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Friday, October 10, 2014

ScienceDaily: Top News

ScienceDaily: Top News

Widely used sanitation programs do not necessarily improve health

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 06:04 PM PDT

The sanitation intervention delivered under the terms of the Government of India's Total Sanitation Campaign -— the world's largest sanitation initiative -— provided almost 25,000 individuals in rural India with access to a latrine. However, it did not reduce exposure to fecal pathogens or decrease the occurrence of diarrhea, parasitic worm infections, or child malnutrition.

The dwindling stock of antibiotics, and what to do about it

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 06:03 PM PDT

Pharmaceutical companies have largely abandoned the business of discovering and developing antibiotics, and our stock of these "miracle drugs" is beginning to shrink. Researchers are working to create new models for drug discovery that could replace the failed private enterprise model.

Manipulating memory with light

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 01:38 PM PDT

Neuroscientists have used light to erase a specific memory in mice, showing how the hippocampus and cortex work together to retrieve memories.

Migrating animals' urine affects ocean chemistry

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 01:38 PM PDT

Tiny animals migrating from the ocean's surface to the sunlit depths release ammonia, the equivalent of our urine, that plays a significant role in marine chemistry, particularly in low-oxygen zones.

New technique yields fast results in drug, biomedical testing

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 01:37 PM PDT

A new technique makes it possible to quickly detect the presence of drugs or to monitor certain medical conditions using only a single drop of blood or urine, representing a potential tool for clinicians and law enforcement.

Stunning finds from ancient Greek shipwreck

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 01:37 PM PDT

Divers and archaeologists have retrieved stunning new finds from an ancient Greek ship that sank more than 2,000 years ago off the remote island of Antikythera. The rescued antiquities include tableware, ship components, and a giant bronze spear that would have belonged to a life-sized warrior statue.

Ebola research shows rapid control interventions key factor in preventing spread

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 01:37 PM PDT

New Ebola research demonstrates that quick and forceful implementation of control interventions are necessary to control outbreaks and avoid far worse scenarios. Researchers analyzed up-to-date epidemiological data of Ebola cases in Nigeria as of Oct. 1, 2014, in order to estimate the case fatality rate, proportion of health care workers infected, transmission progression and impact of control interventions on the size of the epidemic.

Newly discovered brain cells explain a prosocial effect of oxytocin

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 01:34 PM PDT

Oxytocin, the body's natural love potion, helps couples fall in love, makes mothers bond with their babies, and encourages teams to work together. Now new research reveals a mechanism by which this prosocial hormone has its effect on interactions between the sexes, at least in certain situations. The key, it turns out, is a newly discovered class of brain cells.

'Sepsis Sniffer' Generates Faster Sepsis Care, Suggests Reduced Mortality

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 01:33 PM PDT

An automated early warning and response system for sepsis has resulted in a marked increase in sepsis identification and care, transfer to the ICU, and an indication of fewer deaths due to sepsis, scientists report.

New leafhopper species named after University of Illinois entomologist

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 12:41 PM PDT

Three new species of leafhoppers from China in the genus Futasujinus were recently identified during a review of leafhoppers in museum collections in China, the UK, and Illinois. One of them, Futasujinus dietrichi, was 'named after Dr. Chris Dietrich, University of Illinois, USA, in recognition of his good work on leafhoppers.'

Balancing birds and biofuels: Grasslands support more species than cornfields

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 12:41 PM PDT

Scientists have examined whether corn and perennial grassland fields in southern Wisconsin could provide both biomass for bioenergy production and bountiful bird habitat. The research team found that grassland fields supported more than three times as many bird species as cornfields, and new findings indicate grassland fields may represent an acceptable tradeoff between creating biomass for bioenergy and providing habitat for grassland birds.

New investigational cardiac pacemaker as small as a vitamin

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 12:38 PM PDT

Cardiologists have implanted an investigational cardiac pacemaker the size of a multivitamin. The first implantable pacemakers, developed in the late-1950s, were nearer the size of a transistor radio.

Plasmonic paper for detecting trace amounts of chemicals, pollutants and more

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 12:38 PM PDT

Using a common laboratory filter paper decorated with gold nanoparticles, researchers have created a unique platform, known as "plasmonic paper," for detecting and characterizing even trace amounts of chemicals and biologically important molecules—from explosives, chemical warfare agents and environmental pollutants to disease markers.

Dissolvable silicon circuits and sensors

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 12:38 PM PDT

Electronic devices that dissolve completely in water, leaving behind only harmless end products, are part of a rapidly emerging class of technology. This technology suggest a new era of devices that range from green consumer electronics to 'electroceutical' therapies, to biomedical sensor systems that do their work and then disappear.

Nanoparticles get a magnetic handle: Glowing nanoparticles can be manipulated using magnetic fields

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 11:16 AM PDT

A long-sought goal of creating particles that can emit a colorful fluorescent glow in a biological environment, and that could be precisely manipulated into position within living cells, has been achieved.

Snakes and snake-like robots show how sidewinders conquer sandy slopes

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 11:14 AM PDT

The amazing ability of sidewinder snakes to quickly climb sandy slopes was once something biologists only vaguely understood and roboticists only dreamed of replicating. By studying the snakes in a unique bed of inclined sand and using a snake-like robot to test ideas spawned by observing the real animals, both biologists and roboticists have now gained long-sought insights.

Mouse version of an autism spectrum disorder improves when diet includes a synthetic oil

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 11:14 AM PDT

When young mice with the rodent equivalent of a rare autism spectrum disorder, called Rett syndrome, were fed a diet supplemented with the synthetic oil triheptanoin, they lived longer than mice on regular diets. Importantly, their physical and behavioral symptoms were also less severe after being on the diet.

Temperature and water vapor on an exoplanet mapped

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 11:14 AM PDT

A team of scientists has made the most detailed map yet of the temperature of an exoplanet's atmosphere and traced the amount of water it contains. The planet targeted for both of the investigations was the hot-Jupiter exoplanet WASP-43b.

Unstoppable magnetoresistance

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 09:56 AM PDT

Researchers have discovered a material (WTe2) with an extremely large magnetoresistance, which is the change in resistance as a material is exposed to stronger magnetic fields. The researchers exposed WTe2 to a 60-tesla magnetic field, close to the strongest magnetic field mankind can create, and observed a magnetoresistance of 13 million percent. The material's magnetoresistance displayed unlimited growth, making it the only known material without a saturation point.

Oxytocin: How 'love hormone' regulates sexual behavior

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 09:55 AM PDT

Oxytocin has been called the 'love hormone' because it plays an important role in social behaviors, such as maternal care and pair bonding. In a new study researchers uncover oxytocin-responsive brain cells that are necessary for female social interest in male mice during estrus -- the sexually receptive phase of their cycle. These neurons, found in the prefrontal cortex, may play a role in other oxytocin-related social behaviors such as intimacy, love, or mother-child bonding.

Multiple neurodevelopmental disorders have a common molecular cause

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 09:55 AM PDT

Neurodevelopmental disorders such as Down syndrome and autism-spectrum disorder can have profound, lifelong effects on learning and memory, but relatively little is known about the molecular pathways affected by these diseases. A study shows that neurodevelopmental disorders caused by distinct genetic mutations produce similar molecular effects in cells, suggesting that a one-size-fits-all therapeutic approach could be effective for conditions ranging from seizures to attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.

College athletes in contact sports more likely to carry MRSA, study finds

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 08:27 AM PDT

Even if they don't show signs of infection, college athletes who play football, soccer and other contact sports are more likely to carry the superbug methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. This puts them at higher risk for infection and increases the likelihood of spreading the bug, which can cause serious and even fatal infections.

Effect of antibiotic susceptibility for patients with bloodstream infection

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 08:27 AM PDT

In an analysis of more than 8,000 episodes of Staphylococcus aureus bloodstream infections, there were no significant differences in the risk of death when comparing patients exhibiting less susceptibility to the antibiotic vancomycin to patients with more vancomycin susceptible strains of S. aureus, according to a study.

Discovery of new subatomic particle, type of meson, to 'transform' understanding of fundamental force of nature

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 08:26 AM PDT

The discovery of a new particle will "transform our understanding" of the fundamental force of nature that binds the nuclei of atoms, researchers argue. The discovery of the new particle will help provide greater understanding of the strong interaction, the fundamental force of nature found within the protons of an atom's nucleus.

Drinking decaf or regular coffee maybe good for the liver

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 08:26 AM PDT

Researchers report that decaffeinated coffee drinking may benefit liver health. Results show that higher coffee consumption, regardless of caffeine content, was linked to lower levels of abnormal liver enzymes. This suggests that chemical compounds in coffee other than caffeine may help protect the liver.

The mathematics behind the Ebola epidemic

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 07:09 AM PDT

Researchers have calculated new benchmark figures to precisely describe the Ebola epidemic in West Africa from a mathematical perspective. Their results may help health authorities to contain the epidemic.

Climate change alters the ecological impacts of seasons

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 07:09 AM PDT

If more of the world's climate becomes like that in tropical zones, it could potentially affect crops, insects, malaria transmission, and even confuse migration patterns of birds and mammals worldwide. The daily and nightly differences in temperatures worldwide are fast approaching yearly differences between summer and winter temperatures.

Greek Bronze Age ended 100 years earlier than thought, new evidence suggests

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 07:09 AM PDT

Conventional estimates for the collapse of the Aegean civilization may be incorrect by up to a century, according to new radiocarbon analyses.

Dads, not just moms, battle balancing work, family, exercise

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 07:08 AM PDT

Fathers experience the same exercise barriers as mothers: family responsibilities, guilt, lack of support, lack of time, scheduling constraints and work, a researcher has found. Although barriers for both parents are similar, working moms reported an additional hurdle. Mothers cited work and scheduling constraints as more of a barrier than fathers. Many active fathers found time to exercise during the workday, but mothers reported fear of being judged by co-workers for leaving to workout and lack of time to freshen up after a workout.

Discovery may lead to lower doses of chemotherapy

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 06:19 AM PDT

Many cancer cells resist chemotherapy. Chemists have found a protein switch that activates resistance. The discovery opens the door for medications that will make tumors more sensitive to chemotherapy.

Understanding the bushmeat market: Why do people risk infection from bat meat?

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 06:19 AM PDT

Ebola, as with many emerging infections, is likely to have arisen due to human interaction with wild animals -- most likely the practice of hunting and eating wild meat known as 'bushmeat.' A team of researchers has surveyed almost 600 people across southern Ghana to find out what drives consumption of bat bushmeat -- and how people perceive the risks associated with the practice.

A cost-effective and energy-efficient approach to carbon capture

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 06:19 AM PDT

Scientists have developed a slurry-based process that can revolutionize carbon capture. The slurry, consisting of a porous powder suspended in glycol, offers the efficient large-scale implementation of a liquid while maintaining the lower costs and energy efficiency of solid carbon-capturing materials.

Why men are the weaker sex when it comes to bone health

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 06:19 AM PDT

Alarming new data shows that one-third of all hip fractures worldwide occur in men, with mortality rates as high as 37 percent in the first year following fracture. This makes men twice as likely as women to die after a hip fracture. Osteoporosis experts warn that as men often remain undiagnosed and untreated, millions are left vulnerable to early death and disability, irrespective of fracture type.

Jumping Genes and Cichlids' Egg-Spots: How Evolution Creates new Characteristics

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 06:17 AM PDT

The evolution of new traits with novel functions has always posed a challenge to evolutionary biology. Studying the color markings of cichlid fish, scientists were now able to show what triggered these evolutionary innovations, namely: a mobile genetic element in the regulatory region of a color gene.

Mining big data yields Alzheimer's discovery

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 06:17 AM PDT

A new way of working to identify a new gene linked to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's has been used by researchers. The discovery fills in another piece of the jigsaw when it comes to identifying people most at risk of developing the condition.

Nanoparticle research could enhance drug delivery through skin

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 06:16 AM PDT

Key characteristics that enhance a nanoparticle's ability to penetrate skin have been identified by researchers in a milestone study that could have major implications for the delivery of drugs. Nanoparticles are up to 100,000 times smaller than the thickness of a human hair and drugs delivered using them as a platform, can be more concentrated, targeted and efficient than those delivered through traditional means.

Combatting periodontal pathogens

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 06:16 AM PDT

Periodontitis is a common ailment. If the inflammation remains untreated, it could lead to tooth loss. However, it is also suspected of triggering many other diseases, like cardiopulmonary diseases. Researchers are studying the interactions, and developing compounds to combat the causative agents.

Milky Way has half the amount of dark matter as previously thought

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 06:16 AM PDT

A new measurement of dark matter in the Milky Way has revealed there is half as much of the mysterious substance as previously thought.

Of bio-hairpins and polymer-spaghetti: Spotlight on how entangled polymers flow and soften

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 06:15 AM PDT

When a basically sturdy material becomes soft and spongy, one usually suspects that it has been damaged in some way. But this is not always the case, especially when it comes to complex fluids and biological cells. By looking at the microscopic building blocks -- known as "filaments" -- of biopolymer networks, researchers have evealed that such materials soften by undergoing a transition from an entangled spaghetti of filaments to aligned layers of bow-shaped filaments that slide past each other.

RNA molecules found in urine, tissue that detect prostate cancer

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 06:03 AM PDT

Potential biomarkers may pave way to a more sensitive, specific, and non-invasive prostate cancer screening assay, according to a report. Today, prostate cancer is primarily detected and monitored by testing for high concentrations of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in blood samples. The researchers believe that they have identified a group of RNA molecules that hold the potential for serving as better prognostic markers for prostate cancer.

Experimental rapid test could tell sinusitis sufferers if they need antibiotics - or just patience

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 06:03 AM PDT

Each year, 36 million people with chronic congestion and runny noses seek treatment from their primary care physicians. Without a way for doctors to easily distinguish viral from bacterial infections, more than half of patients will end up getting antibiotics for an infection that they don't actually have. The invention of a rapid, in-office test, based on bacterial biomarkers, could help physicians identify the infections that need antibiotics while helping reduce the growing problem of antibiotic resistance.

Increased health risks linked to first-episode psychosis

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 05:39 PM PDT

Many patients with psychosis develop health risks associated with premature death early in the course of their mental illness. Patients with schizophrenia are already known to have higher rates of premature death than the general population. Elevated risks of heart disease and metabolic issues such as high blood sugar in people with first episode psychosis are due to an interaction of mental illness, unhealthy lifestyle behaviors and antipsychotic medications that may accelerate these risks, experts say.

Skin exposure may contribute to early risk for food allergies

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 05:37 PM PDT

Many children may become allergic to peanuts before they first eat them, and skin exposure may be contribute to early sensitization, according to a study in mice. Early in the process of developing an allergy, skin exposure to food allergens contributes to 'sensitization', which means the skin is reactive to an antigen, such as peanuts, especially by repeated exposure.

Timing of epidural is up to the mother

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 05:37 PM PDT

When a woman is in labor, the appropriate time to give an epidural during childbirth is when she asks for it, a new study suggests. A systematic review compared early and late epidurals during labor and found that they had very similar effects.

Gene therapy shows promise for severe combined immunodeficiency

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 05:37 PM PDT

Gene therapy using a modified delivery system, or vector, can restore the immune systems of children with X-linked severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID-X1), a rare, life-threatening inherited condition that primarily affects boys, researchers have discovered.

Women who eat fried food regularly before conceiving at increased risk of developing gestational diabetes during pregnancy

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 05:37 PM PDT

Women who eat fried food regularly before conceiving are at increased risk of developing gestational diabetes during pregnancy, a study has shown. Gestational diabetes (GDM) is a complication that can arise during pregnancy, and is characterised by abnormally high blood glucose during the pregnancy (especially in the final 3 months). It can lead to increased birthweight of the child, as well jaundice and other complications. When left untreated, it can cause complications or stillbirth.

Healthy lifestyle may cut stroke risk in half for women

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 05:35 PM PDT

Women with a healthy diet and lifestyle may be less likely to have a stroke by more than half, according to a study. The study looked at five factors that make up a healthy lifestyle: healthy diet; moderate alcohol consumption; never smoking; physically active; and healthy body mass index (BMI). Compared with women with none of the five healthy factors, women with all five factors had a 54-percent lower risk of stroke.

Automated imaging system looks underground to help improve crops

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 12:37 PM PDT

An automated imaging technique for measuring and analyzing the root systems of mature plants has been developed by researchers. The work could help plant scientists improve food crops to help meet the needs of a growing world population.

Highway runs through it: Mountain lions in southern California face genetic decay

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 12:36 PM PDT

Cut off by freeways and human development, mountain lions in southern California are facing a severe loss of genetic diversity, according to a new study. Pumas in the Santa Ana Mountains display lower genetic diversity than those from nearly every other region in the state.

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