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Friday, October 24, 2014

ScienceDaily: Top News

ScienceDaily: Top News

Without swift influx of substantial aid, Ebola epidemic in Africa poised to explode

Posted: 23 Oct 2014 04:35 PM PDT

The Ebola virus disease epidemic already devastating swaths of West Africa will likely get far worse in the coming weeks and months unless international commitments are significantly and immediately increased, new research predicts.

3-D map of the adolescent universe

Posted: 23 Oct 2014 12:41 PM PDT

Using extremely faint light from galaxies 10.8-billion light years away, scientists have created one of the most complete, three-dimensional maps of a slice of the adolescent universe. The map shows a web of hydrogen gas that varies from low to high density at a time when the universe was made of a fraction of the dark matter we see.

Desert streams: Deceptively simple

Posted: 23 Oct 2014 11:23 AM PDT

Volatile rainstorms drive complex landscape changes in deserts, particularly in dryland channels, which are shaped by flash flooding. Paradoxically, such desert streams have surprisingly simple topography with smooth, straight and symmetrical form that until now has defied explanation.

How ferns adapted to one of Earth's newest and most extreme environments

Posted: 23 Oct 2014 11:23 AM PDT

Ferns are believed to be 'old' plant species -- some of them lived alongside the dinosaurs, over 200 million years ago. However, a group of Andean ferns evolved much more recently: their completely new form and structure (morphology) arose and diversified within the last 2 million years. This novel morphology seems to have been advantageous when colonising the extreme environment of the high Andes.

Designer 'barrel' proteins created

Posted: 23 Oct 2014 11:23 AM PDT

Designer proteins that expand on nature's own repertoire, created by a team of chemists and biochemists, are described in a new paper. Proteins are long linear molecules that fold up to form well-defined 3D shapes. These 3D molecular architectures are essential for biological functions such as the elasticity of skin, the digestion of food, and the transport of oxygen in blood.

Molecular structure of water at gold electrodes revealed

Posted: 23 Oct 2014 11:23 AM PDT

Researchers have recorded the first observations of the molecular structure of liquid water at a gold electrode under different battery charging conditions.

Florida lizards evolve rapidly, within 15 years and 20 generations

Posted: 23 Oct 2014 11:23 AM PDT

Scientists working on islands in Florida have documented the rapid evolution of a native lizard species -- in as little as 15 years -- as a result of pressure from an invading lizard species, introduced from Cuba.

Highest altitude archaeological sites in the world explored in the Peruvian Andes: Survival in extreme environments

Posted: 23 Oct 2014 11:23 AM PDT

Research conducted at the highest-altitude Pleistocene archaeological sites yet identified in the world sheds new light on the capacity of humans to survive in extreme environments. The findings were taken from sites in the Pucuncho Basin, located in the Southern Peruvian Andes.

A gut bacterium that attacks dengue and malaria pathogens and their mosquito vectors

Posted: 23 Oct 2014 11:22 AM PDT

Just like those of humans, insect guts are full of microbes, and the microbiota can influence the insect's ability to transmit diseases. A new study reports that a bacterium isolated from the gut of an Aedes mosquito can reduce infection of mosquitoes by malaria parasites and dengue virus. The bacterium can also directly inhibit these pathogens in the test tube, and shorten the life span of the mosquitoes that transmit both diseases.

Sleep difficulties common among toddlers with psychiatric disorders

Posted: 23 Oct 2014 10:22 AM PDT

Sleep difficulties -- particularly problems with falling asleep -- were very common among toddlers and preschool-aged children who were receiving clinical treatment for a wide range of psychiatric disorders, a study has found. "This study is a great reminder that it's critical for mental health providers working with young children and their families to ask about children's sleep," said one expert.

Cancer exosome 'micro factories' aid in cancer progression

Posted: 23 Oct 2014 10:17 AM PDT

Exosomes, tiny, virus-sized particles released by cancer cells, can bioengineer micro-RNA molecules resulting in tumor growth. They do so with the help of proteins, such as one named Dicer, scientists have discovered.

YEATS protein potential therapeutic target for cancer

Posted: 23 Oct 2014 10:17 AM PDT

Federal Express and UPS are no match for the human body when it comes to distribution. There exists in cancer biology an impressive packaging and delivery system that influences whether your body will develop cancer or not, scientists say. Researchers have announced findings indicating a possible new way of manipulating chromatin and its histones through a protein reader known as the YEATS domain protein, providing new hope for cancer treatment.

Paper-based synthetic gene networks could enable rapid detection of ebola and other viruses

Posted: 23 Oct 2014 10:16 AM PDT

Synthetic gene networks hold great potential for broad biotechnology and medical applications, but so far they have been limited to the lab. A study reveals a new method for using engineered gene circuits beyond the lab, allowing researchers to safely activate the cell-free, paper-based system by simply adding water. The low-cost, easy-to-use platform could enable the rapid detection of different strains of deadly viruses such as Ebola.

Genomic data support early contact between Easter Island and Americas

Posted: 23 Oct 2014 10:16 AM PDT

People may have been making their way from Easter Island to the Americas well before Dutch commander Jakob Roggeveen arrived in 1722, according to new genomic evidence showing that the Rapanui people living on that most isolated of islands had significant contact with Native American populations hundreds of years earlier. The findings lend the first genetic support for such an early trans-Pacific route between Polynesia and the Americas, a trek of more than 4,000 kilometers.

Gene that once aided survival in Arctic found to have negative impact on health today

Posted: 23 Oct 2014 10:16 AM PDT

In individuals living in the Arctic, researchers have discovered a genetic variant that arose thousands of years ago and likely provided an evolutionary advantage for processing high-fat diets or for surviving in a cold environment; however, the variant also seems to increase the risk of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, and infant mortality in today's northern populations. The findings provide an example of how an initially beneficial genetic change could be detrimental to future generations.

Understanding and predicting solar flares

Posted: 23 Oct 2014 10:16 AM PDT

Scientists have identified a key phenomenon in the triggering of solar flares. Using satellite data and models, the scientists were able to monitor the evolution of the solar magnetic field in a region with eruptive behavior. Their calculations reveal the formation of a magnetic rope1 that emerges from the interior of the Sun and is associated with the appearance of a sunspot. They show that this structure plays an important role in triggering the flare.

Experimental breast cancer drug holds promise in combination therapy for Ewing sarcoma

Posted: 23 Oct 2014 10:13 AM PDT

Ewing sarcoma tumors disappeared and did not return in more than 70 percent of mice treated with combination therapy that included drugs from a family of experimental agents developed to fight breast cancer, report researchers.

Thyroid cancer genome analysis finds markers of aggressive tumors

Posted: 23 Oct 2014 10:08 AM PDT

A new comprehensive analysis of thyroid cancer from The Cancer Genome Atlas Research Network has identified markers of aggressive tumors, which could allow for better targeting of appropriate treatments to individual patients.

First protein microfiber engineered: New material advances tissue engineering and drug delivery

Posted: 23 Oct 2014 08:10 AM PDT

Researchers have broken new ground in the development of proteins that form specialized fibers used in medicine and nanotechnology. For as long as scientists have been able to create new proteins that are capable of self-assembling into fibers, their work has taken place on the nanoscale. For the first time, this achievement has been realized on the microscale -- a leap of magnitude in size that presents significant new opportunities for using engineered protein fibers.

Reminiscing can help boost mental performance

Posted: 23 Oct 2014 08:10 AM PDT

Engaging brain areas linked to so-called 'off-task' mental activities (such as mind-wandering and reminiscing) can actually boost performance on some challenging mental tasks, a new research led by a neuroscientist shows for the first.

Shorter tuberculosis treatment not a successful alternative, clinical drug trial shows

Posted: 23 Oct 2014 08:10 AM PDT

A shortened (four month) treatment for tuberculosis is well tolerated and may work well in subsets of tuberculosis patients, but overall could not be considered as an alternative to the current six month standard treatment, a clinical drug trial conducted in five Sub-Sahara African countries shows.

Birds roosting in large groups less likely to contract west nile virus

Posted: 23 Oct 2014 08:09 AM PDT

Although it would seem logical that large numbers of roosting birds would attract more mosquitoes that carry West Nile virus and contract the disease when bitten, recent research has found the opposite to be true. That is, when large groups of birds roost together the chances that an individual bird will get bitten by mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus and subsequently contract the disease actually go down.

Lucky star escapes black hole with minor damage: Closest near-miss event to be spotted near the Milky Way

Posted: 23 Oct 2014 08:08 AM PDT

Astronomers have gotten the closest look yet at what happens when a black hole takes a bite out of a star—and the star lives to tell the tale.

ALS is a protein aggregation disease, research shows

Posted: 23 Oct 2014 08:08 AM PDT

Using a technique that illuminates subtle changes in individual proteins, chemistry researchers have uncovered new insight into the underlying causes of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

Bullying in schools still prevalent, american national report finds

Posted: 23 Oct 2014 07:10 AM PDT

Despite a dramatic increase in public awareness and anti-bullying legislation nationwide, the prevalence of bullying is still one of the most pressing issues facing our nation's youth, according to a report.

New window of opportunity to prevent cardiovascular, diseases

Posted: 23 Oct 2014 07:09 AM PDT

Future prevention and treatment strategies for vascular diseases may lie in the evaluation of early brain imaging tests long before heart attacks or strokes occur, according to a systematic review conducted by a team of cardiologists, neuroscientists, and psychiatrists.

Beetroot beneficial for athletes, heart failure patients, research finds

Posted: 23 Oct 2014 07:09 AM PDT

The nitrate in beetroot targets fast-twitch muscles, increasing the blood flow to muscles that receive less oxygen, researchers report. This can increase high-intensity athletic performance and improve quality of life of heart failure patients.

Babies' interest in faces linked to callous, unemotional traits

Posted: 23 Oct 2014 07:09 AM PDT

An infant's preference for a person's face, rather than an object, is associated with lower levels of callous and unemotional behaviors in toddlerhood, scientists have found. Callous and unemotional behaviours include a lack of guilt and empathy, reduced concern for other's distress and difficulties with understanding emotions. In older children and adults, callous unemotional traits have been associated with reduced attention to important social features such as other people's faces and eyes.

Dispositional mindfulness associated with better cardiovascular health

Posted: 23 Oct 2014 07:09 AM PDT

A new study that measured 'dispositional mindfulness' along with seven indicators of cardiovascular health found that persons reporting higher degrees of awareness of their present feelings and experiences had better health. The research suggests that interventions to improve mindfulness could benefit cardiovascular health, an idea researchers can test.

Sea turtles' first days of life: Sprint and ride towards safety

Posted: 23 Oct 2014 07:07 AM PDT

With new nano-sized acoustic transmitters, scientists followed the pathways of loggerhead turtle hatchlings. According to the study, local oceanic conditions are believed to drive the evolution of some unique swimming behaviors.

Precise, programmable biological circuits

Posted: 23 Oct 2014 07:07 AM PDT

Several new components for biological circuits have been developed by researchers. These components are key building blocks for constructing precisely functioning and programmable bio-computers. "The ability to combine biological components at will in a modular, plug-and-play fashion means that we now approach the stage when the concept of programming as we know it from software engineering can be applied to biological computers. Bio-engineers will literally be able to program in future."

RF heating of magnetic nanoparticles improves thawing of cryopreserved biomaterials

Posted: 23 Oct 2014 07:07 AM PDT

Successful techniques for cryopreserving bulk biomaterials and organ systems would transform current approaches to transplantation and regenerative medicine. However, while vitrified cryopreservation holds great promise, practical application has been limited to smaller systems (cells and thin tissues) due to diffusive heat and mass transfer limitations, which are typically manifested as devitrification and cracking failures during thaw. Reserachers leverage a clinically proven technology platform, in magnetically heated nanoparticles, to overcome this major hurdle limiting further advancement in the field of cryopreservation.

Acousto-optic tunable filter technology for balloon-borne platforms

Posted: 23 Oct 2014 07:07 AM PDT

A balloon-borne acousto-optic tunable filter hyperspectral imager is ideally suited to address numerous outstanding questions in planetary science. Their spectral agility, narrowband wavelength selection, tolerance to the near-space environment, and spectral coverage would enable investigations not feasible from the ground. Example use cases include synoptic observations of clouds on Venus and the giant planets, studies of molecular emissions from cometary comae, the mapping of surface ices on small bodies, and polarimetry.

No-till agriculture may not bring hoped-for boost in global crop yields, study finds

Posted: 23 Oct 2014 07:07 AM PDT

No-till farming appears to hold promise for boosting crop yields only in dry regions, not in the cool, moist areas of the world, this study found. As the core principle of conservation agriculture, no-till has been promoted worldwide in an effort to sustainably meet global food demand.

Hippos-Sussita excavation: Silent evidence of the earthquake of 363 CE

Posted: 23 Oct 2014 07:04 AM PDT

Silent evidence of a large earthquake in 363 CE -- the skeleton of a woman with a dove-shaped pendant -- was discovered under the tiles of a collapsed roof by archeologists from the University of Haifa during this excavation season at Hippos-Sussita. They also found a large muscular marble leg and artillery ammunition from some 2,000 years ago. "The data is finally beginning to form a clear historical-archaeological picture," said Dr. Michael Eisenberg, head of the international excavation team.

A new tune: There is intonation in sign language too

Posted: 23 Oct 2014 07:04 AM PDT

Intonation is an integral part of communication for all speakers. But can sign languages have intonation? A new study shows that signers use their faces to create intonational 'melodies' just as speakers use their voices, and that the melodies of the face can differ from one sign language to another.

Cancer patients should not hesitate to speak with their doctors about dietary supplements

Posted: 23 Oct 2014 06:20 AM PDT

Many cancer patients use dietary supplements such as vitamins, minerals and herbs or other botanicals but often don't tell their doctor. This gap in communication can happen when patients believe that their doctors are indifferent or negative toward their use of these supplements. As a result, patients may find information about dietary supplements from unreliable sources, exposing themselves to unneeded risks, experts say.

Mature forests store nitrogen in soil: May help protect waterways from excess nitrogen from industry

Posted: 23 Oct 2014 06:20 AM PDT

Ecologists working in central Pennsylvania forests have found that forest top soils capture and stabilize the powerful fertilizer nitrogen quickly, within days, but release it slowly, over years to decades. The discrepancy in rates means that nitrogen can build up in soils. Forests may be providing an unappreciated service by storing excess nitrogen emitted by modern agriculture, industry, and transport before it can cause problems for our waterways.

Powerful new class of weapons found in the war on cancer

Posted: 23 Oct 2014 06:20 AM PDT

Small molecules that can represent a new class of anticancer drugs with a novel target for the treatment of lung cancer have been identified by an interdisciplinary team of researchers. "These compounds hold potential as an entirely new class of anticancer drugs with a unique therapeutic target for the treatment of cancers," one expert noted.

If you're over 60, drink up: Alcohol associated with better memory

Posted: 23 Oct 2014 06:20 AM PDT

For people 60 and older who do not have dementia, light alcohol consumption during late life is associated with higher episodic memory -- the ability to recall memories of events -- researchers report.

'Breath test' shows promise for diagnosing fungal pneumonia

Posted: 23 Oct 2014 06:19 AM PDT

Many different microbes can cause pneumonia, and treatment may be delayed or off target if doctors cannot tell which bug is the culprit. A novel approach -- analyzing a patient's breath for key chemical compounds made by the infecting microbe -- may help detect invasive aspergillosis, a fungal infection that is a leading cause of mortality in patients with compromised immune systems, according to a proof-of-concept study.

Two days later: Adolescents' conflicts with family spill over to school, vice versa

Posted: 23 Oct 2014 06:19 AM PDT

Family conflict and problems at school tend to occur together on the same day. A new study has found that these problems spill over in both directions for up to two days after. The study found that teens with more pronounced mental health symptoms, anxiety and depression, for example, are at risk for intensified spillover. The study followed over a hundred 13 to 17 year olds and their parents over a 14-day period.

Teens whose parents exert more psychological control have trouble with closeness, independence

Posted: 23 Oct 2014 06:19 AM PDT

Teens whose parents exerted psychological control over them at age 13 had problems establishing healthy friendships and romantic relationships both in adolescence and into adulthood, a new longitudinal study has found. The study followed 184 ethnically and socioeconomically diverse teens from age 13 to 21. It found that giving in to 'peer pressure' was more common among teens whose parents used guilt, withdrawing love, fostering anxiety, or other psychologically manipulative tactics.

Music therapy reduces depression in children, adolescents

Posted: 23 Oct 2014 06:18 AM PDT

Music therapy reduces depression in children and adolescents with behavioral and emotional problems, a study has found.

Moving in the quantum world

Posted: 23 Oct 2014 06:18 AM PDT

Simulating the behavior of a single particle can be quite a challenging task in physics; after all, it is microscopic and we usually cannot watch in real time. It becomes even more complicated when you realize that the particle has to follow the laws of quantum physics, which allow it be in two or more places at the same time through a phenomenon called superposition. Understanding how a quantum particle behaves is necessary to enhance our fundamental understanding of the laws of physics.

Omega 3 can help children with ADD, experts say

Posted: 23 Oct 2014 06:18 AM PDT

Supplements of the fatty acids omega 3 and 6 can help children and adolescents who have a certain kind of ADHD. New research also indicates that a special cognitive training program can improve problem behavior in children with ADHD.

Sex-loving, meat-eating reptiles have shorter lives

Posted: 23 Oct 2014 06:18 AM PDT

The health risks and benefits of vegetarianism have long been discussed in relation to the human diet, but newly published research reveals that it's definitely of benefit to the reptile population. That, and being less sexually active. The research team investigated how longevity of 1,014 species of scaled reptiles is influenced by key environmental characteristics and by their feeding and sexual habits.

Chamber of secrets: Cell organization influences ability to communicate

Posted: 23 Oct 2014 06:18 AM PDT

Cells can huddle to communicate within a restricted group, scientists have found. The study is the first demonstration that the way cells organize themselves influences their ability to communicate. The researchers propose that this strategy, which they discovered in developing zebrafish, could be much more widespread, influencing processes like wound repair, organ formation and even cancer.

The perfume of the comet

Posted: 23 Oct 2014 06:18 AM PDT

How does a comet smell? Since early August the Rosetta Orbiter Sensor for Ion and Neutral Analysis (ROSINA) is sniffing the fumes of the comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko with its two mass spectrometers. The detected chemistry in the coma of the comet is surprisingly rich already at more than 400 million kilometers from the Sun. 

Herbal medicines could contain dangerous levels of toxic mold

Posted: 23 Oct 2014 06:10 AM PDT

Herbal medicines such as licorice, Indian rennet and opium poppy, are at risk of contamination with toxic mold, according to a new study. The authors of the study say it's time for regulators to control mold contamination. An estimated 64% of people use medicinal plants to treat illnesses and relieve pain. The herbal medicine market is worth $60 billion globally, and growing fast. Despite the increasing popularity of herbal medicine, the sale of medicinal plants is mostly unregulated.

World's fastest manufacture of battery electrodes

Posted: 23 Oct 2014 06:10 AM PDT

New world record: Scientists have increased the manufacturing speed of electrode foils coated batch-wise by a factor of three – to 100 meters per minute. This was achieved by a flexible slot die process that enables production of any pattern with high precision and at high speeds. Thanks to the patented new technology, electrode foil production speed is increased by a factor of 3. As a result, lithium-ion batteries can be manufactured at much lower costs.

Rapid test to diagnose severe sepsis

Posted: 23 Oct 2014 06:09 AM PDT

A new test could help physicians predict within an hour if a patient will develop severe sepsis so they can begin treatment immediately. The discovery could cut back on the lengthy diagnostic time usually required to confirm if a patient is suffering from sepsis and increase the odds that they will respond to treatment.

New test could identify infants with rare insulin disease

Posted: 23 Oct 2014 06:08 AM PDT

A rare form of a devastating disease that causes low blood sugar levels in babies and infants may now be recognized earlier thanks to a new test. Congenital hyperinsulinism starves a baby's brain of blood sugar and can lead to lifelong brain damage or permanent disability. The condition occurs when specialised cells in the pancreas release too much insulin which causes frequent low sugar episodes -- the clinical opposite of diabetes. Treatment includes drugs to reduce insulin release but in the most serious cases the pancreas is removed.

Quantum effects bridge the gap

Posted: 23 Oct 2014 06:07 AM PDT

Quantum effects in nanometer-scale metallic structures provide a platform for combining molecular electronics and plasmonics.

Should the Japanese give nuclear power another chance?

Posted: 23 Oct 2014 06:07 AM PDT

On September 9, 2014, the Japan Times reported an increasing number of suicides coming from the survivors of the March 2011 disaster. In Minami Soma Hospital, which is located 23 km away from the power plant, the number of patients experiencing stress has also increased since the disaster. What's more, many of the survivors are now jobless and therefore facing an uncertain future.

Exposure therapy appears helpful in treating patients with prolonged grief

Posted: 22 Oct 2014 01:39 PM PDT

Cognitive behavioral therapy with exposure therapy, where patients relive the experience of a death of a loved one, resulted in greater reductions in measures of prolonged grief disorder than CBT alone, a study finds.

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