Riviste scientifiche

Second Life 2.0: Virtual world recreates the real you

New Scientist - %age fa
A new virtual world promises seamless social interaction. Samantha Murphy is the first to speak to High Fidelity's creator, Philip Rosedale, from the inside

Giant solar farm uses molten salt to keep power coming

New Scientist - Me, 23/04/2014 - 21:00
Renewable energy could help underpin the grid now that the world's biggest concentrated solar storage plant is up and running in Arizona

Blood of world's oldest woman hints at limits of life

New Scientist - Me, 23/04/2014 - 20:15
She lived to 115, but a study of Hendrikje van Andel-Schipper's blood hints at factors limiting lifespan

Brazil approves use of genetically modified mosquitoes

New Scientist - Me, 23/04/2014 - 19:54
Mosquitoes that carry the dengue virus have been engineered to cause crashes in wild populations, and could soon be used in the US as well

Deaf people get gene tweak to restore natural hearing

New Scientist - Me, 23/04/2014 - 19:00
People who have lost their hearing will be injected with a harmless virus carrying a gene that should trigger the regrowth of their ears' sensory receptors

Armed Russian robocops to defend missile bases

New Scientist - Me, 23/04/2014 - 19:00
Russia is using gun-toting robot sentries to defend its army bases and shoot intruders

Playing peek-a-boo in a colossal rocket box

New Scientist - Me, 23/04/2014 - 17:40
We take a rocket's-eye view of the monolithic gantry surrounding the European Space Agency's latest launch vehicle, the Vega, as it prepares for take-off

Contemplating the power of war to end all wars

New Scientist - Me, 23/04/2014 - 17:00
The threat of mutually assured destruction, military or economic, promotes peace in many places. If war has ultimately forged a safer world, what's next?

Build a stable wormhole with the help of dark aliens

New Scientist - Me, 23/04/2014 - 15:00
An extension of Einstein's gravity would let us build a wormhole – if we could send messages to invisible aliens via space-time ripples

Game of primes ends as mathematics gets too difficult

New Scientist - Me, 23/04/2014 - 14:00
There's a ceasefire in an online race to solve the 165-year-old twin prime conjecture, but the game has brought us closer than ever to a proof

Zoologger: Sailfish is lethal d'Artagnan of the deep

New Scientist - Me, 23/04/2014 - 13:45
The Atlantic sailfish's hunting strategy involves using its sword-like bill to slash its sardine prey so fast the "blade" becomes invisible to the eye

Protein that shrinks depressed brains identified

New Scientist - Me, 23/04/2014 - 13:13
Why the connections between brain cells in depressed people are often shrivelled was a mystery – but a single protein could be to blame

Shakespeare: Poet, playwright, scientist?

New Scientist - Me, 23/04/2014 - 13:10
Shakespeare is known for being many things – but never a scientist. On the eve of his 450th birthday, we show how his imagination was fired by the natural world

What's war good for? It's made a more peaceful world

New Scientist - Me, 23/04/2014 - 13:00
For all the horror and brutality of battle, war has a surprising upside – it helps create larger and safer societies, argues historian Ian Morris (full text available to subscribers)

Burden of Total and Cause-Specific Mortality Related to Tobacco Smoking among Adults Aged ≥45 Years in Asia: A Pooled Analysis of 21 Cohorts

PLoS Medicine - Ma, 22/04/2014 - 23:00

by Wei Zheng, Dale F. McLerran, Betsy A. Rolland, Zhenming Fu, Paolo Boffetta, Jiang He, Prakash Chandra Gupta, Kunnambath Ramadas, Shoichiro Tsugane, Fujiko Irie, Akiko Tamakoshi, Yu-Tang Gao, Woon-Puay Koh, Xiao-Ou Shu, Kotaro Ozasa, Yoshikazu Nishino, Ichiro Tsuji, Hideo Tanaka, Chien-Jen Chen, Jian-Min Yuan, Yoon-Ok Ahn, Keun-Young Yoo, Habibul Ahsan, Wen-Harn Pan, You-Lin Qiao, Dongfeng Gu, Mangesh Suryakant Pednekar, Catherine Sauvaget, Norie Sawada, Toshimi Sairenchi, Gong Yang, Renwei Wang, Yong-Bing Xiang, Waka Ohishi, Masako Kakizaki, Takashi Watanabe, Isao Oze, San-Lin You, Yumi Sugawara, Lesley M. Butler, Dong-Hyun Kim, Sue K. Park, Faruque Parvez, Shao-Yuan Chuang, Jin-Hu Fan, Chen-Yang Shen, Yu Chen, Eric J. Grant, Jung Eun Lee, Rashmi Sinha, Keitaro Matsuo, Mark Thornquist, Manami Inoue, Ziding Feng, Daehee Kang, John D. Potter


Tobacco smoking is a major risk factor for many diseases. We sought to quantify the burden of tobacco-smoking-related deaths in Asia, in parts of which men's smoking prevalence is among the world's highest.

Methods and Findings

We performed pooled analyses of data from 1,049,929 participants in 21 cohorts in Asia to quantify the risks of total and cause-specific mortality associated with tobacco smoking using adjusted hazard ratios and their 95% confidence intervals. We then estimated smoking-related deaths among adults aged ≥45 y in 2004 in Bangladesh, India, mainland China, Japan, Republic of Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan—accounting for ∼71% of Asia's total population. An approximately 1.44-fold (95% CI = 1.37–1.51) and 1.48-fold (1.38–1.58) elevated risk of death from any cause was found in male and female ever-smokers, respectively. In 2004, active tobacco smoking accounted for approximately 15.8% (95% CI = 14.3%–17.2%) and 3.3% (2.6%–4.0%) of deaths, respectively, in men and women aged ≥45 y in the seven countries/regions combined, with a total number of estimated deaths of ∼1,575,500 (95% CI = 1,398,000–1,744,700). Among men, approximately 11.4%, 30.5%, and 19.8% of deaths due to cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and respiratory diseases, respectively, were attributable to tobacco smoking. Corresponding proportions for East Asian women were 3.7%, 4.6%, and 1.7%, respectively. The strongest association with tobacco smoking was found for lung cancer: a 3- to 4-fold elevated risk, accounting for 60.5% and 16.7% of lung cancer deaths, respectively, in Asian men and East Asian women aged ≥45 y.


Tobacco smoking is associated with a substantially elevated risk of mortality, accounting for approximately 2 million deaths in adults aged ≥45 y throughout Asia in 2004. It is likely that smoking-related deaths in Asia will continue to rise over the next few decades if no effective smoking control programs are implemented.Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary

Fetal Growth and Risk of Stillbirth: A Population-Based Case–Control Study

PLoS Medicine - Ma, 22/04/2014 - 23:00

by Radek Bukowski, Nellie I. Hansen, Marian Willinger, Uma M. Reddy, Corette B. Parker, Halit Pinar, Robert M. Silver, Donald J. Dudley, Barbara J. Stoll, George R. Saade, Matthew A. Koch, Carol J. Rowland Hogue, Michael W. Varner, Deborah L. Conway, Donald Coustan, Robert L. Goldenberg, for the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Stillbirth Collaborative Research Network


Stillbirth is strongly related to impaired fetal growth. However, the relationship between fetal growth and stillbirth is difficult to determine because of uncertainty in the timing of death and confounding characteristics affecting normal fetal growth.

Methods and Findings

We conducted a population-based case–control study of all stillbirths and a representative sample of live births in 59 hospitals in five geographic areas in the US. Fetal growth abnormalities were categorized as small for gestational age (SGA) (<10th percentile) or large for gestational age (LGA) (>90th percentile) at death (stillbirth) or delivery (live birth) using population, ultrasound, and individualized norms. Gestational age at death was determined using an algorithm that considered the time-of-death interval, postmortem examination, and reliability of the gestational age estimate. Data were weighted to account for the sampling design and differential participation rates in various subgroups. Among 527 singleton stillbirths and 1,821 singleton live births studied, stillbirth was associated with SGA based on population, ultrasound, and individualized norms (odds ratio [OR] [95% CI]: 3.0 [2.2 to 4.0]; 4.7 [3.7 to 5.9]; 4.6 [3.6 to 5.9], respectively). LGA was also associated with increased risk of stillbirth using ultrasound and individualized norms (OR [95% CI]: 3.5 [2.4 to 5.0]; 2.3 [1.7 to 3.1], respectively), but not population norms (OR [95% CI]: 0.6 [0.4 to 1.0]). The associations were stronger with more severe SGA and LGA (<5th and >95th percentile). Analyses adjusted for stillbirth risk factors, subset analyses excluding potential confounders, and analyses in preterm and term pregnancies showed similar patterns of association. In this study 70% of cases and 63% of controls agreed to participate. Analysis weights accounted for differences between consenting and non-consenting women. Some of the characteristics used for individualized fetal growth estimates were missing and were replaced with reference values. However, a sensitivity analysis using individualized norms based on the subset of stillbirths and live births with non-missing variables showed similar findings.


Stillbirth is associated with both growth restriction and excessive fetal growth. These findings suggest that, contrary to current practices and recommendations, stillbirth prevention strategies should focus on both severe SGA and severe LGA pregnancies.Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary

Optimal Evidence in Difficult Settings: Improving Health Interventions and Decision Making in Disasters

PLoS Medicine - Ma, 22/04/2014 - 23:00

by Martin Gerdin, Mike Clarke, Claire Allen, Bonnix Kayabu, William Summerskill, Declan Devane, Malcolm MacLachlan, Paul Spiegel, Anjan Ghosh, Rony Zachariah, Saurabh Gupta, Virginia Barbour, Virginia Murray, Johan von Schreeb

Virtual Earth plays out fate of life on the planet

New Scientist - Ma, 22/04/2014 - 23:00
The first computer model to simulate the interaction of life on Earth allows us to see how an infinite number of ecosystem changes affect the environment

Mini robot doctors that could swim in your bloodstream

New Scientist - Ma, 22/04/2014 - 22:00
Robots that can be operated using magnetic fields could one day be injected into your body with the parts to make therapeutic devices

The coolest biology is under the microscope

New Scientist - Ma, 22/04/2014 - 20:00
Almost everything important takes place in the microbial world, argues Nicholas Money in his lively but rather disorganised book The Amoeba in the Room

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