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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

ScienceDaily: Top News

ScienceDaily: Top News

Groundwater warming up in sync

Posted: 11 Nov 2014 08:17 AM PST

Global warming stops at nothing -- not even the groundwater, as a new study reveals: the groundwater's temperature profiles echo those of the atmosphere, albeit damped and delayed.

Controlling genes with your thoughts

Posted: 11 Nov 2014 08:13 AM PST

Researchers have constructed the first gene network that can be controlled by our thoughts. Scientists have developed a novel gene regulation method that enables thought-specific brainwaves to control the conversion of genes into proteins (gene expression). The inspiration was a game that picks up brainwaves in order to guide a ball through an obstacle course.

Space: The final frontier in silicon chemistry

Posted: 11 Nov 2014 08:11 AM PST

Silicon, which is one of the most common elements in Earth's crust, is also sprinkled abundantly throughout interstellar space. The only way to identify silicon-containing molecules in the far corners of the cosmos – and to understand the chemistry that created them – is to observe through telescopes the electromagnetic radiation the molecules emit.

Ocean acidification affects climate-relevant functions at the sea-surface microlayer

Posted: 11 Nov 2014 07:52 AM PST

Ocean acidification might alter climate-relevant functions of the oceans' uppermost layer, according to a study by a group of marine scientists. Researchers observed a close coupling between biological processes in the seawater and the chemistry of the sea surface microlayer.

Creating bright X-ray pulses in the laser lab

Posted: 11 Nov 2014 07:52 AM PST

To create X-rays -- short wave radiation -- scientists have started out with very long wavelengths -- infrared laser. Long wavelength laser pulses rip atoms out of metal and accelerate them, which leads to emission of X-rays.

Weeds yet to reach full potential as invaders in United Kingdom, after centuries of change

Posted: 11 Nov 2014 07:52 AM PST

Weeds in the UK are still evolving hundreds of years after their introduction and are unlikely to have yet reached their full potential as invaders, Australian scientists have discovered. The study is the first to have tracked the physical evolution of introduced plant species from the beginning of their invasion to the present day, and was made possible by the centuries-old British tradition of storing plant specimens in herbaria.

Typhoid gene unravelled

Posted: 11 Nov 2014 07:51 AM PST

People who carry a particular type of gene have natural resistance against typhoid fever according to new research. Enteric fever, or typhoid fever as it more commonly known, is a considerable health burden to lower-income countries. This finding is important because this natural resistance represents one of the largest human gene effects on an infectious disease.

HIV-infected adults diagnosed with age-related diseases at similar ages as uninfected adults

Posted: 11 Nov 2014 07:48 AM PST

HIV-infected adults are at a higher risk for developing heart attacks, kidney failure and cancer. But, contrary to what many had believed, the researchers say these illnesses are occurring at similar ages as adults who are not infected with HIV.

Bizarre Mapping Error Puts Newly Discovered Species in Jeopardy

Posted: 11 Nov 2014 07:48 AM PST

Scientists in the Democratic Republic of Congo have discovered a new species of plant living in a remote rift valley escarpment that's supposed to be inside of a protected area. But an administrative mapping error puts the reserve's borders some 50 kilometers west of the actual location.

Mapping spread of diarrhea bacteria a major step toward new vaccine

Posted: 11 Nov 2014 06:28 AM PST

Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) bacteria are responsible each year for around 400 million cases of diarrhea and 400,000 deaths in the world's low- and middle-income countries. Children under the age of five are most affected. ETEC bacteria also cause diarrhea in nearly one in two travelers to these areas. In a major breakthrough, researchers used comprehensive DNA analyses to reveal the ETEC bacteria's genetic composition – an analysis that also makes it possible to map how the bacteria spread.

Promising prognostic biomarker candidates for ovarian cancer uncovered

Posted: 11 Nov 2014 06:27 AM PST

Through separate studies, researchers have clarified the role of cancer testis antigen in ovarian cancer, and report new evidence that certain ligand/receptor interactions influence ovarian cancer prognosis.

Controversial medication has benefits for breastfeeding

Posted: 11 Nov 2014 06:27 AM PST

A controversial medication used by breastfeeding women should not be restricted because of the benefits it offers mothers and their babies, according to researchers. The medication domperidone has recently been the subject of warnings based on research that there is a link between the medication and fatal heart conditions.

'Landmark' results for curing hepatitis C in liver transplant patients

Posted: 11 Nov 2014 06:27 AM PST

A new treatment regimen for hepatitis C, the most common cause of liver cancer and transplantation, has produced results that will transform treatment protocols for transplant patients, according to research.

The cave paintings of Valltorta-Gassulla could be dated in absolute terms thanks to new analyses

Posted: 11 Nov 2014 05:43 AM PST

Researchers have presented the first characterization of the black pigments used in the shelters of the Remígia cave, in the Valltorta-Gassulla area, between the Valencian regions of L'Alt Maestrat and La Plana (Castelló). The objective of this study was to identify the raw material of the black pigments and the techniques used to prepare them, and to make an approach to the cultural patterns associated with the use of pigments.

Astronomers preparing for first-ever comet landing attempt

Posted: 11 Nov 2014 05:43 AM PST

Astronomers are preparing for the first ever landing by a spacecraft on an icy comet tomorrow. The Rosetta spacecraft was launched in 2004, and has spent a decade manoeuvring to rendezvous with the comet.

Beta-blockers have no mortality benefit in post-heart attack patients, say researchers

Posted: 11 Nov 2014 05:38 AM PST

Beta-blockers have been a cornerstone in the treatment of heart attack survivors for more than a quarter of a century. However, many of the data predate contemporary medical therapy such as reperfusion, statins, and antiplatelet agents, and recent data have called the role of beta-blockers into question. Two new studies evaluated the traditional management of these patients after their discharge from the hospital and in the light of changing medical treatment, as well as the impact of the discharge heart rate and conventional treatment with beta-blockers.

All the electronics that's fit to print

Posted: 11 Nov 2014 05:33 AM PST

New technology allows you to print electronic devices in the same way your inkjet printer prints a document or photo. Now researchers have used this technique to build a portable X-ray imager and small mechanical devices.

Multiple models reveal new genetic links in autism

Posted: 11 Nov 2014 05:33 AM PST

With the help of mouse models, induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and the "tooth fairy," researchers have implicated a new gene in idiopathic or non-syndromic autism.

Second-hand smoke exposure of hospitalized nonsmoker cardiac patients

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 06:09 PM PST

While nonsmoking patients hospitalized with coronary heart disease reported secondhand tobacco smoke exposure in the days before their hospital admission, only 17.3 percent of patients recalled a physician or nurse asking them about their SHS exposure despite evidence that SHS increases nonsmokers' risk of cardiovascular disease, according to a report.

Half of premature colorectal cancer deaths due to socioeconomic inequality

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 06:09 PM PST

Half of all premature deaths from colorectal cancer -- described as deaths in people ages 25 to 64 -- in the United States are linked to ethnic, socioeconomic, and geographic inequalities, and therefore could be prevented according to a new study.

Explosive compound reduced blood pressure in female offspring of hypertensive rats

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 06:09 PM PST

The explosive organic compound pentaerythritol tetranitrate helped lower blood pressure in the female offspring of hypertensive rats. Pentaerythritol tetranitrate had no effect on parent rats or their male offspring.

The brain’s 'inner GPS' gets dismantled

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 06:06 PM PST

Imagine being able to recognize your car as your own but never being able to remember where you parked it. Researchers have induced this all-too-common human experience -- or a close version of it -- permanently in rats and from what is observed perhaps derive clues about why strokes and Alzheimer's disease can destroy a person's sense of direction.

Archaeologists discover remains of Ice Age infants in Alaska

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 01:11 PM PST

The remains of two Ice Age infants, buried more than 11,000 years ago at a site in Alaska, represent the youngest human remains ever found in northern North America, according to a new article.

Marijuana's long-term effects on the brain demonstrated

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 01:11 PM PST

The effects of chronic marijuana use on the brain may depend on age of first use and duration of use, according to new research. Researchers for the first time comprehensively describe existing abnormalities in brain function and structure of long-term marijuana users with multiple magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques.

Cat genome reveals clues to domestication​​

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 01:10 PM PST

Cats and humans have shared the same households for at least 9,000 years, but we still know very little about how our feline friends became domesticated. An analysis of the cat genome reveals some surprising clues.

Playing action video games can boost learning, study finds

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 01:10 PM PST

A new study shows for the first time that playing action video games improves not just the skills taught in the game, but learning capabilities more generally.

Best evidence yet for galactic merger in distant protocluster

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 01:10 PM PST

Nestled among a triplet of young galaxies more than 12.5 billion light-years away is a cosmic powerhouse: a galaxy that is producing stars nearly 1,000 times faster than our own Milky Way. This energetic starburst galaxy, known as AzTEC-3, together with its gang of calmer galaxies may represent the best evidence yet that large galaxies grow from the merger of smaller ones in the early Universe, a process known as hierarchical merging.

Baby photos of a scaled-up solar system

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 12:09 PM PST

Astronomers have discovered two dust belts surrounded by a large dust halo around young star HD 95086. The findings provide a look back at what our solar system may have resembled in its infancy.

Asteroid's size revealed for the first time

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 12:09 PM PST

When the double asteroid Patroclus-Menoetius passed directly in front of a star on the night of Oct. 20, a team of volunteer astronomers across the U.S. was waiting. Observing the event, known as an occultation, from multiple sites where each observer recorded the precise time the star was obscured, yielded the first accurate determination of the two objects' size and shape.

Microbot muscles: Chains of particles assemble and flex

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 12:09 PM PST

In a step toward robots smaller than a grain of sand, researchers have shown how chains of self-assembling particles could serve as electrically activated muscles in the tiny machines.

Odor that smells like blood: Single component powerful trigger for large carnivores

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 12:09 PM PST

People find the smell of blood unpleasant, but for predatory animals it means food. When behavioral researchers wanted to find out which substances of blood trigger behavioral reactions, they got some unexpected results.

Opioid overdose: Cause for over two thirds of emergency department visits in 2010 in U.S.

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 09:43 AM PST

Researchers have found that prescription opioids, including methadone, were involved in 67.8 percent of -- or over 135,971 visits to -- emergency department visits in 2010 in the U.S., with the highest proportion of opioid overdoses occurring in the South.

Mothers' education significant to children's academic success

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 09:43 AM PST

A mother knows best -- and the amount of education she attains can predict her children's success in reading and math. In fact, that success is greater if she had her child later in life, according to a new study.

New target for blood cancer treatment discovered

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 09:43 AM PST

A therapeutic target that could lead to the development of new treatments for specific blood cancers has been identified by researchers. Using laboratory models, they found that 'switching off' half the gene in the Mpl receptor reduced its expression with the result that the disease did not develop.

Statins reverse learning disabilities caused by genetic disorder

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 09:42 AM PST

Neuroscientists discovered that statins, a popular class of cholesterol drugs, reverse the learning deficits caused by a mutation linked to a common genetic cause of learning disabilities. The findings were studied in mice genetically engineered to develop the disease, called Noonan syndrome.

Thousands of never-before-seen human genome variations uncovered

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 09:42 AM PST

Thousands of never-before-seen genetic variants in the human genome have been uncovered using a new genome sequencing technology. These discoveries close many human genome mapping gaps that have long resisted sequencing. The technique, called single-molecule, real-time DNA sequencing, may now make it possible for researchers to identify potential genetic mutations behind many conditions whose genetic causes have long eluded scientists.

Re-learning how to read a genome

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 09:42 AM PST

There are roughly 20,000 genes and thousands of other regulatory 'elements' stored within our DNA. Somehow all of this coded information needs to be read and transcribed into messages that can be used by cells. New research has revealed that the initial steps of the reading process are actually remarkably similar at both genes and regulatory elements. The main differences seem to occur after the initial step, in the length and stability of the messages.

A billion holes can make a battery

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 09:42 AM PST

Researchers have invented a single tiny structure that includes all the components of a battery that they say could bring about the ultimate miniaturization of energy storage components.

Some neurons can multitask, raising questions about importance of specialization

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 09:42 AM PST

The brain is constantly processing sensory information while supporting a dizzying array of behaviors. For decades, biologists have assumed that specialized classes of neurons process all this information at once. But a team of scientists has found a population of neurons in the rat brain that support multiple behaviors at once. These neurons cannot be individually classified by specialization, challenging assumptions about how information is encoded in the brain.

Iron fertilization less efficient for deep-sea carbon dioxide storage than previously thought?

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 09:42 AM PST

Scientists have discovered that iron fertilization promotes the growth of shelled organisms. In a naturally iron-fertilized system in the Southern Ocean the growth and sinking of these phytoplankton grazers reduces CO2 deep-ocean storage by up to 30 percent. Ignoring this response could result in overestimating the marine CO2 storage capacity resulting from iron fertilization.

Lighter, cheaper radio wave device could transform telecommunications

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 09:41 AM PST

Researchers have achieved a milestone in modern wireless and cellular telecommunications, creating a radically smaller, more efficient radio wave circulator that could be used in cellphones and other wireless devices. The new circulator has the potential to double the useful bandwidth in wireless communications and transform the telecommunications industry, making communications faster and less expensive in a wide array of products.

Birthweight charts tailored to specific ethnic groups may be better predictor of adverse outcomes

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 09:41 AM PST

Immigrant women give birth to about one-third of the babies born in Ontario. Yet clinicians still measure those babies before and after birth using the same scales that measure babies whose mothers were born in Canada, often of Western European ancestry.

Kīlauea, 1790 and today

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 09:40 AM PST

Scores of people were killed by an explosive eruption of Kilauea Volcano, Hawai'i, in 1790. Research suggests that most of the fatalities were caused by hot, rapidly moving surges of volcanic debris and steam that engulfed the victims. Deposits of such surges occur on the surface on the west summit area and cover an ash bed indented with human footprints.

Noise in a microwave amplifier is limited by quantum particles of heat

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 09:40 AM PST

Scientists have demonstrated how noise in a microwave amplifier is limited by self-heating at very low temperatures. The findings can be of importance for future discoveries in many areas of science such as quantum computers and radio astronomy. Many significant discoveries in physics and astronomy are dependent upon registering a barely detectable electrical signal in the microwave regime.

Good Vibrations Give Electrons Excitations That Rock an Insulator to Go Metallic

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 09:35 AM PST

Scientists have made an important advancement in understanding a classic transition-metal oxide, vanadium dioxide, by quantifying the thermodynamic forces driving the transformation.

Classification of gene mutations in a children's cancer may point to improved treatments

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 09:34 AM PST

Oncology researchers studying gene mutations in the childhood cancer neuroblastoma are refining their diagnostic tools to predict which patients are more likely to respond to drugs called ALK inhibitors that target such mutations. Removing some of the guesswork in diagnosis and treatment may lead to more successful outcomes.

A sea change for marine conservation

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 08:07 AM PST

Harnessing 'people power' to manage fisheries in the developing world has significantly benefited local communities and coral reefs, according to new research.

'Darting' mice may hold clues to ADHD, autism, bipolar disorder

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 08:07 AM PST

A darting mouse may hold an important clue in the development of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), autism and bipolar disorder, according to a study. The transgenic mouse, into which was inserted a rare human genetic variation in the dopamine transporter (DAT), could lead to improvements in the diagnosis and treatment of these all-too-common brain disorders, said the report's senior author.

Pre-symptomatic markers for hemorrhagic viruses like Ebola identified

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 08:04 AM PST

It is possible to distinguish between different hemorrhagic fevers, including Marburg (Ebola cousin) and Lassa before the person becomes symptomatic, new research has found. This study will allow for the development of better diagnostics, especially during the early stages of disease, when treatments have a greater chance of being effective.

On-demand conductivity for graphene nanoribbons

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 08:02 AM PST

Physicists have devised a theoretical model to tune the conductivity of graphene zigzag nanoribbons using ultra-short pulses. Physicists have, for the first time, explored in detail the time evolution of the conductivity, as well as other quantum-level electron transport characteristics, of a graphene device subjected to periodic ultra-short pulses. To date, the majority of graphene studies have considered the dependency of transport properties on the characteristics of the external pulses, such as field strength, period or frequency.

New listing to protect 21 species of sharks and rays

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 08:02 AM PST

Conservationists are rejoicing at the listing of 21 species of sharks and rays under the Appendices of the Convention on Migratory Species, made official today in the final plenary session of the Conference of Parties (CoP).

Combination therapy offers quicker, less toxic eradication of hepatitis C in liver transplant patients

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 08:01 AM PST

All patients with hepatitis C who receive a liver transplant will eventually infect their new livers. These transplanted organs then require anti-viral treatment before they become severely damaged. But traditional post-transplant hepatitis C therapy can take up to a year, is potentially toxic and can lead to organ rejection. Now researchers report that use of two new oral medications post-transplant is safe and beneficial, and requires only 12 weeks of treatment.

First steps in formation of pancreatic cancer identified

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 08:01 AM PST

The first steps in the origin of pancreatic cancer have been identified by researchers who say that their findings suggest preventive strategies to explore. The scientists described the molecular steps necessary for acinar cells in the pancreas -- the cells that release digestive enzymes -- to become precancerous lesions. Some of these lesions can then morph into cancer.

'Big data' takes root in world of plant research

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 05:37 AM PST

Botanists have compiled and shared 48 years' worth of global plant data to help answer some of the most pressing environmental and evolutionary questions facing modern society. People invested in living plant collections in botanic gardens through the centuries to bring economic, medicinal and agricultural advantages of plants to people all over the world. The botanists' database is moving this gift into the digital age of 'Big Data'.

Physicians play critical role in ensuring bladder cancer patients understand link between smoking, their disease

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 05:37 AM PST

When bladder cancer patients are well-informed by their physicians, they acknowledge that tobacco use was likely the cause of their disease. At least half of bladder cancer cases diagnosed in the United States are the result of cigarette smoking. Bladder cancer is the second most common tobacco-related malignancy, a fact that is not well known even among bladder cancer surgeons, let alone the general public.

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