Kamis, 18 Desember 2014

ScienceDaily: Top News

ScienceDaily: Top News

Colorado River Delta greener after engineered pulse of water

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 11:11 AM PST

The engineered spring flood that brought water to previously dry reaches of the lower Colorado River and its delta resulted in greener vegetation, the germination of new vegetation along the river and a temporary rise in the water table, according to new results from the binational team of scientists studying the water's effects.

Ancient, hydrogen-rich waters deep underground around the world: Waters could support isolated life

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 11:11 AM PST

A team of scientists has mapped the location of hydrogen-rich waters found trapped kilometers beneath Earth's surface in rock fractures in Canada, South Africa and Scandinavia. Common in Precambrian Shield rocks -- the oldest rocks on Earth -- the ancient waters have a chemistry similar to that found near deep sea vents, suggesting these waters can support microbes living in isolation from the surface.

'Perfect storm' quenching star formation around a supermassive black hole

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 11:10 AM PST

Astronomers have discovered that modest black holes can shut down star formation by producing turbulence. High-energy jets powered by supermassive black holes can blast away a galaxy's star-forming fuel, resulting in so-called "red and dead" galaxies: those brimming with ancient red stars yet containing little or no hydrogen gas to create new ones.

Scientists open new frontier of vast chemical 'space': As proof-of-principle, the team makes dozens of new chemical entities

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 10:15 AM PST

Chemists have invented a powerful method for joining complex organic molecules that is extraordinarily robust and can be used to make pharmaceuticals, fabrics, dyes, plastics and other materials previously inaccessible to chemists.

Rx drugs, 'bath salts,' fake pot and laundry pods lead millions to call poison centers

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 10:14 AM PST

National Poison Control Center data from 2012 show that poisonings from prescription drugs are the leading cause of injury death in the United States, and that poisonings from 'bath salts,' synthetic marijuana and laundry detergent pods are emerging threats to public health.

National model of restoration: Nine Mile Run

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 10:14 AM PST

A study by a hydrologist shows that one of the largest urban-stream restorations in the United States has led to the recovery of fish and, more importantly, a groundswell of local support. Nine Mile Run, which is part of a watershed that drains 6.5 square miles of land, had been truly abused by urbanization and industrialization. Toxins leached into the creek from a slag heap left over from the steelmaking process, sewer lines discharged into the water, and so much of the waterway had been buried in culverts or diverted from its natural path that Nine Mile Run had become toxic. The restoration project involved rerouting the creek to a natural pathway, reestablishing flora, creating areas to catch floodwater, and building natural "slash piles" and "snags" from cut-down trees to create bird and animal habitats.

How breast cancer cells break free to spread in body

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 10:14 AM PST

More than 90 percent of cancer-related deaths are caused by the spread of cancer cells from their primary tumor site to other areas of the body. A new study has identified how one important gene helps cancer cells break free from the primary tumor.

Certainty in our choices often a matter of time, researchers find

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 10:14 AM PST

When faced with making choices, but lack sufficient evidence to guarantee success, our brain uses elapsed time as a proxy for task difficulty to calculate how confident we should be, a team of neuroscientists has found. Their findings help untangle the different factors that contribute to the decision-making process.

Unpacking brain damage in ALS

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 10:14 AM PST

Researchers gain new insight into how motor neurons in the brain die during ALS. About 5 percent of ALS patients carry an altered version of a gene called C9orf72, which in ALS patients contains hundreds of repeat sequences that otherwise are not present in normal individuals. Since the gene's discovery in 2011, however, researchers have been trying to understand its normal function as well as its role in ALS, with multiple hypotheses proposed.

Orphan receptor proteins deliver two knock-out punches to glioblastoma cells

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 08:36 AM PST

Two related proteins exert a lethal double whammy effect against glioblastoma cells when activated with a small molecule. Scientists say when activated, one protein, called the short form, stops glioblastoma cells from replicating their DNA, and the other, called the long form, prevents cell division if the DNA has already been replicated.

New class of synthetic molecules mimics antibodies

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 08:36 AM PST

The first synthetic molecules that have both the targeting and response functions of antibodies have been crafted by scientists. The new molecules -- synthetic antibody mimics -- attach themselves simultaneously to disease cells and disease-fighting cells. The result is a highly targeted immune response, similar to the action of natural human antibodies.

Researchers' recipe: Cook farm waste into energy

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 08:36 AM PST

Researchers are studying how to make biofuels from farm waste, especially 'wet' waste, such as corn husks, tomato vines and manure, that is typically difficult to use. They have developed a fairly simple procedure, pressure cooking, to transport waste and produce energy from it. Cooking farm waste yields compact, easily transportable material that will not degrade and can be used in energy-producing plants, they say.

Great Lakes pollution no longer driven by airborne sources; land, rivers now bigger factors

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 08:35 AM PST

A researcher who measured organic pollutants in the air and water around Lake Erie and Lake Ontario has found that airborne emissions are no longer the primary cause of the lakes' contamination. Instead, most of the lakes' chemical pollutants come from sources on land or in rivers.

Amputee makes history controlling two modular prosthetic limbs

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 08:35 AM PST

A Colorado man made history this summer when he became the first bilateral shoulder-level amputee to wear and simultaneously control two modular prosthetic limbs. Most importantly, the patient, who lost both arms in an electrical accident 40 years ago, was able to operate the system by simply thinking about moving his limbs, performing a variety of tasks during a short training period.

Novel insights into pathogen behavior

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 07:13 AM PST

New insights into the behavior of an important bacterial pathogen have been provided by researchers. The researchers investigated, using combination of experiments and computational modeling, how bacteria swarm in groups containing millions of cells. "We show in this paper that appendages of this bacterium called 'pili' link together to alter group motion and give swarming groups a form of braking power," an author explained.

Heat boosts phthalate emissions from vinyl crib mattress covers

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 07:13 AM PST

The US continues to look at the use and regulation of phthalates, which have been associated with health problems. Of particular concern is the safety of these plastic additives to children. A new study aims to improve our understanding of one possible exposure route for babies: vinyl crib mattress covers. Scientists report that as these covers warm up, they emit more phthalates into the air.

Not just for the holidays, mistletoe could fight obesity-related liver disease

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 07:13 AM PST

Mistletoe hanging in doorways announces that the holidays are just around the corner. For some people, however, the symbolic plant might one day represent more than a kiss at Christmas time: It may mean better liver health. Researchers have found that a compound produced by a particular variety of the plant can help fight obesity-related liver disease in mice.

Asteroid that wiped out dinosaurs may have nearly knocked off mammals, too

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 07:13 AM PST

The classic story is that mammals rose to dominance after the dinosaurs went extinct, but a new study shows that some of the most common mammals living alongside dinosaurs, the metatherians, extinct relatives of living marsupials, were also nearly wiped out when an asteroid hit the planet 66 million years ago.

Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria syndrome: Substance from broccoli can moderate defects

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 07:13 AM PST

Children who suffer from Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria syndrome age prematurely due to a defective protein in their cells. Scientists have now identified another important pathological factor: the system responsible for removing cellular debris and for breaking down defective proteins operates at lower levels in HGPS cells than in normal cells. The researchers have succeeded in reactivating protein breakdown in HGPS cells and thus reducing disease-related defects by using a substance from broccoli.

Anti-diabetic drug springs new hope for tuberculosis patients

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 07:13 AM PST

A more effective treatment for tuberculosis (TB) could soon be available as scientists have discovered that metformin, a drug for treating diabetes, can also be used to boost the efficacy of TB medication without inducing drug resistance, scientists report.

Women are more empathetic toward their partner than men

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 06:49 AM PST

Women may long have suspected it to be the case, but large-scale research has found women are more empathetic toward their partners than men.

Personality outsmarts intelligence at school: Conscientiousness and openness key to learning

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 06:08 AM PST

Recent research has found that personality is more important than intelligence when it comes to success in education and this needs to take this into account when guiding students and teachers. Furthermore these personality traits for academic success can be developed.

Firearm violence trends in the 21st century

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 06:08 AM PST

While the overall death rate from firearm violence has remained unchanged for more than a decade, the patterns for suicide and homicide have changed dramatically, a study on the epidemiology of gun violence from 2003 to 2012 has found.

Combining social media, behavioral psychology could lead to more HIV testing

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 06:08 AM PST

Social media such as Twitter and Facebook, combined with behavioral psychology, could be a valuable tool in the fight against AIDS by prompting high-risk individuals to be tested, research shows. Though there have been many experimental HIV testing interventions in international settings, none have used social media technologies, said one investigator.

Bugs life: The nerve cells that make locusts ‘gang up’

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 06:06 AM PST

A team of biologists has identified a set of nerve cells in desert locusts that bring about 'gang-like' gregarious behavior when they are forced into a crowd. The findings demonstrate the importance of individual history for understanding how brain chemicals control behaviour, which may apply more broadly to humans also.

Ancient Earth may have made its own water: Rock circulating in mantle feeds world's oceans even today, evidence suggests

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 06:05 AM PST

In a finding that meshes well with recent discoveries from the Rosetta mission, researchers have discovered a geochemical pathway by which Earth makes it own water through plate tectonics. This finding extends the planet's water cycle to billions of years—and suggests that enough water is buried in the deep earth right now to fill the Pacific Ocean.

Unraveling the light of fireflies

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 04:45 AM PST

How do fireflies produce those mesmerizing light flashes? Using cutting-edge imaging techniques, scientists have unraveled the firefly's intricate light-producing system for the first time.

Predicting antibiotic resistance

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 04:45 AM PST

Treating bacterial infections with antibiotics is becoming increasingly difficult as bacteria develop resistance not only to the antibiotics being used against them, but also to ones they have never encountered before. By analyzing genetic and phenotypic changes in antibiotic-resistant strains of E. coli, researchers have revealed a common set of features that appear to be responsible for the development of resistance to several types of antibiotics.

Global carbon dioxide emissions increase to new all-time record, but growth is slowing down

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 04:44 AM PST

2013 saw global CO2 emissions from fossil fuel use and cement production reach a new all-time high. This was mainly due to the continuing steady increase in energy use in emerging economies over the past ten years.  However, emissions increased at a notably slower rate (2%) than on average in the last ten years (3.8% per year since 2003, excluding the credit crunch years).

North Atlantic signaled Ice Age thaw 1,000 years before it happened, reveals new research

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 04:44 AM PST

The Atlantic Ocean at mid-depths may have given out early warning signals – 1,000 years in advance - that the last Ice Age was going to end, scientists report.

Many children, adolescents get too much caffeine from energy drinks

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 04:43 AM PST

When children aged 10-14 consume energy drinks, one in five consumes too much caffeine. When their caffeine intake from other sources such as cola and chocolate is included, every second child and more than one in three adolescents aged 15-17 consume too much caffeine. Researchers estimate that energy drinks cause or contribute to a large proportion of children and adolescents exceeding the recommended maximum daily intake of caffeine.

Gothic cathedrals blend iron and stone

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 04:43 AM PST

Using radiocarbon dating on metal found in Gothic cathedrals, an interdisciplinary team has shown, for the first time through absolute dating, that iron was used to reinforce stone from the construction phase. This study sheds new light on the technical skill and intentions of cathedral builders.

Smart window that tints and powers itself invented

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 04:43 AM PST

Scientists have developed a smart window which can darken or brighten without the need for an external power source.

Electronic cigarettes facilitate smoking cessation, new evidence shows

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 04:43 AM PST

Do electronic cigarettes help smokers to quit? Yes, but… Researchers found that while nicotine containing electronic cigarettes were more effective than electronic cigarettes without nicotine (placebo) in helping smokers kick the habit, the results need to be confirmed by more studies.

The hot blue stars of messier 47

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 04:43 AM PST

Messier 47 is located approximately 1600 light-years from Earth, in the constellation of Puppis (the poop deck of the mythological ship Argo). It was first noticed some time before 1654 by Italian astronomer Giovanni Battista Hodierna and was later independently discovered by Charles Messier himself, who apparently had no knowledge of Hodierna's earlier observation. Although it is bright and easy to see, Messier 47 is one of the least densely populated open clusters. Only around 50 stars are visible in a region about 12 light-years across, compared to other similar objects which can contain thousands of stars.

Growing shortage of stroke specialists seen in U.S.

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 04:41 AM PST

Although stroke is the number four cause of death and a leading cause of disability in the United States, there's an increasing shortage of neurologists who specialize in stroke care, researchers say. More than 800,000 strokes -- one every 40 seconds -- occur in the United States each year. The number of strokes is expected to grow substantially due to the growing elderly population.

Abundance of microplastics in the world's deep seas

Posted: 16 Dec 2014 06:22 PM PST

Around four billion minute fibers could be littering each square kilometer of some of the world's deep seas, according to a new study.

Combining images, genetic data proves gene loss behind aggressive ovarian cancers

Posted: 16 Dec 2014 06:20 PM PST

Loss of a gene called PTEN triggers some cases of an aggressive form of ovarian cancer, called high-grade serous ovarian cancer, researchers have demonstrated. In a revolutionary approach, the researchers made the discovery by combining images from cancer samples with genetic data. They proved conclusively that loss of PTEN was commonly found only in the cancerous cells and not the 'normal' cells that help make up the tumour mass.

Thumbs-up for mind-controlled robotic arm

Posted: 16 Dec 2014 06:20 PM PST

A paralyzed woman who controlled a robotic arm using just her thoughts has taken another step towards restoring her natural movements by controlling the arm with a range of complex hand movements.

Herd mentality: Are we programmed to make bad decisions?

Posted: 16 Dec 2014 06:20 PM PST

A natural desire to be part of the 'in crowd' could damage our ability to make the right decisions, a new study has shown. Research has shown that individuals have evolved to be overly influenced by their neighbors, rather than rely on their own instinct. As a result, groups become less responsive to changes in their natural environment.

When you lose weight, where does the fat go? Most of the mass is breathed out as carbon dioxide, study shows

Posted: 16 Dec 2014 06:20 PM PST

Despite a worldwide obsession with diets and fitness regimes, many health professionals cannot correctly answer the question of where body fat goes when people lose weight, a new study shows. The most common misconception among doctors, dieticians and personal trainers is that the missing mass has been converted into energy or heat. The correct answer is that most of the mass is breathed out as carbon dioxide and goes into thin air.

Are video gaming systems a safe Christmas present?

Posted: 16 Dec 2014 06:20 PM PST

Nintendo video gaming systems are common Christmas presents, but how safe are they? Early reports included seizures (dubbed "Nintendo epilepsy") and two cases of Nintendo related incontinence in children who were so engrossed in Super Mario Bros that they ignored their urge to go to the toilet.

Kids' cartoon characters twice as likely to die as counterparts in films for adults: Content on a par with 'rampant horrors' of popular films

Posted: 16 Dec 2014 06:20 PM PST

Principal cartoon characters are more than twice as likely to be killed off as their counterparts in films for adults released in the same year, reveals new research. On-screen death and violence can be particularly traumatic for young children, and the impact can be intense and long lasting.

Research shows Jaws didn't kill his cousin

Posted: 16 Dec 2014 06:18 PM PST

Our jawed ancestors weren't responsible for the demise of their jawless cousins as had been assumed. Instead, researchers believe that rising sea levels are more likely to blame. "When our jawed vertebrate ancestors overtook their jawless relatives 400 million years ago, it seems that it might not have been through direct competition but instead the inability of our jawless cousins to adapt to changing environmental conditions," an experts said.

NASA data underscore severity of California drought

Posted: 16 Dec 2014 03:41 PM PST

It will take about 11 trillion gallons of water (42 cubic kilometers) -- around 1.5 times the maximum volume of the largest U.S. reservoir -- to recover from California's continuing drought, according to a new analysis of NASA satellite data.

MESSENGER data suggest recurring meteor shower on Mercury

Posted: 16 Dec 2014 03:37 PM PST

The closest planet to the sun appears to get hit by a periodic meteor shower, possibly associated with a comet that produces multiple events annually on Earth. The clues pointing to Mercury's shower were discovered in the very thin halo of gases that make up the planet's exosphere, which is under study by NASA's MESSENGER (MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging) spacecraft.

Biologist reveals how whales may 'sing' for their supper

Posted: 16 Dec 2014 02:57 PM PST

Humpback whales have a trick or two, when it comes to finding a quick snack at the bottom of the ocean. Even in the dark. Biologists have been studying these unique feeding behaviors. Her research emphasizes the importance of specific auditory cues that these mammoth creatures emit, as they search the deep ocean for their prey.

How information moves between cultures

Posted: 16 Dec 2014 02:57 PM PST

Networks that map strength of connections between languages predict global influence of their speakers. By analyzing data on multilingual Twitter users and Wikipedia editors and on 30 years' worth of book translations in 150 countries, researchers have developed network maps that they say represent the strength of the cultural connections between speakers of different languages.

Big-data analysis reveals gene sharing in mice

Posted: 16 Dec 2014 02:57 PM PST

Scientists have detected at least three potential hybridization events that likely shaped the evolutionary paths of 'old world' mice, two in recent times and one in the ancient past. The researchers think these instances of introgressive hybridization -- a way for genetic material and, potentially, traits to be passed from one species to another through interspecific mating -- are only the first of many needles waiting to be found in a very large genetic haystack. While introgressive hybridization is thought to be common among plants, the finding suggests that hybridization in mammals may not be the evolutionary dead end biologists once commonly thought.

Real-time radiation monitor can reduce radiation exposure for medical workers

Posted: 16 Dec 2014 01:14 PM PST

It's a sound that saves. A "real-time" radiation monitor that alerts by beeping in response to radiation exposure during cardiac-catheterization procedures significantly reduces the amount of exposure that medical workers receive, researchers found.

Mild memory, thinking issues: What works, what doesn't?

Posted: 16 Dec 2014 01:14 PM PST

For up to one in five Americans over age 65, getting older brings memory and thinking problems. It may seem like part of getting older - but officially, it's called mild cognitive impairment or MCI. A new definitive look at the evidence about what works and what doesn't in MCI should help doctors and the seniors they treat.

Effectiveness of drugs to prevent hepatitis among patients receiving chemotherapy

Posted: 16 Dec 2014 01:14 PM PST

Among patients with lymphoma undergoing a certain type of chemotherapy, receiving the antiviral drug entecavir resulted in a lower incidence of hepatitis B virus (HBV)-related hepatitis and HBV reactivation, compared with the antiviral drug lamivudine, according to a study.

Probing bacterial resistance to a class of natural antibiotics

Posted: 16 Dec 2014 12:47 PM PST

Researchers explore the clever techniques used by bacteria to survive destruction from antimicrobial peptides -- potent defense factors produced by all living forms, including humans.

Certain parenting tactics could lead to materialistic attitudes in adulthood

Posted: 16 Dec 2014 12:47 PM PST

A new study found that parents who use material goods as part of their parenting techniques may be setting children up for difficulties later in adulthood.

Introverts could shape extroverted co-workers' career success, study shows

Posted: 16 Dec 2014 11:41 AM PST

Introverted employees are more likely to give low evaluations of job performance to extroverted co-workers, giving introverts a powerful role in workplaces, new research shows. Introverts consistently rated extroverted co-workers as worse performers, and were less likely to give them credit for work performed or endorse them for advancement opportunities, according to two separate studies.

DNA sheds light on why largest lemurs disappeared: Giant lemurs' demise linked to size, low numbers

Posted: 16 Dec 2014 11:41 AM PST

DNA from giant lemurs that lived thousands of years ago in Madagascar may help explain why the animals went extinct, and what makes some lemurs more at risk today. Scientists have little doubt that humans played a role in the giant lemurs' demise. By comparing the species that died out to those that survived, scientists hope to better predict which lemurs are most in need of protection in the future.

The sense of smell uses fast dynamics to encode odors

Posted: 16 Dec 2014 11:41 AM PST

Neuroscientists have discovered that mice can detect minute differences in the temporal dynamics of the olfactory system. The research team used light in genetically-engineered mice to precisely control the activity of neurons in the olfactory bulbs in mice performing a discrimination task.

Ebola virus spreads in social clusters

Posted: 16 Dec 2014 11:07 AM PST

An analysis of the ongoing Ebola outbreak reveals that transmission of the virus occurs in social clusters, a finding that has ramifications for case reporting and the public health. Prior studies of Ebola transmission were based on models that assumed the spread of infection occurred between random pairs of individuals. However, because transmission of the virus happens most often in hospitals, households, and funeral settings, researchers investigated the possibility of clustered transmission, or spread between individuals in small social groups.
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