Nurture trumps nature in determining severity of PTSD symptoms — ScienceDaily

Researchers at Yale and elsewhere previously identified a host of genetic risk factors that help explain why some veterans are especially susceptible to the debilitating symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

A new Yale-led study published Oct. 1 in the journal Biological Psychiatry has now identified a social factor that can mitigate these genetic risks: the ability to form loving and trusting relationships with others.

The study is one of the first to explore the role of nurture as well as nature in its investigation of the biological basis of PTSD.

“We exist in a context. We are more than our genes,” said Yale’s Robert H. Pietrzak, associate professor of psychiatry and public health, and senior author of the study.

Pietrzak is also director of the Translational Psychiatric Epidemiology Laboratory of the Clinical Neurosciences Division of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs National Center for PTSD.

Like many genetic studies

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Determining the mass of galaxy clusters — ScienceDaily

A top goal in cosmology is to precisely measure the total amount of matter in the universe, a daunting exercise for even the most mathematically proficient. A team led by scientists at the University of California, Riverside, has now done just that.

Reporting in the Astrophysical Journal, the team determined that matter makes up 31% of the total amount of matter and energy in the universe, with the remainder consisting of dark energy.

“To put that amount of matter in context, if all the matter in the universe were spread out evenly across space, it would correspond to an average mass density equal to only about six hydrogen atoms per cubic meter,” said first author Mohamed Abdullah, a graduate student in the UCR Department of Physics and Astronomy. “However, since we know 80% of matter is actually dark matter, in reality, most of this matter consists not of hydrogen

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Simpler models may be better for determining some climate risk — ScienceDaily

Typically, computer models of climate become more and more complex as researchers strive to capture more details of our Earth’s system, but according to a team of Penn State researchers, to assess risks, less complex models, with their ability to better sample uncertainties, may be a better choice.

“There is a downside to the very detailed, very complex models we often strive for,” said Casey Helgeson, assistant research professor, Earth and Environmental Systems Institute. “Sometimes the complexity of scientific tools constrains what we can learn through science. The choke point isn’t necessarily at the knowledge going into a model, but at the processing.”

Climate risks are important to planners, builders, government officials and businesses. The probability of a potential event combined with the severity of the event can determine things like whether it makes sense to build in a given location.

The researchers report online in Philosophy of Science that

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