MICHIGAN STATE (US) — US residents who believe in the scientific consensus on global warming are more likely to support government action to curb emissions, regardless of political party. But, there’s still a divide.
A political split remains on the existence of climate change despite the fact that the vast majority of scientists believe it is real, says Aaron M. McCright, associate professor in Lyman Briggs College and the Department of Sociology at Michigan State University.
The study, in the journal Climatic Change, is one of the first to examine the influence of political orientation on perceived scientific agreement and support for government action to reduce emissions.
UNC-CHAPEL HILL (US) — A new understanding of the hormonal “conversation” between mother and fetus could lead to new ways to detect and prevent preeclampsia.
In a study using mice, researchers found that a hormone, adrenomedullin, plays a crucial role in preventing the pregnancy complication preeclampsia. Surprisingly, this hormone protects women from preeclampsia when emitted by the fetus, not the mother, during the most critical times in pregnancy.
UC SANTA BARBARA (US) — Scientists have long suspected a correlation between women’s hormone levels and libido, but new research reveals hormonal predictors for sexual desire.
“We found two hormonal signals that had opposite effects on sexual motivation,” says lead author James Roney, professor in the psychological and brain sciences department at University of California, Santa Barbara.
“Estrogen was having a positive effect, but with a two-day lag. Progesterone was having a persistent negative effect, both for current day, day before, and two days earlier.”
U. PITTSBURGH (US) — Late-life depression is associated with an increased risk for all-cause dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and, most predominantly, vascular dementia, a new study shows.
Previous research has shown a link between depression and Alzheimer’s disease, but this is the first meta-analysis that specifically addresses the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia in older adults with late-life depression.
U. ARIZONA (US) — Making sacrifices for your partner after a stressful day may not be beneficial to either of you, a new study suggests.
A pile of dirty dishes looms in the kitchen. It’s your spouse’s night to wash, but you know he or she has had a long day so you grab a sponge and get started. It’s just one of the minor daily sacrifices you make in the name of love. But what if you had a long, stressful day, too?
A new study in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships suggests that while making sacrifices in a romantic relationship is generally a positive thing, doing so on days when you are feeling especially stressed may not be a good idea. The study is also featured in the journal’s podcast series.
CARDIFF U. (UK) — Children whose brains process information more slowly than those of their peers are at greater risk of psychotic experiences, according to new research.
Psychotic experiences can include hearing voices, seeing things that are not present, or holding unrealistic beliefs that other people don’t share. These experiences can often be distressing and frightening and interfere with their everyday life.
Children with psychotic experiences are more likely to develop psychotic illnesses like schizophrenia later in life.
U. QUEENSLAND (AUS) — Looking flashy to attract mates could be a risky strategy, but long, flamboyant fins don’t seem to be a burden for male threadfin rainbowfish, report scientists.
The researchers tested the evolutionary theory assumption that only the best individuals are able to bear the energetic or survival costs associated with “sexy” features.
CARNEGIE MELLON (US) — Scientists have used a statistical model to evaluate the fitness of individual neurons and find which ones will make the most successful “team.”
In a process similar to the way a sports fanatic puts together a fantasy football team, a computer simulation then pitted the groups of neurons against one another in a playoff-style format to find out which population was the best. Researchers then analyzed the winners to see what types of neurons made the most successful squads.
CARNEGIE MELLON (US) — A new iterative zooming technique could make it possible to enter text on ultra-small computers, like smartwatches.
Smartwatches may soon be on their way from companies such as Apple, Google, Samsung, and Microsoft. But as capable as these ultra-small computers may be, how will users enter an address, a name, or a search term into them?
DUKE (US) — When it comes to deciding which light bulb to buy, a label touting a product’s environmental benefit may actually discourage politically conservative shoppers.
Researchers conducted two studies to determine how political ideology affected a person’s choice to buy energy-efficient products in the United States.
U. MISSOURI (US) — Economic changes have the greatest effect on reducing family size, and thus slowing population growth, compared to other factors, a new study shows.
Researchers say understanding the causes of declining birth rates may lead to improved policies designed to influence fertility and result in reduced competition for food, water, land, and wealth.
“Improvements in economic development, such as higher educational attainment, increasing employment in the formal labor market, and the shift away from agriculture, seem to have a doubly powerful effect because they not only raise individuals’ standards of living, but also correlate to declining fertility rates, according to the results of our study,” says Mary Shenk, assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Missouri.
U. PITTSBURGH (US) — Young male athletes who took part in a program led by coaches were less likely to engage in abusive behaviors toward their female partners.
A year-long evaluation study looked at more than 2,000 male athletes in 16 California high schools from October 2009 to October 2011 who participated in the Coaching Boys into Men program.
RICE (US) — Silicone in the liquid crystal phase becomes 90 percent stiffer when it’s gently and repeatedly compressed.
The research could lead to new strategies for self-healing materials or biocompatible materials that mimic human tissues.
MCGILL (CAN) — Vitamin D is especially important for babies in the first 12 months of life when bones are growing rapidly, but new research shows more is not necessarily better.
Health care providers frequently recommend that parents give their babies a daily vitamin D supplement, but how much vitamin D babies should be given has been a matter of debate.
GEORGIA TECH (US) — Thanks to a robot with a flexible arm covered with tactile sensors, a man with quadriplegia was able to pull a blanket over himself and grab a cloth to wipe his face.
Whether reaching for a book out of a cluttered cabinet or pruning a bush in the backyard, people’s arms frequently makes contact with objects during everyday tasks. Animals do it too, when foraging for food, for example.
PURDUE (US) — Tomatoes grown around LED lights in the winter can significantly reduce greenhouse energy costs without sacrificing yield.
The average tomato is shipped about 1,500 miles from warmer climates where they’re grown to cooler climates that cannot produce the fruit cost-effectively in the winter. But the journey is costly—tomatoes are picked green and ripen during shipping, decreasing quality and flavor. The lengthy shipping distance also adds to the industry’s carbon footprint.
U. VIRGINIA (US) — Researchers find that many “impartial” expert witnesses lose sight of objectivity and tend to come to conclusions that align with those who pay for their services.
Forensic psychologists and psychiatrists are ethically bound to be impartial, to look only at the evidence before them, when performing evaluations or providing expert opinions in court. But new research suggests that the paycheck some courtroom experts receive influences their evaluations.
In a real-world experiment, experts who believed they were working for prosecutors tended to conclude that sexually violent offenders were at greater risk of re-offending than did experts who thought they were working for the defense, the researchers found.
CARDIFF U. (UK) — The police could save money and better serve the public by closing police stations and opening more local police offices in shopping centers, post offices, and other public locations, a new paper suggests.
The report, Rebooting the PC, urges police chiefs to not put “buildings before bobbies,” stressing that the nature of the emergent financial and social challenges that British society faces over the next decade means police service needs to become more imaginative in how it interacts with the public, including “managing the police estate in a smarter fashion” by closing out-of-date police stations.
DUKE (US) — As cicadas on the East Coast begin emerging from their 17-year slumber, a spritz of dew drops is all they need to keep their wings fresh and clean.
Researchers at Duke University and James Cook University in Australia have shown that dew drops can be beneficial not only in cleaning cicada wings, but other water-repellant surfaces. On these so-called superhydrophobic surfaces, dew drops “jump” by themselves, carrying away the contaminants.
U. VIRGINIA (US) — Delaying a child’s entry into kindergarten—known as “redshirting”—is not as common as thought, but the percentage varies greatly depending on the child’s community.
Researchers found that only between 4 percent and 5.5 percent of children have their entries into kindergarten delayed.