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Thursday, October 16, 2014

ScienceDaily: Top News

ScienceDaily: Top News

Informative visit to the toilet, for lemurs

Posted: 15 Oct 2014 06:08 PM PDT

Emily loves Justin, Stop global warming, Two more weeks till I graduate! The exchange of information in public toilets is widespread. It also occurs in the world of white-footed sportive lemurs. Only instead of writing on the walls, they use scent-marks in order to communicate with their own kind. Biologists have found that, in particular, the urine left on latrine trees serves as a method to maintain contact to family members. It also serves as a means to inform an intruder that there is a male that will defend his partner. Latrines serve as information exchange centers and promote social bonding in territorial nocturnal animals that do not live in closely-knit groups.

Gradual weight loss no better than rapid weight loss for long-term weight control

Posted: 15 Oct 2014 04:08 PM PDT

Contrary to current dietary recommendations, slow and steady weight loss does not reduce the amount or rate of weight regain compared with losing weight quickly, new research has found.

Personalized cellular therapy achieves complete remission in 90 percent of acute lymphoblastic leukemia patients studied

Posted: 15 Oct 2014 04:08 PM PDT

Ninety percent of children and adults with acute lymphoblastic leukemia who had relapsed multiple times or failed to respond to standard therapies went into remission after receiving an investigational personalized cellular therapy, CTL019, researchers report.

Optimal particle size for anticancer nanomedicines discovered

Posted: 15 Oct 2014 01:56 PM PDT

Nanomedicines consisting of nanoparticles for targeted drug delivery to specific tissues and cells offer new solutions for cancer diagnosis and therapy. In a recent study, researchers systematically evaluated the size-dependent biological profiles of three monodisperse drug-silica nanoconjugates to determine the optimum particle size for tissue penetration and tumor inhibition.

Reminding people of their religious belief system reduces hostility, study shows

Posted: 15 Oct 2014 01:52 PM PDT

New research may shed some light on religion's actual influence on believers -- and the news is positive. Researchers hypothesized that being reminded of religious beliefs would normally promote less hostile reactions to the kinds of threats in everyday life that usually heighten hostility. Across nine different experiments with 910 participants, the results consistently supported the hypothesis for Christians, Jews, Muslims and Hindus alike. The religiously reminded were significantly less hostile.

Getting to know super-Earths: Using Hubble to study mysterious exoplanet

Posted: 15 Oct 2014 12:25 PM PDT

Results from NASA's Kepler mission have indicated that the most common planets in the galaxy are super-Earths -- those that are bigger than Earth but smaller than Neptune. We have no examples of these planets in our own solar system, so astronomers are using space telescopes to try to find out more about these worlds. Most recently they used Hubble to study the planet HD 97658b, in the constellation Leo.

Milky Way ransacks nearby dwarf galaxies

Posted: 15 Oct 2014 12:25 PM PDT

Astronomers have discovered that our nearest galactic neighbors, the dwarf spheroidal galaxies, are devoid of star-forming gas, and that our Milky Way Galaxy is to blame.

Could sleeper sharks be preying on protected Steller sea lions?

Posted: 15 Oct 2014 11:33 AM PDT

Pacific sleeper sharks, a large, slow-moving species thought of as primarily a scavenger or predator of fish, may be preying on something a bit larger -- protected Steller sea lions in the Gulf of Alaska. A new study has found the first indirect evidence that this cold-blooded shark that can grow to a length of more than 20 feet -- longer than a great white shark -- and may be an opportunistic predator of juvenile Steller sea lions.

Weather history 'time machine' created

Posted: 15 Oct 2014 11:32 AM PDT

A software program that allows climate researchers to access historical climate data for the entire global surface (excluding the poles) has been developed. This software include the oceans, and is based statistical research into historical climates.

New mechanism that can lead to blindness discovered

Posted: 15 Oct 2014 11:32 AM PDT

Scientists report an important scientific breakthrough: that a protein found in the retina plays an essential role in the function and survival of light-sensing cells that are required for vision. These findings could have a significant impact on our understanding of retinal degenerative diseases that cause blindness.

Riddle of the rock pools: How tiny fish camouflage themselves

Posted: 15 Oct 2014 11:31 AM PDT

Researchers have revealed that the rock goby (Gobius paganellus), an unassuming little fish commonly found in rock pools around Britain, southern Europe, and North Africa, is a master of camouflage and can rapidly change color to conceal itself against its background.

Risking your life without a second thought: Extreme altruism may be motivated by intuitive process

Posted: 15 Oct 2014 11:31 AM PDT

People who risk their lives to save strangers may do so without deliberation.

These roos were 'made' for walking, study suggests of extinct enigmas

Posted: 15 Oct 2014 11:31 AM PDT

Based on a rigorous comparative analysis of kangaroo anatomy, researchers posit that the ancient family of sthenurine kangaroos that lived until 30,000 years ago likely preferred walking to hopping.

Simple steps can lead to safe sleep for infants

Posted: 15 Oct 2014 11:30 AM PDT

The number of infants who die each year from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) has decreased in recent decades as awareness of safe sleeping habits has increased. Yet each year, babies still die from sudden, unexplained causes.

Potential Kuiper belt targets for new horizons Pluto mission

Posted: 15 Oct 2014 11:28 AM PDT

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has uncovered three Kuiper Belt objects that the agency's New Horizons spacecraft could potentially visit after it flies by Pluto in July 2015.

Boosting heart's natural ability to recover after heart attack

Posted: 15 Oct 2014 11:28 AM PDT

Researchers have discovered that fibroblasts, which normally give rise to scar tissue after a heart attack, can be turned into endothelial cells, which generate blood vessels to supply oxygen and nutrients to the injured regions of the heart, greatly reducing the damage done following heart attack.

Researchers develop world's thinnest electric generator

Posted: 15 Oct 2014 11:28 AM PDT

Researchers have made the first experimental observation of piezoelectricity and the piezotronic effect in an atomically thin material, molybdenum disulfide, resulting in a unique electric generator and mechanosensation devices that are optically transparent, extremely light, and very bendable and stretchable.

Global natural gas boom alone won't slow climate change

Posted: 15 Oct 2014 11:28 AM PDT

A new analysis of global energy use, economics and the climate shows that expanding the current bounty of inexpensive natural gas alone would not slow the growth of global greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. Recent advances in gas production technology based on horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing -- also known as fracking -- have led to bountiful, low-cost natural gas. Because gas emits far less carbon dioxide than coal, some researchers have linked the natural gas boom to recent reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. But could these advanced technologies also have an impact on emissions beyond North America and decades into the future?

Precision printing: Unique capabilities of 3-D printing revealed

Posted: 15 Oct 2014 10:06 AM PDT

Researchers have demonstrated an additive manufacturing method to control the structure and properties of metal components with precision unmatched by conventional manufacturing processes.

Treating sleep apnea in cardiac patients reduces hospital readmission

Posted: 15 Oct 2014 08:24 AM PDT

A study of hospitalized cardiac patients is the first to show that effective treatment with positive airway pressure therapy reduces 30-day hospital readmission rates and emergency department visits in patients with both heart disease and sleep apnea. The results underscore the importance of the 'Stop the Snore' campaign of the National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project.

A brighter design emerges for low-cost, 'greener' LED light bulbs

Posted: 15 Oct 2014 08:23 AM PDT

The phase-out of traditional incandescent bulbs in the U.S. and elsewhere, as well as a growing interest in energy efficiency, has given light-emitting diode lighting a sales boost. However, that trend could be short-lived as key materials known as rare earth elements become more expensive. Scientists have now designed new materials for making household light-emitting diode bulbs without using these ingredients.

Discarded cigarette ashes could go to good use -- removing arsenic from water

Posted: 15 Oct 2014 08:23 AM PDT

Arsenic, a well-known poison, can be taken out of drinking water using sophisticated treatment methods. But in places that lack the equipment or technical know-how required to remove it, it still laces drinking water and makes people sick. To tackle this problem, scientists have come up with a new low-cost, simple way to remove arsenic using leftovers from another known health threat -- cigarettes.

Dolphin 'breathalyzer' could help diagnose animal and ocean health

Posted: 15 Oct 2014 08:23 AM PDT

Alcohol consumption isn't the only thing a breath analysis can reveal. Scientists have been studying its possible use for diagnosing a wide range of conditions in humans -- and now in the beloved bottlenose dolphin. One team describes a new instrument that can analyze the metabolites in breath from dolphins, which have been dying in alarming numbers along the Atlantic coast this year.

Study questions 21-day quarantine period for Ebola

Posted: 15 Oct 2014 08:23 AM PDT

One of the tenets for minimizing the risk of spreading Ebola Virus has been a 21-day quarantine period for individuals who might have been exposed to the virus. But a new study suggests that 21 days might not be enough to completely prevent spread of the virus. Experts say there could be up to a 12 percent chance that someone could be infected even after the 21-day quarantine.

Climate change not responsible for altering forest tree composition, experts say

Posted: 15 Oct 2014 08:23 AM PDT

Change in disturbance regimes -- rather than a change in climate -- is largely responsible for altering the composition of Eastern forests, according to a researcher. Forests in the Eastern United States remain in a state of "disequilibrium" stemming from the clear-cutting and large-scale burning that occurred in the late 1800s and early 1900s, he contends.

Researchers look to exploit females' natural resistance to infection

Posted: 15 Oct 2014 08:23 AM PDT

Researchers have linked increased resistance to bacterial pneumonia in female mice to an enzyme activated by the female sex hormone estrogen. An international team of scientists has shown that increased resistance to bacterial pneumonia in female mice is linked to the enzyme nitric oxide synthase 3 (NOS3). They also show that this enzyme is ultimately activated by the release of the female sex hormone estrogen.

Researchers turn to 3-D technology to examine the formation of cliffband landscapes

Posted: 15 Oct 2014 08:23 AM PDT

A blend of photos and technology takes a new twist on studying cliff landscapes and how they were formed.

Key moment mapped in assembly of DNA-splitting molecular machine

Posted: 15 Oct 2014 08:21 AM PDT

Scientists reveal crucial steps and surprising structures in the genesis of the enzyme that divides the DNA double helix during cell replication. The research combined electron microscopy, perfectly distilled proteins, and a method of chemical freezing to isolate specific moments at the start of replication.

Researcher adds to evidence linking autism to air pollutants

Posted: 15 Oct 2014 08:21 AM PDT

Pollution's impact on autism rates in North Carolina is similar to results of previous pollution autism studies in California, a new study reports. This report is has added to a growing body of evidence that links autism to air pollutants such as those generated by cars and trucks.

Carbonate rocks are unrecognized methane sink

Posted: 15 Oct 2014 07:18 AM PDT

Since the first undersea methane seep was discovered 30 years ago, scientists have meticulously analyzed and measured how microbes in the seafloor sediments consume the greenhouse gas methane. They have now found a type of rock known as authigenic carbonate also contains vast amounts of active microbes that take up methane. This demonstrates that the global methane process is still poorly understood.

Prehistoric crocodiles' evolution mirrored in living species

Posted: 15 Oct 2014 07:17 AM PDT

Crocodiles which roamed the world's seas millions of years ago developed in similar ways to their modern-day relatives, a study has shown. Fresh research into a group of prehistoric marine crocs known as Machimosaurus reveals key details of how and where they lived.

Chimpanzees have favorite 'tool set' for hunting staple food of army ants

Posted: 15 Oct 2014 07:17 AM PDT

New research shows that chimpanzees search for the right tools from a key plant species when preparing to 'ant dip' -- a crafty technique enabling them to feast on army ants without getting bitten. The study shows that army ants are not a poor substitute for preferred foods, but a staple part of chimpanzee diets.

Importance of dead jellyfish to deep-sea ecosystems

Posted: 15 Oct 2014 07:15 AM PDT

Dead jellyfish contribute to the deep-sea food chain, unlike previously thought, innovative experiments show. Researchers deployed lander systems to look at how scavengers responded to jellyfish and fish baits in the deep sea off Norway. The experiments were carried out in areas with jellyfish blooms near the ocean surface and showed that when the creatures fell to the seabed they were rapidly eaten by scavengers.

A new piece in the high-temperature superconductivity puzzle: 'Dressing' in superconductors

Posted: 15 Oct 2014 07:15 AM PDT

The physical mechanism that generates superconductivity in materials at high critical temperature (like cuprates, which appear to be among the most promising materials for technological applications) remains a mystery. So far, experimental observations haven't clarified if the phenomenon at work in conventional superconductors – at low critical temperature – and involving the "dressing" concept (as physicists call it) can also be seen in cuprates, but one study suggests that this might be the case.

Sharks that hide in coral reefs may be safe from acidifying oceans

Posted: 15 Oct 2014 07:15 AM PDT

The epaulette shark displays physiological tolerance to elevated carbon dioxide in its environment after being exposed to carbon dioxide levels equivalent to those that are predicted for their natural habitats in the near future.

Lake Erie increasingly susceptible to large cyanobacteria blooms

Posted: 15 Oct 2014 07:15 AM PDT

Lake Erie has become increasingly susceptible to large blooms of toxin-producing cyanobacteria since 2002, potentially complicating efforts to rein in the problem in the wake of this year's Toledo drinking water crisis, according to a new study.

Ancient fossils of bizarre figure-eight water creatures confirmed among our strangest distant cousins

Posted: 15 Oct 2014 07:13 AM PDT

More than 100 years since they were first discovered, some of the world's most bizarre fossils have been identified as close relatives of vertebrates. The fossils belong to 500-million-year-old blind water creatures, known as "vetulicolians". Alien-like in appearance, these marine creatures were "filter-feeders" shaped like a figure eight. In a new paper, researchers argue for a change in the way these creatures are viewed, placing them with the same group that includes vertebrate animals, such as humans.

Astronomers spot faraway Uranus-like planet: First 'ice giant' planet found in another solar system

Posted: 15 Oct 2014 07:13 AM PDT

Our view of other solar systems just got a little more familiar, with the discovery of a planet 25,000 light-years away that resembles our own Uranus. Astronomers have discovered hundreds of planets around the Milky Way, including rocky planets similar to Earth and gas planets similar to Jupiter. But there is a third type of planet in our solar system -- part gas, part ice -- and this is the first time anyone has spotted a twin for our so-called "ice giant" planets, Uranus and Neptune.

Construction secrets of a galactic metropolis: APEX reveals hidden star formation in protocluster

Posted: 15 Oct 2014 06:22 AM PDT

Astronomers have used the APEX telescope to probe a huge galaxy cluster that is forming in the early Universe and revealed that much of the star formation taking place is not only hidden by dust, but also occurring in unexpected places. This is the first time that a full census of the star formation in such an object has been possible.

Method for detecting extremely rare inert gas isotopes for water dating

Posted: 15 Oct 2014 06:04 AM PDT

In earth and environmental sciences, radioactive isotopes, atom variants that decay over time, play a major role in age determination. A radioactive isotope of the inert gas argon 39, for example, is used to determine the age of water or ice. Such isotopes are extremely rare, however -- only a single 39 Ar isotope occurs in a thousand trillion argon atoms. Hence researchers' attempts to isolate and detect such atoms remain the proverbial search for the needle in a haystack. Physicists have now succeeded in rendering usable an experimental method developed in basic research for ground water dating using 39 Ar.

Effects of high-risk Parkinson's mutation are reversible, study in animal model suggests

Posted: 15 Oct 2014 06:04 AM PDT

Researchers have found vital new evidence on how to target and reverse the effects caused by one of the most common genetic causes of Parkinson's.

New mechanism affecting cell migration found

Posted: 15 Oct 2014 06:04 AM PDT

Cell migration is important for development and physiology of multicellular organisms. During embryonic development individual cells and cell clusters can move over relatively long distances, and cell migration is also essential for wound healing and many immunological processes in adult animals. On the other hand, uncontrolled migration of malignant cells results in cancer invasion of metastasis.

Gene variants implicated in ADHD identify attention, language

Posted: 15 Oct 2014 05:57 AM PDT

Are deficits in attention limited to those with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or is there a spectrum of attention function in the general population? The answer to this question has implications for psychiatric diagnoses and perhaps for society, broadly. New work suggests that there is a spectrum of attention, hyperactivity/impulsiveness and language function in society, with varying degrees of these impairments associated with clusters of genes linked with the risk for ADHD.

Two-faced gene: SIRT6 prevents some cancers but promotes sun-induced skin cancer

Posted: 15 Oct 2014 05:45 AM PDT

SIRT6 -— a protein that inhibits the growth of liver and colon cancers -— can promote the development of skin cancers by turning on an enzyme that increases inflammation, proliferation and survival of sun-damaged skin cells. This suggests that SIRT6 could provide a useful target for cancer prevention.

Prostate cancer's penchant for copper may be a fatal flaw

Posted: 15 Oct 2014 05:45 AM PDT

Like discriminating thieves, prostate cancer tumors scavenge and hoard copper that is an essential element in the body. But such avarice may be a fatal weakness, scientists report. Researchers have found a way to kill prostate cancer cells by delivering a trove of copper along with a drug that selectively destroys the diseased cells brimming with the mineral, leaving non-cancer cells healthy.

Collapsible wings help birds cope with turbulence, eagle sporting 'black box' shows

Posted: 14 Oct 2014 06:18 PM PDT

Collapsible wings may be a bird's answer to turbulence, according to a new study in which an eagle carried its own 'black box' flight recorder on its back.

What goes up must come down: Geckos alter foot orientation during downhill locomotion

Posted: 14 Oct 2014 06:18 PM PDT

Geckos employ an adhesive system that facilitates their climbing vertically, and even in inverted positions. But can geckos employ this system when moving downhill? Biologists have conducted lab experiments on geckos to find that when moving on steep downhill surfaces geckos reverse the position of their hind feet to potentially use the adhesive system as a brake and/or stabilizer, resulting in the digits of the hind feet facing backwards.

How the fruit fly could help us sniff out drugs and bombs

Posted: 14 Oct 2014 06:18 PM PDT

A fly's sense of smell could be used in new technology to detect drugs and bombs, new research has found. Brain scientists were surprised to find that the 'nose' of fruit flies can identify odors from illicit drugs and explosive substances almost as accurately as wine odor, which the insects are naturally attracted to because it smells like their favorite food, fermenting fruit.

Caribbean coral reef inhabitants critical in determining future of reefs

Posted: 14 Oct 2014 06:17 PM PDT

Species that live in and erode coral reefs will play a major role in determining the future of reefs, new research suggests. The research highlights the delicate balance that exists between bioerosion and carbonate production on coral reefs.

Hydraulic fracturing linked to earthquakes in Ohio

Posted: 14 Oct 2014 06:17 PM PDT

Hydraulic fracturing triggered a series of small earthquakes in 2013 on a previously unmapped fault in Harrison County, Ohio, according to a new study.

Past climate change and continental ice melt linked to varying carbon dioxide levels

Posted: 14 Oct 2014 06:17 PM PDT

Scientists have discovered that a globally warm period in Earth's geological past featured highly variable levels of CO2. Previous studies have found that the Miocene climatic optimum, a period that extends from about 15 to 17 million years ago, was associated with big changes in both temperature and the amount of continental ice on the planet. Now a new study has found that these changes in temperature and ice volume were matched by equally dramatic shifts in atmospheric CO2.

Energy drinks may pose danger to public health, researchers warn

Posted: 14 Oct 2014 02:07 PM PDT

Increased consumption of energy drinks may pose danger to public health, especially among young people, warns a team of researchers. Energy drinks are non-alcoholic beverages that contain caffeine, vitamins, and sometimes other ingredients such as taurine, ginseng, and guarana. They are typically marketed as boosting energy and increasing physical and mental performance.

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