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Recent highlights in research news include: Empathetic people interpret dogs' facial expressions more intensely; Genetic changes related to height; Early predictors of anxiety and depression in infants; A possible fix on interstellar space travel; Fluorinated chemicals in fast food wrappers; A brain-computer interface could help those that are entirely paralysed; Twins study shows how gut bacteria change during spaceflight; and how traffic noise disrupts communication between species.

Change in Astronaut’s Gut Bacteria Attributed to Spaceflight

Northwestern University researchers studying the gut bacteria of Scott and Mark Kelly, NASA astronauts and identical twin brothers, as part of a unique human study have found that changes to certain gut “bugs” occur in space.

Empathetic People Experience Dogs' Expressions More Strongly

Human empathy can even extend to dogs: Empathetic people interpret dogs' facial expressions more intensely.

Men and Women Are Not That Different with Respect to Age Preferences of Sexual Partners

The difference between men and women with respect to their age preferences, when it comes to sexual partners, is smaller than earlier believed. A recent study shows that also men become interested in older and older women as they themselves age.

Giant Study Finds Rare, but Influential, Genetic Changes Related to Height

International study of more than 750,000 people probes deeper into height than ever before

Banks Hold Major Information Advantage Over Other Investors

Maybe Gordon Gekko was right when he said that information was the most valuable commodity of all. A new study showing major investment advantages for banks in countries where public economic data is scarce seems to support that claim by the fictional corporate raider in the 1987 movie Wall Street.

New Study Finds Extensive Use of Fluorinated Chemicals in Fast Food Wrappers

Previous studies have linked the chemicals to kidney and testicular cancers, thyroid disease, low birth weight and immunotoxicity in children, among other health issues.

Blood Test That Detects Changes in Tumor DNA Predicts Survival of Women with Advanced Breast Cancer

Results of a multicenter study of 129 women with advanced breast cancer show that a blood test that spots cancer-linked DNA correctly predicted that most of those patients with higher levels of the tumor markers died significantly earlier than those with lower levels.

Coastal Wetlands Excel at Storing Carbon

New analysis supports mangrove forests, tidal marshes and seagrass meadows as effective climate buffers.

Space Travel Visionaries Solve the Problem of Interstellar Slowdown at Our Stellar Neighbor

In April last year, billionaire Yuri Milner announced the Breakthrough Starshot Initiative. He plans to invest 100 million US dollars in the development of an ultra-light light sail that can be accelerated to 20 percent of the speed of light to reach the Alpha Centauri star system within 20 years. The problem of how to slow down this projectile once it reaches its target remains a challenge.

Early Signs of Anxiety, Depression May Be Evident in Newborns

Early predictors of anxiety and depression may be evident in the brain even at birth, suggests a study at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Brain-Computer Interface Allows Completely Locked-in People to Communicate

Completely locked-in participants report being “happy”

Social Media and Work Relations: Do People “Like” Their Boss?

Marketing expert Deborah Cohn of NYIT School of Management and conflict resolution expert Joshua Bienstock (also at NYIT) have won two grants to research social media behaviors and work relationships across four countries.

UNH Research Finds White Mountain National Forest Home to Nearly 140 Species of Bees

The White Mountain National Forest is home to nearly 140 species of native bees, including two species of native bumble bees that are in decline in the Northeast, according to researchers with the University of New Hampshire who recently completed the first assessment of the state’s native bee population in the national forest.

Tracing the Cosmic Web with Star-Forming Galaxies in the Distant Universe

Galaxies in the universe trace patterns on very large scales; there are large empty regions (called "voids") and dense regions where the galaxies exist. This distribution is called the cosmic web. The most massive concentrations of galaxies are clusters. The formation of the cosmic web is governed by the action of gravity on the invisible mysterious "dark matter" that exists throughout the universe.

Astronauts' Brains Change Shape During Spaceflight

MRIs before and after space missions reveal that astronauts' brains compress and expand during spaceflight, according to a University of Michigan study.

New Study Connects Running Motion to Ground Force, Provides Patterns for Any Runner

Concise scientific approach accurately predicts runner's patterns of foot ground-force application -- at all speeds and regardless of foot-strike mechanics

Increasing Factory and Auto Emissions Disrupt Natural Cycle in East China Sea

China’s rapid ascent to global economic superpower is taking a toll on some of its ancient ways. For millennia, people have patterned their lives and diets around the vast fisheries of the East China Sea, but now those waters are increasingly threatened by human-caused, harmful algal blooms that choke off vital fish populations.

Lost in Translation: Traffic Noise Disrupts Communication Between Species

Research by scientists at the University of Bristol has found that man-made noise can hinder the response of animals to the warning signals given by other species, putting them at greater risk of death from predators.

(Embargo expired on 30-Jan-2017 at 19:05 ET)

Study Reveals Substantial Evidence of Holographic Universe

A UK, Canadian and Italian study has provided what researchers believe is the first observational evidence that our universe could be a vast and complex hologram.

Clue to How Cancer Cells Spread

In a second human case, a Yale-led research team has found that a melanoma cell and a white blood cell can fuse to form a hybrid with the ability to metastasize. The finding provides further insight into how melanoma and other cancers spread from solid tumors with implications for future treatment.

New Study Looks at LGBT Allies in College Sports

The sports world has not always been considered the most inviting place for those who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. Yet, college athletes can make powerful allies for the LGBT community, given their visibility and status on campus, says University of Arizona researcher Russell Toomey.