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Sunday, November 2, 2014

ScienceDaily: Top News

ScienceDaily: Top News

Fun and games make for better learners

Posted: 31 Oct 2014 12:00 PM PDT

Four minutes of physical activity can improve behavior in the classroom for primary school students, according to new research. A brief, high-intensity interval exercise, or a 'FUNterval,' for Grade 2 and Grade 4 students reduced off-task behaviors like fidgeting or inattentiveness in the classroom.

Cell division, minus the cells

Posted: 31 Oct 2014 10:35 AM PDT

Researchers have reconstituted cell division -- complete with signals that direct molecular traffic -- without the cell. Combining frog-egg extracts with lipid membranes that mimic the membrane of the cell, they built a cell-free system that recapitulates how the cleavage furrow is assembled.

Decoding the emergence of metastatic cancer stem cells

Posted: 31 Oct 2014 10:35 AM PDT

In the first study of its kind, researchers have mapped how information flows through the genetic circuits that cause cancer cells to become metastatic. The research reveals a common pattern in the decision-making that allows cancer cells to both migrate and form new tumors.

Preventing cardiovascular disease in old aortas

Posted: 31 Oct 2014 10:34 AM PDT

Researchers look for the root cause of age-related aortic stiffness — an early sign cardiovascular disease — and uncover a potential therapeutic target for reducing or preventing its development. The underlying cause of aortic stiffening is unclear. While much of the previous research pointed to the extracellular matrix (ECM) -- a group of molecules secreted by the cells that support cell attachment and communication -- as the culprit, a few studies suggest that vascular smooth muscle may play a role.

A matter of life and death: Cell death proteins key to fighting disease

Posted: 31 Oct 2014 09:13 AM PDT

key steps involved in programmed cell death have been uncovered by researchers, offering new targets for the treatment of diseases including lupus, cancers and neurodegenerative diseases.

Improved mouse model will accelerate research on potential Ebola vaccines, treatments

Posted: 31 Oct 2014 09:12 AM PDT

The first genetic strain of mice that can be infected with Ebola and display symptoms similar to those that humans experience has been developed by researchers. This work will significantly improve basic research on Ebola treatments and vaccines, which are desperately needed to curb the worldwide public health and economic toll of the disease.

Green spaces don't ensure biodiversity in urban areas

Posted: 31 Oct 2014 09:12 AM PDT

Green spaces in cities are great, but they don't ensure biodiversity, according to biologists. The team found insect abundance was lacking in two common urban trees, suggesting insect movement may be limited by barriers, such as roads and buildings.

Lack of oxygen delayed the rise of animals on Earth

Posted: 31 Oct 2014 09:12 AM PDT

Scientists have long speculated as to why animal species didn't flourish sooner, once sufficient oxygen covered the Earth's surface. Animals began to prosper at the end of the Proterozoic period -- but what about the billion-year stretch before that, when most researchers think there also was plenty of oxygen? Yale University researcher Noah Planavsky and his colleagues found that oxygen levels during the 'boring billion' period were only 0.1 percent of what they are today.

Insomnia increases risk of motor vehicle deaths, other fatal injuries

Posted: 31 Oct 2014 09:12 AM PDT

Insomnia is a major contributor to deaths caused by motor vehicle crashes and other unintentional fatal injuries, a new study shows. The results underscore the importance of the 'Sleep Well, Be Well' campaign of the National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project.

Divide and rule: Raven politics

Posted: 31 Oct 2014 09:09 AM PDT

Mythology has attributed many supernatural features to ravens. Studies on the cognitive abilities of ravens have indeed revealed that they are exceptionally intelligent. Ravens live in complex social groups and they can gain power by building social bonds that function as alliances. Cognitive biologists have now revealed that ravens use a 'divide and rule' strategy in dealing with the bonds of conspecifics: Socially well integrated ravens prevent others from building new alliances by breaking up their bonding attempts.

New step towards eradication of H5N1 bird flu

Posted: 31 Oct 2014 09:08 AM PDT

A new test has been developed that can distinguish between birds that have been vaccinated against the H5N1 strain of avian influenza virus or 'bird flu' with those that have been naturally infected.

Viewing cancer on the move: New device yields close-up look at metastasis

Posted: 31 Oct 2014 09:04 AM PDT

Rngineers have invented a lab device to give cancer researchers an unprecedented microscopic look at metastasis, the complex way that tumor cells spread through the body, causing more than 90 percent of cancer-related deaths.

Proton therapy shown to be less costly than some alternative radiotherapy techniques for early stage breast cancer

Posted: 31 Oct 2014 09:04 AM PDT

In terms of duration of treatment and cost, patients with early stage breast cancer may benefit from accelerated partial breast irradiation (APBI) with proton therapy versus whole breast irradiation (WBI), according to new research.

Computer game could help visually impaired children live independently

Posted: 31 Oct 2014 05:20 AM PDT

A new computer game is being test that researchers hope could hold the key to helping visually-impaired children lead independent lives. Developed by a team of neuroscientists and video game designers, the Eyelander game features exploding volcanoes, a travelling avatar and animated landscapes. The idea is to improve the functional vision of children who have sight issues due to a brain injury rather than damage to the eye itself.

Universe may face a darker future: Is dark matter swallowing up dark energy?

Posted: 31 Oct 2014 05:20 AM PDT

New research offers a novel insight into the nature of dark matter and dark energy and what the future of our Universe might be. Scientists have found hints that dark matter, the cosmic scaffolding on which our Universe is built, is being slowly erased, swallowed up by dark energy.

High prevalence of vitamin D deficiency across the board in neuromuscular disease

Posted: 31 Oct 2014 05:19 AM PDT

More credence has been added to a growing awareness of the high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in neuromuscular disease by newly presented research. Vitamin D supplementation has been suggested to improve function in frail elderly patients at risk for falls, as well as individuals with myasthenia gravis and Parkinson's. The impact of vitamin D deficiency and supplementation on function in other neurologic conditions has yet to be explored.

Digital Therapist: Computer program analyzes speech, mental health

Posted: 31 Oct 2014 05:19 AM PDT

A program that analyzes your speech and uses it to gain information about your mental health could soon be feasible, thanks in part to new research showing that certain vocal features change as patients' feelings of depression worsen.

Researchers probe link between newborn health, vitamin A

Posted: 30 Oct 2014 06:38 PM PDT

The impact vitamin A has on newborns is virtually unknown, but nutrition researchers have published two papers that may provide a framework for future investigations of the vitamin and neonatal health.

Unlocking the secrets of pulmonary hypertension

Posted: 30 Oct 2014 06:38 PM PDT

A protein that plays a critical role in metabolism, the process by which the cell generates energy from foods, is important for the development of pulmonary hypertension, a deadly disease. Pulmonary hypertension is caused by the narrowing of the blood vessels in the lung, due to excessive growth of cells in the blood vessel wall. The cells grow in number until they obstruct the vessels, causing the heart to struggle pushing blood through the lungs to the point where the heart fails and the patient dies.

Doubt cast over air pollution link between childhood leukemia, power lines

Posted: 30 Oct 2014 06:37 PM PDT

Researchers from the UK have called into question a theory suggesting that a previously reported risk of leukemia among children born close to overhead power lines could be caused by an alteration to surrounding air pollution.

Scientists trigger self-destruct switch in lung cancer cells

Posted: 30 Oct 2014 06:37 PM PDT

Scientists have found a drug combination that can trigger the self-destruct process in lung cancer cells - paving the way for new treatments, according to research. "There's an urgent need to save more lives from lung cancer and we hope these findings will one day lead to effective new treatments to help lung cancer patients and potentially those with other cancer types too," authors noted.

Researchers treat canine cancer, likely to advance human health

Posted: 30 Oct 2014 06:37 PM PDT

A research team is working to better understand cancer in dogs, and the work also could advance knowledge of human cancer. Their investigation began with only a tiny blood platelet, but quickly they discovered opportunities for growth and expanding the breadth of the research. "As veterinarians, we are focused on treating cancer in dogs and we get the bonus of also helping advance treatment of human cancers," one researcher observed.

Mediterranean diet may help protect kidney health

Posted: 30 Oct 2014 06:36 PM PDT

Every one-point increase in a Mediterranean diet score was associated with a 17% decreased likelihood of developing chronic kidney disease, a study concludes. Dietary patterns that closely resembled the Mediterranean diet were linked with a 50% reduced risk of developing chronic kidney disease and a 42% reduced risk of experiencing rapid kidney function decline, the researchers add.

People change their moral values to benefit themselves over others

Posted: 30 Oct 2014 01:30 PM PDT

People are quick to change their moral values depending on which rule means more cash for them instead of others, a study shows. The researchers conclude that the "Pursuit of self-interest is tempered by the constraints of coordination. People seek not only to benefit themselves but also to persuade other people that they are morally right in doing so."

Novel tinnitus therapy helps patients cope with phantom noise

Posted: 30 Oct 2014 01:30 PM PDT

Patients with tinnitus hear phantom noise and are sometimes so bothered by the perceived ringing in their ears, they have difficulty concentrating. A new therapy does not lessen perception of the noise but appears to help patients cope better with it in their daily lives, according to new research.

For stroke patients, hospital bed position is delicate balancing act

Posted: 30 Oct 2014 12:06 PM PDT

During the first 24 hours after a stroke, attention to detail -- such as hospital bed positioning -- is critical to patient outcomes. Most strokes are caused by blood clots that block blood flow to the brain. Sitting upright can harm the patient because it decreases blood flow and oxygen to the brain just when the brain needs more blood.

Scientists capture picture of 'microRNA' in action

Posted: 30 Oct 2014 11:19 AM PDT

Biologists have described the atomic-level workings of "microRNA" molecules, which control the expression of genes in all animals and plants. The findings add greatly to the understanding of a fundamental system of regulation in biology.

Restoring wetlands can lessen soil sinkage, greenhouse gas emissions, study finds

Posted: 30 Oct 2014 10:34 AM PDT

Restoring wetlands can help reduce or reverse soil subsidence and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to research in California's Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. The study is one of the first to continually measure the fluctuations of both carbon and methane as they cycle through wetlands.

What's mighty about the mouse? For starters, its massive Y chromosome

Posted: 30 Oct 2014 10:29 AM PDT

An exhaustive effort to sequence the mouse Y chromosome reveals a surprisingly large and complex biological beast, at the same time providing remarkable insight into a heated battle for supremacy between mammalian sex chromosomes.

Rewiring metabolism slows colorectal cancer growth

Posted: 30 Oct 2014 10:29 AM PDT

Cancers select against a protein complex called the mitochondrial pyruvate carrier (MPC), and re-introduction of MPC in colon cancer cells impairs several properties of cancer, including growth. This research implicates changes in a key step in metabolism – the way cellular fuel is utilized – as an important driver of colon cancer that is also likely to be important in many other cancer settings.

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