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Monday, January 5, 2015

ScienceDaily: Most Popular News

ScienceDaily: Most Popular News

Poor sleep causes weight gain, susceptibility to diabetes

Posted: 03 Jan 2015 04:24 AM PST

People who suffer breathing and heart rate abnormalities, called obstructive sleep apnea, are likely to develop diabetes, and the risk increases if they have a hereditary proclivity, scientists report.

Defects in solar cells made of silicon identified

Posted: 02 Jan 2015 02:27 PM PST

A researcher has focused recent study on "defects found on silicon and their impact on the efficiency of solar cells made with this material."

Plant genetic advance could lead to more efficient conversion of plant biomass to biofuels

Posted: 02 Jan 2015 02:27 PM PST

Plant geneticists have sorted out the gene regulatory networks that control cell wall thickening by the synthesis of the three polymers, cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin. The advance may help manipulate the polymer-forming processes to improve the efficiency of biofuel production.

Not all obese people develop metabolic problems linked to excess weight

Posted: 02 Jan 2015 02:27 PM PST

Obesity does not always go hand in hand with metabolic changes in the body that can lead to diabetes, heart disease and stroke, according to new research. In addition, obese people who didn't have these metabolic problems when the study began did not develop them even after they gained more weight.

New version of common antibiotic could eliminate risk of hearing loss

Posted: 02 Jan 2015 02:27 PM PST

A commonly used antibiotic can be modified to eliminate the risk that it will cause hearing loss, a study in mice has demonstrated. The newly patented antibiotic, N1MS, cured urinary tract infection in mice just as well as sisomcicin, but did not cause deafness, study results show. The study presents a promising new approach to generating a new class of novel, nontoxic antibiotics, researchers say.

Quantum channel made of light

Posted: 02 Jan 2015 12:04 PM PST

In experiments using ultracold atoms and laser light, researchers have measured a stepwise change in conductivity as the atoms pass through tiny structures. This is the first time that this quantum effect has been observed for electrically neutral particles.

Why reform of China's one-child policy has had little effect in boosting fertility levels

Posted: 02 Jan 2015 12:01 PM PST

The 2013 reforms aimed at relaxing China's 'one-child policy' are likely to have little effect on the country's long-term demographic trends and the problem of China's shrinking workforce, a new study shows. It explores why China has only partially lifted its family planning restrictions, suggesting that local governments rely on the income from fines imposed on couples who violate the one-child policy, known as 'social maintenance fees'. It also argues that it is hard to dislodge the old system because of 'policy inertia' due to the vast family planning bureaucracy involved in implementing the one-child policy.

New information on environmental impacts of stump wood energy through 3-D modeling

Posted: 02 Jan 2015 08:33 AM PST

Tree stumps and root systems are a significant but controversial source of bioenergy in Finland due to their environmental impacts. Now Finnish and Norwegian researchers have developed a new method that can produce accurate three-dimensional (3D) models of recovered stumps and root systems. These models provide new information on the impacts of stump wood energy on the carbon sink capacity of forests, the biodiversity of forest nature and the soil structure of recovery areas. Tree stumps and root systems account for approximately 15% of the energy wood harvested from Finnish forests. Tree stumps are recovered from one in every ten clearcutting areas, totalling some 10,000–20,000 hectares annually, which is, at its highest, equivalent to an area the size of Helsinki.

HIV vaccines should avoid viral target cells, primate model study suggests

Posted: 02 Jan 2015 08:33 AM PST

Vaccines designed to protect against HIV have backfired in clinical trials. Non-human primate model studies suggest an explanation: vaccination may increase the number of immune cells that serve as viral targets. In a nonhuman primate model of HIV transmission, higher levels of viral target cells in gateway mucosal tissues were associated with an increased risk of infection.

Predicting superbugs' countermoves to new drugs

Posted: 02 Jan 2015 08:33 AM PST

With drug-resistant bacteria on the rise, even common infections that were easily controlled for decades are proving trickier to treat with standard antibiotics. New drugs are desperately needed, but so are ways to maximize the effective lifespan of these drugs. To accomplish that, researchers used software they developed to predict a constantly-evolving infectious bacterium's counter-moves to one of these new drugs ahead of time, before the drug is even tested on patients.

More efficient, sensitive estrogen detection developed

Posted: 02 Jan 2015 07:02 AM PST

A new method for detecting trace amounts of estrogen has been developed by scientists, an advance that will help health researchers. The hormone estrogen plays an important role in the human body and has been linked to everything from tumor growth to neuron loss during Alzheimer's disease. But detecting very small amounts of it in blood and other biological fluids can be difficult for health researchers, especially in the limited amounts available in laboratory experiments.

NASA finds good news on forests and carbon dioxide

Posted: 02 Jan 2015 05:47 AM PST

A new NASA-led study shows that tropical forests may be absorbing far more carbon dioxide than many scientists thought, in response to rising atmospheric levels of the greenhouse gas. The study estimates that tropical forests absorb 1.4 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide out of a total global absorption of 2.5 billion -- more than is absorbed by forests in Canada, Siberia and other northern regions, called boreal forests.

Technology innovations spin NASA's SMAP into space

Posted: 02 Jan 2015 05:44 AM PST

Scheduled for launch on Jan. 29, 2015, NASA's Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) instrument will measure the moisture lodged in Earth's soils with an unprecedented accuracy and resolution. The instrument's three main parts are a radar, a radiometer and the largest rotating mesh antenna ever deployed in space.

Innate behaviour determines how we steer our car

Posted: 02 Jan 2015 04:16 AM PST

A 70 year old mystery in traffic research has been solved: an until now inexplicable jerkiness when we steer a vehicle. The discovery may lead to safety systems in cars that can correct dangerous steering movements before they occur. "With the driver model I have developed, it is possible to predict what drivers are going to do with the steering wheel before they do it. It is possible to predict how far the driver is going to turn the wheel, right when the person starts a wheel-turning movement. It's like looking into the future," says a researcher.

Scientist look for nanostructures that allow compatibility between metal, human bone tissues  

Posted: 02 Jan 2015 04:15 AM PST

One of the goals of Cimav specialists is to develop biomedical implants needed in Mexico, as the ones existing in the domestic market are usually manufactured abroad.

Time to reactivate nuclear energy in Mexico?

Posted: 02 Jan 2015 04:15 AM PST

A Mexican scientist has argued that nuclear energy is a real alternative to mitigate climate change damage from fossil fuel combustion in the country.

Stress can be a factor for developing diabetes, autoimmune diseases

Posted: 02 Jan 2015 04:15 AM PST

Recurring stress can trigger insulin resistance, hypertension, abdominal fat deposition, researchers say.

Findings point to potential approach to treat virus causing illness, possible paralysis

Posted: 01 Jan 2015 01:36 PM PST

New research findings point toward a class of compounds that could be effective in combating infections caused by enterovirus D68, which has stricken children with serious respiratory infections and might be associated with polio-like symptoms in the United States and elsewhere.

Killing for DNA: A predatory device in the cholera bacterium

Posted: 01 Jan 2015 01:36 PM PST

Scientists have uncovered the unconventional way that the cholera bacterium stabs and kills other bacteria to steal their DNA, making it potentially more virulent. Cholera is caused when the bacterium Vibrio cholerae infects the small intestine. The disease is characterized by acute watery diarrhea resulting in severe dehydration.

Fat isn't all bad: Skin adipocytes help protect against infections

Posted: 01 Jan 2015 11:23 AM PST

When it comes to skin infections, a healthy and robust immune response may depend greatly upon what lies beneath. In a new paper, researchers report the surprising discovery that fat cells below the skin help protect us from bacteria.

Defying textbook science, study finds new role for proteins

Posted: 01 Jan 2015 11:23 AM PST

Results from a new study defy textbook science, showing for the first time that the building blocks of a protein, called amino acids, can be assembled without blueprints – DNA and an intermediate template called messenger RNA (mRNA). A team of researchers has observed a case in which another protein specifies which amino acids are added.

Researchers target the cell's 'biological clock' in promising new therapy to kill cancer cells

Posted: 01 Jan 2015 11:22 AM PST

Cell biologists have targeted telomeres with a small molecule called 6-thiodG that takes advantage of the cell's 'biological clock' to kill cancer cells and shrink tumor growth.

Women with atypical hyperplasia are at higher risk of breast cancer

Posted: 31 Dec 2014 04:01 PM PST

Women with atypical hyperplasia of the breast have a higher risk of developing breast cancer than previously thought, a study has found. Atypical hyperplasia of the breast is a precancerous condition found in about one-tenth of the over 1 million breast biopsies with benign findings performed annually in the United States.

Stereotactic body radiation therapy plus chemotherapy improves survival among stage 4 lung cancer patients

Posted: 31 Dec 2014 12:40 PM PST

A clinical trial that combined stereotactic body radiation therapy with a specific chemotherapy regimen more than doubled survival rates for certain stage 4 lung cancer patients, scientists report.

Mind over matter: Can you think your way to strength?

Posted: 31 Dec 2014 12:40 PM PST

Regular mental imagery exercises help preserve arm strength during 4 weeks of immobilization, researchers have found. Strength is controlled by a number of factors -- the most studied by far is skeletal muscle. However, the nervous system is also an important, though not fully understood, determinant of strength and weakness. In this study, researchers set out to test how the brain's cortex plays into strength development.

Unique Sulawesi frog gives birth to tadpoles

Posted: 31 Dec 2014 12:39 PM PST

Frogs exhibit an amazing variety of reproductive behaviors, ranging from brooding their eggs in their mouths to carrying tadpoles on their backs. Fewer than a dozen species of 6,000+ worldwide have developed internal fertilization, and some of these give birth to froglets instead of eggs. One species that has internal fertilization, a fanged frog from the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia, has been observed to give direct birth to tadpoles, which is unique among amphibians.

Can exercise help people with Parkinson's disease?

Posted: 31 Dec 2014 12:39 PM PST

Exercise may help people with Parkinson's disease improve their balance, ability to move around and quality of life, even if it does not reduce their risk of falling, according to a new study.

Little change seen in fast food portion size, product formulation between 1996 and 2013

Posted: 31 Dec 2014 11:04 AM PST

Two new reports show that fast food portion sizes and product formulation, including sodium content and fat, stayed relatively the same between 1996 and 2013. The exception was a consistent decline in trans fat of fries between 2000 and 2009. Nevertheless, calorie and sodium contents remain high suggesting emphasis needs to be shifted from portion size to additional factors such as total calories, number of items ordered, and menu choices.

Patterns of RNA regulation in nuclei of plants identified

Posted: 31 Dec 2014 11:04 AM PST

In a new study done in plants, biologists give a global view of the patterns that can affect the various RNA regulatory processes that occur before these molecules move into the cytoplasm, where they are translated into the proteins that make up a living organism.

Patient stem cells used to make dementia-in-a-dish; help identify new treatment strategy

Posted: 31 Dec 2014 11:04 AM PST

A new strategy for treating an inherited form of dementia has been identified after researchers attempted to turn stem cells derived from patients into the neurons most affected by the disease. In patient-derived stem cells carrying a mutation predisposing them to frontotemporal dementia, the scientists found a targetable defect that prevents normal neurodevelopment. These stem cells partially return to normal when the defect is corrected.

3-D culture system for pancreatic cancer has potential to change therapeutic approaches

Posted: 31 Dec 2014 11:04 AM PST

Pancreatic cancer is one of the most deadly forms of cancer, with only 6 percent of patients surviving five years after diagnosis. Researchers now announce the development of a new model system to grow both normal and cancerous pancreatic cells in the laboratory. Their work promises to change the way pancreatic cancer research is done, allowing scientists to interrogate the pathways driving this devastating disease while searching for new drug targets.

Ten exciting astronomy stories from 2014

Posted: 31 Dec 2014 08:37 AM PST

Looking back at the science news released by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) in 2014, the staff scientists at NRAO selected what they believe are the top 10 stories based on both scientific impact and public interest.

Make a New Year's resolution to manage your diabetes

Posted: 31 Dec 2014 08:37 AM PST

Early detection and treatment can decrease the risk of developing complications from diabetes. Certified diabetes educators report that the new year is a good time to see a doctor if you think you have diabetes.

Discovery of mutated gene in dogs could help treat blindness

Posted: 31 Dec 2014 06:57 AM PST

A MERTK gene defect responsible for a recently identified form of progressive retinal atrophy in Swedish vallhund dogs has been found by an international team of scientists. This discovery opens the door to the development of therapies for diseases that cause blindness both in dogs and humans.

More than 1.5 million cancer deaths averted during 2 decades of dropping mortality

Posted: 31 Dec 2014 06:56 AM PST

The American Cancer Society's annual cancer statistics report finds that a 22 percent drop in cancer mortality over two decades led to the avoidance of more than 1.5 million cancer deaths that would have occurred if peak rates had persisted.

Parental history of suicide attempt associated with increased risk in kids

Posted: 30 Dec 2014 06:10 PM PST

A suicide attempt by a parent increased the odds nearly five-fold that a child would attempt suicide, according to a report. Other studies have established that suicidal behavior can run in families but few studies have looked at the pathways by which suicidal behavior is transmitted in families.

First baby of the new year race is real, says OB/GYN

Posted: 30 Dec 2014 01:09 PM PST

As the countdown for the new year begins, so does the race for the first baby of the new year. "The race to have the first baby is something all hospitals share enthusiasm for, especially in large cities like Chicago, and, unfortunately, not all hospitals play fair," said and OB/GYN.

Molecules seen binding to HIV-1's protective capsule, blocking infection

Posted: 30 Dec 2014 01:08 PM PST

New research shows an HIV-1 inhibitor and a host protein binding to HIV-1's protective capsule, preventing it from disassembling. Viral genetic information is kept inside. Researchers believe the process can be targeted for therapeutic purposes in HIV-1 infections.

Malaria combination drug therapy for children

Posted: 30 Dec 2014 11:52 AM PST

A drug combination of artemisinin-naphthoquine should be considered for the treatment of children with uncomplicated malaria in settings where multiple parasite species cause malaria according to researchers.

Neonatal HBV vaccine reduces liver cancer risk

Posted: 30 Dec 2014 11:51 AM PST

Neonatal HBV vaccination reduces the risk of liver cancer and other liver diseases in young adults in China, according to a study. By collecting data on new cases of liver diseases over 30 years from a population-based tumor registry, the researchers estimated that the protective efficacy of vaccination was 84% for primary liver cancer (vaccination reduced the incidence of liver cancer by 84%), 70% for death from liver diseases, and 69% for the incidence of infant fulminant hepatitis.

Readiness to change is a vital facet to committing to New Year's resolutions

Posted: 30 Dec 2014 10:29 AM PST

Whether it is losing weight or quitting smoking, one employee wellness director says it can be done with the will to do so. About half of the most popular resolutions made each year are health-related, according to the United States government. In addition to losing weight and quitting smoking, they include eating healthier foods, getting fit, managing stress and drinking less alcohol.

Gift-wrapped gas molecules

Posted: 30 Dec 2014 08:18 AM PST

A group of scientists has worked out how to stably gift-wrap a chemical gas known as nitric oxide within metal-organic frameworks. Such an encapsulated chemical may allow doctors to administer nitric oxide in a more highly controlled way to patients, suggesting new approaches for treating dangerous infections and heart conditions with the biologically-active substance.

New treatment strategy allows lower doses of toxic tuberculosis drug without compromising potency

Posted: 30 Dec 2014 07:20 AM PST

While an effective treatment is available for combating multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, it carries serious side effects for patients. New research shows that lower doses of the toxic drug bedaquiline — given together with verapamil, a medication that's used to treat various heart conditions — can lead to the same antibacterial effects as higher toxic doses of bedaquiline.

New test measures doctors' ability to deliver patient-centered care

Posted: 30 Dec 2014 07:19 AM PST

When health care providers take patients' perspectives into consideration, patients are more likely to be actively engaged in their treatment and more satisfied with their care. This is called patient-centered care. Recently, researchers have developed a credible tool to assess whether medical students have learned and are applying specific behaviors that characterize patient-centered care.

Simulation of universe with realistic galaxies

Posted: 30 Dec 2014 07:19 AM PST

An international team of astronomers has developed a simulation of the universe in which realistic galaxies are created; their mass, size and age are similar to those of observed galaxies. Their similarity is caused by the simulation of strong galactic winds -- gas winds that are blown from galaxies.

Lung cancer metastases may travel through airways to adjacent or distant lung tissue

Posted: 30 Dec 2014 07:19 AM PST

A new study supports the hypothesis that lung cancer, particularly adenocarcinoma, may spread through the airways. The putative occurrence of intrapulmonary aerogenous metastasis of lung cancer has staging, management, and prognostic implications.

Heart drugs offer new hope to slow cardiac damage in muscular dystrophy

Posted: 30 Dec 2014 04:58 AM PST

Early use of available heart failure drugs slows the progressive decline in heart function before symptoms are apparent in boys and young men with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), according to a new study.

New study links neurological disorders in captive felids to improper diet

Posted: 30 Dec 2014 04:57 AM PST

A new research study confirms the connection between high incidence of spinal cord issues in cheetahs and lions kept as exotic pets in the United Arab Emirates with dietary deficiencies. The study compared blood and tissue samples among captive felids, including cheetahs, lions and snow leopards, that were fed different diets. Thirty percent of the animals that did not receive supplements and existed primarily on a poultry muscle meat diet displayed clinical neurological signs such as ataxia, lack of coordination, swaying gait and moderate to severe hind limb weakness. Despite having normal appetites, these animals developed hind limb paresis and were eventually unable to stand. They either died or were euthanized, as damage is permanent and there is no treatment.

Bats are a possible source of Ebola epidemic in West Africa

Posted: 30 Dec 2014 04:57 AM PST

The outbreak of the Ebola virus disease occurring in West Africa may have originated from contact between humans and virus-infected bats, suggests a study. The report identifies insectivorous free-tailed bats as plausible reservoirs and expands the range of possible Ebola virus sources to this type of bats. The results also reveal that larger wildlife are not the source of infection.

Molecular network identified underlying autism spectrum disorders

Posted: 30 Dec 2014 04:57 AM PST

A molecular network that comprises many of the genes previously shown to contribute to autism spectrum disorders has been identified by researchers. The findings provide a map of some of the crucial protein interactions that contribute to autism and will help uncover novel candidate genes for the disease.

Tracing evolution of chicken flu virus yields insight into origins of deadly H7N9 strain

Posted: 29 Dec 2014 01:49 PM PST

An international research team has shown how changes in a flu virus that has plagued Chinese poultry farms for decades helped create the novel avian H7N9 influenza A virus that has sickened more than 375 people since 2013.

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