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Friday, October 10, 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Technology News

ScienceDaily: Top Technology News

New technique yields fast results in drug, biomedical testing

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 01:37 PM PDT

A new technique makes it possible to quickly detect the presence of drugs or to monitor certain medical conditions using only a single drop of blood or urine, representing a potential tool for clinicians and law enforcement.

Balancing birds and biofuels: Grasslands support more species than cornfields

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 12:41 PM PDT

Scientists have examined whether corn and perennial grassland fields in southern Wisconsin could provide both biomass for bioenergy production and bountiful bird habitat. The research team found that grassland fields supported more than three times as many bird species as cornfields, and new findings indicate grassland fields may represent an acceptable tradeoff between creating biomass for bioenergy and providing habitat for grassland birds.

Plasmonic paper for detecting trace amounts of chemicals, pollutants and more

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 12:38 PM PDT

Using a common laboratory filter paper decorated with gold nanoparticles, researchers have created a unique platform, known as "plasmonic paper," for detecting and characterizing even trace amounts of chemicals and biologically important molecules—from explosives, chemical warfare agents and environmental pollutants to disease markers.

Dissolvable silicon circuits and sensors

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 12:38 PM PDT

Electronic devices that dissolve completely in water, leaving behind only harmless end products, are part of a rapidly emerging class of technology. This technology suggest a new era of devices that range from green consumer electronics to 'electroceutical' therapies, to biomedical sensor systems that do their work and then disappear.

Nanoparticles get a magnetic handle: Glowing nanoparticles can be manipulated using magnetic fields

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 11:16 AM PDT

A long-sought goal of creating particles that can emit a colorful fluorescent glow in a biological environment, and that could be precisely manipulated into position within living cells, has been achieved.

Snakes and snake-like robots show how sidewinders conquer sandy slopes

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 11:14 AM PDT

The amazing ability of sidewinder snakes to quickly climb sandy slopes was once something biologists only vaguely understood and roboticists only dreamed of replicating. By studying the snakes in a unique bed of inclined sand and using a snake-like robot to test ideas spawned by observing the real animals, both biologists and roboticists have now gained long-sought insights.

Temperature and water vapor on an exoplanet mapped

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 11:14 AM PDT

A team of scientists has made the most detailed map yet of the temperature of an exoplanet's atmosphere and traced the amount of water it contains. The planet targeted for both of the investigations was the hot-Jupiter exoplanet WASP-43b.

Unstoppable magnetoresistance

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 09:56 AM PDT

Researchers have discovered a material (WTe2) with an extremely large magnetoresistance, which is the change in resistance as a material is exposed to stronger magnetic fields. The researchers exposed WTe2 to a 60-tesla magnetic field, close to the strongest magnetic field mankind can create, and observed a magnetoresistance of 13 million percent. The material's magnetoresistance displayed unlimited growth, making it the only known material without a saturation point.

College athletes in contact sports more likely to carry MRSA, study finds

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 08:27 AM PDT

Even if they don't show signs of infection, college athletes who play football, soccer and other contact sports are more likely to carry the superbug methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. This puts them at higher risk for infection and increases the likelihood of spreading the bug, which can cause serious and even fatal infections.

Discovery of new subatomic particle, type of meson, to 'transform' understanding of fundamental force of nature

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 08:26 AM PDT

The discovery of a new particle will "transform our understanding" of the fundamental force of nature that binds the nuclei of atoms, researchers argue. The discovery of the new particle will help provide greater understanding of the strong interaction, the fundamental force of nature found within the protons of an atom's nucleus.

The mathematics behind the Ebola epidemic

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 07:09 AM PDT

Researchers have calculated new benchmark figures to precisely describe the Ebola epidemic in West Africa from a mathematical perspective. Their results may help health authorities to contain the epidemic.

A cost-effective and energy-efficient approach to carbon capture

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 06:19 AM PDT

Scientists have developed a slurry-based process that can revolutionize carbon capture. The slurry, consisting of a porous powder suspended in glycol, offers the efficient large-scale implementation of a liquid while maintaining the lower costs and energy efficiency of solid carbon-capturing materials.

Making window glass visible – but only to birds

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 06:17 AM PDT

Ultraviolet patterns can make window glass visible to birds, thus preventing fatal collisions. However, it has now been shown that such windows are not likely to work for all species, but only for birds like small passerines, gulls and parrots, who have a special type of color vision. For birds of prey, geese, pigeons and crows, these patterns are likely to be too difficult to detect.

Mining big data yields Alzheimer's discovery

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 06:17 AM PDT

A new way of working to identify a new gene linked to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's has been used by researchers. The discovery fills in another piece of the jigsaw when it comes to identifying people most at risk of developing the condition.

Nanoparticle research could enhance drug delivery through skin

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 06:16 AM PDT

Key characteristics that enhance a nanoparticle's ability to penetrate skin have been identified by researchers in a milestone study that could have major implications for the delivery of drugs. Nanoparticles are up to 100,000 times smaller than the thickness of a human hair and drugs delivered using them as a platform, can be more concentrated, targeted and efficient than those delivered through traditional means.

Milky Way has half the amount of dark matter as previously thought

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 06:16 AM PDT

A new measurement of dark matter in the Milky Way has revealed there is half as much of the mysterious substance as previously thought.

Of bio-hairpins and polymer-spaghetti: Spotlight on how entangled polymers flow and soften

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 06:15 AM PDT

When a basically sturdy material becomes soft and spongy, one usually suspects that it has been damaged in some way. But this is not always the case, especially when it comes to complex fluids and biological cells. By looking at the microscopic building blocks -- known as "filaments" -- of biopolymer networks, researchers have evealed that such materials soften by undergoing a transition from an entangled spaghetti of filaments to aligned layers of bow-shaped filaments that slide past each other.

More appropriate use of cardiac stress testing with imaging could reduce health costs, improve patient outcomes

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 05:35 PM PDT

Overuse of cardiac stress testing with imaging has led to rising healthcare costs and unnecessary radiation exposure to patients, a study has concluded. Cardiac stress testing, particularly with imaging, has been the focus of debate about rising health care costs, inappropriate use, and patient safety in the context of radiation exposure, researchers note.

Online intervention tool for physician trainees may improve care of patients with substance use disorders

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 05:35 PM PDT

Online learning interventions and small group debriefings can improve medical residents' attitudes and communication skills toward patients with substance use disorders, and may result in improved care for these patients, according to a new study.

Automated imaging system looks underground to help improve crops

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 12:37 PM PDT

An automated imaging technique for measuring and analyzing the root systems of mature plants has been developed by researchers. The work could help plant scientists improve food crops to help meet the needs of a growing world population.

Ensuring polymorphic purity in drugs

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 07:13 AM PDT

Reliable batch-to-batch formation is crucial for crystalline, active pharmaceutical ingredients as two different polymorphs of the same drug may function very differently in the body. Scientists now report that the surface chemistry of modified glass substrates can influence the nucleation and formation of specific polymorphs of the drug, carbamazepine, within a certain concentration range of supersaturated solutions.

Targeted nanoparticles: Imaging, treatment combined

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 07:12 AM PDT

Targeted nanoparticles that combine imaging with two different therapies could attack cancer and other conditions, scientists report. Nanosystems that are 'theranostic' -- they combine both therapeutic and diagnostic functions -- present an exciting new opportunity for delivering drugs to specific cells and identifying sites of disease.

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