Τρίτη, 1 Απριλίου 2014

ScienceDaily: Latest Science News

ScienceDaily: Latest Science News

Eating seven or more portions of fruit and vegetables a day reduces your risk of death by 42 percent

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 04:40 PM PDT

Eating seven or more portions of fruit and vegetables a day reduces your risk of death at any point in time by 42 percent compared to eating less than one portion, reports a new study. This is the first study to link fruit and vegetable consumption with all-cause, cancer and heart disease deaths in a nationally-representative population, the first to quantify health benefits per-portion, and the first to identify the types of fruit and vegetable with the most benefit.

Arctic melt season lengthening, ocean rapidly warming

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 03:06 PM PDT

The length of the melt season for Arctic sea ice is growing by several days each decade, and an earlier start to the melt season is allowing the Arctic Ocean to absorb enough additional solar radiation in some places to melt as much as four feet of the Arctic ice cap's thickness, according to a new study.

Using more wood for construction can slash global reliance on fossil fuels

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 02:06 PM PDT

Increasing the wood harvest to the equivalent of 34 percent or more of annual wood growth to meet construction demands worldwide could drastically reduce the global reliance on fossil fuels while protecting biodiversity and carbon storage capacity, according to a new study.

U.S. States' personalities linked to their politics

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 02:06 PM PDT

If one state's citizens are more agreeable and another's more conscientious, could that influence how each state is governed? A recently published study suggests it could. Political scientists matched personality data from more than 600,000 Americans with state-level measures of political culture, and found striking results.

Poor sleep quality linked to cognitive decline in older men

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 02:05 PM PDT

A link between poor sleep quality and the development of cognitive decline over three to four years was found in a new study of older men. Results show that higher levels of fragmented sleep and lower sleep efficiency were associated with a 40 to 50 percent increase in the odds of clinically significant decline in executive function, which was similar in magnitude to the effect of a five-year increase in age. In contrast, sleep duration was not related to subsequent cognitive decline.

Oxygen depletion in the Baltic Sea is ten times worse than a century ago

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 12:36 PM PDT

The Baltic Sea is suffering from a lack of oxygen. Poor oxygen conditions on the seabed are killing animals and plants, and experts are now sounding the alarm -- releasing fewer nutrients into the Baltic Sea is absolutely necessary. The deepest areas of the Baltic Sea have always had a low oxygen content. The inflow of fresh water is actually limited by low thresholds at the entrance to the Baltic Sea. At the same time, there is a relatively fresh layer above the denser and saltier water in the deep layer of the sea. This results in an effective stratification of the water column, which prevents the mixing of water masses necessary to transfer oxygen to the water at the bottom.

First phononic crystal that can be altered in real time

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 12:36 PM PDT

Using an acoustic metadevice that can influence the acoustic space and can control any of the ways in which waves travel, engineers have demonstrated, for the first time, that it is possible to dynamically alter the geometry of a three-dimensional colloidal crystal in real time. The colloidal crystals designed in the study, called metamaterials, are artificially structured materials that extend the properties of existing naturally occurring materials and compounds.

Ancient whodunit may be solved: Methane-producing microbes did it!

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 12:36 PM PDT

Methane-producing microbes may be responsible for the largest mass extinction in Earth's history. Fossil remains show that sometime around 252 million years ago, about 90 percent of all species on Earth were suddenly wiped out -- by far the largest of this planet's five known mass extinctions. It turns out that Methanosarcina had acquired a particularly fast means of making methane, and the team's detailed mapping of the organism's history now shows that this transfer happened at about the time of the end-Permian extinction.

Self-healing engineered muscle grown in the laboratory

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 12:36 PM PDT

Living skeletal muscle that contracts powerfully and rapidly, integrates quickly into mice, and for the first time, demonstrates the ability to heal itself both inside the laboratory and inside an animal has been grown in the lab by biomedical engineers. "The muscle we have made represents an important advance for the field," an author said. "It's the first time engineered muscle has been created that contracts as strongly as native neonatal skeletal muscle."

Experimental cancer drug reverses schizophrenia in adolescent mice

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 12:35 PM PDT

An experimental anticancer compound appears to have reversed behaviors associated with schizophrenia and restored some lost brain cell function in adolescent mice with a rodent version of the devastating mental illness. The drug is one of a class of compounds known as PAK inhibitors, which have been shown in animal experiments to confer some protection from brain damage due to Fragile X syndrome, an inherited disease in humans marked by mental retardation.

Computer maps 21 distinct emotional expressions — even 'happily disgusted'

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 12:35 PM PDT

Researchers have found a way for computers to recognize 21 distinct facial expressions — even expressions for complex or seemingly contradictory emotions such as "happily disgusted" or "sadly angry." The study more than triples the number of documented facial expressions that researchers can now use for cognitive analysis.

Warming climate may spread drying to a third of earth: Heat, not just rainfall, plays into new projections

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 11:41 AM PDT

A new study estimates that 12 percent of land will be subject to drought by 2100 through rainfall changes alone; but the drying will spread to 30 percent of land if higher evaporation rates are considered. An increase in evaporative drying means that even regions expected to get more rain, including important wheat, corn and rice belts in the western United States and southeastern China, will be at risk of drought.

Cheap, better-performing lithium-ion batteries created

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 11:41 AM PDT

Researchers have developed a cheap, high-performing silicon anode and sulfur-based cathode for lithium-ion batteries. Lithium-ion batteries are a popular type of rechargeable battery commonly found in portable electronics and electric or hybrid cars. Scientists have developed a cost-effective (and therefore commercially viable) silicon anode nearly three times more powerful and longer lasting than a typical commercial anode.

Hybrid vehicles more fuel efficient in India, China than in U.S.

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 11:41 AM PDT

What makes cities in India and China so frustrating to drive in -- heavy traffic, aggressive driving style, few freeways -- makes them ideal for saving fuel with hybrid vehicles, according to new research. In a pair of studies using real-world driving conditions, they found that hybrid cars are significantly more fuel-efficient in India and China than they are in the United States.

Proteins discovered in gonorrhea may offer new approach to treatment

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 10:10 AM PDT

Novel proteins in, or on the surface of the bacteria that causes gonorrhea, have been discovered by scientists. These offer a promising new avenue of attack against a venereal disease that is showing increased resistance to the antibiotics used to treat it. Only a single, third-generation cephalosporin antibiotic still shows good efficacy against gonorrhea, creating a race against time to find some alternative way to treat this disease that can have serious health effects. It's the second most commonly reported infectious disease in the United States.

Rural versus urban causes of childhood concussion

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 10:10 AM PDT

Youth living in rural areas are more likely to sustain concussions from injuries involving motorized vehicles such as all-terrain vehicles and dirt bikes, whereas youth living in urban areas suffer concussions mostly as a result of sports, research finds. Hockey accounts for 40 per cent of those injuries.

Satellite shows high productivity from US corn belt

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 10:10 AM PDT

Data from satellite sensors show that during the Northern Hemisphere's growing season, the Midwest region of the United States boasts more photosynthetic activity than any other spot on Earth, according to scientists. Healthy plants convert light to energy via photosynthesis, but chlorophyll also emits a fraction of absorbed light as fluorescent glow that is invisible to the naked eye. The magnitude of the glow is an excellent indicator of the amount of photosynthesis, or gross productivity, of plants in a given region.

New human trial shows stem cells are effective for failing hearts: Bone marrow-derived stem cells injected directly into heart muscle

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 10:08 AM PDT

Patients with severe ischemic heart disease and heart failure can benefit from a new treatment in which stem cells found in bone marrow are injected directly into the heart muscle, according to new research. The study is the largest placebo-controlled double-blind randomized trial to treat patients with chronic ischemic heart failure by injecting a type of stem cell known as mesenchymal stromal cells directly into the heart muscle.

Real-world heart procedure results consistent with scientific research

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 10:08 AM PDT

The first one-year outcomes data of transcatheter heart valve replacement in nearly all US patients undergoing this procedure shows that real-world outcomes are comparable to or slightly better than those found in clinical trials, according to registry data.

Nanoparticle trapped with laser light temporarily violates second law of thermodynamics

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 10:08 AM PDT

Objects with sizes in the nanometer range, such as the molecular building blocks of living cells or nanotechnological devices, are continuously exposed to random collisions with surrounding molecules. In such fluctuating environments the fundamental laws of thermodynamics that govern our macroscopic world need to be rewritten. Scientists found that a nanoparticle trapped with laser light temporarily violates the famous second law of thermodynamics, something that is impossible on human time and length scale.

Anti-anxiety drugs, sleeping pills linked to risk of death

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 10:08 AM PDT

Anti-anxiety drugs and sleeping pills have been linked to an increased risk of death, according to new research. The large study shows that several anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) drugs or hypnotic drugs (sleeping pills) are associated with a doubling in the risk of mortality. Although these findings are based on routine data and need to be interpreted cautiously, the researchers recommended that a greater understanding of their impact is essential.

Genetic cause of heart valve defects revealed

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 10:06 AM PDT

Heart valve defects are a common cause of death in newborns. Scientists have discovered "Creld1" is a key gene for the development of heart valves in mice. The researchers were able to show that a similar Creld1 gene found in humans functions via the same signaling pathway as in the mouse. This discovery is an important step forward in the molecular understanding of the pathogenesis of heart valve defects.

Temperature fluctuations: Atlantic Ocean dances with the sun and volcanoes

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 08:45 AM PDT

Natural fluctuations in the ocean temperature in the North Atlantic have a significant impact on the climate in the northern hemisphere. These fluctuations are the result of a complex dance between the forces of nature, but researchers can now show that solar activity and the impact of volcanic eruptions have led this dance during the last two centuries.

Blood test helps predict heart attack risk for patients with chest pain

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 08:44 AM PDT

Patients presenting to the emergency department with an undetectable level of the blood biomarker high-sensitivity cardiac troponin T, and whose ECGs show no sign of restricted blood flow, have a minimal risk of heart attack within 30 days, according to new research.

Cardiac resynchronization improves survival in heart failure patients

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 08:44 AM PDT

Patients in mild heart failure who receive a specialized pacemaker known as cardiac resynchronization therapy with a defibrillator may live longer than those implanted with a traditional implantable cardioverter defibrillator, according to research.

Renal denervation patient registry finds low rate of adverse events

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 08:44 AM PDT

Patients with uncontrolled high blood pressure treated with renal denervation had low rates of adverse events and significant lowering of blood pressure at six months, according to a registry-based study.

Evolocumab safely drops LDL cholesterol well below statin-only baseline, study suggests

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 08:44 AM PDT

The monoclonal antibody evolocumab produced highly significant reductions in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, the "bad cholesterol," as an add-on to statins in all treatment groups, according to new data.

Breakthrough in creating invisibility cloaks, stealth technology

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 08:44 AM PDT

Scientists have managed to create artificial nanostructures called metamaterials that can 'bend light.' But the challenge has been making enough of the material to turn invisibility cloaks into a practical reality. New research, however, may have just cracked that barrier.

New gel allows for targeted therapy after heart attack

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 08:44 AM PDT

Each patient responds to heart attacks differently and damage can vary from one part of the heart muscle to another. Researchers have now developed a way to address this variation via a material that can be applied directly to damaged heart tissue. The ability of this gel to deliver enzyme inhibitors as needed suggests that the researchers' technique might also find use in other inflammation-related disorders, such as osteoarthritis where the same enzymes degrade cartilage tissue.

Online self-injury information often inaccurate, study finds

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 08:43 AM PDT

People seeking help or information online about cutting and other forms of self-injury are likely finding falsehoods and myths, according to new research. Only about 10 per cent of websites providing information about non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) are endorsed by health or academic institutions. It's a troubling finding, says the lead author. "This is a salient public health issue," he said.

Two new genes linked to intellectual disability discovered

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 08:43 AM PDT

Two new genes linked to intellectual disability have been discovered, according to two research studies. About one per cent of children worldwide are affected by non-syndromic (i.e., the absence of any other clinical features) intellectual disability, a condition characterized by an impaired capacity to learn and process new or complex information, leading to decreased cognitive functioning and social adjustment. Although trauma, infection and external damage to the unborn fetus can lead to an intellectual disability, genetic defects are a principal cause.

Tamiflu-resistant influenza related to mutations in genome

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 08:42 AM PDT

It doesn't take long for the flu virus to outsmart Tamiflu. Scientists have developed a tool that reveals the mutations that make the virus resistant, and they have identified new mutations that may render ineffective one of the few treatments currently available on the market.

What will climate policy mean for coal?

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 08:42 AM PDT

Limiting climate change to 2 degrees C means shutting down coal power plants -- an unpopular proposition for coal power companies. But a new study shows that delaying climate policies could prove even worse for power plant owners.

Physicists split and collide ultracold atom clouds using steerable 'optical tweezers'

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 08:42 AM PDT

Physicists have pushed the frontiers of quantum technology by developing a steerable 'optical tweezers' unit that uses intense laser beams to precisely split minute clouds of ultracold atoms and to smash them together. The researchers' feat is set to enhance efforts to understand the mysterious ways that atoms interact at temperatures of less than a millionth of a degree above absolute zero.

Major breakthrough in stem cell manufacturing technology

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 08:38 AM PDT

A new substance that could simplify the manufacture of cell therapy in the pioneering world of regenerative medicine has been developed. Cell therapy is an exciting and rapidly developing area of medicine in which stem cells have the potential to repair human tissue and maintain organ function in chronic disease and age-related illnesses. But a major problem with translating current successful research into actual products and treatments is how to mass-produce such a complex living material.

Hormones in action: It's all about the right partner

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 08:38 AM PDT

Thousands of regulatory regions on the genomic DNA determine which part of a cell's genetic information is expressed and which is silent. Researchers analyzed such control-regions and the changes in activity that follow treatment with a hormone. They showed that -- depending on the cell type -- a single hormone can influence different regions.

Emotional children's testimonies are judged as more credible

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 08:38 AM PDT

A new study show that aspiring lawyers assess child complainants as more credible and truthful if they communicate their statement in an emotional manner. Thus, there is a risk that children that behave in a neutral manner may be perceived as less credible in court.

Hearing loss affects old people's personality

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 08:38 AM PDT

As people approach old age, they generally become less outgoing. New research shows that this change in personality is amplified among people with impaired hearing. The findings emphasize the importance of acknowledging and treating hearing loss in the elderly population.

Transcatheter pulmonary valve study shows strong results, reports pediatric interventional cardiologist

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 08:36 AM PDT

The first post-FDA approval study of a non-surgically implanted replacement pulmonary valve showed strong short- and mid-term results for the device in patients with certain congenital heart defects, according to research. The valves in the study had low rates of narrowing, leakage, and other adverse events.

Changing climate creates pervasive risks, but opportunities exist for effective responses: IPCC report

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 07:06 AM PDT

The United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has issued a report that says the effects of climate change are already occurring on all continents and across the oceans. The world, in many cases, is ill-prepared for risks from a changing climate. The report also concludes that there are opportunities to respond to such risks, though the risks will be difficult to manage with high levels of warming.

Childhood virus may increase type 1 diabetes risk

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 07:04 AM PDT

The most common cause of severe diarrhea in children, the rotavirus infection, has been shown to accelerate the development of type 1 diabetes in mice. The research found that it may be the "bystander effect" that causes the rotavirus infection to accelerate the onset of type 1 diabetes. The "bystander effect" suggests that the virus provokes a strong activation of the immune system, which then spills over, allowing the immune system to attack not only the viral intruder but some of the body's own cells, in this case the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.

Even micro heart attacks are major problem

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 07:03 AM PDT

Cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging may help doctors better identify which patients with mild heart disease are likely to develop more serious heart problems long term. CMR imaging provides supporting information to guide treatment decisions and help doctors provide targeted care for patients at highest risk.

Adults with inherited high cholesterol underdiagnosed, undertreated

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 07:02 AM PDT

An estimated 1 in 500 people worldwide suffer from familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH), an inherited condition of extremely high cholesterol that is associated with premature heart disease and death. Despite this high prevalence, recent research confirms FH is underdiagnosed and undertreated.

Can gratitude reduce costly impatience?

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 07:02 AM PDT

In a potentially landmark study, a team of researchers demonstrate that feelings of gratitude automatically reduce financial impatience. The human mind tends to devalue future rewards compared to immediate ones -- a phenomenon that often leads to favoring immediate gratification over long-term wellbeing. As a consequence, patience has long been recognized to be a virtue. And indeed, the inability to resist temptation underlies a host of problems ranging from credit card debt and inadequate savings to unhealthy eating and drug addiction.

Excessive hospital occupancy levels result in avoidable mortality

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 07:02 AM PDT

Once a hospital reaches a certain occupancy level, the quality of care it provides deteriorates, increasing the risk of mortality of critically ill patients. What is worrying is that this safety 'tipping point' is reached at occupancy levels that are below 100 percent.

'Ivory tower' bucking social media

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 07:02 AM PDT

University scholars are largely resisting the use of social media to circulate their scientific findings and engage their tech-savvy students, a researcher argues in a new article.

Diamonds are an oil's best friend: Research to find the best nanofluid for heat transfer

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 07:01 AM PDT

A mixture of diamond nanoparticles and mineral oil easily outperforms other types of fluid created for heat-transfer applications, according to new research. Scientists mixed very low concentrations of diamond particles (about 6 nanometers in diameter) with mineral oil to test the nanofluid's thermal conductivity and how temperature would affect its viscosity. They found it to be much better than nanofluids that contain higher amounts of oxide, nitride or carbide ceramics, metals, semiconductors, carbon nanotubes and other composite materials.

Academic workplace bias against parents hurts nonparents too

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 07:01 AM PDT

A new study shows that university workplace bias against scientists and engineers who use flexible work arrangements may increase employee dissatisfaction and turnover even for people who don't have children. The work-devotion schema -- the idea that one's career requires intense time commitments and strong loyalty -- is a mandate that is unconsciously part of most professional workplaces and underlies the flexibility stigma.

Sticky composites improve, 'green up' lithium-ion batteries: New battery technology employs multifunctional materials

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 06:55 AM PDT

Lithium-ion batteries power a vast array of modern devices, from cell phones, laptops, and laser pointers to thermometers, hearing aids, and pacemakers. Scientists have now discovered a "sticky" conductive material that may improve them while eliminating the need for toxic solvents.

Can vitamin A turn back the clock on breast cancer?

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 06:55 AM PDT

A derivative of vitamin A, known as retinoic acid, found abundantly in sweet potato and carrots, helps turn pre-cancer cells back to normal healthy breast cells, which may help explain why some clinical studies have been unable to see a benefit of vitamin A on cancer: the vitamin doesn't appear to change the course of full-blown cancer, only pre-cancerous cells, and only works at a very narrow dose.

Anesthetic technique important to prevent damage to brain

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 06:55 AM PDT

A commonly used anesthetic technique to reduce the blood pressure of patients undergoing surgery could increase the risk of starving the brain of oxygen. Reducing blood pressure is important in a wide range of surgeries -- such as sinus, shoulder, back and brain operations -- and is especially useful for improving visibility for surgeons, by helping to remove excess blood from the site being operated on.

New pathway revealed through sodium pump

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 06:55 AM PDT

In addition to its role as a sodium and potassium ion transporter, the ubiquitous sodium pump displays "hybrid" function by simultaneously importing protons into the cell. Proton inflow might play a role in certain pathologies, including heart attack and stroke.

Bariatric surgery provides long-term control of diabetes

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 05:41 AM PDT

Bariatric surgery is a highly effective and durable treatment for type 2 diabetes in obese patients, enabling nearly all surgical patients to be free of insulin and many to be free of all diabetic medications three years after surgery, a study shows.

Growth of breast lifts outpacing implants 2-to-1, stats show

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 05:41 AM PDT

New statistics show breast lift procedures are growing at twice the rate of breast implant surgeries. Since 2000, breast lifts have grown by 70 percent, outpacing implants two-to-one. Breast implants are still the most performed cosmetic surgery in women, but lifts are steadily gaining. In 2013, more than 90,000 breast lift procedures in the United States.

Nano-paper filter removes viruses

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 05:37 AM PDT

Researchers have developed a paper filter, which can remove virus particles with the efficiency matching that of the best industrial virus filters. The paper filter consists of 100 percent high purity cellulose nanofibers, directly derived from nature. Cellulose is one of the most common materials to produce various types of filters because it is inexpensive, disposable, inert and non-toxic.

'Cosmic barometer' could reveal violent events in universe's past

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 05:37 AM PDT

Scientists have developed a way of reading the universe's 'cosmic barometer' to learn more about ancient violent events in space. Exploding stars, random impacts involving comets and meteorites, and even near misses between two bodies can create regions of great heat and high pressure. Researchers have now developed a method for analysing the pressure experienced by tiny samples of organic material that may have been ejected from dying stars before making a long journey through the cosmos.

Plants use different scents to attract or repel insects

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 05:37 AM PDT

Flowering plants attract pollinating insects with scent from their flowers and bright colors. If they have become infested with herbivores like caterpillars, they attract beneficial insects like parasitic wasps with the help of scent signals from their leaves. The wasps then lay their eggs in the caterpillars and kill the parasites. Floral and foliar scents can, however, mutually reduce their attractiveness. That's why flowering plants face a dilemma: should they use their resources to attract pollinating insects and, by extension, for reproduction or should they invest in defense against herbivores?

Brawn matters: Stronger adolescents, teens have less risk of diabetes, heart disease

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 05:36 AM PDT

Adolescents with stronger muscles have a lower risk of heart disease and diabetes, according to a new study that examined the influence of muscle strength in sixth grade boys and girls. Stronger kids also have lower body mass index (weight to height ratio), lower percent body fat, smaller waist circumferences, and higher fitness levels, according to the study that suggests that muscle-strengthening activities may be important to kids' heart health.

Benefits of treating heart attack patients with a cheap drug

Posted: 30 Mar 2014 04:37 PM PDT

One dose of the drug metoprolol, if given to heart attack patients early -- during ambulance transit to hospital -- can significantly improve the contractile strength of the heart muscle. And this improvement is maintained for at least six months after the intervention, according to new results.

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