Science notes: Hospitals ditching formula samples

October 20, 2012, 05:11 PM

For years, virtually every new mother has been sent home from the hospital with a gift bag full of free product samples, including infant formula. Now health authorities and breast-feeding advocates are leading a nationwide effort to ban formula samples, saying they can sway women away from breast-feeding. As of 2011, nearly half of about 2,600 hospitals in a survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had stopped giving formula samples to breast-feeding mothers, up from a quarter in 2007. Recently, 24 hospitals in Oklahoma agreed to a ban. In Massachusetts and Rhode Island, all hospitals stopped free samples. There's no question that breast-feeding had health benefits, experts say. But do samples tempt mothers who could breast-feed exclusively for the recommended six months to use formula when they're exhausted or discouraged? Studies have had mixed results. People on either side of the sample issue agree that hospitals should support breast-feeding in many ways.

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Eat tomatoes to help prevent strokes?

October 20, 2012, 04:50 PM

Could eating tomatoes help prevent strokes? A Finnish study suggests that high blood levels of lycopene, unlike those of other antioxidants, could be associated with a significantly reduced risk of stroke. Vegetables, especially tomatoes, are a significant source of lycopene. The analysis in the journal Neurology followed 1,031 men ages 46 to 55, measuring their blood levels of five antioxidants and recording incidents of stroke. Men with the highest lycopene levels were 55 percent less likely to have a stroke than those with the lowest. There was no association between stroke and blood levels of the other four antioxidants -- alpha carotene, beta carotene, alpha tocopherol and retinol. Lead author Jouni Karppi, a researcher at the University of Eastern Finland, said, "The consumption of vegetables is good for your health anyway, in addition to whatever protection it offers against stroke."

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A curious find on Mars: It's like Earth

By AMY HUBBARD October 13, 2012, 04:45 PM

A rock examined by Curiosity proves to hold surprises about the planet's diversity of minerals.

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The science of hard knocks

October 13, 2012, 04:41 PM

The brains of most animals that are prone to head banging -- these include deer and other antlered mammals, as well as various birds -- are relatively small.

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Science notes: Weighing the better diet plan

October 13, 2012, 04:16 PM

In a head-to-head contest pitting a pair of psychologist-led "behavioral weight loss" programs against a 48-week membership to Weight Watchers, a study found that Weight Watchers participants stuck with their regimen longer and shed more pounds.

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Preschool set actually engaged in scientific inquiry

October 13, 2012, 04:07 PM

When engaged in what looks like child's play, preschoolers are actually behaving like scientists, according to a new report in the journal Science: forming hypotheses, running experiments, calculating probabilities and deciphering causal relationships about the world.

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Meteorite lands with a sonic boom

October 11, 2012, 07:04 PM

The unusually pristine pieces of Mars offers scientists new opportunities.

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DNA scan speeds up testing for sick babies

October 06, 2012, 09:02 PM

Scanning the DNA of sick infants using a new speed-reading method can diagnose rare genetic disorders in two days instead of weeks, according to research that brings gene mapping a step closer to everyday hospital use.

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Fear not -- turns out the vampire squid is a softy

October 06, 2012, 03:42 PM

What do monsters eat? No one knew in the case of Vampyroteuthis infernalis, the vampire squid.

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Base jumper goes for stratospheric skydive

By W.J. HENNIGAN October 06, 2012, 03:31 PM

Felix Baumgartner is set to make the leap of his life as he seeks to break the sound barrier while in free fall -- from 23 miles above Earth.

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Saving Nemo?

By STEPHANIE KRAUS October 03, 2012, 10:18 PM

Scientists are working to protect the clown fish, which face threats to their habitat -- coral reefs -- due to global warming.

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Meet the 'Dracula' of the dinosaurs

By JOHN NOBLE WILFORD October 03, 2012, 09:36 PM

Fossils of these miniature, fanged plant-eaters known as heterodontosaurs, or "different toothed reptiles," have turned up as far apart as England and China.

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Science notes: BPA linked to obesity

September 29, 2012, 05:26 PM

A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association has found that high levels of urinary BPA — Bisphenol A, a chemical widely used to prevent metal corrosion in food packaging — are associated with an increased risk of childhood obesity.

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The view from the top: It's nice up there

September 29, 2012, 05:25 PM

Management consultants say 60 percent of senior execs experience high stress on a regular basis, and a thriving industry of motivational speakers teaches business leaders how to manage their corrosive burden of stress. But just how uneasy lies the head that wears the crown? Not very, it turns out. A new study reveals that those who sit atop the nation's political, military, business and nonprofit organizations are actually pretty chill. Compared with people of similar age, gender and ethnicity who haven't made it to the top, leaders pronounced themselves less stressed and anxious. And their levels of cortisol, a hormone that circulates at high levels in the chronically stressed, told the same story. The source of the leaders' relative serenity was pretty simple: control. "Leaders possess a particular psychological resource -- a sense of control -- that may buffer against stress," the Harvard University research team reported in Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences. LOS ANGELES TIMES

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A long break-up: Sumatra quakes part of epic shift

By MONTE MORIN September 29, 2012, 05:24 PM

Scientists discovered that April quakes were part of never-before-seen event: The splitting of a tectonic plate.

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Mars had water, NASA confirms for first time

By MARC KAUFMAN September 28, 2012, 12:44 AM

The landing site of the Mars rover Curiosity was once covered with fast-moving and possibly waist-high water that could have possibly supported life, NASA scientists announced Thursday.

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Bearing sons can alter your mind - but does it protect it?

By MELISSA LEE PHILLIPS September 27, 2012, 06:26 PM

Scientists found that male DNA can linger in mothers' brains for her lifetime. Summary.

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A prehistoric cave, in a modern light

By EDMUND SANDERS September 22, 2012, 10:12 PM

This prehistoric cave on the slopes of Israel's Judean Mountains has always felt a little otherworldly.

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How the tabby cat earned its stripes

September 22, 2012, 04:42 PM

How does a tabby cat earn its stripes? With DNA.

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New species of monkey turns up in Congo

September 22, 2012, 04:31 PM

Researchers stumbled upon a new species of monkey in a remote region in Africa. They were tipped off by its brilliant colors: a blond chest, red tail and very blue backside.

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