Παρασκευή, 4 Ιουλίου 2014

ScienceDaily: Latest Science News

ScienceDaily: Latest Science News


Biochemical cascade causes bone marrow inflammation, leading to serious blood disorders

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 01:23 PM PDT

Like a line of falling dominos, a cascade of molecular events in the bone marrow produces high levels of inflammation that disrupt normal blood formation and lead to potentially deadly disorders including leukemia, a research team has reported. The discovery points the way to potential new strategies to treat the blood disorders and further illuminates the relationship between inflammation and cancer.

Compounded outcomes associated with comorbid Alzheimer's disease, cerebrovascular disease

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 01:23 PM PDT

Anecdotal information on patients with both Alzheimer's disease and cerebrovascular disease have been confirmed by researchers using mouse models in two different studies. The findings, which found elevated levels of homocysteine is associated with a number of disease states, have potentially significant implications for patients with both disorders.

How knots can swap positions on a DNA strand

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 01:23 PM PDT

Physicists have been able with the aid of computer simulations to confirm and explain a mechanism by which two knots on a DNA strand can interchange their positions.

From pencil marks to quantum computers

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 01:23 PM PDT

One of the hottest materials in condensed matter research today is graphene. Graphene had an unlikely start: it began with researchers messing around with pencil marks on paper. Pencil "lead" is actually made of graphite, which is a soft crystal lattice made of nothing but carbon atoms. When pencils deposit that graphite on paper, the lattice is laid down in thin sheets. By pulling that lattice apart into thinner sheets -- originally using Scotch tape -- researchers discovered that they could make flakes of crystal just one atom thick.

New discovery in living cell signaling

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 12:18 PM PDT

A breakthrough discovery into how living cells process and respond to chemical information could help advance the development of treatments for a large number of cancers and other cellular disorders that have been resistant to therapy.

Sweet genes: New way found by which metabolism is linked to the regulation of DNA

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 12:18 PM PDT

Scientists have discovered a new way by which metabolism is linked to the regulation of DNA, the basis of our genetic code. The findings may have important implications for the understanding of many common diseases, including cancer.

With 'ribbons' of graphene, width matters: A narrow enough ribbon will transform a high-performance conductor into a semiconductor

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 11:24 AM PDT

Using graphene ribbons of unimaginably small widths -- just several atoms across -- a group of researchers has found a novel way to "tune" the wonder material, causing the extremely efficient conductor of electricity to act as a semiconductor. In principle, their method for producing these narrow ribbons -- at a width roughly equal to the diameter of a strand of human DNA -- and manipulating the ribbons' electrical conductivity could be used to produce nano-devices.

Ultrasound for astronomers? A young star's age can be gleamed from nothing but sound waves

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 11:24 AM PDT

Determining the age of stars has long been a challenge for astronomers. Astronomers now show that 'infant' stars can be distinguished from 'adolescent' stars by measuring the acoustic waves they emit.

Rethinking the coral reef: How algal and coral cover affect the microscopic life that call the reef home

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 11:24 AM PDT

Biologists have shown that inhabited coral islands that engage in commercial fishing dramatically alter their nearby reef ecosystems, disturbing the microbes, corals, algae and fish that call the reef home.

Safer, cheaper building blocks for future anti-HIV and cancer drugs

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 11:24 AM PDT

Researchers have developed an economical, reliable and heavy metal-free chemical reaction that yields fully functional 1,2,3-triazoles. Triazoles are chemical compounds that can be used as building blocks for more complex chemical compounds, including pharmaceutical drugs.

Cellular defense against fatal associations between proteins and DNA

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 11:23 AM PDT

DNA -- the carrier of genetic information -- is constantly threatened by damage originating from exogenous and endogenous sources. Very special DNA lesions are DNA-protein crosslinks -- proteins covalently linked to DNA. So far hardly anything was known about repair mechanisms specifically targeting DNA-protein crosslinks. Scientists have now discovered a protease that is able to chop down the protein component of DNA-protein crosslinks, thereby enabling organisms to copy their genetic information even if crosslinks arise. The results of this study have major implications for the understanding of genome integrity and cancer development.

Timeline of human origins revised: New synthesis of research links changing environment with Homo's evolutionary adaptability

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 11:23 AM PDT

Many traits unique to humans were long thought to have originated in the genus Homo between 2.4 and 1.8 million years ago in Africa. Although scientists have recognized these characteristics for decades, they are reconsidering the true evolutionary factors that drove them.

Controversial clues of two 'Goldilocks planets' that might support life are proven false

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 11:23 AM PDT

Mysteries about controversial signals from a star considered a prime target in the search for extraterrestrial life now have been solved. The research proves, for the first time, that some of the signals actually are from events inside the star itself, not from the two so-called 'Goldilocks planets,' which were suspected to be just-right for life and orbiting the star at a distance where liquid water potentially could exist. No planets there, just star burps.

Tunable quantum behavior observed in bilayer graphene

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 11:23 AM PDT

Researchers have observed the fractional quantum Hall effect in bilayer graphene and shown that this exotic state of matter can be tuned by an electric field.

Oklahoma earthquakes induced by wastewater injection by disposal wells, study finds

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 11:23 AM PDT

The dramatic increase in earthquakes in central Oklahoma since 2009 is likely attributable to subsurface wastewater injection at just a handful of disposal wells, finds a new study.

Doing something is better than doing nothing for most people, study shows

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 11:21 AM PDT

People are focused on the external world and don't enjoy spending much time alone thinking, according to a new study. The investigation found that most would rather be doing something -- possibly even hurting themselves -- than doing nothing or sitting alone with their thoughts.

Discovery expands search for Earth-like planets: Newly spotted frozen world orbits in a binary star system

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 11:21 AM PDT

A newly discovered planet is expanding astronomers' notions of where Earth-like—and even potentially habitable—planets can form, and how to find them. At twice the mass of Earth, the planet orbits one of the stars in the binary system at almost exactly the same distance from which Earth orbits the sun. However, because the planet's host star is much dimmer than the sun, the planet is much colder thanEarth -- a little colder, in fact, than Jupiter's icy moon Europa.

Hollow-fiber membranes could cut separation costs, energy use

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 11:21 AM PDT

Researchers have developed a microfluidic technique for fabricating a new class of metal-organic framework (MOF) membranes inside hollow polymer fibers that are just a few hundred microns in diameter. The new fabrication process, believed to be the first to grow MOF membranes inside hollow fibers, could potentially change the way large-scale energy-intensive chemical separations are done.

Fondue with chicken causes campylobacter infections in Switzerland

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 09:58 AM PDT

A hotpot with chicken is one of the primary risk factors for a campylobacter infection in Switzerland in winter, a new study shows. At the end of each year, the reported case numbers of this severe intestinal infection increase in Switzerland. According to the new study, this increase over the festive season can be attributed to the consumption of Hot Pots.

Identifying microbial species: New device will help identify the millions of bacteria that populate the world

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 09:58 AM PDT

Millions of microbial species populate the world, but so far only a few have been identified due to the inability of most microbes to grow in the laboratory. An engineer and a biologist aim to change this. The pair has developed a device that allows scientists to cultivate a single species of bacteria that can then be studied and identified.

Leading hypothesis for miscarriages, birth defects ruled out

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 09:55 AM PDT

Reproductive biologists have ruled out the 'Production-Line Hypothesis,' one of the leading thoughts on why older women have an increased risk of miscarriages and children with birth defects.

New strategy could uncover genes at the root of psychiatric illnesses

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 09:55 AM PDT

Understanding the basis of psychiatric disorders has been extremely challenging because there are many genetic variants that may increase risk but are insufficient to cause disease. Now investigators describe a strategy that may help reveal how such 'subthreshold' genetic risks interact with other risk factors or environmental exposures to affect the development of the nervous system. Their research pinpoints a genetic variant that may predispose individuals to schizophrenia.

Flower's bellows organ blasts pollen at bird pollinators

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 09:55 AM PDT

A small tree or shrub found in mountainous Central and South American rainforests has a most unusual relationship with the birds that pollinate its flowers, according to a new study. The plant known as Axinaea offers up its male reproductive organs as a tempting and nutritious food source for the birds. As the birds seize those bulbous stamens with their beaks, they are blasted with pollen by the flowers' complex 'bellows' organs.

With 'biological sunscreen,' mantis shrimp see the reef in a whole different light

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 09:55 AM PDT

In an unexpected discovery, researchers have found that the complex eyes of mantis shrimp are equipped with optics that generate ultraviolet color vision. Mantis shrimp's six UV photoreceptors pick up on different colors within the UV spectrum based on filters made from an ingredient other animals depend on as built-in biological sunscreen, according to new research.

Explaining 'healthy' obesity

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 09:55 AM PDT

Up to one-quarter of individuals currently labeled as obese are actually metabolically healthy. Though obesity is a major risk factor for diabetes, the two conditions aren't always linked. A new study sheds light on a possible explanation, revealing that high levels of a molecule HO-1 are linked to poor metabolic health and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes in obese humans. HO-1 blockers could represent a promising new strategy for the treatment of metabolic disease.

Bone marrow fat tissue secretes hormone that helps body stay healthy

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 09:52 AM PDT

It has been known for its flavorful addition to soups and as a delicacy for dogs but bone marrow fat may also have untapped health benefits, new research finds. Researchers find that with calorie restriction, a less-studied fat tissue releases adiponectin, which is linked to reduced risk of diseases like diabetes.

New clue helps explain how brown fat burns energy

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 09:52 AM PDT

New research helps explain the heat-generating properties of brown fat, a possible key to weight loss.

Ironing out details of the carbon cycle: Dissolved iron in North Atlantic traced to Sahara desert

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 08:28 AM PDT

Iron is an essential element in all living creatures, and its availability in seawater can have a profound effect on phytoplankton growth and, consequently, the earth's carbon cycle. Scientists have assessed the various sources of dissolved iron in the north Atlantic Ocean, establishing that a great deal of it, some 70 to 90 percent, originates from dust blowing off the Sahara desert.

Jump to it! A frog's leaping style depends on the environment

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 08:28 AM PDT

A frog's jump is not as simple as it seems. Scientists have discovered that different species adopt different jumping styles depending on their environment.

Weighing up the secrets of African elephant body fat

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 08:24 AM PDT

Scientists have carried out the first molecular characterization of the African elephant's adipose tissue -- body fat. This new information will form the basis of future studies aimed at securing the health and future survival of captive elephants.

Could boosting brain cells' appetites fight disease? New research shows promise

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 08:24 AM PDT

Deep inside the brains of people with dementia and Lou Gehrig's disease, globs of abnormal protein gum up the inner workings of brain cells – dooming them to an early death. But boosting those cells' natural ability to clean up those clogs might hold the key to better treatment for such conditions.

New insights on conditions for new blood vessel formation

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 07:30 AM PDT

With lifesaving applications possible in both inhibiting and accelerating the creation of new blood vessels, a more fundamental understanding of what regulates angiogenesis is needed. Now, researchers have uncovered the existence of a threshold above which fluid flowing through blood vessel walls causes new capillaries to sprout.

How you cope with stress may increase your risk for insomnia

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 07:30 AM PDT

A new study is the first to identify specific coping behaviors through which stress exposure leads to the development of insomnia. Results show that coping with a stressful event through behavioral disengagement -- giving up on dealing with the stress -- or by using alcohol or drugs each significantly mediated the relationship between stress exposure and insomnia development.

Tool helps guide brain cancer surgery

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 07:29 AM PDT

A tool to help brain surgeons test and more precisely remove cancerous tissue was successfully used during surgery. The mass spectrometry tool sprays a microscopic stream of charged solvent onto the tissue surface to gather information about its molecular makeup and produces a color-coded image that reveals the location, nature and concentration of tumor cells.

Whales as ecosystem engineers: Recovery from overhunting helping to buffer marine ecosystems from destabilizing stresses

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 07:29 AM PDT

A review of research on whales shows that they have more a powerful influence on the function of oceans, global carbon storage, and the health of commercial fisheries than has been commonly assumed. The continued recovery of great whales from centuries of overhunting may help to buffer marine ecosystems from destabilizing stresses, including climate change, reports a global team of scientists.

More left-handed men are born during the winter: Indirect evidence of a hormonal mechanism

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 07:29 AM PDT

Men born in November, December or January are more likely of being left-handed than during the rest of the year. While the genetic bases of handedness are still under debate, scientists obtained indirect evidence of a hormonal mechanism promoting left-handedness among men.

Groovy giraffes: Distinct bone structures keep these animals upright

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 07:29 AM PDT

Researchers have identified a highly specialized ligament structure that is thought to prevent giraffes' legs from collapsing under the immense weight of these animals.

NASA radio delivered for Europe's 2016 Mars orbiter

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 07:27 AM PDT

The first of two NASA Electra radios that will fly aboard the European Space Agency's next mission to Mars has been delivered for installation onto the ESA ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO).

'Grass-in-the-ear' technique sets new trend in chimp etiquette: Chimpanzees spontaneously copy arbitrary behavior

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 07:26 AM PDT

Chimpanzees are copycats and, in the process, they form new traditions that are often particular to only one specific group of these primates. Such are the findings of an international group of scientists, who waded through over 700 hours of video footage to understand how it came about that one chimpanzee stuck a piece of grass in her ear and started a new trend, and others soon followed suit.

Behavioral economics: Rich boys more competitive

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 06:21 AM PDT

Why do we make the choices that we do? Are we born this way or have we become this way? Behavioral economists are looking for answers by the use of economics and math exercises in the laboratory.

Power consumption of robot joints could be 40% less

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 06:20 AM PDT

Robots are being increasingly used in industrial processes because of their ability to carry out repetitive tasks in a precise, reliable way. Right now, digital controllers are used to drive the motors of the joints of these robots. And it is no easy task developing and programming these controllers so that they will work efficiently. Scientists have developed a way of propelling these systems or robots in a more energy-efficient way and have shown, on a laboratory level, that in some cases energy consumption can be cut by up to 40%.

Review of primaquine to prevent malaria transmission

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 06:20 AM PDT

Researchers conducted an independent review of the effects of adding a single dose of primaquine (PQ) to malaria treatment to prevent the transmission of the disease.

First show off, then take-off: New specimen of Archaeopteryx reveals previously unknown features of the plumage

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 06:19 AM PDT

Paleontologists are currently studying a new specimen of Archaeopteryx, which reveals previously unknown features of the plumage. The initial findings shed light on the original function of feathers and their recruitment for flight.

Neurodegenerative diseases: Glitch in garbage removal enhances risk

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 06:19 AM PDT

Researchers have identified a pathogenic mechanism that is common to several neurodegenerative diseases. The findings suggest that it may be possible to slow the progression of dementia even after the onset of symptoms.

Gene type confers 26 percent chance of early celiac sign by age 5

Posted: 02 Jul 2014 05:38 PM PDT

More than one quarter of children with two copies of a high-risk variant in a specific group of genes develop an early sign of celiac disease called celiac disease autoimmunity by age 5. Researchers found that youth with two copies of HLA-DR3-DQ2 had the highest likelihood of disease development by age 5. Of this group, 26 percent developed CDA by age 5 and 12 percent developed celiac disease. In those with one copy of HLA-DR3-DQ2, the risks of CDA and celiac disease by age 5 were 11 percent and 3 percent, respectively. About 90 percent of celiac disease patients carry HLA-DR3-DQ2.

Long jumpers do better with a spring in their step

Posted: 02 Jul 2014 05:38 PM PDT

Long jumpers and triple jumpers spend hours training to perfect their take-off. But what influences their performance? Scientists have discovered that taking off from a compliant surface -- such as a springboard -- compared with a firm, unyielding surface, reduces the energy cost of jumping over long distances.

Desert design: Scorpions are master architects

Posted: 02 Jul 2014 05:38 PM PDT

Scientists have discovered that scorpions design their burrows to include both hot and cold spots. A long platform provides a sunny place to warm up before they hunt, whilst a humid chamber acts as a cool refuge during the heat of the day.

Blood donations could help reduce the risk of heart disease in shift workers

Posted: 02 Jul 2014 05:38 PM PDT

Researchers have found that jetlag has severe effects on red blood cells, possibly explaining the high incidence of heart disease seen in shift workers. However, these effects can be counterbalanced by fresh, young red blood cells -- making blood donations a potential therapy for shift workers.

The plant that only grows when the going's good

Posted: 02 Jul 2014 05:38 PM PDT

Scientists have identified a new mutant plant that accumulates excessive amounts of starch, which could help to boost crop yields and increase the productivity of plants grown for biofuels.

Lights out: Light pollution alters reproduction cycle in lemurs

Posted: 02 Jul 2014 05:38 PM PDT

Besides obscuring the stars, light pollution can also disrupt the reproduction of light-sensitive animals. Scientists have shown that light pollution can override the natural reproductive cycle of some animals, making them sexually active out of season.

Insulin pumps result in better blood sugar control than multiple daily injections in people with type 2 diabetes

Posted: 02 Jul 2014 05:37 PM PDT

Type 2 diabetes is usually controlled by diet and medication, but most people with advanced disease also end up needing insulin therapy to achieve control of their blood sugar. However, roughly a third of these patients struggle to achieve the right level of blood sugar control with insulin injections many times a day. The growing obesity epidemic is adding to the problem by leading to greater insulin resistance.

Hypertension, antihypertension medication, risk of psoriasis

Posted: 02 Jul 2014 02:00 PM PDT

Women with long-term high blood pressure appear to be at an increased risk for the skin condition psoriasis, and long-term use of beta (²)-blocker medication to treat hypertension may also increase the risk of psoriasis. Psoriasis is an immune-related chronic disease that affects about 3 percent of the U.S. population. The authors suggest prospective data on the risk of psoriasis associated with hypertension is lacking.

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