Τετάρτη, 2 Ιουλίου 2014

ScienceDaily: Latest Science News

ScienceDaily: Latest Science News


Nature of solids and liquids explored through new pitch drop experiment

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 04:33 PM PDT

Physicists have set up a new pitch drop experiment for students to explore the difference between solid and liquids. Known as the 'world's longest experiment', the set up at the University of Queensland was famous for taking ten years for a drop of pitch -- a thick, black, sticky material -- to fall from a funnel.

Nearly 80 percent of US deaths in first three decades of life are due to unintentional injury or violence

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 04:32 PM PDT

A new report on unintentional injury and violence in the United States has found that prevention strategies across society show a great deal of promise in preventing unintended deaths and injuries. In 2010 alone, the top three causes of death for those aged between one and 30 were unintentional injury, suicide, and homicide. Almost four fifths of deaths among people in this age group were due to injuries, with only one fifth due to chronic diseases and only 1% due to infectious diseases.

More people means more plant growth, NASA data show

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 04:20 PM PDT

Ecologist Thomas Mueller uses satellite data to study how the patterns of plant growth relate to the movement of caribou and gazelle. The research sparked an idea: Would the footprint of human activity show up in the data? Mueller teamed up with university and NASA colleagues to find out. Their new analysis shows that on a global scale, the presence of people corresponds to more plant productivity, or growth.

Plants respond to leaf vibrations caused by insects' chewing

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 03:38 PM PDT

Previous studies have suggested that plant growth can be influenced by sound and that plants respond to wind and touch. Now, researchers, in a collaboration that brings together audio and chemical analysis, have determined that plants respond to the sounds that caterpillars make when eating plants and that the plants respond with more defenses.

Net-zero energy test house exceeds goal; ends year with energy to spare

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 03:38 PM PDT

The NIST net-zero energy test house in suburban Washington, D.C., not only absorbed winter's best shot, it came out on top, reaching its one-year anniversary on July 1 with enough surplus energy to power an electric car for about 1,440 miles.

New metamaterial gives light a one-way ticket

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 03:38 PM PDT

Researchers have built a silver, glass and chromium nanostructure that can all but stop visible light cold in one direction while giving it a pass in the other. The device could someday play a role in optical information processing and in novel biosensing schemes.

Seeing your true colors: Standards for hyperspectral imaging

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 03:38 PM PDT

After a successful non-human trial, researchers have started gathering data on how human skin looks under various wavelengths of light in order to develop badly needed standards for a diagnostic technique called hyperspectral imaging that gives doctors a noninvasive, painless way to discriminate between healthy and diseased tissue and reveal how well damaged tissue is healing over a wide area.

Solar panels light the way from carbon dioxide to fuel

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 02:01 PM PDT

Researchers have devised an efficient method for harnessing sunlight to convert carbon dioxide into a potential alternative fuel known as formic acid. The transformation from carbon dioxide and water to formic acid was powered by a commercial solar panel.

Behind a marine creature's bright green fluorescent glow

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 02:01 PM PDT

Probing the mysterious glow of light produced naturally by animals, scientists have deciphered the structural components related to fluorescence brightness in the primitive sea creature known as amphioxus. The study carries implications for a variety of industries looking to maximize brightness of natural fluorescence, including applications in biotechnology such as adapting fluorescence for biomedical protein tracers and tracking gene expression in the human body.

Adults stop anti-rejection drugs after stem-cell transplant reverses sickle cell disease

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 02:01 PM PDT

Half of patients in a trial have safely stopped immunosuppressant medication following a modified blood stem-cell transplant for severe sickle cell disease, according to a new study. The transplant done in the study reversed sickle cell disease in nearly all the patients.

Two Kuiper Belt objects found: Hubble to proceed with full search for New Horizons targets

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 11:55 AM PDT

Planetary scientists have successfully used the Hubble Space Telescope to find two Kuiper Belt objects for NASA's New Horizons mission to Pluto. After the marathon probe zooms past Pluto in July 2015, it will travel across the Kuiper Belt -- a vast rim of primitive ice bodies left over from the birth of our solar system 4.6 billion years ago. If NASA approves, the probe could be redirected to fly to a Kuiper Belt object and photograph it up close.

New bridge design improves earthquake resistance, reduces damage and speeds construction

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 11:29 AM PDT

Researchers have developed a new design for the framework of columns and beams that support bridges, called 'bents,' to improve performance for better resistance to earthquakes, less damage and faster on-site construction.

Bolstering batteries with nanotubes

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 11:29 AM PDT

Researchers are turning to extremely tiny tubes and rods to boost power and durability in lithium-ion batteries, the energy sources for cell phones, laptops, and electric vehicles. If successful, the batteries will last longer and perform better, leading to a cost advantage for electric vehicles.

Supercomputer tackles grid challenges

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 11:28 AM PDT

'Big data' is playing an increasingly big role in the renewable energy industry and the transformation of the nation's electrical grid.

Muscle-powered bio-bots walk on command

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 11:28 AM PDT

A new generation of miniature biological robots is flexing its muscle. Engineers have demonstrated a class of walking 'bio-bots' powered by muscle cells and controlled with electrical pulses, giving researchers unprecedented command over their function.

Tags reveal Chilean devil rays are among ocean's deepest divers

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 11:28 AM PDT

Thought to dwell mostly near the ocean's surface, Chilean devil rays (Mobula tarapacana) are most often seen gliding through shallow, warm waters. But a new study reveals that these large and majestic creatures are actually among the deepest-diving ocean animals.

Separating finely mixed oil and water: Membrane can separate even highly mixed fine oil-spill residues

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 11:28 AM PDT

Whenever there is a major spill of oil into water, the two tend to mix into a suspension of tiny droplets, called an emulsion, that is extremely hard to separate -- and that can cause severe damage to ecosystems. But researchers have discovered a new, inexpensive way of getting the two fluids apart again. Their newly developed membrane could be manufactured at industrial scale, and could process large quantities of the finely mixed materials back into pure oil and water.

Bringing the bling to antibacterials: New way to combat bacterial biofilm formation with titanium encrusted with gold nanoparticles

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 11:01 AM PDT

Bacteria love to colonize surfaces inside your body, but they have a hard time getting past your skin. Surgeries to implant medical devices give such bacteria the opportunity needed to gain entry into the body cavity, allowing the implants themselves to act then as an ideal growing surface for biofilms. Researchers are looking to combat these dangerous sub-dermal infections by upgrading your new hip or kneecap in a fashion appreciated since ancient times – adding gold.

Insect diet helped early humans build bigger brains: Quest for elusive bugs spurred primate tool use, problem-solving skills

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 11:01 AM PDT

Figuring out how to survive on a lean-season diet of hard-to-reach ants, slugs and other bugs may have spurred the development of bigger brains and higher-level cognitive functions in the ancestors of humans and other primates, suggests new research.

Reducing deer populations may reduce risk of Lyme disease

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 08:15 AM PDT

Reduced deer populations can lead to a reduction in Lyme disease cases, researchers in Connecticut have found that after a 13-year study was conducted. White-tailed deer serve as the primary host for the adult blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis) -- the vector for Lyme disease. The study found that the number of resident-reported cases of Lyme disease per 100 households was strongly correlated to deer density in the community.

Up in flames: Evidence confirms combustion theory

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 07:15 AM PDT

Researchers have uncovered the first step in the process that transforms gas-phase molecules into solid particles like soot and other carbon-based compounds. The finding could help combustion chemists make more-efficient, less-polluting fuels and help materials scientists fine-tune their carbon nanotubes and graphene sheets for faster, smaller electronics. In addition, the results could have implications for the burgeoning field of astrochemistry, potentially establishing the chemical process for how gaseous outflows from stars turn into carbon-based matter in space.

Key to adaptation limits of ocean dwellers: Simpler organisms better suited for climate change

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 07:15 AM PDT

The simpler a marine organism is structured, the better it is suited for survival during climate change, researchers have discovered this in a new meta-study. For the first time biologists studied the relationship between the complexity of life forms and the ultimate limits of their adaptation to a warmer climate.

New analysis of 'swine flu' pandemic conflicts with accepted views on how diseases spread

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 07:15 AM PDT

New analysis of the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic in the US shows that the pandemic wave was surprisingly slow, and that its spread was likely accelerated by school-age children.

Unsuspected aspect of immune regulation revealed: Role of 'B cells'

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 07:14 AM PDT

Until now, the immune cells known as 'B cells' have been thought to specialize only in the production of antibodies. A discovery by immunologists shows they also have a role to play in regulating another important aspect of the immune system. This finding may benefit research into autoimmunity and transplantation.

European solution for effective cancer drug development presented

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 07:14 AM PDT

Experts describes how collaborative molecular screening platforms can help researchers understand the biology of a cancer and support the design and conduct of subsequent confirmatory trials. Collaborative molecular screening platforms offer a high quality integrated infrastructure for efficient screening of patients with cancer for specific molecular alterations. These identified alterations will define target populations for early trials with novel targeted agents.

Drink walkers do it because their friends think it's OK

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 07:14 AM PDT

Friends may be the key to stopping their mates drink walking, a risky behaviour that kills on average two Australians every week, a new study has found.

Enlightening cancer cells with optogenetics

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 07:13 AM PDT

The first application of optogenetics to cancer research has been conducted on engineered cell surface receptors activated by light, researchers report. Small algal protein domains serve as synthetic light sensors in human cells.

New spawning reefs to boost native fish in St. Clair River

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 07:13 AM PDT

Construction of two new fish-spawning reefs is about to begin in the St. Clair River northeast of Detroit, the latest chapter in a decade-plus effort to restore native species such as lake sturgeon, walleye and lake whitefish. The new reefs will be built this summer and fall at two locations on the St. Clair. The goal of the project is to boost fish populations by providing river-bottom rock structures suitable for spawning.

Orgasms and alcohol influence pillow talk

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 07:13 AM PDT

Orgasms aren't just good for your sexual relationship; they may also promote good communication. Results of a new study reveal that in the aftermath of having experienced an orgasm, people are more likely to share important information with their partners. And, that communication is likely to be positive.

Computing paths to asteroids helps find future exploration opportunities

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 06:35 AM PDT

As left over building blocks of the solar system's formation, asteroids are of significant interest to scientists. Resources, especially water, embedded within asteroids could be of use to astronauts traveling through deep space. Likewise, asteroids could continue to be destinations for robotic and human missions as NASA pioneers deeper into the solar system, to Mars and beyond.

Cassini names final mission phase its 'grand finale'

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 06:32 AM PDT

With input from more than 2,000 members of the public, team members on NASA's Cassini mission to Saturn have chosen a name for the final phase of the mission: the Cassini Grand Fi-nale. Starting in late 2016, the Cassini spacecraft will begin a daring set of orbits that is, in some ways, like a whole new mission. The spacecraft will repeatedly climb high above Saturn's north pole, flying just outside its narrow F ring. Cassini will probe the water-rich plume of the active geysers on the planet's intriguing moon Enceladus, and then will hop the rings and dive between the plan-et and innermost ring 22 times.

Rosetta's comet target 'releases' plentiful water

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 06:30 AM PDT

Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is releasing the Earthly equivalent of two glasses of water into space every second. The observations were made by the Microwave Instrument for Rosetta Orbiter (MIRO), aboard the European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft on June 6, 2014. The detection of water vapor has implications not only for cometary science, but also for mission planning, as the Rosetta team prepares the spacecraft to become the first ever to orbit a comet (planned for August), and the first to deploy a lander to its surface (planned for November 11).

Weave a cell phone into your shirt? Engineers envision an electronic switch just three atoms thick

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 06:20 AM PDT

Researchers believe they've discovered a crystal that can form a monolayer three atoms thick. Computer simulations show that this crystal, molybdenum ditelluride, can act like a switch: its crystal lattice can be mechanically pulled and pushed, back and forth, between two different atomic structures -- one that conducts electricity well, the other that does not. The team hopes experimental scientists will make this semiconductor crystal and use it to fashion flexible electronics.

Scientists discover how 'plastic' solar panels work

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 06:20 AM PDT

Scientists don't fully understand how 'plastic' solar panels work, which complicates the improvement of their cost efficiency, thereby blocking the wider use of the technology. However, researchers have determined how light beams excite the chemicals in solar panels, enabling them to produce charge.

Inhibition of protein opens door to treatment of pancreatic cancer

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 06:15 AM PDT

A new protein, galectin-1, has been identified as a possible therapeutic target for pancreatic cancer. For the first time, researchers have demonstrated the effects of the inhibition of this protein in mice suffering this type of cancer and the results showed an increase in survival of 20%. The work further suggests that it could be a therapeutic target with no adverse effects.

The less older adults sleep, the faster their brains age, new study suggests

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 06:14 AM PDT

Researchers have found evidence that the less older adults sleep, the faster their brains age. These findings, relevant in the context of a rapidly ageing society, pave the way for future work on sleep loss and its contribution to cognitive decline, including dementia.

Updated guidelines covering fusion procedures for degenerative disease of the lumbar spine

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 06:14 AM PDT

Updated guidelines for the performance of fusion procedures for degenerative disease of the lumbar spine have been published for use. This update, based on a review of recent literature, replaces the first set of guidelines published in 2005.

Foodborne bacteria can cause disease in some breeds of chickens after all

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 06:14 AM PDT

Contrary to popular belief, the foodborne pathogen Campylobacter jejuni is not a harmless commensal in chickens but can cause disease in some breeds of poultry according to research. Campylobacter jejuni is the most frequent cause of foodborne bacterial gastroenteritis in the world and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate it affects approximately 1.3 million people per year in the United States. Chicken is the most common source of infections.

Freeze-storage egg banking for egg donation treatment

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 06:14 AM PDT

The rapid freezing technique of vitrification is set to revolutionize egg donation as a fertility treatment by enabling freeze-storage egg-banking. The cryopreservation of eggs was one of IVF's continuing challenges until the widespread introduction of vitrification; the older slow freezing methods induced the formation of ice crystals, which could cause damage to several structures of the egg.

Future reproductive lifespan may be lessened in oral contraceptive users: Lower measures of ovarian reserve

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 06:14 AM PDT

A project in Denmark whose aim is to assess the reliability of preconceptional lifestyle and biological factors as predictors of fertility has found a pronounced effect of the contraceptive pill on markers used to assess 'ovarian reserve,' a predictor of future reproductive lifespan.

Pregnancies following egg donation associated with more than 3-fold higher risk of hypertension

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 06:14 AM PDT

With an ever-aging female patient population, egg donation is an increasingly common treatment in infertility. Annual reports on fertility treatments in Europe show a rise in egg donation cycles from 15,028 in 2007 to 24,517 in 2010. This proportion is still some way behind the USA, where egg donation now accounts for around 12 percent of all treatments.

Most women are aware of oocyte freezing for social reasons

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 06:14 AM PDT

While the majority of younger women are aware of egg freezing as a technique of fertility preservation and consider it an acceptable means of reproductive planning, only one in five would consider it appropriate for them.

Cancer mutations identified as targets of effective melanoma immunotherapy

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 06:14 AM PDT

A new approach demonstrated that the recognition of unique cancer mutations appeared to be responsible for complete cancer regressions in two metastatic melanoma patients treated with a type of immunotherapy called adoptive T-cell therapy. This new approach may help develop more effective cancer immunotherapies, according to a study published in Clinical Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Biology labs: Managing the data jungle

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 05:54 AM PDT

Many biology labs fight with a glut of measurement data. New software aims to make this a thing of the past: it simplifies laboratory experiment evaluation and unifies how data is saved. It even identifies measurement errors on the spot.

Biology of addiction risk looks like addiction

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 05:53 AM PDT

Research suggests that people at increased risk for developing addiction share many of the same neurobiological signatures of people who have already developed addiction. This similarity is to be expected, as individuals with family members who have struggled with addiction are over-represented in the population of addicted people.

Cancer risk: Aspirin and smoking affect aging of genes

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 05:53 AM PDT

The risk of developing cancer increases with age. Outside factors can affect that risk, like smoking, which increases cancer risk, and regular aspirin use, which has been shown to decrease it. Now researchers have demonstrated the change in risk connected to colorectal cancer with regard to aspirin use. Numerous studies have confirmed the protective effect of the drug against different types of cancer, including reducing the risk to develop colorectal cancer by an average of 40%. However, it is unknown how exactly the drug influences the cancer risk.

3-D printed wrist splints for arthritis sufferers

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 05:53 AM PDT

A computer software concept has been developed that will enable clinicians with no experience in Computer Aided Design (CAD) to design and make custom-made 3D printed wrist splints for rheumatoid arthritis sufferers. The 3D printed splints are not only more comfortable and attractive but potentially cheaper than the current ones that are 'ugly, bulky, and can make a patients arm sweat'.

Traffic noise is dangerous for your health: Solutions exist for dense cities

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 05:53 AM PDT

Traffic noise is the second biggest environmental problem in the EU, according to WHO. After air pollution, noise is affecting health the most. But legislation regarding noise pollution is insufficient. A new report shows how negative health effects of noise can be reduced. Several means are easiest to apply in dense cities.

JNK protein's key role in tissue regeneration

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 05:53 AM PDT

The major role that JNK protein plays in tissue regeneration in adult organisms has been identified by researchers. The study used planarians -— a type of worm able to regenerate any part of its body -— to address the question. To date, it has been known that JNK was involved in the control of cell proliferation and death, but little was known about the role it plays in tissue and organ regeneration.

Research on inflammasomes opens new therapeutic avenues for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 05:53 AM PDT

Patients with varying severity of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) may have the same painful symptoms, but does this mean that the cause of their illness is the same and that they should all receive the same treatment? Scientists have demonstrated with their research into inflammasomes that RA should be considered as a syndrome rather than a single disease.

Deployment-related respiratory symptoms in returning veterans

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 05:50 AM PDT

In a new study of the causes underlying respiratory symptoms in military personnel returning from duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, a large percentage of veterans had non-specific symptoms that did not lead to a specific clinical diagnosis.

Improved screening assay for buprenorphine in umbilical cord

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 05:50 AM PDT

Researchers have improved umbilical cord screening assay for buprenorphine by reducing the positive result cutoff from 1.0 ng/g down to 0.5 ng/g. The improved umbilical cord buprenorphine assay gives the best possible detection of buprenorphine exposure, making it possible to identify more newborns exposed to buprenorphine in utero.

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act catalyses unprecedented collaboration between health care, public health

Posted: 30 Jun 2014 04:34 PM PDT

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, signed into law by US President Barack Obama in 2010, can advance public health in the USA by supporting increased emphasis on prevention, and reversing the historic division between public health and private health care services, according to the authors of new research.

Dramatic slowdown in growth of U.S. health expenditure over last decade closes gap between USA, other high-spending countries

Posted: 30 Jun 2014 04:34 PM PDT

Growth in health expenditure in the USA slowed dramatically between 2000 and 2011, bringing the growth rate of the country's health budget in line with other high-spending countries, according to new research. OECD warns that "more and bigger" efforts will be needed to contain US health budget to prevent reversal of recent slowdown in health spending growth as economic growth improves

Gas-charged fluids creating seismicity associated with a Louisiana sinkhole

Posted: 30 Jun 2014 04:34 PM PDT

In August 2012, the emergence of a very large sinkhole at the Napoleonville Salt Dome in Louisiana offered scientists the opportunity to detect, locate and analyze a rich sequence of 62 seismic events that occurred one day prior to its discovery.

ACP recommends against pelvic exam in asymptomatic, average risk, non-pregnant women

Posted: 30 Jun 2014 04:34 PM PDT

ACP's new evidence-based guideline finds that harms of screening pelvic examination outweigh any demonstrated benefits. ACP's guideline is based on a systematic review of the published literature on human subjects in the English language from 1946 through January 2014.

DNA analysis reveals that queen bumblebees disperse far from their birthplace before setting up home

Posted: 30 Jun 2014 04:33 PM PDT

Researchers are closer to understanding patterns of family relatedness and genetic diversity in bumblebees. The findings could help farmers, land managers and policy makers develop more effective conservation schemes for these essential pollinators.

Research team pursues techniques to improve elusive stem cell therapy

Posted: 30 Jun 2014 01:46 PM PDT

Transplanting mesenchymal stem cells along with blood vessel-forming cells naturally found in circulation improves transplantation results, researchers report. The research has immediate translational implications, as current mesenchymal clinical trials don't follow a co-transplantation procedure.

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