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Science News: SIDS Risk Factors Vary for Older and Younger Babies

When a baby's death remains unexplained, it is said to be due sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Now, a new study, published today (July 14) in the journal Pediatrics, shows that the risk factors that contribute to SIDS vary with a baby's age. The majority of infants in the study younger than 4 months old who died while sleeping were bed sharing, whereas older infants who died were likelier to be found on their stomachs, or with blankets, stuffed animals or pillows around them, said study co-author Dr. Jeffrey Colvin, a pediatrician at Children's Mercy Hospital in Missouri. SIDS and unintentional injuries such as suffocation occur in 81 out of every 100,000 live births, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

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Science News: Hookah Smoking: Teen Trend, or Cigarettes of the Century?

Hookah Smoking: Teen Trend, or Cigarettes of the Century?Although cigarette smoking isn't nearly as popular with teens in the United States as it was a decade ago, that doesn't mean teens don't smoke. A hookah is a water pipe that uses charcoal to heat up a wet tobacco product called shisha. The new finding is in line with a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that found that while the overall use of tobacco products in the United States decreased between 2000 and 2011, there was an increase in the use of noncigarette tobacco products, including hookah tobacco. "Cigarette use has decreased by 33 percent in the past decade in the U.S., while the use of alternative tobacco products, such as hookahs, has increased [by] an alarming 123 percent," said Dr. Michael Weitzman, a professor of pediatrics and environmental medicine at New York University and co-author of the new study.


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Science News: Wrongly Accused? 3 Spiders May Not Liquify Human Tissue After All

A new study, published this month in the journal Toxicon, suggests that the venom of the Australian white-tailed spider — which has a reputation on the Internet of being powerful enough to kill human tissue — may not be so toxic after all. In fact, there were no signs of necrosis in a man recently bitten by a white-tailed spider, despite the man's fears that he would need drastic treatments, said Dr. Scott Weinstein, a toxinologist at Women's and Children's Hospital in North Adelaide, Australia, who treated the man and wrote the study. Websites that may not be based on credible research claim that white-tailed spider bites are dangerous, for instance, the website DoctorDecides.com says the bites "may cause deep ulcers and skin necrosis." Similarly, hobo spiders and wolf spiders that live in the United States may also have been wrongly assumed to cause necrosis, recent studies show.

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Science News: Sex Addiction and Drug Addiction Linked in the Brain

People with so-called "sex addictions" may have patterns of brain activity similar to those of people with drug addictions, a new study finds. When people in the study who reported compulsive sexual behavior watched pornography, they experienced heightened brain activity in the same regions where activity is heightened during drug use in people with drug addiction. The study provides evidence in the fierce debate over whether compulsive sexual behavior — also known as hypersexuality — should be considered a true mental-health disorder, and be included in the DSM-5, the American Psychological Association's handbook of mental-health disorders. "There's a large literature that developed over the past three or four decades of how individuals respond to drug abuse, and we wanted to examine within that framework whether we see similarities and differences [to compulsive sexual behavior]," said Dr. Marc Potenza, a psychiatrist at the Yale School of Medicine who co-authored the new study.

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Science News: U.S. cargo ship blasts off with supplies for space station

By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL Fla (Reuters) - - An unmanned Orbital Sciences Corp Antares rocket blasted off from a seaside launch pad in Virginia on Sunday, sending a Cygnus cargo ship on its way to the International Space Station, a NASA Television broadcast showed. Perched on top of the rocket was a Cygnus spacecraft, built by Orbital Sciences in partnership with Italy’s Thales Alenia Space, a joint venture of Thales SA and Finmeccanica SpA. The freighter was loaded with more than 3,660 pounds (1,660 kg) of food, science equipment and supplies for the space station, a $100 billion research laboratory that flies about 264 miles (425 km) above Earth. The mission is the second of eight station cargo runs by Orbital Sciences under a $1.9 billion contract with NASA.

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