Τρίτη, 24 Ιουνίου 2014

ScienceDaily: Latest Science News

ScienceDaily: Latest Science News


Webb telescope microshutters journey into NASA clean room

Posted: 23 Jun 2014 10:17 AM PDT

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope microshutters have taken a short jaunt in preparation of its million mile journey in four years. The microshutters were moved into a NASA Goddard cleanroom for testing to verify they work correctly before being installed in the Webb's Near Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSpec) instrument.

Earth-size 'diamond' in space: Remarkable white dwarf star possibly coldest, dimmest ever detected

Posted: 23 Jun 2014 10:13 AM PDT

Astronomers have identified possibly the coldest, faintest white dwarf star ever detected. This ancient stellar remnant is so cool that its carbon has crystallized, forming -- in effect -- an Earth-size diamond in space. The object in this new study is likely the same age as the Milky Way, approximately 11 billion years old.

Anti-androgen therapy for triple-negative breast cancer may benefit lower-androgen tumors

Posted: 23 Jun 2014 09:10 AM PDT

Even triple negative breast cancers expressing very low levels of androgen receptor may benefit from anti-androgen therapy, researchers report. "This line of work is starting to change our thinking about who and when -- the timing and patient selection for anti-androgen receptor therapy in triple-negative breast cancer," says the study's first author.

When couples disagree on stroke recovery, one partner can suffer

Posted: 23 Jun 2014 09:04 AM PDT

When a stroke survivor and his/her caregiving spouse disagree on the survivor's rate of recovery, the caregiver is more likely to experience depression and emotional distress. Researchers found that the magnitude of the discrepancy in spousal perception is key to predicting depression in caregivers. They add that the magnitude of the discrepancy in perceptions between survivors and spousal caregivers is key to predicting depression in spousal caregivers -- which can then cycle back onto the survivors.

Breakthrough drug-eluting patch stops scar growth, reduces scar tissues

Posted: 23 Jun 2014 09:04 AM PDT

A new invention provides a simple, affordable and -- most importantly -- highly effective way for patients to self-treat keloid scars. It is a special patch made from polymers fabricated into microneedles, which are loaded with the US FDA-approved scar-reducing drug, 5-fluorouracil. Self-administered by patients, the microneedles attach the patch to scar tissue and allow sustained drug-release.

First demonstration of a self-powered cardiac pacemaker

Posted: 23 Jun 2014 09:03 AM PDT

A self-powered artificial cardiac pacemaker that is operated semi-permanently by a flexible piezoelectric nanogenerator has been developed by researchers. The team's newly designed flexible piezoelectric nanogenerator directly stimulated a living rat's heart using electrical energy converted from the small body movements of the rat. This technology could facilitate the use of self-powered flexible energy harvesters, not only prolonging the lifetime of cardiac pacemakers but also realizing real-time heart monitoring.

Cell stress inflames the gut, research shows

Posted: 23 Jun 2014 09:03 AM PDT

Inflammatory bowel disease is a common condition in western industrialized countries. What triggers it, however, is not yet fully understood. Nutrition researchers have now identified a new step in the pathogenesis. They used a mouse model to show that a protein in the cells of the intestinal mucosa is one of the root causes of the disease.

Dental hygiene profession sees 'moment of opportunity' to improve access to oral health care

Posted: 23 Jun 2014 09:01 AM PDT

With opportunities to take increased responsibility for oral health care and to deliver care in a more comprehensive way, it's an exciting time in the profession of dental hygiene. To help prepare to meet these challenges, the Annual Report on Dental Hygiene has been published, a collection of cutting-edge research and practice updates in the field of dental hygiene.

Prescription drugs overtake cannabis in fatal crashes

Posted: 23 Jun 2014 09:00 AM PDT

Since 1993, the profile of a drugged driver has changed substantially. A study shows that more drivers are now testing positive for prescription drugs, cannabis, and multiple drugs, and they are more likely to be older than 50. The study finds that the percentage of drugged drivers with three or more drugs in their system nearly doubled from 1993 to 2010, increasing from 11.5 percent to 21.5 percent. "In 1993, about 1 in 8 drivers were using multiple drugs concurrently. By 2010, it was closer to 1 in 5. That's a large increase in drug use," one author said.

Hormone-disrupting activity of fracking chemicals worse than initially found

Posted: 23 Jun 2014 07:39 AM PDT

Many chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, can disrupt not only the human body's reproductive hormones but also the glucocorticoid and thyroid hormone receptors, which are necessary to maintain good health, a new study finds.

BPA stimulates growth of an advanced subtype of human breast cancer cells called inflammatory breast cancer

Posted: 23 Jun 2014 07:39 AM PDT

Environmental exposure to the industrial chemical bisphenol A (BPA) lowers the effectiveness of a targeted anti-cancer drug for inflammatory breast cancer, according to a new study. The results also show that BPA causes breast cancer cells to grow faster.

Common BPA substitute, BPS, disrupts heart rhythms in females

Posted: 23 Jun 2014 07:39 AM PDT

Bisphenol S (BPS), a common substitute for bisphenol A (BPA) in consumer products, may have similar toxic effects on the heart as previously reported for BPA, a new study finds.

BPA Substitute as bad as BPA? Exposure to BPA substitute causes hyperactivity and brain changes in fish

Posted: 23 Jun 2014 07:39 AM PDT

A chemical found in many "BPA free" consumer products, known as bisphenol S (BPS), is just as potent as bisphenol A (BPA) in altering brain development and causing hyperactive behavior, an animal study finds.

Unlocking milk's formula could save lives, say scientists

Posted: 23 Jun 2014 06:58 AM PDT

A new study on the digestion of milk could lead to the development of new formulas for premature babies, weight loss drinks and potentially new drug delivery systems. The research shows, for the first time, detailed insights into the structure of milk during digestion. While milk's nutritional values are well known, little research has been conducted into the detailed structure of milk and how its fats interact with the digestive system until now.

Battle of the bulge occurs in the liver

Posted: 23 Jun 2014 06:57 AM PDT

An international team of scientists has shown how free radicals contribute to type 2 diabetes, obesity and fatty liver disease. Type 2 diabetes and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease are key complications of obesity as 80 per cent of patients with type 2 diabetes are obese, and 75 per cent of patients who are obese or have type 2 diabetes also have fatty liver disease.

'Missing link' found in production of protein factories in cells

Posted: 23 Jun 2014 06:46 AM PDT

The 'missing link' in the chemical system that enables animal cells to produce ribosomes -- the thousands of protein 'factories' contained within each cell that manufacture all of the proteins needed to build tissue and sustain life -- has been found by a team of biologists. Their discovery will not only force a revision of basic textbooks on molecular biology, but also provide scientists with a better understanding of how to limit uncontrolled cell growth, such as cancer, that might be regulated by controlling the output of ribosomes.

Cancer by remote-control: Overlooked DNA shuffling drives deadly paediatric brain tumour

Posted: 23 Jun 2014 06:29 AM PDT

One of the deadliest forms of paediatric brain tumor, Group 3 medulloblastoma, is linked to a variety of large-scale DNA rearrangements which all have the same overall effect on specific genes located on different chromosomes. "We were surprised to see that in addition to MYC there are two other major drivers of Group 3 medulloblastoma -- two sister genes called GFI1B and GFI1," says Korbel. "Our findings could be relevant for research on other cancers, as we discovered that those genes had been activated in a way that cancer researchers don't usually look for in solid tumors," researchers remarked.

Midwifery matters 'more than ever,' experts say

Posted: 23 Jun 2014 06:29 AM PDT

Midwifery has a crucial part to play in saving the lives of millions of women and children who die during and around the time of pregnancy, according to a major new series published. The Series, produced by an international group of academics, clinicians, professional midwives, policymakers and advocates for women and children, is the most critical, wide-reaching examination of midwifery ever conducted, the experts say. It shows the scale of the positive impact that can be achieved when effective, high-quality midwifery is available to all women and their babies.

Family dysfunction strong predictor of emotional problems in children of cancer patients

Posted: 23 Jun 2014 06:29 AM PDT

A cancer diagnosis affects the whole family, and a significant number of children of cancer patients may be at risk for emotional and behavioral problems. New research suggests that family dysfunction may increase a child's risk of experiencing such problems after learning of a parent's illness. "This means that in view of a life-threatening disease in a parent, the level of family functioning predicts children's behavioral and emotional symptoms more than any other tested variable including illness-related factors," the lead author explained.

Bisexual men face unique challenges to their sexual health

Posted: 23 Jun 2014 06:29 AM PDT

Bisexual men have many unmet public health needs, which leave them vulnerable to sexually transmitted infections and other health problems. This new study illuminates the behavioral, interpersonal, and social realities of men who have sex with men and women, and it explores possible interventions to better serve their needs.

Association found between maternal exposure to agricultural pesticides and autism

Posted: 23 Jun 2014 06:29 AM PDT

Pregnant women who lived in close proximity to fields and farms where chemical pesticides were applied experienced a two-thirds increased risk of having a child with autism spectrum disorder or other developmental delay, a study by researchers has found. The study examined associations between specific classes of pesticides, including organophosphates, pyrethroids and carbamates, applied during the study participants' pregnancies and later diagnoses of autism and developmental delay in their offspring.

Organic conundrum in Large Magellanic Cloud

Posted: 23 Jun 2014 06:23 AM PDT

A group of organic chemicals that are considered carcinogens and pollutants today on Earth, but are also thought to be the building blocks for the origins of life, may hold clues to how carbon-rich chemicals created in stars are processed and recycled in space.

3-D map shows dusty structure of the Milky Way

Posted: 23 Jun 2014 06:23 AM PDT

Astronomers have created a detailed three-dimensional map of the dusty structure of the Milky Way – the star-studded bright disc of our own galaxy – as seen from Earth's northern hemisphere.

Puffing sun gives birth to reluctant eruption

Posted: 23 Jun 2014 06:23 AM PDT

A suite of Sun-gazing spacecraft, SOHO, STEREO and Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), have spotted an unusual series of eruptions in which a series of fast 'puffs' force the slow ejection of a massive burst of plasma from the Sun's corona.  The eruptions took place over a period of three days, starting on 17 January 2013. 

Archaeo-astronomy steps out from shadows of the past

Posted: 23 Jun 2014 06:23 AM PDT

From the 'Crystal Pathway' that links stone circles on Cornwall's Bodmin Moor to star-aligned megaliths in central Portugal, archaeo-astronomers are finding evidence that Neolithic and Bronze Age people were acute observers of the Sun, as well as the Moon and stars, and that they embedded astronomical references within their local landscapes.

All the sky, all the time: UK astronomers debate involvement in the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope

Posted: 23 Jun 2014 06:23 AM PDT

The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope will be sited at Cerro Pachón in the Chilean Andes and will have a primary mirror 8.4 metres in diameter, making it one of the largest single telescopes in the world, as well as the world's largest digital camera, comprising 3.2 billion pixels. It will achieve first light in 2020 and its main sky survey will begin in 2022.

'Solar moss' shakes at 16,000 kilometers an hour

Posted: 23 Jun 2014 06:23 AM PDT

Using a state-of-the-art ultraviolet camera, astronomers have obtained exceptionally sharp images of 'Solar Moss', bright features on the Sun that may hold the key to a longstanding mystery.

Big solar blowouts hold clue to space weather

Posted: 23 Jun 2014 06:23 AM PDT

Solar jets are ejections from the surface of the Sun, where 1-10 tons of hot material are expelled at speeds of up to 1000 kilometers per second. Using space based observatories like Hinode and STEREO, solar physicists have recently discovered a new type of jet known as 'blowout' jets, which seem to be like the Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) that can disrupt the magnetic field of the Earth, but on a much smaller scale. Now a scientist has created a 3-D model of these events for the first time, with compelling computer-generated simulations that match the jets' appearance from space.

Archaeologists search for new portal into bygone era

Posted: 23 Jun 2014 06:23 AM PDT

Iron Age combat sessions and an expert view on life in Leicestershire over 2000 years ago will be on offer at one of the county's most striking historic features, Burrough Hill.

Colon has safety mechanism that restricts tumor formation

Posted: 23 Jun 2014 06:22 AM PDT

Colon cancer development starts with the formation of benign tumors called adenomas. It is estimated that between 30% and 50% of people over 50 will develop one of these tumors. These adenomas or polyps are the pre-cancerous lesions that, once they accumulate further genetic mutations over many years, can progress to colon cancer. A team has discovered that the colon has a safety mechanism to restrict the formation and growth of adenomas.

Organ network in transparent chip for detailed study of how cancer cells spread

Posted: 23 Jun 2014 06:21 AM PDT

The recent development of the concept of organs on a chip opens the possibility of realistically studying human organs without the use of patients or animal testing. One researcher goes one step further: he intends to make microsystems in which multiple 'organs' are connected through 'blood vessels.' That will, for example, allow precise investigation of how cancer spreads. This could eventually make the development of medical drug much cheaper and faster.

Not even cell death can stop immune system, inflammation

Posted: 23 Jun 2014 06:21 AM PDT

Even after a cell dies, components of the immune system remain active and continue to fuel inflammatory reactions. An international team of researchers has discovered how this incredible form of communication works. The findings offer potentially novel approaches for therapies against many serious diseases that affect a large part of the population, such as gout, atherosclerosis and Alzheimer's disease.

Potential avenues for treatment of deadly nasopharyngeal cancer discovered

Posted: 23 Jun 2014 06:21 AM PDT

A distinct mutational signature and nine significantly mutated genes associated with nasopharyngeal cancer have been found by an international team of researchers, paving the way to developing novel therapies for this deadly disease. The group has conducted the first successful comprehensive genomic study of nasopharyngeal carcinoma, which has a particularly high prevalence in Southern China and Southeast Asia, including Singapore. The findings provide an enhanced road map for the study of the molecular basis of this form of cancer.

Veterans with blast traumatic brain injury may have unrecognized pituitary dysfunction

Posted: 23 Jun 2014 06:20 AM PDT

In soldiers who survive traumatic brain injury from blast exposure, pituitary dysfunction after their blast injury may be an important, under-recognized, and potentially treatable source of their symptoms, a new study finds. "Our study suggests that deficiencies in the pituitary's growth hormone and testosterone are commonly seen after blast traumatic brain injury, especially in patients who are overweight," says an investigator.

Soy supplements appear to be safe, beneficial in diabetic men

Posted: 23 Jun 2014 06:20 AM PDT

Soy protein supplements, which contain natural estrogens, do not reduce testosterone levels in men with Type 2 diabetes who already have borderline-low testosterone, according to a new study. In addition, soy protein supplements significantly improved diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number in a blood pressure reading) but not systolic blood pressure (the top number).

Exercising first, dieting later protects patients with metabolic syndrome from muscle loss

Posted: 23 Jun 2014 06:18 AM PDT

Younger and older women tend to lose lean muscle mass, along with fat, unless they engage in physical activity before they attempt weight loss, a new study finds. "To preserve muscle in metabolic syndrome, irrespective of age, exercise should precede the initiation of weight loss and not be started at the same time as diet," said the lead study author.

Testosterone replacement may help mobility limited older men improve and maintain aerobic capacity

Posted: 23 Jun 2014 06:18 AM PDT

Testosterone replacement therapy may help older men who have limited mobility and low testosterone improve their aerobic capacity and lessen its decline with age, new research finds. Aerobic fitness declines as people grow older. In previous research, the authors showed that testosterone therapy might improve endurance capacity in aging men, but the effects of testosterone on aerobic performance in mobility limited older men have not been evaluated.

Air pollution controls linked to lower death rates in North Carolina

Posted: 23 Jun 2014 06:18 AM PDT

National and state air pollution controls that went into effect in the early 1990s coincide with decreasing death rates from emphysema, asthma and pneumonia among people in North Carolina, according to a study. Using mortality trends from state public health data, along with monthly measurements from air-monitoring stations across North Carolina from 1993-2010, the researchers were able to draw a close association between improved air quality and declining death rates from respiratory illnesses.

Easing pain, getting back quality of life for cancer survivors

Posted: 23 Jun 2014 06:18 AM PDT

More and more people are surviving their cancer but they don't need to cope with lingering pain in silence. A review paper now describes what survivors can do to improve their quality of life. "Pain makes people less functional," says one author. "I think the key thing people need to know is to ask for help if they have chronic pain after cancer. They need to know that there are lots of different ways to address pain. Just because the cancer is gone doesn't mean you're going to be 100 percent the way you were before you were treated." Survivors shouldn't suffer in silence.

Video games, social networks, chat rooms, may help prevent HIV

Posted: 23 Jun 2014 06:18 AM PDT

While many HIV prevention interventions have traditionally been delivered face-to-face, a study suggests that digital outreach efforts delivered via text messages, interactive games, chat rooms, and social networks may be an effective way to reach at-risk younger men who have sex with men. "This is a population that is very used to technology, and there is built-in privacy and immediacy with digital communication that may be especially appealing," says the lead study author. "If we want to reduce HIV infection rates, particularly among younger men, we need to explore the use of technology to meet them where they live -- online and on their phones."

Sensitive? Emotional? Empathetic? It could be in your genes

Posted: 23 Jun 2014 06:18 AM PDT

Do you jump to help the less fortunate or cry during sad movie scenes? If yes, you may be among the 20 percent of our population that is genetically pre-disposed to empathy, according to a study. The results provide further evidence that highly sensitive people are generally highly tuned into their environment, and provide evidence that especially high levels of awareness and emotional responsiveness are fundamental features of humans characterized as HSPs.

Microenvironment of hematopoietic stem cells can be a target for myeloproliferative disorders

Posted: 22 Jun 2014 11:22 AM PDT

The protective microenvironment of the hematopoietic stem cell niche, which produces cells of the blood and the immune system, also protects against myeloproliferative neoplasia. Protecting this microenvironment, or niche, has thus emerged as a new route for the treatment of these diseases, for which there is currently no fully effective treatment.

Concentrating solar power: Study shows greater potential

Posted: 22 Jun 2014 11:22 AM PDT

Concentrating solar power could supply a large fraction of the power supply in a decarbonized energy system, shows a new study of the technology and its potential practical application.

Architecture of signaling proteins enhances knowledge of key receptors

Posted: 22 Jun 2014 11:22 AM PDT

The underlying architecture of a cellular signaling complex involved in the body's response to stimuli such as light and pain has been determined by a team of researchers. This complex, consisting of a human cell surface receptor and its regulatory protein, reveals a two-step mechanism that has been hypothesized previously but not directly documented.

Regional weather extremes linked to atmospheric variations

Posted: 22 Jun 2014 11:22 AM PDT

Variations in high-altitude wind patterns expose particular parts of Europe, Asia and the US to different extreme weather conditions, a new study has shown. Changes to air flow patterns around the Northern Hemisphere are a major influence on prolonged bouts of unseasonal weather -- whether it be hot, cold, wet or dry.

The ICEMAN study: How keeping cool could spur metabolic benefits

Posted: 22 Jun 2014 11:22 AM PDT

A new study demonstrates that ambient temperatures can influence the growth or loss of brown fat in people. Cool environments stimulate growth, warm environments loss. The study results clearly show the 'plasticity' of brown fat in humans.

Evidence found for the Higgs boson direct decay into fermions

Posted: 22 Jun 2014 11:21 AM PDT

For the first time, scientists from the CMS experiment on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN have succeeded in finding evidence for the direct decay of the Higgs boson into fermions. Previously, the Higgs particle could only be detected through its decay into bosons. As a group of elementary particles, fermions form the matter while bosons act as force carriers between fermions. 

Mysterious 'magic island' appears on Saturn's moon Titan

Posted: 22 Jun 2014 11:21 AM PDT

Astronomers have discovered a bright, mysterious geologic object – where one never existed – on Cassini mission radar images of Ligeia Mare, the second-largest sea on Saturn's moon Titan. Scientifically speaking, this spot is considered a "transient feature," but the astronomers have playfully dubbed it "Magic Island."

Family of proteins plays key role in cellular pump dynamics

Posted: 22 Jun 2014 11:21 AM PDT

Scientists have discovered how a family of proteins — cation diffusion facilitators (CDFs) — regulates an important cellular cycle where a cell's energy generated is converted to necessary cellular functions. The finding could eventually to significant breakthroughs in the treatment of Parkinson's, chronic liver disease and heart disease.

Brain's balancing act discovered: Wiring determines if neurons communicate

Posted: 22 Jun 2014 11:21 AM PDT

A fundamental mechanism by which the brain maintains its internal balance has been discovered by researchers. The mechanism involves the brain's most basic inner wiring and the processes that control whether a neuron relays information to other neurons or suppresses the transmission of information.

Starving pancreatic cancer before it has a chance to feast

Posted: 20 Jun 2014 01:32 PM PDT

Researchers are working towards cutting off the growth of pancreatic tumors before they can metastasize throughout the body. Pancreatic cancer and other cancers can only thrive, grow and spread if they have nutrients from blood, just like other tissues in our bodies. Cancer cells and tumors at first rely on nearby blood vessels to get what they need to survive, but, as tumors grow, they need to form new vessels. These vessels differ from those in regular tissue, Sushanta explained, which is part of the reason cancer can be so difficult to treat.

Heart physicians devise new hybrid robotic and stenting procedure

Posted: 20 Jun 2014 01:32 PM PDT

Recently, a patient presented to cardiologists with three blockages around the heart. The physicians devised a new hybrid procedure, which included minimally invasive robotic bypass surgery to one vessel, as well as stenting to two remaining vessels — all in the span of three days. The patient says the procedures were not difficult to recover from, and that he used very little pain medication afterward.

Molecule regulates production of antibacterial agent used by immune cells

Posted: 20 Jun 2014 11:39 AM PDT

Researchers have discovered how a protein molecule in immune cells promotes the production of nitric oxide, a potent weapon in the cells' arsenal to defend the body from bacterial attack. The protein may offer a target for reining in the inflammatory response, which must be able to fight infection without damaging tissue.

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