Σάββατο, 3 Μαΐου 2014

ScienceDaily: Top News

ScienceDaily: Top 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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).

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.

New syndrome caused by mutations in AHDC1

Posted: 01 May 2014 09:34 AM PDT

The gene underlying a newly recognized genetic syndrome that has symptoms of sleep apnea, delayed speech and hyptonia, or generalized upper body weakness, has been discovered by researchers. "Little is known about this gene and the discovery of its link to this syndrome is an important advance towards analyzing its function," said a corresponding author. "This study illustrates a remarkable confluence of advanced technical development, data sharing and detailed clinical studies."

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