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Thursday, October 9, 2014

ScienceDaily: Most Popular News

ScienceDaily: Most Popular News

Killer whales learn to communicate like dolphins

Posted: 07 Oct 2014 08:10 AM PDT

The sounds that most animals use to communicate are innate, not learned. However, a few species, including humans, can imitate new sounds and use them in appropriate social contexts. This ability, known as vocal learning, is one of the underpinnings of language. Now, researchers have found that killer whales can engage in cross-species vocal learning: when socialized with bottlenose dolphins, they shifted the sounds they made to more closely match their social partners.

Coffee in the genes? New genetic variants associated with coffee drinking

Posted: 07 Oct 2014 06:23 AM PDT

A new, large-scale study has identified six new genetic variants associated with habitual coffee drinking. "Coffee and caffeine have been linked to beneficial and adverse health effects. Our findings may allow us to identify subgroups of people most likely to benefit from increasing or decreasing coffee consumption for optimal health," said the lead author of the study.

Near-death experiences? Results of the world's largest medical study of the human mind and consciousness at time of death

Posted: 07 Oct 2014 06:21 AM PDT

The results of a four-year international study of 2060 cardiac arrest cases across 15 hospitals concludes the following. The themes relating to the experience of death appear far broader than what has been understood so far, or what has been described as so called near-death experiences. In some cases of cardiac arrest, memories of visual awareness compatible with so called out-of-body experiences may correspond with actual events. A higher proportion of people may have vivid death experiences, but do not recall them due to the effects of brain injury or sedative drugs on memory circuits. Widely used yet scientifically imprecise terms such as near-death and out-of-body experiences may not be sufficient to describe the actual experience of death. The recalled experience surrounding death merits a genuine investigation without prejudice.

2014 Nobel Prize in Physics: Invention of efficient blue light-emitting diodes

Posted: 07 Oct 2014 04:17 AM PDT

The 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded to Isamu Akasaki, of Meijo University in Nagoya and Nagoya University, Japan; Hiroshi Amano, of Nagoya University, Japan; and Shuji Nakamura of the University of California, Santa Barbara, CA, USA "for the invention of efficient blue light-emitting diodes which has enabled bright and energy-saving white light sources."

Why is educational achievement heritable?

Posted: 06 Oct 2014 12:21 PM PDT

The high heritability of exam grades reflects many genetically influenced traits such as personality, behavior problems, and self-efficacy and not just intelligence. The study looked at 13,306 twins at age 16 . The twins were assessed on a range of cognitive and non-cognitive measures, and the researchers had access to their GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education) scores.

High-sugar diet no problem for genetic mutants

Posted: 06 Oct 2014 10:35 AM PDT

A genetic pathway for circumventing the weight gain that accompanies a high-sugar diet has been discovered by scientists. Building on previous work with C. elegans, researchers found that certain genetic mutants -- those with a hyperactive SKN-1 gene -- could be fed incredibly high-sugar diets without gaining any weight, while regular C. elegans ballooned on the same diet.

Earth's ocean abyss has not warmed, NASA study finds

Posted: 06 Oct 2014 07:10 AM PDT

The cold waters of Earth's deep ocean have not warmed measurably since 2005, according to a new NASA study, leaving unsolved the mystery of why global warming appears to have slowed in recent years. But scientists say these findings do not throw suspicion on climate change itself.

Tumors might grow faster at night

Posted: 06 Oct 2014 06:46 AM PDT

A hormone that keeps us alert also suppresses the spread of cancer, researchers have discovered. The study suggests, therefore, that nighttime is the right time for cancer to grow and spread in the body, and that administering certain treatments in time with the body's day-night cycle could boost their efficiency.

Tracing our ancestors at the bottom of the sea

Posted: 06 Oct 2014 05:49 AM PDT

A new European Marine Board report recommends exploration of sea-submerged settlements abandoned by our ancestors. Researchers are studying the remains of prehistoric human settlements which are now submerged beneath coastal seas. Some of these drowned sites are tens of thousands of years old.

2014 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine: Cells that constitute a positioning system in the brain

Posted: 06 Oct 2014 05:24 AM PDT

The 2014 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has been awarded to John O´Keefe, May-Britt Moser and Edvard I. Moser for their discoveries of cells that constitute a positioning system in the brain. The discoveries have solved a problem that has occupied philosophers and scientists for centuries -- how does the brain create a map of the space surrounding us and how can we navigate our way through a complex environment?

Study of mountain lion energetics shows the power of the pounce

Posted: 02 Oct 2014 11:17 AM PDT

High-tech collars enabled scientists to record the energetics of mountain lion hunting behavior, showing why cats use "stalk and pounce" and how they overpower large prey.

Evolutionary imbalance hypothesis: On invasive species, Darwin had it right all along, study shows

Posted: 02 Oct 2014 07:11 AM PDT

Based on insights first articulated by Charles Darwin, researchers have developed and tested the 'evolutionary imbalance hypothesis' to help predict species invasiveness in ecosystems. The results suggest the importance of accounting for the evolutionary histories of the donor and recipient regions in invasions.

Genetic secrets of the monarch butterfly revealed

Posted: 01 Oct 2014 10:30 AM PDT

Sequencing the genomes of monarch butterflies from around the world, a team of scientists has made surprising new insights into the monarch's genetics. They identified a single gene that appears central to migration -- a behavior generally regarded as complex -- and another that controls pigmentation. The researchers also shed light on the evolutionary origins of the monarch.

Glucosamine promotes longevity by mimicking low-carb diet, study finds

Posted: 08 Apr 2014 09:21 AM PDT

The widely used food supplement glucosamine promotes longevity in aging mice by approximately 10 percent due to improved glucose metabolism. Researchers find that the compound does so 'by mimicking a low-carb diet in elderly mice reflecting human retirees.' In addition, the results of the study seemed to give some indication of protection from diabetes, a life-threatening disease most prevalent amongst the elderly.

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