Σάββατο, 7 Ιουνίου 2014

ScienceDaily: Top News

ScienceDaily: Top News


Probiotics prevent deadly complications of liver disease

Posted: 06 Jun 2014 07:20 AM PDT

Probiotics are effective in preventing hepatic encephalopathy in patients with cirrhosis of the liver, according to a new study. The investigators conducted trial with cirrhosis patients who showed risk factors for hepatic encephalopathy, but had yet to experience an obvious episode. When comparing treatment with probiotics versus placebo, the researchers found that the incidence of hepatic encephalopathy was lower in patients treated with probiotics.

Herpesviruses undercover: How the virus goes undetected by body's immune system

Posted: 06 Jun 2014 07:20 AM PDT

Pathogens entering our body only remain unnoticed for a short period. Within minutes our immune cells detect the invader and trigger an immune response. However, some viruses have developed strategies to avoid detection and elimination by our immune system. Researchers have now been able to show how the herpesviruses achieve this.

Exotic particle: Exotic bound states comprising more than three quarks confirmed

Posted: 06 Jun 2014 07:20 AM PDT

For decades, physicists have searched in vain for exotic bound states comprising more than three quarks. Experiments have now shown that, in fact, such complex particles do exist in nature. The measurements confirm first results from 2011 for the existence of an exotic dibaryon made up of six quarks.

Prostate cancer biomarkers identified in seminal fluid

Posted: 06 Jun 2014 06:17 AM PDT

Improved diagnosis and management of one of the most common cancers in men -- prostate cancer -- could result from research that has discovered that seminal fluid contains biomarkers for the disease. Results of a study have shown that the presence of certain molecules in seminal fluid indicates not only whether a man has prostate cancer, but also the severity of the cancer.

Deadly diseases overlooked for too long, scientists say

Posted: 06 Jun 2014 06:17 AM PDT

Decades of neglect have allowed infectious diseases to devastate the lives of thousands of people in the developing world, a study reveals. Researchers say three diseases in particular -- anthrax, brucellosis and bovine tuberculosis -- have failed to receive the official recognition and funding needed to combat them effectively.

Saving trees in tropics could cut emissions by one-fifth, study shows

Posted: 06 Jun 2014 06:16 AM PDT

Reducing deforestation in the tropics would significantly cut the amount of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere -- by as much as one-fifth -- research shows. In the first study of its kind, scientists have calculated the amount of carbon absorbed by the world's tropical forests and the amounts of greenhouse gas emissions created by loss of trees, as a result of human activity.

Ability to identify source of pain varies across body

Posted: 06 Jun 2014 06:16 AM PDT

'Where does it hurt?' is the first question asked to any person in pain. A new study defines for the first time how our ability to identify where it hurts, called 'spatial acuity,' varies across the body, being most sensitive at the forehead and fingertips. The findings have important implications for the assessment of both acute and chronic pain.

Smokers, passive smokers more likely to suffer hearing loss, study shows

Posted: 06 Jun 2014 06:15 AM PDT

Giving up or reducing smoking and avoiding passive exposure to tobacco smoke may reduce your risk of hearing loss, new research shows. Current smokers have a 15.1% higher odds of hearing loss than non-smokers researchers found. Passive smoking also increased the likelihood of hearing loss by 28%.

Thermal monitoring of volcanic activity from space

Posted: 06 Jun 2014 06:15 AM PDT

Data from the Meteosat satellite 36,000 km from Earth, has been used to measure the temperature of lava at the Nyiragongo lava lake in the Democratic Republic of Congo. An international team compared data from the Spinning Enhanced Visible and InfraRed Imager (SEVIRI) on board Meteosat with data collected at the lava lake with thermal cameras. Researchers say the technique could be used to help monitor volcanoes in remote places all over the world, and may help with the difficult task of anticipating eruptions.

Breakthrough study solves plant sex mystery: Genetic hierarchy in plant sperm cell formation undressed

Posted: 06 Jun 2014 06:15 AM PDT

A team of biologists has solved a mystery surrounding how plants have sex. The researchers have discovered a pair of proteins made by flowering plants that are vital for the production of the sperm present within each pollen grain. Scientists already knew that flowering plants, in contrast to animals, require not one, but two sperm cells for successful fertilization: one to join with the egg cell to produce the embryo and one to join with a second cell to produce the nutrient-rich endosperm inside the seed.

New insights into biomass breakdown provided by scientists

Posted: 06 Jun 2014 06:15 AM PDT

How a recently discovered family of enzymes can degrade hard-to-digest biomass into its constituent sugars has been the focus of new study. The enzymes - lytic polysaccharide monooxygenases (LPMOs) - are secreted by both fungi and bacteria and have the ability to 'chip away' at cellulose and other intractable materials. This allows cellulosic materials such as plant stems, wood chips and cardboard waste, as well as other tricky polysaccharides such as insect/crustacean shells, to be broken  down.

Mitochondrial DNA of first Near Eastern farmers is sequenced for the first time

Posted: 06 Jun 2014 06:14 AM PDT

The mitochondrial DNA of the first Near Eastern farmers has been sequenced for the first time. Experts analyzed samples from three sites located in the birthplace of Neolithic agricultural practices: the Middle Euphrates basin and the oasis of Damascus, located in today's Syria and date at about 8,000 BC.

Electrical control of nuclear spin qubits: Important step towards quantum computers

Posted: 06 Jun 2014 06:14 AM PDT

Researchers have made an important step towards quantum computers. Using a spin cascade in single-molecule magnet, scientists demonstrated how nuclear spins can be manipulated with electric fields. Electric manipulation allows for a quick and specific switching of quantum bits.

Optical invisibility cloak built for diffusive media (like fog or milk)

Posted: 06 Jun 2014 06:14 AM PDT

Real invisibility cloaks are rather complex and work in certain situations only. The laws of physics prevent an optical invisibility cloak from making objects in air invisible for any directions, colors, and polarizations. If the medium is changed, however, it becomes much easier to hide objects. Physicists have now succeeded in manufacturing with relatively simple means and testing an ideal invisibility cloak for diffusive light-scattering media, such as fog or milk.

Asymmetric continental margins and the slow birth of an ocean

Posted: 06 Jun 2014 06:14 AM PDT

When South America split from Africa 150 to 120 million years ago, the South Atlantic formed and separated Brazil from Angola. The continental margins formed through this separation are surprisingly different. Along offshore Angola 200 km wide, very thin slivers of continental crust have been detected, whereas the Brazilian counterpart margin features an abrupt transition between continental and oceanic crust.

Biomarkers accurately distinguish mesothelioma from non-cancerous tissue

Posted: 06 Jun 2014 06:14 AM PDT

Scientists have identified four biomarkers that may help resolve the difficult differential diagnosis between malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) and non-cancerous pleural tissue with reactive mesothelial proliferations (RMPs). This is a frequent differential diagnostic problem in pleural biopsy samples taken from patients with clinical suspicion of MPM. The ability to make more accurate diagnoses earlier may facilitate improved patient outcomes.

Sleep apnea tied to diabetes in large study

Posted: 06 Jun 2014 06:11 AM PDT

In the largest study to date of the relationship between sleep apnea and diabetes, a new study of more than 8,500 patients has demonstrated a link between obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and the development of diabetes, confirming earlier evidence of such a relationship from smaller studies with shorter follow-up periods.

Newborns exposed to dirt, dander, germs may have lower allergy, asthma risk

Posted: 06 Jun 2014 06:11 AM PDT

Infants exposed to rodent and pet dander, roach allergens and a wide variety of household bacteria in the first year of life appear less likely to suffer from allergies, wheezing and asthma, according to results of a recent study. Those who encounter such substances before their first birthdays seem to benefit rather than suffer from them. Importantly, the protective effects of both allergen and bacterial exposure were not seen if a child's first encounter with these substances occurred after age 1, the research found.

Three gene networks found in autism, may present treatment targets

Posted: 06 Jun 2014 06:11 AM PDT

A new analysis of DNA from thousands of patients has uncovered several underlying gene networks with potentially important roles in autism. These networks may offer attractive targets for developing new autism drugs or repurposing drugs for other indications. Furthermore, one of the autism-related gene pathways also affects some patients with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and schizophrenia—raising the possibility that a class of drugs may treat particular subsets of all three neurological disorders.

Alcohol may protect trauma patients from later complications

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 06:31 PM PDT

Intoxicated trauma patients have a reduced risk for cardiac and renal complications, according to a study. "After an injury, if you are intoxicated there seems to be a substantial protective effect," says the author of the study. "But we don't fully understand why this occurs." Nearly 85,000 trauma patients with measured blood alcohol levels were included in the retrospective study, which analyzed 10 years of cases at level I and level II trauma units.

Seemingly invincible cancers stem cells reveal a weakness

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 04:07 PM PDT

Metastatic cancer cells, which can migrate from primary tumors to seed new malignancies, have thus far been resistant to the current arsenal of anticancer drugs. Now, however, researchers have identified a critical weakness that actually exploits one of these cells' apparent strengths—their ability to move and invade tissues. Their research could inform novel approaches to screening tumors for personalized therapy or to drugs that specifically target these cells.

New tuberculosis test more than skin deep

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 03:36 PM PDT

A new screening process for tuberculosis infections in prisons could mean that more than 50 percent of those screened won't undergo unnecessary treatment due to false positives. A test for TB using interferon-gamma release assays (IGRA) will detect a pre-existing TB infection, or latent TB, that might not present itself for many years, or until the body becomes weakened by another source, researchers say.

Long-Sought Molecular Map of Critical Genetic Machinery developed

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:00 AM PDT

Advanced electron microscopy techniques have been used to determine the first accurate structural map of Mediator, one of the largest and most complex "molecular machines" in cells. The finding demonstrates how recently developed molecular imaging methods can be applied to characterize large and important protein complexes.

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