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Thursday, October 9, 2014

ScienceDaily: Top News

ScienceDaily: Top News

Drug-infused nanoparticle is right for sore eyes

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 05:40 PM PDT

For the millions of sufferers of dry eye syndrome, their only recourse to easing the painful condition is to use drug-laced eye drops three times a day. Now, researchers have developed a topical solution containing nanoparticles that will combat dry eye syndrome with only one application a week.

Plant scientist discovers basis of 'evolution' in violins

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 05:40 PM PDT

A scientist has quantified the refined shapes of violins allowing us to hone our skills to describe the complexity and diversity among plant species, and to use its genetic basis for crop improvement.

Mortality risk of overweight, obesity similar for blacks, whites

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 12:37 PM PDT

The increased risk of premature death associated with a higher body mass index is similar for African Americans and whites, researchers have concluded. "While recent large studies have examined the relationship between BMI and all-cause mortality in white and Asian populations in the United States, this relationship has not been well-characterized in African Americans," said the first author of the study.

Grapefruit juice stems weight gain in mice fed a high-fat diet, study finds

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 12:36 PM PDT

Mice fed a high-fat diet gained 18 percent less weight when they drank clarified, no-pulp grapefruit juice compared with a control group of mice that drank water, a new study demonstrated. Juice-drinking mice also showed improved levels of glucose, insulin and a type of fat called triacylglycerol compared with their water-drinking counterparts.

Amputees discern familiar sensations across prosthetic hand

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 12:36 PM PDT

Patients connected to a new prosthetic system said they 'felt' their hands for the first time since they lost them in accidents. In the ensuing months, they began feeling sensations that were familiar and were able to control their prosthetic hands with more -- well -- dexterity.

Ancient rhino-relatives were water-loving

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 12:36 PM PDT

The discovery of new bones from a large land mammal that lived about 48 million years ago has led scientists to identify a new branch of mammals closely related to modern horses, rhinos, and tapirs.

Mind-controlled prosthetic arms that work in daily life are now a reality

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 12:36 PM PDT

For the first time, robotic prostheses controlled via implanted neuromuscular interfaces have become a clinical reality. A novel osseointegrated (bone-anchored) implant system gives patients new opportunities in their daily life and professional activities.

Drug used for another disease slows progression of Parkinson's

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 12:35 PM PDT

A drug being evaluated to treat an entirely different disorder helped slow the progression of Parkinson's disease in mice, a team of researchers has reported. Their study found that the drug, AT2101, which has also been studied for Gaucher disease, improved motor function, stopped inflammation in the brain and reduced levels of alpha-synuclein, a protein critically involved in Parkinson's.

Rivers recover natural conditions quickly following dam removal

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 11:11 AM PDT

A study of the removal of two dams in Oregon suggests that rivers can return surprisingly fast to a condition close to their natural state, both physically and biologically, and that the biological recovery might outpace the physical recovery. In the end, the large pulse of sediment from dam removal simply isn't that big a problem.

Astronomers see right into heart of exploding star

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 11:11 AM PDT

Astronomers have been able to see into the heart of an exploding star, by combining data from telescopes that are hundreds or even thousands of kilometers apart. 

Price gap between more and less healthy foods grows

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 11:11 AM PDT

Novel use of UK national data finds a growing gap between the prices of more and less healthy foods between 2002 and 2012. Healthy foods in 2012 are three times more expensive per calorie than less healthy foods.

Conspicuous tRNA lookalikes riddle the human genome

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 11:09 AM PDT

A new discovery suggests that the number of human genomic loci that might be coding for tRNAs is nearly double what is currently known.

Penguins Use Their Personalities to Prepare for Climate Change

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 11:09 AM PDT

Birds' individual personalities may be among the factors that could improve its chances of successfully coping with environmental stressors.

Impossibly bright dead star: X-ray source in the Cigar Galaxy is the first ultraluminous pulsar ever detected

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 10:34 AM PDT

Astronomers working with NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) have found a pulsating dead star beaming with the energy of about 10 million suns. The object, previously thought to be a black hole because it is so powerful, is in fact a pulsar -- the incredibly dense rotating remains of a star.

Making sure antibiotics work as they should

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 10:17 AM PDT

Researchers are decoding the structure of the large ribosomal subunit of the mitochondria at an atomic level, thereby providing insight into the molecular architecture of this ribosome with implications for a better understanding of the mode of action of antibiotics.

Smartphone understands hand gestures

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 10:16 AM PDT

Computer scientists have developed a new app enabling users to operate their smartphone with gestures. This development expands the range of potential interactions with such devices.

Epigenetic changes caused by binge drinking: Overconsumption of alcohol triggers inflammatory response in the liver

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 10:16 AM PDT

Researchers have identified epigenetic protein changes caused by binge drinking, a discovery that could lead to treatments for alcohol-related liver diseases.

In a battle of brains, bigger isn't always better: Rats and mice perform similarly in cognitive tests

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 10:16 AM PDT

It's one of those ideas that seems to make perfect sense: the bigger the brain, the more intelligent the creature. Exceptions are becoming increasingly common, yet the belief persists even among scientists. Most biologists, for example, assume that rats are smarter than mice. Scientists now challenge this belief. They compared mice and rats and found very similar levels of intelligence, a result that could have powerful implications for researchers studying complex behaviors and learning.

Country's economy plays role in Internet file-sharing patterns

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 10:16 AM PDT

Peer-to-peer file sharing over the Internet is a popular alternative approach for people worldwide to get the digital content they want. But little is known about these users and systems because data is lacking. Now, in an unprecedented study of BitTorrent users, a research team has discovered two behavior patterns: most users are content specialists -- sharing music but not movies, for example; and users in countries with similar economies tend to download similar types of content.

Talking while driving safest with someone who can see what you see

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 10:16 AM PDT

A new study offers fresh insights into how talking on a cell phone or to a passenger while driving affects one's performance behind the wheel. The study used a driving simulator and videophone to assess how a driver's conversation partner influences safety on the road.

Mangroves protecting corals from climate change

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 10:16 AM PDT

Corals are finding refuge within the red mangroves at Hurricane Hole, a mangrove habitat in the US Virgin Islands, from threats such as warming ocean temperatures, solar radiation and increased ocean acidification.

Potential link between breast cancer genes, salivary gland cancer

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 10:14 AM PDT

The risk of developing cancer in a salivary gland might be higher in people with mutations in either of two genes associated with breast and ovarian cancer. Salivary gland cancer is rare, but this new study suggests it occurs 17 times more often in people with inherited mutations in genes called BRCA1 and BRCA2.

Dynamic motion of HIV as it readies an attack: Seen in real time, for the first time

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 10:14 AM PDT

Technologies that allow investigators, for the first time, to watch what they call the 'dance' of HIV proteins on the virus' surface, which may contribute to how the virus infects human immune cells, have been developed by scientists. The new technology platform opens new possibilities for devising an approach to prevent HIV infection, note researchers

Invasive plant wins competition against its native cousin

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 10:13 AM PDT

Because of its aggressive behavior and its harmful effects, the invasive prairie plant Lespedeza cuneata has been added to several noxious weed lists. Research on how soil bacteria interact with the plants' roots to form nodules that fix nitrogen demonstrated that the invasive variety had superior performance when pitted against the native plant variety Lespedeza virginica.

Hungry black hole eats faster than thought possible

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 10:13 AM PDT

Astronomers have discovered a black hole that is consuming gas from a nearby star 10 times faster than previously thought possible. The black hole -- known as P13 -- lies on the outskirts of the galaxy NGC7793 about 12 million light years from Earth and is ingesting a weight equivalent to 100 billion billion hot dogs every minute.

Using autonomous vehicles to improve traffic flow

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 10:12 AM PDT

With autonomous vehicles entering our roadways as soon as with the next decade, researchers are developing strategies for the future use of autonomous vehicles in improving traffic flow.

Childhood psychological abuse as harmful as sexual or physical abuse

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 10:12 AM PDT

Children who are emotionally abused and neglected face similar and sometimes worse mental health problems as children who are physically or sexually abused, yet psychological abuse is rarely addressed in prevention programs or in treating victims, according to a new study.

Insomnia among older adults may be tied to sleep quality, not duration

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 10:11 AM PDT

Reports of insomnia are common among the elderly, but a new study finds that sleep problems may stem from the quality of rest and other health concerns more than the overall amount of sleep that patients get.

Fusion reactor concept could be cheaper than coal

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 10:11 AM PDT

Engineers have designed a concept for a fusion reactor that, when scaled up to the size of a large electrical power plant, would rival costs for a new coal-fired plant with similar electrical output.

Slime-producing molecules help spread disease from cats to endangered sea otters

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 09:21 AM PDT

Sticky polymers that form slimy biofilms and large, waterborne particles speed the transmission of a parasitic disease from cats to marine snails to endangered sea otters in California's coastal waters, this study finds.

Drug regimen enough to control immune disease after some bone marrow transplants

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 09:21 AM PDT

A very short course of a chemotherapy drug, called cyclophosphamide, not only can prevent a life-threatening immune response in some bone marrow transplant recipients, but also can eliminate such patients' need for the usual six months of immune suppression medicines commonly prescribed to prevent severe forms of this immune response, cancer researchers report. Patients receive cyclophosphamide for two days after their bone marrow transplant, in addition to two other chemotherapy drugs given before the transplant.

Neurons in human muscles emphasize impact of outside world

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 09:21 AM PDT

Stretch sensors in our muscles participate in reflexes that serve the subconscious control of posture and movement. According to a new study, these sensors respond weakly to muscle stretch caused by one's voluntary action, and most strongly to stretch that is imposed by external forces. The ability to reflect causality in this manner can facilitate appropriate reflex control and accurate self-perception.

Antarctic sea ice reaches new record maximum

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 09:21 AM PDT

Sea ice surrounding Antarctica reached a new record high extent this year, covering more of the southern oceans than it has since scientists began a long-term satellite record to map the extent in the late 1970s.

Teenage girls exposed to more stressors that increase depression risk

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 09:21 AM PDT

Adolescence is often a turbulent time, and it is marked by substantially increased rates of depressive symptoms, especially among girls. New research indicates that this gender difference may be the result of girls' greater exposure to stressful interpersonal events, making them more likely to ruminate, and contributing to their risk of depression.

Robotic surgery: More complications, higher expense for some conditions

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 09:19 AM PDT

For benign gynecologic conditions, robot-assisted surgery involves more complications during surgery and may be significantly more expensive than conventional laparoscopic surgery, according to a study.

Trying to fool a kindergartner? Not so fast

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 09:19 AM PDT

A new study shows that by the age of five, children become wary of information provided by people who make overly confident claims.

Did fruit contribute to Apple's success?

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 07:39 AM PDT

Steve Jobs swore by a fruit diet, as he believed it improved his ideas. And he wasn't wrong: food with high levels of tyrosine, like bananas, peaches and almonds, allow us to think harder and more creatively.

Bronze age palace and grave goods discovered at the archaeological site of La Almoloya in Pliego, Murcia

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 07:14 AM PDT

Archaeologists have discovered a palatial construction with an audience hall which makes up the first specifically political precincts built in continental Europe. A prince's tomb in the subsoil contains the largest amount of grave goods from the Bronze Age existing in the Iberian Peninsula. Some of the most outstanding items include a silver diadem of great scientific and patrimonial value, the only one conserved from that era in Spain, as well as four golden and silver ear dilators.

Smoking cannabis doesn't make you more creative, study suggests

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 07:14 AM PDT

Some people think that smoking cannabis makes them more creative. However, new research shows that the opposite is true. Smokers who ingested a low dose of THC, or none at all (they were given a placebo), performed best in the thinking tasks that the test candidates had to carry out.

Flies with colon cancer help unravel genetic keys to disease in humans

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 07:14 AM PDT

A fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) model has been developed that reproduces human colon cancer. Through their work, the scientists have identified a human gene that favors the proliferation of tumour cells in early stages of colon cancer. Flies, it turns out, are useful for faster and more economic drug screening.

2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry: Super-resolved fluorescence microscopy

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 05:54 AM PDT

The 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been awarded to Eric Betzig of Janelia Farm Research Campus, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; Stefan W. Hell of Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry and the German Cancer Research Center; and William E. Moerner of Stanford University "for the development of super-resolved fluorescence microscopy."

Gluing chromosomes at the right place

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 05:36 AM PDT

During cell division, chromosomes acquire a characteristic X-shape with the two DNA molecules (sister chromatids) linked at a central "connection region" that contains highly compacted DNA. It was unknown if rearrangements in this typical X-shape architecture could disrupt the correct separation of chromosomes. A recent study now shows that the dislocation of particular DNA segments perturbs proper chromosome separation. The results of this study raise the possibility that chromosome rearrangements involving these regions, often seen in many cancers, can induce additional errors in cell division and thereby compromise genetic stability.

'Superglue' for the atmosphere: How sulfuric acid increases cloud formation

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 05:36 AM PDT

It has been known for several years that sulfuric acid contributes to the formation of tiny aerosol particles, which play an important role in the formation of clouds. A new study shows that dimethylamine can tremendously enhance new particle formation. The formation of neutral (i.e. uncharged) nucleating clusters of sulfuric acid and dimethylamine was observed for the first time.

Cost-sensitive bushmeat hunters: Expensive ammunition may help with conservation

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 05:36 AM PDT

Hunting of bushmeat is one major cause of biodiversity loss in tropical countries. Research has shown that consumers of wildlife are price sensitive and that the quantity of meat purchased is influenced by the cost of bushmeat and its substitutes. The rising costs of ammunition could potentially help conserving wild animals.

Smallest world record has ‘endless possibilities’ for bio-nanotechnology

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 05:35 AM PDT

Scientists have taken a crucial step forward in bio-nanotechnology, a field that uses biology to develop new tools for science, technology and medicine. The new study demonstrates how stable 'lipid membranes' -- the thin 'skin' that surrounds all biological cells -- can be applied to synthetic surfaces. Importantly, the new technique can use these lipid membranes to 'draw' -- akin to using them like a biological ink -- with a resolution of 6 nanometres (6 billionths of a meter), which is much smaller than scientists had previously thought was possible.

Food, fuel and more will be produced in sea farms of future

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 05:35 AM PDT

Meet the farm of the future, where common seaweed is being upgraded from an environmental problem to a valuable natural resource and raw material. 

Combined behavioral support, medication offers smokers best chance of quitting

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 05:35 AM PDT

Numerous randomized clinical trials have shown the effectiveness of the two major forms of smoking cessation treatment -- behavioral support and medication -- in helping smokers quit. Researchers have now demonstrated that this approach can successfully translate to the "real world" and that a combination of the two treatments offers almost a threefold chance of success over attempts to quit without using a cessation aid.

'Recapturable' heart valve tested as alternative to open heart surgery

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 05:32 AM PDT

Medical researchers have announced the implant of the latest minimally-invasive advancement to treat patients with failing aortic heart valves.

Childhood eating difficulties could be a sign of underlying psychological issues

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 05:31 AM PDT

Parents are being warned by scientists that difficult eaters could have underlying psychological issues, as they have found that restrictive behaviors can appear before puberty.

How dinosaurs divided their meals at the Jurassic dinner table

Posted: 07 Oct 2014 06:29 PM PDT

How the largest animals to have ever walked on Earth fed, and how this allowed them to live alongside one another in prehistoric ecosystems, is the subject of new research.

Quantum probe enhances electric field measurements

Posted: 07 Oct 2014 03:42 PM PDT

Scientists have demonstrated a technique based on the quantum properties of atoms that directly links measurements of electric field strength to the International System of Units. The new method could improve the sensitivity, precision and ease of tests and calibrations of antennas, sensors, and biomedical and nano-electronic systems and facilitate the design of novel devices.

Laser comb system maps 3-D surfaces remotely for manufacturing, forensics

Posted: 07 Oct 2014 03:42 PM PDT

Researchers have demonstrated a laser-based imaging system that creates high-definition 3-D maps of surfaces from as far away as 10.5 meters. The method may be useful in diverse fields, including precision machining and assembly, as well as in forensics.

Working memory hinders learning in schizophrenia

Posted: 07 Oct 2014 03:42 PM PDT

Trouble with working memory makes a distinct contribution to the difficulty people with schizophrenia sometimes have in learning, according to a new study. The researchers employed a specially designed experiment and computational models to distinguish the roles of working memory and reinforcement learning.

It's time to fight sepsis like we fight heart attack, researchers say

Posted: 07 Oct 2014 01:14 PM PDT

A decade ago, America's health care community took on heart attacks with gusto, harnessing the power of research and data to make sure that every patient got the best possible care. It worked. Now, say a pair of experts, it's time to do the same for sepsis.

Tobacco use associated with increased risk of oral HPV-16 infection

Posted: 07 Oct 2014 01:14 PM PDT

Study participants who reported tobacco use or had higher levels of biomarkers of tobacco exposure had a higher prevalence of the sexually transmitted infection, oral human papillomavirus type 16 (HPV-16), according to a study.

Studies examine vaccination strategies for prevention, control of avian flu

Posted: 07 Oct 2014 01:14 PM PDT

New vaccination strategies for the prevention and control of avian influenza, often referred to as "bird flu," have been examined by two randomized trials, scientists report.

Researchers pump up oil accumulation in plant leaves

Posted: 07 Oct 2014 01:14 PM PDT

A series of detailed genetic studies points scientists to a new way to dramatically increase the accumulation of oil in plant leaves, an abundant source of biomass for fuel production.

Universal Ebola drug target identified by researchers

Posted: 07 Oct 2014 12:26 PM PDT

A new tool can be used as a drug target in the discovery of anti-Ebola agents that are effective against all known strains and likely future strains, researchers report. Current experimental drugs generally target only one of Ebola's five species. "The current growing epidemic demonstrates the need for effective broad-range Ebola virus therapies," says the lead author on the study.

Survival molecule helps cancer cells hide from the immune system

Posted: 07 Oct 2014 12:26 PM PDT

The molecule nuclear factor kappa B helps tumors grow by inhibiting the body's ability to detect cancer cells, research shows. The molecule suppresses immune surveillance mechanisms, including the production of cells that inhibit immune responses. The research suggests that cancer immune therapy might be improved if combined with NF-kB inhibitors, and it provides new details about interactions between cancer cells and non-cancer cells that assist tumor growth.

'Achilles heel' in metabolic pathway identified, could lead to new treatments for lung cancer

Posted: 07 Oct 2014 12:25 PM PDT

An "Achilles heel" in a metabolic pathway crucial to stopping the growth of lung cancer cells has been identified by researchers. At the heart of this pathway lies PPAR³, a protein that regulates glucose and lipid metabolism in normal cells. Researchers demonstrated that by activating PPAR³ with antidiabetic drugs in lung cancer cells, they could stop these tumor cells from dividing.

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