Τρίτη, 24 Ιουνίου 2014

ScienceDaily: Top News

ScienceDaily: Top News

Back away, please: Humans tend to fear things approaching, even if non-threatening

Posted: 23 Jun 2014 10:14 AM PDT

We still have negative feelings about things that approach us -- even if they objectively are not threatening, according to new research. Though we modern humans don't really consider such fear, it turns out that it still plays a big part in our day-to-day lives.

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.

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.

We can eliminate the major tornado threat in Tornado Alley, experts say

Posted: 23 Jun 2014 09:03 AM PDT

Can we eliminate major tornadoes in Tornado Alley? Devastating tornados over there start from violent clashes between northbound warm wind and southbound cold wind. If we build three east-west great walls, 300m high and 50m wide, one in North Dakota, one passing Oklahoma and one in Texas, we will weaken such air mass clashes and diminish major tornado threat. Such walls may be built locally at areas with frequent tornado outbreaks first and gradually extended.

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.

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.

New type of dust discovered in Martian atmosphere

Posted: 23 Jun 2014 07:42 AM PDT

Scientists have discovered a new peculiarity of the Martian atmosphere. The scientists had analyzed satellite-acquired data and concluded that the dust particles in the planet's atmosphere can be of two types.

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.

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.

'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.

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.

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."

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.

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.

Key to identifying, enriching mesenchymal stem cells found

Posted: 20 Jun 2014 11:37 AM PDT

A biomarker that enables researchers to accurately characterize the properties and function of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in the body has been identified. MSCs are the focus of nearly 200 active clinical trials registered with the National Institutes of Health, targeting conditions such as bone fractures, cartilage injury, degenerative disc disease, and osteoarthritis.

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