Τετάρτη, 30 Απριλίου 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News


Consuming high-protein breakfasts helps women maintain glucose control, study finds

Posted: 29 Apr 2014 01:21 PM PDT

Previous research has shown that extreme increases in glucose and insulin in the blood can lead to poor glucose control and increase an individual's risk of developing diabetes over time. Now, a researcher has found that when women consumed high-protein breakfasts, they maintained better glucose and insulin control than they did with lower-protein or no-protein meals.

Saving crops, people with inexpensive bug sensors

Posted: 29 Apr 2014 12:37 PM PDT

A method that can classify different species of insects with up to 99 percent accuracy has been created by researchers, a development that could help farmers protect their crops from insect damage and limit the spread of insect-borne diseases, such as malaria and Dengue fever. For hundreds of years humans have attempted to kill unwanted insects. While some blanket methods have been successful, they can be costly and create environmental problems. The sensor developed by these researchers aims to change that by counting and classifying the insects so that the substance used to eradicate the harmful insects can be applied on a precision targeted level.

Declines in large wildlife lead to increases in disease risk

Posted: 29 Apr 2014 11:22 AM PDT

In the Middle Ages, fleas carried by rats were responsible for spreading the Black Plague. Today in East Africa, they remain important vectors of plague and many other diseases, including Bartonellosis, a potentially dangerous human pathogen. The researchers concluded that the "spike in disease risk results from explosions in the number of rodents that benefit from the removal of the larger animals."

Chronic stress heightens vulnerability to diet-related metabolic risk

Posted: 29 Apr 2014 11:21 AM PDT

Highly stressed people who eat a lot of high-fat, high-sugar food are more prone to health risks than low-stress people who eat the same amount of unhealthy food, new research finds for the first time. Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of abnormalities -- increased blood pressure, a high blood sugar level, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels -- that occur together, increasing a person's risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Prehistoric caribou hunting structure discovered beneath Lake Huron

Posted: 29 Apr 2014 10:38 AM PDT

Underwater archaeologists have discovered evidence of prehistoric caribou hunts that provide unprecedented insight into the social and seasonal organization of early peoples in the Great Lakes region. The main feature, called Drop 45 Drive Lane, is the most complex hunting structure found to date beneath the Great Lakes.

Graphene very mobile in lakes: Risks of negative environmental impacts if released

Posted: 29 Apr 2014 09:58 AM PDT

In a first-of-its-kind study of how a material some think could transform the electronics industry moves in water, researchers found that graphene oxide nanoparticles are very mobile in lakes or streams and therefore may well cause negative environmental impacts if released.

Mother's diet affects the 'silencing' of her child's genes

Posted: 29 Apr 2014 09:57 AM PDT

A unique 'experiment of nature' that took place in The Gambia has now revealed that a mother's diet before she conceives has a permanent effect on her offspring's genetics. This is the first time the effect has been seen in humans, and is regarded as a major contribution to the field of 'epigenetics.'

Molecular secrets behind resveratrol's health benefits revealed

Posted: 29 Apr 2014 09:55 AM PDT

Resveratrol has been much in the news as the component of grapes and red wine associated with reducing "bad cholesterol," heart disease and some types of cancer. Also found in blueberries, cranberries, mulberries, peanuts and pistachios, resveratrol is associated with beneficial health effects in aging, inflammation and metabolism.

Label-free, sequence-specific, inexpensive fluorescent DNA sensors

Posted: 29 Apr 2014 09:55 AM PDT

Using principles of energy transfer more commonly applied to designing solar cells, scientists have developed a new highly sensitive way to detect specific sequences of DNA, the genetic material unique to every living thing. The method is considerably less costly than other DNA assays and has widespread potential for applications in forensics, medical diagnostics, and the detection of bioterror agents.

More coral babies staying at home on future reefs

Posted: 29 Apr 2014 06:27 AM PDT

Increasing ocean temperatures due to climate change will soon see reefs retaining and nurturing more of their own coral larvae, leaving large reef systems less interconnected and potentially more vulnerable. "We found that at higher temperatures more coral larvae will tend to stay on their birth reef," says the lead author of the study.

Coral reefs provide potent new anti-HIV proteins

Posted: 29 Apr 2014 06:26 AM PDT

A new class of proteins capable of blocking the HIV virus from penetrating T-cells has been discovered. The proteins, found in a coral from Australia's northern coast, could be well-suited for use in gels or sexual lubricants to provide a potent barrier against HIV infection, potentially filling a pressing need for a female-applied anti-HIV microbicide that doesn't rely on a man's willingness to use a condom.

Low cholesterol in immune cells tied to slow progression of HIV

Posted: 29 Apr 2014 05:55 AM PDT

People infected with HIV whose immune cells have low cholesterol levels experience much slower disease progression, even without medication, according research that could lead to new strategies to control infection. The researchers found that low cholesterol in certain cells, which is likely an inherited trait, affects the ability of the body to transmit the virus to other cells.

How the koala retrovirus genome evolved

Posted: 29 Apr 2014 05:53 AM PDT

Retroviruses invaded the genome of koalas with strongly pathological effects: the viruses weaken the immune defense and threaten the viability of the already reduced koala population. Scientists have now applied the technique of hybridization capture to analyze the entire genome of koala retroviruses and used museum samples to monitor its variation across 130 years.

Stress research in therapy dogs reveals animals' needs

Posted: 29 Apr 2014 05:52 AM PDT

Animals exert positive effects on humans. This fact has been proven scientifically and is used increasingly often for specific therapeutic purposes. Scientists have now investigated how therapy dogs feel in a therapy setting and how one can create a largely stress-free situation for the animals. The current study shows that, during group therapy, dogs are not subjected to greater stress than they are during their leisure time. Prerequisites for this purpose are the voluntary involvement and self-determinism of the dogs.

Urban river pollutants suppress wild bird development

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 06:04 PM PDT

Hormone disrupting pollutants are affecting the health and development of wild birds nesting along the urban rivers of South Wales, new research shows. Findings reveal that chicks of the Eurasian Dipper -- a river bird that feeds exclusively on insects and fish in upland streams -- are underweight compared to their rural counterparts. Also of concern is that birds nesting in urban rivers have altered hormone levels, and are hatching fewer female chicks than those nesting along rural rivers, which could have negative implications for the population's breeding and survival.

Bacteria on the skin: Our invisible companions influence how quickly wounds heal

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 06:02 PM PDT

A new study suggests microbes living on our skin influence how quickly wounds heal. The findings could lead to new treatments for chronic wounds, which affect 1 in 20 elderly people. We spend our lives covered head-to-toe in a thin veneer of bacteria. But despite a growing appreciation for the valuable roles our resident microbes play in the digestive tract, little is known about the bacteria that reside in and on our skin.

Road to fountain of youth paved with fast food ... and sneakers? Exercise may prevent or delay fundamental process of aging

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 01:36 PM PDT

Unhealthy lifestyle habits can accelerate the process of senescence (cell death) and the release of damaging substances from dying cells. Researchers for the first time demonstrate that exercise can prevent or delay this fundamental process of aging, and that lifestyle choices do play a major role in cell aging and that exercise may help protect against aging by interfering with cell senescence.

Ready, set, hot!: Does warm weather play a role in football concussions?

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 01:36 PM PDT

Heat and dehydration can cause a "perfect storm" of risk factors for concussion among competitive football players. Researchers looked at the effects of extreme temperature on concussion rates during NCAA football games. A loss of just two percent of the body's water volume to dehydration -- a feat easily achieved during prolonged exercise in hot weather -- can lead to a significant reduction in the amount of cerebrospinal (CSF) fluid that a person has.

Naked mole rats and the secret to longevity

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 01:36 PM PDT

With lifespans of up to 31 years, naked mole rats live decades longer than would be expected based on their size. By comparison, mice live at most four years. A new study links their remarkable lifespans to high levels of a quality-control protein, offering new insights on age-related diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

Oxytocin promotes social behavior in infant rhesus monkeys

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 12:58 PM PDT

The hormone oxytocin appears to increase social behaviors in newborn rhesus monkeys, according to a study. The findings indicate that oxytocin is a promising candidate for new treatments for developmental disorders affecting social skills and bonding. Oxytocin, a hormone produced by the pituitary gland, is involved in labor and birth and in the production of breast milk. Studies have shown that oxytocin also plays a role in parental bonding, mating, and in social dynamics.

Antibodies against deadly emerging disease mers discovered

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 12:48 PM PDT

Antibodies against the deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) have been discovered that could lead to prevention/treatment for the virus with a 40% mortality rate. Currently there is no vaccine or antiviral treatment for MERS, a severe respiratory disease that was first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012.

Higher calcium intake may reduce body fat, mitigating genetic risk for diabetes

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 12:48 PM PDT

Many African-American children do not get the recommended amount of calcium in their diet. A new study shows African American children with a genetic predisposition to diabetes may mitigate their risk by getting more calcium. An estimated 25 million people in the United States have diabetes, or about 1 in 12 people. African Americans are at especially high risk, and the trajectory for the disease is often set in childhood.

Increasing diversity of marketable raspberries

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 09:12 AM PDT

Scientists compared the postharvest quality of red, yellow, purple, and black raspberries. They discovered significant correlations between raspberry decay rate and physiochemical properties. There were no correlations among changes in color, firmness, decay, or juice leakage rates. Yellow raspberries had the worst decay rates but the best leakage rates. Black and purple raspberries, with the highest phenolics and anthocyanins and the lowest ethylene evolution rates, resisted decay the longest but bled soonest.

Increasing sugar concentration in tomato juice found by researchers

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 09:12 AM PDT

A study determined whether a prototypic method of wire coiling increases the sugar concentration of tomato fruit. Researchers tested the effects of the method on the growth of unripe tomato fruit, shoots, and roots. The basal wire coiling treatment increased the sugar and soluble solids concentrations of tomato fruit juice. The researchers recommended further studies before the technique can be adopted for practical use.

Rhode Island: Nitrogen cycle differs in bay and sound

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 09:12 AM PDT

A new study reports that anammox, a key process in the nitrogen cycle, is barely present in Narragansett Bay even though it's a major factor just a little farther out into Rhode Island Sound. Scientists traced that to differences between bay and sound sediments, but that raises new questions about what's going on in the Bay to account for those.

Overlooked cells hold keys to brain organization, disease, study shows

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 09:12 AM PDT

Brain disease scientists may need to look beyond nerve cells and start paying attention to the star-shaped cells known as 'astrocytes,' because they play specialized roles in the development and maintenance of nerve circuits, and may contribute to a wide range of disorders, according to a new study. The researchers discovered in mice that a particular form of astrocyte within the spinal cord secretes a protein needed for survival of the nerve circuitry that controls reflexive movements. This discovery is the first demonstration that different types of astrocytes exist to support development and survival of distinct nerve circuits at specific locations within the central nervous system.

Multilayer, microscale solar cells enable ultrahigh efficiency power generation

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 09:11 AM PDT

A printing approach allows manipulation of ultrathin, small semiconductor elements that can be stacked on top of one another to yield an unusual type of solar cell capable of operating across the entire solar spectrum at exceptionally high efficiency.

Bacteria combat dangerous gas leaks

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 09:07 AM PDT

New research shows bacteria combat dangerous gas leaks. Bacteria could mop up naturally-occurring and human-made leaks of natural gases before they are released into the atmosphere and cause global warming, according to new research.

Australian marine reserves provide safe passageway for endangered species

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 06:42 AM PDT

The value of Australia's newly established network of marine parks has been highlighted by an international project that used satellites to track the vulnerable flatback sea turtle. In the study, researchers used advanced satellite tracking systems to record the passage of more than 70 flatbacks off the north-west Australian coastline. A high value migratory corridor, more than 1,000 kilometres in length, was pinpointed, with about half the corridor contained within the network of marine reserves.

Immunology touted as next big thing for popular science

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 06:42 AM PDT

A professor says scientific jargon could be making the science of the human immune system a turn-off for the general public. Immunology explores how our immune system seeks out and destroys dangerous bacteria, viruses and fungi. It also examines how its activity connects with other body systems and influences, for example, our metabolism and hormone levels -- and controls how well we feel.

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