Caring for the sick may have contributed to human evolution

Scientific Reports Published September 27, 2018 09:00 EDT (News release from Nature Research Press) Caring for individuals with diseases may have enabled prehistoric humans to prevent disease transmission as social networks became more complex and the threat from socially transmitted diseases increased. Researchers used computer modelling to simulate evolution of care-giving in four different social systems […]

Plants use fruit colour to communicate to fruit-eating animals

Biology Letters Published September 26, 2018  Researchers exploited a natural experiment setting in which plants have found themselves depending on the seed-dispersal services of animals with different colour-vision capacities in Uganda and Madagascar. They found that fruit colour is optimized to the visual system of the primary seed disperser. This indicates that fruit colour has evolved as […]

An evolving jet from a strongly magnetized accreting X-ray pulsar

Nature Published September 26, 2018 Researchers report an evolving jet launched by a strongly magnetized, accreting neutron star. The jet’s radio luminosity is two orders of magnitude fainter than those seen in other neutron stars with similar X-ray luminosities, implying an important role for the properties of the neutron star in regulating jet power. The […]

Image by NIAID via Flickr

Canadian clinics market unproven stem cell treatments

Regenerative Medicine Published September 26, 2018 (News release from Future Science Group) A survey of the Canadian direct-to-consumer marketplace reveals 30 Canadian businesses advertise unproven stem cell therapies at 43 clinics in Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta, Quebec, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan. The most commonly marketed therapies are for orthopedic and musculoskeletal conditions, pain relief, and sports-related injuries, but one […]

Bloated bodies and hairy legs attract dance-fly guys

Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences Published September 19, 2018 (Brief from the Royal Society) When researchers monitored physical models of female dance flies adorned with the species’ exclusively female sexual ornaments — swollen bodies and hairy legs — they found male flies like both large bodies and hairy legs, but prefer large bodies. Inflatable […]

Song Sparrow (Image by Becky Matsubara via Flickr CC BY 2.0

Mini-video cameras offer peek at hard-to-observe bird behavior

The Auk: Ornithological Advances Published September 12, 2018 (News release from the American Ornithological Society) Video data of more than 200 grassland bird nests in Alberta, North Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin show that when and why baby birds decide to leave the nest is more complex than anyone guessed. The more siblings in a nest, the […]

Uncommon mutations affect prognosis in estrogen receptor–positive breast cancer

Nature Communications Published September 4, 2018 (News release at Nature Research Press) Uncommon mutations in three genes in estrogen receptor–positive breast cancer negatively affect disease prognosis. Researchers studied archival breast cancer DNA from three cohorts of post-menopausal and pre-menopausal patients with hormone receptor–positive breast cancer and found associations with poor clinical outcomes in estrogen receptor–positive breast cancer […]

Crops make vulnerable insect-eating birds work harder for food

The Condor: Ornithological Applications Embargoed until August 29, 2018 13:00 EDT (News release from the American Ornithological Society) Tree swallows that live in cropland can still find their preferred prey, but they’re working harder to get it. Researchers examined how agriculture affects swallows’ diets, and found that birds living in croplands weighed less on average […]

Satellite sensor data can be used to track slight colour changes in boreal forests (Image by Gord McKenna via Flickr CC BY ND NC 2.0)

A better way to count boreal birds

The Condor: Ornithological Applications Embargoed until August 29, 2018 13:00 EDT (News release from the American Ornithological Society) Researchers tested a mathematical model called a “removal model” using bird count data for 152 species from the Boreal Avian Modelling Project, which covers a vast area of Canada, Alaska, and the northeastern U.S. They found that […]

Deaths from gunshot wounds rising, mostly due to murder

JAMA Embargoed until August 28, 2018 11:00 am EDT (News release from JAMA Network) This study estimates that 195,000 to 276,000 people died from gunshot injuries globally in 2016, with the majority being murders. Despite an overall decrease in rates of gun death since 1990, rates vary country and across demographic subgroups. The most deaths in […]

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