Τρίτη, 17 Ιουνίου 2014

ScienceDaily: Top News

ScienceDaily: Top News


Researchers use virus to reveal nanopore physics

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 12:15 PM PDT

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

Bioscavengers: New discoveries could help neutralize chemical weapons

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 12:15 PM PDT

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

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

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 12:15 PM PDT

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

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

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 12:13 PM PDT

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

How our brains store recent memories, cell by single cell

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 12:13 PM PDT

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

Embryonic stem cells offer new treatment for multiple sclerosis

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 11:15 AM PDT

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

High-quality 3-D metal parts using additive manufacturing

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 11:15 AM PDT

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

Fuel cells developed for increased airplane efficiency

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 11:15 AM PDT

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

Cellular signalling for kidney regeneration discovered

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 11:15 AM PDT

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

Sensor in eye could track pressure changes, monitor for glaucoma

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 11:13 AM PDT

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

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

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 10:41 AM PDT

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

New method to reduce disease-causing inflammation discovered

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 10:09 AM PDT

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

Antarctic species dwindle as icebergs batter shores year-round

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 10:08 AM PDT

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

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

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 10:07 AM PDT

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

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

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 10:03 AM PDT

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

Trapping light: A long lifetime in a very small place

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 10:03 AM PDT

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

Sacral nerve stimulation gives pediatric patients hope

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 10:03 AM PDT

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

Common blood pressure medication may pose risk to older adults

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 08:10 AM PDT

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

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

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 08:10 AM PDT

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

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

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 07:28 AM PDT

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

Ice in fuel cells displayed directly for the first time

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 07:24 AM PDT

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

Lipids help to fight leukemia, study demonstrates

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 07:24 AM PDT

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

Giant telescopes pair up to image near-Earth asteroid

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 07:07 AM PDT

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

Herschel sees budding stars and a giant, strange ring

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 06:57 AM PDT

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

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

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 06:36 AM PDT

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

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

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 06:36 AM PDT

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

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

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 06:36 AM PDT

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

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

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 06:36 AM PDT

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

Animal trapping records reveal strong wolf effect across North America

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 06:36 AM PDT

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

Caffeine affects boys, girls differently after puberty, study finds

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 06:33 AM PDT

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

Prental stress can increase risk of overweight in adulthood

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 06:33 AM PDT

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

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

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 06:33 AM PDT

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

Nanoparticles aid microscopic detection of protein relevant for cancer

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 06:32 AM PDT

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

Anxious children have bigger 'fear centers' in the brain

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 06:32 AM PDT

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

Genetic influence on pulmonary function: six further genes identified

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 06:31 AM PDT

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

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

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 05:21 AM PDT

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

Glucose monitoring for diabetes made easy with a blood-less method

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 05:21 AM PDT

Treating diabetes – a major scourge of humanity bothering millions of people – requires a constant monitoring of the human blood for glucose concentrations. While current schemes employ electrochemical methods, they require extraction of blood samples. By using glucose-sensitive dyes and a nano-plasmonic interferometer, a research team has shown how to achieve much higher sensitivities in real-time measurements while using only saliva instead of blood.

High-mass stars are rarely solitary: Binary stars are more common than thought

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 05:21 AM PDT

High-mass stars are rarely solitary, according to new research. For several years, astronomers observed 800 celestial objects that are up to one hundred times heavier than our sun. More than 90 per cent have turned out to be multiple systems. These data support the theory that heavy stars are already formed as twins.

Hunting down trigger for Parkinson's: Failing dopamine pump damages brain cells

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 05:21 AM PDT

The function of an intracellular dopamine pump in Parkinson's patients has been compared to a healthy test group in a new study. Researchers found out that this pump is less effective at pumping out dopamine and storing it in the brain cells of Parkinson's sufferers. If dopamine is not stored correctly, however, it can cause self-destruction of the affected nerve cells.

How food marketing creates false sense of health

Posted: 13 Jun 2014 10:07 AM PDT

Health-related buzzwords, such as 'antioxidant,' 'gluten-free' and 'whole grain,' lull consumers into thinking packaged food products labeled with those words are healthier than they actually are, according to a new research study. That "false sense of health," as well as a failure to understand the information presented in nutrition facts panels on packaged food, may be contributing to the obesity epidemic in the United States, researchers say.

Clever suppression in the brain: Neuron cells and their role in creating memories

Posted: 13 Jun 2014 07:16 AM PDT

The hippocampus is a small structure in the brains of mammals that plays a crucial role in processing input from our senses and allows perceptions to be stored as memories. Nerve cells that inhibit the activity of other cells have now been shown to play a much larger and more complex role in these processes than previously assumed.

Are female hormones playing a key role in obesity epidemic?

Posted: 13 Jun 2014 07:15 AM PDT

An imbalance of female sex hormones among men in Western nations may be contributing to high levels of male obesity, according to new research. Scientists suggest that obesity among Western men could be linked with exposure to substances containing the female sex hormone estrogen -- substances that are more often found in affluent societies, such as soy products and plastics.

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