Τρίτη, 1 Απριλίου 2014

ScienceDaily: Top News

ScienceDaily: Top News

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

Meeting climate targets may require reducing meat, dairy consumption

Posted: 30 Mar 2014 04:37 PM PDT

Greenhouse gas emissions from food production may threaten the United Nations climate target of limiting global warming to two degrees Celsius, according to research. Carbon dioxide emissions from the energy and transportation sectors currently account for the largest share of climate pollution. However, a study now shows that eliminating these emissions would not guarantee staying below the UN limit. Emissions from agriculture threaten to keep increasing as global meat and dairy consumption increases.

Effect of important air pollutants may be absent from key precipitation observations

Posted: 30 Mar 2014 12:16 PM PDT

Pioneering new research could have a major impact on climate and environmental science by drastically transforming the perceived reliability of key observations of precipitation, which includes rain, sleet and snow. The ground breaking study examines the effect that increased aerosol concentrations in the atmosphere, emitted as a result of burning fossil fuels, had on regional temperature and precipitation levels.

Secrets of a mollusk's unique bioceramic armor

Posted: 30 Mar 2014 12:15 PM PDT

The secrets behind a marine creature's defensive armor -- one that is exceptionally tough, yet optically clear -- have been revealed by scientists. The shells' unique properties emerge from a specialized nanostructure that allows optical clarity, as well as efficient energy dissipation and the ability to localize deformation, the researchers found.

New approach to Huntington's disease?

Posted: 30 Mar 2014 12:12 PM PDT

Tweaking a specific cell type's ability to absorb potassium in the brain improved walking and prolonged survival in a mouse model of Huntington's disease, reports a study. The discovery could point to new drug targets for treating the devastating disease, which strikes one in every 20,000 Americans.

Too many diet drinks may spell heart trouble for older women, study suggests

Posted: 29 Mar 2014 02:51 PM PDT

It appears healthy postmenopausal women who drink two or more diet drinks a day may be more likely to have a heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular problems, according to research. In fact, compared to women who never or only rarely consume diet drinks, those who consumed two or more a day were 30 percent more likely to suffer a cardiovascular event and 50 percent more likely to die from related disease.

New device simulating human gut will save money, reduce testing on animals

Posted: 28 Mar 2014 02:51 PM PDT

A breakthrough in drug testing could lead to cheaper, more effective medicines. A device has been created that accurately simulates the gastro-intestinal tract and how it absorbs medication. This means that the cost of clinical trials, as well as the use of animals in testing, could be greatly reduced, with savings passed on to customers. 

Gene may predict if further cancer treatments are needed

Posted: 28 Mar 2014 09:10 AM PDT

A new predictive tool that could help patients with breast cancer and certain lung cancers decide whether follow-up treatments are likely to help is being developed by researchers. The findings offer insight into helping patients assess treatment risk. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy that can destroy tumors also can damage surrounding healthy tissue. So with an appropriate test, patients could avoid getting additional radiation or chemotherapy treatment they may not need.

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