Kamis, 18 September 2014

ScienceDaily: Top News

ScienceDaily: Top News

Reduce traffic congestion: Wirelessly route drivers around congested roadways

Posted: 17 Sep 2014 12:54 PM PDT

At the Intelligent Transportation Systems World Congress last week, MIT researchers received one of the best-paper awards for a new system, dubbed RoadRunner, that uses GPS-style turn-by-turn directions to route drivers around congested roadways. In simulations using data supplied by Singapore's Land Transit Authority, the researchers compared their system to one currently in use in Singapore, which charges drivers with dashboard-mounted transponders a toll for entering congested areas.

Dogs respond to goal-directed behavior at similar level to infants

Posted: 17 Sep 2014 12:46 PM PDT

Dogs look at a person interacting with a new object longer than a person interacting with a familiar object moved to a different location, suggesting perception of goal-directed behavior, according to a new study.

Fighting parents hurt children's ability to recognize and regulate emotions

Posted: 17 Sep 2014 12:19 PM PDT

Exposure to verbal and physical aggression between parents may hurt a child's ability to identify and control emotions, according to a longitudinal study. Exposure to conflict and violence in the home can shape children's neurobiological, cognitive, and behavioral responses.

Asian Americans lower insulin resistance on traditional diet

Posted: 17 Sep 2014 12:19 PM PDT

Asian Americans have been shown to lower insulin resistance on a traditional diet, researchers report. One part of this puzzle may lie in the transition from traditional high-fiber, low-fat Asian diets to current westernized diets, which may pose extra risks for those of Asian heritage, says the senior author of the study.

Babies learn words differently as they age, researcher finds

Posted: 17 Sep 2014 11:14 AM PDT

Researcher has found that toddlers learn words differently as they age, and a limit exists as to how many words they can learn each day. These findings could help parents enhance their children's vocabularies and assist speech-language professionals in developing and refining interventions to help children with language delays.

Nemo can travel great distances to connect populations: Baby clownfish travel hundreds of kilometers across open ocean

Posted: 17 Sep 2014 11:14 AM PDT

Clownfish spend their entire lives nestling in the protective tentacles of host anemones, but new research shows that as babies they sometimes travel hundreds of kilometres across the open ocean. Although the process of long-distance dispersal by reef fish has been predicted, this is the first time that the high level exchange of offspring between distant populations has been observed.

The future of global agriculture may include new land, fewer harvests

Posted: 17 Sep 2014 11:14 AM PDT

Climate change may expand suitable cropland, particularly in the Northern high latitudes, but tropical regions may becoming decreasingly suitable.

Engineers develop algorithms to switch out and recharge battery modules in electric cars

Posted: 17 Sep 2014 10:18 AM PDT

Imagine being able to switch out the batteries in electric cars just like you switch out batteries in a photo camera or flashlight. A team of engineers are trying to accomplish just that, in partnership with an engineering company. They have developed smaller units within the battery, called modules, and a battery management system that will allow them to swap out and recharge the modules.

Lack of facial expression leads to perceptions of unhappiness, new research shows

Posted: 17 Sep 2014 10:18 AM PDT

People with facial paralysis are perceived as being less happy simply because they can't communicate in the universal language of facial expression, a new study shows. The findings highlight the important role the face plays in everyday communication and indicates people may hold a prejudice against those with facial paralysis because of their disability.

Nature of war: Chimps inherently violent; Study disproves theory that 'chimpanzee wars' are sparked by human influence

Posted: 17 Sep 2014 10:18 AM PDT

Of all of the world's species, humans and chimpanzees are some of the only species to coordinate attacks on their own members. Since Jane Goodall introduced lethal inter-community killings, primatologists have debated the concept of warfare in this genus. New research from an international coalition of ape researchers has shed new light on the subject, suggesting that human encroachment and interference is not, as previous researchers have claimed, an influential predictor of chimp-on-chimp aggression.

New explanation for origin of plate tectonics: What set Earth's plates in motion?

Posted: 17 Sep 2014 10:18 AM PDT

Geologists have a new explanation for the origin of plate tectonics. Researchers suggest it was triggered by the spreading of early continents then it eventually became a self-sustaining process.

New branch added to European family tree: Europeans descended from at least 3, not 2, groups of ancient humans

Posted: 17 Sep 2014 10:18 AM PDT

Previous work suggested that Europeans descended from two ancestral groups: indigenous hunter-gatherers and early European farmers. This new study shows that there was also a third ancestral group, the Ancient North Eurasians, who contributed genetic material to almost all present-day Europeans. The research also reveals an even older lineage, the Basal Eurasians.

Math model designed to replace invasive kidney biopsy for lupus patients

Posted: 17 Sep 2014 10:16 AM PDT

Mathematics might be able to reduce the need for invasive biopsies in patients suffering kidney damage related to the autoimmune disease lupus. The model could also be used to monitor the effectiveness of experimental treatments for inflammation and fibrosis, researchers say.

Physicists heat freestanding graphene to control curvature of ripples

Posted: 17 Sep 2014 10:16 AM PDT

Physicists have discovered that heating can be used to control the curvature of ripples in freestanding graphene. The finding provides fundamental insight into understanding the influence temperature exerts on the dynamics of freestanding graphene. This may drive future applications of the flexible circuits of consumer devices such as cell phones and digital cameras.

Certain gut bacteria may induce metabolic changes following exposure to artificial sweeteners

Posted: 17 Sep 2014 10:16 AM PDT

Artificial sweeteners have long been promoted as diet and health aids. But breaking research shows that these products may be leading to the very diseases they were said to help prevent: scientists have discovered that, after exposure to artificial sweeteners, our gut bacteria may be triggering harmful metabolic changes.

Testosterone therapy should only be for men with hypogonadism, experts say

Posted: 17 Sep 2014 10:16 AM PDT

The appropriate population for testosterone replacement therapy is men with hypogonadism, experts say. The treatment has vast potential for adverse cardiovascular outcomes associated with its use in inappropriate populations, they add. Though testosterone use has sharply increased among older men in the past decade, the experts say that testosterone therapy should be limited to men who meet the diagnostic guidelines for hypogonadism.

Smallest known galaxy with a supermassive black hole

Posted: 17 Sep 2014 10:16 AM PDT

Astronomers have discovered that an ultracompact dwarf galaxy harbors a supermassive black hole – the smallest galaxy known to contain such a massive light-sucking object. The finding suggests huge black holes may be more common than previously believed.

Smart teens rub off on teammates, study shows

Posted: 17 Sep 2014 09:12 AM PDT

Having smart teammates can double a high school student's odds of going to college, research shows, and the type of or club does not appear to matter. Participating in more than one extra-curricular activity didn't bring bigger benefits, the researchers add.

Counting fish teeth reveals regulatory DNA changes behind rapid evolution, adaptation

Posted: 17 Sep 2014 09:12 AM PDT

Threespine sticklebacks, small fish found around the globe, undergo rapid evolutionary change when they move from the ocean to freshwater lakes, losing their armor and gaining more teeth in as little as 10 years. A biologist shows that this rapid change results not from mutations in functional genes, but changes in regulatory DNA. He pinpoints a gene that could be responsible for teeth, bone or jaw deformities in humans, including cleft palate.

First blood test to diagnose depression in adults

Posted: 17 Sep 2014 09:12 AM PDT

The first blood test to diagnose major depression in adults has been developed, providing the first objective, scientific diagnosis for depression. The test also predicts who will benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy, offering the opportunity for more effective, individualized therapy. The test also showed the biological effects of the therapy, the first measurable, blood-based evidence of the therapy's success and showed who is vulnerable to recurring episodes of depression.

Effect of ocean acidification: Coral growth rate on Great Barrier Reef plummets in 30-year comparison

Posted: 17 Sep 2014 09:12 AM PDT

Researchers working in Australia's Great Barrier Reef have documented that coral growth rates have plummeted 40 percent since the mid-1970s. The scientists suggest that ocean acidification may be playing an important role in this perilous slowdown.

Finding new genetic links to prostate cancer

Posted: 17 Sep 2014 09:12 AM PDT

23 new regions of the genome have been discovered that influence the risk for developing prostate cancer, according to a study. Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in American men. About 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with the disease in his lifetime. Family history is the strongest risk factor. A man with one close relative, a brother or father with prostate cancer is twice as likely to develop the disease as a man with no family history of prostate cancer.

Abnormal properties of cancer protein revealed in fly eyes

Posted: 17 Sep 2014 09:10 AM PDT

Mutations in the human retinoblastoma protein gene are a leading cause of eye cancer. Now, scientists have turned to fruit fly eyes to unlock the secrets of this important cancer gene. Since fruit flies are essentially tiny people with wings, in terms of genetics, these model organisms can play a key role in advancing human medicine.

Five genes to predict colorectal cancer relapses

Posted: 17 Sep 2014 09:07 AM PDT

Five genes have been discovered differentially expressed in normal accompanying cells in colorectal tumors. Analysis of these genes could be used to classify colorectal tumors, predict the evolution of the patient and thus take appropriate clinical decisions to prevent relapses.

Parts of genome without a known function may play a key role in the birth of new proteins

Posted: 17 Sep 2014 09:07 AM PDT

RNA called non-coding plays an important role in the evolution of new proteins, some of which could have important cell functions yet to be discovered, a study shows. The study analysed experiments carried out on six different species and identified almost 2,500 IncRNAs that were not in known databases.

Size at birth affects risk of adolescent mental health disorders

Posted: 17 Sep 2014 09:07 AM PDT

Compelling support has been offered for the general evolutionary theory that birth weight and length can partially predict the likelihood of being diagnosed with mental health disorders such as autism and schizophrenia later in life. The study analyzed medical records of 1.75 million Danish births, and subsequent hospital diagnoses for up to 30 years, and adjusted for almost all other known risk factors.

Mechanism behind age-dependent diabetes discovered

Posted: 17 Sep 2014 09:07 AM PDT

Aging of insulin-secreting cells is coupled to a progressive decline in signal transduction and insulin release, according to a recent study. Aging is among the largest known risk factors for many diseases, and type 2 diabetes is no exception. People older than 65 years have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes if their insulin-producing cells in the pancreas fail to compensate for insulin resistance.

Iberian pig genome remains unchanged after five centuries

Posted: 17 Sep 2014 09:05 AM PDT

A team of Spanish researchers have obtained the first partial genome sequence of an ancient pig. Extracted from a sixteenth century pig found at the site of the Montsoriu Castle in Girona, the data obtained indicates that this ancient pig is closely related to today's Iberian pig. Researchers also discard the hypothesis that Asian pigs were crossed with modern Iberian pigs.

Protein variant may boost cardiovascular risk by hindering blood vessel repair

Posted: 17 Sep 2014 09:05 AM PDT

The most common variant of the circulating protein apolipoprotein E, called apoE3, helps repair the lining of blood vessels, researchers have found. Up to 15 percent of individuals possess the gene coding for apoE4, and why these individuals are at increased risk of atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease had previously been enigmatic.

Nanoscience makes your wine better

Posted: 17 Sep 2014 06:29 AM PDT

One sip of a perfectly poured glass of wine leads to an explosion of flavors in your mouth. Researchers have now developed a nanosensor that can mimic what happens in your mouth when you drink wine. The sensor measures how you experience the sensation of dryness in the wine.

Benefits, risks of yoga found for bipolar disorder

Posted: 17 Sep 2014 06:29 AM PDT

A survey of people with bipolar disorder who practice yoga have identified benefits and risks of the practice. The information, plus a pilot clinical trial currently underway, could help psychologists develop yoga as an adjunctive therapy for the condition.

Cape Cod saltmarsh recovery looks good, falls short

Posted: 17 Sep 2014 06:29 AM PDT

In some places Cape Cod's imperiled saltmarsh grasses have been making a comeback, but a new study reports that their ability to protect the coast has not returned nearly as fast as their healthy appearance would suggest.

Global change: Trees in Central Europe continue to grow at a faster rate, long-term study finds

Posted: 17 Sep 2014 06:29 AM PDT

Trees in Central Europe have been growing significantly faster since the 1960s. The typical development phases of trees and stands have barely changed, but they have accelerated -- by as much as 70 percent. This was the outcome of a study based on long-term data from experimental forest plots that have been continuously observed since 1870.

Improved risk identification will aid fertility preservation in young male cancer patients

Posted: 17 Sep 2014 06:27 AM PDT

Investigators have found the chemotherapy dose threshold below which male childhood cancer survivors are likely to have normal sperm production. By clarifying which patients are at highest risk for reduced sperm production as adults, researchers expect the findings to eventually increase use of pre-treatment fertility preservation methods such as sperm banking.

Treating insomnia in elderly reduces inflammation, lowers risk for chronic diseases

Posted: 17 Sep 2014 06:27 AM PDT

Insomnia can cause chronic inflammation, which can lead to hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, and more. This study finds that curing the insomnia reduces the inflammation and hopefully reduces disease. It also found the best way to cure lack of sleep is through the use of a common psychotherapy treatment—cognitive behavioral therapy.

NASA chooses American companies to transport U.S. astronauts to International Space Station

Posted: 17 Sep 2014 05:46 AM PDT

U.S. astronauts once again will travel to and from the International Space Station from the United States on American spacecraft under groundbreaking contracts NASA announced Tuesday. The agency unveiled its selection of Boeing and SpaceX to transport U.S. crews to and from the space station using their CST-100 and Crew Dragon spacecraft, respectively, with a goal of ending the nation's sole reliance on Russia in 2017.

Global shift away from cars would save US$100 trillion, eliminate 1,700 megatons of carbon dioxide pollution

Posted: 17 Sep 2014 04:33 AM PDT

More than $100 trillion in cumulative public and private spending, and 1,700 megatons of annual carbon dioxide -- a 40 percent reduction of urban passenger transport emissions -- could be eliminated by 2050 if the world expands public transportation, walking and cycling in cities, according to a new report.

World Alzheimer Report 2014 reveals persuasive evidence for dementia risk reduction

Posted: 17 Sep 2014 04:32 AM PDT

The World Alzheimer Report 2014 'Dementia and Risk Reduction: An analysis of protective and modifiable factors,' released today, suggests that dementia risk for populations can be modified through tobacco control and better prevention, detection and control of hypertension and diabetes. The report calls for dementia to be integrated into both global and national public health programs alongside other major noncommunicable diseases.

Sharks' skin has teeth in the fight against hospital superbugs

Posted: 17 Sep 2014 04:32 AM PDT

Transmission of bacterial infections, including Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and Methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus could be curbed by coating hospital surfaces with microscopic bumps that mimic the scaly surface of shark skin, according to research.

'Smart material' chin strap harvests energy from chewing

Posted: 17 Sep 2014 04:32 AM PDT

A chin strap that can harvest energy from jaw movements has been created by a group of researchers in Canada. It is hoped that the device can generate electricity from eating, chewing and talking, and power a number of small-scale implantable or wearable electronic devices, such as hearing aids, cochlear implants, electronic hearing protectors and communication devices.

Recruiting bacteria as technology innovation partners: New self-healing materials and bioprocessing technologies

Posted: 17 Sep 2014 04:32 AM PDT

For most people biofilms conjure up images of slippery stones in a streambed and dirty drains. While there are plenty of 'bad' biofilms around, a team of scientists see biofilms as a robust new platform for designer nanomaterials that could clean up polluted rivers, manufacture pharmaceutical products, fabricate new textiles, and more.

Phthalates heighten risk for childhood asthma

Posted: 17 Sep 2014 04:32 AM PDT

An association between childhood asthma and prenatal exposure to two phthalates used in a diverse array of household products has been discovered by researchers. Phthalates are used in everything from synthetic fragrances to plastic food containers, vinyl flooring, insect repellent, shower curtains, even steering wheels and dashboards ("new car smell" contains phthalates).

Modern forensic techniques identify most likely cause of King Richard III’s death

Posted: 17 Sep 2014 04:31 AM PDT

The remains of King Richard III -- the last English monarch to die in battle -- were found under a car park in Leicester by archaeologists. The forensic imaging team used whole body CT scans and micro-CT imaging of injured bones to analyze trauma to the 500-year-old skeleton carefully, and to determine which of the King's wounds might have proved fatal.

Violent origins of disc galaxies: Why Milky Way-like galaxies are so common in the universe

Posted: 17 Sep 2014 04:31 AM PDT

For decades scientists have believed that galaxy mergers usually result in the formation of elliptical galaxies. Now, for the the first time, researchers have found direct evidence that merging galaxies can instead form disc galaxies, and that this outcome is in fact quite common. This surprising result could explain why there are so many spiral galaxies like the Milky Way in the Universe.

Flying robots will go where humans can't

Posted: 17 Sep 2014 04:31 AM PDT

There are many situations where it's impossible, complicated or too time-consuming for humans to enter and carry out operations. Think of contaminated areas following a nuclear accident, or the need to erect structures such as antennae on mountain tops. These are examples of where flying robots could be used.

Great Barrier Reef is an effective wave absorber

Posted: 17 Sep 2014 04:31 AM PDT

The Great Barrier Reef is a remarkably effective wave absorber, despite large gaps between the reefs, a study concludes. The Great Barrier Reef in Australia is the largest coral reef system in the world, extending 2,300 km alongshore. The reef matrix is a porous structure consisting of thousands of individual reefs.

Conquering the world at a snail's pace: Expansion of invasive Mediterranean Tramp Slug

Posted: 17 Sep 2014 04:31 AM PDT

The expansion of the invasive Mediterranean Tramp Slug has been the focus of recent research. This mollusk already inhabits large parts of Europe and Australia as well as North and South America. Among others, it was recorded for the first time in Mexico, Costa Rica and Ecuador. Regionally, this species can be a serious agricultural pest; however, it appears to reach its distributional limits in extremely cold or hot areas.

Users of insulin pumps are at 29% lower risk of death compared with patients on insulin injections

Posted: 16 Sep 2014 03:22 PM PDT

Use of insulin pumps to administer insulin rather than treatment with multiple daily insulin injections results in a 29 percent reduction in all-cause mortality and 43 percent reduction in the risk of fatal cardiovascular disease, concludes a study of more than 18,000 patients with type 1 diabetes.

Diabetes complications make patients more likely to fall down stairs

Posted: 16 Sep 2014 03:22 PM PDT

People suffering from diabetic peripheral neuropathy -- a complication of diabetes that affects the nerves in the limbs -- are likely to sway more during stair climbing, and thus are more likely to fall, research shows.

Proteins Hey1, Hey2 ensure that inner ear 'hair cells' are made at the right time, in the right place

Posted: 16 Sep 2014 03:19 PM PDT

The "molecular brakes" that time the generation of important cells in the inner ear cochleas of mice have been discovered by neuroscientists. These "hair cells" translate sound waves into electrical signals that are carried to the brain and are interpreted as sounds. If the arrangement of the cells is disordered, hearing is impaired, researchers report.

Patient's question triggers important study about blood thinners

Posted: 16 Sep 2014 01:25 PM PDT

Physicians around the world now have guidance that can help them determine the best oral blood thinners to use for their patients suffering from blood clots in their veins, thanks to a patient who asked his physician a question he couldn't answer.

New radiosurgery technology provides highly accurate treatment, greater patient comfort

Posted: 16 Sep 2014 01:25 PM PDT

A new stereotactic radiosurgery system provides the same or a higher level of accuracy in targeting cancer tumors -- but offers greater comfort to patients and the ability to treat multiple tumors at once -- when compared to other radiation therapy stereotactic systems, according to researchers.

Effect of magnesium sulfate during pregnancy on very preterm infants

Posted: 16 Sep 2014 01:24 PM PDT

Magnesium sulfate given intravenously to pregnant women at risk of very preterm birth was not associated with benefit on neurological, behavioral, growth, or functional outcomes in their children at school age, according to a study.

Combination therapy for COPD associated with better outcomes

Posted: 16 Sep 2014 01:24 PM PDT

Among older adults with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), particularly those with asthma, newly prescribed long-acting beta-agonists (LABAs) and inhaled corticosteroid combination therapy, compared with newly prescribed LABAs alone, was associated with a lower risk of death or COPD hospitalization, according to a study.

Waistlines of U.S. adults continue to increase

Posted: 16 Sep 2014 01:24 PM PDT

The prevalence of abdominal obesity and average waist circumference increased among U.S. adults from 1999 to 2012, according to a study. Waist circumference is a simple measure of total and intra-abdominal body fat. Although the prevalence of abdominal obesity has increased in the United States through 2008, its trend in recent years has not been known.
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