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Friday, October 31, 2014

ScienceDaily: Top News

ScienceDaily: Top News

NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility completes initial assessment after Orbital launch mishap

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 08:09 PM PDT

The Wallops Incident Response Team completed today an initial assessment of Wallops Island, Virginia, following the catastrophic failure of Orbital Science Corp.'s Antares rocket shortly after liftoff at 6:22 p.m. EDT Tuesday, Oct. 28, from Pad 0A of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

First detailed picture of cancer-related cell enzyme in action on chromosome unit

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 05:43 PM PDT

New insight into the function of an enzyme related to the BRCA1 breast-cancer protein has been released by researchers. The study produced the first detailed working image of an enzyme in a group that is associated with many types of cancer. The researchers obtained the first crystal structure of a gene-regulation enzyme working on a nucleosome. The image reveals previously unknown information about how the enzyme attaches to its nucleosome target.

Running robots of future may learn from world's best two-legged runners: Birds

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 05:41 PM PDT

With an eye toward making better running robots, researchers have made surprising new findings about some of nature's most energy efficient bipeds -- running birds. Their skills may have evolved from the time of the dinosaurs and they may now be superior to any other bipedal runners -- including humans.

The science of charismatic voices: How one man was viewed as authoritarian, then benevolent

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 05:39 PM PDT

When a right-wing Italian politician named Umberto Bossi suffered a severe stroke in 2004, his speech became permanently impaired. Strangely, this change impacted Bossi's perception among his party's followers -- from appearing authoritarian to benevolent. Now researchers think they know why.

Urban seismic network detects human sounds

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 05:39 PM PDT

When listening to the Earth, what clues can seismic data reveal about the impact of urban life? Although naturally occurring vibrations have proven useful to seismologists, until now the vibrations caused by humans haven't been explored in any real depth. Researchers have described their efforts to tap into an urban seismic network to monitor the traffic of trains, planes, automobiles and other modes of human transport.

Plump turtles swim better: First models of swimming animals

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 05:37 PM PDT

Bigger is better, if you're a leatherback sea turtle. For the first time, researchers have measured the forces that act on a swimming animal and the energy the animal must expend to move through the water.

Innovative study utilizing video games shows sleep apnea may affect memory of everyday events

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 05:37 PM PDT

Sleep apnea may affect your ability to form new spatial memories, such as remembering where you parked your car, new research suggests. The study demonstrates through the playing of a specific video game that disruption of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep as a consequence of sleep apnea impairs spatial memory in humans even when other sleep stages are intact.

Low carb, high fat diets may reduce seizures in tough-to-treat epilepsy

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 05:37 PM PDT

Diets high in fat and low in carbohydrates, such as the ketogenic or modified Atkins diet, may reduce seizures in adults with tough-to-treat epilepsy, according to a review of research.

Novel ultrasound technology to screen for heart conditions developed by engineers

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 11:56 AM PDT

Engineers have determined, for the first time, the impact of a ring-shaped vortex on transporting blood flow in normal and abnormal ventricles within the human heart, and have developed a novel ultrasound technology that makes screening cheaper and much easier, making it possible to reach a large number of people and even infants.

Ammonium source in open ocean tracked by researchers

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 11:56 AM PDT

To understand the extent to which human activities are polluting Earth's atmosphere and oceans, it's important to distinguish human-made pollutants from compounds that occur naturally. A new study finds that deposition of ammonium, a source of nitrogen pollution, over the open ocean comes mostly from natural marine sources, and not from human activity.

Tiny carbon nanotube pores make big impact

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 11:56 AM PDT

Scientists have created a new kind of ion channel based on short carbon nanotubes, which can be inserted into synthetic bilayers and live cell membranes to form tiny pores that transport water, protons, small ions and DNA. These carbon nanotube "porins" have significant implications for future health care and bioengineering applications.

Teeth, sex and testosterone reveal secrets of aging in wild mouse lemurs

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 11:56 AM PDT

Mouse lemurs can live at least eight years in the wild -- twice as long as some previous estimates, a long-term longitudinal study finds.

Scientists generate first human stomach tissue in lab with stem cells

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 11:56 AM PDT

Scientists used pluripotent stem cells to generate functional, three-dimensional human stomach tissue in a laboratory -- creating an unprecedented tool for researching the development and diseases of an organ central to several public health crises, ranging from cancer to diabetes. Scientists used human pluripotent stem cells -- which can become any cell type in the body -- to grow a miniature version of the stomach.

New frog discovered inhabiting I-95 corridor from Connecticut to North Carolina

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 11:54 AM PDT

More than a half century after claims that a new frog species existed in New York and New Jersey were dismissed, a team of scientists has proven that the frog is living in wetlands from Connecticut to North Carolina and are naming it after the ecologist who first noticed it.

Combing the atmosphere to measure greenhouse gases

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 11:12 AM PDT

By remotely 'combing' the atmosphere with a custom laser-based instrument, researchers have developed a new technique that can accurately measure -- over a sizeable distance -- amounts of several of the major 'greenhouse' gases implicated in climate change.

Clean smell doesn't always mean clean air

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 11:12 AM PDT

Scientists are taking a closer look at aerosol formation involving an organic compound -- called limonene -- that provides the pleasant smell of cleaning products and air fresheners. This research will help to determine what byproducts these sweet-smelling compounds are adding to the air while we are using them to remove germs and odors.

Dozens of genes associated with autism in new research

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 11:12 AM PDT

Two major genetic studies of autism, involving more than 50 laboratories worldwide, have newly implicated dozens of genes in the disorder. The research shows that rare mutations in these genes affect communication networks in the brain and compromise fundamental biological mechanisms that govern whether, when, and how genes are activated overall.

Planet-forming lifeline discovered in a binary star system

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 11:12 AM PDT

Scientists have detected a streamer of dust and gas flowing from a massive outer disk toward the inner reaches of a binary star system. This never-before-seen feature may be responsible for sustaining a second, smaller disk of planet-forming material that otherwise would have disappeared long ago.

In autoimmune diseases affecting millions, researchers pinpoint genetic risks, cellular culprits

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 11:12 AM PDT

Scores of autoimmune diseases afflicting one in 12 Americans -- ranging from type 1 diabetes, to multiple sclerosis (MS), to rheumatoid arthritis, to asthma -- mysteriously cause the immune system to harm tissues within our own bodies. Now, a new study pinpoints the complex genetic origins for many of these diseases, a discovery that may lead to better diagnosis and ultimately to improved treatments.

Scientists make enzyme that could help explain origins of life

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 11:12 AM PDT

Mimicking natural evolution in a test tube, scientists have devised an enzyme with a unique property that might have been crucial to the origin of life on Earth.

Contamination likely explains 'food genes in blood' claim

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 11:12 AM PDT

Laboratory contaminants likely explain the results of a recent study claiming that complete genes can pass from foods we eat into our blood, according to a molecular biologist who re-examined data from the controversial research paper.

Parasite-schizophrenia connection: One-fifth of schizophrenia cases may involve the parasite T. gondii

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 10:34 AM PDT

Many factors, both genetic and environmental, have been blamed for increasing the risk of a diagnosis of schizophrenia. Some, such as a family history of schizophrenia, are widely accepted. Others, such as infection with Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite transmitted by soil, undercooked meat and cat feces, are still viewed with skepticism. A new study used epidemiological modeling methods to determine the proportion of schizophrenia cases that may be attributable to T. gondii infection. The work suggests that about one-fifth of cases may involve the parasite.

Supersonic laser-propelled rockets: Hybrid approach may help power rockets, launch satellites, push future aircraft past Mach 10

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 10:34 AM PDT

Researchers have described a new system that integrates a laser-ablation propulsion system with the gas blasting nozzles of a spacecraft which can increase the speed of the gas flow out of the system to supersonic speeds while reducing the amount of burned fuel.

Walking workstations improve physical, mental health, builds healthier workplace

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 09:46 AM PDT

Walking workstations can improve not only physical, but also mental health during the workday, a new study has found. With growing concerns regarding obesity in the United States, the author hopes the study encourages employers to examine methods to assist workers in in healthy living.

Projecting a robot's intentions: New spin on virtual reality helps engineers read robots' minds

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 09:45 AM PDT

In a darkened, hangar-like space inside MIT's Building 41, a small, Roomba-like robot is trying to make up its mind. Standing in its path is an obstacle — a human pedestrian who's pacing back and forth. To get to the other side of the room, the robot has to first determine where the pedestrian is, then choose the optimal route to avoid a close encounter. As the robot considers its options, its "thoughts" are projected on the ground: A large pink dot appears to follow the pedestrian — a symbol of the robot's perception of the pedestrian's position in space.

Mechanism that allows differentiated cell to reactivate as a stem cell revealed

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 09:45 AM PDT

A study, performed with fruit flies, describes a gene that determines whether a specialized cell conserves the capacity to become a stem cell again. Unveiling the genetic traits that favor the retention of stem cell properties is crucial for regenerative medicine.

Meiotic cell division 'the other way round'

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 09:45 AM PDT

Meiosis is the two-step series of cell divisions that make sexual reproduction and genetic diversity possible. Researchers have now dived into the process of meiosis in specific plant species and revealed that these plants display an inversion of the standard meiotic phases.

Thousands of substances ranked according to potential exposure level

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 09:45 AM PDT

An overwhelming number of chemicals from household and industrial products are in the environment -- and hundreds are in our bodies. But for most of them, scientists have yet to determine whether they cause health problems. Now they've taken the first step toward doing that by estimating which substances people are exposed to the most.

Why plants don't get sunburn

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 09:45 AM PDT

Plants rely on sunlight to make their food, but they also need protection from its harmful rays, just like humans do. Recently, scientists discovered a group of molecules in plants that shields them from sun damage. Now scientists report on the mechanics of how these natural plant sunscreens work.

Microrockets fueled by water neutralize chemical and biological warfare agents

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 09:45 AM PDT

With fears growing over chemical and biological weapons falling into the wrong hands, scientists are developing microrockets to fight back against these dangerous agents, should the need arise. They have developed new spherical micromotors that rapidly neutralize chemical and biological agents and use water as fuel.

Support for fecal testing in familial colorectal cancer screening

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 09:45 AM PDT

Fecal immunochemical tests may be as effective as colonoscopies when it comes to detecting colorectal cancer among first-degree relatives of patients with colorectal cancer, according to a new study.

Largest ever dataset of individual deaths in Africa, SE Asia reveals changing health

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 09:45 AM PDT

An unprecedented insight into the changing health of people across Africa and Asia -- including the fluctuating burdens of HIV, malaria and childhood mortality -- is revealed today by the publication of the largest ever dataset of individual deaths recorded on-the-ground.

Liberal or conservative? Reactions to disgust are a dead giveaway

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 09:45 AM PDT

The way a person's brain responds to a single disgusting image is enough to reliably predict whether he or she identifies politically as liberal or conservative. As we approach Election Day, the researchers say that the findings come as a reminder of something we all know but probably don't always do: 'Think, don't just react.'

Can social media help stop the spread of HIV?

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 09:45 AM PDT

In addition to providing other potential benefits to public health, all of those tweets and Facebook posts could help curb the spread of HIV. Although public health researchers have focused early applications of social media on reliably monitoring the spread of diseases such as the flu, a new article tells of a future in which social media might predict and even change biomedical outcomes.

EEG test to help understand, treat schizophrenia

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 09:43 AM PDT

An EEG test to study and treat schizophrenia has been validated by researchers. The findings offer a clinical test that could be used to help diagnose persons at risk for developing mental illness later in life, as well as an approach for measuring the efficacies of different treatment options.

Potential target for treating triple-negative breast cancer identified

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 09:43 AM PDT

A protein that could prevent metastasis and recurrence of breast cancer has been identified by researchers. So-called "triple-negative" breast cancer represents between 12 and 17 percent of all breast cancers. It derives its name from the lack of receptors for estrogen, progesterone and Her2. The absence of these receptors rules out proven hormone therapies such as tamoxifen. Triple-negative breast cancer can be more aggressive and is more likely to recur than other breast cancers.

Cinema-like environment helps audiences become immersed in movies even when shown on cell phones

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 07:26 AM PDT

If the surroundings are designed to be sufficiently stimulating, even a simple computer screen is enough to generate an intense cinematic experience. After observing some 300 study subjects, researchers concluded that the angle of viewing does not play a vital role in the cinematic experience, thus disproving various hypotheses. According to the results of their study, the presence of so-called contextual visual cues plays a greater role in actually drawing viewers into a movie.

New solar power material converts 90 percent of captured light into heat

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 06:54 AM PDT

A multidisciplinary engineering team developed a new nanoparticle-based material for concentrating solar power plants designed to absorb and convert to heat more than 90 percent of the sunlight it captures. The new material can also withstand temperatures greater than 700 degrees Celsius and survive many years outdoors in spite of exposure to air and humidity.

Upgrading infrastructure could reduce flood damage

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 06:54 AM PDT

The severe flooding that devastated a wide swath of Colorado last year might have been less destructive if the bridges, roads and other infrastructure had been upgraded or modernized, according to a new study.

Gentle caffeine boost for premature babies

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 06:54 AM PDT

Researchers have developed a UV-activated membrane which releases a gentle dose of medication to the skin of a patient. In future those who fear injections will be able to sleep soundly, as will premature babies too, since the new dosing technique will spare them additional stress.

Genome sequencing of the jujube tree completed

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 06:54 AM PDT

The complete, high quality sequencing of the jujube genome has been announced by researchers. Jujube is the most economically important member of the Rhamnaceae family, and the jujube genome is particularly difficult to sequence due the high level of heterozygosity and other complicating factors. It is the first time that a genome in the Rhamnaceae, Buckthorn, family has been sequenced.

Nestling birds struggle in noisy environments

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 06:53 AM PDT

Unable to fly, nestling birds depend on their parents for both food and protection: vocal communication between parents and offspring helps young birds to determine when they should beg for food and when they should crouch in the nest to avoid a predator seeking an easy meal. A group of researchers has found that ambient, anthropomorphic noise -- from traffic, construction and other human activities -- can break this vital communications link, leaving nestlings vulnerable or hungry.

To reap the brain benefits of physical activity, just get moving

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 06:52 AM PDT

Everyone knows that exercise makes you feel more mentally alert at any age. But do you need to follow a specific training program to improve your cognitive function? Science has shown that the important thing is to just get moving. It's that simple.

Nano ruffles in brain matter

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 06:52 AM PDT

Researchers have deciphered the role of nanostructures around brain cells in the central nervous system. An accumulation of a protein called amyloid-beta into large insoluble deposits called plaques is known to cause Alzheimer's disease. One aspect of this illness that has not received much attention is which role the structure of the brain environment plays. How do macromolecules and macromolecular assemblies, such as polysaccharides, influence cell interaction in the brain?

Aortic valve replacement appears safe, effective in very elderly patients

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 06:51 AM PDT

Aortic valve replacement (AVR) can safely be used to treat severe aortic stenosis in patients age 90 years and older and is associated with a low risk of operative stroke and mortality, according to a study.

Genome sequenced of enterovirus D68 circulating in St. Louis

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 06:50 AM PDT

The genome of enterovirus D68 sampled from patients treated at St. Louis Children's Hospital has been sequenced by researchers. Nationwide, the virus has spread rapidly in recent months and caused severe respiratory illness in young children, with some patients requiring hospitalization.

ECG on the run: Continuous ECG surveillance of marathon athletes is feasible

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 05:41 AM PDT

The condition of an athlete's heart has for the first time been accurately monitored throughout the duration of a marathon race. The real-time monitoring was achieved by continuous electrocardiogram (ECG) surveillance and data transfer over the public mobile phone network to a telemedicine center along the marathon route. This new development in cardiac testing in endurance athletes, said investigators, 'would allow instantaneous diagnosis of potentially fatal rhythm disorders.'

Diets high in fruit, vegetables, whole grains and nuts among factors to lower first-time stroke risk

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 05:41 AM PDT

Eating Mediterranean or DASH-style diets, regularly engaging in physical activity and keeping your blood pressure under control can lower your risk of a first-time stroke, experts say. Additionally, these experts not updated prevention guidelines that focus on lowering stroke risk among women.

Brain abnormalities found in chronic fatigue patients

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 05:41 AM PDT

An imaging study has found distinct differences between the brains of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome and those of healthy people.

Saving lots of computing capacity with a new algorithm

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 05:40 AM PDT

The control of modern infrastructure such as intelligent power grids needs lots of computing capacity. Scientists have developed an algorithm that might revolutionize these processes. With their new software researchers are able to forego the use of considerable amounts of computing capacity, enabling what they call micro mining.

Ghrelin stimulates an appetite for drinking alcohol

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 05:40 AM PDT

Ghrelin is a hormone released by the stomach and it stimulates appetite and food intake. Alcohol is commonly viewed as a psychoactive substance that primarily affects brain function, but it is also a highly caloric food. This knowledge, combined with findings from animal studies, led researchers to the hypothesis that ghrelin has the potential to stimulate alcohol craving.

Evolution of competitiveness: Scientists explain diversity in competitiveness

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 05:40 AM PDT

Virtually all organisms in the living world compete with members of their own species. However, individuals differ strongly in how much they invest into their competitive ability. Some individuals are highly competitive and eager to get access to high-quality resources, while others seem to avoid competition, instead making prudent use of the lower-quality resources that are left over for them. Moreover, the degree of competitiveness in animal and human societies seems to fluctuate considerably over time. A new study sheds some new light on these findings.

Prenatal phthalate exposures and anogenital distance in swedish boys

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 05:36 AM PDT

The first study to examine prenatal exposure to the phthalate DiNP finds it is associated with a shorter anogenital distance (AGD) in Swedish boys at the age of 21 months.  These findings raise concern since animal research has linked DiNP exposure to a shorter AGD, and studies on humans have related shorter AGD to male genital birth defects as well as impaired reproductive function in adult males, and the levels of DiNP metabolites in humans are increasing globally.  

Gold nanoparticle chains confine light to the nanoscale

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 05:36 AM PDT

Physicists and chemists have shown that crystalline gold nanoparticles aligned and then fused into long chains can be used to confine light energy down to the nanometer scale while allowing its long-range propagation. Light can be used to transmit information. This property is, for instance, used in fiber optics, and provides an interesting alternative to microelectronics.

The secret life of the sea trout

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 05:36 AM PDT

Sea trout, also known as brown trout, live complicated lives. Like salmon, they begin their lives in a river, hatched from eggs that were laid in small nests, called redds. As the young fish mature, they go through several developmental stages, all of which involve substantial physiological changes. The most important stage from this perspective is when the fish becomes a smolt, after about 2 years. Entering the smolt stage is like being given a passport out to the sea, because the physiological changes allow the fish to tolerate salt water.

Genetic architecture of kidney cancer uncovered by research

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 05:36 AM PDT

An apparent link between exposure to aristolochic acid and incidence of kidney cancer, has been uncovered by researchers conducting a new study on a large cohort of kidney cancer patients in Europe. This study sheds light on the genetic architecture of the disease, and underscores the importance of investigating possible sources of exposure to aristolochic acid.

Prostate cancer medications linked with increased risk of heart-related deaths in men with cardiovascular problems

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 05:36 AM PDT

A new study has found that certain prostate cancer medications are linked with an increased risk of dying from heart-related causes in men with congestive heart failure or prior heart attacks.

5g networks: Futuristic communications for today's users

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 05:36 AM PDT

Devices that learn from our habits and help us to "think better", connect us to a friend just by thinking about them, or ensure continuing medical monitoring, will be a reality in 2020, thanks to the 5G technology.

From age 8 to 80, expert reveals the price we pay for not sleeping

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 05:33 AM PDT

Most Americans who spend part of the year on daylight saving time look forward to the extra hour of sleep when it's time to "fall back" to standard time. We are a nation of sleep-deprived people, and experts say all ages suffer in various, unhealthy ways.

Oxygen-deprived RNA molecules lead to tumor progression, study finds

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 05:33 AM PDT

A previously unknown phenomenon has been uncovered by research: Key regulatory molecules are decreased when deprived of oxygen which leads to increased cancer progression in vitro and in vivo.

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