Σάββατο, 28 Ιουνίου 2014

ScienceDaily: Latest Science News

ScienceDaily: Latest Science News

Unprecedented 3-D view of important brain receptor

Posted: 27 Jun 2014 12:00 PM PDT

Researchers have given science a new and unprecedented 3-D view of one of the most important receptors in the brain -- a receptor that allows us to learn and remember, and whose dysfunction is involved in a wide range of neurological diseases and conditions, including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, schizophrenia and depression.

Some aggressive cancers may respond to anti-inflammatory drugs

Posted: 27 Jun 2014 11:59 AM PDT

Some cancer patients with aggressive tumors may benefit from a class of anti-inflammatory drugs used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, new research suggests. Studying triple-negative breast cancer, researchers found that some aggressive tumors rely on an antiviral pathway that appears to drive inflammation, widely recognized for roles in cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases.

One in 10 deaths among working-age adults in U.S. due to excessive drinking, report finds

Posted: 27 Jun 2014 11:00 AM PDT

Excessive alcohol use accounts for one in 10 deaths among working-age adults ages 20-64 years in the United States, according to a new report. Excessive alcohol use led to approximately 88,000 deaths per year from 2006 to 2010, and shortened the lives of those who died by about 30 years. These deaths were due to health effects from drinking too much over time, such as breast cancer, liver disease, and heart disease; and health effects from drinking too much in a short period of time, such as violence, alcohol poisoning, and motor vehicle crashes.

Research may yield new ways to treat antibiotic-resistant TB

Posted: 27 Jun 2014 10:49 AM PDT

Scientists have successfully modified the precursor to one of the drugs used to treat tuberculosis, an important first step toward new drugs that can transcend antibiotic resistance issues. In 1993, resurging levels of tuberculosis due to this antibiotic resistance led the World Health Organization to declare it a global health emergency.

'Compressive sensing' provides new approach to measuring a quantum system

Posted: 27 Jun 2014 10:49 AM PDT

In quantum physics, momentum and position are an example of conjugate variables. This means they are connected by Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, which says that both quantities cannot be simultaneously measured precisely. Recently, researchers have been developing novel techniques, such as 'weak measurement,' to measure both at the same time. Now physicists have shown that a technique called compressive sensing offers a way to measure both variables at the same time, without violating the Uncertainty Principle.

Kids who know unhealthy food logos more likely to be overweight

Posted: 27 Jun 2014 10:49 AM PDT

The more a child is familiar with logos and other images from fast-food restaurants, sodas and not-so-healthy snack food brands, the more likely the child is to be overweight or obese. And, unfortunately, studies have shown that people who are overweight at a young age, tend to stay that way.

Early life stress can leave lasting impacts on the brain

Posted: 27 Jun 2014 10:31 AM PDT

For children, stress can go a long way. A little bit provides a platform for learning, adapting and coping. But a lot of it — chronic, toxic stress like poverty, neglect and physical abuse — can have lasting negative impacts. A team of researchers recently showed these kinds of stressors, experienced in early life, might be changing the parts of developing children's brains responsible for learning, memory and the processing of stress and emotion.

Diamond plates create nanostructures through pressure, not chemistry

Posted: 27 Jun 2014 10:31 AM PDT

Mechanical force -- about the same that raises the numerals on credit cards -- proves to be a much more varied and ecological creator of nanostructures than the current method of choice, chemistry, with its unvarying results and harmful chemical processes.

Monkeys also believe in winning streaks, study shows

Posted: 27 Jun 2014 10:31 AM PDT

Humans have a well-documented tendency to see winning and losing streaks in situations that, in fact, are random. But scientists disagree about whether the "hot-hand bias" is a cultural artifact picked up in childhood or a predisposition deeply ingrained in the structure of our cognitive architecture.

To address climate change, nothing substitutes for reducing carbon dioxide emissions

Posted: 27 Jun 2014 10:30 AM PDT

The politically expedient way to mitigate climate change is essentially no way at all, according to a comprehensive new study. Among the climate pollutants humans put into the atmosphere in significant quantities, the effects of carbon dioxide are the longest-lived, with effects on climate that extend thousands of years after emissions cease. But finding the political consensus to act on reducing carbon dioxide emissions has been nearly impossible. So there has been a movement to make up for that inaction by reducing emissions of other, shorter-lived gasses, such as methane, hydrofluorocarbons, and nitrous oxide, and particulates such as soot and black carbon, all of which contribute to warming as well.

Youth regularly receive pro-marijuana tweets

Posted: 27 Jun 2014 10:30 AM PDT

Hundreds of thousands of American youth are following marijuana-related Twitter accounts and getting pro-pot messages several times each day, according to researchers. They said the tweets are cause for concern because young people are thought to be especially responsive to social media influences, and patterns of drug use tend to be established in a person's late teens and early 20s.

Progress of comprehensive everglades restoration plan evaluated

Posted: 27 Jun 2014 08:30 AM PDT

Although planning for Everglades restoration projects has advanced considerably over the past two years, financial, procedural, and policy constraints have impeded project implementation, says a new congressionally mandated report.

Climate change and the ecology of fear

Posted: 27 Jun 2014 08:30 AM PDT

Climate change is predicted to have major impacts on the many species that call our rocky shorelines home. Indeed, species living in these intertidal habitats, which spend half their day exposed to air and the other half submerged by water, may be subjected to a double whammy as both air and water temperatures rise. Given the reliance of human society on nearshore coastal ecosystems, it is critical that we better understand how climate change will affect them.

Homeless alcoholics typically began drinking as children

Posted: 27 Jun 2014 08:30 AM PDT

A phenomenological study offers detailed insights into homeless, alcohol-dependent patients often stigmatized by the public and policymakers as drains on the health care system, showing the constellation of reasons they are incapable of escaping social circumstances that perpetuate and exacerbate their problems.

A new species of moth from the Appalachian Mountains named to honor the Cherokee Nation

Posted: 27 Jun 2014 08:30 AM PDT

A small, drab and highly inconspicuous moth has been flitting nameless about its special niche among the middle elevations of one of the world's oldest mountain ranges, the southern Appalachian Mountains in North America. A team of American scientists has now identified this new to science species as Cherokeea attakullakulla.

Are conservatives more obedient and agreeable than their liberal counterparts?

Posted: 27 Jun 2014 08:30 AM PDT

Why do conservatives appear to have an affinity for obeying leadership? And why do conservatives perceive greater consensus among politically like-minded others?

Astronomers closer to proving gravitational waves with precise measurements of rapidly rotating neutron star

Posted: 27 Jun 2014 08:27 AM PDT

When Albert Einstein proposed the existence of gravitational waves as part of his theory of relativity, he set in train a pursuit for knowledge that continues nearly a century later. These ripples in the space-time continuum exert a powerful appeal because it is believed they carry information that will allow us to look back into the very beginnings of the universe. But although the weight of evidence continues to build, undisputed confirmation of their existence still eludes scientists. Researchers have now provided another piece of the puzzle with their precise measurements of a rapidly rotating neutron star: one of the smallest, densest stars in the universe.

Adding sugar to high-fat Western diet could be worse than high-fat diet alone

Posted: 27 Jun 2014 08:27 AM PDT

A high-fructose, high-fat diet can cause harmful effects to the livers of adult rats, according to new research, providing new insight into the effects of adding fructose to a Western diet high in fat. The study showed that short-term consumption of a Western diet, rich in saturated fats and fructose, is more damaging for healthy liver development than following a high fat diet alone.

Do fruit, vegetable supplements improve respiratory function in smokers?

Posted: 27 Jun 2014 08:27 AM PDT

Studies have shown that smokers, in addition to exposing their lungs to harmful toxins, often eat less fruits and vegetables than non-smokers. Given the role of fruit and vegetable based antioxidants in improving respiratory health and the difficulty of achieving lasting dietary change, researchers hypothesized that powdered fruit and vegetable supplements could improve respiratory function in heavy smokers.

Proof-of-concept for host-directed tuberculosis therapy established by researchers

Posted: 27 Jun 2014 06:51 AM PDT

A new type of tuberculosis treatment that involves manipulating the body's response to TB bacteria rather than targeting the bacteria themselves -- a concept called host-directed therapy -- has been established by researchers. TB remains a major cause of disability and death worldwide as an estimated 8.6 million people fell ill with TB and 1.3 million people died from the disease in 2012.

New form of brain signaling affects addiction-related behavior

Posted: 27 Jun 2014 06:51 AM PDT

A new form of neurotransmission that influences the long-lasting memory created by addictive drugs, like cocaine and opioids, and the subsequent craving for these drugs of abuse, has been discovered by researchers. Loss of this type of neurotransmission creates changes in brains cells that resemble the changes caused by drug addiction. The findings suggest that targeting this type of neurotransmission might lead to new therapies for treating drug addiction.

Sex hormone levels at midlife linked to heart disease risk in women

Posted: 27 Jun 2014 06:51 AM PDT

As hormone levels change during the transition to menopause, the quality of a woman's cholesterol carriers degrades, leaving her at greater risk for heart disease, researchers have discovered. The first-of-its-kind evaluation was done using an advanced method to characterize cholesterol carriers in the blood.

Prevention incentives in healthcare: Do they work?

Posted: 27 Jun 2014 06:49 AM PDT

A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down -- and so do movie tickets, cell phone minutes and discounts on airline flights. A private South African health plan increased patient use of preventive care with an incentive program that rewards healthy behavior using discounts on retail goods and travel.

Scientists identify new microbes linked to severe diarrhea

Posted: 27 Jun 2014 06:49 AM PDT

Diarrhea is a major cause of childhood mortality in developing countries and ranks as one of the top four causes of death among young children in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. In a finding that may one day help control diarrhea, researchers have identified microorganisms that may trigger diarrheal disease and others that may protect against it. These microbes were not widely linked to the condition previously.

'Big data' technique improves monitoring of kidney transplant patients

Posted: 27 Jun 2014 06:49 AM PDT

A new data analysis technique radically improves monitoring of kidney patients, according to a new study and could lead to profound changes in the way we understand our health.

New use for touchless technology in the operating theatre

Posted: 27 Jun 2014 06:47 AM PDT

Pioneering work using touchless technology for vascular surgery is now being extended to neurosurgery. Following the successful pilot of the technology in vascular surgery procedures, a research team has applied the technology to the manipulation of 3D volumetric models of the brain for neurosurgery. The new system is currently being piloted in the operating theatres.

Rhesus proteins transport ions, not gas

Posted: 27 Jun 2014 06:45 AM PDT

Membrane proteins: do they carry the gas ammonia or the ammonium ion in their luggage? And is transport active or passive? Biochemists have long speculated on the mechanistic details of the ammonium transport family of proteins (Amt), which include the Rhesus protein factors, known as the mammalian blood group system. In mammals, Rhesus proteins regulate acid and ion balance in kidney and liver cells. New research sheds new light on this issue.

'Night owls' drive much worse in the morning

Posted: 27 Jun 2014 06:45 AM PDT

Researchers have shown that individual chronotype -- that is, whether you are a "morning-type" or an "evening-type", depending on the time of day when your physiological functions are more active -- markedly influences driving performance.

Brain fills gaps to produce a likely picture

Posted: 27 Jun 2014 06:45 AM PDT

Researchers use visual illusions to demonstrate to what extent the brain interprets visual signals. They were surprised to discover that active interpretation occurs early on in signal processing. In other words, we see not only with our eyes, but with our brain, too. The primary visual brain cortex is normally regarded as the area where eye signals are merely processed, but that has now been refuted by the new results.

Clinical inertia precludes proper diagnosis in up to 65% lipid abnormalities

Posted: 27 Jun 2014 06:45 AM PDT

Clinical inertia does not allow healthcare professionals to diagnose cholesterol problems in the 65.3% of cases. The results of a new study warn of the need to adopt a more proactive attitude towards a complete dyslipidemia diagnosis in routine clinical practice, especially if it is taken into account that it is an illness related to an increase of cardiovascular risk.

The secrets of children's chatter: research shows boys and girls learn language differently

Posted: 27 Jun 2014 06:45 AM PDT

Experts believe language uses both a mental dictionary and a mental grammar.  The mental 'dictionary' stores sounds, words and common phrases, while mental 'grammar' involves the real-time composition of longer words and sentences. For example, making a longer word 'walked' from a smaller one 'walk'.

Child maltreatment influences alcohol consumption in adolescents

Posted: 27 Jun 2014 06:45 AM PDT

Child maltreatment, whatever its form, produces functional brain changes that increase vulnerability to alcohol consumption when reaching adolescence, research shows. The results determined that the brains of some young abused people perceived the intake of substances positively and were not able to perceive the risks associated with this addictive behavior.

Extinct undersea volcanoes squashed under Earth's crust cause tsunami earthquakes

Posted: 27 Jun 2014 06:45 AM PDT

New research has revealed the causes and warning signs of rare tsunami earthquakes, which may lead to improved detection measures. The new study reveals that tsunami earthquakes may be caused by extinct undersea volcanoes causing a "sticking point" between two sections of Earth's crust called tectonic plates, where one plate slides under another.

Social pressure stops Facebook users recommending products on social media sites

Posted: 27 Jun 2014 06:44 AM PDT

Users of social media sites such as Facebook are less willing to recommend products and services online because of the perceived risks to their reputation.

Genetics the dominant risk factor in common cancers

Posted: 27 Jun 2014 06:44 AM PDT

A study of individuals who have been adopted has identified genetics as the dominant risk factor in 'familial' breast, prostate and colorectal cancers. Researchers have presented the new research findings based on studies of population registers."The results of our study do not mean that an individual's lifestyle is not important for the individual's risk of developing cancer, but it suggests that the risk for the three most common types of cancer is dependent to a greater extent on genetics", said the lead of the study.

New theory on cause of ice age 2.6 million years ago

Posted: 27 Jun 2014 06:44 AM PDT

New research has provided a major new theory on the cause of the ice age that covered large parts of the Northern Hemisphere 2.6 million years ago.

New superconductor world record set

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 06:33 PM PDT

A new record for a trapped field in a superconductor, beating a record that has stood for more than a decade, could herald the arrival of materials in a broad range of fields. Researchers managed to 'trap' a magnetic field with a strength of 17.6 Tesla -- roughly 100 times stronger than the field generated by a typical fridge magnet -- in a high temperature gadolinium barium copper oxide (GdBaCuO) superconductor, beating the previous record by 0.4 Tesla.

New test predicts risk of non-hereditary breast cancer

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 06:33 PM PDT

A simple blood test is currently in development that could help predict the likelihood of a woman developing breast cancer, even in the absence of a high-risk BRCA1 gene mutation, according to research. Researchers identified an epigenetic signature in the blood of women predisposed for breast cancer. Strikingly, the same signature was discovered in the blood of women without a BRCA1 mutation but who went on to develop breast cancer, making it a potential early marker of women's cancer in the general population.

The science of walking on walls and ceilings

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 06:33 PM PDT

Students show Wallace & Gromit 'Wrong Trousers' are scientifically possible for a short period of time. In the classic 1993 Wallace & Gromit film The Wrong Trousers Gromit receives a pair of ex-NASA robotic Techno Trousers from Wallace for his birthday which allows for its wearer to walk on walls -- and physics students have found that scaling walls and ceilings using the technology would indeed be scientifically possible, albeit for a short period of time.

World Cup ball plays better at higher altitudes: study

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 06:33 PM PDT

The Brazuca ball being used in the 2014 FIFA World Cup will play better at Brazil's higher altitude stadiums, according to studies. The tests found that high altitude will impact on the ball's aerodynamic drag and speed -- players risk overshooting the ball during a long pass, free kick or long shot to the goal post unless they understand the altitude effect and adapt their game accordingly.

Noroviruses cause around a fifth of all cases of acute gastroenteritis worldwide

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 03:45 PM PDT

Noroviruses are a leading cause of acute gastroenteritis (diarrhea and vomiting) across all age groups, responsible for almost one-fifth of all cases worldwide. New estimates highlight the importance of developing norovirus vaccines, say the authors. "Our findings show that norovirus infection contributes substantially to the global burden of acute gastroenteritis, causing both severe and mild cases and across all age groups. Diarrhea remains one of the leading causes of death of children in developing regions of the world."

Get insects to bug off this summer

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 03:42 PM PDT

Summer means an increase in bug and insect activity. How do you know which insects are harmful, what diseases they carry and how to safely avoid them? "Mosquitoes and ticks are the two pests you primarily want to avoid because they potentially carry infectious diseases," says an infectious disease specialist.

Do people with autism struggle with driving?

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 02:28 PM PDT

In the first pilot study asking adults on the autism spectrum about experiences with driving, researchers found significant differences in self-reported driving behaviors and perceptions of driving ability compared to non-autistic adults. As the population of adults with autism grows rapidly, the survey provides a first step toward identifying whether this population has unmet needs for educational supports to empower safe driving -- a key element of independent functioning in many people's lives.

Little or poor sleep may be associated with worse brain function when aging

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 02:28 PM PDT

Sleep problems are associated with worse memory and executive function in older people, new research concludes. Analysis of sleep and cognitive (brain function) data from 3,968 men and 4,821 women was conducted in a study where respondents reported on the quality and quantity of sleep over the period of a month.

A mini-antibody with broad antiviral activity chews up viral DNA and RNA

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 02:28 PM PDT

Antibodies and their derivatives can protect plants and animals -- including humans -- against viruses. Members of this class of drugs are usually highly specific against components of a particular virus, and mutations in the virus that change these components can make them ineffective.

Trained evaluators can screen for premie eye disease from miles away

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 02:27 PM PDT

Trained non-physician evaluators who studied retinal images transmitted to a remote central reading center successfully identified newborn babies likely to require a specialized medical evaluation for retinopathy of prematurity (ROP). "This study provides validation for a telemedicine approach to ROP screening and could help prevent thousands of kids from going blind," said the lead investigator.

Salmonella's Achilles' heel: Reliance on single food source to stay potent

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 02:27 PM PDT

A potential Achilles' heel for Salmonella has been identified by researchers: the bacteria's reliance on a single food source to remain fit in the inflamed intestine. When these wily bugs can't access this nutrient, they become 1,000 times less effective at sustaining disease than when they're fully nourished.

Comprehensive review of treatments for depression in cancer patients

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 12:09 PM PDT

When depression co-exists with cancer, patients may be at an increased risk of death from cancer and from suicide. Antidepressants are commonly prescribed, but the evidence on their efficacy is mixed. The role of antidepressants in treating cancer-related depression has not been rigorously studied. To identify best practice for the treatment of depression in cancer, researchers completed a systematic review and meta-analysis of existing research.

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