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Friday, January 23, 2015

ScienceDaily: Most Popular News

ScienceDaily: Most Popular News

Scientists 'bend' elastic waves with new metamaterials that could have commercial applications

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 02:00 PM PST

Sound waves passing through the air, objects that break a body of water and cause ripples, or shockwaves from earthquakes all are considered 'elastic' waves. These waves travel at the surface or through a material without causing any permanent changes to the substance's makeup. Now, engineering researchers have developed a material that has the ability to control these waves, creating possible medical, military and commercial applications with the potential to greatly benefit society.

Scientists set quantum speed limit

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 12:48 PM PST

The flip side of Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, the energy time uncertainty principle, establishes a speed limit for transitions between two states. Physical chemists have now proved this principle for transitions between states that are not entirely distinct, allowing the calculation of speed limits for processes such as quantum computing and tunneling. The proof puts on sound footing a relationship that most physicists use daily.

Treatment restores sociability in autism mouse model

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 12:48 PM PST

Researchers have treated mice that mimic human autism with a neuropeptide called oxytocin, and have found that it restores normal social behavior. In addition, the findings suggest that giving oxytocin as early as possible in the animal's life leads to more lasting effects in adults and adolescents.

Many of the smallest babies in California not referred for follow-up care, study finds

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 11:54 AM PST

The tiniest babies need special follow-up care when they go home from the hospital after birth. But, of the thousands of very-low-birth-weight babies born in California during 2010 and 2011, 20 percent were not referred to the state's high-risk infant follow-up program, according to a new study.

Early human ancestors used their hands like modern humans

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 11:54 AM PST

New research suggests pre-Homo human ancestral species, such as Australopithecus africanus, used human-like hand postures much earlier than was previously thought. The distinctly human ability for forceful precision (e.g. when turning a key) and power "squeeze" gripping (e.g. when using a hammer) is linked to two key evolutionary transitions in hand use: a reduction in arboreal climbing and the manufacture and use of stone tools. However, it is unclear when these locomotory and manipulative transitions occurred.

New research re-creates planet formation, super-Earths and giant planets in the laboratory

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 11:54 AM PST

New laser-driven compression experiments reproduce the conditions deep inside exotic super-Earths and giant planet cores, and the conditions during the violent birth of Earth-like planets, documenting the material properties that determined planets' formation and evolution processes.

First major analysis of Human Protein Atlas is published

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 11:54 AM PST

The first major analysis based on the Human Protein Atlas has been published, including a detailed picture of the proteins that are linked to cancer, the number of proteins present in the bloodstream, and the targets for all approved drugs on the market.

Rosetta Comet 'pouring' more water into space

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 11:30 AM PST

There has been a significant increase in the amount of water "pouring" out of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, the comet on which the Rosetta mission's Philae lander touched down in November 2014. The 2.5-mile-wide (4-kilometer) comet was releasing the earthly equivalent of 40 ounces (1.2 liters) of water into space every second at the end of August 2014.

Watching the birth of a comet magnetosphere

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 11:18 AM PST

Astronomers have shown what happens when a magnetosphere forms round a comet. The RPC-ICA instrument onboard the Rosetta spacecraft has been watching the early stages of how a magnetosphere forms around Comet 67P Churyumov-Gerasimenko as it moves closer to the Sun along its orbit and begins to interact with the solar wind. As the comet gets warmer, volatile substances, mainly water, evaporate from the surface and form an atmosphere around the comet. The Sun's ultraviolet radiation and collisions with the solar wind ionizes some of the comet's atmosphere. The newly formed ions are affected by the solar wind electric and magnetic fields and can be accelerated to high speeds. When the comet gets close enough to the Sun, its atmosphere becomes so dense and ionized that it becomes electrically conductive. When this happens, the atmosphere starts to resist the solar wind and a comet's magnetosphere is born - a region surrounding the comet that is shielded from the solar wind.

Going with the flow: Is river basin management misguided?

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 10:32 AM PST

Millions of Americans live in flood-prone areas. In 2012 alone, the cost of direct flood damage hit nearly half a billion dollars. However, because the factors contributing to flood risk are not fully understood, river basin management -- and even the calculation of flood insurance premiums -- may be misguided.

When it comes to variations in crop yield, climate has a big say

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 10:32 AM PST

What impact will future climate change have on food supply? That depends in part on the extent to which variations in crop yield are attributable to variations in climate. A new report has found that climate variability historically accounts for one-third of yield variability for maize, rice, wheat and soybeans worldwide -- the equivalent of 36 million metric tons of food each year.

Infants can learn to communicate from videos, study shows

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 10:32 AM PST

Children under two years old can learn certain communication skills from a video, such as how to use signs in sign language, and perform similarly in tests when compared to babies taught by their parents, according to a new paper. The study is the first to isolate the effects of purportedly educational commercial videos on infant learning.

Reducing Myc gene activity extends healthy lifespan in mice

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 10:31 AM PST

Mice with one rather than the normal two copies of the gene Myc (also found in humans) lived 15 percent longer and had considerably healthier lives than normal mice, according to a new Brown University-led study in Cell.

Strong association between menopausal symptoms, bone health

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 10:28 AM PST

Women who experience moderate to severe hot flashes and night sweats during menopause tend to have lower bone mineral density and higher rates of hip fracture than peers with no menopausal symptoms, a new study finds.

Parents' reliance on welfare leads to more welfare use by their children, study finds

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 10:28 AM PST

Family welfare cultures have been explored through a new study in the context of Norway's Disability Insurance System. From 14,722 parent-child observations, researchers have found strong empirical evidence that reliance on welfare in one generation is likely to cause greater welfare use in the next generation.

New research could give alternatives for children's eye exams

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 10:27 AM PST

It's very difficult to understand the retinal structure of children because they are known to be uncooperative during eye examinations designed for adults. New explores a new non-invasive technology that's kind of like a handheld CT scanner for the eye.

Blame it on your brain: Salt and hypertension

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 10:27 AM PST

Excessive salt intake "reprograms" the brain, interfering with a natural safety mechanism that normally prevents the body's arterial blood pressure from rising, researchers have discovered.

Trust your gut: E. coli may hold one of the keys to treating Parkinson's

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 10:27 AM PST

E. coli usually brings to mind food poisoning and beach closures, but researchers recently discovered a protein in E. coli that inhibits the accumulation of potentially toxic amyloids—a hallmark of diseases such as Parkinson's, scientists say.

Viruses may play unexpected role in inflammatory bowel diseases

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 10:27 AM PST

Inflammatory bowel diseases are associated with a decrease in the diversity of bacteria in the gut, but a new study has linked the same illnesses to an increase in the diversity of viruses.

Enzymes believed to promote cancer actually suppress tumors

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 10:27 AM PST

Upending decades-old dogma, a team of scientists say enzymes long categorized as promoting cancer are, in fact, tumor suppressors and that current clinical efforts to develop inhibitor-based drugs should instead focus on restoring the enzymes' activities.

Research probes molecular basis of rare genetic disorder

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 10:27 AM PST

The mutation and its functional effects that cause the genetic disorder Singleton-Merten Syndrome (SMS) has been described for the first time, by an international research team. SMS is now recognized as an autoimmune disorder.

Exotic, gigantic molecules fit inside each other like Russian nesting dolls

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 10:27 AM PST

Scientists have experimentally observed for the first time a phenomenon in ultracold, three-atom molecules predicted by Russian theoretical physicist Vitaly Efimov in 1970.

Black hole on a diet creates a 'changing look' quasar

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 08:45 AM PST

Astronomers have identified the first 'changing look' quasar, a gleaming object in deep space that appears to have its own dimmer switch. The discovery may offer a glimpse into the life story of the universe's great beacons.

Head and neck cancers in young adults are more likely to be a result of inherited factors

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 08:45 AM PST

A new study pools data from 25 case-control studies and conducts separate analyses to show that head and neck cancers in young adults are more likely to be as a result of inherited factors, rather than lifestyle factors such as smoking or drinking alcohol.

Patient older age not an issue in revision cochlear implantation

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 08:45 AM PST

Older age of a patient does not appear to be an issue when revision cochlear implantation is warranted because of device failure, according to a report.

American liberals and conservatives think as if from different cultures

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 08:44 AM PST

American conservatives think more like Asians, and liberals are the extreme Westerners in thought styles, new research suggests. The so-called "culture war," the lead author said, is an accurate if dramatic way to state that there are clear cultural differences in the thought processes of liberals and conservatives.

Major breakthrough in reading ancient scrolls

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 08:44 AM PST

Revolutionary software is making a breakthrough in reading 2,000-year old Herculaneum scrolls, computer scientists report. After working for more than 10 years on unlocking an ancient piece of history, what lies inside damaged Herculaneum scrolls, one researcher will accomplish the next step in allowing the world to read the scrolls, which cannot be physically opened.

New treatments haven't lowered anesthesia risks for children with pulmonary hypertension

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 08:44 AM PST

Despite effective new treatments for their disease, children with pulmonary hypertension (PHT) are still a high-risk group for serious complications and death related to anesthesia and surgery, reports a study.

Profitable phishing schemes slyly tinker with our heads, then rip us off

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 08:43 AM PST

Researchers have found evidence that the incredible spread of email phishing scams may be due to phishers' increased use of "information-rich" emails that alter recipients' cognitive processes in a way that facilitates their victimization.

Antibiotics, bacteria, resistance genes found in dust from feedlots

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 08:43 AM PST

Researchers are beginning to understand how antibiotic-resistant bacteria travel aerially. "Everyone is fairly certain antibiotic resistance comes from extensive use of antibiotics in animal-based agriculture. About 70 percent of all antibiotics used are for animal agricultural purposes. Overuse contributes to antibiotic resistance. But how does it happen? How does it get from where the drugs are used into the human environment and natural environment?" authors asked.

Wild west physics: Bridging the gap between the study of 'outer space' and 'inner space'

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 08:43 AM PST

The next frontier in physics may require teeny-tiny answers to big questions, and vice versa. Call it macro-micro physics: the study of the huge paired with the study of the very, very small.

Concern over skin whitener marketing

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 07:36 AM PST

A marketing expert has raised concerns over the ethics of the marketing of skin-whitening products, widely available in Australia. The demand for the product is growing, she notes, with more than 60 percent of Indian women reportedly using one of the more than 240 brands of skin lightener available in that country.

Soils could keep contaminants in wastewater from reaching groundwater, streams

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 07:36 AM PST

With endocrine-disrupting compounds affecting fish populations in rivers as close as Pennsylvania's Susquehanna and as far away as Israel's Jordan, a new research study shows that soils can filter out and break down at least some of these emerging contaminants. The results suggest that water pollution can be diminished by spraying treated wastewater on land rather than discharging it directly into streams, according to researchers.

Transoral fundoplication is an effective treatment for patients with GERD

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 07:36 AM PST

Transoral fundoplication is an effective treatment for patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease, especially for patients with persistent regurgitation despite proton pump inhibitor therapy, according to a new study published in Gastroenterology, the official journal of the American Gastroenterological Association.

Study projects unprecedented loss of corals in Great Barrier Reef due to warming

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 07:32 AM PST

The coverage of living corals on Australia's Great Barrier Reef could decline to less than 10 percent if ocean warming continues, according to a new study that explores the short- and long-term consequences of environmental changes to the reef.

How charter school foes are failing

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 07:32 AM PST

As charter schools continue to expand, new research indicates liberal opponents are failing to make effective arguments aimed at curbing the education reform movement.

New animal models faithfully reproduce human tumors

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 07:32 AM PST

New animal models that reproduce faithfully the evolution and malignancy of different human tumors have been developed by researchers. This facilitates parallel tumor progression in patients suffering from the disease in an animal laboratory mice in this case; and predict possible relapses and anticipate what will be most effective treatments.

Small drop in sea level had big impact on southern Great Barrier Reef

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 07:32 AM PST

A small drop in sea level 2000 years ago on the southern Greater Barrier Reef led to a dramatic slowdown in the coral reef's growth, research shows. The researchers analyzed samples from One Tree Reef in the southern Great Barrier Reef. They radiocarbon dated sediment cores from the lagoons of the coral reef to calculate sand infilling. Sea level change was calculated by dating fossil samples from micro-atolls.

Noisy data facilitates researcher's investigation of breast cancer gene expression

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 07:26 AM PST

Researchers report on the use of denoising autoencoders (DAs) to effectively extract key biological principles from gene expression data and summarize them into constructed features with convenient properties.

Snack attack: Bears munch on ants and help plants grow

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 07:26 AM PST

Tiny ants may seem like an odd food source for black bears, but the protein-packed bugs are a major part of some bears' diets and a crucial part of the food web that not only affects other bugs, but plants too.

Why protein mutations lead to familial form of Parkinson's disease

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 06:22 AM PST

For the first time, researchers have shown why protein mutations lead to the familial form of Parkinson's disease. Parkinson's disease is characterized by impairment or deterioration of neurons in an area of the brain known as the substantia nigra. In the familial form of the disorder, a set of mutations in ?syn had been identified but what was unknown was the molecular mechanism by which these mutations caused disease.

Is cheating on the field worse than cheating on a spouse? Some fans think so

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 06:22 AM PST

Why did fans and sponsors such as Nike drop Lance Armstrong but stay loyal to Tiger Woods? Probably because Armstrong's doping scandal took place on the field, unlike Wood's off-the-field extramarital affairs, according to new studies.

One fish, two fish: Camera counts freshwater fish, which could help combat hydrilla

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 06:22 AM PST

The study of a graduate student includes the draining of ponds to verify fish counted on video. This leads to findings that can help fisheries managers control the invasive hydrilla.

Major discovery on spinal injury reveals unknown immune response

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 06:22 AM PST

In a discovery that could dramatically affect the treatment of brain and spinal cord injuries, researchers have identified a previously unknown, beneficial immune response that occurs after injury to the central nervous system.

Growing bone in space: Study to test therapy for bone loss on the International Space Station

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 06:22 AM PST

Stem cell researchers are to send rodents into space to test new therapy for prevention of bone loss. The research has enormous translational potential for astronauts in space flight and patients on Earth with osteoporosis or other bone loss problems from disease, illness or trauma.

Study detailing axonal death pathway may provide drug targets for neurodegenerative diseases

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 06:22 AM PST

Axons connect neurons with each other to form the neural networks that underpin the vital functions of perception, motility, cognition, and memory. In many neurodegenerative disorders, from traumatic injury or toxic damage to diseases such as Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease, axonal degeneration represents an essential pathological feature.

Telescope to seek dust where other Earths may lie

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 06:04 AM PST

The NASA-funded Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer, or LBTI, has completed its first study of dust in the "habitable zone" around a star, opening a new door to finding planets like Earth. Dust is a natural byproduct of the planet-formation process, but too much of it can block our view of planets.

Gullies on protoplanet Vesta suggest past water-mobilized flows

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 06:00 AM PST

Protoplanet Vesta, visited by NASA's Dawn spacecraft from 2011 to 2013, was once thought to be completely dry, incapable of retaining water because of the low temperatures and pressures at its surface. However, a new study shows evidence that Vesta may have had short-lived flows of water-mobilized material on its surface, based on data from Dawn.

NASA, Microsoft collaboration will allow scientists to 'work on Mars'

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 05:58 AM PST

NASA and Microsoft have teamed up to develop software called OnSight, a new technology that will enable scientists to work virtually on Mars using wearable technology called Microsoft HoloLens.

Is glass a true solid? New research suggests it is

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 05:48 AM PST

Does glass ever stop flowing? Researchers have combined computer simulation and information theory, originally invented for telephone communication and cryptography, to answer this puzzling question.

New forensic entomology observations expand knowledge of decomposition ecology

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 05:48 AM PST

Insects that have not been previously associated with human corpses actually interact with dead human bodies, which may provide clues for forensic entomologists in the future, new research suggests.

Long-term use of hormonal contraceptives is associated with an increased risk of a rare brain tumor, study finds

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 05:48 AM PST

Taking a hormonal contraceptive for at least five years is associated with a possible increase in a young woman's risk of developing a rare tumor, glioma of the brain, according to a new study of women aged 15-49 years.

Major study links gene to drug resistance in testicular cancer

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 05:48 AM PST

A major research study has uncovered several new genetic mutations that could drive testicular cancer -- and also identified a gene which may contribute to tumors becoming resistant to current treatments.

Doubt cast on global firestorm generated by dino-killing asteroid

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 05:48 AM PST

Pioneering new research has debunked the theory that the asteroid that is thought to have led to the extinction of dinosaurs also caused vast global firestorms that ravaged planet Earth. Scientists recreated the immense energy released from an extra-terrestrial collision with Earth that occurred around the time that dinosaurs became extinct. They found that the intense but short-lived heat near the impact site could not have ignited live plants, challenging the idea that the impact led to global firestorms.

Cell's recycling team helps sound alarm on pathogens

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 05:48 AM PST

Autophagy recycles materials in the cell and is also an efficient method of eliminating viruses, bacteria, and parasites. However, for fungal invaders, researchers have found that the cleanup crew takes a less straightforward approach. Rather than killing fungal invaders directly, autophagy is used to chew up a molecule that would otherwise hold back the immune response. It's sort of like breaking the glass on an alarm to allow the button to be pushed.

83% of teenagers fall victim to some kind of violence during their lives: Spanish study

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 05:45 AM PST

Childhood is one of the stages of life with the greatest risk of suffering violence, despite the greater social awareness and more specialized training of professionals. A study looking into over a thousand Spanish teenagers concludes that 83% of them claim to have fallen victim to at least one form of violence over the course of their lives.

Gold 'nano-drills' help with DNA analysis

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 05:45 AM PST

Spherical gold particles are able to 'drill' a nano-diameter tunnel in ceramic material when heated. This is an easy and attractive way to equip chips with nanopores for DNA analysis, for example, nanotechnologists report.

Engineers develop world's longest 'flat pack' arch bridge

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 05:45 AM PST

Civil Engineers and pre-cast concrete specialists have developed the world's longest 'flat pack' arch bridge.

Computers: Visually pleasing graphics enhance user performance

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 05:45 AM PST

An eye-catching and appealing graphic on a mobile phone or website helps people perform tasks quicker and more easily as the job gets more demanding. Investing a little bit extra to design aesthetically pleasing visuals for electronic devices, websites or anything people need to interact with will be beneficial in the long run.

Fine motor skills for robotic hands

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 05:45 AM PST

Tying shoelaces, stirring coffee, writing letters, playing the piano. From the usual daily routine to demanding activities: Our hands are used more frequently than any other body part. Through our highly developed fine motor skills, we are able to perform grasping movements with variable precision and power distribution. This ability is a fundamental characteristic of the hand of primates. Until now, it was unclear how hand movements are planned in the brain. Neuroscientists can now predict grip movements of the hand by measuring brain cell activity.

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