Πέμπτη, 1 Μαΐου 2014

ScienceDaily: Latest Science News

ScienceDaily: Latest Science News


Identifying factors responsible for altered drug dosing for pregnant women

Posted: 30 Apr 2014 01:13 PM PDT

Pregnancy affects how drugs are metabolized, which makes it difficult for physicians to prescribe appropriate dosing. Medical researchers have revealed new details about one particular enzyme that's responsible for the metabolism of one-fifth of drugs on the market.

Fast-acting antidepressant appears within reach

Posted: 30 Apr 2014 01:13 PM PDT

In mice, a drug produces evidence of a mood lift within 24 hours and then continues working for sustained depression relief. A fast-acting antidepressant would be a welcome development for patients who must wait weeks for current drugs to take effect.

Seeing the bedrock through the trees: Bottom-up model predicts depth to fresh bedrock under hillslopes

Posted: 30 Apr 2014 12:17 PM PDT

When estimating runoff and erosion on hillslopes, most scientists consider only the soil. But the weathered bedrock underneath may plan an equally important role in channeling water, nourishing plants and shaping the landscape, according to UC Berkeley geologists. William Dietrich and Daniella Rempe propose a model to predict the depth of weathered bedrock from easily measured parameters, providing a bottom-up approach to predicting topography and improving climate models that now take only soil into account.

Multiple consecutive days of tornado activity spawn worst events

Posted: 30 Apr 2014 11:30 AM PDT

Significant tornado outbreaks and especially strong tornadoes are more likely occur within periods of activity lasting three or more days, according to a tornado expert. An examination of 30 years of US weather records found that an outbreak of 20 or more reported tornadoes had a 74 percent probability of occurring during a period of tornado activity lasting three or more days. During those same periods, a tornado rated three or higher on the Enhanced Fujita scale had a 60 percent probability of hitting.

MRI-guided biopsy for brain cancer improves diagnosis

Posted: 30 Apr 2014 11:28 AM PDT

Neurosurgeons have, for the first time, combined real-time magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology with novel non-invasive cellular mapping techniques to develop a new biopsy approach that increases the accuracy of diagnosis for patients with brain cancer. As many as one third of brain tumor biopsies performed in the traditional manner can result in misdiagnosis.

Engineers grow functional human cartilage in lab

Posted: 30 Apr 2014 11:28 AM PDT

Engineers have successfully grown -- for the first time -- fully functional human cartilage in vitro from human stem cells derived from bone marrow tissue. Their study demonstrates new ways to better mimic the enormous complexity of tissue development, regeneration, and disease.

In pitching injuries, the elbow is connected to the hip

Posted: 30 Apr 2014 11:28 AM PDT

A pitcher's elbow injury could be linked to movement in the hips, research finds. When the pitcher performs a pitch, much of the stress is focused on a single ligament: the ulnar collateral ligament of the elbow joint. About 1,000 pounds of pressure per square inch can be placed upon that ligament, researchers say. Coaches and athletic trainers could easily help athletes by improving the flexibility in their hips.

Fattening gene discovered by researchers

Posted: 30 Apr 2014 10:31 AM PDT

The long-term consumption of too much high-energy and high-fat food leads to overweight. Behind this trivial statement lies the extremely complex regulation of lipid metabolism. Now, a gene that controls fat metabolism has been discovered by researchers who hope that their study will provide the basis for new therapeutic approaches.

Involvement of gene in lentivirus infections of sheep, goats has been established

Posted: 30 Apr 2014 10:31 AM PDT

The mechanism of the action of the small ruminant lentivirus, a type of virus in the same family as HIV and which infects sheep and goat species, has been studied in a new doctoral thesis. Lentiviruses are viruses responsible for slow infections that damage the immune system and which cause a range of clinical symptoms (nervous, pulmonary, arthritic and mammary).

Predators predict longevity of birds, study concludes

Posted: 30 Apr 2014 10:31 AM PDT

Aging inevitably occurs both in humans and in other animals. However, life-span varies widely across species. Researchers have now found a possible general mechanism explaining differences in longevity. They investigated life history data of nearly 1400 bird species and found that avian life span varies considerably across the entire Earth, and that much of this variation can be explained by the species' body mass and clutch size and by the local diversity of predator species. The researchers were able to confirm a key prediction of the classical evolutionary theory of aging that had been proposed more than 50 years ago.

Frog eggs help researchers find new information on grapevine disease

Posted: 30 Apr 2014 10:31 AM PDT

Vitis vinifera are common grapevines and are the world's favorite wine-producing varietal. However, research has shown that grapevines are susceptible to powdery mildew, a plant disease, which contributes to significant crop loss for most commercial wine varietals that are cultivated each year. Now, researchers have used frog eggs to determine the cause of this disease, and have found that a specific gene in the varietal Cabernet Sauvingon, contributes to its susceptibility.

Should the EU ban on the import of seal products stand?

Posted: 30 Apr 2014 10:31 AM PDT

Next month, following an appeal by Canada and Norway to overturn the EU ban on the import of seal products, the World Trade Organization is expected to announce whether the 2013 decision will be upheld. One academic whose research on the animal welfare of the seal hunt has been used in the case, explains why the ban should stand.

Stem cell therapy regenerates heart muscle damaged from heart attacks in primates

Posted: 30 Apr 2014 10:30 AM PDT

Heart cells created from human embryonic stem cells successfully restored damaged heart muscles in monkeys, researchers report. Stem-cell derived heart muscle cells infiltrated into damaged heart tissue, assembled muscle fibers and began to beat in synchrony with macaque heart cells. Scientists are working to reduce the risk of heart rhythm problems and to see if pumping action improves.

Neanderthals were not inferior to modern humans, study finds

Posted: 30 Apr 2014 10:30 AM PDT

If you think Neanderthals were stupid and primitive, it's time to think again. The widely held notion that Neanderthals were dimwitted and that their inferior intelligence allowed them to be driven to extinction by the much brighter ancestors of modern humans is not supported by scientific evidence.

When did the universe emerge from its 'dark age'? Spectrum of gamma-ray burst's afterglow indicates beginning of re-ionization process

Posted: 30 Apr 2014 10:29 AM PDT

Scientists have discovered an indicator of when re-ionization of the primordial Universe began. The team used the Faint Object Camera and Spectrograph (FOCAS) mounted on the Subaru Telescope to thoroughly study the visible wavelength spectrum of the afterglow of a gamma-ray burst, which is a violent explosion of a massive star. Direct measurement of the absorption features in the spectrum of the afterglow toward GRB 130606A, located at a great distance, revealed the proportion of neutral hydrogen gas absorbing the light in its vicinity. This finding provides the best estimate of the amount of such neutral gas in the early universe. The team's research means that scientists can now narrow down the time when the universe was beginning to re-ionize after its dark age.

Astronomers observe corkscrew nature of light from a distant black hole

Posted: 30 Apr 2014 10:29 AM PDT

For the first time an international team of astronomers has measured circular polarization in the bright flash of light from a dying star collapsing to a black hole, giving insight into an event that happened almost 11 billion years ago.

Length of exoplanet day measured for first time: Spin of Beta Pictoris b measured

Posted: 30 Apr 2014 10:28 AM PDT

Observations from ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT) have, for the first time, determined the rotation rate of an exoplanet. Beta Pictoris b has been found to have a day that lasts only eight hours. This is much quicker than any planet in the planetary system — its equator is moving at almost 100,000 kilometers per hour. This new result extends the relation between mass and rotation seen in the solar system to exoplanets.

Sell-side analysts lean towards high valuation companies for comparison

Posted: 30 Apr 2014 09:11 AM PDT

Brokerage-based analysts have a tendency to benchmark companies they are researching against others in the same category whose stock is already expensively-priced, shows a new study.

Putting the endoparasitic plants Apodanthaceae on the map

Posted: 30 Apr 2014 09:11 AM PDT

The Apodanthaceae are small parasitic plants living almost entirely inside other plants. They occur in Africa, Iran, Australia, and the New World. Bellot and Renner propose the first revision of the species relationships in the family based on combined molecular and anatomical data. They show that Apodanthaceae comprise 10 species, which are specialized to parasitize either legumes or species in the willow family.

Light activity every day keeps disability at bay

Posted: 30 Apr 2014 09:11 AM PDT

Pushing a shopping cart or a vacuum doesn't take a lot of effort, but enough of this sort of light physical activity every day can help people with or at risk of knee arthritis avoid developing disabilities as they age, according to a new study. It is known that the more time people spend in moderate or vigorous activities, the less likely they are to develop disability, but this is the first study to show that spending more time in light activities can help prevent disability, too.

Entire star cluster thrown out of its galaxy

Posted: 30 Apr 2014 09:11 AM PDT

The galaxy known as M87 has a fastball that would be the envy of any baseball pitcher. It has thrown an entire star cluster toward us at more than two million miles per hour. The newly discovered cluster, which astronomers named HVGC-1, is now on a fast journey to nowhere. Its fate: to drift through the void between the galaxies for all time.

Faster dental treatment with new photoactive molecule

Posted: 30 Apr 2014 09:11 AM PDT

Photoactive materials are used in modern dentistry, which harden when they are exposed to light. Usually, only thin layers of up to 2 mm can be hardened, due to the limited penetration depth of light. A new dental filling material allows for thicker layers and faster dental procedures. Simply put, improved photoreactivity is good news for everyone who wants to spend as little time as possible in the dental chair.

Water-based 'engine' propels tumor cells through tight spaces in body

Posted: 30 Apr 2014 09:10 AM PDT

Researchers have discovered how cancer cells spread through extremely narrow three-dimensional spaces in the body, identifying a propulsion system based on water and charged particles. The finding uncovers a novel method the deadly cells use to migrate through a cancer patient's body. The discovery may lead to new treatments that help keep the disease in check. The work also points to the growing importance of studying how cells behave in three dimensions, not just atop flat two-dimensional lab dishes.

Sustainable barnacle-repelling paint could help the shipping industry and the environment

Posted: 30 Apr 2014 08:22 AM PDT

Barnacles might seem like a given part of a seasoned ship's hull, but they're literally quite a drag and cause a ship to burn more fuel. To prevent these and other hangers-on from slowing ships down, scientists are developing a sustainable paint ingredient from plants that can repel clingy sea critters without killing them.

Flexible pressure-sensor film shows how much force a surface 'feels' -- in color

Posted: 30 Apr 2014 08:22 AM PDT

A newly developed pressure sensor could help car manufacturers design safer automobiles and even help Little League players hold their bats with a better grip, scientists report. Their high-resolution sensor can be painted onto surfaces or built into gloves.

Whey beneficially affects diabetes and cardiovascular disease risk factors in obese adults

Posted: 30 Apr 2014 08:22 AM PDT

New evidence shores up findings that whey protein, which is found in milk and cheese, could have health benefits for people who are obese and do not yet have diabetes. The study examined how different protein sources affect metabolism.

Potentially powerful tool for treating damaged hearts identified in mouse study

Posted: 30 Apr 2014 08:22 AM PDT

A type of cell that builds mouse hearts can renew itself, researchers report. They say the discovery, which likely applies to such cells in humans as well, may pave the way to using them to repair hearts damaged by disease -- or even grow new heart tissue for transplantation. "Eventually, we might even be able to deliver cells to damaged hearts to repair heart disease," one researchers says.

Coached extracurricular activities may help prevent pre-adolescent smoking, drinking

Posted: 30 Apr 2014 08:21 AM PDT

While parents may think tweens (aged 10-14) need less adult supervision when they are not in school, researchers found that certain coached extracurricular activities can help prevent tween smoking and drinking. The study found that team sport participation with a coach was the only extracurricular activity associated with lower risk of trying smoking compared to none or minimal participation. Participating in other clubs was the only extracurricular activity associated with lower risk of trying drinking compared to none or minimal participation.

Deep origins to the behavior of Hawaiian volcanoes

Posted: 30 Apr 2014 07:20 AM PDT

What causes different eruption styles from one volcano? Kīlauea volcano typically has effusive eruptions, wherein magma flows to create ropy p hoehoe lava, for example. However, occasionally the Kīlauea volcano erupts more violently. To explain the variability in Kīlauea volcano's eruption styles, scientists have analyzed 25 eruptions that have taken place over the past 600 years.

'Charismatic' organisms still dominating genomics research

Posted: 30 Apr 2014 07:20 AM PDT

Decades after the genomics revolution, half of known eukaryote lineages still remain unstudied at the genomic level -- with the field displaying a research bias against 'less popular', but potentially genetically rich, single-cell organisms. This lack of microbial representation leaves a world of untapped genetic potential undiscovered, according to an exhaustive survey of on-going genomics projects.

Diabetes: Possible therapeutic target for control of blood glucose found

Posted: 30 Apr 2014 07:19 AM PDT

A possible therapeutic target for control of blood glucose in the treatment of type 2 diabetes and obesity has been identified by researchers. In a nutrient-rich environment typical of the developed world today, carbohydrate-rich diets and positive feedback to glucagon signaling increases gluconeogenesis leading to chronic hyperglycemia, obesity, and insulin resistance.

New tool to investigate the chemistry of nature: Laser-based tabletop setup generates ultrashort XUV light pulses

Posted: 30 Apr 2014 07:19 AM PDT

Scientists have built a laser-based tabletop setup which generates ultrashort XUV light pulses and achieves their monochromatization by implementing special reflection zone plates. Liquid phases are a natural environment for many interesting processes in chemistry and biology, and short light pulses allow insights into electronic and structural dynamics of molecules and molecular complexes.

Watch out: Children more prone to looking but not seeing

Posted: 30 Apr 2014 07:19 AM PDT

Children looking at a loose thread on a jumper or an advert on the side of a bus might be 'blind' to oncoming traffic and other dangers when walking down the street. Researchers conclude that children under 14 are more likely than adults to be 'blinded' to their surroundings when focusing on simple things. It explains a somewhat frustrating experience familiar to many parents and carers: young children fail to notice their carer trying to get their attention because they have little capacity to spot things outside their area of focus.

Ocean acidity is dissolving shells of tiny snails off U.S. West Coast

Posted: 30 Apr 2014 07:19 AM PDT

Biologists have found the first evidence that acidity of continental shelf waters off the U.S. West Coast is dissolving the shells of tiny free-swimming marine snails, called pteropods, which provide food for pink salmon, mackerel and herring, according to a new article.

Women leaders perceived as effective as male counterparts, study reports

Posted: 30 Apr 2014 07:16 AM PDT

When it comes to being perceived as effective leaders, women are rated as highly as men, and sometimes higher - a finding that speaks to society's changing gender roles and the need for a different management style in today's globalized workplace, according to a meta-analysis. While men tend to rate themselves as significantly more effective than women rate themselves, when ratings by others were examined, women came out ahead on perceptions of effectiveness, according to the study.

Next green revolution? Converting bacteria from free living to nitrogen-fixing

Posted: 30 Apr 2014 06:14 AM PDT

Scientists are beginning to talk about re-engineering crop plants so that, like legumes, they will have on-site nitrogen-fixing systems, either in root nodules or in the plant cells themselves. The structure of a protein called NolR that acts as a master off-switch for the nodulation process brings them one step closer to this goal.

CT in operating room allows more precise removal of small lung cancers

Posted: 30 Apr 2014 06:14 AM PDT

A new technique that brings CT imaging into the operating room will allow surgeons to precisely demarcate and remove small sub-centimeter lung nodules, leaving as much healthy tissue as possible, according to a researcher. Lung cancer remains the deadliest cancer and a recent study indicated that screening with low-dose computed tomography (CT) scans in smokers, who have certain risk factors, may decrease the number of deaths. Lung cancer screening with CT can detect many small lung lesions that can potentially be cancerous and should be removed surgically.

Direct current, another option to improve the electrical power transmission

Posted: 30 Apr 2014 05:31 AM PDT

Even though today most of the electricity transmission lines are alternating current ones, in some cases direct current lines are also used. Scientists have been working to improve the technology needed for this conversion. The aim has been that this transmission should be done in a more straightforward, smoother and consequently less expensive way.

New lab-on-a-chip device overcomes miniaturization problems

Posted: 30 Apr 2014 05:31 AM PDT

Chemists have invented a new type of tiny lab-on-a-chip device that could have a diverse range of applications, including to detect toxic gases, fabricate integrated circuits and screen biological molecules. The novel technique developed by the team involves printing a pattern of miniscule droplets of a non-volatile solvent -- an ionic liquid -- onto a gold-coated or glass surface.

Magnitude of maximum earthquake scales with maturity of fault

Posted: 30 Apr 2014 05:31 AM PDT

The oldest sections of transform faults, such as the North Anatolian Fault Zone and the San Andreas Fault, produce the largest earthquakes, putting important limits on the potential seismic hazard for less mature parts of fault zones, according to a new study. The finding suggests that maximum earthquake magnitude scales with the maturity of the fault.

Want a young child to 'help' or 'be a helper'? Choice of words matters

Posted: 30 Apr 2014 05:31 AM PDT

A new study has found that parent word choice matters when encouraging preschool-age children to help others. Children were significantly more likely to help an experimenter when he or she referred to help using nouns ('some children choose to be helpers') than when he or she referred to help using verbs ('some children choose to help'). The study looked at about 150 3- to 6- year-olds from a variety of ethnic and racial backgrounds.

Deep brain stimulation for obsessive-compulsive disorder releases dopamine in brain

Posted: 30 Apr 2014 05:29 AM PDT

Some have characterized dopamine as the elixir of pleasure because so many rewarding stimuli - food, drugs, sex, exercise - trigger its release in the brain. However, more than a decade of research indicates that when drug use becomes compulsive, the related dopamine release becomes deficient in the striatum, a brain region that is involved in reward and behavioral control. New research suggests that dopamine release is increased in obsessive-compulsive disorder and may be normalized by the therapeutic application of deep brain stimulation.

Gene that helps plant cells finding right direction

Posted: 30 Apr 2014 05:28 AM PDT

The SABRE gene is necessary for plants to coordinate the polarity of their cells, a plant physiologist shows in his doctoral thesis. The gene "tells" all cells in a certain region what is up and what is down and how they should modify their form accordingly. Plant cell growth is often coordinated within a tissue layer, a concept that researchers name planar polarity.

Effects of climate change on Tempranillo grape wines studied

Posted: 30 Apr 2014 05:28 AM PDT

Climate change is set to affect the quality of the wines of the Tempranillo grape variety, according to the conclusions of new research. Scientists have studied the behavior of the vines in conditions of climate change, finding that higher temperatures increased the presence of CO2 and greater environmental aridity. This results in grapes with lower anthocyanin content, which leads to wines with less color and therefore lower quality.

Next gen cell phones, computers? Harnessing magnetic vortices for making nanoscale antennas

Posted: 30 Apr 2014 05:27 AM PDT

Scientists seeking ways to synchronize the magnetic spins in nanoscale devices to build tiny yet more powerful signal-generating or receiving antennas and other electronics have published a study showing that stacked nanoscale magnetic vortices separated by an extremely thin layer of copper can be driven to operate in unison. These devices could potentially produce a powerful signal that could be put to work in a new generation of cell phones, computers, and other applications.

How do we clean up the junkyard orbiting Earth?

Posted: 30 Apr 2014 05:27 AM PDT

The biggest-sized junkyard in the world orbits it, and an aerospace systems engineering graduate student says it's time to get active about reducing the debris field before we reach a tipping point beyond which we may not be able to do much.

Nurses hold key to providing quality care to older LGBT adults

Posted: 30 Apr 2014 05:27 AM PDT

Even though LGBT populations are often grouped together, each is a distinct group with specific health care needs, authors of a new study say. This is especially true with older LGBT persons and involves issues ranging from housing and long-term care placement to home-health and the selection of health promotion practices. More than 2 million older adults identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, and they have specific physical and mental health needs of which nurses need to be aware.

Greater surgeon experience increases likelihood of mitral valve repair vs replacement

Posted: 30 Apr 2014 05:27 AM PDT

Even today, significant variations – among surgeons and hospitals - still exist in the performance of mitral valve repair vs replacement for moderate to severe mitral regurgitation, shows a large-scale study. Significant associations were observed between the propensity for MV repair and both institutional and surgeon annual volume, although increasing surgeon volume appears to be the much stronger predictor.

Females prefer lovers not fighters, at least in beetles

Posted: 29 Apr 2014 05:58 PM PDT

It's official (in the horned beetle world at least), females prefer courtship over competitiveness -- and it doesn't matter about the size of your mandibles either. An international study investigated the complicated sexual conflict over mating in Gnatocerus cornutus, the horned flour-beetle. Female mate choice and male-male competition are the typical mechanisms of sexual selection. However, these two mechanisms do not always favor the same males, research showed.

Babies recognize real-life objects from pictures as early as nine months, psychologists discover

Posted: 29 Apr 2014 05:57 PM PDT

Babies begin to learn about the connection between pictures and real objects by the time they are nine-months-old, according to a new study. The research found that babies can learn about a toy from a photograph of it well before their first birthday.

The intergalactic medium unveiled: Cosmic Web Imager directly observes 'dim matter'

Posted: 29 Apr 2014 03:50 PM PDT

Astronomers have taken unprecedented images of the intergalactic medium -- the diffuse gas that connects galaxies throughout the universe -- with the Cosmic Web Imager. Until now, the structure of the IGM has mostly been a matter for theoretical speculation. However, with observations from the Cosmic Web Imager, deployed on the Hale 200-inch telescope at Palomar Observatory, astronomers are obtaining our first three-dimensional pictures of the IGM.

Search for extraterrestrial life more difficult than thought

Posted: 29 Apr 2014 03:50 PM PDT

A new study suggests the search for life on planets outside our solar system may be more difficult than previously thought. The study finds the method used to detect biosignatures on such planets, known as exoplanets, can produce a false positive result.

Increased prevalence of GI symptoms among children with autism, study confirms

Posted: 29 Apr 2014 03:49 PM PDT

Children with autism spectrum disorder are more than four times more likely to experience general gastrointestinal (GI) complaints compared with peers, are more than three times as prone to experience constipation and diarrhea than peers, and complain twice as much about abdominal pain compared to peers.

Simple tests of physical capability in midlife linked with survival

Posted: 29 Apr 2014 03:48 PM PDT

Low levels of physical capability (in particular weak grip strength, slow chair rise speed and poor standing balance performance) in midlife can indicate poorer chances of survival over the next 13 years, while greater time spent in light intensity physical activity each day is linked to a reduced risk of developing disability in adults with or at risk of developing knee osteoarthritis, suggest two papers.

Stem cells aid heart regeneration in salamanders

Posted: 29 Apr 2014 03:46 PM PDT

Imagine filling a hole in your heart by regrowing the tissue. While that possibility is still being explored in people, it is a reality in salamanders. A recent discovery that newt hearts can regenerate may pave the way to new therapies in people who need to have damaged tissue replaced with healthy tissue. Heart disease is the leading cause of deaths in the United States.

You took the words right out of my brain: New research shows brain's predictive nature when listening to others

Posted: 29 Apr 2014 03:46 PM PDT

Our brain activity is more similar to that of speakers we are listening to when we can predict what they are going to say, a team of neuroscientists has found. The study provides fresh evidence on the brain's role in communication.

Breath analysis offers non-invasive method to detect early lung cancer

Posted: 29 Apr 2014 03:46 PM PDT

Researchers are using breath analysis to detect the presence of lung cancer. Preliminary data indicate that this promising noninvasive tool offers the sensitivity of PET scanning, and has almost twice the specificity of PET for distinguishing patients with benign lung disease from those with early stage cancer.

Herschel discovers mature galaxies in the young Universe

Posted: 29 Apr 2014 03:36 PM PDT

New Herschel results have given us a remarkable insight into the internal dynamics of two young galaxies. Surprisingly, they have shown that just a few billion years after the Big Bang, some galaxies were rotating in a mature way, seemingly having completed the accumulation of their gas reservoirs.

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