Παρασκευή, 2 Μαΐου 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Science News

ScienceDaily: Top Science News


Missing piece of biogeochemical puzzle in aquifers discovered

Posted: 01 May 2014 01:56 PM PDT

New research may dramatically shift our understanding of the complex dance of microbes and minerals that takes place in aquifers deep underground. This dance affects groundwater quality, the fate of contaminants in the ground and the emerging science of carbon sequestration.

Undersea warfare: Viruses hijack deep-sea bacteria at hydrothermal vents

Posted: 01 May 2014 12:10 PM PDT

More than a mile beneath the ocean's surface, as dark clouds of mineral-rich water billow from seafloor hot springs called hydrothermal vents, unseen armies of viruses and bacteria wage war.

Whales hear us more than we realize: Sonar signal 'leaks' likely audible to some marine mammals

Posted: 01 May 2014 12:09 PM PDT

Killer whales and other marine mammals likely hear sonar signals more than we've known. That's because commercially available sonar systems, which are designed to create signals beyond the range of hearing of such animals, also emit signals known to be within their hearing range, scientists have discovered.

Spinal cord neurons that control skilled limb movement identified

Posted: 01 May 2014 11:22 AM PDT

Two types of neurons that enable the spinal cord to control skilled forelimb movement have been found by researchers. The first is a group of excitatory interneurons that are needed to make accurate and precise movements; the second is a group of inhibitory interneurons necessary for achieving smooth movement of the limbs. The findings are important steps toward understanding normal human motor function and potentially treating movement disorders that arise from injury or disease.

Increased drought portends lower future Midwestern U.S. crop yields

Posted: 01 May 2014 11:22 AM PDT

Increasingly harsh drought conditions in the US Midwest's Corn Belt may take a serious toll on corn and soybean yields over the next half-century, according to new research. Corn yields could drop by 15 to 30 percent, according to the paper's estimates.

Delving deep into the brain: MRI sensor allows neuroscientists to map neural activity with molecular precision

Posted: 01 May 2014 11:22 AM PDT

An MRI sensor now allows neuroscientists to map neural activity with molecular precision. This is the first time anyone has been able to map neural signals with high precision over large brain regions in living animals, offering a new window on brain function, says the lead researcher. The new work focused on the study of the neurotransmitter dopamine in a region called the ventral striatum, which is involved in motivation, reward, and reinforcement of behavior.

Climate change study reveals unappreciated impacts on biodiversity

Posted: 01 May 2014 11:22 AM PDT

The tropics ill be highly affected by local changes in temperature and precipitation, leading to novel climates with no current analogues in the planet. These results expose the complexities of climate change effects on biodiversity and the challenges in predicting and preserving natural ecosystems in a changing Earth.

Breaking up water: Controlling molecular vibrations to produce hydrogen

Posted: 01 May 2014 11:22 AM PDT

Converting methane into hydrogen is crucial for clean energy and agriculture. This reaction requires water and a catalyst. Scientists have now used a novel laser approach to control specific vibrations of a water molecule, which can affect the efficiency of the reaction.

Decoding the chemical vocabulary of plants

Posted: 01 May 2014 11:22 AM PDT

Plants spend their entire lifetime rooted to one spot. When faced with a bad situation, such as a swarm of hungry herbivores or a viral outbreak, they have no option to flee but instead must fight to survive. What is the key to their defense? Chemistry. Understanding how plants evolved this prodigious chemical vocabulary has been a longstanding goal in plant biology.

'Remodelling' damaged nuclei: Discovery could lead to new treatments for accelerated aging disease

Posted: 01 May 2014 11:22 AM PDT

Scientists have identified a key chemical that can repair the damage to cells which causes a rare but devastating disease involving accelerated aging. As well as offering a promising new way of treating the condition, known as Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome, the discovery could help in the development of drugs against cancer and other genetic diseases and might also suggest ways to alleviate diseases that we associate with normal aging.

Jupiter's moon Ganymede may harbor 'club sandwich' of oceans and ice

Posted: 01 May 2014 11:07 AM PDT

The largest moon in our solar system, a companion to Jupiter named Ganymede, might have ice and oceans stacked up in several layers like a club sandwich, according to new NASA-funded research that models the moon's makeup.

For some, money will not buy happiness: Neither life experiences nor material items make materialistic shoppers happier

Posted: 01 May 2014 10:26 AM PDT

Many shoppers, regardless of whether they buy life experiences or material items, are no happier following the purchase than they were before, a new study finds. These shoppers -- about a third of the population -- appear to be an exception to previous research that has found buying experiences will make an individual happier. Researchers found the happiness boost from experiences is often negated for material buyers because the purchase doesn't reflect their personality.

Nearby galaxy is a 'fossil' from the early universe

Posted: 01 May 2014 10:26 AM PDT

Scientists analyzed the chemical elements in the faintest known galaxy, called Segue 1, and determined that it is effectively a fossil galaxy left over from the early universe. Stars form from gas clouds and their composition mirrors the chemical composition of the galactic gas from which they were born.

Alcohol use before pregnancy linked to intestinal birth defect

Posted: 01 May 2014 10:25 AM PDT

Women should refrain from drinking alcohol before they try to become pregnant, according to maternal-fetal medicine specialists. Alcohol is associated with an increased risk for mental delays, cardiac anomalies and facial clefting in babies. In a recent study, researchers also found that alcohol is linked to gastroschisis, a birth defect of the baby's abdominal wall. "Preconception programs focused on alcohol abstinence may help to reverse the increasing incidence of this birth defect worldwide," said one researcher.

First ever gravitationally lensed Type Ia supernovae discovered

Posted: 01 May 2014 10:25 AM PDT

Astronomers have discovered three distant exploding stars that have been magnified by the immense gravity of foreground galaxy clusters, which act like 'cosmic lenses.' These supernovae are the first of their type ever to be observed magnified in this way and they offer astronomers a powerful tool to check the prescription of these massive lenses.

Stem cells from some infertile men form germ cells when transplanted into mice

Posted: 01 May 2014 09:34 AM PDT

Stem cells made from the skin of adult, infertile men yield primordial germ cells -- cells that normally become sperm -- when transplanted into the reproductive system of mice, according to new research.

Humans have a nose for gender: Chemical cues influence perceptions of movement as more masculine or feminine

Posted: 01 May 2014 09:34 AM PDT

The human body produces chemical cues that communicate gender to members of the opposite sex, according to new research. Whiffs of the active steroid ingredients (androstadienone in males and estratetraenol in females) influence our perceptions of movement as being either more masculine or more feminine. The effect, which occurs completely without awareness, depends on both our biological sex and our sexual orientations.

Malnutrition during pregnancy may affect the health of future generations

Posted: 01 May 2014 09:34 AM PDT

New research reveals how environmental factors in the womb can predispose not only the mother's own offspring but also the grand-offspring to metabolic disorders like liver disease. Researchers found for pregnant mice that are malnourished that their offspring are at first growth restricted and have low birth weight but then go on to become obese and diabetic as they age. Strikingly, the offspring of the growth-restricted males are predisposed to metabolic abnormalities.

Experimental drug prolongs life span in mice

Posted: 01 May 2014 08:23 AM PDT

Scientists newly identified a protein's key role in cell and physiological aging and have developed an experimental drug that inhibits the protein's effect and quadrupled the lifespan in a mouse model of accelerated aging. Their lungs and vascular system were protected from rapid aging. The experimental drug could potentially be used to treat human diseases that cause accelerated aging such as chronic kidney disease, diabetes and HIV infection and even extend someone's healthy life.

Individual brain activity predicts tendency to succumb to daily temptations

Posted: 01 May 2014 08:17 AM PDT

Activity in areas of the brain related to reward and self-control may offer neural markers that predict whether people are likely to resist or give in to temptations, like food, in daily life, according to new research.

Tree rings reveal nightmare droughts in Western U.S.

Posted: 01 May 2014 07:11 AM PDT

Scientists extended Utah's climate record back to 1429 using tree rings. They found Utah's climate has seen extreme droughts, including one that lasted 16 years. If history is repeated in the rapidly growing Western states, the water supply would run out based on current consumption.

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