Σάββατο, 3 Μαΐου 2014

ScienceDaily: Latest Science News

ScienceDaily: Latest Science News

Leaf chewing links insect diversity in modern and ancient forests

Posted: 02 May 2014 02:21 PM PDT

Observations of insects and their feeding marks on leaves in modern forests confirm indications from fossil leaf deposits that the diversity of chewing damage relates directly to diversity of the insect population that created it, according to scientists.

Big sisters do better: New study of siblings finds eldest girls have the edge

Posted: 02 May 2014 01:04 PM PDT

A new study has revealed that oldest children are the most ambitious, especially girls, and a wider gap between siblings increases the chances of children achieving higher levels of qualifications.

Probing dopant distribution: Opening the door to better doping of semiconductor nanocrystals

Posted: 02 May 2014 12:58 PM PDT

Researchers have shown that when doping a semiconductor to alter its electrical properties, equally important as the amount of dopant is how the dopant is distributed on the surface and throughout the material.

Researchers find unique fore wing folding among Sub-Saharan African Ensign wasps

Posted: 02 May 2014 12:58 PM PDT

Researchers discovered several possibly threatened new species of ensign wasps from Sub-Saharan Africa -- the first known insects to exhibit transverse folding of the fore wing. The scientists made this discovery, in part, using a technique they developed that provides broadly accessible anatomy descriptions.

Better sleep predicts longer survival time for women with advanced breast cancer

Posted: 02 May 2014 10:25 AM PDT

A new study reports that sleep efficiency, a ratio of time asleep to time spent in bed, is predictive of survival time for women with advanced breast cancer. According to the authors, this is the first study to demonstrate the long-term detrimental effects of objectively quantified sleep on survival in women with advanced cancer. Although the mechanism of the relationship between sleep quality and advanced breast cancer survival is unclear, they suggested that sleep disruption may lead to diminished immune function or impaired hormonal stress responses that are more directly responsible for the decrease in survival.

Key protein enhances memory, learning

Posted: 02 May 2014 10:24 AM PDT

A protein previously implicated in disease plays such a positive role in learning and memory that it may someday contribute to cures of cognitive impairments, researchers have discovered. The findings regarding the potential virtues of fatty acid binding protein 5 -- usually associated with cancer and psoriasis -- have been outlined in a new article.

Exploring genetics behind Alzheimer's resiliency

Posted: 02 May 2014 10:02 AM PDT

Autopsies have revealed that some individuals develop the cellular changes indicative of Alzheimer's disease without ever showing clinical symptoms in their lifetime. Additionally, memory researchers have discovered a potential genetic variant in these asymptomatic individuals that may make brains more resilient against Alzheimer's.

Novel analyses improve identification of cancer-associated genes from microarray data

Posted: 02 May 2014 10:02 AM PDT

A new gene expression analysis approach for identifying cancer genes has been identified by scientists. The study results challenge the current paradigm of microarray data analysis and suggest that the new method may improve identification of cancer-associated genes. Typical microarray-based gene expression analyses compare gene expression in adjacent normal and cancerous tissues. The new approach demonstrated that ranking genes based on inter-tumor variation in gene expression outperforms traditional analytical approaches. The results were consistent across 4 major cancer types: breast, colorectal, lung, and prostate cancer.

Study shows link between sleep apnea, hospital maternal deaths

Posted: 02 May 2014 10:02 AM PDT

Pregnant women with obstructive sleep apnea are more than five times as likely to die in the hospital as those without the sleep disorder, a comprehensive American national study found. Among delivery-related hospital discharges, sleep apnea was also associated with an increase in severe medical conditions that are top causes of maternal death, including preeclampsia, eclampsia, an enlarged heart and pulmonary blood clots, reported the study.

Out of shape? Your memory may suffer

Posted: 02 May 2014 10:02 AM PDT

Here's another reason to drop that doughnut and hit the treadmill: A new study suggests aerobic fitness affects long-term memory. "The findings show that lower-fit individuals lose more memory across time," said a co-author. The study is one of the first to investigate young, supposedly healthy adults. Previous research on fitness and memory has focused largely on children, whose brains are still developing, and the elderly, whose memories are declining.

Pediatricians call for a Vitamin K tracking system for babies not getting shots

Posted: 02 May 2014 10:01 AM PDT

Doctors have seen a rise in late-onset vitamin K deficiency bleeding in young infants due to parents declining the shot at birth, and are calling for a tracking system of these children. Over eight months, these physicians saw and diagnosed seven infants, ages 7 weeks to 20 weeks, with vitamin K deficiency bleeding (VKDB), formerly known as hemorrhagic disease of the newborn. Four of the infants had intracranial hemorrhaging, with two requiring urgent neurosurgical intervention, and another with bleeding from the intestines.

A transcription factor called SLUG helps determines type of breast cancer

Posted: 02 May 2014 10:01 AM PDT

A new study determines that the transcription factor SLUG plays a role in regulating stem cell function. In mice without SLUG, basal cells are reprogrammed into a luminal-cell fate, luminal cells hyper-proliferate, and stem-cell function necessary for tissue regeneration and tumor initiation is inhibited.

Hubble view: A hungry starburst galaxy

Posted: 02 May 2014 09:09 AM PDT

A new Hubble picture is the sharpest ever image of the core of spiral galaxy Messier 61. Taken using the High Resolution Channel of Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys, the central part of the galaxy is shown in striking detail.

ALHAT ensures safe landing for Morpheus

Posted: 02 May 2014 09:07 AM PDT

Led by engineers at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston and supported by Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., ALHAT technology will provide planetary landers similar to Morpheus the ability to precisely and safely land on rugged surfaces by detecting dangerous hazards such as rocks, holes and slopes.

Hardy little space travelers could colonize Mars, space station research shows that

Posted: 02 May 2014 09:02 AM PDT

In the movies, humans often fear invaders from Mars. These days, scientists are more concerned about invaders to Mars, in the form of micro-organisms from Earth. Three recent scientific papers examined the risks of interplanetary exchange of organisms using research from the International Space Station.

Cassini spies the ice-giant planet Uranus beyond Saturn's rings

Posted: 02 May 2014 08:57 AM PDT

NASA's Cassini spacecraft has captured its first-ever image of the pale blue ice-giant planet Uranus in the distance beyond Saturn's rings.

Autoimmune diseases may succumb to new drug strategy

Posted: 02 May 2014 07:25 AM PDT

New pharmaceuticals to fight autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis, may be identified more effectively by adding genome analysis to standard drug screening, according to a new study. The three potential drug candidates chosen for this study, selected from a large library of screened chemicals, each knocked down the response of Th17 cells, a type of immune cell that drives many autoimmune diseases by attacking normal cells in the body. More specifically, the drugs homed in on an essential molecule within the Th17 cells.

30-year puzzle in breast cancer solved

Posted: 02 May 2014 07:25 AM PDT

Mice lacking one copy of a gene called CTCF have abnormal DNA methylation and are markedly predisposed to cancer, new research demonstrates. CTCF is a very well-studied DNA binding protein that exerts a major influence on the architecture of the human genome, but had not been previously linked to cancer. Over 30 years ago, frequent loss of one copy of chromosome 16 was first reported in breast cancer but the gene or genes responsible remained to be identified. This new research answers that 30-year long puzzle.

New myeloma-obesity research shows drugs can team with body's defenses

Posted: 02 May 2014 07:25 AM PDT

Obesity increases the risk of myeloma, and with obesity rates climbing particularly in the Hispanic population, one researcher is tracing the ways it affects cancer and use those pathways for more effective treatments. "I'm predicting an increase in multiple myeloma," said the researcher, "and with the obesity problems we see in the Hispanic population, there could be a serious health disparity on the horizon."

Small variations in genetic code can team up to have big impact

Posted: 02 May 2014 07:25 AM PDT

Large sets of variations in the genetic code that do not individually appear to have much effect can collectively produce significant changes in an organism's physical characteristics, scientists have definitively demonstrated. Studying the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, researchers found that the effects of these genetic variants can depend on four or more other variants in an individual's genome.

Sharp decline in maternal, child deaths globally, new data show

Posted: 02 May 2014 07:25 AM PDT

Since the start of an international effort to address maternal and child mortality, millions of lives have been saved globally, a new study shows. Forty-five countries, including 27 in the developing world, are on track to meet the MDG 4 target of reducing child death rates by two-thirds of 1990 levels by 2015, while only 16 countries -- most in Central and Eastern Europe -- are likely to achieve the MDG 5 target of a 75% reduction in their 1990 maternal death rate by 2015.

Elevated liver enzyme levels linked to higher gestational diabetes risk

Posted: 02 May 2014 07:24 AM PDT

Women with high levels of a common liver enzyme measured prior to pregnancy were twice as likely to subsequently develop gestational diabetes than those with the lowest levels, according to a study. The liver plays an important role in regulating glucose levels in the body. The liver enzyme, called gamma-glutamyl transferase (known as GGT), is a common marker of liver function and has also been associated with insulin resistance, which can be a precursor to gestational diabetes and type 2 diabetes.

How bacteria exploit proteins to trigger potentially lethal infections

Posted: 02 May 2014 07:24 AM PDT

The way bacteria exploits human proteins during infections has recently become better understood, thanks to new research. Scientists studied how Staphylococcus aureus, which can cause life-threatening human infections, attach to two proteins fibronectin and fibrinogen found in human blood. The human proteins play important roles in clot formation and wound healing and the bacteria appear to exploit them during the process of infection.

UK has one of the highest death rates for children in western Europe

Posted: 02 May 2014 05:14 AM PDT

The UK has one of the highest rates of death for children under five in western Europe, according to new research. Although, by international standards, the UK has very low rates of deaths in children, the figures show that within western Europe, the UK has a higher rate of deaths in children than nearly every other country in the region. The mortality rate in the UK for children under five is 4.9 deaths per 1000 births, more than double that in Iceland (2.4 per 1000 births), the country with the lowest mortality rates. 3800 children under five died in the UK in 2013, the highest absolute number of deaths in the region.

Approaching the island of stability: Observation of the superheavy element 117

Posted: 02 May 2014 05:13 AM PDT

The periodic table of the elements is to get crowded towards its heaviest members. Evidence for the artificial creation of element 117 has recently been obtained at an accelerator laboratory located in Germany.

MERS coronavirus can be transmitted from camel to humans

Posted: 02 May 2014 05:13 AM PDT

The so-called Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) coronavirus was first found in June 2012 in a patient from Saudi Arabia, who suffered from severe pneumonia. Since this time, more than 300 persons have developed an infection, of whom about a third died. The fact that the Arabian camel is the origin of the infectious disease has been confirmed recently. The transmission pathways of the viruses, however, have not been clear until now.

New form of treatment to reduce risk of surgery-related ischemic brain injury?

Posted: 02 May 2014 05:13 AM PDT

Ischemic brain injury due to heart and vascular surgery causes more than 100,000 deaths annually in Europe and the United States. In addition, approximately 10–20% of patients undergoing heart and vascular surgery – at least 1.5 million people in Europe and the United States every year – suffer from ischemic brain injury as a side-effect of their surgery. Now researchers suggest that they may have come up with a new treatment to this problem.

New atom-scale knowledge on the function of biological photosensors

Posted: 02 May 2014 05:13 AM PDT

The research groups have clarified how the atom structure of bacterial red light photosensors changes when sensing light. The research reveals structural changes in phytochrome protein when illuminated. The function of few biological photosensors are already utilised in other fields of science, especially in neurosciences.

Using speed of video game processors to improve cancer patient care

Posted: 02 May 2014 05:12 AM PDT

The speed of video game processors are being used to promote research that is aimed at improving patient care, a new study says. In recent years, video game processors, known as graphic processing units, or GPUs, have become massively powerful as game makers support increasingly elaborate video graphics with rapid-fire processing. Now medical researchers are looking to these GPUs for inspiration. One practical application is reducing the time required to calculate the radiation dose delivered to a tumor during proton radiotherapy, for example. The faster video processors can reduce the time of the most complex calculation method from 70 hours to just 10 seconds.

World's smallest, leadless heart pacemaker implanted

Posted: 02 May 2014 05:12 AM PDT

The smallest heart pacemaker available is about the size of a vitamin pill, and now another American hospital is about to test this emerging technology. "With this investigational device, the battery, the pacing electrodes, everything is in a little piece of metal sitting inside the heart. We believe that will eliminate a lot of risk for infection and complications," said a cardiologist and principal investigator of the trial.

Four myths about privacy

Posted: 02 May 2014 05:12 AM PDT

Many privacy discussions follow a similar pattern, and involve the same kinds of arguments. It's commonplace to hear that privacy is dead, people -- especially kids -- don't care about privacy, people with nothing to hide have nothing to fear, and privacy is bad for business. "These claims are common, but they're myths," says a privacy law expert.

New smart phone apps help doctors manage pain patients

Posted: 01 May 2014 06:14 PM PDT

Mobile medicine is helping chronic pain patients cope with and manage their condition thanks to new smartphone apps, which can track patients from a distance and monitor pain, mood, physical activity, drug side effects, and treatment compliance. Investigators found that internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy could significantly decrease pain levels, improve function, and decrease costs compared to standard care. They added that electronic diaries maintained by patients are more effective than paper diaries for evaluating pain levels, daily activities, treatment compliance and mood.

Atypical form of Alzheimer's disease may be present in more widespread number of patients than thought

Posted: 01 May 2014 04:28 PM PDT

A subtype of Alzheimer's disease has been identified by neuroscientists that they say is neither well recognized nor treated appropriately. The variant, called hippocampal sparing AD, made up 11 percent of the 1,821 AD-confirmed brains examined by researchers -- suggesting this subtype is relatively widespread in the general population. It is estimated that 5.2 million Americans are living with AD. And with nearly half of hippocampal sparing AD patients being misdiagnosed, this could mean that well over 600,000 Americans make up this AD variant, researchers say.

Scientists recommend further research, delay in destruction of last stocks of smallpox

Posted: 01 May 2014 04:28 PM PDT

Variola, the virus that causes smallpox, is on the agenda of the upcoming meeting of the World Health Assembly, the governing body of the World Health Organization. The body will decide whether the last known remaining live strains of the virus should be destroyed. An international group of scientists from the US CDC, argue that the WHA should not choose destruction, because crucial scientific questions remain unanswered and important public health goals unmet.

New insights into bacterial substitute for sex

Posted: 01 May 2014 04:26 PM PDT

Bacteria don't have sex as such, but they can mix their genetic material by pulling in DNA from dead bacterial cells and inserting these into their own genome. New research has found that this process -- called recombination -- is more complex than was first thought. The findings could help us understand why bacteria which cause serious diseases are able to evade vaccines and rapidly become drug-resistant.

Promising biomarkers to predict suicide risk

Posted: 01 May 2014 04:26 PM PDT

The stress-diathesis theory of suicide suggests a predisposition or diathesis interacts with stressful life experiences and acute psychiatric illness to cause suicidal behavior. The theory explains why only a small minority of individuals are at risk of taking their own lives after exposure to such stressors. The authors of a new article discuss the causes of the diathesis, or predisposition, to suicidal behavior, which may include genetic effects and the long-term impact on the brain and behavior of early life adversity (eg, physical and sexual abuse).

Reliance on voluntary sector support for suicide bereavement 'unsustainable and inappropriate'

Posted: 01 May 2014 04:26 PM PDT

People bereaved by the suicide of a partner and mothers losing an adult child to suicide run a significantly higher risk of suicide compared to people bereaved after sudden deaths from other causes. The psychological impact on other members of the family is also serious: children who lose a mother to suicide have an increased risk of depression, while people who lose a child to suicide have an increased likelihood of psychiatric admission for mental illness.

Around 60% of people who contemplate or attempt suicide do not receive treatment

Posted: 01 May 2014 04:26 PM PDT

The key psychological factors that may contribute to, or protect against, suicidal behavior include personality differences, cognitive factors, and negative life events such as serious physical illness, as well as current psychological treatments. Evidence suggests that about 60% of people struggling with suicidal thoughts or behavior do not receive any help, and, surprisingly, there is relatively little evidence for the effectiveness of treatments received by those who do.

U.S. newspaper reporting of suicide linked with some teenage suicide clusters

Posted: 01 May 2014 04:26 PM PDT

Heightened newspaper coverage after a suicide might have a significant impact on the initiation of some teenage suicide clusters, according to new research. The study reveals that the content of media reports is also important, with more prominent stories (ie, published on the front page) and those that describe the suicide in considerable detail more likely to be associated with so-called copycat suicides.

10-year study shows 'Lethal Factor' could be X-factor for new anthrax vaccine

Posted: 01 May 2014 04:26 PM PDT

A section of the anthrax toxin Lethal Factor that could help produce a more effective vaccine, researchers report. Anthrax is a potentially lethal disease caused by a bacterium. The bacteria produce spores that when inhaled, ingested or absorbed into the skin release toxins. When anthrax affects the lungs or intestines it can cause death within a few days. Infection can occur from contact with infected livestock, meat or hides, but most people know about anthrax from its use as a biological weapon, notably in the 2001 attacks through the US postal system.

Statins for kidney disease patients: Protection for heart but no effects on kidneys

Posted: 01 May 2014 04:24 PM PDT

For patients with chronic kidney disease, statin treatment appears to lower LDL cholesterol, decrease the risk of heart disease and stroke, and has no impact on the development of kidney failure, research concluded. Investigators have said that statin treatment is safe and well tolerated for those with chronic kidney disease.

Investigators find something fishy with classical evidence for dietary fish recommendations

Posted: 01 May 2014 01:56 PM PDT

Oily fish are currently recommended as part of a heart healthy diet. This guideline is partially based on the landmark 1970s study that connected the low incidence of coronary artery disease (CAD) among the Inuit of Greenland to their diet, rich in whale and seal blubber. Now, researchers have found that the Inuit people actually suffered from CAD at the same rate as their Caucasian counterparts, meaning there is insufficient evidence to back previous claims on which dietary recommendations were built.

Electronic nose sniffs out prostate cancer using urine samples

Posted: 01 May 2014 01:56 PM PDT

We may soon be able to make easy and early diagnoses of prostate cancer by smell. Investigators have established that a novel noninvasive technique can detect prostate cancer using an electronic nose. In a proof of principle study, the eNose successfully discriminated between prostate cancer and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) by "sniffing" urine headspace (the space directly above the urine sample). Results using the eNose are comparable to testing prostate specific antigen (PSA).

Blood pressure control, lifestyle changes key to preventing subsequent strokes

Posted: 01 May 2014 01:56 PM PDT

Controlling blood pressure, cholesterol and irregular heart rhythms are key to stroke survivors avoiding another stroke. Updated guidelines emphasize lifestyle management, including diet, exercise and weight management. Other important updates affect management of narrowed neck arteries and irregular heartbeat.  

Statin use associated with reduced risk of prostate cancer recurrence

Posted: 01 May 2014 01:56 PM PDT

Men who begin taking statins after prostate cancer surgery are less likely to have a recurrence of their cancer, according to a retrospective analysis. "Our findings suggest that beginning statins after surgery may reduce the risk of prostate cancer recurrence, so it's not too late to start statins after a diagnosis," said the lead author.

U.S. journalists say they are less satisfied and have less autonomy

Posted: 01 May 2014 01:55 PM PDT

The reporters, editors and producers who put out the news every day are less satisfied with their work, say they have less autonomy in their work and tend to believe that journalism is headed in the wrong direction, according to initial findings. The survey findings also indicate that U.S. journalists rely heavily on social media in their daily work.

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