Vemurafenib is the first personalised investigational medicine to have shown a significant overall survival benefit in metastatic melanoma

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Babies who are breastfed are far less likely to become children with behaviour problems by the time they reach the age of five than those who receive formula milk, according to research by a team that included University of York academics.

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El Nino and its partner La Nina, the warm and cold phases in the eastern half of the tropical Pacific, play havoc with climate worldwide. Predicting El Nino events more than several months ahead is now routine, but predicting how it will change in a warming world has been hampered by the short instrumental record.

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New sensor developed by MIT chemical engineers can detect tiny traces of explosives.

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BERKELEY — Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, have demonstrated a new technology for graphene that could break the current speed limits in digital communications.

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An international research team has discovered a new method to produce belts of graphene called nanoribbons. By using hydrogen, they have managed to unzip single-walled carbon nanotubes. The method also opens the road for producing nanoribbons of graphane, a modified and promising version of graphene.

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CORVALLIS, Ore. – A new analysis of kidney dialysis patients by an Oregon State University researcher suggests they may not be good candidates for statins, a widely used class of drugs for lowering high cholesterol.
 
After analyzing the findings from three large, well-designed clinical studies, pharmacist Ali Olyaei cautions that statins provide only minimal cholesterol control for dialysis patients while posing elevated dangers of toxicity and adverse drug interactions. Particularly at risk are elderly and diabetic patients.
 
“Statins are the current drugs of choice for high cholesterol,” said Olyaei, a professor in the OSU College of Pharmacy and at Oregon Health and Science University. “However, they should be used with caution for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease in dialysis patients who are at great risk of toxicity and drug interactions.”
 
The three studies – which together followed more than 13,000 patients in the United States and 24 other countries – examined the effectiveness and safety of statins for chronic kidney disease, transplantation and dialysis patients. The studies found that dialysis patients who took statins were just as likely to die from heart attacks, strokes or other causes as were those who did not take statins, said Olyaei, who specializes in renal and transplant medicine at the OSU/OHSU Division of Nephrology and Hypertension in Portland.
 
In fact, some dialysis patients taking certain statins had higher rates of fatal stroke than patients taking a placebo.
 
Olyaei, in a guest editorial for the journal Dialysis & Transplantation, explained that the three studies suggest a “very limited role” for statins in preventing high cholesterol and heart disease for dialysis patients.
 
“Therefore,” he concluded, “three strikes and statins are out for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease in dialysis patients.”
 
While noting that statins have proven very effective for reducing cholesterol in the general population, Olyaei stressed the complexity of disease processes that go hand-in-hand with kidney failure. Researchers are still trying to understand the interplay of factors – including inflammation, malnutrition and cardiovascular disease – that affect the absorption, metabolism and therapeutic value of medications among patients with chronic kidney disease, dialysis patients among them.
 
It is this complex interplay of biological and pharmaceutical interactions that doctors and pharmacists must consider in prescribing and dosing. For example, some pharmaceutical guidelines recommend reducing dosages by 50 percent for some statins in later stages of kidney disease, according to Olyaei.
 
“Statins have been proven to be safe and well-tolerated by the majority of patients, but this class of drugs is not entirely free of adverse drug reactions,” said Olyaei in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. “Patients with chronic kidney disease are at increased risk of these adverse effects and should be monitored carefully for tolerability and toxicity. All of the statins should be used with caution in patients with impaired renal function.”

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Researchers at North Carolina State University have found a specific gene in corn that appears to be associated with resistance to three important plant leaf diseases.

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Deadly human fungal infections caused by certain strains of Aspergillus fungi appear to be developing resistance to current drug treatments at an alarming rate, say scientists.

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PASADENA, Calif.—When a group of gamblers gather around a roulette table, individual players are likely to have different reasons for betting on certain numbers. Some may play a "lucky" number that has given them positive results in the past—a strategy called reinforcement learning. Others may check out the recent history of winning colors or numbers to try and decipher a pattern. Betting on the belief that a certain outcome is "due" based on past events is called the gambler's fallacy.

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Janies applies sequencing, supercomputing to correct erroneous classification

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Four paleontologists, including two at Simon Fraser University, have discovered the fossil of a gigantic ant whose globetrotting sheds light on how global warming events affected the distribution of life some 50 million years ago.

The Proceedings of the Royal Society B, a British scientific journal, has published online today (May 4) their study Intercontinental dispersal of giant thermophilic ants across the Arctic during early Eocene hyperthermals.

The authors are Bruce Archibald and Rolf Mathewes from SFU (British Columbia, Canada), David Greenwood from Brandon University (Manitoba, Canada) and Kirk Johnson from the Denver Museum of Nature & Science (Colorado, USA).

They describe a new fossil species of giant ant, which they’ve named Titanomyrma lubei. This winged queen ant lived in the Eocene Epoch about 50 million years ago. It had a body just over five centimetres long — comparable to a hummingbird — a size only rivaled today by the monstrously large queens of an ant species in tropical Africa.

Archibald found the ant in a drawer when visiting Johnson at the Denver Museum. He says: “What is surprising is that this ant scurried about an ancient forest in what is now Wyoming when the climate there was hot like the modern tropics. In fact, all of the closely related fossil giant ants have been found in Europe and North America at sites that had hot climates.”

The researchers also looked at the habitats of the largest modern ants, and found that almost all live in the tropics, indicating that there might be something about being big that requires ants to live in hot temperatures.

During the Eocene Epoch, many plants and animal species migrated between Europe and North America via continuous land across the Arctic, bridging the two continents. But the mystery is how did these ancient giant ants pass through a temperate Arctic climate — too cool for them?

The researchers suspect that the key is in the brief, but intense episodes of global warming that happened around this time. They appear to have created periodic opportunities for hot climate life to pass between continents through the Arctic. Archibald calls them brief openings of a physiological gate to cross the physical land bridge.

He notes that these findings will help scientists gain a better grasp of the impacts of global warming on life. He says: “As the Earth’s climate changes, we are seeing tropical pest species extend their ranges into mid-latitudes and dragonflies appear in the Arctic. Understanding the details of how life forms adapted to global warming in the past will be of increasing importance in the future.”

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With its spectacular spotted coat, muscular body, and jaws powerful enough to crack a deer’s skull, the jaguar (Panthera onca) is a formidable feline. It inspired ancient cultures such as the Maya, who depicted the cat in jewelry and ceramics, but the species has received little reverence from modern man. In the past century, hunting and agricultural expansion have eliminated the jaguar from half of its original range, and they continue to be killed, or confined to ever-shrinking islands of wilderness.

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A twinkling jewel of an island located in the Mexican Caribbean, 11 miles off of the northeast coast of the Yucatan peninsula, Cozumel has stunning beaches and colorful coral reefs that lure millions of tourists each year. Blessed with year-round visibility and warm turquoise waters, the reefs that ring the island treat snorkelers to views of spectacular sponge formations, massive coral walls, and fish species including parrotfish (Scaridae spp.), Nassau groupers (Epinephelus striatus), stingrays (Dasyatidae spp.) and nurse sharks (Ginglymostoma cirratum).

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The largest coral reef in the Western Hemisphere, the Mesoamerican Reef stretches along the Caribbean coast, from the southern Yucatan peninsula in Mexico to the Bay Islands in Honduras. The second largest coral reef system in the world, surpassed only by the Australian Great Barrier Reef, this reef ecosystem harbors unique coral assemblages and a vast number of important species, such as the whale shark (Rhincodon typus), the largest living fish species; and the hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricada), green (Chelonia mydas), and loggerhead (Caretta caretta) marine turtles, all of which are threatened or endangered.

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The Eco-Index, an online database of conservation projects in the Americas created by the Rainforest Alliance, now features more than 1,000 projects in English and Spanish. The site also recently started including projects in the United States and Canada, making it the premiere vehicle for the conservation community to share information about initiatives in the Americas.

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La Amistad International Park stretches across the southern end of the Talamanca mountain range, comprising a diversity of landscapes that range from misty oak forests inhabited by rare birds such as the resplendent quetzal (Pharomachrus mocino), to exuberant rainforests that provide refuge for such endangered species as the jaguar (Panthera onca) and the umbrella bird (Cephalopterus glabricollis). The park forms the core of the La Amistad Biosphere Reserve, which was designated as a world heritage site, thanks to the diversity and importance of its natural resources and cultures.

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The olive ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea) is threatened both at sea and on its nesting beaches, but things are improving for the species along the Azuero Peninsula, on Panama’s Pacific coast, thanks to collaboration between conservationists and communities.

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Interview by Melissa Krenke, Rainforest Alliance

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Interview by Melissa Krenke, Rainforest Alliance

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BEACH Program Update Washington CoastSavers are cleaning up the coast on April 23rd, you can join in! Sign up now: http://www. coastsavers.

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By Barbara MacGregor, Web Communications Manager You've likely heard the commercial that says, "We've got an app for that." Well, here at Ecology we have apps for a lot of our information, too, along with the databases and innovative technological tools that help us organize and access critical information.

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By Seth Preston, Communications Manager, Air Quality Program Laughter and applause marked the signing of historic legislation today (Friday, April 29) at the TransAlta coal-fired power plant near Centralia. Gov.

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The devastating earthquake in Japan and the resulting tsunami and nuclear reactor damage concerns all of us. While our hearts and minds are with those suffering in Japan, it’s also natural to worry about what it might mean for us here in Washington.

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By Cathy Cochrane, Communications Manager, Eastern Regional Office, Spokane I used to think “public involvement” was a joke. Government doesn’t pay attention to the Little Person, I thought.

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By Dieter Bohrmann, Communications Consultant, Nuclear Waste Program After decades as the nation’s plutonium-making plant, the Hanford site in southeastern Washington is one of the largest environmental cleanup projects in the world. And we want to talk about it!

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BEACH Program Update Kitsap County Health Department has issued the following press release: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Shawn Ultican March 10, 2011 (360) 337-5622

Heavy Rains Create Health Risks

Health Advisory Issued for Streams, Lakes, Marine Water and Shellfish Harvesting Drinking Water Wells and Onsite Sewage Systems May Also Be Vulnerable BREMERTON, WA - Due to widespread storm water runoff and a few sewer overflows caused by heavy rains over the last several days, the Kitsap County Health District has issued a “No Contact” advisory for lakes, streams, and marine waters throughout Kitsap County until March 17, 2011. The Health District is also advising the public to be aware of the following health risks associated with excessive surface runoff, flooding or sewage spills. Avoid contact with murky or muddy streams or other water that appears to be affected by storm runoff. Local shellfish should not be harvested or eaten after heavy rains as they may be contaminated by stormwater runoff. Assume flood water is contaminated. To stay healthy:
    Wash your hands with soap and disinfected water before preparing or eating food, after using the toilet, or handling contaminated items. Discard all food that has come in contact with floodwater. Disinfect the can before opening any canned food. If your power has gone out, keep food safe by using food that spoils rapidly first. Most foodborne diseases are caused by bacteria in raw or undercooked foods of animal origin such as meat, milk, eggs, or fish. Keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed to conserve cold air or keep food cold with ice or dry ice.
If your drinking water well is flooded, assume that the water in your home is contaminated. Either use bottled water that has been stored less than six months in tightly sealed containers, or sanitize the potentially contaminated well water as follows:
    If the water is clear, boil it for one minute to kill disease-causing bacteria and parasites, or add 1/8 teaspoon household bleach per gallon of water and let it sit for ½ hour. If the water is cloudy, pour it through a coffee filter, paper towel, or cheesecloth, and then boil it for one minute. If you can’t boil it, filter it and add ¼ teaspoon of bleach per gallon, then let it sit for one hour.
A flooded well may require disinfection. Contact a professional well driller or the Health District for guidance on proper disinfection techniques. Septic systems may fail if soil in the drainfield area becomes saturated. Overusing a septic system when the drainfield is flooded may cause a catastrophic failure, in which sewage backs up into the house or rises to the ground surface in your drainfield area. When soil has dried sufficiently, it’s probably safe to resume normal water use.

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By Suzanne Dahl, Tank Waste Treatment manager, Nuclear Waste Program For the last 16 years, Washingtonians have expected that Hanford’s low-activity waste will be immobilized in glass (vitrified). The 2010 settlement agreement between the Tri-Party agencies also requires vitrification of some type.

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By Seth Preston, Communications Manager, Toxics Cleanup Program Late Tuesday night (March 15), Ecology, U. S.

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By Jeff Lyon, Tank Waste Storage Project, Nuclear Waste Program While we retrieve the waste from Hanford’s 149 single-shell waste storage tanks, one of our concerns is how long these tanks can last. We know they were built tough, but we also know they have been stretched to their limits.

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By Hannah Aoyagi, Public Involvement Coordinator In early March, Rayonier started its fourth phase of investigation work on the former mill property. This phase involves drilling more groundwater sampling wells.

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By Seth Preston, Communications Manager, Toxics Cleanup Program On Wednesday (March 9), Toxics Cleanup Program staff will venture to the Kitsap Peninsula to meet with Port Gamble area residents about two cleanup sites there. We’re holding the community meeting at Hood Canal Vista Pavilion at 4740 NE View Drive, just off Highway 104 in Port Gamble.

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By Seth Preston, Communications Manager, Air Quality Program Ecology’s Air Quality Program staff is working to straighten out a budget tangle. Ecology uses its new source review program to issue pre-construction permits for new sources of air pollution.

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By Cathy Cochrane, Communications Manager, Eastern Regional Office, Spokane “YUK!” was the word that first came to mind when I saw these photos yesterday of a thick ribbon of used crankcase oil slithering out of a culvert in Garfield and into the water of Silver Creek.

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