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Saturday, December 6, 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Science News

ScienceDaily: Top Science News

Promising compound rapidly eliminates malaria parasite

Posted: 05 Dec 2014 02:50 PM PST

A promising anti-malarial compound tricks the immune system to rapidly destroy red blood cells infected with the malaria parasite but leave healthy cells unharmed, an international group of researchers has found. Planning has begun for safety trials of the compound in healthy adults.

Successful launch of NASA's Orion spacecraft heralds first step on journey to Mars

Posted: 05 Dec 2014 11:23 AM PST

NASA marked a critical step on the journey to Mars with its Orion spacecraft during a roaring liftoff into the dawn sky over eastern Florida on Friday, Dec. 5, 2014, aboard a Delta IV Heavy rocket.

California's drought is the worst in 1,200 years, evidence suggests

Posted: 05 Dec 2014 09:43 AM PST

As California finally experiences the arrival of a rain-bearing Pineapple Express this week, two climate scientists have shown that the drought of 2012-2014 has been the worst in 1,200 years.

New technique offers spray-on solar power

Posted: 05 Dec 2014 09:43 AM PST

Pretty soon, powering your tablet could be as simple as wrapping it in cling wrap. Scientists have just invented a new way to spray solar cells onto flexible surfaces using miniscule light-sensitive materials known as colloidal quantum dots (CQDs) -- a major step toward making spray-on solar cells easy and cheap to manufacture.

Penicillin tactics revealed by scientists

Posted: 05 Dec 2014 08:40 AM PST

One of the oldest and most widely used antibiotics, penicillin, attacks enzymes that build the bacterial cell wall. Researchers have now shown that penicillin and its variants also set in motion a toxic malfunctioning of the cell's wall-building machinery, dooming the cell to a futile cycle of building and then immediately destroying that wall.

Drugs in the environment affect plant growth

Posted: 05 Dec 2014 08:39 AM PST

By assessing the impacts of a range of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, research has shown that the growth of edible crops can be affected by these chemicals -- even at the very low concentrations found in the environment. The research focused its analysis on lettuce and radish plants and tested the effects of several commonly prescribed drugs, including diclofenac and ibuprofen. These drugs are among the most common and widely used group of pharmaceuticals, with more than 30 million prescribed across the world every day.

New research paves the way for nano-movies of biomolecules

Posted: 05 Dec 2014 07:03 AM PST

Scientists have caught a light sensitive biomolecule at work using an X-ray laser. Their new study proves that high speed X-ray lasers can capture the fast dynamics of biomolecules in ultra slow-motion, revealing subtle processes with unprecedented clarity.

Obesity may shorten life expectancy up to eight years

Posted: 05 Dec 2014 06:48 AM PST

'Tis the season to indulge. However, restraint may be best, according to a new study. The researchers examined the relationship between body weight and life expectancy. Their findings show that overweight and obese individuals have the potential to decrease life expectancy by up to eight years.

Dopamine helps with math rules as well as mood

Posted: 05 Dec 2014 06:38 AM PST

Rule-applying neurons work better under the influence of the happy hormone, researchers have found. The chemical messenger dopamine – otherwise known as the happiness hormone – is important not only for motivation and motor skills. It seems it can also help neurons with difficult cognitive tasks, they report.

Barrier-breaking drug may lead to spinal cord injury treatments

Posted: 03 Dec 2014 11:25 AM PST

Injections of a new drug may partially relieve paralyzing spinal cord injuries, based on indications from a study in rats. Every year, tens of thousands of people are paralyzed by spinal cord injuries. The injuries crush and sever the long axons of spinal cord nerve cells, blocking communication between the brain and the body and resulting in paralysis below the injury. On a hunch, researchers came up with the idea of designing a drug that would help axons regenerate without having to touch the healing spinal cord, as current treatments may require. The results, they say, are "amazing."

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