Jumat, 25 Juli 2014

ScienceDaily: Top News

ScienceDaily: Top News


Earlier Stone Age artifacts found in Northern Cape of South Africa

Posted: 24 Jul 2014 02:21 PM PDT

Excavations at an archaeological site at Kathu in the Northern Cape province of South Africa have produced tens of thousands of Earlier Stone Age artifacts, including hand axes and other tools.

Parched West is using up underground water: Study points to grave implications for Western U.S. water supply

Posted: 24 Jul 2014 02:21 PM PDT

A new study finds more than 75 percent of the water loss in the drought-stricken Colorado River Basin since late 2004 came from underground resources. The extent of groundwater loss may pose a greater threat to the water supply of the western United States than previously thought.

Biologist warn of early stages of Earth's 6th mass extinction event

Posted: 24 Jul 2014 02:19 PM PDT

The planet's current biodiversity, the product of 3.5 billion years of evolutionary trial and error, is the highest in the history of life. But it may be reaching a tipping point. Scientists caution that the loss and decline of animals is contributing to what appears to be the early days of the planet's sixth mass biological extinction event. Since 1500, more than 320 terrestrial vertebrates have become extinct. Populations of the remaining species show a 25 percent average decline in abundance. The situation is similarly dire for invertebrate animal life.

How to power California with wind, water and sun

Posted: 24 Jul 2014 11:43 AM PDT

New research outlines the path to a possible future for California in which renewable energy creates a healthier environment, generates jobs and stabilizes energy prices.

Pesticide linked to three generations of disease: Methoxychlor causes epigenetic changes

Posted: 24 Jul 2014 11:42 AM PDT

Researchers say ancestral exposures to the pesticide methoxychlor may lead to adult onset kidney disease, ovarian disease and obesity in future generations.

Linking microbial, immune environment in semen to HIV viral load, transmission

Posted: 24 Jul 2014 11:42 AM PDT

HIV infection re-shapes the relationship between semen bacteria and immune factors which in turn affects viral load, suggesting that the semen microbiome plays a role in sexual transmission of HIV, researchers report. While HIV is found in many body fluids, sexual transmission through semen is the most common route of infection.

No returning to Eden: Researchers explore how to restore species in a changing world

Posted: 24 Jul 2014 11:42 AM PDT

Reversing the increasing rate of global biodiversity losses may not be possible without embracing intensive, and sometimes controversial, forms of threatened species management, according to zoologists.

Synchronization of North Atlantic, North Pacific preceded abrupt warming, end of ice age

Posted: 24 Jul 2014 11:16 AM PDT

Scientists have long been concerned that global warming may push Earth's climate system across a 'tipping point,' where rapid melting of ice and further warming may become irreversible -- a hotly debated scenario with an unclear picture of what this point of no return may look like. A new study suggests that combined warming of the North Atlantic and Pacific Oceans thousands of years ago may have provided the tipping point for abrupt warming and rapid melting of the northern ice sheets.

DNA mostly 'junk?' Only 8.2 percent of human DNA is 'functional', study finds

Posted: 24 Jul 2014 11:16 AM PDT

Only 8.2 percent of human DNA is likely to be doing something important -- is 'functional' -- say researchers. This figure is very different from one given in 2012, when some scientists involved in the ENCODE (Encyclopedia of DNA Elements) project stated that 80% of our genome has some biochemical function.

Atomic structure of key muscle component revealed

Posted: 24 Jul 2014 11:16 AM PDT

Adding to the growing fundamental understanding of the machinery of muscle cells, a group of biophysicists describe -- in minute detail -- how actin filaments are stabilized at one of their ends to form a basic muscle structure called the sarcomere. With the help of many other proteins, actin molecules polymerize to form filaments that give rise to structures of many different shapes. The actin filaments have a polarity, with a plus and minus end, reflecting their natural tendency to gain or lose subunits when not stabilized.

Leaf-mining insects destroyed with the dinosaurs, others quickly appeared

Posted: 24 Jul 2014 11:16 AM PDT

After the asteroid impact at the end of the Cretaceous period that triggered the dinosaurs' extinction and ushered in the Paleocene, leaf-mining insects in the western United States completely disappeared. Only a million years later, at Mexican Hat, in southeastern Montana, fossil leaves show diverse leaf-mining traces from new insects that were not present during the Cretaceous, according to paleontologists.

Protein couple controls flow of information into brain's memory center

Posted: 24 Jul 2014 10:40 AM PDT

Neuroscientists have succeeded in providing new insights into how the brain works by analyzing tissue samples from mice to identify how two specific proteins, 'CKAMP44' and 'TARP Gamma-8', act upon the brain's memory center. Brain function depends on the active communication between nerve cells, known as neurons. For this purpose, neurons are woven together into a dense network where they constantly relay signals to one another.

Artificial intelligence identifies the musical progression of the Beatles

Posted: 24 Jul 2014 10:40 AM PDT

Computer scientists have developed an artificial intelligence algorithm that can analyze and compare musical styles, which they have used to study the musical progression of the Beatles.

New perspective on agricultural plastic, debris burning, and air quality

Posted: 24 Jul 2014 09:45 AM PDT

To reduce fire hazard, wildland managers often utilize the silvicultural practice of mechanically cutting woody shrubs and suppressed trees. These cuttings and other post-logging debris are then burned during periods of low fire danger in order to dispose of the material. Managers often cover all or part of the debris pile with low-density polyethylene plastic, commonly referred to as agricultural plastic, in order to keep water out. Inclusion of agricultural plastic in debris piles has no effect on smoke emissions, a new study indicates.

Joblessness could kill you, but recessions could be good for your health

Posted: 24 Jul 2014 09:45 AM PDT

While previous studies of individuals have shown that employees who lose their jobs have a higher mortality rate, more comprehensive studies have shown, unexpectedly, that population mortality actually declines as unemployment rates increase. Researchers set out to better understand these seemingly contradictory findings.

Fukushima accident underscores need for U.S. to seek out new information about nuclear plant hazards

Posted: 24 Jul 2014 09:44 AM PDT

A new congressionally mandated report concludes that the overarching lesson learned from the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident is that nuclear plant licensees and their regulators must actively seek out and act on new information about hazards with the potential to affect the safety of nuclear plants.

Corn and soy insecticides similar to nicotine found widespread in midwest U.S. rivers

Posted: 24 Jul 2014 09:44 AM PDT

Insecticides similar to nicotine, known as neonicotinoids, were found commonly in streams throughout the Midwest, according to a new study. This is the first broad-scale investigation of neonicotinoid insecticides in the Midwestern United States and one of the first conducted within the United States.

A reward is valued more if you choose it yourself: New quirky byproduct of learning from reward

Posted: 24 Jul 2014 09:44 AM PDT

Many people value rewards they choose themselves more than rewards they merely receive, even when the rewards are actually equivalent. A new study provides evidence that this long-observed quirk of behavior is a byproduct of how the brain reinforces learning from reward.

Cancer: Treatment that prevents tumor metastasis identified in animal study

Posted: 24 Jul 2014 09:42 AM PDT

Metastasis, the strategy adopted by tumor cells to transform into an aggressive form of cancer, are often associated with a gloomy prognosis. Managing to block the metastasis or, even better, prevent their formation would be a giant step towards the fight against cancer. Researchers successfully performed this on models of human tumors in mice.

Metastatic brain tumor treatment could be on the horizon with use of SapC-DOPS

Posted: 24 Jul 2014 08:25 AM PDT

A new study has provided hope that previously studied SapC-DOPS could be used for treatment of brain cancer that has spread. "These results support the potential of SapC-DOPS for the diagnosis and therapy of primary and metastatic brain tumors which is critically needed to increase survival rates of patients with this illness," one researcher said.

Key molecule in flies identified that adjusts energy use under starvation conditions

Posted: 24 Jul 2014 08:25 AM PDT

In the fly Drosophila melanogaster, p53 is activated in certain cells to adapt the metabolic response to nutrient deprivation, thus having a global effect on the organism, researchers show. The researchers also reveal the molecular mechanisms through which the activity of p53 is regulated. The results obtained in Drosophila are useful to address the study of the molecular mechanisms of p53 in vertebrate models and to examine whether this protein is involved in diabetes and obesity.

Annual financial cost of COPD $36 billion in U.S.: CDC report

Posted: 24 Jul 2014 08:25 AM PDT

A new report outlines the total and state-specific medical and absenteeism costs of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease among adults in the United States, and lays out some projections to 2020. Chronic lower respiratory diseases, including COPD, are the third-leading cause of death in the United States. Close to 24 million US adults have evidence of impaired lung function, indicating an underdiagnosis of COPD. Smoking is a primary risk factor of COPD, and approximately 80% of COPD deaths can be attributed to smoking.

Nearly 50 years of lemur, other primates data now available online

Posted: 24 Jul 2014 07:42 AM PDT

A 48-year archive of life history data for the world's largest and most diverse collection of endangered primates is now digital and available online. The database allows visitors to view and download data for more than 3600 animals representing 27 species of lemurs, lorises and galagos -- distant primate cousins who predate monkeys and apes -- with more data to be uploaded in the future.

Mechanism that clears excess of protein linked with Type 2 diabetes

Posted: 24 Jul 2014 07:42 AM PDT

In people who do not have Type 2 diabetes, autophagy prevents the accumulation of toxic forms of IAPP, researchers have found. In people with Type 2 diabetes, the process appears to not work properly, contributing to the destruction of beta cells. As the body's insulin producers, beta cells play a key role in maintaining healthy blood sugar levels.

Cost-effective, solvothermal synthesis of heteroatom (S or N)-doped graphene developed

Posted: 24 Jul 2014 07:42 AM PDT

A research team has developed cost-effective technology to synthesize sulfur-doped and nitrogen-doped graphenes which can be applied as high performance electrodes for secondary batteries and fuel cells.

Natural products from plants protect skin during cancer radiotherapy

Posted: 24 Jul 2014 07:42 AM PDT

Plant-derived natural product chemicals could offer protection to the skin from the harmful effects of gamma radiation during cancer radiotherapy, suggests research.

New mass map of distant galaxy cluster is most precise yet

Posted: 24 Jul 2014 07:42 AM PDT

Astronomers have mapped the mass within a galaxy cluster more precisely than ever before. Created using observations from Hubble's Frontier Fields observing program, the map shows the amount and distribution of mass within MCS J0416.1-2403, a massive galaxy cluster found to be 160 trillion times the mass of the Sun.

Background TV can be bad for kids

Posted: 24 Jul 2014 07:41 AM PDT

Leaving the television on can be detrimental to children's learning and development, according to a new study. Researchers found that background television can divert a child's attention from play and learning. Regardless of family demographics, parenting can act as a buffer against the impacts of background TV, the research team found.

Dream come true for chemists? Creating organic zeolites

Posted: 24 Jul 2014 07:41 AM PDT

Traditionally, zeolites have been derived from inorganic material like silicon or aluminum. For the past several years, one research team has focused on combining zeolites with organic polymers whose main component is carbon, oxygen, hydrogen or nitrogen. A new technique and the new materials it produces can be immediately useful in catalysis and separations for chemicals production and hydrocarbon conversion for energy applications.

Discovery is key to metal wear in sliding parts

Posted: 24 Jul 2014 06:43 AM PDT

Researchers have discovered a previously unknown mechanism for wear in metals: a swirling, fluid-like microscopic behavior in a solid piece of metal sliding over another. The findings could be used to improve the durability of metal parts in numerous applications.

Chemist develops X-ray vision for quality assurance

Posted: 24 Jul 2014 06:43 AM PDT

A researcher has developed a method that uses X-rays for the rapid identification of substances present in an indeterminate powder. The new technique has the capacity to recognize advanced biological molecules such as proteins. The method therefore has enormous potential in both food production and the pharmaceutical industry, where it opens up new opportunities for the quality assurance of protein-based medicines, for example.

Paracetamol no better than placebo for lower back pain

Posted: 24 Jul 2014 06:40 AM PDT

Paracetamol is no better than placebo at speeding recovery from acute episodes of lower back pain or improving pain levels, function, sleep, or quality of life, according to the first large randomized trial to compare the effectiveness of paracetamol with placebo for low-back pain. The findings question the universal endorsement of paracetamol as the first choice painkiller for low-back pain, say the authors.

Unleashing the power of quantum dot triplets

Posted: 24 Jul 2014 06:40 AM PDT

Another step towards faster computers relies on three coherently coupled quantum dots used as quantum information units. Quantum computers have yet to materialize. Yet, scientists are making progress in devising suitable means of making such computers faster. One such approach relies on quantum dots-a kind of artificial atom, easily controlled by applying an electric field. A new study demonstrates that changing the coupling of three coherently coupled quantum dots (TQDs) with electrical impulses can help better control them.

Four-billion-year-old chemistry in cells today

Posted: 24 Jul 2014 06:40 AM PDT

Parts of the primordial soup in which life arose have been maintained in our cells today according to scientists. Research has revealed how cells in plants, yeast and very likely also in animals still perform ancient reactions thought to have been responsible for the origin of life -- some four billion years ago.

Nano-supercapacitors for electric cars

Posted: 24 Jul 2014 06:40 AM PDT

Innovative nano-material based supercapacitors are set to bring mass market appeal a good step closer to the lukewarm public interest in Germany. This movement is currently being motivated by the advancements in the state-of-the-art of this device.

Formula calculates thickness of bombproof concrete

Posted: 24 Jul 2014 06:40 AM PDT

A new type of steel-reinforced concrete protects buildings better from bomb attacks. Researchers have developed a formula to quickly calculate the concrete's required thickness. The material will be used in the One World Trade Center at Ground Zero.

New drugs to combat asthma, similar illnesses

Posted: 24 Jul 2014 06:40 AM PDT

Science and industry are collaborating to develop future pharmaceuticals for treating chronic inflammatory diseases. The medicines will combat immunological processes that have gone wrong. Statistics indicate that there are 300 million asthma sufferers worldwide, a further 600 million people living with chronic pneumonia and up to 30% of the global population contending with allergic rhinitis (allergic inflammation of the nasal airways).

Genome analysis helps in breeding more robust cows

Posted: 24 Jul 2014 06:37 AM PDT

Genome analysis of 234 bulls has put researchers on the trail of DNA variants which influence particular characteristics in breeding bulls. For example, two variants have proven responsible for disruptions to the development of embryos and for curly hair, which is disadvantageous because more ticks and parasites occur in curly hair than in short, straight hair. These are the first results of the large 1000 Bull Genomes project on which some 30 international researchers are collaborating.

Wireless home automation systems reveal more than you would think about user behavior

Posted: 24 Jul 2014 06:36 AM PDT

Home automation systems that control domestic lighting, heating, window blinds or door locks offer opportunities for third parties to intrude on the privacy of the inhabitants and gain considerable insight into their behavioral patterns.

One route to malaria drug resistance found

Posted: 24 Jul 2014 06:33 AM PDT

Researchers have uncovered a way the malaria parasite becomes resistant to an investigational drug. The discovery also is relevant for other infectious diseases including bacterial infections and tuberculosis. Fosmidomycin, an antibiotic, is being evaluated against malaria in phase 3 clinical trials in combination with other antimalarial drugs.

Hubble finds three surprisingly dry exoplanets: 'Hot Jupiters' had only one-tenth to one one-thousandth the amount of water predicted

Posted: 24 Jul 2014 06:28 AM PDT

Astronomers have gone looking for water vapor in the atmospheres of three planets orbiting stars similar to the Sun -- and have come up nearly dry. The three planets, known as HD 189733b, HD 209458b, and WASP-12b, are between 60 and 900 light-years away from Earth and were thought to be ideal candidates for detecting water vapor in their atmospheres because of their high temperatures where water turns into a measurable vapor.

Why don't genetically identical cells behave identically? Cellular noise

Posted: 24 Jul 2014 06:28 AM PDT

One researcher is like a mechanic for cells: he takes them apart to see how they function. He can tell you what part is like a gas pedal and which part is like the brakes. Now he's can show us why these brakes don't work the same even in cells that are genetically identical.

Greater odds of adverse childhood experiences in those with military service, study finds

Posted: 23 Jul 2014 01:20 PM PDT

Men and women who have served in the military have a higher prevalence of adverse childhood events (ACEs), suggesting that enlistment may be a way to escape adversity for some. ACEs can result in severe adult health consequences such as posttraumatic stress disorder, substance use and attempted suicide.

Unsuspected characteristics of new cystic fibrosis drugs found, offering potential paths to more effective therapies

Posted: 23 Jul 2014 12:20 PM PDT

A large phase 3 clinical trial for cystic fibrosis patients has concluded, showing that a combination of two new cystic fibrosis drugs modestly improved lung function and offered better health outcomes for some patients. Now, scientists have shown that one of these drugs counteracts the intended beneficial molecular effect of the other.

Gene inhibitor, salmon fibrin restore function lost in spinal cord injury in rodents

Posted: 23 Jul 2014 11:18 AM PDT

A therapy combining salmon fibrin injections into the spinal cord and injections of a gene inhibitor into the brain restored voluntary motor function impaired by spinal cord injury, scientists have found. In a study on rodents, researchers achieved this breakthrough by turning back the developmental clock in a molecular pathway critical to the formation of corticospinal tract nerve connections and providing a scaffold so that neuronal axons at the injury site could grow and link up again.

Sapronoses: Diseases of another kind, caused by pathogenic microorganisms

Posted: 23 Jul 2014 11:18 AM PDT

The drought that has the entire country in its grip is affecting more than the color of people's lawns. It may also be responsible for the proliferation of a heat-loving amoeba commonly found in warm freshwater bodies, such as lakes, rivers and hot springs, which the drought has made warmer than usual this year. Sapronoses are infectious diseases caused by pathogenic microorganisms that inhabit aquatic ecosystems and/or soil rather than a living host.
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