Σάββατο, 14 Ιουνίου 2014

ScienceDaily: Latest Science News

ScienceDaily: Latest Science News

Cracks in Pluto's moon could indicate it once had an underground ocean

Posted: 13 Jun 2014 12:28 PM PDT

If the icy surface of Pluto's giant moon Charon is cracked, analysis of the fractures could reveal if its interior was warm, perhaps warm enough to have maintained a subterranean ocean of liquid water, according to a new study.

Aromatic flavors of haze on Saturn's largest moon, Titan, recreated

Posted: 13 Jun 2014 12:28 PM PDT

Scientists have created a new recipe that captures key flavors of the brownish-orange atmosphere around Saturn's largest moon, Titan. The recipe is used for lab experiments designed to simulate Titan's chemistry. With this approach, the team was able to classify a previously unidentified material discovered in the moon's smoggy haze.

Scientists take totally tubular journey through brain cells

Posted: 13 Jun 2014 12:28 PM PDT

Scientists took a molecular-level journey into microtubules, the hollow cylinders inside brain cells that act as skeletons and internal highways, and watched how a protein called tubulin acetyltransferase (TAT) labels the inside of microtubules. The results answer long-standing questions about how TAT tagging works and offer clues as to why it is important for brain health.

Emotional contagion sweeps Facebook, finds new study

Posted: 13 Jun 2014 11:25 AM PDT

When it hasn't been your day – your week, your month, or even your year – it might be time to turn to Facebook friends for a little positive reinforcement. Emotions can spread contagiously among users of online social networks, both positive and negative, researchers report. The experiment is the first to suggest that emotions expressed via online social networks influence the moods of others, they say.

Who's using your data? New technology to track how your private data is used online

Posted: 13 Jun 2014 10:07 AM PDT

By now, most people feel comfortable conducting financial transactions on the Web. The cryptographic schemes that protect online banking and credit card purchases have proven their reliability over decades. As more of our data moves online, a more pressing concern may be its inadvertent misuse by people authorized to access it. Every month seems to bring another story of private information accidentally leaked by governmental agencies or vendors of digital products or services.

Subseafloor bacteria survive by over-activating DNA-repair and antibiotic target genes

Posted: 13 Jun 2014 10:07 AM PDT

The subseafloor is home to over one-third of the bacteria on the planet, but up until recently it was unclear if this huge microbial biosphere was alive and dividing. Now the same group that demonstrated this activity has shown that bacteria from the hostile sea-floor environment have adapted by over-activating stress response and DNA-repair mechanisms, to cope with the harsh conditions.

The supreme leader sails on; but where did it all go wrong for FIFA?

Posted: 13 Jun 2014 10:05 AM PDT

FIFA claims to stand for the four 'core values' of authenticity, unity, performance, and integrity. But in recent years the leaders of world football have encountered waves of allegations concerning unaccountable and often corrupt administrative practices.  Drawing upon exclusive interviews and oral evidence, an academic argues that those 'core values' have now been lost.

Antenatal classes for better mother-baby bonding

Posted: 13 Jun 2014 10:05 AM PDT

A one-off 3-hour antenatal class called 'Click' provides prospective parents with the knowledge and practical skills to build strong parent-infant bonds, according to new research. The quality of antenatal classes provided in the UK is currently quite variable in terms of length and content; with some receiving nothing, while others attend classes for as much as two hours per week for one month. There is often little or no guidance on the psychological needs of the infant.

Involving a genetic health care professional may improve quality, reduce unnecessary testing

Posted: 13 Jun 2014 10:05 AM PDT

A new study shows that counseling from a genetic health care provider before genetic testing educates patients and may help reduce unnecessary procedures. Up to 10 percent of cancers are inherited, meaning a person was born with an abnormal gene that increases their risk for cancer.

Summer season springs cluster headaches into action

Posted: 13 Jun 2014 10:05 AM PDT

Did you know that while most people celebrate the start of summer on June 21, nearly 1 million Americans are facing the debilitating pain of cluster headaches due to Earth's shift towards the sun? It's true. The human biological rhythm is tied into earth's rotation, making individuals who suffer cluster from headaches encounter unrelenting head pain.

Severe scoliosis linked to rare mutations

Posted: 13 Jun 2014 07:17 AM PDT

Children with rare mutations in two genes are about four times more likely to develop severe scoliosis than their peers with normal versions of the genes, scientists have found. One to 3 percent of the general population has some mild curvature of the spine. In about one in 10,000 children, scoliosis will produce curvature so pronounced that it requires corrective surgery.

Crossing the goal line: New tech tracks football in 3-D space

Posted: 13 Jun 2014 07:16 AM PDT

Referees may soon have a new way of determining whether a football team has scored a touchdown or gotten a first down. Researchers have developed a system that can track a football in three-dimensional space using low-frequency magnetic fields.

Third warmest May in satellite record might portend record-setting El Niño

Posted: 13 Jun 2014 07:15 AM PDT

May 2014 was the third warmest May in the 35-year satellite-measured global temperature record, and the warmest May that wasn't during an El Niño Pacific Ocean warming event, according to new data. The global average temperature for May was 0.33 C (about 0.59 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than seasonal norms for the month. The warmest May was in 1998, during the "El Niño of the century."

Biomarkers predict long-term outcomes in juvenile idiopathic arthritis

Posted: 13 Jun 2014 05:45 AM PDT

Data demonstrate the possibility of using biomarkers (developed from whole blood gene expression profiles) in children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis to predict the status of their disease at 12 months. The long-term disease status at 12 months was accurately predicted only after treatment had been initiated, in newly diagnosed patients.

Sjögren's Syndrome significantly increases risk of heart attack

Posted: 13 Jun 2014 05:45 AM PDT

A new study showed a significantly increased risk of heart attack in patients with Sjögren's syndrome, particularly in the first year following diagnosis. There was also a trend towards an increased risk for stroke.

Higher health care cost burden of musculoskeletal conditions compared to other diseases

Posted: 13 Jun 2014 05:45 AM PDT

A new study highlights the increased health care costs associated with musculoskeletal conditions compared to other diseases. Health care costs were almost 50 percent higher for people with a musculoskeletal condition compared to any other singly occurring condition.

Genotyping can predict disease outcomes in rheumatoid arthritis patients

Posted: 13 Jun 2014 05:45 AM PDT

New cohort studies have shown the amino acid valine at position 11 of HLA-DRB1 gene to be the strongest independent genetic determinant of radiological damage in rheumatoid arthritis. In addition, positions 71 and 74 were found to represent independent predictors, with the three positions together: 11, 71 and 74 strongly associated with disease outcomes.

High electron mobility gases generated in semiconductor nanowires for first time

Posted: 13 Jun 2014 05:44 AM PDT

Nanotechnology, optics and photovoltaic energy are among the fields that can benefit from advances in knowledge on semiconductor nanowire systems. Researchers have succeeded to prove, for the first time, the accumulation of high electron mobility gases in multilayer nanowires from a technique called "remote doping".

Breakthrough for information technology using Heusler materials: May lead to very high performance spintronic components

Posted: 13 Jun 2014 05:44 AM PDT

It is the breakthrough that physicists and chemists around the world have long anticipated and it will play a pivotal role in information technology in coming years. Researchers have managed, for the first time, to directly observe the 100 percent spin polarization of a Heusler compound. Heusler alloys are composed of several metallic elements arranged in a lattice structure. They are among those materials that potentially can be used for ever smaller data storage components with ever greater storage capacity.

Researchers 'cage' water to see it change form

Posted: 13 Jun 2014 05:44 AM PDT

Scientists are using a pioneering method of 'caging' and cooling water molecules to study the change in orientation of the magnetic nuclei at the center of each hydrogen atom - a process which transforms the molecule from one form of water to another. By trapping water molecules in carbon spheres and cooling them, scientists have been able to follow the change in form (or isomer) of the molecules.

Iberian Peninsula’s geothermal power can generate current electrical capacity five times over

Posted: 13 Jun 2014 05:44 AM PDT

About 500 power stations around the world use geothermal power to generate electricity, although there are yet to be any in Spain. The temperature increases by 30 ºC for every kilometer further underground. This thermal gradient, generated by the flow of heat from the inside of the Earth and the breakdown of radioactive elements in the crust, produces geothermal power.

New membrane-synthesis pathways in bacteria discovered

Posted: 13 Jun 2014 05:44 AM PDT

New mechanisms used by bacteria to manufacture lipids, i.e. fat molecules, for the cell membrane have been discovered by researchers. Those mechanisms are a combination of familiar bacterial synthesis pathways and of such that occur in higher organisms. Thus, the team has debunked the long-standing theory that lipid production in bacteria differs substantially from that in higher organisms.

Muon detector could help UK reduce carbon emissions

Posted: 13 Jun 2014 05:44 AM PDT

A specialist detector which is set to play a fundamental part in helping the UK reduce its carbon emissions is being developed. Muon detectors which exploit cosmic-ray muons, a natural radiation to see through kilometers of rock -- in a similar way to X-rays being used to see inside a patient's body -- are being developed to improve monitoring of the process of subsurface carbon storage.

Grit better than GRE for predicting grad student success

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 06:53 PM PDT

Selecting graduate students in the fields of science and engineering based on an assessment of their character instead of relying almost entirely on their scores on a standardized test would significantly improve the quality of the students that are admitted students and, at the same time, boost the participation of women and minorities in these key disciplines, experts say.

Identifying cyst-laden meat: Sarcocystis thermostable PCR detection kit developed

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 06:24 PM PDT

Consumption of undercooked cyst-laden meat from cattle, sheep and goats may cause infection in humans. Researchers have successfully invented a PCR kit which provides a suitable and feasible means of screening, detection and identification with high sensitivity and specificity of the parasite.

Creating a water layer for a clearer view

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 06:24 PM PDT

Scientists have invented a new permanent surface coating that attracts water instead of repelling it, for a better, clearer view. The patented technology simplifies the coating process, making it more cost-effective for manufacturers.

Neural reward response may demonstrate why quitting smoking is harder for some

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 02:46 PM PDT

For some cigarette smokers, strategies to aid quitting work well, while for many others no method seems to work. Researchers have now identified an aspect of brain activity that helps to predict the effectiveness of a reward-based strategy as motivation to quit smoking. "Our results suggest that... 'at-risk' smokers could potentially be identified prior to a quit attempt and be provided with special interventions designed to increase their chances for success," researchers remarked.

Lower vitamin D level in blood linked to higher premature death rate

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 02:46 PM PDT

Researchers have found that people with lower blood levels of vitamin D were twice as likely to die prematurely as people with higher blood levels of vitamin D. The finding was based on a systematic review of 32 previous studies that included analyses of vitamin D, blood levels and human mortality rates. The specific variant of vitamin D assessed was 25-hydroxyvitamin D, the primary form found in blood.

Processed red meat linked to higher risk of heart failure, death in men

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 02:46 PM PDT

Men who regularly eat moderate amounts of processed red meat such as cold cuts (ham/salami) and sausage may have an increased risk of heart failure incidence and a greater risk of death from heart failure. Researchers recommend avoiding processed red meat and limiting the amount of unprocessed red meat to one to two servings a week or less.

New test detects toxic prions in blood

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 02:46 PM PDT

The first cases of mad cow disease in humans occurred in the late 1990s and are thought to be the consequence of eating contaminated beef products. Several cases of secondary infections caused by transfusions with blood from donors who developed vCJD have been reported, raising concerns about the safety of blood products. A new article describes an assay that can detect prions in blood samples from humans with vCJD and in animals at early stages of the incubation phase.

Forging new ground in oil forensics: Deepwater Horizon Oil on shore even years later, after most has degraded

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 12:30 PM PDT

Years after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil spill, oil continues to wash ashore as oil-soaked 'sand patties,' persists in salt marshes abutting the Gulf of Mexico, and questions remain about how much oil has been deposited on the seafloor. Scientists have developed a unique way to fingerprint oil, and have successfully identified Macondo Well oil, even after most of it has degraded.

New computer program aims to teach itself everything about any visual concept

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 12:27 PM PDT

In today's digitally driven world, access to information appears limitless. But when you have something specific in mind that you don't know, like the name of that niche kitchen tool you saw at a friend's house, it can be surprisingly hard to sift through the volume of information online and know how to search for it. Or, the opposite problem can occur -- we can look up anything on the Internet, but how can we be sure we are finding everything about the topic without spending hours in front of the computer? Computer scientists have created the first fully automated computer program that teaches everything there is to know about any visual concept.

Findings point toward one of first therapies for Lou Gehrig's disease

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 11:23 AM PDT

Researchers have determined that a copper compound known for decades may form the basis for a therapy for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig's disease. In humans, prior to this, no therapy for ALS has ever been discovered that could extend lifespan more than a few additional months.

With the right rehabilitation, paralyzed rats learn to grip again

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 11:23 AM PDT

After a large stroke, motor skills barely improve, even with rehabilitation. An experiment conducted on rats demonstrates that a course of therapy combining the stimulation of nerve fiber growth with drugs and motor training can be successful. The key, however, is the correct sequence: Paralyzed animals only make an almost complete recovery if the training is delayed until after the growth promoting drugs have been administered.

Scientists discover link between climate change and ocean currents over 6 million years

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 11:23 AM PDT

Scientists have discovered a relationship between climate change and ocean currents over the past six million years after analyzing an area of the Atlantic near the Strait of Gibraltar, according to new research.

Habitat fragmentation increases vulnerability to disease in wild plants

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 11:23 AM PDT

Proximity to other meadows increases disease resistance in wild meadow plants, according to a new study. The study analyzed the epidemiological dynamics of a fungal pathogen in the archipelago of Finland. The study surveyed more than 4,000 Plantago lanceolata meadows and their infection status by a powdery mildew fungus in the Åland archipelago of Finland.

Unexpected origin for important parts of the nervous system

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 11:23 AM PDT

A new study shows that a part of the nervous system, the parasympathetic nervous system, is formed in a way that is different from what researchers previously believed. In this study a new phenomenon is investigated within the field of developmental biology, and the findings may lead to new medical treatments for congenital disorders of the nervous system.

New evidence for 'oceans' of water deep in Earth: Water bound in mantle rock alters view of Earth's composition

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 11:23 AM PDT

Researchers report evidence for potentially oceans worth of water deep beneath the United States. Though not in the familiar liquid form -- the ingredients for water are bound up in rock deep in the Earth's mantle -- the discovery may represent the planet's largest water reservoir. The researchers have found deep pockets of magma located about 400 miles beneath North America, a likely signature of the presence of water at these depths.

Father's age influences rate of evolution: 90% of new mutations from father, chimpanzee study shows

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 11:23 AM PDT

The offspring of chimpanzees inherit 90 percent of new mutations from their father, and just 10 percent from their mother, a finding which demonstrates how mutation differs between humans and our closest living relatives, and emphasizes the importance of father's age on evolution.

Cellular complexity of brain tumors charted

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 11:23 AM PDT

Scientists have conducted a first-of-its-kind study that characterizes the cellular diversity within glioblastoma tumors from patients. The study, which looked at the expression of thousands of genes in individual cells from patient tumors, revealed that the cellular makeup of each tumor is more heterogeneous than previously suspected.

Quantum computation: Fragile yet error-free

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 11:22 AM PDT

Physicists have experimentally encoded one quantum bit (qubit) in entangled states distributed over several particles and for the first time carried out simple computations on it. The 7-qubit quantum register could be used as the main building block for a quantum computer that corrects any type of error.

Long-range tunneling of quantum particles

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 11:22 AM PDT

One of the most remarkable consequences of the rules in quantum mechanics is the capability of a quantum particle to penetrate through a potential barrier even though its energy would not allow for the corresponding classical trajectory. This is known as the quantum tunnel effect and manifests itself in a multitude of well-known phenomena. For example, it explains nuclear radioactive decay, fusion reactions in the interior of stars, and electron transport through quantum dots. Tunneling also is at the heart of many technical applications, for instance it allows for imaging of surfaces on the atomic length scale in scanning tunneling microscopes.

Rapid-acting antidepressant for treatment-resistant depression: New insights

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 11:21 AM PDT

Researchers have generated fresh insights that could aid in the development of rapid-acting antidepressants for treatment-resistant depression. The researchers found that by blocking NMDA receptors with the drug ketamine, they could elicit rapid antidepressant effects in patients with treatment-resistant depression. Ketamine was developed as an anesthetic, but is better known publicly for its abuse as the party drug Special K. Researchers are now seeking alternatives because ketamine can produce side effects that include hallucinations and the potential for abuse -- limiting its utility as an antidepressant.

Mexican genetics study reveals huge variation in ancestry: Basis for health differences among Latinos discovered

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 11:21 AM PDT

In the most comprehensive genetic study of the Mexican population to date, researchers have identified tremendous genetic diversity, reflecting thousands of years of separation among local populations and shedding light on a range of confounding aspects of Latino health.

Families like practical group wellness program, lose weight

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 10:24 AM PDT

Many children are obese these days, but what can be done about it? Research-proven treatments for obesity rely on regular one-on-one meetings with a trained health coach. So these "behavioral" treatments are seldom available outside of research studies in specialty medical centers. But now, a researcher and pediatrician has found that it's feasible and acceptable to give this same kind of behavioral treatment to groups of families in primary care.

Transmission of information via proteins could revolutionize drug discovery

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 06:50 AM PDT

The existence of information highways that connect and correlate distant sites within a single protein have been discovered by researchers. Their article furthers a key theoretical field for drug discovery, as it would allow the discovery of many more drug binding sites in proteins of biomedical interest.

Neurostimulator implanted for epilepsy

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 05:59 AM PDT

A recently FDA-approved device that uses electric stimulation of the brain to treat adult epilepsy patients whose seizures have not responded to medication has been implanted by an American hospital.

Advanced breast cancer: Benefits of Trastuzumab (Herceptin) outweigh the risk of harm

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 05:59 AM PDT

In women with advanced (or metastatic) breast cancer, treatment with the breast cancer drug Trastuzumab (Herceptin) is associated with prolonged survival but also increases the risk of developing heart problems, a new systematic review shows. However, the review concludes that more women benefit from use of Trastuzumab than are harmed.

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