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Reward, Aversion Behaviors Activated Through Same Brain Pathways

New research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis may help explain why drug treatments for addiction and depression don’t work for some patients. The conditions are linked to reward and aversion responses in the brain. And the research suggests that some treatments simultaneously stimulate reward and aversion responses, resulting in a net zero effect.

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Driving with Central Visual Field Loss II: How Scotomas Affect Hazard Detection in a Driving Simulator

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Vision researchers in Boston have published the second paper of a study designed to determine if a driver who suffers from loss of central vision is able to detect pedestrians in a timely manner when driving. Central visual field loss, a scotoma or blind area in central vision, is found most commonly in patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Patients with AMD may drive provided their visual acuity at least meets the requirements for a restricted license. However, the size and location of the blind area are usually not considered when making licensing decisions. The purpose of the study was to evaluate how much these blind areas delayed responses to pedestrian hazards in the safe environment of a driving simulator.

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EMBARGOED

A reporter's PressPass is required to access this story until the embargo expires on 7-Sep-2015 3:00 PM EDT

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EMBARGOED

A reporter's PressPass is required to access this story until the embargo expires on 8-Sep-2015 5:00 AM EDT

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Scientists Discover Key Clues in Turtle Evolution

A team led by NYIT Assistant Professor Gaberiel Bever has determined that Eunotosaurus africanus is the earliest known branch of the turtle tree of life

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Scientists See Motor Neurons ‘Walking’ in Real Time

The new approach shows how cells in the spinal cord synchronize many neurons at once to allow complex movements, which could have implications for treating spinal cord injuries and diseases

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Evidence That Earth's First Mass Extinction Was Caused by Critters, Not Catastrophe

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In the popular mind, mass extinctions are associated with catastrophic events, like giant meteorite impacts and volcanic super-eruptions. But the world’s first known mass extinction, which took place about 540 million years ago, now appears to have had a more subtle cause: evolution itself. “People have been slow to recognize that biological organisms can also drive mass extinction,” said Simon Darroch, assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences at Vanderbilt University.

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Exposure to Phthalates Could Be Linked to Pregnancy Loss

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A new study of more than 300 women suggests that exposure to certain phthalates — substances commonly used in food packaging, personal-care and other everyday products — could be associated with miscarriage, mostly between 5 and 13 weeks of pregnancy.

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New Method for Nanoparticle Self-Assembly May Lead to Novel Applications, Like Rewritable Paper

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Unlike current methods that coat nanoparticles with light-sensitive molecules, a new technique from the Weizmann Institute instead suspends the particles in a light-sensitive medium, then self-assemble. Possible applications include rewritable paper, water decontamination, and a way to precisely deliver medicines.

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Surge in Bicycle Injuries to Riders Over 45

The incidence of bicycle accidents has increased significantly in the U.S. in recent years, with many serious injuries occurring among riders older than 45, according to a new study led by UC San Francisco.