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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

ScienceDaily: Top News

ScienceDaily: Top News

New feather findings get scientists in a flap

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 06:06 PM PDT

Scientists have revealed that feather shafts are made of a multi-layered fibrous composite material, much like carbon fiber, which allows the feather to bend and twist to cope with the stresses of flight. Since their appearance over 150 million years ago, feather shafts (rachises) have evolved to be some of the lightest, strongest and most fatigue resistant natural structures.

Special microscope captures defects in nanotubes

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 01:22 PM PDT

Chemists have devised a way to see the internal structures of electronic waves trapped in carbon nanotubes by external electrostatic charges. Carbon nanotubes have been touted as exceptional materials with unique properties that allow for extremely efficient charge and energy transport, with the potential to open the way for new, more efficient types of electronic and photovoltaic devices. However, these traps, or defects, in ultra-thin nanotubes can compromise their effectiveness.

How troubled marriage, depression history promote obesity

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 01:20 PM PDT

The double-whammy of marital hostility and a history of depression can increase the risk for obesity in adults by altering how the body processes high-fat foods, according to new research.

Scientists disprove theory that reconstructed boron surface is metallic

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 11:53 AM PDT

Scientific inquiry is a hit and miss proposition, subject to constant checking and rechecking. Recently, a new class of materials was discovered called topological insulators—nonmetallic materials with a metallic surface capable of conducting electrons. The effect, based on relativity theory, exists only in special materials -— those with heavy elements —- and has the potential to revolutionize electronics.

Immersed in violence: How 3-D gaming affects video game players

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 11:53 AM PDT

Playing violent video games in 3-D makes everything seem more real – and that may have troubling consequences for players, a new study reveals. Researchers found that people who played violent video games in 3-D showed more evidence of anger afterward than did people who played using traditional 2-D systems -- even those with large screens.

Large variation in Cesarean rates across US hospitals

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 11:17 AM PDT

Cesarean delivery is the most common inpatient surgery in the United States. US cesarean rates increased from 20.7% in 1996 to 32.9% in 2009 but have since stabilized, with 1.3 million American women having had a cesarean delivery in 2011. Rates of cesarean delivery vary across hospitals, and understanding reasons for the variation could help shed light on practices related to cesarean delivery.

In disease outbreak management, flexibility can save lives, money

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 11:17 AM PDT

A new, more flexible, approach for responding to and managing disease outbreaks has been developed that could save many lives and millions of dollars. The approach, called 'adaptive management,' allows decision-makers to use knowledge gained during an outbreak to update ongoing interventions with the goal of containing outbreaks more quickly, efficiently, and effectively.

Let there be light: Evolution of complex bioluminescent traits may be predictable

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 10:50 AM PDT

A longstanding question among scientists is whether evolution is predictable. A team of researchers from University of California Santa Barbara may have found a preliminary answer. The genetic underpinnings of complex traits in cephalopods may in fact be predictable because they evolved in the same way in two distinct species of squid.

Novel approach for treating non-cardiac chest pain suggested

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 10:50 AM PDT

Chest pain doesn't necessarily come from the heart. An estimated 200,000 Americans each year experience non-cardiac chest pain. New research suggests a novel approach to treating non-cardiac chest pain due to esophageal hypersensitivity. The treatment involves a drug called dronabinol, a cannabinoid receptor activator that has traditionally been used to treat nausea and vomiting in HIV patients and for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.

Could I squeeze by you? Scientists model molecular movement within narrow channels of mesoporous nanoparticles

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 10:50 AM PDT

Scientists have developed deeper understanding of the ideal design for mesoporous nanoparticles used in catalytic reactions, such as hydrocarbon conversion to biofuels. The research will help determine the optimal diameter of channels within the nanoparticles to maximize catalytic output.

Cosmic rays threaten future deep-space astronaut missions

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 10:50 AM PDT

Crewed missions to Mars remain an essential goal for NASA, but scientists are only now beginning to understand and characterize the radiation hazards that could make such ventures risky, concludes a new article.

Impressions shaped by facial appearance foster biased decisions

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 10:50 AM PDT

Research in recent years has shown that people associate specific facial traits with an individual's personality. People consistently associate trustworthiness, competence, dominance, and friendliness with specific facial traits. According to a new article, people rely on these subtle facial traits to make important decisions, from voting for a political candidate to convicting a suspect for a crime. The authors present its real-world consequences and discuss potential ways of overcoming it.

Research highlights extent, effects of school violence in U.S.

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 10:48 AM PDT

Six percent of U.S. children and youth missed a day of school over the course of a year because they were the victim of violence or abuse at school. "This study really highlights the way school violence can interfere with learning," says the lead author. "Too many kids are missing school because they do not feel safe."

Resetting the circadian clock: Shift workers might want to skip high-iron foods at night

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 10:48 AM PDT

Workers punching in for the graveyard shift may be better off not eating high-iron foods at night so they don't disrupt the circadian clock in their livers. "Iron is like the dial that sets the timing of the clock," the lead researcher says. "Discovering a factor, such as iron, that sets the circadian rhythm of the liver may have broad implications for people who do shift work."

Super stable garnet ceramics may be ideal for high-energy lithium batteries

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 10:01 AM PDT

Scientists have discovered exceptional properties in a garnet material that could enable development of higher-energy battery designs.

Predicting the predator threatening a squirrel by analyzing its sounds and tail movements

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 09:59 AM PDT

Biologists found the could quite accurately predict what type of predator was threatening a squirrel by analyzing its sounds and tail movements.

Two vessels from WWII convoy battle off North Carolina discovered: German U-boat 576 and freighter Bluefields found within 240 yards

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 09:59 AM PDT

Scientists have discovered two significant vessels from World War II's Battle of the Atlantic. The German U-boat 576 and the freighter Bluefields were found approximately 30 miles off the coast of North Carolina. Lost for more than 70 years, the discovery of the two vessels, in an area known as the Graveyard of the Atlantic, is a rare window into a historic military battle and the underwater battlefield landscape of WWII.

Survey shows what Americans fear most

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 09:59 AM PDT

The Chapman Survey on American Fears included 1,500 participants from across the nation and all walks of life. The research team leading this effort pared the information down into four basic categories: personal fears, crime, natural disasters and fear factors.

Ancient Europeans intolerant to lactose for 5,000 years after they adopted agriculture

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 09:59 AM PDT

By analyzing DNA from petrous bones of ancient Europeans, scientists have identified these peoples remained intolerant to lactose (natural sugar in the milk of mammals) for 5,000 years after they adopted agricultural practices. The scientific team examined nuclear ancient DNA extracted from thirteen individuals from burials from archaeological sites in the Great Hungarian Plain. The skeletons sampled date from 5,700 BC (Early Neolithic) to 800 BC (Iron Age).

Fight against Alzheimer's disease: New research on walnuts

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 09:57 AM PDT

An new animal study reveals potential brain-health benefits of a walnut-enriched diet. Researchers suggest that a diet including walnuts may have a beneficial effect in reducing the risk, delaying the onset, slowing the progression of, or preventing Alzheimer's disease.

Screening questions fail to identify teens at risk for hearing loss

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 09:56 AM PDT

Subjective screening questions do not reliably identify teenagers who are at risk for hearing loss, according to researchers. Their study results suggest that objective hearing tests should be refined for this age group to replace screening questions.

Rising above the risk: America's first tsunami refuge

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 08:53 AM PDT

Washington's coast is so close to the seismically active Cascadia Subduction Zone that if a megathrust earthquake were to occur, a tsunami would hit the Washington shoreline in just 25 minutes. One coastal community is preparing for such a disaster by starting construction on the nation's first tsunami evacuation refuge, large enough to shelter more than 1,000 people who are within 20-minute walking distance.

Kung fu stegosaur: Lethal fighters when necessary

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 08:49 AM PDT

Stegosaurs might be portrayed as lumbering plant eaters, but they were lethal fighters when necessary, according to paleontologists who have uncovered new evidence of a casualty of stegosaurian combat. The evidence is a fatal stab wound in the pubis bone of a predatory allosaur. The wound -- in the conical shape of a stegosaur tail spike -- would have required great dexterity to inflict and shows clear signs of having cut short the allosaur's life.

Getting the salt out: Electrodialysis can provide cost-effective treatment of salty water from fracked wells

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 08:14 AM PDT

The boom in oil and gas produced through hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is seen as a boon for meeting U.S. energy needs. But one byproduct of the process is millions of gallons of water that's much saltier than seawater, after leaching salts from rocks deep below the surface. Now researchers say they have found an economical solution for removing the salt from this water.

Immune proteins moonlight to regulate brain-cell connections

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 08:14 AM PDT

When it comes to the brain, 'more is better' seems like an obvious assumption. But in the case of synapses, which are the connections between brain cells, too many or too few can both disrupt brain function. Researchers recently found an immune-system protein that moonlights in the nervous system to help regulate the number of synapses, and could play an unexpected role in conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, type 2 diabetes and autism.

Detecting cancer earlier is goal of new medical imaging technology

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 08:14 AM PDT

A new medical imaging method could help physicians detect cancer and other diseases earlier than before, speeding treatment and reducing the need for invasive, time-consuming biopsies. The potentially lifesaving technique uses nanotechnology and shortwave infrared light to reveal small cancerous tumors and cardiovascular lesions deep inside the body.

Extremely high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 08:14 AM PDT

For the first time, researchers have succeeded to detect a single hydrogen atom using magnetic resonance imaging, which signifies a huge increase in the technology's spatial resolution. In the future, single-atom MRI could be used to shed new light on protein structures.

New analysis methodology may revolutionize breast cancer therapy

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 08:13 AM PDT

Stroma cells are derived from connective tissue and may critically influence tumor growth. This knowledge is not new. However, a team of researchers has developed a novel methodology for investigation. Using modern mass spectrometry, tumor-promoting activities from breast fibroblasts were directly determined from needle biopsy samples.

Researchers patent a nanofluid that improves heat conductivity

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 08:12 AM PDT

Researchers have developed and patented a nanofluid improving thermal conductivity at temperatures up to 400°C without assuming an increase in costs or a remodeling of the infrastructure. This progress has important applications in sectors such as chemical, petrochemical and energy, thus becoming a useful technology in all industrial applications using heat transfer systems such as solar power plants, nuclear power plants, combined-cycle power plants and heating, among other.

Not just skin cancer: Triplet threat from the sun

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 08:12 AM PDT

The most obvious effects of too much sun exposure are cosmetic, like wrinkled and rough skin. Some damage, however, goes deeper—ultraviolet light can damage DNA and cause proteins in the body to break down into smaller, sometimes harmful pieces that may also damage DNA, increasing the risk of skin cancer and cataracts. Understanding the specific pathways by which this degradation occurs is an important step in developing protective mechanisms against it.

Big black holes can block new stars

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 08:07 AM PDT

Massive black holes spewing out radio-frequency-emitting particles at near-light speed can block formation of new stars in aging galaxies, a study has found.

Memory decline among menopausal women could be next research frontier for hypnotic relaxation therapy

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 08:07 AM PDT

Memory decline — a frequent complaint of menopausal women — potentially could be lessened by hypnotic relaxation therapy, say researchers who already have done studies showing that such therapy eases hot flashes, improves sleep and reduces stress in menopausal women.

Misreporting diet information could impact nutrition recommendations for Hispanics

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 07:16 AM PDT

Faulty self-reporting of the food we eat can lead to incorrect conclusions about whether we are meeting dietary recommendations for certain essential nutrients, say researchers. A new study is the first to examine how accounting for the problem of misreporting affects nutrient intake estimates in the Hispanic community. Nearly one in three US residents is projected to be Hispanic in 2060.

BOFFFFs (big, old, fat, fertile, female fish) sustain fisheries

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 07:16 AM PDT

A new compilation of research from around the world now shows that big, old, fat, fertile, female fish -- known as BOFFFFs to scientists -- are essential for ensuring that fishery stocks remain sustainable.

A global surge of great earthquakes from 2004-2014 and implications for Cascadia

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 07:16 AM PDT

The last ten years have been a remarkable time for great earthquakes. Since December 2004 there have been no less than 18 quakes of Mw8.0 or greater -- a rate of more than twice that seen from 1900 to mid-2004. Hundreds of thousands of lives have been lost and massive damage has resulted from these great earthquakes.

Child's poor decision-making skills can predict later behavior problems, research shows

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 07:16 AM PDT

Children who show poor decision-making skills at age 10 or 11 may be more likely to experience interpersonal and behavioral difficulties that have the potential to lead to high-risk health behavior in their teen years, according to a new study.

Physicists solve longstanding puzzle of how moths find distant mates

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 07:16 AM PDT

Physicists have come up with a mathematical explanation for moths' remarkable ability to find mates in the dark hundreds of meters away. The researchers said the results could also be applied widely in agriculture or robotics. By controlling the behaviors of insects exposed to pheromones, they said, researchers could limit the ability of invasive or disease-carrying pests to mate.

New viral mutation made middle-aged adults more susceptible to last year's flu

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 07:15 AM PDT

A possible explanation for why middle-aged adults were hit especially hard by the H1N1 influenza virus during the 2013-2014 influenza season has been uncovered by scientists. Their findings offer evidence that a new mutation in H1N1 viruses potentially led to more disease in these individuals.

Coordination between gut bacteria, biological clocks may be crucial for preventing obesity, glucose intolerance

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 07:15 AM PDT

Proper coordination between our gut bacteria and our biological clocks may be crucial for preventing obesity and glucose intolerance, scientists say. "Our gut bacteria's ability to coordinate their functions with our biological clock demonstrates, once again, the ties that bind us to our bacterial population and the fact that disturbances in these ties can have consequences for our health," a researcher notes.

Sleep duration affects risk for ulcerative colitis

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 07:15 AM PDT

If you are not getting the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep each night, you may be at increased risk of developing ulcerative colitis, according to a new study.

Ocean's living carbon pumps: When viruses attack giant algal blooms, global carbon cycles are affected

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 07:15 AM PDT

By some estimates, almost half of the world's organic carbon is fixed by marine organisms called phytoplankton -- single-celled photosynthetic organisms that account for less than one percent of the total photosynthetic biomass on Earth. When giant algal blooms get viral infections, global carbon cycles are affected, scientists have now discovered.

Analgesics, anti-inflammatory drugs may have impact on depression

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 07:15 AM PDT

Ordinary over the counter painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs purchased from pharmacies may also be effective in the treatment of people suffering of depression, as demonstrated by the largest ever meta-analysis based on 14 international studies with a total 6,262 patients who either suffered from depression or had individual symptoms of depression.

Peanut in house dust linked to peanut allergy in children with skin gene mutation

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 07:11 AM PDT

A strong link between exposure to peanut protein in household dust during infancy and the development of peanut allergy in children genetically predisposed to a skin barrier defect has been discovered by researchers.

Norovirus stomach bug: Scientists take step towards drug to treat

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 07:11 AM PDT

An experimental drug currently being trialled for influenza and Ebola viruses could have a new target: norovirus, often known as the winter vomiting virus. A team of researchers has shown that the drug, favipiravir, is effective at reducing -- and in some cases eliminating -- norovirus infection in mice.

POLARBEAR detects B-modes in the cosmic microwave background: Mapping cosmic structure, finding neutrino masses

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 07:11 AM PDT

The POLARBEAR experiment has made the most sensitive and precise measurements yet of the polarization of the cosmic microwave background and found telling twists called B-modes in the patterns, signs that this cosmic backlight has been warped by intervening structures in the universe.

Bite to the death: Sugarbag bees launch all-conquering raids

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 07:11 AM PDT

An Australian native stingless bee species declares war on its neighbors by launching swarms of bees that lock hive-defenders in a death grip with their jaws so that both combatants die.

Tarantula venom illuminates electrical activity in live cells

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 07:11 AM PDT

A cellular probe that combines a tarantula toxin with a fluorescent compound has been developed to help scientists observe electrical activity in neurons and other cells. This is the first time researchers have been able to visually observe these electrical signaling proteins turn on without genetic modification.

Quantum holograms as atomic scale memory keepsake

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 07:10 AM PDT

A new study demonstrates that quantum holograms could be a candidate for becoming quantum information memory. Scientists have developed a theoretical model of quantum memory for light, adapting the concept of a hologram to a quantum system.

First driverless vehicles for public launched in Singapore

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 07:09 AM PDT

For the first time, two SMART-NUS enhanced driverless buggies to ferry passengers, free-of-charge, around Chinese and Japanese Gardens, as part of the Smart and Connected Jurong Lake District Pilots and Trials initiative.

Even depressed people believe that life gets better

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 05:56 AM PDT

Adults typically believe that life gets better -- today is better than yesterday was and tomorrow will be even better than today. A new study shows that even depressed individuals believe in a brighter future, but this optimistic belief may not lead to better outcomes.

Once CD8 T cells take on one virus, they'll fight others too

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 05:56 AM PDT

CD8 T cells are known for becoming attuned to fight a specific pathogen ('adaptive immunity'), but a new study shows that in that process they also become first-responders that can fend off a variety of other invaders ('innate immunity'). The findings suggest that innate immunity changes with the body's experience and that the T cells are more versatile than thought.

How radiotherapy kills cancer cells

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 05:55 AM PDT

A new discovery in experimental physics has implications for understanding how radiotherapy kills cancer cells, among other things.

A rich vocabulary can protect against cognitive impairment

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 05:55 AM PDT

Some people suffer incipient dementia as they get older. To make up for this loss, the brain's cognitive reserve is put to the test. Researchers have studied what factors can help to improve this ability and they conclude that having a higher level of vocabulary is one such factor. 'Cognitive reserve' is the name given to the brain's capacity to compensate for the loss of its functions. This reserve cannot be measured directly; rather, it is calculated through indicators believed to increase this capacity.

Driving by pointing: pieDrive system simplifies controlling the most up-to-date vehicles

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 05:51 AM PDT

An increasing number of assistance systems are being designed to facilitate driving. Things are heading towards automated driving. What role does the person behind the steering wheel play? Scientists have now developed "pieDrive", an interactive operating concept for vehicles of the future.

Exposure to aluminum may impact on male fertility, research suggests

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 05:51 AM PDT

Human exposure to aluminum may be a significant factor in falling sperm counts and reduced male fertility, new research suggests. Fluorescence microscopy using an aluminum-specific stain confirmed the presence of aluminum in semen and showed aluminum inside individual sperm.

Recognizing emotion in text :-S the business benefits :-)

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 05:51 AM PDT

Researchers have advanced the field of affective computing -- the creation of computer systems that recognize, express and process human emotions -- by proposing a new way to recognize emotion in text. Their development has significant potential for business applications.

Flu vaccine may hold key to preventing heart disease

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 05:51 AM PDT

Flu vaccines are known to have a protective effect against heart disease, reducing the risk of a heart attack. For the first time, this research reveals the molecular mechanism that underpins this phenomenon. The scientists behind the study say it could be harnessed to prevent heart disease directly.

World record in data transmission with smart circuits

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 05:51 AM PDT

Fewer cords, smaller antennas and quicker video transmission. This may be the result of a new type of microwave circuit. The research team behind the circuits currently holds an attention-grabbing record.

Key factor in transition from moderate to problem drinking

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 05:48 AM PDT

A tiny segment of genetic material known as a microRNA plays a central role in the transition from moderate drinking to binge drinking and other alcohol use disorders, researchers have discovered.

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