but essentially the scientists at Fermilab say they found a bump in their data that suggests the existence of the particle. That bump corresponds to the evidence scientists at the Large Hadron Collider have found.

Here's a bit of explanation from the Fermilab press release:

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