Should You Trust Health Apps on Your Phone?

Personal health is becoming increasingly mobile, and there are now thousands of apps aiming to address everything from lifestyle issues to chronic diseases. Medical devices are generally regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and although the FDA  reviews some apps, experts say the agency's power and efforts aren't nearly enough to cover the 97,000 and counting health apps out there that are transforming consumer health. "The FDA is woefully understaffed and under-resourced to oversee these things, particularly given the number of the thousands of apps that are [most likely] under FDA's jurisdiction," said health law expert Nathan Cortez, an associate professor of law at Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law in Dallas, Texas. In an editorial published in The New England Journal of Medicine on Thursday (July 24), Cortez and his colleagues argued that health and medical apps hold the promise of improving health, reducing medical errors, avoiding costly interventions, and broadening access to care.

Posted on 29 July 2014 | 5:38 pm

Roasting? 7 Scientific Ways to Beat the Heat

"Humans have a tremendous ability to acclimatize to heat stress," says Michael Sawka, a professor at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, who studies how humans adapt to extreme conditions. "Training induces a lot of the characteristics that you typically see in somebody that is actually heat-acclimated," said Heather Wright, a research officer in the Flight Research Lab at the National Research Council Canada in Ottawa, who studies the effect of heat and other stresses on the body. A workout is like a mini-session of heat stress, she said. "With heat acclimation as well as with training, your resting core temperature decreases," Wright said.

Posted on 29 July 2014 | 5:37 pm

Sexy Thoughts: The Mind Is Key in Female Orgasm

The researchers also found that the women in the study who regularly reached orgasm during sex reported having more erotic thoughts when they were having intercourse than those who did not have orgasms regularly during sex. The researchers did not expect that the cognitive aspect of orgasm in women would be as important as the results suggested, said study author Pascal De Sutter, a professor at the department of sexology and family science at the University of Louvain in Belgium. "It seems that women have no problem" focusing on erotic fantasies when they are on their own, De Sutter told Live Science. And concerns about their looks and weight may also distract some women, De Sutter said.

Posted on 29 July 2014 | 5:36 pm

101 Geysers Spotted on Saturn's Icy Moon Enceladus

101 Geysers Spotted on Saturn's Icy Moon EnceladusThe icy Saturn moon Enceladus sports at least 101 geysers, which reach all the way down to the satellite's subsurface ocean, new research suggests. Scientists mapped out 101 geysers of water vapor and ice near Enceladus' south pole after analyzing images captured by NASA's Cassini spacecraft over a period of nearly seven years. Cassini first spotted geysers erupting from four "tiger stripe" fractures on Enceladus — a 310-mile-wide (500 kilometers) moon covered by an icy shell — in 2005, but their origin remains the subject of some debate to this day. This scenario implies that the plumes consist of material from Enceladus' surface, or just beneath it.

Posted on 29 July 2014 | 3:32 pm

European Cargo Ship Launches on Last Space Station Delivery Tonight: Watch Live

European Cargo Ship Launches on Last Space Station Delivery Tonight: Watch LiveA rocket launch from South America Tuesday evening (July 29) will mark the beginning of the end for a venerable line of European cargo spacecraft.

Posted on 29 July 2014 | 1:41 pm

Quantum Wonderland: Neutron 'Cheshire Cats' Created

Quantum Wonderland: Neutron 'Cheshire Cats' CreatedThe Cheshire Cat of the classic children's book "Alice in Wonderland" had a smile that could disconnect from its body. For instance, a particle can apparently exist in two or more places at once or spin two opposite directions at the same time, a property known as superposition. Theoretical physicists last year predicted that the peculiar nature of quantum physics might allow the properties of particles to exist in two or more places simultaneously. This mimics the story of the Cheshire Cat, in which Alice notes, "Well! I've often seen a cat without a grin … but a grin without a cat! It's the most curious thing I ever saw in all my life!"

Posted on 29 July 2014 | 12:33 pm

Rocket blasts off with U.S. ‘neighborhood watch’ spy satellites

America's Largest Rocket Launches Top-Secret Spy SatelliteAn unmanned Delta 4 rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Monday with a pair of U.S. military satellites designed to keep watch on other countries’ spacecraft. The 206-foot (63-meter) tall rocket, built by United Launch Alliance, a partnership of Lockheed Martin and Boeing, lifted off at 7:28 p.m. EDT and blazed through partly cloudy skies as it headed into orbit, a United Launch Alliance live webcast showed. Launch of two satellites for the U.S. Air Force’s recently declassified Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program, or GSSAP, had been slated for July 23, but was delayed one day to resolve a technical issue with ground support equipment and then three more times by poor weather. Once in orbit, the GSSAP satellites, built by Orbital Sciences Corp, will drift above and below a 22,300-mile (35,970-km) high zone that houses most of the world's communications satellites and other spacecraft.

Posted on 28 July 2014 | 8:56 pm

Is Your Life Story Written in Your Poop?

In a new experiment, researchers studied gut and saliva bacteria in two people over a year, to investigate how microbial communities in people's bodies, called their microbiota, changed over time. The study participants provided stool and saliva samples nearly every day during the study period, and chronicled their daily health and behavior, including their diet, exercise, bowel movements and mood, using a diary app. The ratio then returned to normal when the study participant returned home, according to the study, led by Lawrence David, an assistant professor at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina. In the other study participant, an intestinal infection with Salmonella, resulted in the permanent decline of most gut bacterial types, which were replaced by genetically-similar species, according to the study published today (July 24) in the journal Genome Biology.

Posted on 28 July 2014 | 11:49 am

Evidence suggests babies in womb start learning earlier than thought: study

A pregnant woman touches her stomach as people practice yoga on the morning of the summer solstice in New York's Times Square"It really pushed the envelope" in terms of how early babies begin to learn, lead researcher Charlene Krueger, associate professor at the University of Florida's College of Nursing, said on Thursday. Krueger had the women repeat three times out loud a set 15-second nursery rhyme, and do it twice a day for six weeks. The fetuses’ heart rates were monitored at 32, 33 and 34 weeks as they listened to a recording of a female stranger recite the rhyme. By the 34th week, Krueger said, the heart rates of the tested fetuses showed an overall slight decline while listening to the recording, compared with a control group of fetuses whose heart rates slightly accelerated while listening to a recording of a new nursery rhyme.

Posted on 25 July 2014 | 5:33 pm

Bayer says Nexavar fails in breast cancer study

The logo of Germany's largest drugmaker Bayer is pictured in LeverkusenFRANKFURT (Reuters) - German drugmaker Bayer said a Phase III trial of cancer drug Nexavar in patients with advanced breast cancer did not meet its primary endpoint of delaying the progression of the disease. The study, called Resilience, evaluated Nexavar in combination with chemotherapeutic agent capecitabine, in women with HER2-negative breast cancer. Oral drug Nexavar, which Bayer is developing jointly with Amgen, is approved for use against certain types of liver, kidney and thyroid cancer. Study details are expected to be presented at an upcoming scientific conference. ...

Posted on 25 July 2014 | 10:37 am