Πέμπτη, 1 Μαΐου 2014

ScienceDaily: Top News

ScienceDaily: Top News

Ground breaking technique offers DNA GPS direct to your ancestor's home 1,000 years ago

Posted: 30 Apr 2014 04:27 PM PDT

Tracing where your DNA was formed over 1,000 years ago is now possible due to a revolutionary technique. The ground breaking Geographic Population Structure tool works similarly to a satellite navigation system as it helps you to find your way home, but not the one you currently live in -- but rather your actual ancestor's home from 1,000 years ago.

Stem cells from teeth can make brain-like cells

Posted: 30 Apr 2014 04:25 PM PDT

University of Adelaide researchers have discovered that stem cells taken from teeth can grow to resemble brain cells, suggesting they could one day be used in the brain as a therapy for stroke.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Researchers develop harder ceramic for armor windows

Posted: 29 Apr 2014 12:37 PM PDT

The Department of Defense needs materials for armor windows that provide essential protection for both personnel and equipment while still having a high degree of transparency. To meet that need, scientists have developed a method to fabricate nanocrystalline spinel that is 50 percent harder than the current spinel armor materials used in military vehicles.

Solving a mystery of thermoelectrics: Analysis of phase-change materials

Posted: 29 Apr 2014 10:38 AM PDT

Why some materials work well for thermoelectric devices, and others do not has been the focus of recent research. A new paper demonstrates that researchers have finally found a theoretical explanation for the differences, which could lead to the discovery of new, improved thermoelectric materials. This could lead to the discovery of new kinds of materials that also have very low thermal conductivity.

Saving lives following acetaminophen overdose: New approach could help

Posted: 29 Apr 2014 10:35 AM PDT

Mice have been cured of acute liver failure after an overdose of acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol, and one of the most commonly used drugs in the United States, by boosting the liver's ability to heal itself, researchers report. "Acetaminophen is a great drug when taken in appropriate doses; however, it's also known to quickly cause life-threatening liver injury when a person takes too much," said the study's lead investigator.

Breast cancer, brain tumors not caused by viruses, study finds

Posted: 29 Apr 2014 10:35 AM PDT

Breast cancer and brain tumors are not caused by viruses, according to a genetic analysis of more than 4,000 tumors that mapped the linkages between viruses and 19 different types of cancer. As such, this study calls into question some drug trial regimes. "In cancer research and treatment, there has been a lot of focus on associations that have not been proven, some of which have actually have been shown to be wrong," said one researcher. "Researchers are starting to realize that we need truly unbiased methods to uncover meaningful associations."

Vitamin D may raise survival rates among cancer patients

Posted: 29 Apr 2014 10:34 AM PDT

Cancer patients who have higher levels of vitamin D when they are diagnosed tend to have better survival rates and remain in remission longer than patients who are vitamin D-deficient, according to a new study. The body naturally produces vitamin D after exposure to sunlight and absorbs it from certain foods. In addition to helping the body absorb the calcium and phosphorus needed for healthy bones, vitamin D affects a variety of biological processes by binding to a protein called a vitamin D receptor. This receptor is present in nearly every cell in the body.

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