Σάββατο, 24 Μαΐου 2014

ScienceDaily: Latest Science News

ScienceDaily: Latest Science News

Wound-healing role for microRNAs in colon offer new insight to inflammatory bowel diseases

Posted: 23 May 2014 11:53 AM PDT

A microRNA cluster believed to be important for suppressing colon cancer has been found to play a critical role in wound healing in the intestine, cancer researchers have found. The findings, first discovered in mice and later reproduced in human cells, could provide a fresh avenue for investigating chronic digestive diseases and for potentially repairing damage in these and other disease or injury settings.

Failed dwarf galaxy survives galactic collision thanks to full dark-matter jacket

Posted: 23 May 2014 11:51 AM PDT

Like a bullet wrapped in a full metal jacket, a high-velocity hydrogen cloud hurtling toward the Milky Way appears to be encased in a shell of dark matter, according to a new analysis. Astronomers believe that without this protective shell, the high-velocity cloud known as the Smith Cloud would have disintegrated long ago when it first collided with the disk of our Galaxy.

Poor Diet Before Pregnancy Linked with Preterm Birth

Posted: 23 May 2014 11:51 AM PDT

For the first time, researchers have confirmed that women who eat a poor diet before they become pregnant are around 50% more likely to have a preterm birth than those on a healthy diet. The study shows that women who consistently ate a diet high in protein and fruit prior to becoming pregnant were less likely to have a preterm birth, while those who consistently ate high fat and sugar foods, and take-out food were about 50% more likely to have a preterm birth.

Breakthrough in RSV research to help infected children

Posted: 23 May 2014 06:43 AM PDT

A drug has been shown to safely reduce the viral load and clinical illness of healthy adult volunteers intranasally infected with respiratory syncytial virus. RSV is the most common cause of lower respiratory tract infections in young children in the United States and worldwide. It hospitalizes 125,000 children in the United States each year, and has been the cause for 1.5 million outpatient visits.

Lack of plant diversity spurs cankerworm damage in cities

Posted: 23 May 2014 06:43 AM PDT

A lack of plant diversity is a key contributor to the widespread defoliation caused by cankerworms in cities, which highlights the role that increasing diversity can play in limiting future damage. Fall cankerworms (Alsophila pometaria) are caterpillars that are native to the eastern United States and hatch in early spring. The cankerworms defoliate trees and other plants, eating new leaves as they emerge -- which is both unsightly and can ultimately kill the plants.

Rapid evolution aids spread of exotic plant species

Posted: 23 May 2014 06:42 AM PDT

The first genetic evidence that rapid evolution can help non-native plant species spread in new environments has been presented by a team of biologists. Using samples of centuries-old herbaria and DNA analysis, the researchers reconstructed the genetic adaptations undergone by the Pyrenean rocket prior to its rapid spread in Belgium.

Nature inspires drones of the future

Posted: 23 May 2014 06:42 AM PDT

Researchers have been taking tips from nature to build the next generation of flying robots. Based on the mechanisms adopted by birds, bats, insects and snakes, scientists have developed solutions to some of the common problems that drones could be faced with when navigating through an urban environment and performing novel tasks for the benefit of society.

Mapping atherosclerotic arteries: Combined approach developed

Posted: 23 May 2014 06:42 AM PDT

A new method allows calcified and constricted blood vessels to be visualized with micrometer precision, and can be used to design containers for targeted drug delivery. Within the project, materials scientists combined cutting-edge-imaging techniques to visualize and quantify the constrictions caused by atherosclerosis.

Body clock and its biological impact: Fruit fly research to provide new insight

Posted: 23 May 2014 06:41 AM PDT

How animals keep time through their internal circadian rhythms could help us understand why we sleep and how we cope with jet lag. Using the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster as an experimental model, researchers have discovered that the molecular and cellular 'clock' mechanisms of insects closely resemble those of mammals, including humans. As these biological clock systems not only control sleep, but also influence functions such as blood pressure and metabolic rate, they could give us greater insight into many medical conditions.

Many mental illnesses reduce life expectancy more than heavy smoking

Posted: 23 May 2014 05:29 AM PDT

Serious mental illnesses reduce life expectancy by 10-20 years, an analysis by psychiatrists has shown -- a loss of years that's equivalent to or worse than that for heavy smoking. Yet mental health has not seen the same public health priority, say the scientists, despite these stark figures and the similar prevalence of mental health problems.

Women with diabetes 44 percent more likely to develop coronary heart disease than men with diabetes, study of 850,000 people shows

Posted: 23 May 2014 05:29 AM PDT

Women with diabetes are 44 percent more likely to develop coronary heart disease than men with diabetes, shows a systematic review and meta-analysis of some 850,000 people. The data used in the study stretches back almost 50 years, from 1966 to 2011, and includes 64 studies, 858,507 people and 28,203 incident CHD events.

Healthcare professionals must be aware of rarer causes of headaches in pregnancy

Posted: 23 May 2014 05:29 AM PDT

Most headaches in pregnancy and the postnatal period are benign, but healthcare professionals must be alert to the rarer and more severe causes of headaches, suggests a new review. There are 85 different types of headache. Approximately 90% of headaches in pregnancy are migraine or tension-type headaches. However, pregnancy can lead to an increased risk of certain secondary headaches, a headache caused by an underlying health condition, states the review.

New sensor could light the way forward in low-cost medical imaging

Posted: 23 May 2014 05:29 AM PDT

A new type of light sensor that could allow medical and security imaging via low cost cameras has been developed by researchers. Near infrared light can be used to perform non-invasive medical procedures, such as measuring the oxygen level in tissue and detecting tumors. It is also already commonly used in security camera systems and for quality control in the agriculture and food industry.

Kidney dialysis machine invented for babies, safely treat newborn with multiple organ failure in world first breakthrough

Posted: 23 May 2014 05:28 AM PDT

A miniaturized kidney dialysis machine capable of treating the smallest babies has been invented, and for the first time, it has been used to safely treat a newborn baby with multiple organ failure. This technology has the potential to revolutionize the treatment of infants with acute kidney injury, according to new research published.

Bacterial adaptation contributes to pneumococcal threat in sickle cell disease patients

Posted: 23 May 2014 05:25 AM PDT

Differences in the genetic code of pneumococcal bacteria have been identified by researcher that may explain why it poses such a risk to children with sickle cell disease and why current vaccines don't provide better protection against the infection. The findings will aid efforts to improve vaccine effectiveness and inform research into new ways to protect young sickle cell disease patients from life-threatening pneumococcal infections that can lead to pneumonia, meningitis, bloodstream infections and other problems.

Male, female sex cell determination requires lifelong maintenance, protection

Posted: 22 May 2014 02:57 PM PDT

The way in which the sex of an organism is determined may require lifelong maintenance, finds new research. Sex-specific transcription factors perform lifelong work to maintain sexual determination and protect against reprogramming of cells from one sex to the other. Using a mouse model, researchers found the sex of gonadal cells -- those found in the ovaries or testes -- require maintenance throughout life. This research also showed loss of a single transcription factor can result in the transformation of male cells into female cells.

Repeated sexual assault victims report more psychological problems than previously thought

Posted: 22 May 2014 02:57 PM PDT

One in five adult women and one in 100 adult men have reported being raped. The prevalence increases to two in five among women and one in five among men who report experiencing other forms of sexual violence, such as repeated unwanted sexual contact and sexual coercion. Now, researchers have determined that those victims who are repeatedly assaulted, show greater levels of psycho-behavioral consequences than earlier thought.

Promising discovery in fight against antibiotic-resistant bacteria

Posted: 22 May 2014 02:57 PM PDT

A small molecule that prevents bacteria from forming into biofilms, a frequent cause of infections, has been discovered by researchers. The anti-biofilm peptide works on a range of bacteria including many that cannot be treated by antibiotics. "Currently there is a severe problem with antibiotic-resistant organisms," says the lead author of the study. "Our entire arsenal of antibiotics is gradually losing effectiveness."

Block autophagy in multiple cancers: Trials show promise

Posted: 22 May 2014 02:57 PM PDT

The malaria drug hydroxychloroquine blocked autophagy in a host of aggressive cancers -- glioblastoma, melanoma, lymphoma and myeloma, renal and colon cancers -- and in some cases helped stabilize disease. These results come from the largest group of results to date, and show promise for the treatment of cancer in the future.

Lifestyle changes improve biomarkers for breast cancer recurrence, mortality

Posted: 22 May 2014 02:57 PM PDT

Lifestyle changes in the form of healthy eating and regular exercise can decrease biomarkers related to breast cancer recurrence and mortality, a pair of interventional studies involving breast cancer survivors has found. "The findings of both studies support a growing body of research that suggests lifestyle interventions lower biomarkers associated with breast cancer recurrence and mortality, and improve quality of life," said one expert.

One-third of all brain aneurysms rupture: size is not a significant risk factor

Posted: 22 May 2014 02:57 PM PDT

Approximately one third of all brain aneurysms rupture during a patient's lifetime, resulting in a brain haemorrhage. A recent study demonstrates that, unlike what was previously assumed, the size of the aneurysm does not significantly impact the risk of rupture. The total number of individual risk factors is more important. Smoking, for example, increases the risk for ruptures, particularly in women.

Pattern of cognitive risks in some children with cochlear implants identified by researchers

Posted: 22 May 2014 02:57 PM PDT

Children with profound deafness who receive a cochlear implant had as much as five times the risk of having delays in areas of working memory, controlled attention, planning and conceptual learning as children with normal hearing, according research. The authors evaluated 73 children implanted before age 7 and 78 children with normal hearing to determine the risk of deficits in executive functioning behaviors in everyday life.

Kidney transplantation found superior to intensive home hemodialysis

Posted: 22 May 2014 02:57 PM PDT

Kidney transplant patients had a reduced risk of treatment failure or premature death compared with patients on long and frequent home hemodialysis. Kidney transplant patients had a higher risk of being hospitalized within the first several months to a year, but they had a reduced risk over the long term.

Patients with a certain form of kidney disease may have reduced risk of cancer

Posted: 22 May 2014 02:57 PM PDT

After adjusting for demographic differences between kidney transplant recipients with polycystic kidney disease (PKD) and other kidney transplant recipients, PKD patients were 16 percent less likely to develop cancer than others who received a kidney transplant. Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is a kidney disorder passed down through families in which many cysts form in the kidneys, causing them to become enlarged. It's thought to have cancer-like features, but cancer risk has never been compared between PKD patients and others with kidney disease.

Signals found that recruit host animals' cells, enabling breast cancer metastasis

Posted: 22 May 2014 02:56 PM PDT

Chemical signals that certain breast cancers use to recruit two types of normal cells needed for the cancers' spread have been discovered in mice, researchers report. "If a drug can be found that safely blocks the same signal in humans, it could be a very useful addition to current breast cancer treatment -- particularly for patients with chemotherapy-resistant tumors," says one researcher.

People with low incomes less likely to use healthy weight loss strategies

Posted: 22 May 2014 02:52 PM PDT

Poorer people of all ages are less likely than wealthier ones to follow recommended strategies for weight loss, finds a recent study. "We found that compared to persons of higher household incomes, both youths and adults of lower household incomes were less likely to use strategies that are consistent with U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommendations," which include reducing fats and sweets and increasing exercise, said the lead author.

Common obesity gene contributes to weight gain

Posted: 22 May 2014 02:52 PM PDT

A gene commonly linked to obesity -— FTO —- contributes to weight gain, researchers have demonstrated. The study shows that variations in FTO indirectly affect the function of the primary cilium, a little-understood hair-like appendage on brain and other cells. Specific abnormalities of cilium molecules, in turn, increase body weight, in some instances, by affecting the function of receptors for leptin, a hormone that suppresses appetite. The findings, made in mice, suggest that it might be possible to modify obesity through interventions that alter the function of the cilium.

Despite economic blows, infant health has improved among US poor

Posted: 22 May 2014 12:22 PM PDT

Infant health has steadily improved among the United States' most disadvantaged groups, despite worsening economic conditions for those at the bottom. Researchers cite targeted programs and policies as the driving forces behind such marked improvement. Disadvantaged mothers have poorer health than their advantaged peers. They are more likely to smoke, drink alcohol and use illicit drugs. They typically have worse underlying health, and are more likely to have preexisting conditions such as diabetes and hypertension. Likewise, they are more susceptible to diseases, such as influenza. All of these health factors significantly increase the likelihood of delivering low-birth-weight babies.

Protein that may lead to malaria vaccine discovered

Posted: 22 May 2014 11:14 AM PDT

A protein that is essential for malaria-causing parasites to escape from inside red blood cells has been discovered by scientists. This protein could lead to the development of a vaccine that would prevent the progression of Plasmodium falciparum malaria, which kills one child every 15 seconds each year in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, according to new research.

Key mechanism in metabolic pathway that fuels cancers identified

Posted: 22 May 2014 11:13 AM PDT

A significant step in cracking the code of an atypical metabolic pathway that allows certain cancerous tumors to thrive has been cracked, providing a possible roadmap for defeating such cancers. "With this finding, we have learned there are particular enzymes that work together to enable the reverse pathway to function, much like the tiny gears that turn in opposite directions to power a mechanical clock," commented the lead author.

Cell migration and the mysterious role of cadherin

Posted: 22 May 2014 10:34 AM PDT

Fruit-fly ovaries were used in a new study to uncover how E-cadherin guides collective cell migration. According to traditional scientific dogma, E-cadherin acts like the mortar between bricks, holding cells together and preventing motility. This research team found the opposite: Cadherin is actually promoting the ability of cells to move and migrate. "It's doing it in three different ways in three different parts of the cell," the lead investigator said. "In each spot in the cell, cadherin is doing something different and all of those function together to orchestrate the movement of cells."

New details on microtubules and how the anti-cancer drug Taxol works

Posted: 22 May 2014 10:34 AM PDT

Images of microtubule assembly and disassembly have been produced by researchers at the unprecedented resolution of 5 angstroms, providing new insight into the success of the anti-cancer drug Taxol and pointing the way to possible improvements. "This is the first experimental demonstration of the link between nucleotide state and tubulin conformation within the microtubules and, by extension, the relationship between tubulin conformation and the transition from assembled to disassembled microtubule structure," says a biophysicist on the study.

Neurostimulation: What is being said in the media, academic literature? Better acceptance, it seems

Posted: 22 May 2014 10:34 AM PDT

Neurostimulation techniques such as transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) have gradually gained favor in the public eye over the past decade. In a new report, ethics experts raise important questions about the rising tide of tDCS coverage in the media, while regulatory action is lacking and ethical issues need to be addressed.

Antibiotic crisis needs united global response, experts say

Posted: 22 May 2014 10:34 AM PDT

Growing resistance to antibiotics and other drugs demands a coordinated global response on the same scale as efforts to address climate change, say experts. Without an international commitment to tackle the issue, the world faces a future in which simple infections that have been treatable for decades become deadly diseases, they warn.

Stem cell development: Experts offer insight into basic mechanisms of stem cell differentiation

Posted: 22 May 2014 09:35 AM PDT

The world has great expectations that stem cell research one day will revolutionize medicine. But in order to exploit the potential of stem cells, we need to understand how their development is regulated. Now researchers report a new discovery that provides valuable insight into basic mechanisms of stem cell differentiation. The discovery could lead to new ways of making stem cells develop into exactly the type of cells that a physician may need for treating a disease.

One molecule blocks both pain and itch, discovered in mouse study

Posted: 22 May 2014 09:35 AM PDT

An antibody that simultaneously blocks the sensations of pain and itching has been found in studies with mice. The new antibody works by targeting the voltage-sensitive sodium channels in the cell membrane of neurons. "We hope our discovery will garner interest from pharmaceutical companies that can help us expand our studies into clinical trials," said one researcher.

Cells: RaDAR guides proteins into the nucleus

Posted: 22 May 2014 09:34 AM PDT

A novel pathway by which proteins are actively and specifically shuttled into the nucleus of a cell has been discovered by scientists. The finding captures a precise molecular barcode that flags proteins for such import and describes the biochemical interaction that drives this critically important process. The discovery could help illuminate the molecular dysfunction that underpins a broad array of ailments, ranging from autoimmune diseases to cancers.

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