Tag Archives: data collection

Drug tests on mothers’ hair links recreational drug use to birth defects

Drug tests on 517 mothers in English inner city hospitals found that nearly 15% had taken recreational drugs during pregnancy and that mothers of babies with birth defects of the brain were significantly more likely to have taken drugs than mothers with normal babies. The study found no significant links between recreational drug use and any other type of birth defect.

The study was led by a team of UCL researchers co-ordinating data collection from hospitals across London, Bristol and Birmingham and the results are published in the journal PLOS ONE. The study included 213 women whose baby had a type of birth defect with potential links to recreational drug use, 143 women whose baby had a birth defect with no previously reported links to drug use and 161 women whose baby was normally formed. (more…)

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Eye movements reveal difference between love and lust

Soul singer Betty Everett once proclaimed, “If you want to know if he loves you so, it’s in his kiss.” But a new study by University of Chicago researchers suggests the difference between love and lust might be in the eyes after all.

Specifically, where your date looks at you could indicate whether love or lust is in the cards. The new study found that eye patterns concentrate on a stranger’s face if the viewer sees that person as a potential partner in romantic love, but the viewer gazes more at the other person’s body if he or she is feeling sexual desire. That automatic judgment can occur in as little as half a second, producing different gaze patterns. (more…)

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‘Life as Research Scientist’: Letitia Kotila, Family Scientist

Letitia Kotila is currently a Doctoral Candidate in Human Development and Family Science at The Ohio State University. Her research area focuses on parental involvement, coparenting, and couple relationships. Letitia has three children (ages 11, 9, and 2) with her husband. She enjoys playing sports, riding bikes, and watching movies with her family. She also enjoys cooking and baking. Often Letitia spends time on the weekends testing new recipes.

As part of our series on ‘life as research scientist’ we requested Letitia to answer few questions, and here is what we learned from her. So let’s join to hear from Family Scientist Letitia Kotila:

Q. Let us start with your research topic. What is your research area? Will you please tell us a bit more on this? What did you find?

Letitia Kotila: This particular study broadly focuses on predictors of prenatal parenting behaviors, such as finding out the sex of an unborn child. This is the first study we know of in the U.S. to look at psychological predictors of finding out fetal sex, and we focused on three particular characteristics.  We looked at whether the mothers’ basic personality traits, her perfectionistic orientation toward parenting (i.e., setting unrealistically high standards), and her gender role ideologies (i.e., women and men should have separate roles) influenced whether or not she found out the sex of her child pre-birth. We found that mothers who were more open to experience were much less likely than other mothers to know the sex of their child, and that parenting perfectionists were slightly more likely than other mothers to know the sex.  We also found that when mothers held a less traditional gender role ideology and were conscientious, or able to set clear standards and follow through with them, they were much less likely than other mothers to know the sex of their unborn child. (more…)

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The Era of Neutrino Astronomy has Begun

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Astrophysicists using a telescope embedded in Antarctic ice have succeeded in a quest to detect and record the mysterious phenomena known as cosmic neutrinos – nearly massless particles that stream to Earth at the speed of light from outside our solar system, striking the surface in a burst of energy that can be as powerful as a baseball pitcher’s fastball. Next, they hope to build on the early success of the IceCube Neutrino Observatory to detect the source of these high-energy particles, said Physics Professor Gregory Sullivan, who led the University of Maryland’s 12-person team of contributors to the IceCube Collaboration.

“The era of neutrino astronomy has begun,” Sullivan said as the IceCube Collaboration announced the observation of 28 very high-energy particle events that constitute the first solid evidence for astrophysical neutrinos from cosmic sources.  (more…)

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Health in conflict: A public health student undertakes a challenging internship in Lebanon

“In Syria it is a fast death; here it is a slow death,” a woman lamented as she described her situation as a refugee in Lebanon escaping an escalating civil war in her homeland.

Each woman’s story was different, but they were all sad, grim. Another refugee had five children and a husband who is detained somewhere back home. “When a father is present you might be able to afford some of the children’s needs, but if he’s not, from whom do you seek help?” she asked. (more…)

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Bold Move Forward in Molecular Analyses

Berkeley Lab Researchers Develop New Metrics for X-ray and Neutron Analysis of Flexible Macromolecules

A dramatic leap forward in the ability of scientists to study the structural states of macromolecules such as proteins and nanoparticles in solution has been achieved by a pair of researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). The researchers have developed a new set of metrics for analyzing data acquired via small angle scattering (SAS) experiments with X-rays (SAXS) or neutrons (SANS). Among other advantages, this will reduce the time required to collect data by up to 20 times.

“SAS is the only technique that provides a complete snapshot of the thermodynamic state of macromolecules in a single image,” says Robert Rambo, a scientist with Berkeley Lab’s Physical Biosciences Division, who developed the new SAS metrics along with John Tainer of Berkeley Lab’s Life Sciences Division and the Scripps Research Institute. (more…)

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Surprising Control over Photoelectrons from a Topological Insulator

Berkeley Lab scientists discover how a photon beam can flip the spin polarization of electrons emitted from an exciting new material

Plain-looking but inherently strange crystalline materials called 3D topological insulators (TIs) are all the rage in materials science. Even at room temperature, a single chunk of TI is a good insulator in the bulk, yet behaves like a metal on its surface.

Researchers find TIs exciting partly because the electrons that flow swiftly across their surfaces are “spin polarized”: the electron’s spin is locked to its momentum, perpendicular to the direction of travel. These interesting electronic states promise many uses – some exotic, like observing never-before-seen fundamental particles, but many practical, including building more versatile and efficient high-tech gadgets, or, further into the future, platforms for quantum computing. (more…)

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NASA Releases Radar Movie of Asteroid 2012 DA14

An initial sequence of radar images of asteroid 2012 DA14 was obtained on the night of Feb. 15/16, 2013, by NASA scientists using the 230-foot (70-meter) Deep Space Network antenna at Goldstone, Calif. Each of the 72 frames required 320 seconds of data collection by the Goldstone radar.

The observations were made as the asteroid was moving away from Earth. The asteroid’s distance from the radar dish increased from 74,000 miles (120,000 kilometers) to 195,000 miles (314,000 kilometers). The resolution is 13 feet (four meters) per pixel. The images span close to eight hours and clearly show an elongated object undergoing roughly one full rotation. The images suggest that the asteroid has a long axis of about 130 feet (40 meters). The radar observations were led by scientists Lance Benner and Marina Brozovic of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. Additional Goldstone radar observations are scheduled on February 18, 19 and 20. (more…)

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