Τετάρτη, 21 Μαΐου 2014

ScienceDaily: Latest Science News

ScienceDaily: Latest Science News

Compound reverses symptoms of Alzheimer's disease in mice

Posted: 20 May 2014 03:46 PM PDT

Research in an animal model supports the potential therapeutic value of an antisense compound to treat Alzheimer's disease. The molecule also reduced inflammation in the part of the brain responsible for learning and memory. The article is the second mouse study that supports the potential therapeutic value of an antisense compound in treating Alzheimer's disease in humans.

Intake of dietary prenatal folate and other methyl donors in first trimester of pregnancy affects asthma risk in children at age 7

Posted: 20 May 2014 03:46 PM PDT

Maternal intake of dietary methyl donors during the first trimester of pregnancy modulates the risk of developing childhood asthma at age 7, according to a new study. Methyl donors are nutrients involved in a biochemical process called methylation, in which chemicals are linked to proteins, DNA, or other molecules in the body.

Public interest in climate change unshaken by scandal, but unstirred by science

Posted: 20 May 2014 01:30 PM PDT

Researchers found that negative media reports seem to have only a passing effect on public opinion, but that positive stories don't appear to possess much staying power, either. This dynamic suggests that climate scientists should reexamine how to effectively and more regularly engage the public.

Sleep Apnea Tied to Hearing Loss in Large Study

Posted: 20 May 2014 12:29 PM PDT

Both high and low frequency hearing impairment have been linked with sleep apnea in a new study of nearly 14,000 individuals. "In our population-based study of 13,967 subjects from the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos, we found that sleep apnea was independently associated with hearing impairment at both high and low frequencies after adjustment for other possible causes of hearing loss," said the lead author.

Research explains action of drug that may slow aging, related disease

Posted: 20 May 2014 11:24 AM PDT

A proven approach to slow the aging process is dietary restriction, but new research helps explain the action of a drug that appears to mimic that process -- rapamycin. The advance moves science closer to a compound that might slow aging and reduce age-related disease. The lead researcher said that this study "could provide a way not only to increase lifespan but to address some age-related diseases and improve general health."

Potential speed bump in quantum computing eliminated: Global symmetry not required for fast quantum search

Posted: 20 May 2014 11:24 AM PDT

A quantum particle can search for an item in an unsorted 'database' by jumping from one item to another in superposition, and it does so faster than a classical computer ever could, assuming that the particle can directly hop from any item to any other, in a structure with global symmetry. Other structures were thought to slow down the search. Now researchers have used a physics technique in a novel way to prove that global symmetry is not required for a sped up search.

Central Valley sees big drop in wintertime fog needed for fruit, nut crops

Posted: 20 May 2014 11:24 AM PDT

California's winter tule fog has declined dramatically over the past three decades, raising a red flag for the state's multibillion dollar agricultural industry, according to researchers. The fog, a menace to drivers as it descends upon the state's Central Valley between early November and late February, is needed by fruit and nut trees to stay cool during their winter dormant period.

Promising new target for gum disease treatment identified

Posted: 20 May 2014 11:24 AM PDT

Researchers have been searching for ways to prevent, half and reverse periodontitis. In a new report, they describe a promising new target: a component of the immune system called complement. The results, the lead researcher said, "provide proof-of-concept that complement-targeted therapies can interfere with disease-promoting mechanisms."

Broader definition of successful aging explored by researchers

Posted: 20 May 2014 11:24 AM PDT

A broader definition of successful aging could positively influence research, clinical practice and health policy in the United States and China, researchers suggest in a new article. "Successful aging is important for the rapidly growing population of older adults and their families and caregivers," an author notes. "It also is significant for society as a whole, which will bear the burden of unprecedented demands on health and social services. This is one reason we are developing interventions to increase positive aging."

With climate changing, southern plants outperform northern

Posted: 20 May 2014 11:24 AM PDT

Can plants and animals evolve to keep pace with climate change? A new study shows that for at least one widely-studied plant, the European climate is changing fast enough that strains from Southern Europe already grow better in the north than established local varieties.

Added value of local food hubs

Posted: 20 May 2014 11:24 AM PDT

As the largest purchaser of wholesale produce in Santa Barbara County, UC Santa Barbara's residential dining services provided the perfect avenue for a pilot project incorporating local pesticide-free or certified organic produce into an institutional setting. Residential dining services at UCSB provide about 10,000 meals a day -- 2.5 million meals a year -- so the task could have been daunting. Instead, the organizers started small, adding five or six local and organic items to the salad bar. Scaling up slowly turned out to be key to the project's success.

'Encouraging' period of stable disease suggested in direct injection vaccine treatment of pancreatic cancer

Posted: 20 May 2014 11:23 AM PDT

The 'first in man' series of vaccine injections given directly into a pancreatic cancer tumor is not only well tolerated, but also suggests an "encouraging" period of stable disease, a study shows. Vaccine therapies are designed to strengthen the body's immune defenses. In a previous study, investigators showed that using a vaccine treatment for bladder and breast cancer tumors in laboratory models resulted in a reversal of the traditional immune blockade, as well as the development of tumor specific immunity throughout the body.

Shrub growth decreases as winter temperatures fluctuate, triggering premature spring growth

Posted: 20 May 2014 11:23 AM PDT

Many have assumed that warmer winters as a result of climate change would increase the growth of trees and shrubs because the growing season would be longer. But shrubs achieve less yearly growth when cold winter temperatures are interrupted by temperatures warm enough to trigger growth.

Best way to rid a garden of pesky snails? Use your strong throwing arm

Posted: 20 May 2014 11:12 AM PDT

The new study has used statistical models to show that simply killing the snails you find in your garden offers little advantage if you want to remove them completely. According to the researchers gardeners should revert to damage limitation, as their results proved that snails are part of larger colonies that live in the garden and come and go as they please using a homing instinct. A total of 416 snails were marked and thrown over the wall 1385 times during the study.

Chronic insufficient sleep increases obesity, overall body fat in children

Posted: 20 May 2014 10:43 AM PDT

One of the most comprehensive studies of the potential link between reduced sleep and childhood obesity finds compelling evidence that children who consistently received less than the recommended hours of sleep during infancy and early childhood had increases in both obesity and in adiposity or overall body fat at age 7.

Screen of existing drugs finds compounds active against MERS coronavirus

Posted: 20 May 2014 10:32 AM PDT

Clinicians treating patients suffering from Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) currently have no drugs specifically targeted to the MERS coronavirus (MERS-CoV), a virus first detected in humans in 2012. To address the urgent need for therapies, screened a set of 290 compounds already approved by the US Food and Drug Administration or far advanced in clinical development for other indications to determine if any might also show potential for working against MERS-CoV.

Understanding biomechanics behind amazing ant strength opens door to advanced robotics

Posted: 20 May 2014 10:32 AM PDT

A recent study into the biomechanics of the necks of ants -- a common insect that can amazingly lift objects many times heavier than its own body -- might unlock one of nature's little mysteries and, quite possibly, open the door to advancements in robotic engineering.

Boosting Immune process with IFN-γ helps clear lethal bacteria in cystic fibrosis

Posted: 20 May 2014 10:32 AM PDT

Boosting a key immune process called autophagy with interferon gamma -- IFN-³ -- could help clear a lethal bacterial infection in cystic fibrosis, a new study suggests. The work offers new information about immune function in patients with the disease. Cystic fibrosis is caused by a malfunction in the CFTR gene, which is responsible for transporting chloride and water across cell membranes. In people with the disease, cells that line the passageways of the lungs, pancreas and other organs produce unusually thick and sticky mucus that clogs the airways -- creating an ideal environment for pathogens.

Full serving of protein at each meal needed for maximum muscle health

Posted: 20 May 2014 10:32 AM PDT

Most Americans eat a diet that consists of little to no protein for breakfast, a bit of protein at lunch and an overabundance of protein at dinner. As long as they get their recommended dietary allowance of about 60 grams, it's all good, right? Not according to new research from a team of scientists led by a muscle metabolism expert.

Online game helps doctors improve patients' blood pressure faster

Posted: 20 May 2014 10:32 AM PDT

Patients whose doctors and nurses received high blood pressure education in a competitive online game reached their blood pressure goals sooner. The game of emailed questions used 'spaced education,' which sends new information in regular intervals and reinforces the lessons over time. Researchers found that patients of clinicians playing the game lowered their blood pressure to their target level in 142 days compared to 148 days for those who read an online posting.

Physical activity can protect overweight women from risk for heart disease

Posted: 20 May 2014 10:28 AM PDT

For otherwise healthy middle-aged women who are overweight or obese, physical activity may be their best option for avoiding heart disease, according to a study that followed nearly 900 women for seven years. "Being overweight or obese increases a person's risk for developing conditions such as hypertension, elevated triglyceride levels and elevated fasting glucose levels—all of them risk factors for heart disease, the leading cause of death in the U.S.," said the study's lead author.

School-based interventions could benefit children from military families

Posted: 20 May 2014 09:35 AM PDT

Nearly two million children in the United States have experienced a parent's military deployment. Previous research has shown that these children may be at increased risk for emotional, behavioral and relationship difficulties, yet little is known about how best to address military children's specialized needs. Now, a researcher says school-based interventions could benefit children whose parents have deployed.

Cognitive test can differentiate between Alzheimer's and normal aging

Posted: 20 May 2014 09:35 AM PDT

A new cognitive test that can better determine whether memory impairments are due to very mild Alzheimer's disease or the normal aging process has been developed by researchers. The Alzheimer's Association estimates that the number of Americans living with Alzheimer's disease will increase from 5 million in 2014 to as many as 16 million by 2050. Memory impairments and other early symptoms of Alzheimer's are often difficult to differentiate from the effects of normal aging, making it hard for doctors to recommend treatment for those affected until the disease has progressed substantially.

Pregnant women respond to music with stronger physiological changes in blood pressure

Posted: 20 May 2014 09:35 AM PDT

Pregnant women, compared to their non-pregnant counterparts, rate music as more intensely pleasant and unpleasant, associated with greater changes in blood pressure, a study has demonstrated. Music appears to have an especially strong influence on pregnant women, a fact that may relate to a prenatal conditioning of the fetus to music.

Termite genome lays roadmap for 'greener' control measures

Posted: 20 May 2014 09:34 AM PDT

A team of international researchers has sequenced the genome of the Nevada dampwood termite, providing an inside look into the biology of the social insect and uncovering new genetic targets for pest control. The genome could help researchers develop control strategies that are more specific than the broad-spectrum chemicals conventionally used to treat termite infestations.

Professors' super waterproof surfaces cause water to bounce like a ball

Posted: 20 May 2014 09:34 AM PDT

Engineers have spent decades studying super-hydrophobic surfaces because of the plethora of real-life applications. And while some of this research has resulted in commercial products that keep shoes dry or prevent oil from building up on bolts, scientists are also aiming to uncovering characteristics that might lead to large-scale solutions for society.

Engineers build world's smallest, fastest nanomotor: Can fit inside a single cell

Posted: 20 May 2014 09:34 AM PDT

Engineers have built the fastest, smallest and longest-running nanomotor to date. The nanomotor is capable of drug delivery on a nanoscale. One day, nanomotors could lead to the development of tiny devices that seek out and treat cancer cells.

Is there really cash in your company's trash?

Posted: 20 May 2014 09:34 AM PDT

One company's trash can be another's treasure. Take Marmite. Made from a by-product of commercial beer production, the yeast-based spread has topped toast throughout the Commonwealth for decades. By recuperating the waste product from one company, another was able to thrive.

Stem cells as future source for eco-friendly meat

Posted: 20 May 2014 09:34 AM PDT

The scientific progress that has made it possible to dream of a future in which faulty organs could be regrown from stem cells also holds potential as an ethical and greener source for meat. So say scientists who suggest that every town or village could one day have its very own small-scale, cultured meat factory.

Reducing residents' work hours may have unintended consequences

Posted: 20 May 2014 09:34 AM PDT

Medical residents in Canada may work longer hours per shift and per week than their counterparts in Europe, Australia and New Zealand but there is conflicting evidence whether shorter shifts improve patient safety, a new study has found. In fact, reducing medical resident duty hours may have unforeseen consequences and changes must be made carefully to ensure both patient safety and resident well-being, says the lead author.

Next wave of research: Ecology, super-sized

Posted: 20 May 2014 09:29 AM PDT

The University of Wisconsin-Madison, home of pioneering ecologists who studied lakes, forests, wetlands and prairies, is playing a key role in the next wave of ecological research: large teams of scientists confronting the dilemma of a changing climate on a shrinking planet.

New potential antibody treatment for asthma discovered

Posted: 20 May 2014 09:29 AM PDT

Giving a mild allergic asthma patient an antibody, which blocks a specific protein in the lungs, markedly improved asthmatic symptoms such as wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness and cough after the allergic asthmatics had inhaled an environmental allergen, a study has found. Individuals with allergic asthma are typically treated with inhaled corticosteroids or bronchodilators. While antibodies are typically reserved for severe asthma, this research can lead to antibody treatment for those who have mild allergic asthma. This study can lead to quality of life improvements for those with allergic asthma that have issues with inhalers or steroid-based medications.

Cigarette smoking, male sex: Risk factors for ocular sarcoidosis

Posted: 20 May 2014 09:29 AM PDT

Cigarette smoking and male sex are significant risk factors for developing ocular sarcoidosis, according to a new study. Sarcoidosis is a disease in which inflammation produces tiny lumps of cells (called granulomas) in organs throughout the body, most often in the lungs, but also in the eyes, lymph nodes, or skin. Ocular sarcoidosis, which can lead to blindness, affects 25-50% of sarcoidosis patients.

Elevated blood eosinophil levels are risk factor for asthma exacerbations

Posted: 20 May 2014 09:29 AM PDT

In adults with persistent asthma, elevated blood eosinophil levels may be able to predict which individuals are at increased risk for exacerbations, according to a new study. "Eosinophils are known to be involved in the pathophysiology of asthma, and determining their relationship with asthma exacerbations may allow us to determine in advance which of these patients needs targeted interventions," said the lead author. "In our study, elevated blood eosinophil levels were found to be a risk factor for subsequent exacerbations in adult asthma patients."

Slip knot key to creating world's toughest fiber

Posted: 20 May 2014 09:01 AM PDT

A new way of making super tough fibers could be realized by a simple knot, according to new research from a materials scientist. A new article suggests the new method could make ordinary polymers -- large molecules with repeating units -- reach unprecedented toughness by adding a knot to absorb additional energy.

Climate change brings mostly bad news for Ohio: Big algae bloom in Lake Erie, very dry 2015 forecast

Posted: 20 May 2014 09:01 AM PDT

Scientists delivered a mostly negative forecast for how climate change will affect Ohioans during the next year or so, and well beyond. But Ohio may fare better than its neighbors in one respect: its farmers will likely suffer less than those in the rest of the Corn Belt.

Websites: Reading privacy policy lowers trust

Posted: 20 May 2014 09:01 AM PDT

Website privacy policies are almost obligatory for many online services, but for anyone who reads these often unwieldy documents, trust in the provider is more commonly reduced than gained, according to researchers.

Pine bark substance could be potent melanoma drug

Posted: 20 May 2014 09:00 AM PDT

A substance that comes from pine bark is a potential source for a new treatment of melanoma, according to researchers. Current melanoma drugs targeting single proteins can initially be effective, but resistance develops relatively quickly and the disease recurs. In those instances, resistance usually develops when the cancer cell's circuitry bypasses the protein that the drug acts on, or when the cell uses other pathways to avoid the point on which the drug acts.

Busting rust with light: New technique safely penetrates top coat for perfect paint job

Posted: 20 May 2014 09:00 AM PDT

To keep your new car looking sleek and shiny for years, factories need to make certain that the coats of paint on it are applied properly. But ensuring that every coat of paint -- whether it is on a car or anything else -- is of uniform thickness and quality is not easy. Now researchers have developed a new way to measure the thickness of paint layers and the size of particles embedded inside.

Water caged in buckyballs: Work on 'spin isomer conversion' may enhance magnetic resonance imaging

Posted: 20 May 2014 08:59 AM PDT

A research team describes how water molecules 'caged' in fullerene spheres ('buckyballs') are providing a deeper insight into spin isomers -- varieties of a molecule that differ in their nuclear spin. The results of this work may one day help enhance the analytical and diagnostic power of nuclear magnetic resonance and magnetic resonance imaging.

Student discovers new praying mantis species in Rwanda: Female bush tiger mantis hunts prey on ground and underbrush

Posted: 20 May 2014 08:59 AM PDT

A student has discovered the bush tiger mantis, a new species, in Nyungwe Forest National Park, Rwanda. The species is named for the female who hunts on the ground and undergrowth. The male flies.

Bacteria and fungi from 1,500-year-old feces support archeological theories of Caribbean cultures

Posted: 20 May 2014 08:59 AM PDT

By evaluating the bacteria and fungi found in fossilized feces, microbiologists are providing evidence to help support archeologists' hypotheses regarding cultures living in the Caribbean over 1,500 years ago.

Better than polygraphs: Brain scanning for evidence

Posted: 20 May 2014 08:57 AM PDT

If conventional lie detector machines, polygraphs, have been endlessly debunked and shown not to provide admissible nor even valid evidence, then the 21st Century tool of choice for reading the minds of witnesses and putative criminals may well be the brain scanner. More specifically, the kind of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) that can seemingly probe our inner selves and reveal the flow of blood in the different regions of the brain that light up when we lie.

More than two-thirds of healthy Americans are infected with human papilloma viruses

Posted: 20 May 2014 08:55 AM PDT

69 percent of healthy American adults are infected with one or more of 109 strains of human papillomavirus (HPV). This is the conclusion of a study that is believed to be the largest and most detailed genetic analysis of its kind. Researchers say that while most of the viral strains so far appear to be harmless and can remain dormant for years, their overwhelming presence suggests a delicate balancing act for HPV infection in the body, in which many viral strains keep each other in check, preventing other strains from spreading out of control.

New lithium battery created

Posted: 20 May 2014 08:55 AM PDT

A team of researchers has created a new type of lithium ion conductor for future batteries that could be the basis for a whole new generation of solid-state batteries. It uses rock salt Lithium Borohydride (LiBH4), a well-known agent in organic chemistry laboratories that has been considered for batteries before, but up to now has only worked at high temperatures or pressures.

Mars mineral could be linked to microbes

Posted: 20 May 2014 07:05 AM PDT

Scientists have discovered that living organisms on Earth were capable of making a mineral that may also be found on Mars. Scientists had believed deposits of the clay-mineral stevensite could only be formed in harsh conditions like volcanic lava and hot alkali lakes. However researchers have now found living microbes create an environment that allows stevensite to form, raising new questions about the stevensite found on Mars.

Power plant emissions verified remotely at Four Corners sites, largest point source pollution in U.S.

Posted: 20 May 2014 07:05 AM PDT

Air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from two coal-fired power plants in the Four Corners area of northwest New Mexico, the largest point source of pollution in America, were measured remotely. The study is the first to show that space-based techniques can successfully verify international regulations on fossil energy emissions.

Environmental strategies on livestock farms: Results obtained after evaluation

Posted: 20 May 2014 07:04 AM PDT

The effectiveness of technologies and practices used on livestock farms in the European Atlantic region are being evaluated in order to reduce their environmental impact on the air, water and soil. In connection with the environmental problems involved in livestock production, the EU 2010/75/EC Directive seeks to regulate all forms of emission into the atmosphere, water and soil coming from intensive livestock farms (farms with a population of over 40,000 hens, 2,000 fattening pigs or 750 sows), and makes the obtaining of comprehensive environmental authorization compulsory.

National survey on long-term care: Expectations and reality

Posted: 20 May 2014 07:04 AM PDT

The results of a major survey on long-term care in the United States have been released. The study provides much-needed data on how Americans are, or are not, planning for long-term care as policy makers grapple with how to plan for and finance high-quality long-term care in the United States. The survey revealed that Americans 40 or older are counting on their families to provide assistance for them as they age, and that a majority support a variety of policy options for financing long-term care.

Bacteria can linger on airplane surfaces for days

Posted: 20 May 2014 07:04 AM PDT

Disease-causing bacteria can linger on surfaces commonly found in airplane cabins for days, even up to a week, according to research. In order for disease-causing bacteria to be transmitted from a cabin surface to a person, it must survive the environmental conditions in the airplane. In this study, MRSA lasted longest (168 hours) on material from the seat-back pocket while E. coli O157:H7 survived longest (96 hours) on the material from the armrest.

Particles near absolute zero do not break the laws of physics after all

Posted: 20 May 2014 07:03 AM PDT

A change of models demystifies anomalous particle behavior at very low temperatures, supporting that the third law of thermodynamics cannot be violated. In theory, the laws of physics are absolute. However, when it comes to the laws of thermodynamics —- the science that studies how heat and temperature relate to energy -— there are times where they no longer seem to apply.

Improved computer simulations enable better calculation of interfacial tension

Posted: 20 May 2014 06:52 AM PDT

Researchers have identified a novel mechanisms of logarithmic finite-size corrections relevant to the determination of interfacial tension.

Altruism, egoism: Brain exercises cognitive analysis

Posted: 20 May 2014 06:52 AM PDT

Sociality, cooperation and "prosocial" behaviors are the foundation of human society (and of the extraordinary development of our brain) and yet, taken individually, people often show huge variation in terms of altruism/egoism, both among individuals and in the same individual at different moments in time. What causes these differences in behavior? An answer may be found by observing the activity of the brain. The brain circuits that are activated suggest that each of the two behavior types corresponds to a cognitive analysis that emphasizes different aspects of the same situation.

Fossils prove useful in analyzing million year old cyclical phenomena

Posted: 20 May 2014 06:52 AM PDT

Analysing palaeontological data helps characterize irregular paleoenvironmental cycles, lasting between less than 1 day and more than millions of years. Scientists have shown that the cyclical phenomena that affect the environment, like climate change, in the atmosphere-ocean dynamic and, even, disturbances to planetary orbits, have existed since hundreds of millions of year ago and can be studied by analyzing fossils.

Scientists calculate nuclear structures with high level of accuracy

Posted: 20 May 2014 06:52 AM PDT

Scientists have determined the most accurate means of calculating nuclear structures yet known. To do so, they used more than 8000 neutron-proton and proton-proton experimental scattering data, measured between 1950 and 2013 in particle accelerators all over the world.

Planting the 'seeds' of solar technology in the home

Posted: 20 May 2014 06:49 AM PDT

In an effort to better understand what persuades people to buy photovoltaic (PV) systems for their homes, researchers are gathering data on consumer motivations that can feed sophisticated computer models and thus lead to greater use of solar energy.

Testing paleo diet hypothesis in test tubes: Surprising relationships between diet and hormones that suppress eating

Posted: 20 May 2014 06:35 AM PDT

By comparing how gut microbes from human vegetarians and grass-grazing baboons digest different diets, researchers have shown that ancestral human diets, so called 'paleo' diets, did not necessarily result in better appetite suppression. The study reveals surprising relationships between diet and the release of hormones that suppress eating.

Fairy circles apparently not created by termites after all

Posted: 20 May 2014 06:35 AM PDT

For several decades scientists have been trying to come up with an explanation for the formation of the enigmatic, vegetation-free circles frequently found in certain African grassland regions. Now researchers have tested different prevailing hypotheses as to their respective plausibility. For the first time they have carried out a detailed analysis of the spatial distribution of these fairy circles – and discovered a remarkably regular and spatially comprehensive homogenous distribution pattern. This may best be explained by way of reference to local resource-competition for water among plants and vegetation, the team now reports.

Alpha waves organize to-do list for brain

Posted: 20 May 2014 06:35 AM PDT

Alpha waves appear to be even more active and important than neuroscientists already thought. A new theory has been postulated on how the alpha wave controls attention to visual signals. Brain cells 'spark' all the time. From this electronic activity brain waves emerge: oscillations at different band widths. And like a radio station uses different frequencies to carry specific information far away from the emitting source, so does the brain. And just like radio listeners, brain areas tune into the wave length relevant for their functioning.

Electric vehicles: Mix of quick and conventional charging protects the battery

Posted: 20 May 2014 06:34 AM PDT

Interference-free charging is a major prerequisite for the economically efficient use of electric vehicles. After about 120,000 km driven electrically, a new project has demonstrated that a combination of quick and conventional charging is ideal for the battery performance: The controlled mix ensures a high utilization rate of the vehicles and protects the battery.

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