Σάββατο, 21 Ιουνίου 2014

ScienceDaily: Latest Science News

ScienceDaily: Latest Science News

Biology of infection: A bacterial ballistic system

Posted: 20 Jun 2014 09:05 AM PDT

Many pathogenic bacteria use special secretion systems to deliver toxic proteins into host cells. Researchers have determined the structure of a crucial part of one of these systems -- which are possible targets for novel antibiotics.

Nearly four percent of U.S. babies born before full-term without medical reason

Posted: 20 Jun 2014 09:04 AM PDT

The first of its kind research is out showing who is having early elective deliveries between 37 and 39 weeks gestation, and whether these deliveries happen following labor induction or cesarean. Labor induction or cesarean delivery without medical reason before a baby is considered full-term at 39 weeks, or an 'early elective delivery,' is associated with health problems for mothers and babies.

Menthol cigarettes linked to increased smoking among teens

Posted: 20 Jun 2014 09:04 AM PDT

Teens who use menthol cigarettes smoke more cigarettes per day than their peers who smoke non-menthols, says a new study. The findings mark the first time that menthol cigarettes have been directly linked to elevated nicotine addiction among youth. "The appeal of menthol cigarettes among youth stems from the perception that they are less harmful than regular cigarettes. The minty taste helps mask the noxious properties, but the reality is that they are just as dangerous as any unflavoured cigarette," said the lead author of the paper.

Emperor penguins are more willing to relocate than expected

Posted: 20 Jun 2014 09:04 AM PDT

The long-term future of emperor penguins is becoming more clear, thanks to new research showing that the penguins may be behaving in ways that allow them to adapt to their changing environment better than expected. Researchers have long thought that emperor penguins were philopatric, which means they would return to the same location to nest each year. The new research study used satellite images to show that penguins may not be faithful to previous nesting locations.

Equations reveal rebellious rhythms at the heart of nature

Posted: 20 Jun 2014 09:03 AM PDT

Physicists are using equations to reveal the hidden complexities of the human body. From the beating of our hearts to the proper functioning of our brains, many systems in nature depend on collections of 'oscillators'; perfectly-coordinated, rhythmic systems working together in flux, like the cardiac muscle cells in the heart.

Triggers, treatment of immediate-type allergic reactions

Posted: 20 Jun 2014 09:03 AM PDT

Sudden allergic reactions can be fatal. The most common triggers of such reactions, also known as anaphylaxis, are wasp and bee venoms, legumes (pulses), animal proteins, and analgesics (painkillers). The incidence of anaphylaxis is age-dependent. Now, researchers describe the causes and treatment methods for anaphylaxis.

Mitochondrial Mutation Linked to Congenital Myasthenic Syndrome

Posted: 20 Jun 2014 09:03 AM PDT

Although significant progress has been made over the last 25 years to identify genetic abnormalities associated with congenital myasthenic syndromes (CMS), many patients remain genetically undiagnosed. A report now identifies a gene defect in mitochondria, specifically the citrate carrier SLC25A1, that may underlie deficits in neuromuscular transmission seen in two siblings.

Mysterious gene functionally decoded

Posted: 20 Jun 2014 09:03 AM PDT

A fungal gene has influence over the formation of a plant hormone. Scientists now explore how that happens by decoding the genetics behind the relationship, sharing their findings in a new article.

Swarm reveals Earth’s changing magnetism

Posted: 20 Jun 2014 08:57 AM PDT

The first set of high-resolution results from ESA's three-satellite Swarm constellation reveals the most recent changes in the magnetic field that protects our planet. Launched in November 2013, Swarm is providing unprecedented insights into the complex workings of Earth's magnetic field, which safeguards us from the bombarding cosmic radiation and charged particles. Measurements made over the past six months confirm the general trend of the field's weakening, with the most dramatic declines over the Western Hemisphere.

Single tick bite can pack double pathogen punch

Posted: 20 Jun 2014 07:32 AM PDT

People who get bitten by a blacklegged tick have a higher-than-expected chance of being exposed to more than one pathogen at the same time. "We found that ticks are almost twice as likely to be infected with two pathogens -- the bacterium that causes Lyme disease and the protozoan that causes babesiosis -- than we would have expected," said a professor of biology involved in a recent study.

Pig whipworm genome may aid to treat autoimmune diseases

Posted: 20 Jun 2014 07:32 AM PDT

The whole-genome sequence of Trichuris suis, a parasitic worm in pig, has been presented by an international team composed of 11 institutions from six countries. Understanding the genetics mechanisms underlying the pig parasite may aid to modify the human immune response that could result in better treatments for autoimmune diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease and multiple sclerosis.

Screening tool may under-report malnutrition risk in hospitalized frail older people

Posted: 20 Jun 2014 07:31 AM PDT

A number of frail, older hospital patients in the UK who are either malnourished or at risk of malnutrition may currently go unreported, according to the findings of a new clinical study. The research, which aimed to investigate and compare the ability to predict malnutrition in a group of frail, older hospital patients using current nutritional risk screening tools, concluded that the gold standard for assessing malnutrition risk in this group may not be the best tool.

How organs coordinate their development with the whole body

Posted: 20 Jun 2014 07:31 AM PDT

The development of wings in fruit flies does not progress synchronously with the organism's development, according to new research. Instead, it is coordinated with the whole body only at distinct 'milestones'. This study helps explain how an organism facing environmental and physiological perturbations retains the ability to build correct functional organs and tissues in a proportional adult body.

Anxiety-like behavior in invertebrates opens research avenues

Posted: 20 Jun 2014 07:31 AM PDT

For the first time, researchers have produced and observed anxiety-like behavior in crayfish, which disappears when a dose of anxiolytic is injected. This work shows that the neuronal mechanisms related to anxiety have been preserved throughout evolution. This analysis of ancestral behavior in a simple animal model opens up new avenues for studying the neuronal bases for this emotion. Anxiety can be defined as a behavioral response to stress, consisting in lasting apprehension of future events.

Saving Africa's wild dogs -- with urine

Posted: 20 Jun 2014 07:31 AM PDT

The endangered African wild dog is increasingly coming into conflict with humans, partly because it is difficult to fence them out. But research shows that an unusual approach to keeping them away from people and livestock may offer hope. Promising experiments show that scent marking is more effective as a barrier than fences.

Finding thoughts in speech: How human brain processes thoughts during natural communication

Posted: 20 Jun 2014 07:31 AM PDT

For the first time, neuroscientists were able to find out how different thoughts are reflected in neuronal activity during natural conversations. They studied the link between speech, thoughts and brain responses.

Rapid diagnostic tests for diagnosis of visceral leishmaniasis: Review completed

Posted: 20 Jun 2014 07:31 AM PDT

An independent review into the effectiveness of rapid diagnostic tests in diagnosing patients with visceral leishmaniasis (VL) has been completed. VL is caused by a parasite and results in fever, a large spleen and other health problems. Without treatment it can be fatal, and proper treatment can result in cure, so diagnosis is extremely important. Parasitological techniques are invasive, require sophisticated laboratories, consume time, or lack accuracy. Recently, rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) that are easy to perform and safe have become available.

Botany: Leafing out and climate change

Posted: 20 Jun 2014 07:23 AM PDT

Global warming is generally expected to bring spring forward but, as a new study shows, a concomitant influx of plant species from warmer southern latitudes could counteract this effect. Climate change is already clearly discernible in our part of the world. Data from local weather stations indicate that the average temperature in the Munich region has risen by 1.5°C over the past century. Biologists have now looked at the effects of this warming trend on the timing of leaf emergence ("leaf-out") in a broad range of shrubs and trees.

Princess and the Pea? Invisibility cloak prevents an object from being felt

Posted: 20 Jun 2014 07:23 AM PDT

In the past years, invisibility cloaks were developed for various senses. Objects can be hidden from light, heat or sound. However, hiding of an object from being touched still remained to be accomplished. Scientists have now succeeded in creating a volume in which an object can be hidden from touching similar to a pea under the mattress of a princess.

Jupiter's moons remain slightly illuminated, even in eclipse

Posted: 20 Jun 2014 07:23 AM PDT

Astronomers have found that Jupiter's Galilean satellites (Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto) remain slightly bright (up to one millionth of their normal state) even when in the Jovian shadow and not directly illuminated by the Sun. The effect is particularly pronounced for Ganymede and Callisto.

Lopwood, brushwood make high-grade charcoal

Posted: 20 Jun 2014 07:23 AM PDT

When the forestry machines have finished extracting timber, what is left are tops and branches – waste which cannot be used. However, according to researchers, it is possible to turn these heaps of lopwood into high-quality charcoal. One researcher proclaims that this could revolutionize the bio-energy production industry.

For cancer patients, new tool predicts financial pain

Posted: 20 Jun 2014 07:21 AM PDT

Cancer care has a new side effect. Along with the distress of a cancer diagnosis and the discomforts of treatment, patients now have to deal with "financial toxicity," the expense and anxiety confronting those who face large, unpredictable costs, often compounded by decreased ability to work. The cost of health care in the United States is rising faster than the gross domestic product. The cost of cancer care is rising faster than the cost of health care, and the cost of new cancer drugs is rising faster than the cost of overall cancer care.

Creating friendships between African-American and Caucasian couples can reduce prejudice

Posted: 20 Jun 2014 07:21 AM PDT

The physical presence of romantic partners in intergroup friendships -- friendships with different racial and ethnic groups, religious groups, or sexual orientations -- positively influences interactions with people who are perceived to be different from themselves.

No evidence of long-term PTSD risk in patients with awareness during surgery

Posted: 20 Jun 2014 07:21 AM PDT

Patients with confirmed episodes of awareness during anesthesia and surgery don't seem to be at increased risk of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other problems with psychosocial well-being at long-term follow-up, reports a study. Intraoperative awareness with recall is an uncommon but documented complication in patients undergoing general anesthesia. Because intraoperative awareness is rare, it is difficult to study the possible psychological after-effects.

How does a soccer ball swerve? Smoothness of a ball's surface, in addition to playing technique, is a critical factor

Posted: 19 Jun 2014 06:06 PM PDT

It happens every four years: The World Cup begins and some of the world's most skilled players carefully line up free kicks, take aim -- and shoot way over the goal. The players are all trying to bend the ball into a top corner of the goal, often over a wall of defensive players and away from the reach of a lunging goalkeeper.

Ovarian cancer treatment discovered by researchers

Posted: 19 Jun 2014 05:54 PM PDT

A new treatment for ovarian cancer can improve response rates (increase the rate of tumor shrinkage) and prolong the time until cancers recur, research shows. In addition, this breakthrough showed a trend in improving survival although these data are not yet mature. "This is an exciting new targeted medication in treating recurrent ovarian cancer. Recurrent ovarian cancer is almost always fatal and new treatments are desperately needed," said one researcher.

Oldest ever schistosomiasis egg found may be first proof of early human technology exacerbating disease burden

Posted: 19 Jun 2014 05:54 PM PDT

The discovery of a schistosomiasis parasite egg in a 6200-year-old grave at a prehistoric town by the Euphrates river in Syria may be the first evidence that agricultural irrigation systems in the Middle East contributed to disease burden, according to new research. Schistosomiasis is a disease caused by several species of flatworm parasites that live in the blood vessels of the bladder and intestines.

Strict diet suspends development, doubles lifespan of worms

Posted: 19 Jun 2014 05:54 PM PDT

Taking food away from C. elegans triggers a state of arrested development: while the organism continues to wriggle about, foraging for food, its cells and organs are suspended in an ageless, quiescent state. When food becomes plentiful again, the worm develops as planned, but can live twice as long as normal.

Stroke hospitalizations up among middle-aged blacks in South Carolina

Posted: 19 Jun 2014 02:26 PM PDT

Stroke hospitalizations in South Carolina are increasing among middle-aged blacks. The disparity in South Carolina alone, was associated with $450 million in hospitalization charges over 10 years. The issue is not limited to the south as similar data has also been noted elsewhere.

Shorter time to first cigarette of the day is associated with risk of lung cancer

Posted: 19 Jun 2014 02:26 PM PDT

Standard markers of nicotine dependency include cigarettes smoked per day, duration of smoking, and cumulative exposure (pack years), but another marker of addiction, time to first cigarette of the day, may also be associated with the risk of getting lung cancer in both heavy and light smokers, according to a study.

Better imager for identifying tumors

Posted: 19 Jun 2014 12:41 PM PDT

A new technique that could improve surgeons' ability to identify cancerous tumors and remove them in real-time in the operating room has been developed by researchers. The new imaging system combines two techniques -- near-IR fluorescent imaging and visible light reflectance imaging -- to get a much better picture of the tissue.

New monkey model for AIDS offers promise for medical research

Posted: 19 Jun 2014 12:39 PM PDT

HIV-1, the virus responsible for most cases of AIDS, is a very selective virus and does not readily infect species other than its usual hosts — humans and chimpanzees — making the search for effective treatments and vaccines for AIDS that much more difficult. In new scientific work, researchers have coaxed a slightly modified form of the HIV-1 virus to not only infect pigtailed macaques, a species of monkey, but to cause full blown AIDS in the primates, a first.

Increasing rice production on acidic soils in Malaysia

Posted: 19 Jun 2014 11:59 AM PDT

Adding lime is a cost-effective means of increasing rice production on marginal acidic soils, according to a new study. The study examined the effects of applying lime from various sources on an acid sulphate soil in Merbok, Malaysia.

Protecting laptops on the move: Theoretical model for vibrations in laptops provides design strategies for reducing hard drive failures

Posted: 19 Jun 2014 11:59 AM PDT

Laptops have the advantages of being more versatile and portable than their desktop counterparts. But these attributes impose considerable demands on the electronic components in a laptop -- particularly the hard drive. The magnetic disk inside a hard drive rotates at a rate of several thousand revolutions a minute. At the same time, a read/write head moves only a few nanometers above the disk surface to access information on the disk. At such high speeds, large vibrations can permanently damage the hard drive.

Microscope maps surfaces at resolutions below 100 nanometers: Microparticles get the whole picture

Posted: 19 Jun 2014 11:59 AM PDT

Microscopes are conventionally used to image tiny features. However, their resolution is inherently limited by the wavelength of light. This limitation means that they can resolve only structures larger than a few hundred nanometers. Now scientists have demonstrated an alternative optical approach capable of mapping surfaces at resolutions below 100 nanometers.

Grid computing resources: Schedule algorithms based on game theory

Posted: 19 Jun 2014 11:59 AM PDT

Grid computing is a powerful form of distributed computing wherein a network of loosely coupled and geographically separated computers, typically of different computational powers, work together to perform data-intensive calculations. The technology uses numerical simulations to help investigate a variety of challenging scientific problems, including the subatomic world revealed by particle accelerators like the Large Hadron Collider.

Cracks emerge in the cloud: Security weakness of cloud storage services

Posted: 19 Jun 2014 11:59 AM PDT

As individual computer users increasingly access the Internet from different smartphones, tablets and laptops, many are choosing to use online cloud services to store and synchronize their digital content. Cloud storage allows consumers to retrieve their data from any location using any device and can provide critical backups in the case of hard disk failure. But while people are usually vigilant about enacting security measures on personal computers, they often neglect to consider how safe their files are in the cloud.

New tool to confront lung cancer focuses on misregulation of two genes

Posted: 19 Jun 2014 11:46 AM PDT

Misregulation of two genes, sox2 and lkb1, drives squamous cell lung cancer in mice, researchers report. The discovery uncovers new treatment strategies, and provides a clinically relevant mouse model in which to test them. Only 15% of patients with squamous cell lung cancer -- the second most common lung cancer -- survive five years past diagnosis. Little is understood about how the deadly disease arises, preventing development of targeted therapies that could serve as a second line of defense once standard chemotherapy regimens fail.

Kids with strong bonds to parents make better friends, can adapt in difficult relationships

Posted: 19 Jun 2014 11:21 AM PDT

What social skills does a three-year-old bring to interactions with a new peer partner? If he has strong bonds to his parents, the child is likely to be a positive, responsive playmate, and he'll be able to adapt to a difficult peer by asserting his needs, according to a new study. "Securely attached children are more responsive to suggestions or requests made by a new peer partner. A child who has experienced a secure attachment relationship with caregivers is likely to come into a new peer relationship with positive expectations," said one expert.

Seeing the inner workings of brain made easier by new technique

Posted: 19 Jun 2014 09:53 AM PDT

Scientists have improved on their original technique for peering into the intact brain, making it more reliable and safer, researchers report. The results could help scientists unravel the inner connections of how thoughts, memories or diseases arise. When you look at the brain, what you see is the fatty outer covering of the nerve cells within, which blocks microscopes from taking images of the intricate connections between deep brain cells. The idea behind this study was to eliminate that fatty covering while keeping the brain intact, complete with all its intricate inner wiring.

Limb regeneration: Do salamanders hold the key?

Posted: 19 Jun 2014 09:52 AM PDT

The secret of how salamanders successfully regrow body parts is being unravelled by researchers in a bid to apply it to humans. For the first time, researchers have found that the 'ERK pathway' must be constantly active for salamander cells to be reprogrammed, and hence able to contribute to the regeneration of different body parts.

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