Δευτέρα, 2 Ιουνίου 2014

ScienceDaily: Top News

ScienceDaily: Top News

Subtle change in DNA, protein levels determines blond or brunette tresses, study finds

Posted: 01 Jun 2014 12:09 PM PDT

A molecule critical to stem cell function plays a major role in determining human hair color, according to a new study. The study describes for the first time the molecular basis for one of our most noticeable traits. It also outlines how tiny DNA changes can reverberate through our genome in ways that may affect evolution, migration and even human history.

Amplification of cosmic magnetic fields replicated

Posted: 01 Jun 2014 12:06 PM PDT

Astrophysicists have established that cosmic turbulence could have amplified magnetic fields to the strengths observed in interstellar space. "Magnetic fields are ubiquitous in the universe," said one of the researchers. "We're pretty sure that the fields didn't exist at the beginning, at the Big Bang. So there's this fundamental question: how did magnetic fields arise?"

How to erase a memory –- and restore it

Posted: 01 Jun 2014 12:06 PM PDT

Researchers have erased and reactivated memories in rats, profoundly altering the animals' reaction to past events. The study is the first to show the ability to selectively remove a memory and predictably reactivate it by stimulating nerves in the brain at frequencies that are known to weaken and strengthen the connections between nerve cells, called synapses.

Risk of death highest following surgery in afternoons, at weekends, and in February

Posted: 31 May 2014 06:35 PM PDT

On weekends, in the afternoons and in February are the times when the risk of death following surgery is the highest, research demonstrates. Hospital mortality is subject to day-night, weekly and seasonal variability. However, a cyclic influence on hospital mortality has not been shown in patients after surgery. In this study, the researchers investigated the daily, weekly, and seasonal variability of hospital mortality in patients after surgery.

One step closer to a breath test for lung cancer

Posted: 31 May 2014 12:48 PM PDT

A test of organic compounds in exhaled breath can not only distinguish patients with lung cancer from patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), but can also define the stage of any cancer present, new research shows. The device requires blowing up a balloon, which is then attached to an extremely sensitive gold nanoparticle sensor. The particles in the sensor trap and then help to analyze volatile organic compounds in the exhaled breath.

'Often and early' gives children a taste for vegetables

Posted: 30 May 2014 04:05 PM PDT

Exposing infants to a new vegetable early in life encourages them to eat more of it compared to offering novel vegetables to older children, new research suggests. The researchers also found that even fussy eaters are able to eat a bit more of a new vegetable each time they are offered it.

Osteoporosis: Genetic researchers take major step towards better diagnosis, treatment

Posted: 30 May 2014 04:04 PM PDT

A new target that may be critical for the treatment of osteoporosis, a disease which affects about 25% of post-menopausal women, has been discovered by a group of researchers. New studies in zebrafish and mice have shown that injection of human plastin 3 (PLS3) or related proteins in zebrafish where PLS3 action has been suppressed can replace its loss and repair the bone development anomalies associated with this deficiency.

Genetically identical ants help unlock the secrets of larval fate

Posted: 30 May 2014 01:10 PM PDT

A young animal's genes are not the only genes that determine its fate. The genetic identity of its caretakers matters too. Researchers suspect the interaction between the two can sway the fate of the young animal, but this complex dynamic is difficult to pin down in lab experiments. However, social insect researchers have found a solution and are developing a species of small raider ants as a model organism in order to ask questions about the relationships between genes, social behavior and evolution.

Stem cell progeny tell their parents when to turn on

Posted: 30 May 2014 01:07 PM PDT

Stem cells switch off and on, sometimes dividing to produce progeny cells and sometimes resting. But scientists don't fully understand what causes the cells to toggle between active and quiet states. New research focused on stem cells in the hair follicle to determine what switches them on. The researchers found cells produced by the stem cells, progeny known at Transit-Amplifying Cells or TACs, emit a signal that tells quiet hair follicle stem cells to become active.

New method of wormlike motion lets gels wiggle through water

Posted: 30 May 2014 01:03 PM PDT

A special hydrogel substance has been developed that can be equipped to detect bacteria, carry cargo and deliver medicine. A researcher used a worm's contracting and expanding motion to provide a way for gels to swim in water. He explains, "Using a hand-held laser, we were able to selectively and quickly shrink the hydrogel (a hydrophilic polymer gel comprised mostly of water) in desired areas. By inducing a shrinking/swelling cycle down the length of a hydrogel, we were able to successfully mimic peristaltic, or earthworm-inspired, locomotion in water."

Quality of preschools depends on where you live

Posted: 30 May 2014 12:59 PM PDT

Private and voluntary (not-for-profit) nurseries and preschools catering for disadvantaged areas and children are lower quality than those serving more advantaged areas and children, according to research. The 'quality gap' is widest in relation to how they support children's language skills. This finding is particularly significant given that disadvantaged children at the age of five are already almost a year behind those from wealthier backgrounds in terms of their vocabulary, and the gap increases as they move through school.

Quality, not quantity, counts most in exercise, diet

Posted: 30 May 2014 12:41 PM PDT

The clear benefits of a multi-dimensional exercise regimen that includes resistance exercise, interval sprint exercise, stretching (including yoga or pilates), endurance exercise, and moderate amounts of protein consumed regularly throughout the day have been demonstrated and reported by exercise scientists. If your goal is to lose weight and maintain optimal health and fitness, the quality of your exercise and diet regimen matters more than the quantity, they say.

Increasing sensitivity of HPV detection in cancer with new test

Posted: 30 May 2014 12:41 PM PDT

Results from a pilot study demonstrating the utility of a new cancer panel to detect previously undetected viral and cancer mutations have been released by researchers. The panel identified human papilloma virus (HPV) sequences undetected by conventional laboratory tests as well as new unreported HPV mutations. It is estimated that each year there are approximately 30,000 cases of HPV-associated cancers in the US.

Coaxing iPS cells to become more specialized prior to transplantation cuts rejection risk

Posted: 30 May 2014 11:25 AM PDT

Coaxing iPS cells in the laboratory to become more-specialized progeny cells (a cellular process called differentiation) before transplantation into mice allows them to be tolerated by the body's immune system, research has found. "This study shows that undifferentiated iPS cells are rejected by the immune system upon transplantation in the same recipient, but that fully differentiating these cells allows for acceptance and tolerance by the immune system without the need for immunosuppression," said a researcher.

Vaccination opt out is a cop out that literally is making people sick, says infectious disease leader

Posted: 30 May 2014 11:24 AM PDT

Measles have reached a 20-year high in the United States and the cause lies squarely with those who deliberately refuse to be vaccinated. Eighty-five percent of the unvaccinated U.S. residents who contracted measles cited religious, philosophical or personal reasons for not getting immunized. "Religious, philosophical or personal reasons are not medical reasons for not getting vaccinated," says one infectious disease expert.

Stopping statins may benefit terminally ill patients

Posted: 30 May 2014 11:24 AM PDT

People in the late stages of cancer and other terminal illnesses are not only unharmed by discontinuing statins for cholesterol management, they may benefit, according to a study. The finding addresses a thorny question in treating people with life-limiting illnesses: When, if ever, is it appropriate to discontinue medications prescribed for other conditions that will likely not lead to their death?

Women with metastatic breast cancer can safely receive bisphosphonates less frequently, without compromising care

Posted: 30 May 2014 11:24 AM PDT

Women with metastatic breast cancer to the bone may be able to receive bisphosphonates, the bone-targeting class of drugs like zoledronic acid, less often after the first year of monthly administration. With that practice change, women may also reduce their risk of serious side effects, according to a study.

Genetic profile predicts which bladder cancer patients will benefit from early chemotherapy

Posted: 30 May 2014 10:33 AM PDT

Three genetic changes can predict whether a patient will benefit from chemotherapy before surgery to remove bladder cancer, according to new findings. These results suggest that doctors may one day sequence patients' tumors for the presence of these three mutations, to determine who will likely benefit most from chemotherapy before surgery, said one investigator.

Urbanization, future heat-related mortality linked

Posted: 30 May 2014 10:32 AM PDT

Phoenix stands at a parched crossroads. Global scale climate change is forecast to bring hotter summers and more extreme heat to the Valley, but regional urbanization also will impact temperatures experienced by residents. So how should Phoenix grow knowing that such growth could cause temperatures to increase in the future and bring added health risks? Should the city deploy mitigating technologies to help fight summer's heat? Would adopting a low-growth strategy reduce the adverse health consequences of hot weather?

Compounds in saliva, common body proteins may fend off DNA-damaging chemicals in tea, coffee and liquid smoke

Posted: 30 May 2014 10:31 AM PDT

A compound in saliva, along with common proteins in blood and muscle, may protect human cells from powerful toxins in tea, coffee and liquid smoke flavoring, according to results of a new study. The findings suggest that the presence of these defenses could help explain why PLPs are not crippling cells and causing illness as would be expected from their toxic punch and widespread use, the researchers say.

Rush a light wave and you'll break its data, say scientists

Posted: 30 May 2014 09:44 AM PDT

Quantum information can't break the cosmic speed limit, according to researchers. The scientists have shown how attempts to 'push' part of a light beam past the speed of light results in the loss of the quantum data the light carries. The results could clarify how noise might limit the transfer of information in quantum computers.

Genome sequences show how lemurs fight infection

Posted: 30 May 2014 09:44 AM PDT

Next-generation genome sequencing technology is enabling researchers to catalog 150,000 antibodies found in a single species of lemur that seems uniquely susceptible to cryptosproridium infection. This is a new approach to disease detection and monitoring in a critically endangered species that could aid conservation efforts and surveillance for zoonoses.

Observing the random diffusion of missing atoms in graphene

Posted: 30 May 2014 09:43 AM PDT

Imperfections in the regular atomic arrangements in crystals determine many of the properties of a material, and their diffusion is behind many microstructural changes in solids. However, imaging non-repeating atomic arrangements is difficult in conventional materials. Now, researchers have directly imaged the diffusion of a butterfly-shaped atomic defect in graphene, the recently discovered two-dimensional wonder material, over long image sequences.

Compact, extremely small-scale incubator microscope to examine cells in time lapse

Posted: 30 May 2014 06:26 AM PDT

Biologists and doctors rely heavily on incubators and microscopes. Now researchers have come up with a novel solution that combines the functions of both these tools in a compact and extremely small-scale system. It is ideally suited for time-lapse examination over a number of weeks and for automatic observation of cell cultures. The incubator microscope is no bigger than a soda can and costs 30 times less than buying an incubator and a microscope separately.

Environmental influences may cause autism in some cases, study shows

Posted: 29 May 2014 03:16 PM PDT

Some cases of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can result from environmental influences rather than gene mutations, research has shown. The findings shed light on why older mothers are at increased risk for having children with ASD, and could pave the way for more research into the role of environment on ASD.

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