August 18, 2019

Top 10 STEM News – 25th June

Credit: © Halfpoint / Fotolia

A collection of our editors 10 Top STEM news from across the world:

Scientists might have finally figured out why period pain hurts so damn much

Researchers finally have a lead on an explanation for why period pain and premenstrual symptoms (PMS) can suck so much for some women.

In the largest study of its kind to date, scientists found a link between an inflammation biomarker and PMS severity, which suggests that acute inflammation could be triggering all the cramps and bloating.

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Sparrows with unfaithful ‘wives’ care less for their young

Sparrows form pair bonds that are normally monogamous, but many females are unfaithful to their partner and have offspring with other males. Biologists believe that the male birds are unfaithful to ensure they father as many chicks as they can, while females are unfaithful with males of better ‘genetic quality’ — ones that are fitter and could produce stronger offspring. But new research shows that cheating comes with a cost — the cheating female’s partner will provide less food for their nest of young.

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What makes individuals nasty or nice? Mathematical model explains

A scientist has helped develop an innovative mathematical model for exploring why some individuals evolve to be genetically programmed to be nice, while others stay nasty.

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In mice, daughters of overweight dads have altered breast tissue, higher cancer risk

Obese male mice and normal weight female mice produce female pups that are overweight at birth through childhood, and have delayed development of their breast tissue as well as increased rates of breast cancer. The findings come from one of the first animal studies to examine the impact of paternal obesity on future generations’ cancer risk.

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High levels of education linked to heightened brain tumor risk

A university degree is linked to a heightened risk of developing a brain tumor, suggests a large observational study. Gliomas, in particular, were more common among people who had studied at university for at least three years than they were among those who didn’t go on to higher education, the data show.


Aging monkeys become more selective regarding their social circle

As people get older, they become choosier about how they spend their time and with whom they spend it. Now, researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on June 23 find, based on a series of experimental and behavioral studies, that similar changes take place in Barbary macaques. The findings offer an evolutionary perspective on why aging humans behave as they do, according to the researchers.

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Eating air, making fuel

Is it possible to “reprogram” an organism that is found higher in the food chain, which consumes sugar and releases carbon dioxide, so that it will consume carbon dioxide from the environment and produce the sugars it needs to build its body mass? Scientists now report that they have engineered bacteria to create sugar from the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.

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Bees are more productive in the city than in surrounding regions

Bees pollinate plants more frequently in the city than in the country even though they are more often infected with parasites, a factor which can shorten their lifespans, researchers report.

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Power plants that convert all of their CO2 emissions into carbon nanotubes

Last year, researchers at George Washington University proposed a method for transforming CO2 emissions into carbon nanotubes (CNTs). When applied to power plants, the technology could completely eliminate the power plants’ CO2 emissions while simultaneously producing a valuable product that is used for a variety of applications, including batteries, consumer electronics, airplanes, and athletic equipment.

The technology can work with almost any kind of power plant, but the researchers specifically investigated its application for combined cycle (CC) natural , which are the most efficient kind of electrical power plant yet still emit massive amounts of CO2.

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Scientists glimpse why life can’t happen without water

A study in this week’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences provides the strongest evidence yet that proteins—the large and that fold into particular shapes to enable biological reactions—can’t fold themselves.

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