Σάββατο, 17 Μαΐου 2014

ScienceDaily: Top News

ScienceDaily: Top News

Wide variation in lung cancer rates globally, study finds

Posted: 16 May 2014 08:10 AM PDT

Lung cancer rates are dropping in young women in many regions of the globe, the only recent comprehensive analysis of lung cancer rates for women around the world finds. The study points to the success of tobacco control efforts around the world. Lung cancer is now the second leading cause of cancer death in women worldwide. An estimated 491,200 women died of lung cancer in 2012, more than half (57%) of whom resided in economically developing countries.

Molecules involved in rheumatoid arthritis angiogenesis identified

Posted: 16 May 2014 08:10 AM PDT

Two protein molecules that fit together as lock and key seem to promote the abnormal formation of blood vessels in joints affected by rheumatoid arthritis, according to researchers who found that the substances are present at higher levels in the joints of patients affected by the disease. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune inflammatory disease in which the body's own defenses attack the tissues lining the joints, causing painful swelling and bone erosion that can ultimately lead to joint deformities.

Fast and curious: Electrons hurtle into the interior of a new class of quantum materials

Posted: 16 May 2014 08:09 AM PDT

Scientists have made a step forward in developing a new class of materials that could be used in future technologies. They have discovered a new quantum effect that enables electrons -- the negative-charge-carrying particles that make today's electronic devices possible -- to dash through the interior of these materials with very little resistance.

Between Roquefort and Camembert: Multiple recent gene transfers

Posted: 16 May 2014 07:29 AM PDT

In the paste of Roquefort and on the surface of Camembert, the microscopic filamentous fungi Penicillium roqueforti and Penicillium camembertii are responsible for the formation of a greenish-blue mould in the former case and a so-called "bloom" in the latter. Sequencing of the genomes of these two fungi has recently, and surprisingly, shown that these genomes contain more than 250 strictly identical genes, thus indicating a transfer of genes between these two species. This type of event, until now little described in eukaryotes, may therefore be much more common than previously thought.

On the shoulder of a giant: Precursor volcano to the island of O'ahu discovered

Posted: 16 May 2014 07:19 AM PDT

Researchers recently discovered that O'ahu, Hawai'i actually consists of three major Hawaiian shield volcanoes, not two, as previously thought. Extending almost 100 km WNW from the western tip of the island of O'ahu is the submarine Ka'ena Ridge, a region that has now been recognized to represent a precursor volcano to the island of O'ahu, and on whose flanks the Wai'anae and Ko'olau Volcanoes later formed.

War and Peace (of Mind): Mindfulness training for military could help them deal with stress

Posted: 16 May 2014 06:25 AM PDT

Mindfulness training -- a combination of meditation and body awareness exercises -- can help U.S. Marine Corps personnel prepare for and recover from stressful combat situations. The study suggests that incorporating meditative practices into pre-deployment training might be a way to help the U.S. military reduce rising rates of stress-related health conditions, including PTSD, depression and anxiety, within its ranks.

Mothers' sleep, late in pregnancy, affects offspring's weight gain as adults

Posted: 16 May 2014 06:23 AM PDT

Poor-quality sleep during the third trimester of pregnancy can increase the odds of weight gain and metabolic abnormalities in offspring once they reach adulthood. The effects, caused by epigenetic modifications, impose lasting consequences on the next generation. The researchers linked the excess weight and changes in metabolism to epigenetic modifications that reduce expression of the gene for adiponectin -- a hormone that helps regulate several metabolic processes, including glucose regulation. Lower levels of adiponectin correlate with increased body fat and reduced activity.

Tricking the uncertainty principle

Posted: 16 May 2014 06:23 AM PDT

Today, we can measure the position of an object with unprecedented accuracy, but the uncertainty principle places fundamental limits on our ability to measure. Noise that results from of the quantum nature of the fields used to make measurements imposes what is called the 'standard quantum limit.' This background noise keeps us from knowing an object's exact location, but a recent study provides a solution for rerouting some of that noise away from the measurement.

Domesticated animals provide vital link to emergence of new diseases

Posted: 16 May 2014 06:23 AM PDT

Pets and other domesticated animals could provide new clues into the emergence of infections that can spread between animals and humans. The study showed that the number of parasites and pathogens shared by humans and animals is related to how long animals have been domesticated. The findings suggest that although wild animals may be important for the transmission of new diseases to humans, humanity's oldest companions -- livestock and pets such as cattle and dogs -- provide the vital link in the emergence of new diseases.

Male infertility linked to mortality, study shows

Posted: 16 May 2014 06:22 AM PDT

Men who are infertile because of defects in their semen appear to be at increased risk of dying sooner than men with normal semen, according to a study. Men with two or more abnormalities in their semen were more than twice as likely to die over a roughly eight-year period as men who had normal semen, the study found.

Interrupted breathing during sleep affects brain neurons necessary to regulate heart rate

Posted: 16 May 2014 06:21 AM PDT

Sufferers of a common sleep-breathing disorder have diminished activity among neurons responsible for keeping heart rate low, reveals a new study. The research discovered that in obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), neurons in the brainstem that control heart rate experience a blunting of their activity. The reduction of neuronal activity likely contributes to the increased heart rate, blood pressure and risk of adverse cardiovascular events that occur in patients with OSA.

Cause of death established: Chamois had pneumonia

Posted: 16 May 2014 06:20 AM PDT

In spring 2010, nearly a third of the chamois living in a region of northern Austria suddenly died of unexplained causes. Concerned hunters and foresters sent the carcasses for analysis. Extensive investigations have now revealed that the animals died of bacterial pneumonia caused by two strains of bacteria that are highly unusual in chamois.

No such thing as a 'universal' intelligence test: Cultural differences determine results country by country

Posted: 16 May 2014 06:20 AM PDT

Scientists have studied 54 individuals -- half Spanish and half Moroccan -- to determine how IQ tests work. New research suggests that a universal test of intelligence quotient does not exist. Results in this type of test are determined to a strong degree by cultural differences.

New treatment targeting versatile protein may protect brain cells in Parkinson's disease

Posted: 16 May 2014 06:20 AM PDT

In Parkinson's disease (PD), dopamine-producing nerve cells that control our movements waste away. Current treatments for PD therefore aim at restoring dopamine contents in the brain. In a new study, researchers are attacking the problem from a different angle, through early activation of a protein that improves the brain's capacity to cope with a host of harmful processes.

Hope for paraplegic patients: Implantable microelectrode stimulates spinal cord with electric impulses

Posted: 16 May 2014 06:20 AM PDT

People with severe injuries to their spinal cord currently have little or no prospect of recovery and remain confined to their wheelchairs. Now, all that could change with a new treatment that stimulates the spinal cord using electric impulses. The hope is that the technique will help paraplegic patients learn to walk again.

How key cancer-fighting protein is held in check

Posted: 16 May 2014 06:20 AM PDT

Analysis reveals how the protein p53, which triggers cancer cells to commit suicide, attaches to its regulatory molecule. These findings could lead to drugs to unleash p53 to battle a range of cancers. In guarding the cell against genetic damage, the p53 machinery functions both in the nucleus of the cell and in the cell's gel-like cytosol. When this machinery detects irreparable damage to the cell, p53 is unleashed to trigger apoptosis. In about half of all cancers, this machinery is rendered inoperable by mutation of p53, enabling cancer cells to proliferate despite their genetic malfunctions.

Magnets and kids: A dangerous duo

Posted: 16 May 2014 06:20 AM PDT

Magnet ingestions by children have received increasing attention over the past 10 years. With the growing availability of new and stronger neodymium-iron-boron magnets being sold as "toys," there has been an increase of cases of ingestion, resulting in serious injury and, in some cases, death. In a new study, researchers studied the trends of magnetic ingestions at a large children's hospital.

Water pipe smoking causes significant exposure to nicotine, cancer-causing agents

Posted: 16 May 2014 06:19 AM PDT

Young adults who smoked water pipes in hookah bars had elevated levels of nicotine, cotinine, tobacco-related cancer-causing agents, and volatile organic compounds (VOC) in their urine, and this may increase their risk for cancer and other chronic diseases, according to a study. After a single evening of water pipe smoking in a hookah bar, young men and women had in their urine a 73-fold increase in nicotine; fourfold increase in cotinine; twofold increase in NNAL, a breakdown product of a tobacco-specific nitrosamine, NNK, which can cause lung and pancreatic cancers; and 14 to 91 percent increase in the breakdown products of VOC such as benzene and acrolein that are known to cause cancer and cardiovascular and respiratory diseases.

Marijuana use involved in more fatal accidents since commercialization of medical marijuana

Posted: 15 May 2014 02:35 PM PDT

The proportion of marijuana-positive drivers involved in fatal motor vehicle crashes in Colorado has increased dramatically since the commercialization of medical marijuana in the middle of 2009, according to a study. The study raises important concerns about the increase in the proportion of drivers in a fatal motor vehicle crash who were marijuana-positive since the commercialization of medical marijuana in Colorado, particularly in comparison to the 34 non-medical marijuana states.

Complex interactions may matter most for longevity

Posted: 15 May 2014 02:35 PM PDT

Complex interactions among diet, mitochondrial DNA and nuclear DNA appear to influence lifespan at least as much as single factors alone, a new study of the biology of aging shows. The findings may help scientists better understand the underlying mechanisms of aging and explain why studies of single factors sometimes produce contradictory results.

Vet study reveals Salmonella's hideout strategy

Posted: 15 May 2014 01:38 PM PDT

A study reveals how some Salmonella bacteria hide from the immune system, allowing them to persist and cause systemic infection. The study addresses both questions, focusing on a component of the innate immune response called the inflammasome. Consisting of a complex of proteins that triggers the release of signaling molecules, the inflammasome serves to recruit other components of the immune system that can fight off the pathogen.

Older migraine sufferers may have more silent brain injury

Posted: 15 May 2014 01:38 PM PDT

Older migraine sufferers may be more likely to have silent brain injury. Ischemic silent brain infarctions are symptomless brain injuries and are a risk factor for future strokes. Researchers suggest people who have both migraines and vascular risk factors pay close attention to lifestyle factors that can reduce their chance of stroke.

Tumor cells in blood may indicate poor prognosis in early breast cancer

Posted: 15 May 2014 01:38 PM PDT

Tumor cells in bone marrow of early breast cancer patients predict a higher risk of relapse as well as poorer survival, but bone marrow biopsy is an invasive and painful procedure. Now, it may be possible to identify tumor cells in a routine blood sample and use them as prognostic markers, according to a study. The authors conclude that "Our data offer support for the clinical potential of CTCs to assess the individual risk of patients at the time of primary diagnosis and may be used for treatment tailoring in the absence of other strong quantitative markers."

New algorithm shakes up cryptography

Posted: 15 May 2014 01:37 PM PDT

Researchers have solved one aspect of the discrete logarithm problem. This is considered to be one of the 'holy grails' of algorithmic number theory, on which the security of many cryptographic systems used today is based. They have devised a new algorithm that calls into question the security of one variant of this problem, which has been closely studied since 1976.

Experts call for urgent defense of deep-ocean

Posted: 15 May 2014 12:39 PM PDT

An oceanographer is working with experts from around the globe to warn against lasting damage to the deep-ocean, caused by fishing, oil and gas development, industrial-scale mining, waste disposal and land-based pollution. The world's deep-ocean spans more than half the planet and holds vast quantities of untapped energy resources, precious metals and minerals. But as advancements in technology enable greater access to these treasures of the deep, experts are urging caution, highlighting the potentially irreversible damage that extracting such materials can cause.

Hitting a moving target: AIDS vaccine could work against changeable site on HIV

Posted: 15 May 2014 12:39 PM PDT

A vaccine or other therapy directed at a single site on a surface protein of HIV could in principle neutralize nearly all strains of the virus—thanks to the diversity of targets the site presents to the human immune system. HIV infection is nearly always fatal, if untreated, because the virus is extremely effective at evading the human immune response. Its main strategy is to cover its most exposed parts, the flower-like envelope protein (Env) structures that grab and penetrate host cells, with rapidly mutating decoy proteins and antibody-resistant sugar molecules called glycans.

Favored by God in warfare? How WWI sowed seeds for future international conflicts

Posted: 15 May 2014 12:38 PM PDT

World War I — the "war to end all wars" — in fact sowed seeds for future international conflicts in a way that has been largely overlooked: through religion, says a historian and author. Widespread belief in the supernatural was a driving force during the war and helped mold all three of the major religions -- Christianity, Judaism and Islam -- paving the way for modern views of religion and violence, he said.

Protein sharpens salmonella needle for attack

Posted: 15 May 2014 10:21 AM PDT

A tiny nanoscale syringe is Salmonella's weapon. Using this, the pathogen injects its molecular agents into the host cells and manipulates them to its own advantage. A team of scientists demonstrates that a much investigated protein, which plays a role in Salmonella metabolism, is required to activate these needles and makes the replication and spread of Salmonella throughout the whole body possible.

Watching stressful movies triggers changes to your heartbeat

Posted: 15 May 2014 07:38 AM PDT

Watching films with stressful scenes can trigger changes to the heart's beating pattern, reports a new study. "This is the first time that the effects have been directly measured and although the results varied from person to person we consistently saw changes in the cardiac muscle. If someone already has a weakened heart, or if they experience a much more extreme stress, the effect could be much more destabilizing and dangerous," researchers stated.

Customizing antibodies by learning from sharks

Posted: 15 May 2014 06:56 AM PDT

Genetically engineered antibodies are deployed successfully in cancer diagnostics and therapy. Therapeutic antibodies against Alzheimer's disease and multiple sclerosis are currently under development. An important criterion when designing suitable antibody fragments is their stability. Comparing the antibodies of sharks with those of humans, a team of researchers has discovered stabilizing mechanisms that can also be applied to optimize custom-tailored antibodies for medical applications.

Sense of obligation leads to trusting strangers

Posted: 15 May 2014 06:51 AM PDT

Trusting a stranger may have more to do with feeling morally obligated to show respect for someone else's character than actually believing the person is trustworthy, according to new research. Theories that people are inclined to trust others because they feel it's the social norm or they expect to gain something don't fully explain the abundance of trust among strangers, researchers say. "Our findings reveal that people trust others because they feel it's their duty or moral responsibility," Dunning said.

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