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Friday, November 7, 2014

ScienceDaily: Top News

ScienceDaily: Top News

'Direct writing' of diamond patterns from graphite a potential technological leap

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 05:35 PM PST

What began as research into a method to strengthen metals has led to the discovery of a new technique that uses a pulsing laser to create synthetic nanodiamond films and patterns from graphite, with potential applications from biosensors to computer chips.

European satellite could discover thousands of planets in Earth's galaxy

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 05:35 PM PST

The recently launched European satellite Gaia could discover tens of thousands of planets during its five-year mission.

Further evidence of potential for new anti-cancer drug

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 05:34 PM PST

Scientists have shown that a new drug inhibits the growth of tumors in the lab and that its effectiveness is improved by combining it with radiotherapy – suggesting a new approach that could be used in the clinic, they say.

New research shows vulnerability in mobile phones’ applications offering voice communication security

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 05:33 PM PST

Researchers have identified problems with secure voice communication over the Internet. They are explaining why there are concerns with the end-to-end security of an increasingly popular means of communication, and what users can do to defend against potential threats.

Mosquitofish genitalia change rapidly due to human impacts

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 01:52 PM PST

Human environmental changes can markedly -- and rapidly -- affect fish shape, specifically the shape of mosquitofish genitalia in the Bahamas. These findings indicate that sometimes the impacts of human activities on the traits of organisms can be predictable, suggesting that management, restoration and conservation efforts could be useful.

Having a Y chromosome doesn't affect women's response to sexual images, brain study shows

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 01:52 PM PST

Women born with a rare condition that gives them a Y chromosome don't only look like women physically, they also have the same brain responses to visual sexual stimuli, a new study shows.

The female nose always knows: Do women have more olfactory neurons?

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 01:52 PM PST

Using a new method called isotropic fractionator, a group of researchers has found biological evidence that may explain the superior olfactory abilities that women have over men.

Safest cosmetic surgery procedures

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 01:52 PM PST

Minimally invasive cosmetic procedures, including fillers, neurotoxins and laser and energy device procedures are exceedingly safe and have essentially no risk of serious adverse events, reports a new study that analyzed more than 20,000 procedures around the country.

For leaders, looking intelligent is less important than looking healthy

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 01:52 PM PST

People look for candidates with a healthy complexion when choosing a leader, but don't favor the most intelligent-looking candidates except for positions that require negotiation between groups or exploration of new markets, a study shows.

Number of young patients with newly diagnosed colorectal cancer anticipated to nearly double by 2030

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 01:50 PM PST

In the next 15 years, more than one in 10 colon cancers and nearly one in four rectal cancers will be diagnosed in patients younger than the traditional screening age, according to researchers.

More evidence arthritis/pain relieving drugs may contribute to stroke death

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 01:50 PM PST

Commonly prescribed, older drugs for arthritis and pain may increase the risk of death from stroke, according to a study. "Our study supports stepping up efforts to make sure people with a higher risk of stroke are not prescribed these medications when other options are available," authors concluded.

Small New Zealand population initiated rapid forest transition c. 750 years ago: Drier forests lost within decades, instead of centuries as previously thought

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 12:45 PM PST

Human-set fires by a small Polynesian population in New Zealand about 750 years ago may have caused fire-vulnerable forests to shift to shrub land over decades, rather than over centuries, as previously thought.

ADHD-air pollution link: Breathing dirty air during pregnancy raises odds of childhood ADHD-related behavior problems

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 12:45 PM PST

Prenatal exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAH, a component of air pollution, raises the odds of behavior problems associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, at age 9, according to researchers.

Direct brain interface between humans

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 12:45 PM PST

Researchers have successfully replicated a direct brain-to-brain connection between pairs of people as part of a scientific study following the team's initial demonstration a year ago. In the newly published study, which involved six people, researchers were able to transmit the signals from one person's brain over the Internet and use these signals to control the hand motions of another person within a split second of sending that signal.

A fraction of the global military spending could save the planet's biodiversity, say experts: Only one in four protected areas is well managed

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 12:45 PM PST

A fundamental step-change involving an increase in funding and political commitment is urgently needed to ensure that protected areas deliver their full conservation, social and economic potential, according to an new article.

New coral species off California discovered

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 11:11 AM PST

A research team has discovered a new species of deep-sea coral and a nursery area for catsharks and skates in the underwater canyons located close to the Gulf of Farallones and Cordell Bank national marine sanctuaries off the Sonoma coast.

Humans, baboons share cumulative culture ability

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 11:10 AM PST

The ability to build up knowledge over generations, called cumulative culture, has given humankind language and technology. While it was thought to be limited to humans until now, researchers have recently found that baboons are also capable of cumulative culture.

Osteoporosis: Not just a woman's disease

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 11:07 AM PST

While osteoporosis prevention and treatment efforts have historically been focused on post-menopausal women, a new study suggests that critical opportunities are being lost by not focusing more attention on bone loss and fracture risk in older men.

High rate of insomnia during early recovery from addiction

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 11:07 AM PST

Insomnia is a "prevalent and persistent" problem for patients in the early phases of recovery from the disease of addiction — and may lead to an increased risk of relapse, according to a results of a recent study.

Retinal-scan analysis can predict advance of macular degeneration, study finds

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 10:20 AM PST

Scientists have found a new way to forecast which patients with age-related macular degeneration are likely to suffer from the most debilitating form of the disease. The new method predicts, on a personalized basis, which patients' AMD would, if untreated, probably make them blind, and roughly when this would occur. Simply by crunching imaging data that is already commonly collected in eye doctors' offices, ophthalmologists could make smarter decisions about when to schedule an individual patient's next office visit in order to optimize the chances of detecting AMD progression before it causes blindness.

Clearing a path for electrons in polymers: Closing in on the speed limits

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 10:19 AM PST

A new class of low-cost polymer materials, which can carry electric charge with almost no losses despite their seemingly random structure, could lead to flexible electronics and displays which are faster and more efficient.

Bone drug should be seen in a new light for its anti-cancer properties

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 10:19 AM PST

Researchers have shown why calcium-binding drugs commonly used to treat people with osteoporosis, or with late-stage cancers that have spread to bone, may also benefit patients with tumors outside the skeleton, including breast cancer.

Milestone in accelerating particles with plasma: Technique is powerful, efficient enough to drive future particle accelerators

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 10:19 AM PST

Scientists have shown that a promising technique for accelerating electrons on waves of plasma is efficient enough to power a new generation of shorter, more economical accelerators. This could greatly expand their use in areas such as medicine, national security, industry and high-energy physics research.

Genesis of genitalia: We have one. Lizards have two. Why?

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 10:19 AM PST

When it comes to genitalia, nature enjoys variety. Snakes and lizards have two. Birds and people have one. And while the former group's paired structures are located somewhat at the level of the limbs, ours, and the birds', appear a bit further down. In fact, snake and lizard genitalia are derived from tissue that gives rise to hind legs, while mammalian genitalia are derived from the tail bud. But despite such noteworthy contrasts, these structures are functionally analogous and express similar genes. Researchers have now discovered how functionally analogous genitalia can arise from divergent tissue.

First amphibious ichthyosaur discovered, filling evolutionary gap

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 10:19 AM PST

The first fossil of an amphibious ichthyosaur has been discovered in China. The fossil represents a missing stage in the evolution of ichthyosaurs, marine reptiles from the Age of Dinosaurs about 250 million years ago.

Coexist or perish, new wildfire analysis says: Changing wildfire paradigm from fighting to coexistence

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 10:19 AM PST

An international team of fire experts have concluded that it is time to stop fighting fires and instead develop strategies to live with fire. In many areas, fire management is difficult or impossible, and interferes with fire's key role in the ecosystem. Instead, we should develop zoning & building codes and evacuation protocols to allow people to live with fire, just as we now live with earthquake and tornado hazards.

Increase in ozone-destroying substances, but Montreal Protocol on track

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 10:19 AM PST

Scientists have shown a recent increase in atmospheric hydrogen chloride, a substance linked to destruction of the ozone layer.

Giant groundhog-like creature: Newly discovered fossil is a clue to early mammalian evolution

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 10:19 AM PST

A newly discovered 66–70 million-year-old groundhog-like creature, massive in size compared to other mammals of its era, provides new and important insights into early mammalian evolution.

Engineered for tolerance, bacteria pump out higher quantity of renewable gasoline

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 09:20 AM PST

An international team of bioengineers has boosted the ability of bacteria to produce isopentenol, a compound with desirable gasoline properties. The finding is a significant step toward developing a bacterial strain that can yield industrial quantities of renewable bio-gasoline.

Protein linked to aging identified as new target for controlling diabetes

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 09:20 AM PST

Researchers have identified a small protein with a big role in lowering plasma glucose and increasing insulin sensitivity. The report indicates that Sestrin 3 plays a critical role in regulating molecular pathways that control the production of glucose and insulin sensitivity in the liver, making it a logical target for drug development for type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, which can produce increased blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol levels and insulin resistance.

How corals can actually benefit from climate change effects

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 09:20 AM PST

New research explains how mod­erate increases in ocean acid­i­fi­ca­tion and tem­per­a­ture can enhance the growth rates of some reef-forming corals. Authors of a new report attribute the coral's pos­i­tive response to mod­er­ately ele­vated carbon dioxide to the fer­til­iza­tion of pho­to­syn­thesis within the coral's algal sym­bionts, which may pro­vide the coral with more energy for cal­ci­fi­ca­tion even though the sea­water is more acidic.

Research suggests high-fat diets during pregnancy could influence brain functioning, behavior of children

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 09:20 AM PST

A diet high in fat can increase one's risk for diabetes, obesity and metabolic syndrome; however few studies have assessed the effects of a maternal high fat diet on offspring. New research suggests that a high-fat maternal diet during pregnancy and while breastfeeding could have significant and lasting detrimental effects on the brain function and behavior of children. The study is one of few basic science studies conducted to measure the direct effect of a high-fat maternal diet on the cognitive functioning on offspring.

Shape of things to come in platelet mimicry

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 08:26 AM PST

For the first time, researchers have been able to integratively mimic the shape, size, flexibility and surface chemistry of real blood platelets on albumin-based particles. The platelet mimics halt bleeding in mouse models 65 percent faster than nature alone.

Brain dissociates emotional response from explicit memory in fearful situations

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 08:26 AM PST

Researchers have been tracking the traces of implicit and explicit memories of fear in human. The study describes how in a context of fear, our brain differently encodes contextual memory of a negative event (the place, what we saw ...) and emotional response associated.

Live images from the nano-cosmos: Scientists watch layers of football molecules grow

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 08:26 AM PST

Using ultrabright X-rays, researchers have observed in real-time how football-shaped carbon molecules arrange themselves into ultra-smooth layers. Together with theoretical simulations, the investigation reveals the fundamentals of this growth process for the first time in detail. This knowledge will eventually enable scientists to tailor nanostructures for certain applications from these carbon molecules, which play an increasing role in the promising field of plastic electronics.

High-fat diet postpones brain aging in mice

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 08:26 AM PST

New research suggests that signs of brain aging can be postponed in mice if placed on a high-fat diet. In the long term, this opens the possibility of treatment of children suffering from premature aging and patients with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.

Population boom, droughts contributed to collapse of ancient Assyrian Empire

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 08:25 AM PST

Researchers have drawn parallels between decline of Assyrian civilization and today's situation in Syria and Iraq. There's more to the decline of the once mighty ancient Assyrian Empire than just civil wars and political unrest. Archaeological, historical, and paleoclimatic evidence suggests that climatic factors and population growth might also have come into play.

Readmission rates above average for survivors of septic shock

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 08:23 AM PST

A diagnosis of septic shock was once a near death sentence. At best, survivors suffered a substantially reduced quality of life. Researchers have now shown that while most patients now survive a hospital stay for septic shock, 23 percent will return to the hospital within 30 days, many with another life-threatening condition -- a rate substantially higher than the normal readmission rate at a large academic medical center.

Can love make us mean? Researchers explore the relationship between empathy and aggression

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 08:23 AM PST

Empathy is among humanity's defining characteristics. Yet under certain circumstances, feelings of warmth, tenderness and sympathy can in fact predict aggressive behaviors, according to new research.

Mosquito feeding study may help stem dangerous viruses

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 08:23 AM PST

Mosquitoes bite male birds nearly twice as often as they bite females, a finding that may help scientists understand how to stem some viruses from spreading to humans. This marks the first step for scientists to try to determine why mosquitoes bite men more often than women in some parts of the world and vice versa in other areas, said one researcher.

Powerful imaging for optical point-of-care diagnostics

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 07:13 AM PST

A new handheld probe could give doctors powerful new imaging capabilities right in the palms of their hands. The imaging system shrinks a technology that once filled a whole lab bench down to a computer screen and a small probe about the size of a stapler.

Breaking down BPA and similar pollutants with sunlight, nanoparticles and graphene

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 07:13 AM PST

Many pollutants with the potential to meddle with hormones -- with bisphenol A, better known as BPA, as a prime example -- are already common in the environment. In an effort to clean up these pollutants found in the soil and waterways, scientists are now reporting a novel way to break them down by recruiting help from nanoparticles and light.

Longhorn beetle inspires ink to fight counterfeiting

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 07:12 AM PST

From water marks to colored threads, governments are constantly adding new features to paper money to stay one step ahead of counterfeiters. Now a longhorn beetle has inspired yet another way to foil cash fraud, as well as to produce colorful, changing billboards and art displays. Researchers report a new kind of ink that mimics the beetle's color-shifting ability in a way that would be long-lasting and difficult to copy.

Links between grammar, rhythm explored by researchers

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 07:12 AM PST

A child's ability to distinguish musical rhythm is related to his or her capacity for understanding grammar, according to a recent study. The study is the first of its kind to show an association between musical rhythm and grammar.

Could non-gluten proteins play a role in Celiac disease?

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 07:12 AM PST

Although gluten-free foods are trendy among the health-conscious, they are necessary for those with celiac disease. But gluten, the primary trigger for health problems in these patients, may not be the only culprit. Scientists are reporting that people with the disease also have reactions to non-gluten wheat proteins. The results could help scientists better understand how the disease works and could have implications for how to treat it.

Scientists prove possibility of 'impossible' dust transition in turbulent flow

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 07:12 AM PST

Researchers have predicted the possibility of negative turbophoresis, a phenomenon where impurity particles inside a turbulent flow move in an 'impossible' direction.

Analyzing heat waves: Extreme heat waves may become the norm

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 07:12 AM PST

Scientists have developed a new index to measure the magnitude of heat waves. According to the index projections, under the worst climate scenario of temperature rise nearing 4.8pC, extreme heat waves will become the norm by the end of the century.

X-ray vision of photosynthesis: New technique facilitates analysis of biomolecules in a near-natural state

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 07:12 AM PST

Photosynthesis is one of the most important processes in nature. The complex method by which all green plants harvest sunlight and thereby produce the oxygen in our air is still not fully understood. Researchers have used DESY's X-ray light source PETRA III to investigate a photosynthesis subsystem in a near-natural state.

Your own energy 'island'? Microgrid could standardize small, self-sustaining electric grids

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 07:11 AM PST

When researchers talk about "islanding," or isolating, from the grid, they are discussing a fundamental benefit of microgrids -- small systems powered by renewables and energy storage devices. The benefit is that microgrids can disconnect from larger utility grids and continue to provide power locally.

First long-term study on calorie labeling shows strategy effective in reducing weight gain by 50%

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 07:10 AM PST

Recent guidance from the United States' Affordable Care Act and the United Kingdom's Responsibility Deal encourage calorie labeling in chain restaurants, yet there have been mixed results as to the effects of calorie labeling on consumers' meal choices and weight status. This first-ever, long-term study on calorie labeling shows that consistent exposure to prominent calorie labeling of main meals reduced the likelihood of young adults gaining any weight over a one-year period by 50%.

Benefits of being fat (but not too fat) for deep-diving elephant seals

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 06:35 AM PST

Researchers using a new type of tracking device on female elephant seals have discovered that adding body fat helps the seals dive more efficiently by changing their buoyancy. The study looked at the swimming efficiency of elephant seals during their feeding dives and how that changed in the course of months-long migrations at sea as the seals put on more fat.

How important is long-distance travel in spread of epidemics?

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 06:35 AM PST

When modeling the spread of epidemics, such as the Ebola outbreak, scientists must take into account the long-distance hops now possible with international air travel. But how important are such long-distance jumps? A new model by biophysicists shows that how common long-range jumps are makes a big difference in the dispersal of a disease, that is, whether you get slow, rippling versus rapid metastatic spread.

Researchers engineer 'smart bomb' to attack childhood leukemia

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 06:35 AM PST

The first steps towards developing a so-called 'smart bomb' to attack the most common and deadly form of childhood cancer -- called B-lineage acute lymphoblastic leukemia -- have been taken by researchers who describe how this approach could eventually prove lifesaving for children who have relapsed after initial chemotherapy and face a less than 20 percent chance of long-term survival.

Blocking mitochondrial fission: Effective treatment for Parkinson's disease?

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 06:35 AM PST

The inhibition of a particular mitochondrial fission protein could hold the key to potential treatment for Parkinson's disease (PD), a new study has concluded. PD is a progressive neurological condition that affects movement. At present there is no cure and little understanding of why some people get the condition.

The Peres conjecture is false, experts say

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 06:34 AM PST

Since 1999, the conjecture by Asher Peres, who invented quantum teleportation, has piqued the interest of many scientists in the field. According to his hypothesis, the weakest form of quantum entanglement can never result in the strongest manifestation of the phenomenon. Today, scientists have proven this conjecture to be false, thus solving one of the most famous problems in quantum information physics.

Performance of micromachining improved with femtosecond lasers: Reduces production time and costs

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 06:33 AM PST

Since the 90s, femtosecond lasers have enabled the treatment of materials at nanoscale and microscale with high precision, but their production is still slow and expensive. Researchers have now developed an original parallel-processing technique that enables to multiply the production capacity of these lasers, thus improving their performance, reducing the time and cost of manufacturing and optimizing the use of laser energy.

Synthetic fish measures wild ride through dams

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 06:33 AM PST

A synthetic fish is helping existing hydroelectric dams and new, smaller hydro facilities become more fish-friendly. The latest version of the Sensor Fish – a small tubular device filled with sensors that analyze the physical stresses fish experience – measures more forces, costs about 80 percent less and can be used in more hydro structures than its predecessor, according to a new article.

New dietary supplement beats calcium, vitamin D for bone strength

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 06:33 AM PST

A new study reveals that a new dietary supplement is superior to calcium and vitamin D when it comes to bone health in post-menopausal women.

Cost and effect: Cheaper remedies should rule for diabetes nerve pain

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 06:33 AM PST

Millions of people with diabetes take medicine to ease shooting, burning nerve pain, and new research suggests that many medicines can offer relief. But since some of those medicines cost nearly 10 times as much as others, cost should be a crucial factor in deciding which medicine to choose for diabetic neuropathy, say experts.

Turning pretty penstemon flowers from blue to red

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 05:48 AM PST

While roses are red, and violets are blue, how exactly do flower colors change? In the case of penstemons, with over 200 species to choose from, scientists have now shown that turning their flowers from blue to red involves knocking out the activity of just a single enzyme involved in the production of blue floral pigments.

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