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LHC produces highest energy collision yet

GENEVA, Switzerland, March 30 (UPI) — Physicists at the Large Hadron Collider near Geneva, Switzerland, say they have achieved the highest energy collision ever recorded between two proton beams.

The beams collided at 7 trillion electron volts, officials at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, said. The event occurred inside the $8 billion, 17-mile collider tunnel, located 574-feet beneath the Franco-Swiss border at 1:06 p.m. local time Tuesday (7:06 a.m. EDT), achieving an energy level 3 1/2 times higher than previously recorded by any particle accelerator.

“It’s a great day to be a particle physicist,” said CERN Director General Rolf Heuer. “A lot of people have waited a long time for this moment, but their patience and dedication is starting to pay dividends.”

Guido Tonelli, spokesman for CERN’s Compact Muon Solenoid, a particle detector, said physics teams worldwide were already analyzing data produced by the Tuesday experiment.

“We’ll address soon some of the major puzzles of modern physics like the origin of mass, the grand unification of forces and the presence of abundant dark matter in the universe,” Tonelli said. “I expect very exciting times in front of us.”

CERN officials said they will run the LHC for 18-24 months with the objective of delivering enough data to make significant advances across a wide range of physics.

Diabetes ups post-cancer surgery deaths

BALTIMORE, March 30 (UPI) — Patients with diabetes who undergo cancer surgery can have a 50 percent increased risk of dying than those who do not have diabetes, U.S. researchers said.

Hsin-Chieh “Jessica” Yeh of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore and colleagues say newly diagnosed cancer patients — particularly those with colorectal or esophageal tumors — who also have type 2 diabetes have a 50 percent greater risk of death following surgery for cancer.

Yeh and colleagues conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of 15 previously published studies involving 32,621 patients.

“Diabetic patients, their oncologists and their surgeons should be aware of the increased risk when they have cancer surgery,” Yeh says in a statement. “Care of diabetes before, during and after surgery is very important. It should be part of the preoperative discussion.”

However, the researchers say their review could not answer the question of why cancer patients with type 2 diabetes are at greater risk of death after surgery.

The findings are scheduled to be published in the April issue of the journal Diabetes Care.

Crayfish use urine to send sex signals

HULL, England, March 30 (UPI) — British scientists say they’ve found walking through urine produces a sexual fighting frenzy in crayfish, ensuring that only the strongest males mate.

University of Hull researchers Fiona Berry and Thomas Breithaupt said they investigated the effects of urine-based chemical signaling used by sexually active crayfish.

“Our results confirm that females initiate courtship behavior; males will only attempt to mate if they receive urinary signals from the female. Females, however, send a mixed message by releasing an aphrodisiac while also acting very aggressively towards the males.”

The scientists hypothesize the females might profit in different ways from displaying such conflicting signals. For example, by stimulating aggressive behavior in males, females can gauge male size and strength and thereby ensure only the fittest males get to fertilize their eggs.

“Timing seems to be key to this interaction as urine induces aggression in both sexes,” the researchers said. “Males will discontinue urine release early in the sexual encounter, which may mitigate the female’s antagonism and enhance mating success.”

The study is reported in the journal BMC Biology.

Function loss after brain injury studied

LEIPZIG, Germany, March 30 (UPI) — A German study suggests loss of physical and psychological function after brain injury isn’t closely related to brain structure injuries, as had been thought.

Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Cognition and Neuro Sciences led by Rainer Scheid and D. Yves von Cramon said the loss of physical and psychological function after traumatic brain injury is, in Germany, more frequently caused by traffic accidents, falls or blows to the head than by strokes. And such loss of f function is usually blamed on changes in brain structures.

But Scheid and von Cramon analyzed data from 320 patients treated in the Cognitive Neurology Outpatient Clinic at the University of Leipzig between 1996 and 2007. They investigated whether the imaging, clinical and neuropsychological findings were correlated.

They discovered the most frequent findings were contusions, microbleeds, and atrophy. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed no visible changes in 49 of the patients examined. And the scientists said their analysis failed to find any convincing correlations with the patients’ general condition or with their performance in neuropsychological tests.

However, nearly 15 percent of the patients suffered from post traumatic epilepsy and the scientists said they showed that was correlated with isolated brain contusions.

The research appears in the journal German Physician Sheet International.

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