Παρασκευή, 13 Ιουνίου 2014

ScienceDaily: Latest Science News

ScienceDaily: Latest Science News


Brain power: New insight into how brain regulates its blood flow

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 10:23 AM PDT

Engineering professors have identified a new component of the biological mechanism that controls blood flow in the brain, demonstrating that the vascular endothelium plays a critical role in the regulation of blood flow in response to stimulation in the living brain. Understanding how and why the brain regulates its blood flow could provide important clues to understanding early brain development, disease, and aging.

Synchronized brain waves enable rapid learning

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 09:13 AM PDT

The human mind can rapidly absorb and analyze new information as it flits from thought to thought. These quickly changing brain states may be encoded by synchronization of brain waves across different brain regions, according to a new study.

Viral infections, including flu, could be inhibited by naturally occurring protein

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 09:13 AM PDT

By boosting a protein that naturally exists in our cells, an international team of researchers has found a potential way to enhance our ability to sense and inhibit viral infections. The laboratory-based discovery could lead to more effective treatments for viruses ranging from hepatitis C to the flu.

Buy lunch, pay with your hand: Vein scanning technique

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 09:04 AM PDT

Paying for a coffee or lunch by simply scanning your palm still sounds like science fiction to most of us. However, an engineering student in Sweden has made it happen -- making his the first known company in the world to install the vein scanning technique in stores and coffee shops.

Potential new treatment may protect celiac patients from gluten-induced injury

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 08:46 AM PDT

The gluten-specific enzyme ALV003 reduces a patient's exposure to gluten and its potential harm, according to a new phase 2 study. This study is the first to find that a non-dietary intervention can potentially benefit celiac disease patients.

Double Trouble for the Mediterranean Sea: Acidification and warming threaten iconic species

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 08:45 AM PDT

Scientist have finalized their findings about the threat of Mediterranean Sea warming and acidification on key species and ecosystems after a 3.5 year study. They have found that this sea is warming and acidifying at unprecedented rates – the main reason is emissions of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere from burning fossil fuels. This increases the CO2 in the atmosphere causing warming of the atmosphere and the ocean as well as acidification of its waters due to uptake of CO2 by surface waters.

When good people do bad things: Being in a group makes some people lose touch with their personal moral beliefs

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 07:49 AM PDT

Researchers find that being in a group makes some people lose touch with their personal moral beliefs. When people get together in groups, unusual things can happen -- both good and bad. Groups create important social institutions that an individual could not achieve alone, but there can be a darker side to such alliances: Belonging to a group makes people more likely to harm others outside the group.

Rise and fall of prehistoric penguin populations charted

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 06:51 AM PDT

A study of how penguin populations have changed over the last 30,000 years has shown that between the last ice age and up to around 1,000 years ago penguin populations benefitted from climate warming and retreating ice.

David and Goliath: How a tiny spider catches much larger prey

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 06:50 AM PDT

In nature, it is very rare to find a proverbial much smaller David able to overpower and kill a Goliath for supper. This is exactly the modus operandi of a solitary tiny spider from the Negev desert in Israel that routinely kills ants up to almost four times its own size.

Alcohol abuse damage in neurons at a molecular scale identified for first time

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 06:50 AM PDT

New research has identified, for the first time, the structural damage caused at a molecular level to the brain by the chronic excessive abuse of alcohol. In concrete, the research team has determined the alterations produced in the neurons of the prefrontal zone of the brain (the most advanced zone in terms of evolution and that which controls executive functions such as planning, designing strategies, working memory, selective attention or control of behavior. This research opens up pathways for generating new pharmaceutical drugs and therapies that enhance the life of alcoholic persons and reduce the morbimortality due to alcoholism.

White sharks in northwest Atlantic offers optimistic outlook for recovery

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 05:59 AM PDT

White sharks are among the largest, most widespread apex predators in the ocean, but are also among the most vulnerable. A new study, the most comprehensive ever on seasonal distribution patterns and historic trends in abundance of white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) in the western North Atlantic Ocean, used records compiled over more than 200 years to update knowledge and fill in gaps in information about this species.

Content kingmaker: quality or webpage position?

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 05:59 AM PDT

Don't waste your time reading that highly recommended article ranked at the top of the webpage. A recent study finds that a more interesting one may be lurking at the bottom. The culprit -- position bias -- accounts for readers spending five times more attention on content at the top of a webpage and leads to a 'winner-take-all' effect. How can content providers combat these effects?

Going inside an ant raft: Researchers look to CT scan to visualize connectivity phenomenon

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 05:59 AM PDT

Researchers froze ant rafts and scanned them with a miniature CT scan machine to look at the strongest part of the structure -- the inside -- to discover how opaque ants connect, arrange and orient themselves with each other.

Energy demands of raising a pup push sea otter moms to the limit

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 05:59 AM PDT

By the time a sea otter pup is weaned, its mother may be so depleted physiologically that she is unable to survive the stress of a minor wound or infection. To understand why this happens, biologists quantified the energy demands of a growing sea otter pup, revealing just how much it costs a sea otter mom to raise her pup.

The 'microbial garden' taking the shine off glaciers

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 05:59 AM PDT

The first ecological study of an entire glacier has found that microbes drastically reduce surface reflectivity and have a non-negligible impact on the amount of sunlight that is reflected into space. Observing how life thrives at extreme cold temperatures also has important implications for the search for life on distant worlds, such as Jupiter's icy moon Europa.

Chimpanzees spontaneously initiate and maintain cooperative behavior

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 05:53 AM PDT

Without any pre-training or restrictions in partner choice among chimpanzees, researchers found for the first time that chimpanzees housed in a socially complex, contained setting spontaneously cooperate with multiple partners of their choosing. This finding addresses long-standing doubt about the level of cooperation chimpanzees are able to spontaneously achieve or understand.

Tiny plants ride on the coattails of migratory birds: Migrant birds may be virtual dispersal highways for plants

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 05:53 AM PDT

Since the days of Darwin, biologists have questioned why certain plants occur in widely separated places, the farthest reaches of North American and the Southern tip of South America but nowhere in between. How did they get there? Researchers have now found an important piece of the puzzle: migratory birds about to fly to South America from the Arctic harbor small plant parts in their feathers.

Survivors of childhood liver transplant at risk of becoming 'skinny fat'

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 05:52 AM PDT

New research reports that survivors of childhood liver transplant remain nutritionally compromised over the long-term. Recipients' return to normal weight post-transplant was due to an increase in fat mass as body cell mass remained low, indicating a slim body composition with little lean muscle mass or "skinny fat."

'Pocket sauropod' sheds light on giant's evolution

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 05:51 AM PDT

A new study presents a detailed description of the skull bones of a dwarf sauropod, together with an updated reconstruction of an adult Europasaurus skull. At 40 meters long and 100 tons in weight, and with an exceptionally long neck and small head, the herbivorous sauropod dinosaurs were the largest animals ever to have walked the Earth.

Immune response affects sleep and memory

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 05:51 AM PDT

Sickness-induced insomnia is common because of the link between the brain and the immune system. Fighting off illness- rather than the illness itself- causes sleep deprivation and affects memory, a new study has found. Biologists said a common perception is that if you are sick, you sleep more. But the study, carried out in flies, found that sickness induced insomnia is quite common.

Why Diplodocus did not put all her eggs in one basket

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 05:51 AM PDT

If you thought the largest dinosaurs to have walked the earth produced the biggest eggs, you'd be mistaken. Scientists have discovered that both individual egg size and clutch size for the sauropods – which includes Diplodocus – were a lot smaller than might be expected for such enormous creatures.

Children showing signs of social withdrawal in risk of internalized distress

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 05:51 AM PDT

Children showing signs of social withdrawal are more susceptible to parental influences than others. These children were also more prone to distress caused by the impacts of guilt-inducing parenting.

Dormant Viruses Re-Emerge in Patients with Lingering Sepsis, Signaling Immune Suppression

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 05:50 AM PDT

A provocative study links prolonged episodes of sepsis — a life-threatening infection and leading cause of death in hospitals — to the reactivation of otherwise dormant viruses in the body. In healthy people, such latent viruses are kept in check by the immune system. But a new study provides strong evidence that when sepsis lingers for more than a few days, which is common, viruses re-emerge and enter the bloodstream, signaling that the immune system has become suppressed.

Circuits capable of functioning at temperatures greater than 350 degrees Celsius

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 05:50 AM PDT

Engineering researchers have designed integrated circuits that can survive at temperatures greater than 350 degrees Celsius – or roughly 660 degrees Fahrenheit. Their work will improve the functioning of processors, drivers, controllers and other analog and digital circuits used in power electronics, automobiles and aerospace equipment -- all of which must perform at high and often extreme temperatures.

Manipulating and detecting ultrahigh frequency sound waves: 1,000 times higher resolution ultrasound images possible

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 02:10 PM PDT

Researchers have demonstrated a technique for detecting and controlling ultrahigh frequency sound waves at the nanometer scale. This represents an advance towards next generation ultrasonic imaging with potentially 1,000 times higher resolution than today's medical ultrasounds.

Coordinated intervention reduced prevalence of drug-resistant CRE in long-term care

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 02:10 PM PDT

A nationwide effort to control carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae in Israel reduced CRE cases by improving compliance of infection control standards and using a coordinated intervention focused on long-term care facilities researchers report. Since 2006, Israel has faced a nationwide outbreak of CRE throughout its healthcare system.

PTSD, major depressive episode appears to increase risk of preterm birth

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 02:10 PM PDT

Diagnoses of both post-traumatic stress disorder and a major depressive episode appear to be associated with a sizable increase in risk for preterm birth that seems to be independent of antidepressant and benzodiazepine medication use.

MRI brain scans detect people with early Parkinson's

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 02:09 PM PDT

A simple and quick MRI technique that offers promise for early diagnosis of Parkinson's disease has been developed by researchers. The team demonstrated that their new MRI approach can detect people who have early-stage Parkinson's disease with 85 percent accuracy. Parkinson's disease is characterized by tremor, slow movement, and stiff and inflexible muscles. It's thought to affect around 1 in 500 people.

Poor cardiovascular health linked to memory, learning deficits

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 02:09 PM PDT

People with poor cardiovascular health have a substantially higher incidence of cognitive impairment. Better cardiovascular health was more common in men and among people with higher education and higher income. The incidence of mental impairment was found more commonly in those with a lower income, who lived in the 'stroke belt' or had cardiovascular disease.

Famine fear won't sway minds on GM crops

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 02:09 PM PDT

Stories of how genetically modified (GM) crops could have prevented the Irish Potato Famine were no more likely to boost support for disease-resistant genetically modified crops than were generic crop-disease descriptions. "If you think genetically modified crops are dangerous 'frankenfoods' and/or that crop disease is best controlled with chemicals, plaintive tales of historical famines won't change your mind about genetic modification for disease resistance," one researcher said.

Findings may advance iron-rich, cadmium-free crops

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 02:07 PM PDT

With reports of toxic, cadmium-tainted rice in China, a new study describes a protein that transports metals in certain plants and holds promise for developing iron-rich but cadmium-free crops. Iron and cadmium are both found in soil and are interchangeably taken up by iron transporters in plants. Pollution and heavy fertilizer use have increased soil cadmium levels in China, for example. In humans, cadmium can damage internal organs and cause cancer. At the same time, iron is an essential nutrient for plants and humans. Iron deficiency affects 30 percent of the world's population.

Certified food scientists making strides one year later

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 02:07 PM PDT

The Institute of Food Technologists debuted its Certified Food Scientist (CFS) credential in 2013 to recognize the applied scientific knowledge and skills of food scientists, and the recently released Employment & Salary Survey from Food Technology magazine suggests that it is indeed a beneficial designation. According to survey data, CFS recipients earn a median salary of $101,000 vs a median of $81,048 for those who do not have CFS certification.

Stock prognosticators: Finance message board users may be able to predict stock price movements

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 02:07 PM PDT

A new study suggests Yahoo's finance message boards can predict stock price movements. It also found more than two-thirds of the comments had nothing to do with finance. The researchers analyzed 70,000 posts by more than 7,000 commenters on Yahoo's finance message boards from April to June 2011. They determined what sentiment, if any, they expressed about 11 Fortune 500 stocks, either bullish, bearish, or neutral.

Diet higher in protein may be linked to lower risk of stroke

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 02:07 PM PDT

People with diets higher in protein, especially from fish, may be less likely to have a stroke than those with diets lower in protein, according to a meta-analysis. The meta-analysis looked at all of the available research on the relationship between protein in the diet and the risk of stroke. Seven studies with a total of 254,489 participants who were followed for an average of 14 years were included in the analysis.

Central-line associated bloodstream infections: Real world implementation strategies

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 12:11 PM PDT

As central-line associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs) pose a danger to vulnerable patients, infection prevention and control experts released new practical recommendations to assist acute care hospitals in implementing and prioritizing prevention efforts.

Mining data archives yields haul of 'red nuggets' galaxies

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 12:11 PM PDT

The world of astronomy has changed. An astronomer used to have to travel to a remote location and endure long, cold nights, patiently guiding a telescope to collect precious photons of light. Now, a proliferation of online archives allows astronomers to make discoveries from the comfort of their own offices. By mining such archives, a team of astronomers has found a treasure trove of 'red nugget' galaxies.

Key step toward a safer strep vaccine

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 11:37 AM PDT

The genes encoding a molecule that famously defines Group A Streptococcus (strep), a pathogenic bacterial species responsible for more than 700 million infections worldwide each year, has been identified by an international team of scientists. Efforts to develop such a vaccine have been significantly hindered by complexities in how the human immune system reacts to the bacterial pathogen. Specifically, some patients with strep infections produce antibodies that cross-react with their own heart valve tissue, leading to rheumatic fever and heart damage.

Why aren't product designers considering activity trackers for older adults?

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 11:37 AM PDT

Commercially available activity-monitoring apps, Web sites, and wearable devices allow for easy self-management of health and wellness. This technology may be particularly helpful for older adults, who can improve their cognitive function through proper diet and exercise. Despite tracking monitors' growing popularity and potential benefits, product designers rarely consider those over 65 to be a viable user group, and new human factors/ergonomics research indicates that the technology presents several usability challenges for this population.

'Master' protein identified in pulmonary fibrosis

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 11:37 AM PDT

The key role played by an ancient protein in the course of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis has been uncovered by scientists. The research offers more than an unprecedentedly detailed explanation of the disease's tragic course. It also points toward a new therapeutic strategy. The authors implicate it as the "master regulator" of what appears to be a tragically errant repair response to the mysterious lung injuries that give rise to the disease.

How Earth avoided global warming, last time around

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 11:37 AM PDT

Geochemists have calculated a huge rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide was only avoided by the formation of a vast mountain range in the middle of the ancient supercontinent, Pangea. A new model explains some of the events in the 80 million years following the start of the Carboniferous period.

Zebrafish model helps identify drug compound that reverses lethal form of cardiomyopathy

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 11:36 AM PDT

Investigators have identified a drug compound that appears to reverse arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy using a zebrafish model. This condition is a hereditary disease and leading cause of sudden death in young people. It damages the muscle of the heart's ventricles (the pumping chambers) so that, over time, muscle cells or myocytes, become replaced by fatty deposits and fibrosis, leaving patients especially susceptible to arrhythmias.

Grand swirls from NASA's Hubble: Intermediate spiral galaxy NGC 1566

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 10:40 AM PDT

A new Hubble image shows NGC 1566, a beautiful galaxy located approximately 40 million light-years away in the constellation of Dorado (The Dolphinfish). NGC 1566 is an intermediate spiral galaxy, meaning that while it does not have a well-defined bar-shaped region of stars at its center -- like barred spirals -- it is not quite an unbarred spiral either.

Almost all adult Texans knew about Health Insurance Marketplace during open enrollment, survey shows

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 10:21 AM PDT

Almost all adult Texans were aware of the Affordable Care Act's Health Insurance Marketplace before the open-enrollment period ended March 31, 2014, according to a report released. The report also found that an estimated 2 million Texans looked for information about the Marketplace and found the federal website generally helpful. Almost half of Texans who visited the site wanted to purchase insurance or check their eligibility for a premium subsidy.

Migrating north may trigger immediate health declines among Mexicans

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 10:20 AM PDT

Mexican immigrants who relocate to the United States are more likely to experience declines in health within a short time period compared with other Mexicans, according to a study. Barriers faced by immigrants -- like poorly paying jobs, crowded housing and family separation, as well as the migration process itself -- may be cause of such health declines.

Gum disease bacteria selectively disarm immune system, study finds

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 10:20 AM PDT

Bacteria responsible for many cases of periodontitis cause an imbalance in the microbial community in the gums, with a sophisticated, two-prong manipulation of the human immune system, research shows. Not only does the team's discovery open up new targets for periodontitis treatment, it also suggests a bacterial strategy that could be at play in other diseases involving dysbiosis.

Company man or family man? Fatherhood and identity in the office

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 10:20 AM PDT

There is no 'one size fits all' image of how men view their role as fathers within the context of the workplace. However, fatherhood is becoming a more serious and time consuming role for men to fulfill. Therefore employers must acknowledge that many fathers want to be more than just traditional 'organization men' who dedicate their life to their work.

Health of Hispanic moms, babies a growing concern, new report says

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 10:20 AM PDT

Hispanic women are more likely to have a baby with a neural tube birth defect, and nearly a quarter of all preterm births in the United States are Hispanic, according to a report. While this disparity is not well understood, one reason may be that Hispanic women have a lower intake of folic acid. In the U. S., wheat flour is fortified with folic acid, but corn masa flour is not. Hispanic women are less likely to report taking a multivitamin containing folic acid prior to pregnancy.

Leukemia drug found to stimulate immunity against many cancer types

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 10:20 AM PDT

A class of drug currently being used to treat leukemia has the unexpected side-effect of boosting immune responses against many different cancers, reports a new study. The drugs, called p110´ inhibitors, have shown such remarkable efficacy against certain leukemias in recent clinical trials that patients on the placebo were switched to the real drug. Until now, however, they have not been tested in other types of cancer.

More than just food for koalas: Scientists sequence genome of eucalyptus -- a global tree for fuel and fiber

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 10:19 AM PDT

Researchers seek to harness and improve upon Eucalyptus' potential for enhancing sustainable biofuels and biomaterials production. It can be harvested from tropical and temperate zones and has over 700 species that are rich in genetic variation. The international effort to sequence and analyze the genome of Eucalyptus grandis engaged more than 80 researchers from 30 institutions, representing 18 countries.

Weird 'magic' ingredient for quantum computing: Contextuality

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 10:18 AM PDT

A form of quantum weirdness is a key ingredient for building quantum computers according to new research. Researchers have shown that a weird aspect of quantum theory called contextuality is a necessary resource to achieve the so-called magic required for universal quantum computation.

Gigantic explosions buried in dust: Probing environment around dark gamma-ray bursts

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 10:17 AM PDT

Astronomers have for the first time directly mapped out the molecular gas and dust in the host galaxies of gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) — the biggest explosions in the universe. In a complete surprise, less gas was observed than expected, and correspondingly much more dust, making some GRBs appear as "dark GRBs".

New fossil find pinpoints the origin of jaws in vertebrates

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 10:17 AM PDT

A major fossil discovery in Canada sheds new light on the development of the earliest vertebrates, including the origin of jaws, the first time this feature has been seen so early in the fossil record.

Genes found in nature yield 1918-like virus with pandemic potential

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 10:15 AM PDT

An international team of researchers has shown that circulating avian influenza viruses contain all the genetic ingredients necessary to underpin the emergence of a virus similar to the deadly 1918 influenza virus.

Tuberculosis dogma upended: Even uninfected cells trigger immune defenses

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 10:15 AM PDT

Immune system cells uninfected with the bacterium that causes tuberculosis trigger immune system T cells to fight the disease, infectious disease experts have found by experimenting with mice. The findings upend the long-held scientific belief that only cells, known specifically as dendritic cells, infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis could stimulate a broader, defensive immune system attack of the invading microorganism.

Peer pressure is weaker for kids to quit smoking

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 08:28 AM PDT

Adolescents tend to be more powerful in influencing their friends to start smoking than in helping them to quit, according to sociologists. "What we found is that social influence matters, it leads nonsmoking friends into smoking and nonsmoking friends can turn smoking friends into nonsmokers," said one investigator. "However, the impact is asymmetrical: the tendency for adolescents to follow their friends into smoking is stronger."

Viewing deeper into the quantum world

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 08:28 AM PDT

Researchers have experimentally demonstrated that interferometers, the most sensitive measuring instruments yet invented, can be improved using nonlinear physics. The result answers a fundamental question in quantum mechanics and could open the way to more sensitive detection of magnetic fields in delicate systems such as the human heart.

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