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Friday, October 3, 2014

ScienceDaily: Top News

ScienceDaily: Top News

Quantum environmentalism: Putting a qubit's surroundings to good use

Posted: 02 Oct 2014 11:19 AM PDT

A qubit's environment, usually viewed as a threat to coherence, here serves as an aid to manipulating and interrogating the qubit.

Exotic matter: A closer look at the perfect fluid sheds light on what happened microseconds after the Big Bang

Posted: 02 Oct 2014 11:18 AM PDT

By combining data from two high-energy accelerators, nuclear scientists have refined the measurement of a remarkable property of exotic matter known as quark-gluon plasma. The findings reveal new aspects of the ultra-hot, 'perfect fluid' that give clues to the state of the young universe just microseconds after the Big Bang.

Discovery could prevent development of brain tumors in children

Posted: 02 Oct 2014 11:18 AM PDT

A mechanism that promotes the progression of medulloblastoma, the most common brain tumor found in children, has been discovered by researchers. The team found that a protein known as Sonic Hedgehog induces DNA damage causes the cancer to develop.

Falling asleep: Revealing the point of transition

Posted: 02 Oct 2014 11:18 AM PDT

How can we tell when someone has fallen asleep? To answer this question, scientists have developed a new statistical method and behavioral task to track the dynamic process of falling asleep.

Boosting biofuel: Yeast made to tolerate high levels of ethanol, making them more productive

Posted: 02 Oct 2014 11:18 AM PDT

Yeast are commonly used to transform corn and other plant materials into biofuels such as ethanol. However, large concentrations of ethanol can be toxic to yeast, which has limited the production capacity of many yeast strains used in industry.

Previously unseen details of seafloor exposed in new map

Posted: 02 Oct 2014 11:18 AM PDT

A new map of the world's seafloor has been created. Twice as accurate as the previous version, the new map features a much more vivid picture of seafloor structures, including thousands of previously uncharted mountains.

Elusive particle that is its own antiparticle observed

Posted: 02 Oct 2014 11:17 AM PDT

Scientists have observed an exotic particle that behaves simultaneously like matter and antimatter, a feat of math and engineering that could yield powerful computers based on quantum mechanics.

In-depth analysis of bat influenza viruses concludes they pose low risk to humans

Posted: 02 Oct 2014 11:17 AM PDT

Zoonosis -- transmission of infections from other vertebrates to humans -- causes regular and sometimes serious disease outbreaks. Bats are a well-known vertebrate reservoir of viruses like rabies and Ebola. Recent discovery of sequences in bats that are resemble influenza virus genes raised the question of whether bat flu viruses exist and could pose a threat to humans.

Humans to blame for plummeting numbers of cheetahs

Posted: 02 Oct 2014 11:17 AM PDT

A new study into how cheetahs burn energy suggests that human activity, rather than larger predators, may force them to expend more energy and thus be the major cause of their decline.

Ebola genome browser now online to aid researchers' response to crisis

Posted: 02 Oct 2014 09:53 AM PDT

The UC Santa Cruz Genomics Institute has just released a new Ebola genome browser to assist global efforts to develop a vaccine and antiserum to help stop the spread of the Ebola virus.

Socioeconomic factors, fashion trends linked to increase in melanoma

Posted: 02 Oct 2014 09:38 AM PDT

Researchers explored extenuating factors, such as socioeconomic and fashion trends, that may have contributed to increased incidence of melanoma over the past century.

Herbivores play important role in protecting habitats from invasive species

Posted: 02 Oct 2014 09:37 AM PDT

Herbivores consume more non-native oak leaf material in areas with diverse native plant communities than in less diverse communities. Why diverse plant communities tend to resist invasion by non-native plants, remains uncertain. Researchers have been examining the potential role of herbivores on the invasion of non-native plant species in diverse plant communities.

How giant clams harness the sun by growing algae as a source of food

Posted: 02 Oct 2014 09:37 AM PDT

Beneath the waves, many creatures sport iridescent structures that rival what materials scientists can make in the laboratory. Researchers have now shown how giant clams use these structures to thrive, operating as exceedingly efficient, living greenhouses that grow symbiotic algae as a source of food. This understanding could have implications for alternative energy research, paving the way for new types of solar panels.

Creepy crawlers play key role in structure of grasslands

Posted: 02 Oct 2014 09:37 AM PDT

The critical importance of earthworms, beetles, and other tiny creatures to the structure of grasslands and the valuable ecosystem services they provide has been outlined by researchers. "These findings emphasize how interconnected the belowground and aboveground components of ecosystems are and that different ecosystem processes respond in different ways to the management of grasslands," said a co-author of the study.

CDC team assisting Ebola response in Dallas, Texas; Investigation of first U.S. Ebola case underway

Posted: 02 Oct 2014 09:37 AM PDT

Ten experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention -- supported 24/7 by the CDC's full Emergency Operations Center and Ebola experts in CDC's Atlanta headquarters -- have arrived in Texas and are working closely with Texas state and local health departments to investigate the first Ebola case in the United States. Nine members of the CDC team arrived last night and one arrived Oct. 1, 2014.

Link between depression, abnormal brain response to visceral pain in patients with IBS

Posted: 02 Oct 2014 09:36 AM PDT

High rates of anxiety and depression amongst patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) have led many researchers to believe there could be a causal relationship between psychological factors and IBS symptoms. Now, scientists have found clear evidence that patients with IBS process pain signals from the gut abnormally, and that disturbed brain responses to pain are particularly pronounced in patients with more depression symptoms.

DNA 'bias' may keep some diseases in circulation, biologists show

Posted: 02 Oct 2014 09:36 AM PDT

The process known as gene conversion has been studied in the context of the evolution of human populations. Researchers found that a bias toward certain types of DNA sequences during gene conversion may be an important factor in why certain heritable diseases persist in populations around the world.

52-million-year-old amber preserves 'ant-loving' beetle

Posted: 02 Oct 2014 09:36 AM PDT

Scientists have uncovered the fossil of a 52-million-year old beetle that likely was able to live alongside ants -- preying on their eggs and usurping resources -- within the comfort of their nest. The fossil, encased in a piece of amber from India, is the oldest-known example of this kind of social parasitism, known as 'myrmecophily.' The research also shows that the diversification of these stealth beetles, which infiltrate ant nests world-wide today, correlates with the ecological rise of modern ants.

How curiosity changes the brain to enhance learning

Posted: 02 Oct 2014 09:36 AM PDT

The more curious we are about a topic, the easier it is to learn information about that topic. New research provides insights into what happens in our brains when curiosity is piqued. The findings could help scientists find ways to enhance overall learning and memory in both healthy individuals and those with neurological conditions.

Unexpectedly speedy expansion of human, ape cerebellum

Posted: 02 Oct 2014 09:36 AM PDT

A new study could rewrite the story of ape and human brain evolution. While the neocortex of the brain has been called 'the crowning achievement of evolution and the biological substrate of human mental prowess,' newly reported evolutionary rate comparisons show that the cerebellum expanded up to six times faster than anticipated throughout the evolution of apes, including humans.

Teen Texting: Difference in girls, boys text talk, reflection on gender identity

Posted: 02 Oct 2014 09:34 AM PDT

Teenage years are a turbulent time of learning independence, developing social skills and experiencing sexuality and romance. Teens face peer groups pressure and have no micro guidance from parents. Texting is an important social communication channel for teens, giving the opportunity for anxiety free communication with the opposite sex. This study explores teenager's use of text, language differences between sexes and overall gender identity.

Underwater landslide doubled size of 2011 Japanese tsunami

Posted: 02 Oct 2014 09:32 AM PDT

An ocean engineer has found that a massive underwater landslide, not just the 9.0 earthquake, was responsible for triggering the deadly tsunami that struck Japan in March 2011.

Judgment and decision-making: Brain activity indicates there is more than meets the eye

Posted: 02 Oct 2014 07:12 AM PDT

People make immediate judgments about images they are shown, which could impact on their decisions, even before their brains have had time to consciously process the information, a study of brainwaves has found.

Common painkillers combined with other drugs may cause high risk of GI bleeding

Posted: 02 Oct 2014 07:12 AM PDT

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs -- such as ibuprofen and aspirin -- increase one's risk of upper gastrointestinal bleeding. When taken in combination with other drugs, this risk is significantly higher, according to new research.

Dog's epigenome gives clues to human cancer

Posted: 02 Oct 2014 07:11 AM PDT

The dog's epigenome has been characterized by researchers who transferred the results to human cancer to understand the changes in appearance of tumors. Study results suggest that act pharmacological action on these epigenetic alterations may be helpful in slowing disease progression.

New approach to on-chip quantum computing

Posted: 02 Oct 2014 07:11 AM PDT

An international team of researchers is introducing a new method to achieve a different type of photon pair source that fits into the tiny space of a computer chip.

On invasive species, Darwin had it right all along, study shows

Posted: 02 Oct 2014 07:11 AM PDT

Based on insights first articulated by Charles Darwin, researchers have developed and tested the 'evolutionary imbalance hypothesis' to help predict species invasiveness in ecosystems. The results suggest the importance of accounting for the evolutionary histories of the donor and recipient regions in invasions.

Making old lungs look young again, with ibuprofen

Posted: 02 Oct 2014 07:08 AM PDT

The lungs become more inflammatory with age, researchers say, and add that ibuprofen can lower that inflammation. Immune cells from old mouse lungs fought tuberculosis bacteria as effectively as cells from young mice after lung inflammation was reduced by ibuprofen.

New study first to document the voices of fish larvae

Posted: 02 Oct 2014 06:24 AM PDT

A new study has documented that fish larvae produce sound. These 'knock' and 'growl' sounds may help small larvae maintain group cohesion in the dark.

Schizophrenia, bipolar disorder associated with dendritic spine loss in brain

Posted: 02 Oct 2014 06:24 AM PDT

Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder both appear to be associated with dendritic spine loss in the brain, suggesting the two distinct disorders may share common pathophysiological features.

Discovery helps to spot what makes a good drug

Posted: 02 Oct 2014 06:24 AM PDT

A new test could revolutionize the discovery of new prescription drugs. The test will help determine which drugs are unlikely to work at an early stage, speeding up the time it takes to make safe and effective medicines available, scientists say.

Auditory system: The ruffling effect of rumble

Posted: 02 Oct 2014 06:24 AM PDT

Barely perceptible low-frequency signals nevertheless activate measurable responses in our auditory circuits. Neurobiologists have now characterized the remarkable impact of low-frequency sounds on the inner ear.

Sharks have personalities, study shows

Posted: 02 Oct 2014 05:43 AM PDT

Some sharks are 'gregarious' and have strong social connections, whilst others are more solitary and prefer to remain inconspicuous, according to a new study which is the first to show that the notorious predators have personality traits.

Nanoparticles give up forensic secrets

Posted: 02 Oct 2014 05:43 AM PDT

A group of researchers from Switzerland has thrown light on the precise mechanisms responsible for the impressive ability of nanoparticles to detect fingermarks left at crime scenes.

People prone to delusions make rushed decisions, research shows

Posted: 02 Oct 2014 05:43 AM PDT

People who are prone to delusions gather insufficient information before making decisions, according to research. "In our study, the combination of rewards and costs created optimal decision points, allowing us to investigate genuine 'jumps to conclusions'. Our results confirm that delusion-prone people are less likely to wait for the best moment before making a decision. This indicates that they would rush to make choices in their everyday lives, relating to anything from money or jobs to family and friends, which could lead to less successful outcomes for them," authors said.

New drug achieves significant additional cholesterol-lowering in people with inherited high cholesterol on statins

Posted: 02 Oct 2014 05:43 AM PDT

Evolocumab, an injected form of a new class of drugs called PCSK9 inhibitors, is highly effective at reducing low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or "bad cholesterol" levels with few side effects in people with familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH), an inherited condition that causes extremely high cholesterol and high risk of cardiovascular disease at an early age.

Energy drinks cause insomnia, nervousness in athletes

Posted: 02 Oct 2014 05:43 AM PDT

A study analyzing the positive and negative effects of energy drinks on athletes has seen that, although in principle their sports performance was seen to improve by between 3% and 7%, there was also an increase in the frequency of insomnia, nervousness and the level of stimulation in the hours following competition, scientists report.

Space not only rules genes, but mind as well

Posted: 02 Oct 2014 05:41 AM PDT

Changes in spatial distribution of genetic material can lead to neuropsychiatric disorders, as discovered recently by researchers. The investigation of the genetically modified laboratory mice define new directions in the fight against neuropsychiatric disorders in humans; they also suggest that the results of some previous studies of mouse behavior might be misinterpreted.

Fine tuning nanoparticles for the medical industry

Posted: 02 Oct 2014 05:41 AM PDT

Nanoparticles have the potential to revolutionize the medical industry, but they must possess a few critical properties. First, they need to target a specific region, so that they do not scatter throughout the body. They also require some sort of sensing method, so that doctors and researchers can track the particles. Finally, they need to perform their function at the right moment, ideally in response to a stimulus. Scientists are trying to develop new particles with unprecedented properties that still meet these requirements.

New nanomaterial introduced into electrical machines

Posted: 02 Oct 2014 05:41 AM PDT

Scientists have now constructed the world's first prototype electrical motor using carbon nanotube yarn in the motor windings. The new technology may significantly enhance the performance.

Stressed out: Research sheds new light on why rechargeable batteries fail

Posted: 01 Oct 2014 10:31 AM PDT

Lithium ions traveling through a zinc antimonide anode cause local stress and phase transitions, a process dubbed atomic shuffling. These changes may help explain why most anodes made of layered materials eventually fail.

Wintertime ozone pollution in Utah oil and gas fields explained

Posted: 01 Oct 2014 10:30 AM PDT

Chemicals released into the air by oil and gas exploration, extraction and related activities can spark reactions that lead to high levels of ozone in wintertime, high enough to exceed federal health standards, according to new research.

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