Παρασκευή, 6 Ιουνίου 2014

ScienceDaily: Latest Science News

ScienceDaily: Latest Science News


Newly discovered insect 'Supersonus' hits animal kingdom's highest-pitch love call

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 04:09 PM PDT

In the rainforests of South America, scientists have discovered a new genus and three new species of insect with the highest ultrasonic calling songs ever recorded in the animal kingdom. Katydids (or bushcrickets) are insects known for their acoustic communication, with the male producing sound by rubbing its wings together (stridulation) to attract distant females for mating.

New targets that could increase effectiveness, reduce side effects in breast cancer treatments

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 04:07 PM PDT

New targets for potential intervention in breast cancer have been identified by researchers. These new targets could eventually increase effectiveness and reduce the undesirable side effects associated with current treatments. In addition to exploring potential new drugs for breast cancer, the researchers also hope to investigate the implications for prostate cancer, another hormone-driven disease.

Demographics drive fitness partner decisions online, study finds

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 03:36 PM PDT

Participants in an online fitness program ignored the fitness aptitude of their potential partners, instead choosing partners based on age, gender and BMI. The findings suggest that although people in online health programs are beckoned with the possibilities of meeting healthier people who can provide them with information about new kinds of exercises and better strategies for getting healthy, they self-select into networks that look very similar to the kinds of networks that people typically have offline.

Novel approach to reactivate latent HIV found

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 03:36 PM PDT

A new way to make latent HIV reveal itself has been discovered by scientists, which could help overcome one of the biggest obstacles to finding a cure for HIV infection. They discovered that increasing the random activity, or noise, associated with HIV gene expression -- without increasing the average level of gene expression -- can reactivate latent HIV.

YbeY is essential for fitness and virulence of V. cholerae, keeps RNA household in order

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 03:36 PM PDT

YbeY is a conserved protein that is present in most bacteria. A new study examines the function of YbeY in the cholera bacterium and reveals critical roles in RNA metabolism in this and other pathogenic bacteria.

Short nanotubes target pancreatic cancer

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 12:58 PM PDT

Short, customized carbon nanotubes have the potential to deliver drugs to pancreatic cancer cells and destroy them from within, according to researchers. Pristine nanotubes produced through a new process can be modified to carry drugs to tumors through gaps in blood-vessel walls that larger particles cannot fit through. The nanotubes may then target and infiltrate the cancerous cells' nuclei, where the drugs can be released through sonication -- that is, by shaking them.

Mechanism that forms cell-to-cell catch bonds found by researchers

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 12:57 PM PDT

Strong cell-to-cell bonds are important to heart health and fighting cancer. The bonds connecting heart cells have to withstand constant forces caused by continuous pumping. And, in some cancers, bonds no longer resist forces, allowing cancer cells to detach and spread. A research group is studying the biophysics of certain biological bonds.

Mobile DNA test for HIV under development

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 12:57 PM PDT

Bioengineers are developing an efficient test to detect signs of HIV and its progress in patients in low-resource settings. The current gold standard to diagnose HIV in infants and to monitor viral load depends on lab equipment and technical expertise generally available only in clinics. The new research features a nucleic acid-based test that can be performed at the site of care.

Turbulent black holes: Fasten your seatbelts ... gravity is about to get bumpy!

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 12:57 PM PDT

Gravitational fields around black holes might eddy and swirl. Fasten your seatbelts -- gravity is about to get bumpy. Of course, if you're flying in the vicinity of a black hole, a bit of extra bumpiness is the least of your worries. But it's still surprising. The accepted wisdom among gravitational researchers has been that spacetime cannot become turbulent. New research though, shows that the accepted wisdom might be wrong.

Why are older women more vulnerable to breast cancer? New clues

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 12:57 PM PDT

More insights into why older women are more susceptible to breast cancer has been gained by researchers. They found that as women age, the cells responsible for maintaining healthy breast tissue stop responding to their immediate surroundings, including mechanical cues that should prompt them to suppress nearby tumors.

How do phytoplankton survive scarcity of critical nutrient?

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:19 AM PDT

How do phytoplankton survive when the critical element phosphorus is difficult to find? Researchers conducted the most comprehensive survey of the content and distribution of a form of phosphorus called polyphosphate, or poly-P in the western North Atlantic. What they found was surprising.

New therapy for pancreatic cancer patients shows promising results

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:19 AM PDT

A new drug called MM-398, given in combination with 5-flourouracil and leucovorin, produced a significant overall survival rate in patients with advanced, previously-treated pancreatic cancer, a new clinical trial has demonstrated. The NAPOLI-1 (NAnoliPOsomaL Irinotecan) Phase 3 study -- a final confirmation of a drug's safety and effectiveness -- was conducted among patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer who previously received gemcitibine, which has been the standard-of-care therapy for such patients.

Restoring trust in VA health care

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:19 AM PDT

In the wake of recent revelations of overly long patient wait times and systematic manipulation and falsification of reported wait-time data, public policy leaders believe the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health-care system's problems can be fixed by strong leadership, greater transparency and reforms that refocus the organization on its primary mission of providing timely access to consistently high-quality care.

Investors' risk tolerance decreases with the stock market

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:19 AM PDT

Scientists analyzed investors' 'risk tolerance,' or willingness to take risks, and found that it decreased as the stock market faltered. Experts say this is a very counterproductive behavior for investors who want to maximize their investment returns.

Couples sleep in sync when wife is satisfied with their marriage

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:18 AM PDT

Couples are more likely to sleep in sync when the wife is more satisfied with their marriage. Results show that overall synchrony in sleep-wake schedules among couples was high, as those who slept in the same bed were awake or asleep at the same time about 75 percent of the time. When the wife reported higher marital satisfaction, the percent of time the couple was awake or asleep at the same time was greater.

Stem cells hold keys to body's plan

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:18 AM PDT

Landmarks within pluripotent stem cells that guide how they develop to serve different purposes within the body have been discovered by researchers. This breakthrough offers promise that scientists eventually will be able to direct stem cells in ways that prevent disease or repair damage from injury or illness.

Gene study shows how sheep first separated from goats

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:18 AM PDT

Scientists have cracked the genetic code of sheep to reveal how they became a distinct species from goats around four million years ago. The study is the first to pinpoint the genetic differences that make sheep different from other animals.

Sleep after learning strengthens connections between brain cells and enhances memory

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:18 AM PDT

Researchers show for the first time that sleep after learning encourages the growth of dendritic spines, the tiny protrusions from brain cells that connect to other brain cells and facilitate the passage of information across synapses, the junctions at which brain cells meet.

Flowers' polarization patterns help bees find food

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:17 AM PDT

Bees use their ability to 'see' polarized light when foraging for food, researchers have discovered. This is the first time bees have been found to use this ability for something other than navigation.

New EU reforms fail European wildlife, experts argue

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:17 AM PDT

Despite political proclamation of increased environmental focus, experts argue that the European Union's recent agricultural reforms are far too weak to have any positive impact on the continent's shrinking farmland biodiversity, and call on member states to take action.

Fasting triggers stem cell regeneration of damaged, old immune system

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:15 AM PDT

In the first evidence of a natural intervention triggering stem cell-based regeneration of an organ or system, a study shows that cycles of prolonged fasting not only protect against immune system damage -- a major side effect of chemotherapy -- but also induce immune system regeneration, shifting stem cells from a dormant state to a state of self-renewal.

Transplanted fetal stem cells for Parkinson's show promise

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:15 AM PDT

Fetal dopamine cells transplanted into the brains of patients with Parkinson's disease were able to remain healthy and functional for up to 14 years, a finding that could lead to new and better therapies for the illness, researchers report. The researchers looked at the brains of five patients who got fetal cell transplants over a period of 14 years and found that their dopamine transporters (DAT), proteins that pump the neurotransmitter dopamine, and mitochondria were still healthy at the time the patients died, in each case of causes other than Parkinson's.

New isotopic evidence supporting moon formation via Earth collision with planet-sized body

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:15 AM PDT

A new series of measurements of oxygen isotopes provides increasing evidence that the moon formed from the collision of the Earth with another large, planet-sized astronomical body, around 4.5 billion years ago.

First 3-D pterosaur eggs found with their parents

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:14 AM PDT

Researchers have discovered the first three-dimensionally preserved pterosaur eggs in China. The eggs were found among dozens, if not hundreds, of pterosaur fossils, representing a new genus and species (Hamipterus tianshanensis). The discovery reveals that the pterosaurs -- flying reptiles with wingspans ranging from 25 cm to 12 m -- lived together in gregarious colonies.

Activating immune system could treat obesity, diabetes

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:14 AM PDT

Obesity is a worldwide epidemic that is causing alarming rates of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, but currently there is a lack of effective drug treatments. Two unrelated studies reveal an important role for immune pathways in activating good types body fat, called brown and beige fat, which burn stored calories, reduce weight, and improve metabolic health. The findings could pave the way for much-needed treatments for obesity and related metabolic diseases.

Stimulating a protein in skin cells could improve psoriasis symptoms

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:14 AM PDT

Environmental contaminants can trigger psoriasis and other autoimmune disorders, and it is thought that a protein called the aryl hydrocarbon receptor, which senses environmental toxins, could play a role. A new study shows that the severity of inflammation associated with psoriasis is unexpectedly suppressed by AhR. The findings suggest that stimulation of AhR could improve symptoms and may represent a novel strategy for treating chronic inflammatory skin disorders.

A new way to make laser-like beams using 1,000 times less power

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:01 AM PDT

With precarious particles called polaritons that straddle the worlds of light and matter, researchers have demonstrated a new, practical and potentially more efficient way to make a coherent laser-like beam.

What a 66-million-year old forest fire reveals about the last days of the dinosaurs

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:01 AM PDT

As far back as the time of the dinosaurs, 66 million years ago, forests recovered from fires in the same manner they do today, according to a researchers. During an expedition in southern Saskatchewan, Canada, the team discovered the first fossil-record evidence of forest fire ecology -- the regrowth of plants after a fire -- revealing a snapshot of the ecology on earth just before the mass extinction of the dinosaurs.

How de-roling may help actors shed intense roles

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:00 AM PDT

Actors and actresses have learned many methods of becoming their characters, but how do they leave their character -- or de-role -- when the role is over? Examples of de-roling techniques include shaking limbs and body to literally shake the character off, or ritualistically stepping out of a performance by handing back a character's specific prop or costume piece to a director.

Making artificial vision look more natural

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:00 AM PDT

In laboratory tests, researchers have used electrical stimulation of retinal cells to produce the same patterns of activity that occur when the retina sees a moving object. Although more work remains, this is a step toward restoring natural, high-fidelity vision to blind people.

Chemical element bromine is essential to life in humans and other animals, researchers discover

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:00 AM PDT

Twenty-seven chemical elements are considered to be essential for human life. Now there is a 28th: bromine. In a new paper, researchers establish for the first time that bromine, among the 92 naturally-occurring chemical elements in the universe, is the 28th element essential for tissue development in all animals, from primitive sea creatures to humans.

New method reveals single protein interaction key to embryonic stem cell differentiation

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:00 AM PDT

A new method to simplify the study of protein networks has been pioneered by researchers. Through the use of synthetic proteins, they revealed a key interaction that regulates the ability of embryonic stem cells to change into other cell types. "Our work suggests that the apparent complexity of protein networks is deceiving, and that a circuit involving a small number of proteins might control each cellular function," said the senior author.

Interactive teaching methods help students master tricky calculus

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 08:37 AM PDT

The key to helping students learn complicated math is to understand how to apply it to new ideas and make learning more interactive, according to a new study. Pre-class assignments, small group discussions and clicker quizzes improve students' ability to grasp tricky first-year calculus concepts.

Overcoming barriers to successful use of autonomous unmanned aircraft

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 08:37 AM PDT

While civil aviation is on the threshold of potentially revolutionary changes with the emergence of increasingly autonomous unmanned aircraft, these new systems pose serious questions about how they will be safely and efficiently integrated into the existing civil aviation structure, says a new report.

Can mice mimic human breast cancer? Study says 'yes'

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 08:37 AM PDT

Many of the various models used in breast cancer research can replicate several characteristics of the human disease, especially at the gene level, researchers report. "There are definitely clear parallels between mice and men in relation to breast cancer and this study provides legitimacy to using these models so ultimately a cure can be found," one researcher said.

Race could be a factor in head, neck cancer survival rates

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 08:37 AM PDT

The national survival rates for African-Americans diagnosed with head and neck cancer have not improved in the last 40 years despite advances in the treatment and management of the disease, researchers have found. The researchers suggest that inherent genetic factors in African-Americans may make some tumors resistant to treatments. However, more research needs to be done on the subject of survival disparity in patients with head and neck cancer.

Continuous terahertz sources at room temperature demonstrated by scientists

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 08:37 AM PDT

A room-temperature, compact, continuous terahertz radiation source has been developed for the first time by a team of scientists. This discovery will make terahertz radiation more accessible for experiments, potentially leading to advances in biosensing, homeland security, and space research.

State of wildland fire emissions, carbon, and climate research

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 08:37 AM PDT

The current state of knowledge, critical knowledge gaps, and importance of fire emissions for global climate and terrestrial carbon cycling is the focus of nine science syntheses published in a special issue of a journal. The issue reflects the collaborative efforts of a team of 17 scientists and associates from many organizations.

Toward a better drug against malaria

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 08:36 AM PDT

Structural biologists explain on the molecular level, how the drug atovaquone acts on the pathogen of malaria. Malaria is one of the most dangerous tropical diseases in the world. Anopheles mosquitoes infected with Plasmodium species -- unicellular parasites -- transmit the disease by biting. Atovaquone blocks a protein of the respiratory chain in the mitochondria, the power plants of the cell, thus killing off the parasites. However, the pathogen is susceptible to mutations so that drug resistant strains are arising and spreading.

Molecular secret of short, intense workouts clarified

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 08:35 AM PDT

The benefits of short, intense workouts have been extolled as a metabolic panacea for greater overall fitness, better blood sugar control and weight reduction. Scientists confirm something is molecularly unique about intense exercise: the activation of a single protein. The new findings open the door to a range of potential exercise enhancements.

Hot spots for molecules: Ultra-high sensitivity molecular detection

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 08:33 AM PDT

The accurate placement of molecules into gaps between gold nanoantennas enables ultra-high sensitivity molecular detection. The ability to detect tiny quantities of molecules is important for chemical sensing as well as biological and medical diagnostics. In particular, some of the most challenging and advanced applications involve rare compounds for which only a few molecules may be present at a time. The most promising devices for achieving ultrahigh-precision detection are nanoscale sensors, where molecules are placed in tiny gaps between small gold plates.

Shorter tuberculosis treatment regimens will reduce cost for patients, families

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 07:08 AM PDT

Shorter tuberculosis treatment regimens will reduce costs for patients and their families, conclude researchers who carried out a comparative study in Tanzania and Bangladesh looking at the out-of-pocket costs incurred by TB patients in both countries. The main objective of the study was to quantify the potential savings of a 4 month regimen to patients, because a number of new drugs in the current development pipeline have the potential to shorten standard first-line TB therapy from 6 months to 4 months.

A sand-dwelling new species of the moonseed plant genus Cissampelos from the Americas

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 07:08 AM PDT

Researchers have discovered in dry forests and transient sand dunes in Bolivia and Paraguay, a new plant species in the moonseed family Menispermaceae.

New diagnostic tool for dementia diseases

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 07:07 AM PDT

A new diagnostic tool helps clinicians to differentiate between Alzheimer's disease, frontotemporal dementia and mild cognitive impairment. The new method consists of a Disease State Index combining data from multiple sources, and of a Disease State Fingerprint showing the findings in a visual format.

Bloodstream infections reduced through better central line care at three hospitals

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 07:07 AM PDT

Whether through the use of alcohol-containing caps or basic cleaning of the injection port of the central line, infection preventionists at three hospitals are finding successful ways to stop germs from entering central line catheters and causing bloodstream infections in patients. Many facilities follow a bundle of best practices to reduce risk factors during the insertion of a central line, but continuous and safe maintenance of the line is difficult.

Design of self-assembling protein nanomachines starts to click: A nanocage builds itself from engineered components

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 06:33 AM PDT

Biological systems produce an incredible array of self-assembling protein tools on a nanoscale, such as molecular motors, delivery capsules and injection devices. Inspired by sophisticated molecular machines naturally found in living things, scientists want to build their own with forms and functions customized to tackle modern day challenges. A new computational method, proven to accurately design protein nanomaterials that arrange themselves into a symmetrical, cage-like structure, may be an important step toward that goal.

Rhythmic brain activity used to track memories in progress

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 06:33 AM PDT

Using EEG electrodes attached to the scalps of 25 student subjects, researchers have tapped the rhythm of memories as they occur in near real time in the human brain. The new findings show that EEG measures of synchronized neural activity can precisely track the contents of memory at almost the speed of thought, the lead investigator said.

Research on marijuana's negative health effects summarized in report

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 06:33 AM PDT

The current state of science on the adverse health effects of marijuana use links the drug to several significant adverse effects including addiction, a review reports. The review describes the science establishing that marijuana can be addictive and that this risk for addiction increases for daily or young users. It also offers insights into research on the gateway theory indicating that marijuana use, similar to nicotine and alcohol use, may be associated with an increased vulnerability to other drugs.

Healthy tissue grafted to brains of Huntington's patients also develops the disease

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 06:33 AM PDT

Healthy human tissue grafted to the brains of patients with Huntington's disease in the hopes of treating the neurological disorder also developed signs of the illness, several years after the graft, a study shows. This discovery will have profound implications on our understanding of the disease and how to treat it, and may also lead to the development of new therapies for neurodegenerative disorders.

Entitlement predicts sexism, in both men and women, study finds

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 06:33 AM PDT

Entitled attitudes appear to be linked to sexism -- even among women, according to a personality study by psychologists. In general, entitled men are more likely to endorse hostile views of women and entitled women are more likely to endorse views of women as frail and needing extra care. The attitudes observed by men have been linked by past research as predictors of violence toward women. Conversely, the attitudes observed by women have been linked to reduction of advancement in education and jobs.

Understanding active pharmaceutical ingredients

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 06:33 AM PDT

Active pharmaceutical ingredient is the term used to refer to the biologically active component of a drug product (e.g. tablet, capsule). Scientists unravel some of the complexities of these ingredients in a new report.

Protecting mainland Europe from an invasion of grey squirrels

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 06:31 AM PDT

The first genotyping of grey squirrels sampled from Italy and the UK shows a direct link between their genetic diversity and their ability to invade new environments. Grey squirrels are an invasive species introduced from North America. While they are common throughout most of the UK and Ireland, on mainland Europe they are currently only found in Italy, where they mostly exist in discrete, but slowly expanding, populations.

Effect of Bilbao atmosphere on Chillida's sculptures

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 06:31 AM PDT

Weathering steel is a steel specially designed to resist exposure to the open air. Yet in Bilbao some of the sculptures produced in this material, like Eduardo Chillida's Besarkada XI and Begirari IV, have not been preserved as was anticipated and have sustained some degradation. As explained by a research group, this degradation to due to the fact that the protective layer that is usually developed by this material has not been properly formed.

New ball to showcase talent in World Cup

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 06:31 AM PDT

Physics experts believe the new soccer ball created for the 2014 FIFA World Cup starting next week is a "keepers' ball". The new ball, called Brazuca, should be much more predictable than the 2010 World Cup ball, Jabulani, which was less-than-affectionately labelled a 'beach ball' because of its sometimes erratic flight path.

Hurricane Sandy no help to Obama in 2012 presidential race, new study suggests

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 05:35 AM PDT

Results suggest that immediately following positive news coverage of Obama's handling of the storm's aftermath, Sandy positively influenced attitudes toward Obama, but that by Election Day, reminders of the hurricane became a drag instead of a boon for the president, despite a popular storyline to the contrary.

Looking for the best strategy? Ask a chimp

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 05:35 AM PDT

If you're trying to outwit the competition, it might be better to have been born a chimpanzee, according to a new study which found that chimps consistently outperform humans in simple contests drawn from game theory.

Report supports shutdown of all high seas fisheries

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 05:34 AM PDT

Fish and aquatic life living in the high seas are more valuable as a carbon sink than as food and should be better protected, according to new research. The study found fish and aquatic life remove 1.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere every year, a service valued at about $148 billion US. This dwarfs the $16 billion US paid for 10 million tons of fish caught on the high seas annually.

Use of gestures reflects language instinct in young children

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 05:34 AM PDT

Young children instinctively use a 'language-like' structure to communicate through gestures. Research suggests when young children are asked to use gestures to communicate, their gestures segment information and reorganize it into language-like sequences. This suggests that children are not just learning language from older generations, their preference for communication has shaped how languages look today.

Smart application of surfactants gives sustainable agriculture

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 05:34 AM PDT

Researchers have investigated the interaction between the plant's barrier, plant protection products and adjuvants that are added to increase the effect of the plant protection product. The results of this research can be applied to minimize the use of plant protection products in agriculture.

Elucidating pathogenic mechanism of meningococcal meningitis

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 05:30 AM PDT

Neisseria meningitidis, also called meningococcus, is a bacterium responsible for meningitis and septicemia. Its most serious form, purpura fulminans, is often fatal. This bacterium, which is naturally present in humans in the nasopharynx, is pathogenic if it reaches the blood stream. Teams of scientists have deciphered the molecular events through which meningococci target blood vessels and colonize them. This work opens a path to new therapeutic perspectives for treating vascular problems caused by this type of invasive infection.

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