Riviste scientifiche

Our Ice Age ancestors skinned cave lions to make roofs for huts

New Scientist - Me, 26/10/2016 - 20:00
Cave lion bones found near prehistoric huts in the La Garma cave in Spain show evidence of being skinned for fur, which the early humans seem to have used as roofs

Playing Grand Theft Auto can teach autonomous cars how to drive

New Scientist - Me, 26/10/2016 - 20:00
Getting computers to recognise other cars is surprisingly difficult – but super-realistic video games can help train them up

One Per Cent

New Scientist - Me, 26/10/2016 - 20:00
The next generation of Post-it notes, bitcoin bets on the US election, and souping up your car to take you for a spin

How to save ourselves from the invisible gas choking us to death

New Scientist - Me, 26/10/2016 - 20:00
Cities are battling to meet legal standards for air pollution, but even that isn't enough to make air safe, says Michael Le Page

Paralysed people inhabit distant robot bodies with thought alone

New Scientist - Me, 26/10/2016 - 20:00
Using a head-up display and a cap that reads brain activity, for the first time three people with spinal injury have controlled a robot and seen what it sees

Lying feels bad at first but our brains soon adapt to deceiving

New Scientist - Me, 26/10/2016 - 20:00
Scans reveal that as we tell more and more fibs, our brains become desensitised to lying, allowing dishonesty to snowball

Smart lab rats filmed using hooked tools to get chocolate cereal

New Scientist - Me, 26/10/2016 - 20:00
Lock up your cereal. Rats can learn to use tools, such as hooked rakes, to reach food, and they can even choose the right tool for the job

Superfast therapy cracks multidrug-resistant tuberculosis

New Scientist - Me, 26/10/2016 - 19:00
A new drug regime cures 82 per cent of people with multidrug-resistant tuberculosis – and in less than half the time taken by current treatments

HIV jumped to the US in 1970 – 10 years before it was spotted

New Scientist - Me, 26/10/2016 - 19:00
The HIV virus was in the US in the 1970s before it triggered the nation's AIDS epidemic of the 1980s, a new genetic study has found

Souped-up SIM allows mobile payments where there’s no network

New Scientist - Me, 26/10/2016 - 18:39
A new device lets people make mobile payments in areas without cellphone coverage, aiding in parts of the world with limited mobile and banking access

Energy-generating floorboard lights up 35 LEDs with one footstep

New Scientist - Me, 26/10/2016 - 18:29
A cheap and biodegradable material made from wood pulp can turn footsteps into electricity – a useful complement to renewables like solar

‘Autism therapy helped my child speak’ – a mum hails new method

New Scientist - Me, 26/10/2016 - 17:59
Louisa Harrison explains how a parent-led intervention – the first to have lasting benefits for children with autism – helped her communicate with her son

Google’s neural networks invent their own encryption

New Scientist - Me, 26/10/2016 - 17:16
Using machine learning, computers have come up with codes that let them send secret messages to each other – but they’re still a long way off humans

Super-cold winters in the UK and US are due to Arctic warming

New Scientist - Me, 26/10/2016 - 15:51
The warming of the Arctic is affecting the jet stream winds, bringing more cold snaps that persist for longer to the UK and US

Kamikaze cells wage biowarfare and fight viruses with viruses

New Scientist - Me, 26/10/2016 - 13:21
When a giant virus attacks one marine predator, it sacrifices itself to make viruses that kill the attacker

Spider-eating bug muffles web vibrations to sneak up on prey

New Scientist - Me, 26/10/2016 - 01:01
It’s a silent assassin. To eat a spider, the long-necked giraffe assassin bug has to snap web threads without being noticed – and avoid being devoured itself

Autism intervention is first to show benefits over the long term

New Scientist - Me, 26/10/2016 - 00:30
A programme that tweaks parents' communication skills is the first to show consistent improvements in children with severe autism

Mice fall for rubber hand illusion just like us

New Scientist - Ma, 25/10/2016 - 23:00
Rodents can be tricked into thinking a fake tail is their own, and in doing so may help us develop prosthetic limbs that are more easily incorporated into body image

Impacts on Breastfeeding Practices of At-Scale Strategies That Combine Intensive Interpersonal Counseling, Mass Media, and Community Mobilization: Results of Cluster-Randomized Program Evaluations in Bangladesh and Viet Nam

PLoS Medicine - Ma, 25/10/2016 - 23:00

by Purnima Menon, Phuong Hong Nguyen, Kuntal Kumar Saha, Adiba Khaled, Andrew Kennedy, Lan Mai Tran, Tina Sanghvi, Nemat Hajeebhoy, Jean Baker, Silvia Alayon, Kaosar Afsana, Raisul Haque, Edward A. Frongillo, Marie T. Ruel, Rahul Rawat


Despite recommendations supporting optimal breastfeeding, the number of women practicing exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) remains low, and few interventions have demonstrated implementation and impact at scale. Alive & Thrive was implemented over a period of 6 y (2009–2014) and aimed to improve breastfeeding practices through intensified interpersonal counseling (IPC), mass media (MM), and community mobilization (CM) intervention components delivered at scale in the context of policy advocacy (PA) in Bangladesh and Viet Nam. In Bangladesh, IPC was delivered through a large non-governmental health program; in Viet Nam, it was integrated into government health facilities. This study evaluated the population-level impact of intensified IPC, MM, CM, and PA (intensive) compared to standard nutrition counseling and less intensive MM, CM, and PA (non-intensive) on breastfeeding practices in these two countries.

Methods and Findings

A cluster-randomized evaluation design was employed in each country. For the evaluation sample, 20 sub-districts in Bangladesh and 40 communes in Viet Nam were randomized to either the intensive or the non-intensive group. Cross-sectional surveys (n ~ 500 children 0–5.9 mo old per group per country) were implemented at baseline (June 7–August 29, 2010, in Viet Nam; April 28–June 26, 2010, in Bangladesh) and endline (June 16–August 30, 2014, in Viet Nam; April 20–June 23, 2014, in Bangladesh). Difference-in-differences estimates (DDEs) of impact were calculated, adjusting for clustering. In Bangladesh, improvements were significantly greater in the intensive compared to the non-intensive group for the proportion of women who reported practicing EBF in the previous 24 h (DDE 36.2 percentage points [pp], 95% CI 21.0–51.5, p < 0.001; prevalence in intensive group rose from 48.5% to 87.6%) and engaging in early initiation of breastfeeding (EIBF) (16.7 pp, 95% CI 2.8–30.6, p = 0.021; 63.7% to 94.2%). In Viet Nam, EBF increases were greater in the intensive group (27.9 pp, 95% CI 17.7–38.1, p < 0.001; 18.9% to 57.8%); EIBF declined (60.0% to 53.2%) in the intensive group, but less than in the non-intensive group (57.4% to 40.6%; DDE 10.0 pp, 95% CI −1.3 to 21.4, p = 0.072). Our impact estimates may underestimate the full potential of such a multipronged intervention because the evaluation lacked a “pure control” area with no MM or national/provincial PA.


At-scale interventions combining intensive IPC with MM, CM, and PA had greater positive impacts on breastfeeding practices in Bangladesh and Viet Nam than standard counseling with less intensive MM, CM, and PA. To our knowledge, this study is the first to document implementation and impacts of breastfeeding promotion at scale using rigorous evaluation designs. Strategies to design and deliver similar programs could improve breastfeeding practices in other contexts.

Trial registration

ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01678716 (Bangladesh) and NCT01676623 (Viet Nam)

How Relevant Is Sexual Transmission of Zika Virus?

PLoS Medicine - Ma, 25/10/2016 - 23:00

by Christian L. Althaus, Nicola Low

Christian Althaus and Nicola Low reflect on the contribution of sexual transmission to the spread of Zika virus.
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