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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Science News

ScienceDaily: Top Science News

Modern genetics confirm ancient relationship between fins and hands

Posted: 22 Dec 2014 01:54 PM PST

Efforts to connect the evolutionary transition from fish fins to wrist and fingers with the genetic machinery for this adaptation have fallen short because they focused on the wrong fish. Now, researchers describe the genetic machinery for autopod assembly in a non-model fish, the spotted gar.

Cells 'feel' their surroundings using finger-like structures

Posted: 22 Dec 2014 01:54 PM PST

Cells have finger-like projections that they use to feel their surroundings. They can detect the chemical environment and they can 'feel' their physical surroundings using ultrasensitive sensors. New research shows how the finger-like structures, called filopodia, can extend themselves, contract and bend in dynamic movements.

Tales from a Martian rock: New chemical analysis of ancient Martian meteorite provides clues to planet's history of habitability

Posted: 22 Dec 2014 01:50 PM PST

A new analysis of a Martian rock that meteorite hunters plucked from an Antarctic ice field 30 years ago this month reveals a record of the planet's climate billions of years ago, back when water likely washed across its surface and any life that ever formed there might have emerged.

Hunter-gatherer past shows our fragile bones result from inactivity since invention of farming

Posted: 22 Dec 2014 01:50 PM PST

Latest analysis of prehistoric bones show there is no anatomical reason why a person born today could not develop the skeletal strength of a prehistoric forager or a modern orangutan. Findings support the idea that activity throughout life is the key to building bone strength and preventing osteoporosis risk in later years, say researchers.

New non-invasive method can detect Alzheimer's disease early

Posted: 22 Dec 2014 11:30 AM PST

A noninvasive MRI approach that can detect the Alzheimer's disease in a living animal, well before typical Alzheimer's symptoms appear, has been developed by researchers. The research team created an MRI probe that pairs a magnetic nanostructure with an antibody that seeks out the amyloid beta brain toxins responsible for onset of the disease. The accumulated toxins, because of the associated magnetic nanostructures, show up as dark areas in MRI scans of the brain.

Coral reveals long-term link between Pacific winds, global climate

Posted: 22 Dec 2014 10:13 AM PST

New research indicates that shifts in Pacific trade winds played a key role in twentieth century climate variation and are likely again influencing global temperatures. The study uses a novel method of analyzing coral chemistry to reveal winds from a century ago.

Light-emitting e-readers before bedtime can adversely impact sleep

Posted: 22 Dec 2014 10:13 AM PST

Use of a light-emitting electronic device (LE-eBook) in the hours before bedtime can adversely impact overall health, alertness, and the circadian clock which synchronizes the daily rhythm of sleep to external environmental time cues, according to new research that compared the biological effects of reading an LE-eBook compared to a printed book.

New technology makes tissues, someday maybe organs

Posted: 22 Dec 2014 08:16 AM PST

A new device for building large tissues from living components of three-dimensional microtissues borrows on ideas from electronics manufacturing. The Bio-Pick, Place, and Perfuse is a step toward someday making whole organs.

Scientists 'map' water vapor in Martian atmosphere

Posted: 22 Dec 2014 08:16 AM PST

Scientists have created a 'map' of the distribution of water vapor. Their research includes observations of seasonal variations in atmospheric concentrations using data collected over ten years by the Russian-French SPICAM spectrometer aboard the Mars Express orbiter. This is the longest period of observation and provides the largest volume of data about water vapor on Mars.

The Milky Way's new neighbor: Tiny and isolated dwarf galaxy discovered

Posted: 22 Dec 2014 05:43 AM PST

The Milky Way, the galaxy we live in, is part of a cluster of more than 50 galaxies that make up the 'Local Group', a collection that includes the famous Andromeda galaxy and many other far smaller objects. Now a Russian-American team has added to the canon, finding a tiny and isolated dwarf galaxy almost 7 million light years away. The new galaxy, named KKs3 is located in the southern sky in the direction of the constellation of Hydrus and its stars have only one ten-thousandth of the mass of the Milky Way.

Drug helps Huntington’s disease-afflicted mice, and their offspring

Posted: 22 Dec 2014 05:43 AM PST

Famine, drug abuse and even stress can "silence" certain genes, causing health problems in generations to come. Now scientists are wondering: Could therapies that change gene expression in parents help their children?

Homing signal in brain located, explaining why some people are better navigators

Posted: 18 Dec 2014 10:14 AM PST

The part of the brain that tells us the direction to travel when we navigate has been identified by scientists, and the strength of its signal predicts how well people can navigate. In other words, the researchers have found where our 'sense of direction' comes from in the brain and worked out how to measure it using functional magnetic resonance imaging, fMRI.

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