Πέμπτη, 12 Ιουνίου 2014

ScienceDaily: Latest Science News

ScienceDaily: Latest Science News

Common heart drug's link to diabetes uncovered by researchers

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 08:28 AM PDT

Statins activated a very specific immune response, which stopped insulin from doing its job properly, researchers have found. They connected the dots and found that combining statins with another drug on top of it, Glyburide, suppressed this side effect. Approximately 13 million people, or half of those over the age of 40, could be prescribed a statin drug in their lifetime.

Risk factors for hospital readmissions identified

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 08:28 AM PDT

Hospital readmission, an important measure of quality care, costs the United States an estimated $17 billion each year. And according to researchers, about half of those readmissions could be avoided. The goal of this single-center study was to identify at the time of discharge the factors that are strongly associated with readmission in patients with ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke. The study compared 79 stroke patients who were readmitted to the hospital within 30 days to 86 controls over an 18 month period.

White bread helps boost some of the gut's 'good' microbes

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 08:28 AM PDT

White-bread lovers take heart. Scientists are now reporting that this much-maligned food seems to encourage the growth of some of our most helpful inhabitants -- beneficial gut bacteria. In addition to this surprising find, a new study also revealed that when looking at effects of food on our 'microbiomes,' considering the whole diet, not just individual ingredients, is critical.

Gauging local illicit drug use in real time could help police fight abuse

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 08:28 AM PDT

The war on drugs could get a boost with a new method that analyzes sewage to track levels of illicit drug use in local communities in real time. The new study could help law enforcement identify new drug hot spots and monitor whether anti-drug measures are working.

Toward 24-7 glucose monitoring to help manage diabetes

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 08:28 AM PDT

Nearly half a million people with diabetes end up in emergency rooms around the US every year due to the seizures and other consequences of dropping or spiking blood-sugar levels associated with the disease. To help prevent serious complications, scientists have now developed a new glucose-sensing protein that could one day be part of an implantable, 24-7 monitoring device.

Obesity gene linked to hormonal changes that favor energy surplus

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 08:27 AM PDT

Elderly humans carrying a common variant of the fat mass and obesity gene FTO also have a shifted endocrine balance, research shows. Low blood concentrations of the satiety hormone leptin and high blood concentrations of the hunger promoting hormone ghrelin makes carriers of the FTO gene put on weight. "We found that elderly carrying an obesity-susceptible variant of the FTO gene had plasma ghrelin levels that were approximately 9 percent higher than in non-carriers," says one researcher.

Humans climb like geckos using bio-inspired climbing technology

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 08:21 AM PDT

DARPA's Z-Man program has demonstrated the first known human climbing of a glass wall using climbing devices inspired by geckos. The historic ascent involved a 218-pound climber ascending and descending 25 feet of glass, while also carrying an additional 50-pound load in one trial, with no climbing equipment other than a pair of hand-held, gecko-inspired paddles. A novel polymer microstructure technology was used in those paddles.

It's the last bite that keeps you coming back for more

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 07:22 AM PDT

Your memory for that last bite of a steak or chocolate cake may be more influential than memory for the first bite in determining when you want to eat it again, according to research. The fact that memory for the last few bites seems to drive our decisions about when to eat a food again may be particularly relevant in places like the United States, where portion sizes tend to be larger and are likely to result in lower end enjoyment:

Human language's deep origins appear to have come directly from birds, primates

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 07:22 AM PDT

Human language builds on birdsong and speech forms of other primates, researchers hypothesize in new research. From birds, the researchers say, we derived the melodic part of our language, and from other primates, the pragmatic, content-carrying parts of speech. Sometime within the last 100,000 years, those capacities fused into roughly the form of human language that we know today.

HPV testing: Benefit in primary screening

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 07:22 AM PDT

Current study results confirm the final report from 2012: Precursors of cancer can be detected earlier with HPV testing. Experts give no recommendation for a specific screening strategy, however.

Making new species without sex

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 07:22 AM PDT

Plants can transfer their entire genetic material to a partner in an asexual manner, researchers report. Occasionally, two different plant species interbreed with each other in nature. This usually causes problems since the genetic information of both parents does not match. But sometimes, instead of passing on only half of each parent's genetic material, both plants transmit the complete information to the next generation. This means that the chromosome sets are totted up. The chromosomes are then able to find their suitable partner during meiosis, allowing the plants to stay fertile and a new species is generated.

Eye evolution: From dark-light to detailed eyesight

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 07:21 AM PDT

The visual system of marine annelids has been studied to gain insights into the evolution of eyes. The researchers have concluded that the first simple eyes in evolution could probably merely discriminate a bright from a dark field. Such eyes might nonetheless represent the starting point for the evolution of more complex visual systems, as for example the human eyes.

Chemical sensor on a chip created to test chemical composition of liquids

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 07:21 AM PDT

A tiny laser and a corresponding light detector has been developed in one production process, on a single chip. The light is transported from the laser to the detector on a specially designed waveguide. That way, the chip can measure the chemical composition of the liquid in which it is submerged.

Somatic embryogenesis system to propagate pine hybrids able to tolerate water stress

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 07:21 AM PDT

The high water stress tolerance of hybrids of the Radiata Pine (Pinus radiata X Pinus attenuata) has been under study by researchers, who note that these trees appear to be a very interesting alternative for the forestry sector in view of the modifications ecosystems are undergoing and will be undergoing as a result of climate change.

NASA instruments on Rosetta start comet science

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 07:07 AM PDT

Three NASA science instruments aboard the European Space Agency's (ESA) Rosetta spacecraft, which is set to become the first to orbit a comet and land a probe on its nucleus, are beginning observations and sending science data back to Earth.

Mercury passes in front of the sun, as seen from Mars

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 07:00 AM PDT

NASA's Curiosity Mars rover has imaged the planet Mercury passing in front of the sun, visible as a faint darkening that moves across the face of the sun.

NASA announces two upcoming undersea missions

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 06:59 AM PDT

NASA is returning to the bottom of the ocean. Twice this summer, aquanauts participating in the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) will conduct activities on the ocean floor that will inform future International Space Station and exploration activities. These studies provide information that correlates directly to life aboard the space station, where crew members must frequently perform critical tasks that present constraining factors similar to those experienced in an undersea environment.

NASA's Orion spacecraft stacks up for first flight

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 06:57 AM PDT

With just six months until its first trip to space, NASA's Orion spacecraft continues taking shape at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Engineers began stacking the crew module on top of the completed service module Monday, the first step in moving the three primary Orion elements -crew module, service module and launch abort system -- into the correct configuration for launch.

Sports teams may lose out from having 'too much talent'

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 06:37 AM PDT

As the FIFA World Cup kicks off and the NBA finals 'heat' up, new research suggests that there is such a thing as having 'too much talent' on a sports team. The research indicates that, after a certain point, the addition of more superstar talent to a team can actually be detrimental, resulting in poorer team performance.

Map of universe questioned: Dwarf galaxies don't fit standard model

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 06:36 AM PDT

Dwarf galaxies that orbit the Milky Way and the Andromeda galaxies defy the accepted model of galaxy formation, and recent attempts to wedge them into the model are flawed, reports an international team of astrophysicists. A new study pokes holes in the current understanding of galaxy formation and questions the accepted model of the origin and evolution of the universe.

Newly discovered paddle prints show how ancient sea reptiles swam

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 06:36 AM PDT

Trackways formed on an ancient seabed have shed new light on how nothosaurs, ancient marine reptiles that lived during the age of the dinosaurs, propelled themselves through water.

Reduced sea ice area also noted in winter

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 06:34 AM PDT

Warmer Atlantic water has caused a retreat of the ice edge north of Svalbard during the last decades, researchers report. In contrast to other areas of the Arctic Ocean, the largest ice loss north of Svalbard occurred during winter. The Arctic sea ice area has been measured, using satellites, since 1979.

Elucidating optimal biological tissue shape during growth

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 06:34 AM PDT

The role of cells' alignment in shaping biological tissue has been the focus of recent research. This study's hypothesis is that if the cells that constitute a tissue are organized and aligned collectively in the same direction, the force produced by each individual cell division event builds up. The authors show that the accumulation of forces may be sufficient to shape the biological tissue by elongating it.

Common Hypertension Treatment May Reduce PTSD Symptoms

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 06:33 AM PDT

There are currently only two FDA-approved medications for the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the United States. Both of these medications are serotonin uptake inhibitors. Despite the availability of these medications, many people diagnosed with PTSD remain symptomatic, highlighting the need for new medications for PTSD treatment. However, investigators have observed that individuals diagnosed with PTSD, and who happened to also be treated with ARBs or ACE inhibitors, exhibited fewer PTSD-like symptoms.

A fuel cell for home: Tested in private households

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 06:33 AM PDT

It converts chemical energy directly into electrical energy. Still, there hadn't been a market breakthrough for the fuel cell. The systems were too complex. Now scientists have developed a simple device for home use.

Infection prevention implanted directly into bones

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 06:33 AM PDT

Hospital germs can be fatal, since they are resistant to antibiotics. As a result, alternative methods of defense against bacteria are in demand. A research team has been able to develop bone implants that keep the germs at bay. At first glance, the fine-grained implant looks like flour. Only under the microscope can one see what is inside: The individual grains of the granules consist of apatite crystals.

Mechanism explains complex brain wiring

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 06:32 AM PDT

How neurons are created and integrate with each other is one of biology's greatest riddles. Now, a researcher unravels a part of the mystery by describing a mechanism that explains novel aspects of how the wiring of highly branched neurons in the brain works. These new insights into how complex neural networks are formed are very important for understanding and treating neurological diseases.

Foaling mares are totally relaxed, stress free

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 06:32 AM PDT

Foaling in horses is extremely fast. Labor and the active part of foaling, resulting in delivery of the foal, take 10 to 20 minutes and are considerably shorter than giving birth in humans or in cows. Is this brief period stressful for the animals or are horses more relaxed than humans when giving birth? Researchers also took samples of saliva and blood and analyzed the levels of stress hormones such as cortisol and epinephrine, and have concluded that, "normal foaling appears to cause just the opposite of a stress response". 

Infant nutrition, development of type 1 diabetes: Is it possible to prevent the illness by splitting the proteins of cow's milk?

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 06:32 AM PDT

Splitting the cow's milk proteins in a formula doesn't prevent the start-up of the disease process of type 1 diabetes in predisposed children, shows a large international study. However, these results do not exclude the possibility that the early dietary modification may affect the latter phase in the disease process and so prevent the actual illness.

Best practices in managing patients with COPD, second edition, released

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 06:30 AM PDT

The release of the Best Practices in Managing Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Compendium has been announced. The Compendium includes case studies from medical groups, independent practice associations, academic practices, and integrated delivery systems that have incorporated the management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) into their chronic care models.

Telehealth improves forensic examinations for sexual abuse

Posted: 10 Jun 2014 05:55 PM PDT

Telehealth consultations for clinicians at rural hospitals improve their ability to provide forensic examinations for sexual abuse, researchers demonstrate. In addition to improving quality, they ease the burden on families, who no longer need to travel many hours for expert care, and clinicians, who have access to trained mentors when conducting these delicate exams.

Violent crimes could be prevented if felony charges were reduced less often, study finds

Posted: 10 Jun 2014 05:55 PM PDT

A study comparing violent misdemeanor convictions with their original criminal charges has found that subsequent violent crimes could be prevented if criminal charges were reduced less often during plea bargaining. The study re-analyzed data on 787 individuals under age 35 who had violent misdemeanor convictions and purchased handguns in California in 1989 or 1990. The goal was to assess the impact of reduced criminal charges on gun purchases and subsequent crime.

Costs and benefits of compliance with renewable portfolio standards estimated

Posted: 10 Jun 2014 05:55 PM PDT

A new report reviews estimates of the costs and benefits of compliance with Renewable Portfolio Standards in the United States and explores how costs and benefits may evolve over time. Based on a review and analysis of data from state compliance filings and other sources, the report finds that the estimated incremental RPS cost over the 2010-2012 period -- the cost above and beyond what would have been incurred absent the RPS -- was less than 1 percent of retail electricity rates on average.

Up to 6-cent per kilowatt-hour extra value with concentrated solar power

Posted: 10 Jun 2014 05:55 PM PDT

Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) projects would add additional value of 5 or 6 cents per kilowatt hour to utility-scale solar energy in California where 33 percent renewables will be mandated in six years, a new report has found.

Dangerous, underpaid work for the undocumented

Posted: 10 Jun 2014 05:55 PM PDT

Illegal immigrants don't hold the most dangerous jobs in America. That kind of work pays a decent wage for the risk to life and limb, and undocumented workers are barred from those jobs. Yet there is plenty of hazard, risk and occupational injury for the uncounted millions of illegal immigrants doing the 'merely dangerous' work no one else wants -- without a pay premium from employers who take advantage of that labor pool, a study reveals.

Refugees and internally displaced persons should have equitable access to HIV treatment

Posted: 10 Jun 2014 05:54 PM PDT

In a new article, researchers argue that available evidence suggests that refugees and internally displaced persons in stable settings can sustain high levels of adherence to antiretroviral therapy and viral suppression and should have the same level of access to HIV treatment and support as host nationals.

Moles linked to risk for breast cancer

Posted: 10 Jun 2014 05:54 PM PDT

Cutaneous nevi, commonly known as moles, may be a novel predictor of breast cancer, according to two new studies. Women with a greater number of nevi are more likely to develop breast cancer.

Colonial-era dams trigger parallel evolution of Connecticut fish

Posted: 10 Jun 2014 05:53 PM PDT

Decisions made by Colonial era settlers to dam Connecticut waterways triggered sudden and parallel evolutionary changes in two species of fish competing for food, a new study shows. Earlier studies documented the decrease in size and changes in gill structure of members of the alewife species cut off from access to the sea in newly dammed lakes. The new study found similar changes in feeding habits of the bluegill, which also showed greater ability to feed on smaller zooplankton found in landlocked lakes the species shared with the alewife.

High Tibet was cradle of evolution for cold-adapted mammals

Posted: 10 Jun 2014 05:53 PM PDT

A new study identifies a newly discovered 3- to 5- million-year-old Tibetan fox from the Himalayan Mountains, Vulpes qiuzhudingi, as the likely ancestor of the living Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus), lending support to the idea that the evolution of present-day animals in the Arctic region is intimately connected to ancestors that first became adapted for life in cold regions in the high altitude environments of the Tibetan Plateau.

Herpes infected humans before they were human

Posted: 10 Jun 2014 05:49 PM PDT

Researchers have identified the evolutionary origins of human herpes simplex virus (HSV) -1 and -2, reporting that the former infected hominids before their evolutionary split from chimpanzees 6 million years ago while the latter jumped from ancient chimpanzees to ancestors of modern humans -- Homo erectus -- approximately 1.6 million years ago.

Evolution and venomous snakes: Diet distinguishes look-alikes on two continents

Posted: 10 Jun 2014 05:48 PM PDT

On opposite sides of the globe over millions of years, the snakes of North America and Australia independently evolved similar body types that helped them move and capture prey more efficiently. Snakes on both continents include stout-bodied, highly camouflaged ambush predators, such as rattlesnakes in North America and death adders in Australia. There are slender, fast-moving foragers on both continents, as well as small burrowing snakes. This independent evolution of similar body forms in response to analogous ecological conditions is a striking example of a phenomenon called convergence.

Real or fake? Research shows brain uses multiple clues for facial recognition

Posted: 10 Jun 2014 12:27 PM PDT

Faces fascinate. We look for familiar or friendly ones in a crowd. And video game developers and movie animators strive to create faces that look real rather than fake. Determining how our brains decide what makes a face "human" and not artificial is a question researchers have been studying. New research shows that it takes more than eyes to make a face look human.

Public oversight improves test scores in voucher schools

Posted: 10 Jun 2014 11:47 AM PDT

Requiring private schools that receive public money to report student test scores improves academic achievement and ultimately enhances school choice, a argues. Researchers found that voucher schools in Milwaukee saw a large jump in math and reading scores the year after a new law required them to release the results. During the four years before the law was enacted, math and reading scores declined or remained stagnant.

Technology using microwave heating may impact electronics manufacturing

Posted: 10 Jun 2014 11:47 AM PDT

A continuous flow reactor can produce high-quality nanoparticles by using microwave-assisted heating -- essentially the same forces that heat up leftover food with such efficiency. This may finally make it possible for this technology to move into large scale manufacturing and usher in an electronics revolution.

Coho salmon: Pinks' and chums' eating cousin

Posted: 10 Jun 2014 11:47 AM PDT

Juvenile coho salmon benefit from dining on the distant remains of their spawning pink and chum cousins. While juvenile coho salmon feed directly on spawning pink and chum salmon carcasses and eggs, even coho with no direct contact with spawning pink and chum benefit from their nutrient contributions to stream ecosystems.

The whole truth: Children can tell when a teacher commits 'sins of omission'

Posted: 10 Jun 2014 11:47 AM PDT

Children can figure out when someone is lying to them, research shows, but cognitive scientists recently tackled a subtler question: Can children tell when adults are telling them the truth, but not the whole truth? Determining whom to trust is an important skill to learn at an early age because so much of our knowledge about the world comes from other people.

New formula assigns dollar value to natural resources

Posted: 10 Jun 2014 11:43 AM PDT

A first-of-its-kind, interdisciplinary equation to measure the monetary value of natural resources has been developed by researchers. The equation uses principles commonly used to value other capital assets. In assigning natural capital monetary value, the approach will have widespread implications for policymakers and various stakeholders, and will also advocate for the creation of robust asset markets for natural capital, a much-needed advance.

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