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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Science Scene

Parents’ ages play role in autism risk

It turns out that the older you are, the more likely your children will have autism.

In a study published online in the journal Autism Research by UC Davis graduate student Janie F. Shelton, researchers have found that older mothers and fathers are more likely to have a child with autism than their counterparts under 30.

The study analyzed almost 5 million births in California during the 1990s, with 12,159 cases of autism diagnosed.

Past research found that the risk was more associated with the father’s age. However, this new study suggested that the most pronounced risk occurred when the father was over 40 and the mother under 30.

Every five-year increment increase showed the risk of having a child with the disorder grew by 18 percent.

Source: nytimes.com

Treating herpes does not reduce HIV transmission

Treating herpes in people already affected by HIV does not reduce its transmission, a new study says.

The herpes drug, acyclovir, lowers the level of the HIV virus in the blood for unknown reasons.

All participants in the study were given condoms: Only half received acyclovir and half got a placebo. The results showed less genital sores and AIDS virus in the blood for those on acyclovir. However, the rate of transmission of AIDS stayed the same for both groups.

Researchers hoped that the same drug could be used as a treatment of HIV and AIDS because it has fewer side effects than the current AIDS drug treatments.

Source: nytimes.com

Hadron Collidor set to work at half-power for two years

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) will start back up later this month but only at half-power, the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) said. After two years, it will shutdown for year-long repairs.

CERN’S engineers and researchers chose to play safe and only use 3.5 trillion electron volts to make sure there are no more major breakdowns. Two years ago, complications with two magnets caused the LHC to break.

The Large Hadron Collider took 15 years to build and cost $9 billion to collide protons together in the search for new laws of physics.

Source: nytimes.com

People share more positive news stories, researchers find

Taking pleasure from other’s misfortunes may not be applicable all the time.

According to researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, people prefer recommending online stories that are positive rather than negatively themed.

Researchers followed the New York Times list of most e-mailed articles every 15 minutes for six months. They analyzed the content of each article as well as took into account the location of the article in the print edition as well as online edition.

The results showed that people preferred to e-mail articles that were positive in nature, especially if they inspired awe. People also tend to e-mail long articles on intellectually challenging topics, with science stories being the largest percentage of the articles.

Source: nytimes.com

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