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Thursday, November 6, 2014

ScienceDaily: Top News

ScienceDaily: Top News

Scientists uncover potential drug to tackle 'undruggable' fault in third of cancers

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 04:46 PM PST

Scientists have found a possible way to halt one of the most common faults in many types of cancer, according to new research. They have uncovered a new strategy and new potential drug to target an important signalling protein in cells called Ras, which is faulty in a third of cancers.

High-speed 'label-free' imaging could reveal dangerous plaques

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 03:37 PM PST

Researchers are close to commercializing a new type of medical imaging technology that could diagnose cardiovascular disease by measuring ultrasound signals from molecules exposed to a fast-pulsing laser.

This just in: Political correctness pumps up productivity on the job

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 03:36 PM PST

Political correctness, loathed by some as censorship awash in leftist philosophy, actually boosts the creativity of mixed-sex work teams. These results highlight a paradoxical consequence: A term that has been used to undermine expectations to censor offensive language as a threat to free speech actually provides a foundation upon which diverse work groups can freely exchange creative ideas.

When less is more: Death in moderation boosts population density in nature

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 01:30 PM PST

In nature, the right amount of death at the right time might actually help boost a species' population density, according to new research that could help in understanding animal populations, pest control and managing fish and wildlife stocks.

Immune booster combined with checkpoint blocker improves survival in metastatic melanoma

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 01:30 PM PST

Patients with metastatic melanoma who were treated with ipilimumab, an immune checkpoint blocker, survived 50 percent longer if they simultaneously received an immune stimulant.

Google Glass may partially obstruct peripheral vision, study finds

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 01:30 PM PST

Testing of study participants who wore head-mounted display systems -- Google Glass -- found that the glasses created a partial peripheral vision obstruction, according to a study.

Combination treatment for metastatic melanoma results in longer overall survival

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 01:30 PM PST

Among patients with metastatic melanoma, treatment with a combination of the drugs sargramostim plus ipilimumab, compared with ipilimumab alone, resulted in longer overall survival and lower toxicity, but no difference in progression-free survival, according to a study.

Nonobstructive CAD associated with increased risk of heart attack, death

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 01:30 PM PST

In a study that included nearly 38,000 patients, those diagnosed with nonobstructive coronary artery disease (CAD) had a significantly increased risk of heart attack or death one year after diagnosis, according to a study.

Oxytocin levels in blood, cerebrospinal fluid are linked, study finds

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 01:30 PM PST

For years, scientists have debated how best to assess brain levels of oxytocin, a hormone implicated in social behaviors. Now, researchers have found the first direct evidence in children that blood oxytocin measurements are tightly linked to levels of oxytocin in cerebrospinal fluid, which bathes the brain.

Medicare may need to expand options for behavioral weight loss counseling in primary care settings, according to research review

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 01:29 PM PST

An important addition to the "eat less, move more" strategy for weight loss lies in behavioral counseling to achieve these goals. But research on how primary care practitioners can best provide behavioral weight loss counseling to obese patients in their practices — as encouraged by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) — remains slim, according to a systematic review of this topic.

The inside story: How the brain and skull stay together

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 12:37 PM PST

Researchers have discovered a network of tissue communication that ensures that the brain and spinal cord are matched with the skull and spinal column, during embryonic development. Their discovery may have important implications for the understanding and treatment of congenital defects like Spina Bifida and Chiari malformations.

How cells defend themselves against antibiotics, cytostatic agents

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 12:37 PM PST

ABC Transporters are proteins that are embedded in the cell membrane and facilitate the transport across cellular barriers not only of an almost unlimited variety of toxic substances, but also of substances that are essential for life. They also play a role in the development of antibiotic resistance. A research group has now succeeded in elucidating the detailed structure of this transporter.

Genetic damage caused by asthma shows up in circulating blood stream, too

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 12:35 PM PST

Asthma may be more harmful than was previously thought, according to UCLA researchers who found that genetic damage is present in circulating, or peripheral, blood. Doctors previously thought that the genetic damage it caused was limited to the lungs.

Where'd you get that great idea?

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 11:19 AM PST

Is it better to 'think outside the box,' or to build on something more closely related to the problem one is trying to solve? Researchers have collected surprising evidence that nearer is better.

Tectonic plates not rigid, deform horizontally in cooling process

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 11:19 AM PST

The puzzle pieces of tectonic plates are not rigid and don't fit together as nicely as we were taught in high school. A new nstudy quantifies deformation of the Pacific plate and challenges the central approximation of the plate tectonic paradigm that plates are rigid.

Scent communication in polar bears explored

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 11:19 AM PST

Scientists have provided the first systematic examination of the social information polar bears may glean from scent left in the paw prints of other polar bears. The authors also suggest that scent communication in polar bears may be compromised if climate-change driven sea ice losses in the Arctic intensify.

Disorder plus disorder equals more disorder?

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 11:17 AM PST

It turns out that in certain situations, combining messes can actually reduce the disorder of the whole; an international team of researchers has identified a set of conditions in which adding disorder to a system makes it more orderly. This behavior is known as antifragility, a concept introduced recently to describe similar phenomena in statistics, economics and social science.

U.S. adult consumption of added sugars increased by more than 30% over three decades

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 11:17 AM PST

While recent studies indicate that added sugar consumption has begun to decline, no research has examined whether these changes have persisted, or are consistent across critical subpopulations. Researchers examined five nationally representative surveys about food intake in the U.S. from 1977 to 2010, and found that added sugar consumption by American adults has increased by about 30% in the last three decades.

Surgery for sleep apnea improves asthma control

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 11:17 AM PST

Children who had their tonsils and adenoids removed for obstructive sleep apnea also had dramatic reductions in acute asthma exacerbations, acute status asthmaticus, asthma-related hospitalizations and ER visits, results from the first large study of the connections between OSA surgery and asthma show.

Genetic markers for alcoholism recovery discovered

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 10:11 AM PST

Researchers have identified genetic markers that may help in identifying individuals who could benefit from the alcoholism treatment drug acamprosate. The findings show that patients carrying these genetic variants have longer periods of abstinence during the first three months of acamprosate treatment.

Secondhand smoke can cause weight gain

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 09:13 AM PST

New research is challenging the decades-old belief that smoking cigarettes helps keep you slim. A study finds that exposure to cigarette smoke can actually cause weight gain. But here's the kicker: Secondhand smoke is the biggest culprit.

Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease may share deep roots

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 09:13 AM PST

A new study of genetic and health information from more than 15,000 women uncovered several potential ways that type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease may be related at the level of genes, proteins, and fundamental physiology.

Geologist reveals correlation between earthquakes, landslides in Peru

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 09:13 AM PST

A geologist has demonstrated that earthquakes -- not climate change, as previously thought -- affect the rate of landslides in Peru. "Geologic records of landslide activity offer rare glimpses into landscapes evolving under the influence of tectonics and climate," says a researcher whose expertise includes geomorphology and tectonics. "Because deposits from individual landslides are unlikely to be preserved, it's difficult to reconstruct landslide activity in the geologic past. Therefore, we've developed a method that measures landslide activity before and after the last glacial-interglacial climate transition in Peru."

Granger Causality test can make epilepsy surgery more effective

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 09:11 AM PST

A new statistical test that looks at the patterns of high-frequency network activity flow from brain signals can help doctors pinpoint the exact location of seizures occurring in the brain and make surgery more effective, according to researchers.

Brain anatomy differences between autistic, typically developing individuals are indistinguishable

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 08:17 AM PST

'Our findings offer definitive answers regarding several scientific controversies about brain anatomy, which have occupied autism research for the past 10 to 15 years,' says one expert. 'Previous hypotheses suggesting that autism is associated with larger intra-cranial gray matter, white matter and amygdala volumes, or smaller cerebellar, corpus callosum and hippocampus volumes were mostly refuted by this new study.'

Asthma patients reduce symptoms, improve lung function with shallow breaths, more carbon dioxide

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 08:16 AM PST

Asthmatics naturally take deep breaths to relieve symptoms. But new research has found that asthma patients using biofeedback to resist the urge to gulp air or take deep breaths, managed to reduce symptoms and improve lung function. Shallow breathing increased carbon dioxide, said investigators. The findings are the first published results of a large clinical trial.

Dark matter may be massive: Theorists suggest the standard model may account for the stuff

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 08:16 AM PST

Instead of WIMPS or axions, dark matter may be made of macroscopic objects as small as a few ounces up to the size of a good asteroid, and probably as dense as a neutron star or the nucleus of an atom, researchers suggest.

Fish integration: Nature adores a hybrid

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 08:15 AM PST

After a few generations of breeding and natural selection, hybrid fish are genetically as robust as their purely wild forefathers, new research shows. The team transplanted combinations of wild, domesticated and hybridized populations of Algonquin Park vbrook trout to new environments. The researchers then compared survival rates and physical characteristics to determine whether hybridization affects a fish's potential to adapt after multiple generations of natural selection in the wild.

Hermit thrush or humans: Who sets the tone?

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 08:15 AM PST

The songs of the hermit thrush, a common North American songbird, follow principles found in much human music -- namely the harmonic series. Researchers are the first to demonstrate note selection from the harmonic series in a non-human animal using rigorous analytical methods.

Coffee tree genome sequenced

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 08:14 AM PST

The coffee tree genome has been sequenced. By using several sequencing technologies, researchers coordinated the mapping of the DNA sequence for the coffee tree, assembled in large fragments able to be used in various types of analysis. The team then anchored these sequence fragments to a high-density genetic card to reconstruct the pseudo-chromosomes. A catalogue of genes and repeated sequences was then created and validated, allowing for a comparison with other plants.

Climate, emerging diseases: Dangerous connections found

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 08:14 AM PST

Climate change may affect human health directly or indirectly. In addition to increased threats of storms, flooding, droughts, and heat waves, other health risks are being identified. In particular, new diseases are appearing, caused by infectious agents until now unknown, or that are changing, especially under the effect of changes in the climate. These are so-called "emerging" or "re-emerging" infectious diseases, such as leishmaniasis, West Nile fever, etc. According to the WHO, these diseases are causing one third of deaths around the world, and developing countries are on the front line.

Vaccine-resistant polio strain discovered

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 08:14 AM PST

The global initiative to eradicate poliomyelitis through routine vaccination has helped reduce the number of cases by more than 99% in 30 years. However, major epidemics are still occurring today. Researchers have identified the virus responsible for deadly and recent outbreaks, and have sequenced its genetic material. The genetic sequence shows two mutations, unknown until now, of the proteins that form the "shell" (capsid) of the virus. On the face of it, this evolution complicates the task for the antibodies produced by the immune system of the vaccinated patient as they can no longer recognize the viral strain.

Improving taste of alcohol-free beer with aromas from regular beer

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 08:14 AM PST

Consumers often complain that alcohol-free beer is tasteless, but some of the aromas it is lacking can be carried across from regular beer. Researchers have developed the technique and a panel of tasters has confirmed its effectiveness. The alcohol in beer acts as a solvent for a variety of aromatic compounds; therefore, when it is eliminated, as in non-alcoholic beers, the final product loses aromas and some of its taste. It is difficult to recover these compounds, but researchers have done just this using a pervaporation process.

Hot flashes going unrecognized, leaving women vulnerable

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 08:14 AM PST

Hot flashes are one of the most distressing conditions faced by women who have been treated for breast cancer, but they are not being adequately addressed by healthcare professionals and some women consider giving up their post cancer medication to try and stop them, a new study has shown More than 70 per cent of women who have had breast cancer experience menopausal problems, and hot flashes in particular, which are among the most prevalent and potentially distressing problems following breast cancer treatment.

Radiation a risk factor for brain tumors in young people, study finds

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 08:11 AM PST

In people under age 30, radiation is a risk factor for a type of brain tumor called a meningioma, a study has found. Researchers analyzed records of 35 patients who were diagnosed with meningiomas before age 30. Five had been exposed to ionizing radiation earlier in their lives. They include two patients who received radiation for leukemia at ages 5 and 6; one who received radiation at age 3 for a brain tumor known as a medulloblastoma; and one who received radiation for an earlier skull base tumor that appeared to be a meningioma. The fifth patient had been exposed at age 9 to radiation from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster in Ukraine.

Physicists narrow search for solution to proton spin puzzle

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 08:11 AM PST

Results from recent experiments reveal new insights about how quarks and gluons, the subatomic building blocks of matter, contribute to proton "spin."

Outsmarting thermodynamics in self-assembly of nanostructures

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 06:11 AM PST

Researchers have achieved symmetry-breaking in a bulk metamaterial solution for the first time, a critical step game toward achieving new and exciting properties in metamaterials.

Ebola, Marburg viruses edit genetic material during infection

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 06:11 AM PST

Filoviruses like Ebola 'edit' genetic material as they invade their hosts, according to a study. The findings reported could lead to a better understanding of these viruses, paving the way for new treatments down the road.

Undiagnosed, undertreated Chagas disease emerging as U.S. public health threat

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 06:11 AM PST

Across a broad swath of the southern United States, residents face a tangible but mostly unrecognized risk of contracting Chagas disease -- a stealthy parasitic infection that can lead to severe heart disease and death -- according to new research.

Obesity in pregnant women may increase children's risk of kidney, urinary tract problems

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 06:11 AM PST

Obesity in a pregnant woman may increase the risk that her children will be born with congenital abnormalities of the kidney and urinary tract, research shows. Congenital abnormalities of the kidney and urinary tract (CAKUT) are diagnosed in up to 1% of pregnancies and account for 20% to 30% of prenatal abnormalities.

Forensic DNA test conclusively links snake bite marks on people to species

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 06:11 AM PST

Starting with a simple DNA swab taken from fang marks on people bitten by snakes, an international research team correctly identified the species of the biting snake 100 percent of the time in a first-of-its-kind clinical study.

Parent intervention best for helping toddlers with autism, study finds

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 06:10 AM PST

For the first time, toddlers with autism have demonstrated significant improvement after intensive intervention by parents rather than clinicians, according to a new study.

Lemurs: Gardeners of Madagascar rainforest at risk

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 05:38 AM PST

Researchers explored the role of threatened primates as seed dispersers in Madagascar's biodiverse rainforest to better understand possible consequences of their loss. A large proportion of trees in Madagascar's rainforest have fruits eaten by lemurs. Lemurs in turn disperse the seeds of their fruit trees throughout the forest with their scat. Such dispersal can play a crucial role for a tree species' ability to regenerate, but effects are poorly understood, especially when there are multiple dispersers.

Chemists gain edge in next-gen energy: Flexible film can catalyze production of hydrogen

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 05:38 AM PST

Scientists have created a flexible film with the ability to catalyze the production of hydrogen or be used for energy storage. They have turned molybdenum disulfide's two-dimensional form into a nanoporous film that can catalyze the production of hydrogen or be used for energy storage.

Shaping up: Researchers reconstruct early stages of embryo development

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 05:38 AM PST

Researchers have managed to reconstruct the early stage of mammalian development using embryonic stem cells, showing that a critical mass of cells -- not too few, but not too many -- is needed for the cells to being self-organizing into the correct structure for an embryo to form.

Less reward, more aversion when learning tricky tasks

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 05:38 AM PST

We can easily learn by seeking reward or avoiding punishment. But either way, we'd rather have any task be easy. A new study finds a direct behavioral and physiological linkage between those inclinations: When even subtle conflict made an experimental task harder, it affected the perception of reward and punishment, skewing how subjects learned the task.

Association between coronary artery plaque, liver disease found

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 05:38 AM PST

Researchers using coronary computed tomography angiography have found a close association between high-risk coronary artery plaque and a common liver disease. The study found that a single CT exam can detect both conditions.

Report card on complementary therapies for breast cancer

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 05:38 AM PST

Over 80 percent of breast cancer patients in the United States use complementary therapies following a breast cancer diagnosis, but there has been little science-based guidance to inform clinicians and patients about their safety and effectiveness. In newly published guidelines, researchers analyzed which integrative treatments appear to be most effective and safe for patients. They evaluated more than 80 different therapies.

'Stockholm Syndrome' could have ancient roots: Traditional stories highlight how ancient women survived

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 05:37 AM PST

Through the ages, women have suffered greatly because of wars. Consequently, to protect themselves and their offspring, our female ancestors may have evolved survival strategies specific to problems posed by warfare.

'Grimsel' electric racing car breaks world record

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 05:37 AM PST

The 'Grimsel' electric racing car today broke the previous world record for acceleration in electric cars. The vehicle accelerated from 0 to 100 km/h in 1.79 seconds in under 30 meters. The new record was set by the students who also designed and built the vehicle.

Lactose intolerants at lower risk of certain cancers: Study

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 05:37 AM PST

People with lactose intolerance are at lower risk of suffering from lung, breast and ovarian cancers, according to a new study.

Six faces of killers on social networking sites revealed

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 05:37 AM PST

A team of leading criminologists have published the first-ever study on how convicted killers have used the social networking site Facebook in relation to their crimes.

How exercise could reduce relapse during meth withdrawal

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 05:37 AM PST

Even brief workouts can reduce the risk of relapse in rats withdrawing from methamphetamine, research shows. In addition, the research team found that exercise affected the neurons in a brain region that had never before been associated with meth withdrawal, suggesting a new direction for drug development.

New evidence that exercise therapy, acupuncture benefit breast cancer survivors

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 05:31 AM PST

There is hope for breast cancer survivors struggling with cancer-related pain and swelling. Researchers point to ways to enhance muscular strength and body image in new articles that focus on integrative oncology, which combines a variety of therapies, some non-traditional, for maximum benefit to cancer patients.

Better bomb-sniffing technology

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 05:31 AM PST

Engineers have developed a new type of carbon nanotube material for handheld sensors that will be quicker and better at sniffing out explosives, deadly gases and illegal drugs.

Patients taking significantly fewer medications after weight-loss surgery

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 05:31 AM PST

Patients with obesity take significantly fewer medications after weight-loss surgery than their non-surgical counterparts, and end up spending 22.4 percent less on drugs for diabetes and heart disease after four years, according to new research.

For some, losing weight after bariaric surgery may be a matter of taste

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 05:31 AM PST

People with obesity may have an unexpected ally after weight-loss surgery: their tongues. New research finds patients who reported a decrease in taste intensity after bariatric surgery had significantly higher excess weight loss after three months than those whose taste intensity became higher.

Intragastric balloon beats diet, exercise alone for weight loss

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 05:31 AM PST

After six months, people with intragastric balloons in their stomachs lost more than twice their excess weight, compared to people who tried to lose weight under a medically supervised diet and exercise program alone, according to new research from a randomized clinical trial.

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