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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

ScienceDaily: Top News

ScienceDaily: Top News

NASA Rover Opportunity views comet near Mars

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 09:35 PM PDT

NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity captured images of a comet passing much closer to Mars than any previous known comet flyby of Earth or Mars. The images of comet Siding Spring were taken against a backdrop of the pre-dawn Martian sky on Sunday (Oct. 19).

Mars Orbiter image shows comet nucleus is small

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 09:33 PM PDT

The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captured views of comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring while that visitor sped past Mars on Sunday (Oct. 19), yielding information about its nucleus.

Salmonella-infected mice that were given antibiotics became superspreaders

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 06:29 PM PDT

Some people infected with pathogens spread their germs to others while remaining symptom-free themselves. Now, investigators believe they may know why. In a new study, Salmonella-infected mice that were given antibiotics became sicker and began shedding far more bacteria in their feces than they had before.

Built-in billboards: Male bluefin killifish signal different things with different fins

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 06:29 PM PDT

They help fish swim, but fins also advertise a fish's social standing and health. In a new study, researchers report that for the male bluefin killifish (Lucania goodei), each colorful fin presents its own messages to other fish.

Mental rest and reflection boost learning, study suggests

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 06:27 PM PDT

A new study, which may have implications for approaches to education, finds that brain mechanisms engaged when people allow their minds to rest and reflect on things they've learned before may boost later learning.

Untangling the biological effects of blue light

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 06:27 PM PDT

Blue light can both set the mood and set in motion important biological responses. Researchers have teased apart the separate biological responses of the human eye to blue light, revealing an unexpected contest for control.

Measuring on ice: Researchers create 'smart' ice skating blade

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 06:25 PM PDT

An ice skating blade that informs figure skaters of the stresses they are imposing on their joints has been developed by a group of researchers in the US.

Three people infected with Ebola predicted to fly from West Africa every month if no exit screening takes place

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 06:24 PM PDT

Three Ebola-infected travelers are predicted to depart on an international flight every month from any of the three countries in West Africa currently experiencing widespread Ebola virus outbreaks (Guinea, Liberia, or Sierra Leone), if no exit screening were to take place, according to new modeling research.

See-through sensors open new window into the brain

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 06:23 PM PDT

Developing invisible implantable medical sensor arrays, a team of engineers has overcome a major technological hurdle in researchers' efforts to understand the brain. The team has now described its technology, which has applications in fields ranging from neuroscience to cardiac care and even contact lenses.

Scientists restore hearing in noise-deafened mice, pointing way to new therapies

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 06:23 PM PDT

Scientists have restored the hearing of mice partly deafened by noise, using advanced tools to boost the production of a key protein in their ears. By demonstrating the importance of the protein, called NT3, in maintaining communication between the ears and brain, these new findings pave the way for research in humans that could improve treatment of hearing loss caused by noise exposure and normal aging.

Positive subliminal messages on aging improve physical functioning in elderly

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 11:52 AM PDT

Older individuals who are subliminally exposed to positive stereotypes about aging showed improved physical functioning that can last for several weeks, a new study.

New study charts the fate of chemicals affecting health, environment

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 11:52 AM PDT

The trajectory of chemicals appearing as emergent threats to human or environmental health has been recently studied through a meta-analysis of 143,000 peer-reviewed research papers. The work tracks the progress of these chemicals of emerging concern, revealing patters of emergence from obscurity to peak concern and eventual decline, over a span of 30 years.

Siblings of children with autism can show signs at 18 months

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 11:52 AM PDT

About 20 percent of younger siblings of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder will develop the condition by age 3. A new study has found that 57 percent of these younger siblings who later develop the condition already showed symptoms at age 18 months.

Patients treated with radiation therapy who have tumors in left breast have comparable overall survival to those with tumors in right breast

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 11:51 AM PDT

Tumor laterality (left-side vs. right-side) does not impact overall survival in breast cancer patients treated with breast-conserving surgery and adjuvant external beam radiation therapy, according to a study.

See-through, one-atom-thick, carbon electrodes powerful tool to study brain disorders

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 11:15 AM PDT

A graphene, one-atom-thick microelectrode now solves a major problem for investigators looking at brain circuitry. Pinning down the details of how individual neural circuits operate in epilepsy and other brain disorders requires real-time observation of their locations, firing patterns, and other factors.

Fish tale: New study evaluates antibiotic content in farm-raised fish

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 10:49 AM PDT

Antibiotic use in the rapidly expanding world of global aquaculture has been examined in a new study. Results of the research evaluated the presence of antibiotics in shrimp, salmon, catfish, trout, tilapia and swai, originating from 11 countries. Data showed traces of 5 of the 47 antibiotics evaluated.

Children who drink non-cow's milk are twice as likely to have low vitamin D

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 10:49 AM PDT

Children who drink non-cow's milk such as rice, almond, soy or goat's milk, have lower levels of vitamin D in their blood than those who drink cow's milk, according to a new study.

Sport in old age can stimulate brain fitness, but effect decreases with advancing age

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 10:49 AM PDT

Physical exercise in old age can improve brain perfusion as well as certain memory skills, say neuroscientists who studied men and women aged between 60 and 77. In younger individuals regular training on a treadmill tended to improve cerebral blood flow and visual memory. However, trial participants who were older than 70 years of age tended to show no benefit of exercise.

Heavy metal frost? A new look at a Venusian mystery

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 10:39 AM PDT

Venus is hiding something beneath its brilliant shroud of clouds: a first order mystery about the planet that researchers may be a little closer to solving because of a new re-analysis of twenty-year-old spacecraft data. Venus's surface can't be seen from orbit in visible light because of the planet's hot, dense, cloudy atmosphere. Instead, radar has been used by spacecraft to penetrate the clouds and map out the surface – both by reflecting radar off the surface to measure elevation and by looking at the radio emissions of the hot surface. The last spacecraft to map Venus in this way was Magellan, two decades ago.

Secrets of dinosaur ecology found in fragile amber

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 10:39 AM PDT

Ryan McKellar's research sounds like it was plucked from Jurassic Park: he studies pieces of amber found buried with dinosaur skeletons. But rather than re-creating dinosaurs, he uses the tiny pieces of fossilized tree resin to study the world in which the now-extinct behemoths lived. New techniques for investigating very tiny pieces of fragile amber buried in dinosaur bonebeds could close the gaps in knowledge about the ecology of the dinosaurs.

Massive debris pile reveals risk of huge tsunamis in Hawaii

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 09:15 AM PDT

A mass of marine debris discovered in a giant sinkhole in the Hawaiian islands provides evidence that at least one mammoth tsunami, larger than any in Hawaii's recorded history, has struck the islands, and that a similar disaster could happen again, new research finds. Scientists are reporting that a wall of water up to nine meters (30 feet) high surged onto Hawaiian shores about 500 years ago. A 9.0-magnitude earthquake off the coast of the Aleutian Islands triggered the mighty wave, which left behind up to nine shipping containers worth of ocean sediment in a sinkhole on the island of Kauai.

Mediterranean, semi-arid ecosystems prove resistant to climate change

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 09:15 AM PDT

Climate change predictions for the Middle East, like other arid regions of the world, are alarming. But in testing these dire predictions, ecologists found that, contrary to expectations, no measurable changes in annual vegetation could be seen. None of the crucial vegetation characteristics -- neither species richness and composition, nor density and biomass -- had changed appreciably in the course of the rainfall manipulations.

User-friendly electronic 'Eyecane' enhances navigational abilities for blind

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 09:14 AM PDT

White Canes provide low-tech assistance to the visually impaired, but some blind people object to their use because they are cumbersome, fail to detect elevated obstacles, or require long training periods to master. Electronic travel aids (ETAs) have the potential to improve navigation for the blind, but early versions had disadvantages that limited widespread adoption. A new ETA, the "EyeCane," expands the world of its users, allowing them to better estimate distance, navigate their environment, and avoid obstacles, according to a new study

Fish just want to have fun, according to a new study that finds even fish 'play'

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 09:14 AM PDT

Biologists have documented fish playing with a bottom-weighted thermometer and other objects. Play, like much of animals' psychology including emotions, motivations, perceptions and intellect, is part of their evolutionary history and not just random, meaningless behavior.

Why your brain makes you reach for junk food

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 08:12 AM PDT

Will that be a pizza for you or will you go for a salad? Choosing what you eat is not simply a matter of taste, conclude scientists in a new study. As you glance over a menu or peruse the shelves in a supermarket, your brain is making decisions based more on a food's caloric content.

Brain activity provides evidence for internal 'calorie counter'

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 07:55 AM PDT

As you think about how a food will taste and whether it's nutritious, an internal calorie counter of sorts is also evaluating each food based on its caloric density, according to findings from a new neuroimaging study.

John Lennon commemorated by naming a new tarantula species from South America after him

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 07:55 AM PDT

A newly described tarantula species from Western Brazilian Amazonia was named Bumba lennoni in honor of John Lennon, a founder member of the legendary band the Beatles. The new species is part of the tarantula family Theraphosidae which comprises the largest sized spider species in the world.

Facetless crystals that mimic starfish shells could advance 3-D-printing pills

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 07:55 AM PDT

In a design that mimics a hard-to-duplicate texture of starfish shells, engineers have made rounded crystals that have no facets.

Wild molecular interactions in a new hydrogen mixture

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 07:55 AM PDT

Hydrogen responds to pressure and temperature extremes differently. Under ambient conditions hydrogen is a gaseous two-atom molecule. As confinement pressure increases, the molecules adopt different states of matter -- like when water ice melts to liquid. Scientists have now combined hydrogen with its heavier sibling deuterium and created a novel, disordered, 'Phase IV'-material. The molecules interact differently than have been observed before, which could be valuable for controlling superconducting and thermoelectric properties of new materials.

Fairness is in the brain, scientists say

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 07:53 AM PDT

Ever wondered how people figure out what is fair? Look to the brain for the answer. According to a new brain study, people appreciate fairness in much the same way as they appreciate money for themselves, and also that fairness is not necessarily that everybody gets the same income.

Breathing sand: New measurement technique detects oxygen supply to bottom of North Sea

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 07:53 AM PDT

New analytical methods show for the first time, how the permeable, sandy sediment at the bottom of the North Sea is supplied with oxygen and which factors determine the exchange. Based on the detailed investigation and new measurement technology, the turnover of organic matter and nutrients at the sea floor as well as future changes within the dynamic ecosystem can be better assessed.

Sexual preference for masculine men, feminine women is an urban habit

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 07:53 AM PDT

A groundbreaking new study suggests that, rather than being passed down through a long process of social and sexual selection, preferences for masculine men and feminine women is a relatively new habit that has only emerged in modern, urbanized societies.

Protocells and information strings: Self-organizing autocatalytic network created in computer model

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 07:50 AM PDT

Protocells are the simplest, most primitive living systems, you can think of. However, creating an artificial protocell is far from simple. One of the challenges is to create the information strings that can be inherited by cell offspring, including protocells. Such information strings are like modern DNA or RNA strings, and they are needed to control cell metabolism and provide the cell with instructions about how to divide. Now using a a virtual computer experiment, researchers in Denmark have discovered information strings with peculiar properties.

Physicists build reversible laser tractor beam

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 07:50 AM PDT

Physicists have built a tractor beam that can repel and attract objects, using a hollow laser beam, bright around the edges and dark in its center. It is the first long-distance optical tractor beam, 100 times larger than previous ones.

1980s American aircraft helps quantum technology take flight

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 07:50 AM PDT

The X-29, an American experimental aircraft has inspired quantum computing researchers in a development which will bring the technology out of the lab.

Winning the war against Human parainfluenza virus

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 07:50 AM PDT

Researchers have moved a step closer to identifying a treatment for the dreaded Human parainfluenza virus. These highly-infectious viruses are the leading cause of upper and lower respiratory tract disease in young children, including Croup, responsible for thousands of hospitalizations in the developed world, and hundreds of thousands of deaths each year in developing countries.

New antidepressant: Rapid agent restores pleasure-seeking ahead of other antidepressant action

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 07:50 AM PDT

A drug being studied as a fast-acting mood-lifter restored pleasure-seeking behavior independent of -- and ahead of -- its other antidepressant effects. Within 40 minutes after a single infusion of ketamine, treatment-resistant depressed bipolar disorder patients experienced a reversal of a key symptom -- loss of interest in pleasurable activities -- which lasted up to 14 days. Brain scans traced the agent's action to boosted activity in areas at the front and deep in the right hemisphere of the brain.

Design of micro, nanoparticles to improve treatments for Alzheimer's, Parkinson's

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 07:49 AM PDT

Techniques are being developed to deliver correctly and effectively certain drugs to treat Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. Both disorders affect the neurones: their structure and function is lost, and this in turn leads to the deterioration in the patient's motor, cognitive, sensory and emotional functions.

New class of drugs shows promise in treating chronic diarrhea

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 07:49 AM PDT

A pilot study testing a new type of drug in patients with chronic diarrhea has shown promising effects on reducing their symptoms. Bile acid diarrhea (BAD) is a common cause of chronic diarrhea that is estimated to affect one in 100 adults in western countries, but is often mistaken for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) by doctors. Many patients are not diagnosed correctly and undergo repeated unnecessary tests.

Cold sores increase risk of dementia, research suggests

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 07:49 AM PDT

Infection with herpes simplex virus increases the risk of Alzheimer's disease, researchers claim. "Our results clearly show that there is a link between infections of herpes simplex virus and the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. This also means that we have new opportunities to develop treatment forms to stop the disease," says one of the researchers behind the study.

Earthquakes in the ocean: Towards a better understanding of their precursors

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 07:49 AM PDT

New research offers the first theoretical model that, based on fluid-related processes, explains the seismic precursors of an underwater earthquake. Using quantitative measurements, this innovative model established a link between observed precursors and the mainshock of an earthquake. The results open a promising avenue of research for guiding future investigations on detecting earthquakes before they strike.

Goldilocks principle wrong for particle assembly: Too hot and too cold is just right

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 07:47 AM PDT

Microscopic particles that bind under low temperatures will melt as temperatures rise to moderate levels, but re-connect under hotter conditions, a team of scientists has found. Their discovery points to new ways to create "smart materials," cutting-edge materials that adapt to their environment by taking new forms, and to sharpen the detail of 3D printing.

Over-organizing repair cells set the stage for fibrosis

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 07:47 AM PDT

The excessive activity of repair cells in the early stages of tissue recovery sets the stage for fibrosis by priming the activation of an important growth factor, according to a new study.

Advances in creating treatment for common childhood blood cancer

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 07:47 AM PDT

A new drug in development may offer first alternative to standard chemotherapy for T-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, scientists report. An estimated quarter of the 500 U.S. adolescents and young adults diagnosed each year with this aggressive disease fail to respond to standard chemotherapy drugs that target cancer cells.

Origins of sex discovered: Side-by-side copulation in distant ancestors

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 07:38 AM PDT

A palaeontologist has revealed how the intimate act of sexual intercourse first evolved in our deep distant ancestors. In one of the biggest discoveries in the evolutionary history of sexual reproduction, scientists have found that internal fertilization and copulation appeared in ancient armored fishes, called placoderms, about 385 million years ago in what is now Scotland.

NASA's Mars Odyssey Orbiter watches comet fly near

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 06:28 AM PDT

The longest-lived robot ever sent to Mars came through its latest challenge in good health, reporting home on schedule after sheltering behind Mars from possible comet dust.

NASA's MAVEN studies passing comet and its effects

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 06:26 AM PDT

NASA's newest orbiter at Mars, MAVEN, took precautions to avoid harm from a dust-spewing comet that flew near Mars Oct. 19 and is studying the flyby's effects on the Red Planet's atmosphere.

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter studies comet flyby

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 06:21 AM PDT

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has sent home more data about Mars than all other missions combined, is also now providing data about a comet that buzzed The Red Planet Oct. 19.

Head injury causes immune system to attack brain, new study finds

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 06:04 AM PDT

Scientists have uncovered a surprising way to reduce the brain damage caused by head injuries -- stopping the body's immune system from killing brain cells. A new study showed that in experiments on mice, an immune-based treatment reduced the size of brain lesions. The authors suggest that if the findings apply to humans, this could help prevent brain damage from accidents, and protect players of contact sports like football, rugby and boxing.

Viagra protects the heart beyond the bedroom, study finds

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 06:04 AM PDT

Viagra could be used as a safe treatment for heart disease, finds new research. The study reveals that long-term daily treatment of Viagra can provide protection for the heart at different stages of heart disease, with few side effects.

Blind cave fish may provide insight on eye disease, other human health issues

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 06:04 AM PDT

Blind cave fish may not be the first thing that comes to mind when it comes to understanding human sight, but recent research indicates they may have quite a bit to teach us about the causes of many human ailments, including those that result in loss of sight. A team of researchers is looking to the tiny eyeless fish for clues about the underpinnings of degenerative eye disease and more.

New tracers can identify frack fluids in the environment

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 06:03 AM PDT

Scientists have developed geochemical tracers to identify hydraulic fracturing flowback fluids that have been spilled or released into the environment. The tracers have been field-tested at two sites and can distinguish fracking fluids from wastewater versus conventional wells or other sources. They give scientists new forensic tools to detect if fracking fluids are escaping into water supplies and what risks, if any, they might pose.

Heart rate may predict survival, brain function in comatose cardiac arrest survivors

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 06:03 AM PDT

Patients with sinus bradycardia during therapeutic hypothermia had a 50 to 60 percent lower mortality rate at 180 days than those with no sinus bradycardia, a study has found. The same research also found that sinus bradycardia was directly associated with a better neurological status 180 days after the arrest.

Aspirin shown to benefit schizophrenia treatment

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 06:01 AM PDT

Some anti-inflammatory medicines, such as aspirin, estrogen, and Fluimucil, can improve the efficacy of existing schizophrenia treatments, new research suggests. Research has shown that the immune system is linked to certain psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Research has shown that "antioxidants and anti-inflammatory drugs could not only reduce symptoms associated with the disorders but also prevent the appearance of neurobiological abnormalities and transition to psychosis if given early during brain development," experts say.

Fish intake associated with boost to antidepressant response

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 06:01 AM PDT

Up to half of patients who suffer from major depression do not respond to treatment with Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors. Now a group of researchers has carried out a study that shows that increasing fatty fish intake appears to increase the response rate in patients who do not respond to antidepressants.

Panic attacks associated with fear of bright daylight

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 06:01 AM PDT

Fear of bright daylight is associated with panic disorder, according to new research. Panic disorder is where a person has recurring and regular panic attacks. It appears to be about twice as common in women as it is in men. Previous studies have shown that there is a strong seasonal component in panic disorder, but this is the first study to look specifically at panic disorder patients' reactions to light.

Work to improve children's health should start before mother becomes pregnant

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 06:01 AM PDT

The key to making future generations healthier could lie before the mother becomes pregnant, researchers believe. In a new article, they say that a greater understanding is needed of the role of maternal nutrition in preconception and its impact on the child, adding that while the evidence published to date provides useful ways to improve the health of children, it also raises many questions.

Later supper for blackbirds in the city: Artificial light gives birds longer to forage for food

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 06:01 AM PDT

Artificial light increases foraging time in blackbirds. Birds in city centers are active not just considerably earlier, but also for longer than their relatives in darker parts of the city. The study showed that artificial light has a considerable influence on the activity times of blackbirds in the city and therefore on their natural cycles.

Pediatric allergology: Fresh milk keeps infections at bay

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 06:00 AM PDT

Infants fed on fresh rather than UHT cow's milk are less prone to infection, new research suggests. The authors recommend the use of alternative processing methods to preserve the protectants found in the natural product.

Novel solutions developed to fight obesity gene

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 06:00 AM PDT

Individuals who are genetically predisposed to obesity may soon have a therapeutic solution to combat their condition. A research team has identified several potent inhibitors that selectively target FTO, the common fat mass and obesity-associated gene. These FTO-specific inhibitors pave the way for the development of novel anti-obesity drugs and treatments.

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