What's new in the world of science this week.
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Heads Up

Below are some science stories you may be interested in following this week. If you have any questions or feedback, please contact us at:
indicates Canadian contributors.

PLEASE NOTE: Embargoed stories may not be released, distributed, or published before the embargo date and time. Embargo violations will result in cancellation of access to our material.
~ Summer 2018 schedule: "Heads Up" will be published every two weeks ~

 Universal free fall leaves Einstein’s theory standing 
Embargoed until July 04, 2018 13:00 EDT (News release from Nature Research Press)

The principle that all objects accelerate identically, regardless of their own gravity, when falling in an external gravitational field has passed the most stringent test to date. Scientists observed the motions of a binary star system containing a neutron star closely orbited by a white dwarf, which are, in turn, both orbited by another, distant white dwarf. This triple-star system allowed investigation of how the pull of the outer white dwarf influences both the inner dwarf and its companion neutron star, which has strong self-gravity. The findings improve on previous tests of the equivalence principle of Einstein’s general theory of relativity by a factor of a thousand.
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Canadian co-author: Ingrid Stairs, University of British Columbia -

Reproductive strategies linked to disease resistance in white-throated sparrows

Biology Letters
Embargoed until July 04, 2018 17:01 EDT (Brief from the Royal Society)

Disease resistance often comes at a cost to other functions, meaning that even within the same species, immune activity can differ between the sexes or even between different life-history strategies within a sex. White-throated sparrows are unusual in having two colour morphs, white and tan. Within each sex, white birds are more aggressive and tan birds provide more parental care. When researchers tested disease resistance in the two morphs, they found that – contrary to expectations – parasite loads were higher in tan birds, indicating that morph-associated immunity differences in sparrows could reflect fundamental differences in life history, not sex differences.
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Corresponding author: Elizabeth MacDougall-Shackleton, University of Western Ontario -

HPV testing detects cervical pre-cancer earlier, more accurately than Pap smear
Embargoed until July 03, 2018 11:00 EDT (News release from JAMA)

Nearly all cervical cancers are associated with persistent cervical infection from cancer-related human papillomavirus (HPV) strains. Results from a randomized clinical trial of about 19,000 women that compared primary HPV testing alone versus Pap test for cervical screening show that primary HPV testing detects precancerous lesions earlier and more accurately than the Pap test. Moreover, women who were HPV negative were less likely than women screened by Pap tests to have cervical pre-cancer after four years.
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Corresponding author: Gina Suzanne Ogilvie, BC Women’s Hospital and Health Centre, Vancouver -

In Case You Missed It

Astronomers observe the magnetic field of the remains of supernova
The Astrophysical Journal Letters
Published June 29, 2018

For the first time, astronomers directly observed the magnetism in one of astronomy’s most studied objects – the remains of Supernova 1987A, a dying star that appeared in our skies more than 30 years ago. Read more>
Canadian co-author: Bryan Gaensler, University of Toronto - 

Open relationships as satisfying as monogamous ones
Journal of Social and Personal Relationships
Published May 01, 2018

People in open relationships are as happy as their coupled-up counterparts. Read more>
Lead author: Jessica Wood, University of Guelph -

The fewer seals there, the greater wild Chinook salmon productivity is
Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Published June 17, 2018

Scientists found significant negative correlations between seal densities and productivity of Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) for 14 of 20 wild Chinook populations in the Pacific Northwest.
Corresponding author: Benjamin Nelson, University of British Columbia -

Scientists on Twitter: Preaching to the choir or singing from the rooftops?
Published June 28, 2018

Tweeting has the potential to disseminate scientific information widely after initial efforts to gain followers.
Lead author: Isabelle Côté, Simon Fraser University -

The marine mammals most at risk from increased Arctic ship traffic
Published July 02, 2018

Of the seven marine mammals that live in the Arctic and identified their risks on or near major shipping routes in September, a month when the Arctic Ocean has the most open water, researchers found the most vulnerable marine mammals were narwhals, beluga and bowhead whales, and walruses. Read more>
Lead author:
 Donna Hauser, University of Washington, Seattle -

Climate change and the deteriorating archaeological archives of the Arctic
Published June 27, 2018

In a race against time to preserve, or at least document, artefacts and sites threatened by coastal erosion, melting glaciers and permafrost thaw, scientists found that at least 180,000 archaeological sites exist in the Arctic and that these sites are being lost to climate change faster than sites elsewhere. Read more>
Canadian co-author: Max Friesen, University of Toronto -

How manufactured uncertainty is affecting caribou management
Wildlife Society Bulletin
Published June 26, 2018

Researchers demonstrate how strategies of manufactured uncertainty used in climate change–denial campaigns have seeped into wildlife management debates, with pernicious results. In this case, delayed efforts to effectively address the decline of boreal caribou and inhibited meaningful dialogue about socially acceptable conservation solutions. 
Lead author: Julee Boan, Ontario Nature -

New insight into how autism might develop in human brain
Stem Cell Reports
Published June 21, 2018

By reprogramming patients’ skin cells into becoming brain cells, researchers tracked how a brain cell with the patient’s own mutation develops improperly. Read more>
Corresponding author: Carl Ernst, McGill University -

Human parvovirus reveals its ancient association with humans 
Published July 02, 2018

By isolating the human parvovirus B19 DNA from human remains between 500 and 6,900 years old, researchers show that the virus has been associated with humans for thousands of years—significantly longer than previously thought.
Canadian co-author: Andrzej Weber, University of Alberta -

Mom’s diabetes doesn't increase risk for premature-infant death in hospitals
JAMA Pediatrics
Published July 02, 2018 

Giving birth in high-resource settings protects low-birth-weight pre-term infants of moms who have diabetes.
Canadian co-author: Prakesh Shah, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto -

Of Interest

Banff Centre Investigative Journalism Intensive Residency 
Program dates: September 17–23, 2018
Application Deadline: July 11, 2018
More information>
AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Awards
Now accepting entries from journalists worldwide in all categories for the contest year July 16, 2017, to July 15, 2018
Entry deadline: August 1, 2018, 

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