Πέμπτη, 3 Ιουλίου 2014

ScienceDaily: Top News

ScienceDaily: Top News


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.

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.

Researchers invent 'meta mirror' to help advance nonlinear optical systems

Posted: 02 Jul 2014 02:00 PM PDT

Scientists have created a nonlinear mirror that could advance laser systems. The metamaterials were created with nonlinear optical response a million times as strong as traditional nonlinear materials.

Polyphenols could yield small benefit for people with PAD

Posted: 02 Jul 2014 02:00 PM PDT

Polyphenols -- compounds found in cocoa and other foods -- may help people with peripheral artery disease walk a little longer and farther before pain sets in. More research is needed to see whether long-term use of these compounds in dark chocolate can improve circulation and aid patients.

Ocean on Saturn's moon Titan could be as salty as Earth's Dead Sea

Posted: 02 Jul 2014 01:55 PM PDT

Scientists analyzing data from NASA's Cassini mission have firm evidence the ocean inside Saturn's largest moon, Titan, might be as salty as Earth's Dead Sea. The new results come from a study of gravity and topography data collected during Cassini's repeated flybys of Titan during the past 10 years. Using the Cassini data, researchers presented a model structure for Titan, resulting in an improved understanding of the structure of the moon's outer ice shell.

Black hole fireworks in nearby galaxy

Posted: 02 Jul 2014 01:53 PM PDT

Celebrants this Fourth of July will enjoy the dazzling lights and booming shock waves from the explosions of fireworks. A similarly styled event is taking place in the galaxy Messier 106, as seen by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Herschel Space Observatory. Herschel is a European Space Agency mission with important NASA contributions.

Noninvasive advanced image analysis could lead to better patient care

Posted: 02 Jul 2014 12:39 PM PDT

Lung cancer patients could receive more precise treatment, and their progress could be better tracked, using a new high-tech method of non-invasive medical imaging analysis, according to a study. Genetic changes increasingly are recognized as driving cancer development. But obtaining evidence of these changes usually requires a biopsy, which can be problematic for sensitive regions of the body such as the lungs.

Genetic study reveals vulnerability of northwest dolphins

Posted: 02 Jul 2014 12:14 PM PDT

A new study estimating population genetic structure of little-known dolphins inhabiting Western Australia's north coast highlights vulnerability.

Hair from mummy's clothes provides insights into red deer lineage

Posted: 02 Jul 2014 12:14 PM PDT

Genetic analysis of Neolithic deer hair from Italian Alps mummy's clothes ties deer population to modern day western European lineage, in contrast to the eastern lineage found in the Italian alps today.

New species of spider wasp may use chemical signals from dead ants to protect nest

Posted: 02 Jul 2014 12:14 PM PDT

A new species of spider wasp, the 'Bone-house Wasp,' may use chemical cues from dead ants as a nest protection strategy. Wasps use a wide variety of nest protection strategies, including digging holes or occupying pre-existing cavities such as in wood.

Major gaps in hepatitis C care identified as new drugs, screening efforts emerge

Posted: 02 Jul 2014 12:13 PM PDT

Significant gaps in hepatitis C care identified in a new meta-analysis will prove useful as the U.S. health care system continues to see an influx of patients with the disease because of improved screening efforts and new, promising drugs. In the largest study of its kind, the team examined data culled from 10 studies between 2003 and 2013 and found that less than 10 percent of people infected with hepatitis C in the United States -- 330,000 of nearly 3.5 million people -- were cured (achieved viral suppression) with antiviral hepatitis C treatment.

Die-offs of band-tailed pigeons connected to newly discovered parasite

Posted: 02 Jul 2014 11:06 AM PDT

A new parasite, along with one possibly found in T-Rex, has been implicated in the recent deaths of thousands of Pacific Coast band-tailed pigeons. Avian trichomonosis is an emerging and potentially fatal disease that creates severe lesions that can block the esophagus, ultimately preventing the bird from eating or drinking, or the trachea, leading to suffocation. The disease may date back to when dinosaurs roamed the earth, as lesions indicative of trichomonosis were found recently in T-Rex skeletons.

Researchers regrow corneas, first known tissue grown from an adult human stem cell

Posted: 02 Jul 2014 10:17 AM PDT

Researchers have identified a way to enhance regrowth of human corneal tissue to restore vision, using a molecule known as ABCB5 that acts as a marker for hard-to-find limbal stem cells. The research is also one of the first known examples of constructing a tissue from an adult-derived human stem cell.

Extinct human cousin gave Tibetans advantage at high elevation

Posted: 02 Jul 2014 10:17 AM PDT

Several thousand years ago, the common ancestors of Han Chinese and Tibetans moved onto the Tibetan plateau, a low-oxygen environment that probably proved fatal to many because of early heart disease and high infant mortality. But a specific variant of a gene for hemoglobin regulation, picked up from earlier interbreeding with a mysterious human-like species, Denisovans, gradually spread through the Tibetan population, allowing them to live longer and healthier and avoid cardiovascular problems.

Hollow optical fibers for UV light

Posted: 02 Jul 2014 10:16 AM PDT

If you want to send light on a trip through optical fibers -- with as little loss as possible, you should opt for infrared light, as is the case, for example, in the telecommunication networks worldwide. For certain applications, such as spectroscopic investigations on ions or atoms, however, (laser) light in the ultraviolet range is required. But this type of light would quickly damage conventional optical fibers. Researchers have now tested a new type of optical fiber with a hollow core and have found out that this type of optical fiber was able to guide UV laser light without being damaged and with acceptable loss.

Martian salts must touch ice to make liquid water, study shows

Posted: 02 Jul 2014 10:16 AM PDT

In chambers that mimic Mars' conditions, researchers have shown how small amounts of liquid water could form on the planet despite its below-freezing temperatures. Liquid water is an essential ingredient for life as we know it. Mars is one of the very few places in the solar system where scientists have seen promising signs of it -- in gullies down crater rims, in instrument readings, and in Phoenix spacecraft self portraits that appeared to show wet beads on the lander's leg several years ago.

Who will binge-drink at age 16? Teen imaging study pinpoints predictors

Posted: 02 Jul 2014 10:16 AM PDT

Neuroscientists leading the largest longitudinal adolescent brain imaging study to date have learned that a number of factors -- genetics, brain function and about 40 different variables -- can help scientists predict which teens will become binge drinkers.

Boron tolerance discovery for higher wheat yields

Posted: 02 Jul 2014 10:16 AM PDT

The genes in wheat that control tolerance to a significant yield-limiting soil condition found around the globe – boron toxicity -- have been identified by researchers. They say that in soils where boron toxicity is reducing yields, genetic improvement of crops is the only effective strategy to address the problem.

New reprogramming method makes better stem cells

Posted: 02 Jul 2014 10:16 AM PDT

Researchers have shown for the first time that stem cells created using different methods produce differing cells. The findings provide new insights into the basic biology of stem cells and could ultimately lead to improved stem cell therapies.

A case study of manta rays and lagoons

Posted: 02 Jul 2014 09:25 AM PDT

Doug McCauley chose one of the most isolated places in the world, Palmyra Atoll, to study the ecology of the Manta alfredi. About halfway between Hawaii and American Samoa, this complex of small islands and inlets in the central Pacific is surrounded by more than 15,000 acres of coral reefs and encircles three lagoons.

Stem cell type resists chemotherapy drug

Posted: 02 Jul 2014 09:25 AM PDT

Adipose-derived stem cells, which can generate bone tissue, appear resistant to the toxicity of the chemotherapy drug methotrexate, which degrades bone in patients such as kids suffering from acute lymphoblastic leukemia, researchers have found. The newly published findings are preliminary but more tests are planned.

Antibiotic therapy reduces mortality by 68 percent in hemodialysis patients

Posted: 02 Jul 2014 09:25 AM PDT

An antibiotic therapy known to reduce catheter-related bloodstream infections in hemodialysis patients has been shown for the first time to reduce mortality, according to a study. Bloodstream infections are a leading cause of hospitalization and death in hemodialysis patients.

Causes of serious pain syndrome closer to discovery

Posted: 02 Jul 2014 09:25 AM PDT

A major step forward has been made in understanding the causes of a disorder which causes chronic pain in sufferers. Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is a serious condition affecting a limb after an -- often small -- accident or operation. It can cause severe pain lasting many years, as well as limb swelling, hair and nail growth changes, and muscle atrophy, but until now there has been no clear evidence of the cause.

Twin study links community socioeconomic deprivation to sleep duration

Posted: 02 Jul 2014 09:24 AM PDT

A new study of adult twins suggests that the level of socioeconomic deprivation in a neighborhood is associated with the sleep duration of residents. "The more socioeconomically deprived the neighborhood, the more erratic the sleep duration, both shorter and longer than the healthy seven to nine hours per night that we recommend," researchers said.

Inspired by nature, researchers create tougher metal materials

Posted: 02 Jul 2014 09:24 AM PDT

Drawing inspiration from the structure of bones and bamboo, researchers have found that by gradually changing the internal structure of metals they can make stronger, tougher materials that can be customized for a wide variety of applications -- from body armor to automobile parts.

Fruit fly research may reveal what happens in female brains during courtship, mating

Posted: 02 Jul 2014 09:24 AM PDT

What are the complex processes in the brain involved with choosing a mate, and are these processes different in females versus males? It's difficult to study such questions in people, but researchers are finding clues in fruit flies that might be relevant to humans and other animals.

Deforestation remedies can have unintended consequences

Posted: 02 Jul 2014 09:22 AM PDT

When it comes to fixing deforestation and forest degradation, good intentions can lead to bad outcomes. Among other points, researchers note that even when there's technically no net deforestation, tropical forests can still suffer. For example, if degraded natural forests are replaced by plantations of invasive exotic trees or low water-use efficiency trees, biodiversity will diminish, wildlife could suffer and soil erosion could render streams unusable by local villagers.

'Lost in translation' issues in Chinese medicine addressed by researchers

Posted: 02 Jul 2014 09:22 AM PDT

Millions of people in the West today utilize traditional Chinese medicine, including acupuncture, herbs and massage therapies. Yet only a handful of Chinese medical texts have so far been translated into English. Given the complexity of the language and concepts, there is a need for accurate, high-quality translations. Researchers have published a document designed to help evaluate and digest Chinese medical texts with greater sensitivity and comprehension.

Upending a cancer dogma: Cyclin D, long believed to promote cancer, actually activates tumor suppressor

Posted: 02 Jul 2014 09:22 AM PDT

A protein essential to regulating cell cycle progression – the process of cell division and replication – activates a key tumor suppressor, rather than inactivating it as previously thought, researchers report. The findings fundamentally change the understanding of G1 cell cycle regulation and the molecular origins of many associated cancers.

Process that affects fat distribution, metabolic syndrome found by researchers

Posted: 02 Jul 2014 08:10 AM PDT

Building upon their earlier research on the biology of fat metabolism, scientists discovered that microRNAs -- small RNA molecules that play important roles in regulation in many types of tissue -- play a major role in the distribution and determination of fat cells and whole body metabolism.

Becoming an expert takes more than practice

Posted: 02 Jul 2014 08:10 AM PDT

Deliberate practice may not have nearly as much influence in building expertise as we thought, according to research. The new study indicates that the amount of practice accumulated over time does not seem to play a huge role in accounting for individual differences in skill or performance.

Overcoming light scattering: New optical system sees deeper inside tissue

Posted: 02 Jul 2014 08:10 AM PDT

Optical imaging could become even more valuable if researchers could find a way for light to penetrate all the way through the body's tissues. Currently, passing through a fraction of an inch of skin is enough to scatter the light and scramble the image. Now researchers have developed a single-pixel optical system based on compressive sensing that can overcome the fundamental limitations imposed by this scattering.

Toward a new way to keep electronics from overheating

Posted: 02 Jul 2014 08:10 AM PDT

Computer technology has transformed the way we live, but as consumers expect ever more from their devices at faster speeds, personal computers as well as larger electronic systems can overheat. This can cause them to slow down, or worse, completely shut down. Now researchers are reporting that liquids containing nanoparticles could help devices stay cool and keep them running.

Squid sucker ring teeth material could aid reconstructive surgery, serve as eco-packaging

Posted: 02 Jul 2014 08:10 AM PDT

Squid tentacles are loaded with hundreds of suction cups, or suckers, and each sucker has a ring of razor-sharp 'teeth' that help these mighty predators latch onto and take down prey. Researchers report that the proteins in these teeth could form the basis for a new generation of strong, but malleable, materials that could someday be used for reconstructive surgery, eco-friendly packaging and many other applications.

Putting a price tag on the 2 degree Celsius climate target

Posted: 02 Jul 2014 08:10 AM PDT

Addressing climate change will require substantial new investment in low-carbon energy and energy efficiency -- but no more than what is currently spent on today's fossil-dominated energy system, according to new research. To limit climate change to 2 degrees Celsius, low-carbon energy options will need additional investments of about US $800 billion a year globally from now to mid-century, according to a new study.

Japanese gold leaf artists worked on a nanoscale: X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy is a non-destructive way to date artwork

Posted: 02 Jul 2014 08:09 AM PDT

Ancient Japanese gold leaf artists were truly masters of their craft. An analysis of six ancient Namban paper screens show that these artifacts are gilded with gold leaf that was hand-beaten to the nanometer scale. Researchers believe that the X-ray fluorescence technique they used in the analysis could also be used to date other artworks without causing any damage to them.

Revolutionary device makes machining composites as easy as ‘cutting through butter’

Posted: 02 Jul 2014 08:09 AM PDT

Researchers have developed a device which could revolutionize the way cutting, drilling and milling is done in manufacturing.

NASA launches carbon mission to watch Earth breathe

Posted: 02 Jul 2014 07:30 AM PDT

NASA successfully launched its first spacecraft dedicated to studying atmospheric carbon dioxide on July 1, 2014. OCO-2 soon will begin a minimum two-year mission to locate Earth's sources of and storage places for atmospheric carbon dioxide, the leading human-produced greenhouse gas responsible for warming our world, and a critical component of the planet's carbon cycle.

3-D printer to aid the visually impaired students in their educational endeavors

Posted: 02 Jul 2014 07:26 AM PDT

New technology has been developed to make tactile objects with ease thanks to the convergence technology of 3-D printing and 3-D thermal reflow treatment, which can be denoted as the revolution in manufacturing technology. Using the technology, not only braille books, but also braille picture books and teaching materials can be made with greater flexibility in color, height and size. It is also harmless to human body since it does not require UV coating or harmful chemical treatment.

Socioeconomic status associated with peripheral artery disease risk

Posted: 02 Jul 2014 07:24 AM PDT

Previous research has established a link between lower socioeconomic status and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. In a new study, researchers have found that there are also higher rates of peripheral artery disease in individuals with low income and lower attained education levels in the United States.

New approach for tuberculosis drugs

Posted: 02 Jul 2014 07:24 AM PDT

In the past 50 years, only one new tuberculosis drug has come on to the market, yet many more active substances are urgently needed. Current treatments increasingly fail due to multidrug-resistant pathogens. Researchers have now applied to patent a novel approach for developing new tuberculosis drugs.

Making graphene from plastic?

Posted: 02 Jul 2014 07:24 AM PDT

Graphene is gaining heated attention, dubbed a "wonder material" with great conductivity, flexibility and durability. However, graphene is hard to come by due to the fact that its manufacturing process is complicated and mass production has not been possible. A carbon material has now been developed without artificial defects commonly found during the production process of graphene while maintaining its original characteristics.

Testosterone therapy does not increase heart attack risk, study shows

Posted: 02 Jul 2014 07:24 AM PDT

Testosterone prescriptions for older men in the United States have increased more than three-fold over the past decade. Recent studies linking testosterone use with increased risk of heart attack and stroke have caused widespread concern among patients and their families. A new US-based study of more than 25,000 older men shows that testosterone therapy does not increase men's risk for heart attack.

Four in 10 pancreatic cancers could be prevented by lifestyle changes

Posted: 02 Jul 2014 07:23 AM PDT

Almost 40 per cent of pancreatic cancers -- one of the deadliest forms of cancer -- could be avoided through maintaining a healthy weight and not smoking according to research, in a call to arms against the disease. While more research is needed to find better ways of diagnosing and treating the disease, there is evidence to suggest that some pancreatic cancers are linked to being overweight and to smoking -- and almost four in 10 could be prevented by lifestyle changes to address this.

One of world's thinnest piezoelectric materials identified

Posted: 02 Jul 2014 06:36 AM PDT

There are a handful of naturally occurring materials, known as piezoelectric materials, that generate electricity if you bend, stretch or apply another mechanical force to them, and vice versa -- if you apply a voltage across them, they'll deform accordingly. These materials are currently the subject of intense research for their potential applications in energy harvesting, artificial muscles and sensors, among others. These materials are also used in everyday devices, such as loudspeakers, which rely on piezoelectrics to convert electrical signals to mechanical vibrations which create sound waves to produce the desired acoustic signal. Mechanical engineers have now identified one of the thinnest possible piezoelectric materials on the planet -- graphene nitride.

One in six adolescents in the ER has experienced dating violence

Posted: 02 Jul 2014 06:36 AM PDT

Of adolescents visiting the emergency department for any reason, one in five girls and one in eight boys reported dating violence in the past year. According to a study, dating violence among adolescents was also strongly associated with alcohol, illicit drug use and depression.

Research could lead to dramatic energy savings at data farms

Posted: 02 Jul 2014 06:36 AM PDT

Computer scientists have developed a wireless network on a computer chip that could reduce energy consumption at huge data farms by as much as 20 percent.

Superconducting-silicon qubits: Using a bottom-up approach to make hybrid quantum devices

Posted: 02 Jul 2014 06:36 AM PDT

Theorists propose a way to make superconducting quantum devices such as Josephson junctions and qubits, atom-by-atom, inside a silicon crystal. Such systems could combine the most promising aspects of silicon spin qubits with the flexibility of superconducting circuits.

Dramatic decline of Caribbean corals can be reversed: Stop killing parrotfish to bring back Caribbean coral reefs

Posted: 02 Jul 2014 06:36 AM PDT

With only about one-sixth of the original coral cover left, most Caribbean coral reefs may disappear in the next 20 years, primarily due to the loss of grazers in the region, according to a new report. The results show that the Caribbean corals have declined by more than 50% since the 1970s.

'Deep learning' makes search for exotic particles easier: New computing techniques could aid hunt for Higgs bosons

Posted: 02 Jul 2014 06:36 AM PDT

Fully automated 'deep learning' by computers greatly improves the odds of discovering particles such as the Higgs boson, beating even veteran physicists' abilities, according to new findings.

Reinterpreting dark matter: Could dark matter be regarded as a very cold quantum fluid?

Posted: 02 Jul 2014 06:23 AM PDT

Astronomers have explored cold dark matter in depth and proposes new answers about the formation of galaxies and the structure of the Universe. These predictions are being contrasted with fresh data provided by the Hubble space telescope. It is estimated that only a minute fraction of the matter in the Universe is baryonic matter, which forms stars, planets and living organisms. The rest, comprising over 80%, is dark matter and energy.

A stellar womb shaped and destroyed by its ungrateful offspring

Posted: 02 Jul 2014 06:23 AM PDT

The little-known cloud of cosmic gas and dust called Gum 15 is the birthplace and home of hot young stars. Beautiful and deadly, these stars mould the appearance of their mother nebula and, as they progress into adulthood, will eventually also be the death of her.

How does your garden grow? 3-D root imaging in real time

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 04:32 PM PDT

Growing plants in a microscope is helping scientists to view roots developing in 3-D and in real time. Scientists already know that lateral roots in plants develop from cells deep within the main root, so that the emerging roots must force through multiple layers of tissue to reach the soil. Until now, capturing the cell-division events behind this process has proved exceptionally difficult.

A sheep's early life experiences can shape behavior in later life

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 04:32 PM PDT

New research has found that a sheep's experiences soon after birth can shape its later behavior and also that of its offspring. Scientists investigated whether early-life experiences can alter behavioral responses to a naturally painful event in adulthood -- giving birth -- and also affect behavior of the next generation.

Smarter than you think: Fish can remember where they were fed 12 days later

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 04:32 PM PDT

It is popularly believed that fish have a memory span of only 30 seconds. Canadian scientists, however, have demonstrated that this is far from true -- in fact, fish can remember context and associations up to 12 days later.

Locusts harness the sun to get their optimum diet

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 04:32 PM PDT

If you are a locust, the most nutritious plant to eat depends on the ambient temperature. Scientists have discovered that locusts choose their food and then where they digest it according to how hot it is.

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