Τρίτη, 17 Ιουνίου 2014

ScienceDaily: Latest Science News

ScienceDaily: Latest Science News


Researchers use virus to reveal nanopore physics

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 12:15 PM PDT

Nanopores could provide a new way to sequence DNA quickly, but the physics involved isn't well understood. That's partly because of the complexities involved in studying the random, squiggly form DNA takes in solution. Researchers have simplified matters by using a stiff, rod-like virus instead of DNA to experiment with nanopores. Their research has uncovered previously unknown dynamics in polymer-nanopore interactions.

Bioscavengers: New discoveries could help neutralize chemical weapons

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 12:15 PM PDT

Researchers are a step closer to creating a prophylactic drug that would neutralize the deadly effects of the chemical weapons used in Syria and elsewhere. Scientists are trying to engineer enzymes -- called bioscavengers -- so they work more efficiently against chemical weapons.

Caterpillars that eat multiple plant species are more susceptible to hungry birds

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 12:15 PM PDT

Biologists have learned that caterpillars that feed on one or two plant species are better able to hide from predatory birds than caterpillars that consume a wide variety of plants.

Quantum theory reveals puzzling pattern in how people respond to some surveys

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 12:13 PM PDT

Researchers used quantum theory -- usually invoked to describe the actions of subatomic particles -- to identify an unexpected and strange pattern in how people respond to survey questions.

How our brains store recent memories, cell by single cell

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 12:13 PM PDT

Confirming what neurocomputational theorists have long suspected, researchers report that the human brain locks down episodic memories in the hippocampus, committing each recollection to a distinct, distributed fraction of individual cells.

In managing boundaries between work, home, technology can be both 'friend' and 'foe'

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 11:15 AM PDT

When it comes to managing boundaries between work and home life, technology is neither all good nor all bad, according to ongoing research. Technology, specifically mobile technology, can be alternately used to maintain, erase or manage home and work boundaries along a spectrum, researchers report.

Embryonic stem cells offer new treatment for multiple sclerosis

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 11:15 AM PDT

A novel approach to treating multiple sclerosis using human embryonic stem cells appears to offer better treatment results than stem cells derived from human adult bone marrow, scientists say. An advantage of human embryonic stem cells is that they can be propagated indefinitely in lab cultures and provide an unlimited source of high quality mesenchymal stem cells -- the kind of stem cell needed for treatment of MS.

High-quality 3-D metal parts using additive manufacturing

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 11:15 AM PDT

Researchers have developed a new and more efficient approach to a challenging problem in additive manufacturing -- using selective laser melting, namely, the selection of appropriate process parameters that result in parts with desired properties.

Fuel cells developed for increased airplane efficiency

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 11:15 AM PDT

Researchers have developed the first fuel cell that can directly convert fuels, such as jet fuel or gasoline, to electricity, providing a dramatically more energy-efficient way to create electric power for planes or cars.

Cellular signalling for kidney regeneration discovered

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 11:15 AM PDT

The precise cellular signalling responsible for kidney regeneration and exposing the multi-layered nature of kidney growth has been pinpointed in a new study. The research paves the way for novel cellular and molecular therapeutics to achieve human kidney regeneration and alleviate the shortage of kidney organs for transplantation.

Tugging on the 'malignant' switch in breast cancer

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 11:14 AM PDT

A possible mechanism by which normal cells turn malignant in mammary epithelial tissues, the tissues frequently involved in breast cancer, has been discovered by researchers. Dense mammary tissue has long been recognized as a strong indicator of risk for breast cancer. This is why regular breast examinations are considered essential to early detection. Until now, however, the significance of that tissue density has been poorly understood.

Sensor in eye could track pressure changes, monitor for glaucoma

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 11:13 AM PDT

Engineers have designed a low-power sensor that could be placed permanently in a person's eye to track hard-to-measure changes in eye pressure. The sensor would be embedded with an artificial lens during cataract surgery and would detect pressure changes instantaneously, then transmit the data wirelessly using radio frequency waves.

Cryoprobes better than traditional forceps for obtaining certain lung biopsies

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 10:41 AM PDT

Cryoprobes, which are tools that apply extreme cold to tissues, are better than conventional forceps for performing so-called transbronchial lung biopsies in patients who are being assessed for certain lung conditions, a randomized controlled trial has found. Cryoprobes allowed for improved diagnosis of interstitial lung diseases because they collected larger sized samples that were of higher quality.

Signaling pathway may explain the body clock's link to mental illness

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 10:41 AM PDT

Alterations in a cellular signaling pathway called cAMP–CREB may help explain why the body clocks of people with bipolar disease are out of sync, according to a new study.

Gluten-free diet relieves 'brain fog' in patients with Celiac disease

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 10:41 AM PDT

Individuals with celiac disease often experience 'brain fog' in addition to intestinal problems, but a new study shows that adhering to a gluten-free diet can lead to improvements in cognition that correlate with the extent of intestinal healing. The findings indicate that ridding the diet of gluten may help address problems that celiac disease patients can experience related to attention, memory, and other mental tasks.

High-altitude weight loss may have an evolutionary advantage

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 10:09 AM PDT

Weight loss at high altitudes -- something universally experienced by climbers and people who move to higher terrain -- may not be a detrimental effect, but rather is likely an evolutionarily-programmed adaptation, according to a new article.

New method to reduce disease-causing inflammation discovered

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 10:09 AM PDT

An enzyme known as Tumor Progression Locus 2, or Tpl2, plays a key role in directing and regulating several important components of the body's immune system, researchers report. Their discovery may one day lead to new treatments for many common autoimmune diseases. "This is an emerging field," one researcher said. "We have a lot of work to do, but many of our preliminary results are promising."

Antarctic species dwindle as icebergs batter shores year-round

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 10:08 AM PDT

As the planet has warmed, massive losses of sea ice in winter have left icebergs along the Antarctic free to roam for most of the year. As a result, boulders on the shallow seabed -- once encrusted with a rich assemblage of species in intense competition for limited space -- now mostly support a single species. The climate-linked increase in iceberg activity has left all other species so rare as to be almost irrelevant.

Long-term follow-up of diabetes prevention program shows continued reduction in diabetes development

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 10:08 AM PDT

Treatments used to decrease the development of type 2 diabetes continue to be effective an average of 15 years later, according to the latest findings of the Diabetes Prevention Program Outcomes Study. The study's two interventions, a lifestyle program designed to reduce weight and increase activity levels and the diabetes medicine metformin, decreased the development of type 2 diabetes in a diverse group of people, all of whom were at high risk for the disease, compared with a group taking placebo.

Diabetes distress vs. depression: Are people with type 2 being misdiagnosed?

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 10:08 AM PDT

Researchers have long understood there is a strong association between diabetes and depression. But new research shows that symptoms of depression in people with type 2 diabetes can be significantly reduced through interventions for 'diabetes distress,' suggesting that much of what is being labeled as depression may not be a co-morbid psychiatric disorder after all, but rather a reaction to living with a stressful, complex disease that is often difficult to manage.

Early detection of extreme financial events: Market crashes are anomalous features in financial data fractal landscape

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 10:07 AM PDT

Due to their previously discovered fractal nature, financial data patterns are self-similar when scaling up. New research shows that the most extreme events in financial data dynamics-reflected in very large price moves-are incompatible with multi-fractal scaling. Understanding the multi-fractal structure of financially sound markets could, ultimately, help in identifying structural signs of impending extreme events.

Allergic kids and the classroom

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 10:04 AM PDT

For parents of kids who have asthma and allergies, getting them ready to head back to school means a lot more planning and preparation than buying new folders and figuring out who their new teachers will be. It sometimes requires meetings with school administrators, teachers and nurses to develop a plan to ensure avoidance of triggers, and safe studying and eating.

Cover the bases: Sports physicals no substitute for comprehensive checkups

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 10:03 AM PDT

Nearly half of parents say any qualified health care provider – not just a child's usual provider – can do a sports physical, according to a new poll in the United States. However, sports physicals don't have to cover all health concerns if a child is seeing his or her regular provider for regular checkups.

U.S. housing policies increase carbon output

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 10:03 AM PDT

Land use policies and preferential tax treatment for housing – in the form of federal income tax deductions for mortgage interest and property taxes – have increased carbon emissions in the United States by about 2.7 percent, almost 6 percent annually in new home construction, according to a new study.

Hubble to begin search beyond Pluto for a New Horizons mission target

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 10:03 AM PDT

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope will be used to search for a suitable Kuiper Belt object that NASA's New Horizons space probe could visit. It would be our first and perhaps last look at such a remote relic from the distant past. The search is very challenging even for Hubble's sharp vision. It has to find something the size of Manhattan Island, as black as charcoal, and embedded against a snowstorm of background stars.

Most prostate cancer specialists don't recommend active surveillance for low-risk patients

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 10:03 AM PDT

Specialists who treat prostate cancer agree that active surveillance is an effective option -- yet most don't recommend it when appropriate for their own patients, according to a study. Rather, urologists are more likely to recommend surgery and radiation oncologists are more likely to recommend radiation therapy -- the treatments provided by their own specialties.

Most millennial moms who skip college also skip marriage

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 10:03 AM PDT

Waiting until marriage to have babies is now "unusual" among less-educated adults close to 30 years old, sociologists have found. Among parents in a recent study aged 26 to 31 who didn't graduate from college, 74 percent of the mothers and 70 percent of the fathers had at least one child outside of marriage. And, 81 percent of births reported by women and 87 percent of births reported by men had occurred to non-college graduates.

Trapping light: A long lifetime in a very small place

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 10:03 AM PDT

Physicists have created a silicon nanocavity that allows light to be trapped longer than in other similarly-sized optical cavities. An innovative design approach, which mimics evolutionary biology, allowed them to achieve a 10-fold improvement on the performance of previous nanocavities.

Sacral nerve stimulation gives pediatric patients hope

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 10:03 AM PDT

Sacral nerve stimulation, sometimes called sacral neuromodulation, is used to help patients desperate to control their bowels or bladder, when other treatment options have failed. During the procedure, surgeons implant a device that addresses communication problems between the brain and the nerves that control bowel and bladder function. If the nerves are not communicating properly, the muscles may not function properly, which leads to incontinence.

Many overestimate exercise intensity, study shows

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 08:11 AM PDT

Do you work out for health benefits and feel you are exercising more than enough? You might be among the many who overrate how hard they work out or underestimate what moderate intensity exercise means, according to a recent study. "This is worrisome both for personal and public health and well-being," remarks one expert.

Common blood pressure medication may pose risk to older adults

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 08:10 AM PDT

Adults over 65 who have recently begun thiazide diuretics are at a greater risk for developing metabolic-related adverse events, researchers have found. More than two-thirds of older adults have high blood pressure in the United States and thiazide diuretics are often recommended as the initial medication for these hypertensive patients. While the risks of this medication are well known, the risks are not well quantified in real-world clinical practice, where older adults who are treated may have a number of other illnesses.

El Niño expected to benefit U.S. agriculture, economist says

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 08:10 AM PDT

An El Niño would help U.S. crop production, but could negatively impact worldwide production, a senior agricultural economist says. "El Niño is generally favorable to crop production in the United States because it brings extra rain and moisture into the core crop-growing areas," he said. "We're just coming out of a four-year drought cycle in the United States and we'd like to get back to what we call trend-line yields and big crop production so there's plenty for everybody."

Cellular force that drives allergy, asthma can be blocked by interferon, immunologists find

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 08:10 AM PDT

A mechanism that could underlie the development of cells that drive asthma and allergies has been uncovered by immunology researchers. Asthma and allergies are both driven by an inappropriate activation of the immune system, primarily a subtype of white blood cells known as T helper 2 cells, or Th2 cells. These cells are normally responsible for defense against parasites, but are also the main culprits behind the symptoms of asthma and allergies.

E-cigarettes far less harmful than cigarettes, says researcher

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 07:28 AM PDT

A researcher examining the public and private dangers of drugs argues against demonizing e-cigarettes. He also calls on public officials to recognize that alcohol causes greater harm than other recreational drugs and more public attention should be paid to controlling its harmful effects.

Effective drugs for Parkinson's reduce symptoms of Rett syndrome in mice

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 07:28 AM PDT

A combination of effective drugs for Parkinson's disease in mice that are used as a model of human Rett syndrome reduces some of the symptoms associated with this disease. Rett syndrome is the second most common cause of mental retardation in women, after Down syndrome. It is a neurodevelopmental disease whose clinical picture begins to appear 6-18 months after birth and involves a loss of intellectual, social and motor skills, accompanied by autistic behaviors, such as repetitive movements of the hands.

Ice in fuel cells displayed directly for the first time

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 07:24 AM PDT

Researchers have succeeded in imaging the distribution of frozen and liquid water in a hydrogen fuel cell directly for the first time. They applied a new imaging technique that uses two beams with different neutron energies to distinguish between areas with liquid water and those with ice extremely reliably. The method therefore opens up the prospect of studying one of the main problems of using fuel cells to power vehicles: ice can clog the pores in the fuel cells and affect their performance.

Lipids help to fight leukemia, study demonstrates

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 07:24 AM PDT

T cells use a novel mechanism to fight leukemia. They may recognize unique lipids produced by cancer cells and kill tumor cells expressing these lipid molecules. A study now shows that a tumor-associated lipid stimulates specific T cells, which efficiently kill leukemia cells both in vitro and in animal models.

Children in low-income homes fare better in kindergarten if moms work when they are babies

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 07:24 AM PDT

Kindergarteners from lower-income families who were babies when their mothers went to work outside the home fare as well as or even better than children who had stay-at-home moms, according to new research. Time, stress and money were the main factors the researchers examined to determine the effects of mothers' employment on children.

Broccoli sprout beverage enhances detoxification of air pollutants in clinical trial

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 07:24 AM PDT

Daily consumption of a half cup of broccoli sprout beverage produced rapid, significant and sustained higher levels of excretion of benzene, a known human carcinogen, and acrolein, a lung irritant, in a trial involving nearly 300 Chinese men and women living in one of China's most polluted regions.

Seeking reality in the future of aeronautical simulation

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 07:16 AM PDT

NASA aeronautical innovators are helping to design future airliners that will cut fuel consumption, reduce polluting emissions and fly more quietly. Yet in computational fluid dynamics, or CFD, the design tools that helped give us the modern airliners flying today are not expected to be up to the challenge in the future without some serious upgrades.

Decontamination system to up research on space station

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 07:13 AM PDT

Just like eating, drinking and even trying to wash your hair aboard the International Space Station, conducting science experiments in space is not a simple task for astronauts. There are so many more factors for crews to consider than scientists on Earth have to worry about. If not contained, microgravity can turn gasses, dust, fluids and sharp objects into a floating nightmare.

Giant telescopes pair up to image near-Earth asteroid

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 07:07 AM PDT

NASA scientists using Earth-based radar have produced sharp views of a recently discovered asteroid as it slid silently past our planet. Captured on June 8, 2014, the new views of the object designated "2014 HQ124" are some of the most detailed radar images of a near-Earth asteroid ever obtained.

New NASA space observatory to study carbon conundrums

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 07:03 AM PDT

NASA's first spacecraft dedicated to measuring carbon dioxide levels in Earth's atmosphere is in final preparations for a July 1 launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. The Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) mission will provide a more complete, global picture of the human and natural sources of carbon dioxide, as well as carbon dioxide's "sinks," the natural ocean and land processes by which carbon dioxide is pulled out of Earth's atmosphere and stored. Carbon dioxide, a critical component of Earth's carbon cycle, is the leading human-produced greenhouse gas driving changes in Earth's climate.

Herschel sees budding stars and a giant, strange ring

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 06:57 AM PDT

The Herschel Space Observatory has uncovered a weird ring of dusty material while obtaining one of the sharpest scans to date of a huge cloud of gas and dust, called NGC 7538. The observations have revealed numerous clumps of material, a baker's dozen of which may evolve into the most powerful kinds of stars in the universe. Herschel is a European Space Agency mission with important NASA contributions.

Delinquent youth -- especially girls -- more likely to die violently as adults

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 06:36 AM PDT

Delinquency in youth predicts a significantly higher rate of violent death in adulthood -- nearly twice the rate of combat troops in wartime Iraq and Afghanistan. Delinquent females -- among the most vulnerable -- died violently at nearly five times the rate of those in the general population, while delinquent males died at three times the rate. This is the first large-scale study to look at death rates in delinquent females and adds new data on Hispanics.

Bacteria evade human immune system with a burst of mutations during initial infection

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 06:36 AM PDT

Bacteria that cause ulcers launch a burst of mutations during the initial stages of infection, allowing them to evade the human immune system, new research reveals. The study shows, for the first time, and in real-time, the interplay between the human immune system and invading bacteria that allows the bacteria to counter the immune response by quickly evolving.

Bionic pancreas controls blood sugar levels in adults, adolescents with type 1 diabetes

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 06:36 AM PDT

The latest version of a bionic pancreas device has been successfully tested in two five-day clinical trials -- one in adults, the other in adolescents -- that imposed minimal restrictions on patient activities.

Nanoscale composites improve MRI: Magnetic particles merged to detect, fight disease

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 06:36 AM PDT

Submicrometer particles that contain even smaller particles of iron oxide could make magnetic resonance imaging a far more powerful tool to detect and fight disease. Medical researchers are creating composite particles that can be injected into patients and guided by magnetic fields. Once in position, the particles may be heated to kill malignant tissues or trigger the release of drugs at the site. The "nanoconstructs" should fully degrade and leave the body within a few days, they reported.

Animal trapping records reveal strong wolf effect across North America

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 06:36 AM PDT

Coyote and red fox fur trapping records across North America have been used by scientists to document how the presence of wolves influences the balance of smaller predators further down the food chain. From Alaska and Yukon to Nova Scotia and Maine, the researchers have demonstrated that a "wolf effect" exists, favoring red foxes where wolves are present and coyotes where wolves are absent.

Caffeine affects boys, girls differently after puberty, study finds

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 06:33 AM PDT

Caffeine intake by children and adolescents has been rising for decades, due in large part to the popularity of caffeinated sodas and energy drinks, which now are marketed to children as young as four. Despite this, there is little research on the effects of caffeine on young people. Following a recent study, one researcher remarked: "We found an interaction between gender and caffeine dose, with boys having a greater response to caffeine than girls."

Prental stress can increase risk of overweight in adulthood

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 06:33 AM PDT

There are indications that unborn children who are exposed to severe stress levels, have an increased risk of becoming overweight or developing obesity as adults, researchers report. The researchers have previously shown that severe stress experienced by pregnant women can lead to weight problems for children between 10 and 13 years; however, a correlation between the mother's level of stress during pregnancy and the risk of developing overweight or obesity as an adult is new.

Wind turbine payback: Environmental lifecycle assessment of 2-megawatt wind turbines

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 06:33 AM PDT

Researchers have carried out an environmental lifecycle assessment of 2-megawatt wind turbines mooted for a large wind farm in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. They conclude that in terms of cumulative energy payback, or the time to produce the amount of energy required of production and installation, a wind turbine with a working life of 20 years will offer a net benefit within five to eight months of being brought online.

Investing in cancer research boosts economy as well as health, experts say

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 06:32 AM PDT

Money invested in cancer research generates a continuous stream of benefits, according to a report by three leading research institutions. Some of the greatest economic benefit was from efforts to reduce smoking rates, investment in breast cancer treatments, such as tamoxifen, and the cervical screening program.

New project to investigate vanishing pubs in England

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 06:32 AM PDT

A research team aims to increase our appreciation of 'severely threatened' pubs in England. Take a walk through a typical village in England and the chances are you will stumble across a King's Head, Rose & Crown or a Red Lion for a pint of ale or a bite to eat. But how would you feel if the traditional public house were to disappear from our streets? Pubs are amongst the most common and well-loved buildings in the country, but have recently been identified as 'a severely threatened building type' by English Heritage. Researchers will take an in-depth look at the situation.

Nanoparticles aid microscopic detection of protein relevant for cancer

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 06:32 AM PDT

Assemblies of proteins have important functions in cells. But because they are very small, their composition from subunits can only be determined indirectly or with extreme time-effort. Scientists are currently developing a novel microscopy technology for the direct detection of such individual subunits of protein complexes in the cell membrane of intact cells. The methodology is applied to investigate a protein complex acting as a calcium channel in the cell membrane. The channel plays an important role in prostate cancer.

Anxious children have bigger 'fear centers' in the brain

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 06:32 AM PDT

The amygdala is a key "fear center" in the brain. Alterations in the development of the amygdala during childhood may have an important influence on the development of anxiety problems, reports a new study. Researchers recruited 76 children, 7 to 9 years of age, a period when anxiety-related traits and symptoms can first be reliably identified. Using non-invasive magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of brain structure and function, the researchers found that children with high levels of anxiety had enlarged amygdala volume.

Genetic influence on pulmonary function: six further genes identified

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 06:31 AM PDT

In an analysis of several genome-wide association studies, an international team of scientists has identified six novel gene regions that are associated with the function of the lungs. In their investigations or so-called genome-wide association studies, the team of researchers compared the genetic profile of study participants to the forced vital capacity (FVC), a volume parameter of lung function.

Could Politics Trump Economics As Reason for Growing Income Inequality?

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 06:30 AM PDT

Most research examining growing income inequality in the United States has focused on economic causes, for seemingly obvious reasons. But a new study suggests that a different cause -- the politically induced decline in the strength of worker unions -- may play a much more pivotal role than previously understood. In fact, the role that union decline has played in growing income inequality may actually be larger than many of the favorite explanations offered by economists, such as the education gap in the United States.

What's the role robotics could play in future food production?

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 05:21 AM PDT

A team of computer scientists is co-organizing an international workshop on recent advances in agricultural robotics. Recent information confirms that robots, machines and systems are rapidly achieving intelligence and autonomy, mastering more and more capabilities such as mobility and manipulation, sensing and perception, reasoning and decision making.

Birth of four foals from genotyped, cryopreserved embryos: A first in Europe

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 05:21 AM PDT

Four foals were successfully born as the result of the transfer of genotyped and cryopreserved embryos. Researchers report that this is a first in Eurpoe. The goal of this work is to better understand embryonic development, control livestock reproduction, and maintain breed genetic diversity. Furthermore, it is advantageous for the horse industry to be able to determine the traits of a future foal.

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