Kamis, 24 April 2014

ScienceDaily: Top News

ScienceDaily: Top News


Innovation improves drowsy driver detection

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 02:09 PM PDT

A new way to detect when drivers are about to nod off behind the wheel has been developed. "Video-based systems that use cameras to detect when a car is drifting out of its lane are cumbersome and expensive. They don't work well on snow-covered or curvy roads, in darkness or when lane markers are faded or missing. Our invention provides an inexpensive and user-friendly technology that overcomes these limitations and can help catch fatigue earlier, well before accidents are likely to happen," said a developer of the device.

Drought may take toll on Congo rainforest, NASA satellites show

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 02:09 PM PDT

A new analysis of NASA satellite data shows Africa's Congo rainforest, the second-largest tropical rainforest in the world, has undergone a large-scale decline in greenness over the past decade. Scientists use the satellite-derived "greenness" of forest regions as one indicator of a forest's health. While this study looks specifically at the impact of a persistent drought in the Congo region since 2000, researchers say that a continued drying trend might alter the composition and structure of the Congo rainforest, affecting its biodiversity and carbon storage.

Rural microbes could boost city dwellers' health, study finds

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 02:09 PM PDT

The greater prevalence of asthma, allergies and other chronic inflammatory disorders among people of lower socioeconomic status might be due in part to their reduced exposure to the microbes that thrive in rural environments, according to a new scientific paper.

Male or female? First sex-determining genes appeared in mammals some 180 million years ago

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 12:10 PM PDT

The Y chromosome, which distinguishes males from females at the genetic level, appeared some 180 million years ago. It originated twice independently in all mammals. Scientists have managed to date these events that are crucial for both mammalian evolution and our lives, because the Y chromosome determines whether we are born as a boy or girl.

Superconducting qubit array points the way to quantum computers

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 12:10 PM PDT

A fully functional quantum computer is one of the holy grails of physics. Physicists have moved one step closer to making a quantum computer a reality by demonstrating a new level of reliability in a five-qubit array. Quantum computing is anything but simple. It relies on aspects of quantum mechanics such as superposition. This notion holds that any physical object, such as an atom or electron -- what quantum computers use to store information -- can exist in all of its theoretical states simultaneously. This could take parallel computing to new heights.

Mapping the road to quantum gravity

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 12:09 PM PDT

The road uniting quantum field theory and general relativity -- the two great theories of modern physics -- has been impassable for 80 years. Could a tool from condensed matter physics finally help map the way?

Atomic switcheroo explains origins of thin-film solar cell mystery

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 12:09 PM PDT

Treating cadmium-telluride (CdTe) solar cell materials with cadmium-chloride improves their efficiency, but researchers have not fully understood why.

Finding safe drugs to treat neurodegenerative diseases

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 11:30 AM PDT

'Mutant' protein clusters, long blamed for the progression of Huntington's and other neurodegenerative diseases, have been the primary focus of therapies in development by pharmaceutical companies. But according to new research, these drugs may not only be ineffective -- they may pose a serious threat to patients.

Increased infrastructure required for effective oil spill response in U.S. Arctic

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 11:30 AM PDT

A changing climate is increasing the accessibility of U.S. Arctic waters to commercial activities such as shipping, oil and gas development, and tourism, raising concern about the risk of oil spills. The Arctic poses several challenges to oil spill response, including extreme weather and environmental settings, limited operations and communications infrastructure, a vast geographic area, and vulnerable species, ecosystems, and cultures.

Hearing quality restored with bionic ear technology used for gene therapy: Re-growing auditory nerves

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 11:30 AM PDT

Researchers have for the first time used electrical pulses delivered from a cochlear implant to deliver gene therapy, thereby successfully regrowing auditory nerves. The research also heralds a possible new way of treating a range of neurological disorders, including Parkinson's disease, and psychiatric conditions such as depression through this novel way of delivering gene therapy.

Halving hydrogen: First view of nature-inspired catalyst after ripping hydrogen apart provides insights for better fuel cells

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 11:28 AM PDT

A fuel cell catalyst that converts hydrogen into electricity must tear open a hydrogen molecule. Now researchers have captured a view of such a catalyst holding onto the two halves of its hydrogen feast, provides insight into how to make the catalyst work better.

Pollutants from coal-burning stoves strongly associated with miscarriages in Mongolia

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 11:28 AM PDT

Burning coal for domestic heating may contribute to early fetal death according to a new study that took place in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia -- the coldest capital city in the world. Researchers report "alarmingly strong statistical correlations" between seasonal ambient air pollutants and pregnancy loss.

Picky male black widow spiders prefer well-fed virgins

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 10:26 AM PDT

New research shows that male black widow spiders prefer their female mates to be well-fed virgins -- a rare example of mate preference by male spiders. The study found they can tell whether a potential mate is well-fed and unmated by pheromones released by females.

Enzymes that help fix cancer-causing DNA defects disovered

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 10:26 AM PDT

An important enzyme pathway that helps prevent new cells from receiving too many or too few chromosomes, a condition that has been directly linked to cancer and other diseases, has been discovered by researchers. Near the end of cell division, the enzyme Cdc14 activates Yen1, an enzyme that ensures any breaks in DNA are fully repaired before the parent cell distributes copies of the genome to daughter cells, the researchers found. This process helps safeguard against some of the most devastating genome errors, including the loss of chromosomes or chromosome segments.

Gold nanoparticles help target, quantify breast cancer segments in a living cell

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 10:26 AM PDT

A way to detect and measure cancer levels in a living cell by using tiny gold particles with tails of synthetic DNA has been developed by scientists. The process uses gold nanoparticles to target and bind to fragments of genetic material known as BRCA1 messenger RNA splice variants, which can indicate the presence and stage of breast cancer. The number of these mRNA splice variants in a cell can be determined by examining the specific signal that light produces when it interacts with the gold nanoparticles.

Novel compound halts cocaine addiction, relapse behaviors

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 10:26 AM PDT

A novel compound that targets an important brain receptor has a dramatic effect against a host of cocaine addiction behaviors, including relapse behavior, an animal study has found. The research provides strong evidence that this may be a novel lead compound for treating cocaine addiction, for which no effective medications exist.

Scientists identify source of mysterious sound in the Southern Ocean

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 10:26 AM PDT

Scientists have conclusive evidence that the source of a unique rhythmic sound, recorded for decades in the Southern Ocean and called the 'bio-duck,' is the Antarctic minke whale (Balaenoptera bonaerensis). First described and named by submarine personnel in the 1960s who thought it sounded like a duck, the bio-duck sound has been recorded at various locations in the Southern Ocean, but its source has remained a mystery, until now.

Odds of storm waters overflowing Manhattan seawall up 20-fold

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 10:26 AM PDT

Maximum water levels in New York harbor during major storms have risen by nearly two and a half feet since the mid-1800s, making the chances of water overtopping the Manhattan seawall now at least 20 times greater than they were 170 years ago, according to a new study.

Hundreds of genetic mutations found in healthy blood of a supercentenarian

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 10:26 AM PDT

Genetic mutations are commonly studied because of links to diseases such as cancer; however, little is known about mutations occurring in healthy individuals. Researchers have now detected over 400 mutations in healthy blood cells of a 115-year-old woman, suggesting that lesions at these sites are largely harmless over the course of a lifetime.

Predicting drift of floating pumice 'islands' can benefit shipping

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 10:25 AM PDT

A new technique will aid in predicting the dispersal and drift patterns of large floating 'islands' of pumice created by volcanic eruptions at sea. Known as pumice rafts, these large mobile accumulations of pumice fragments can spread to affect a considerable area of the ocean, damaging vessels and disrupting shipping routes for months or even years. The ability to predict where these rafts will end up could give enough advance warning for protective measures to be put in place on shipping routes or in harbours where the presence of pumice is hazardous.

Sugar-sweetened beverages contribute to U.S. obesity epidemic, particularly among children

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 10:24 AM PDT

In response to the ongoing policy discussions on the role of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) on weight and health, The Obesity Society (TOS) concludes that SSBs contribute to the United States' obesity epidemic, particularly among children. Based on an in-depth analysis of the current research, TOS's position statement provides several recommendations for improving health, including that children minimize their consumption of SSBs.

Some astronauts at risk for cognitive impairment, animal studies suggest

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 10:24 AM PDT

Rats exposed to high-energy particles, simulating conditions astronauts would face on a long-term deep space mission, show lapses in attention and slower reaction times, even when the radiation exposure is in extremely low dose ranges, new research shows. The cognitive impairments — which affected a large subset, but far from all, of the animals — appear to be linked to protein changes in the brain, the scientists say.

New target for prostate cancer resistant to anti-hormone therapies

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 10:24 AM PDT

A new target that could remain sensitive even when prostate cancer becomes resistant to current treatments has been discovered by researchers. Prostate cancer becomes deadly when anti-hormone treatments stop working. This new study suggests a way to block the hormones at their entrance.

From liability to viability: Genes on the Y chromosome prove essential for male survival

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 10:24 AM PDT

The human Y chromosome has, over the course of millions of years of evolution, preserved a small set of genes that has ensured not only its own survival but also the survival of men. Moreover, the vast majority of these tenacious genes appear to have little if any role in sex determination or sperm production. Taken together, these remarkable findings suggest that because these Y-linked genes are active across the body, they may actually be contributing to differences in disease susceptibility and severity observed between men and women.

Airport security-style technology could help doctors decide on stroke treatment

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 08:15 AM PDT

A new computer program could help doctors predict which patients might suffer potentially fatal side-effects from a key stroke treatment. The program assesses brain scans using pattern recognition software similar to that used in airport security and passport control. Currently, stroke affects over 15 million people each year worldwide. Ischemic strokes are the most common and these occur when small clots interrupt the blood supply to the brain.

Surface area of the digestive tract much smaller than previously thought

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 08:15 AM PDT

The internal surface area of the gastro-intestinal tract has long been considered to be between 180 and 300 square meters. Scientists have used refined microscopic techniques that indicate a much smaller area. "Actually, the inner surface of the gastro-intestinal tract is only as large as a normal studio apartment," says one scientist.

In lab tests, the antimicrobial ingredient triclosan spurs growth of breast cancer cells

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 07:27 AM PDT

Some manufacturers are turning away from using triclosan as an antimicrobial ingredient in soaps, toothpastes and other products over health concerns. And now scientists are reporting new evidence that appears to support these worries. Their study found that triclosan, as well as another commercial substance called octylphenol, promoted the growth of human breast cancer cells in lab dishes and breast cancer tumors in mice.

Legalizing medical marijuana doesn't increase use among adolescents, study says

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 07:27 AM PDT

Parents and physicians concerned about an increase in adolescents' marijuana use following the legalization of medical marijuana can breathe a sigh of relief. According to a new study that compared 20 years worth of data from states with and without medical marijuana laws, legalizing the drug did not lead to increased use among adolescents.

How to avoid water wars between 'fracking' industry and residents

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 07:27 AM PDT

The shale gas boom has transformed the energy landscape in the U.S., but in some drier locations, it could cause conflict among the energy industry, residents and agricultural interests over already-scarce water resources, say researchers. They add that degraded water quality is a potential risk unless there are adequate safeguards.

Steering chemical reactions with laser pulses

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 07:27 AM PDT

Ultra short laserpulses in the femtosecond-range give scientists a powerful new method of controlling chemical reactions. A team of researchers could now show that the fragmentation of carbohydrates can be controlled by these pulses.

Physical activity keeps hippocampus healthy in people at risk for Alzheimer's disease

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 07:27 AM PDT

Moderate physical activity may preserve the hippocampus -- the brain region responsible for memory and spatial orientation that is attacked first in Alzheimer's disease, a study of older adults at increased risk for Alzheimer's disease shows. It is the first evidence that physical activity may protect against cognitive decline and the onset of dementia symptoms in those who carry the genetic marker for Alzheimer's.

High-calorie, low-nutrient foods in kids' TV programs

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 07:26 AM PDT

Fruits and vegetables are often displayed in the popular Swedish children's TV show Bolibompa, but there are also plenty of high-sugar foods. A new study explores how food is portrayed in children's TV programs, as well as the link between young children's TV viewing, dietary habits and weight status.

Toward unraveling the Alzheimer's mystery: New step points to proteins

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 07:21 AM PDT

Getting to the bottom of Alzheimer's disease has been a rapidly evolving pursuit with many twists, turns and controversies. In the latest crook in the research road, scientists have found a new insight into the interaction between proteins associated with the disease. The report could have important implications for developing novel treatments.

ADHD drug may help preserve self-control resources

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 07:21 AM PDT

Methylphenidate, also known as Ritalin, may prevent the depletion of self-control, according to research. Self-control can be difficult -- sticking with a diet or trying to focus attention on a boring textbook are hard things to do. Considerable research suggests one potential explanation for this difficulty: Exerting self-control for a long period seems to "deplete" our ability to exert self-control effectively on subsequent tasks.

New discovery helps solve mystery source of African lava

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 07:21 AM PDT

Floods of molten lava may sound like the stuff of apocalyptic theorists, but history is littered with evidence of such past events where vast lava outpourings originating deep in the Earth accompany the breakup of continents. New research shows that the source of some of these epic outpourings, however, may not be as deep as once thought. The results show that some of these lavas originated near the surface rather than deep within the mantle.

How Australia's Outback got one million feral camels: Camels culled on large scale

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 07:19 AM PDT

A new study has shed light on how an estimated one million-strong population of wild camels thriving in Australia's remote outback have become reviled as pests and culled on a large scale.

Political ravens? Ravens notice the relationships among others, study shows

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 07:19 AM PDT

Cognitive biologists have revealed that ravens do understand and keep track of the rank relations between other ravens. Such an ability has been known only from primates. Like many social mammals, ravens form different types of social relationships -- they may be friends, kin, or partners and they also form strict dominance relations. From a cognitive perspective, understanding one's own relationships to others is a key ability in daily social life ("knowing who is nice or not"). Yet, also understanding the relationships group members have with each other sets the stage for "political" maneuvers ("knowing who might support whom").

Picture books aren't just fun: Children learn sophisticated animal facts when parent read them

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 07:18 AM PDT

Children hear as much sophisticated information about animals when parents read picture book stories about animals as when they read flashcard-type animal vocabulary books, according to a new study. "Children do learn a lot when parents read books with them and many parents read to their children several times each week," said one researcher. "So, conducting studies using picture books and storybooks has important implications for understanding how children really learn in their daily lives."

Researchers compare hip width and sexual behavior

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 07:17 AM PDT

Hip width and risk of birth-related trauma may play a role in a woman's decision to have sex. Women who were more inclined to have one-night stands had wider hips, reveals a study into how a woman's build influences her sexual behavior. Results of the study show that the number of sexual partners a woman had is largely driven by one-night stand behavior. This, in turn, correlates with a woman's hip width and not waist-to-hip ratio. Overall, women in this study with hips wider than 14.2 inches had more sexual partners and more one-night stands than women with hips under 12.2 inches wide.

Inverse effects of midlife occupational, leisure time physical activity on mobility limitation in old age

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 07:17 AM PDT

Strenuous occupational physical activity in midlife increases the risk of mobility limitation in old age, whereas leisure-time physical activity decreases the risk. This is found in a study that followed up 5,200 public sector employees for 28 years. It states that heavy physical labor is often repetitive, wears the body and lasts for several hours a day. On the contrast, leisure-time physical activity is designed to improve fitness and provide recreation and a typical exercise session lasts for one or two hours. Even though both are based on muscle activity and result in energy expenditure, their long-term consequences are different.

Loss of memory in Alzheimer's mice models reversed through gene therapy

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 07:17 AM PDT

Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia and affects some 400,000 people in Spain alone. However, no effective cure has yet been found. One of the reasons for this is the lack of knowledge on the cellular mechanisms which cause alterations in nerve transmissions and the loss of memory in the initial stages of the disease. Researchers have now discovered the cellular mechanism involved in memory consolidation and were able to develop a gene therapy which reverses the loss of memory in mice models with initial stages of Alzheimer's disease.

Liquid spacetime: What if spacetime were a kind of fluid?

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 06:52 AM PDT

What if spacetime were a kind of fluid? This is the question tackled by theoretical physicists working on quantum gravity by creating models attempting to reconcile gravity and quantum mechanics. Some of these models predict that spacetime at the Planck scale is no longer continuous – as held by classical physics – but discrete in nature. Just like the solids or fluids we come into contact with every day, which can be seen as made up of atoms and molecules when observed at sufficient resolution. A structure of this kind generally implies, at very high energies, violations of Einstein's special relativity (a integral part of general relativity).

Cell division speed influences gene architecture

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 06:51 AM PDT

Speed-reading is a technique used to read quickly. It involves visual searching for clues to meaning and skipping non-essential words and/or sentences. Similarly in humans, biological systems are sometimes under selective pressure to quickly "read" genetic information. Genes that need to be read quickly are usually small, as the smaller the encoding message, the easier it will be to read them quickly. Now, researchers have discovered that, besides size, the gene architecture is also important to the optimization of the "reading" process.

Best practices in communication for animal world

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 05:23 PM PDT

Effective communication is not just about the signaler, according to a new study. The receiver also needs to assess the signaler efficiently. For instance, one of the most effective strategies from the perspective of female birds is assessing groups of males called leks, where females can assess multiple males in a short period of time.

Brain circuits involved in emotion discovered by neuroscientists

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 05:23 PM PDT

A brain pathway that underlies the emotional behaviors critical for survival have been discovered by neuroscientists. The team has identified a chain of neural connections which links central survival circuits to the spinal cord, causing the body to freeze when experiencing fear. Understanding how these central neural pathways work is a fundamental step towards developing effective treatments for emotional disorders such as anxiety, panic attacks and phobias.

Cougars’ diverse diet helped them survive the mass extinction that wiped out the saber-tooth cat, American lion

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 05:20 PM PDT

Cougars may have survived the mass extinction that took place about 12,000 years ago because they were not particular about what they ate, unlike their more finicky cousins the saber-tooth cat and American lion who perished, according a new analysis of the microscopic wear marks on the teeth of fossil cougars, saber-tooth cats and American lions.

Effectiveness of medications for treating epileptic seizures in children examined

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 01:23 PM PDT

Although some studies have suggested that the drug lorazepam may be more effective or safer than the drug diazepam in treating a type of epileptic seizures among children, a randomized trial finds that lorazepam is not better at stopping seizures compared to diazepam. The researchers add that future trials should consider newer medications and novel interventions targeting those at highest risk for medication failure or respiratory depression.

Newly-approved brain stimulator offers hope for individuals with uncontrolled epilepsy

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 01:20 PM PDT

A recently FDA-approved device has been shown to reduce seizures in patients with medication-resistant epilepsy by as much as 50 percent. When coupled with an innovative electrode placement planning system, the device facilitated the complete elimination of seizures in nearly half of the implanted patients enrolled in the decade-long clinical trials.

New drugs offer hope for migraine prevention

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 01:20 PM PDT

Two new studies may offer hope for people with migraines. Both studies involve drugs that are aimed at preventing migraine attacks from occurring, rather than stopping the attacks once they have started. These studies are the first to test monoclonal antibodies for the prevention of migraine, and both are directed against a relatively new target in migraine prevention, the calcitonin gene-related peptide, or CGRP. CGRP has been thought to be important in migraine, but never have drugs been developed to specifically target the protein.

Glaucoma drug helps women with blinding disorder linked to obesity

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 01:20 PM PDT

An inexpensive glaucoma drug, when added to a weight loss plan, can improve vision for women with idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH), according to a study. This disorder mostly affects young, overweight women. Vision loss and headaches are common symptoms. An estimated 100,000 Americans have it, and the number is rising with the obesity epidemic.

Risk of pregnancy greater with newer method of female sterilization

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 12:28 PM PDT

The risk of pregnancy among women using a newer method of planned sterilization called hysteroscopic sterilization is more than 10 times greater over a 10-year period than using the more commonly performed laparoscopic sterilization, a study has found. Hysteroscopic sterilization is a multi-step process that requires women to have a procedure to place coils inside the opening of the Fallopian tubes, use another method of contraception for three months after the procedure, and then have a special X-ray test in which dye is pushed into the uterus to confirm whether the tubes are blocked.

Scientists pinpoint protein that could improve small cell lung cancer therapies

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 12:28 PM PDT

Approximately 15 percent of all lung cancers are small cell lung cancers, which grow rapidly and often develop resistance to chemotherapy. However, researchers have revealed new insights into the mechanisms leading to this resistance that may lead to improved therapies. They discovered that the expression of a protein called Noxa is critical to the effectiveness of ABT-737 because it helps regulate the function of MCL-1, another pro-survival Bcl-2 family protein.

Depressed? Researchers identify new anti-depressant mechanisms, therapeutic approaches

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 12:28 PM PDT

Breakthroughs that could benefit people suffering from depression are being made by researchers. A team of physician-scientists has identified a major mechanism by which ghrelin (a hormone with natural anti-depressant properties) works inside the brain. Simultaneously, the researchers identified a potentially powerful new treatment for depression in the form of a neuroprotective drug known as P7C3. The study is notable because although a number of anti-depressant drugs and other treatments are available, an estimated one in 10 adults in the U.S. still report depression.

Bioinformatics profiling identifies a new mammalian clock gene

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 11:20 AM PDT

Over 15 mammalian clock proteins have been identified, but researchers surmise there are more. Could big data approaches help find them? To accelerate clock-gene discovery, investigators used a computer-assisted approach to identify and rank candidate clock components, which they liken to online Netflix-like profiling of movie suggestions for customers. This approach found a new core clock gene, which the team named CHRONO.

Critical new protein complex involved in learning, memory

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 11:20 AM PDT

A protein complex that plays a critical but previously unknown role in learning and memory formation has been identified by researchers. "This is a critical building block that regulates a fundamental process -- memory," said the lead author of the study. "Now that we know about this important new player, it offers a unique therapeutic window if we can find a way to enhance its function."

Checking up on crude oil in the ground: Nanoreporters tell 'sour' oil from 'sweet'

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 10:46 AM PDT

Scientists have created a nanoscale detector that checks for and reports on the presence and concentration of hydrogen sulfide in crude oil and natural gas while they're still in the ground.
READ MORE - ScienceDaily: Top News

Read more...

  ©Template by Dicas Blogger.