Τετάρτη, 21 Μαΐου 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Science News

ScienceDaily: Top Science News

Humpback whale subspecies revealed by genetic study

Posted: 20 May 2014 07:04 PM PDT

A new genetic study has revealed that populations of humpback whales in the oceans of the North Pacific, North Atlantic and Southern Hemisphere are much more distinct from each other than previously thought, and should be recognized as separate subspecies. Understanding how connected these populations are has important implications for the recovery of these charismatic animals that were once devastated by hunting.

Compound reverses symptoms of Alzheimer's disease in mice

Posted: 20 May 2014 03:46 PM PDT

Research in an animal model supports the potential therapeutic value of an antisense compound to treat Alzheimer's disease. The molecule also reduced inflammation in the part of the brain responsible for learning and memory. The article is the second mouse study that supports the potential therapeutic value of an antisense compound in treating Alzheimer's disease in humans.

Research explains action of drug that may slow aging, related disease

Posted: 20 May 2014 11:24 AM PDT

A proven approach to slow the aging process is dietary restriction, but new research helps explain the action of a drug that appears to mimic that process -- rapamycin. The advance moves science closer to a compound that might slow aging and reduce age-related disease. The lead researcher said that this study "could provide a way not only to increase lifespan but to address some age-related diseases and improve general health."

Chronic insufficient sleep increases obesity, overall body fat in children

Posted: 20 May 2014 10:43 AM PDT

One of the most comprehensive studies of the potential link between reduced sleep and childhood obesity finds compelling evidence that children who consistently received less than the recommended hours of sleep during infancy and early childhood had increases in both obesity and in adiposity or overall body fat at age 7.

Cognitive test can differentiate between Alzheimer's and normal aging

Posted: 20 May 2014 09:35 AM PDT

A new cognitive test that can better determine whether memory impairments are due to very mild Alzheimer's disease or the normal aging process has been developed by researchers. The Alzheimer's Association estimates that the number of Americans living with Alzheimer's disease will increase from 5 million in 2014 to as many as 16 million by 2050. Memory impairments and other early symptoms of Alzheimer's are often difficult to differentiate from the effects of normal aging, making it hard for doctors to recommend treatment for those affected until the disease has progressed substantially.

Pregnant women respond to music with stronger physiological changes in blood pressure

Posted: 20 May 2014 09:35 AM PDT

Pregnant women, compared to their non-pregnant counterparts, rate music as more intensely pleasant and unpleasant, associated with greater changes in blood pressure, a study has demonstrated. Music appears to have an especially strong influence on pregnant women, a fact that may relate to a prenatal conditioning of the fetus to music.

Termite genome lays roadmap for 'greener' control measures

Posted: 20 May 2014 09:34 AM PDT

A team of international researchers has sequenced the genome of the Nevada dampwood termite, providing an inside look into the biology of the social insect and uncovering new genetic targets for pest control. The genome could help researchers develop control strategies that are more specific than the broad-spectrum chemicals conventionally used to treat termite infestations.

Professors' super waterproof surfaces cause water to bounce like a ball

Posted: 20 May 2014 09:34 AM PDT

Engineers have spent decades studying super-hydrophobic surfaces because of the plethora of real-life applications. And while some of this research has resulted in commercial products that keep shoes dry or prevent oil from building up on bolts, scientists are also aiming to uncovering characteristics that might lead to large-scale solutions for society.

Engineers build world's smallest, fastest nanomotor: Can fit inside a single cell

Posted: 20 May 2014 09:34 AM PDT

Engineers have built the fastest, smallest and longest-running nanomotor to date. The nanomotor is capable of drug delivery on a nanoscale. One day, nanomotors could lead to the development of tiny devices that seek out and treat cancer cells.

Stem cells as future source for eco-friendly meat

Posted: 20 May 2014 09:34 AM PDT

The scientific progress that has made it possible to dream of a future in which faulty organs could be regrown from stem cells also holds potential as an ethical and greener source for meat. So say scientists who suggest that every town or village could one day have its very own small-scale, cultured meat factory.

New potential antibody treatment for asthma discovered

Posted: 20 May 2014 09:29 AM PDT

Giving a mild allergic asthma patient an antibody, which blocks a specific protein in the lungs, markedly improved asthmatic symptoms such as wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness and cough after the allergic asthmatics had inhaled an environmental allergen, a study has found. Individuals with allergic asthma are typically treated with inhaled corticosteroids or bronchodilators. While antibodies are typically reserved for severe asthma, this research can lead to antibody treatment for those who have mild allergic asthma. This study can lead to quality of life improvements for those with allergic asthma that have issues with inhalers or steroid-based medications.

Bacteria and fungi from 1,500-year-old feces support archeological theories of Caribbean cultures

Posted: 20 May 2014 08:59 AM PDT

By evaluating the bacteria and fungi found in fossilized feces, microbiologists are providing evidence to help support archeologists' hypotheses regarding cultures living in the Caribbean over 1,500 years ago.

More than two-thirds of healthy Americans are infected with human papilloma viruses

Posted: 20 May 2014 08:55 AM PDT

69 percent of healthy American adults are infected with one or more of 109 strains of human papillomavirus (HPV). This is the conclusion of a study that is believed to be the largest and most detailed genetic analysis of its kind. Researchers say that while most of the viral strains so far appear to be harmless and can remain dormant for years, their overwhelming presence suggests a delicate balancing act for HPV infection in the body, in which many viral strains keep each other in check, preventing other strains from spreading out of control.

Mars mineral could be linked to microbes

Posted: 20 May 2014 07:05 AM PDT

Scientists have discovered that living organisms on Earth were capable of making a mineral that may also be found on Mars. Scientists had believed deposits of the clay-mineral stevensite could only be formed in harsh conditions like volcanic lava and hot alkali lakes. However researchers have now found living microbes create an environment that allows stevensite to form, raising new questions about the stevensite found on Mars.

E-cigarette use for quitting smoking associated with improved success rates

Posted: 20 May 2014 07:04 AM PDT

People attempting to quit smoking without professional help are approximately 60 percent more likely to report succeeding if they use e-cigarettes than if they use willpower alone or over-the-counter nicotine replacement therapies such as patches or gum, finds a large survey of smokers. The study surveyed 5,863 smokers between 2009 and 2014 who had attempted to quit smoking without the aid of prescription medication or professional support. 20% of people trying to quit with the aid of e-cigarettes reported having stopped smoking conventional cigarettes at the time of the survey.

Harmful bacteria can linger on airplane seat-back pockets, armrests for days

Posted: 20 May 2014 07:04 AM PDT

Disease-causing bacteria can linger on surfaces commonly found in airplane cabins for days, even up to a week, according to research. In order for disease-causing bacteria to be transmitted from a cabin surface to a person, it must survive the environmental conditions in the airplane. In this study, MRSA lasted longest (168 hours) on material from the seat-back pocket while E. coli O157:H7 survived longest (96 hours) on the material from the armrest.

Altruism, egoism: Brain exercises cognitive analysis

Posted: 20 May 2014 06:52 AM PDT

Sociality, cooperation and "prosocial" behaviors are the foundation of human society (and of the extraordinary development of our brain) and yet, taken individually, people often show huge variation in terms of altruism/egoism, both among individuals and in the same individual at different moments in time. What causes these differences in behavior? An answer may be found by observing the activity of the brain. The brain circuits that are activated suggest that each of the two behavior types corresponds to a cognitive analysis that emphasizes different aspects of the same situation.

For pregnant smokers, vitamin C supplements improve lung function of newborn

Posted: 19 May 2014 06:31 AM PDT

Supplemental vitamin C taken by pregnant smokers improved measures of lung function for newborns and decreased the incidence of wheezing for infants through 1 year, according to a study. The researchers found that newborns of women randomized to vitamin C, compared with those randomized to placebo, had improved measures of pulmonary function.

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