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Friday, January 9, 2015

ScienceDaily: Most Popular News

ScienceDaily: Most Popular News

Study of Andromeda's stellar disk indicates more violent history than Milky Way

Posted: 08 Jan 2015 03:43 PM PST

A detailed study of the motions of different stellar populations in the disk of the Andromeda galaxy has found striking differences from our own Milky Way, suggesting a more violent history of mergers with smaller galaxies in Andromeda's recent past.

Flashes from 'photonic booms' may help illuminate astronomical secrets

Posted: 08 Jan 2015 03:42 PM PST

'Photonic booms' may turn out to help illuminate a variety of astronomical objects such as asteroids and the moon.

Fear of terror may lead to job burnout over time

Posted: 08 Jan 2015 11:48 AM PST

The direct link between terrorism and increased incidence of job burnout over time has been addressed for the first time in a new study. The research examines how the fear of terrorism can lead to insomnia, a major player in job burnout, which is the state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion. The study suggests that fear of terror should be considered as a major job stressor.

3-D 'pop-up' silicon structures: Transforming planar materials into 3-D microarchitectures

Posted: 08 Jan 2015 11:47 AM PST

Researchers have invented simple routes to complex classes of 3-D micro/nanostructures in high performance materials, with relevance to electronics, photovoltaics, batteries, biomedical devices, and other microsystems technologies.

Common human protein linked to adverse parasitic worm infections

Posted: 08 Jan 2015 11:47 AM PST

Worm infections represent a major global public health problem, leading to a variety of debilitating diseases and conditions. Scientists have made a discovery that could lead to more effective diagnostic and treatment strategies for worm infections and their symptoms. The researchers found that resistin, an immune protein commonly found in human serum, instigates an inappropriate inflammatory response to worm infections, impairing the clearance of the worm.

Malassezia yeasts, everywhere and sometimes dangerous

Posted: 08 Jan 2015 11:47 AM PST

Malassezia yeasts have been found in human dandruff, deep-sea vents, and pretty much everywhere in between. The skin of most if not all warm-blooded animals is covered with these microbes, and while they mostly live in peaceful co-existence with their hosts, they can cause serious diseases in humans and other animals.

Scientists explain spread of chikungunya vector

Posted: 08 Jan 2015 11:47 AM PST

The tropical disease chikungunya began twisting Western tongues in July when the first locally transmitted case was reported in Florida. Spotted in the Caribbean just last year, the disease spread explosively throughout the Americas in 2014. Chikungunya's arrival in Panama prompted Smithsonian scientists to examine how human activity spreads its mosquito vector and the serious implications this has for disease ecology everywhere.

Deworming programs in animal, human populations may have unwanted impacts

Posted: 08 Jan 2015 11:47 AM PST

A study of the effects of worming medications on infectious disease in wildlife herds showed an unexpected and alarming result -- it helped reduce individual deaths from a bovine tuberculosis infection, but hugely increased the potential for spread of the disease to other animals. The findings suggest that some treatments may increase problems with diseases they were meant to reduce.

Poker-playing program knows when to fold 'em: Heads-up limit for hold 'em poker solved

Posted: 08 Jan 2015 11:47 AM PST

For over a half-century, games have been test beds for new ideas in Artificial Intelligence and the resulting successes have marked significant milestones: Deep Blue defeated Kasparov in chess, and Watson defeated Jennings and Rutter on Jeopardy! However, defeating top human players is not the same as actually solving a game, and for the first time researchers have essentially solved heads-up limit hold 'em poker.

Neuroprosthetics for paralysis: Biocompatible, flexible implant slips into the spinal cord

Posted: 08 Jan 2015 11:47 AM PST

New therapies are on the horizon for individuals paralyzed following spinal cord injury. The e-Dura implant can be applied directly to the spinal cord without causing damage and inflammation, scientists report.

Solving a case of intercellular entrapment

Posted: 08 Jan 2015 11:14 AM PST

Optogenetics, which uses light to control cellular events, is poised to become an important technology in molecular biology and beyond. Now researchers report that they have made a major contribution to this emergent field by developing a light-activated nanocarrier that transports proteins into cells and releases them on command.

Eliminating ACA subsidies would cause nearly 10 million to lose insurance, study finds

Posted: 08 Jan 2015 11:14 AM PST

The US. Supreme Court has agreed to decide a case this year that challenges whether it is legal to offer subsidies to low- and moderate-income people who purchase coverage through federally run health insurance marketplaces. A new study finds that ending those subsidies would sharply boost costs and reduce enrollment in the individual market by more than 9.6 million.

New algorithm will allow better heart surgery, experts say

Posted: 08 Jan 2015 11:14 AM PST

A new technique to help surgeons find the exact location of heart defects could save lives, help them to treat patients more effectively and save health service cash, scientists report. Their development will allow non-invasive detection of the origin of heart problems and allow more effective treatment, they say.

Exposure to nanoparticles may threaten heart health

Posted: 08 Jan 2015 11:13 AM PST

While nanotechnology has led to countless advancements, a group of researchers is now raising a flag of caution about its effects on our health. They say exposure to tiny silica-based particles can play a big role in increasing heart attack and stroke risks.

Nasal spray with insulin equivalent shows promise as treatment for adults with mild cognitive impairment, Alzheimer’s dementia

Posted: 08 Jan 2015 11:13 AM PST

A human-made form of insulin delivered by nasal spray may improve working memory and other mental capabilities in adults with mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease dementia, according to a pilot study. The researchers also sought to determine if the insulin detemir doses would cause any negative side effects, and found only minor adverse reactions among the subjects.

Compact batteries enhanced by spontaneous silver matrix formations

Posted: 08 Jan 2015 11:13 AM PST

A conductive silver matrix forming inside an otherwise poorly performing battery enhances its efficiency and potential applications. X-rays revealed where, when, and how these nanoscale "bridges" emerge.

Scientists illuminate mysterious molecular mechanism powering cells in most forms of life

Posted: 08 Jan 2015 11:13 AM PST

Scientists have taken a big step toward understanding the intricate molecular mechanism of a metabolic enzyme produced in most forms of life on Earth. The finding concerns nicotinamide nucleotide transhydrogenase (TH), an ancient evolutionary enzyme found throughout the animal kingdom as well as in plants and many simpler species. The enzyme is part of a process key to maintaining healthy cells and has also recently been linked to diseases such as diabetes and cancer.

Functional tissue-engineered intestine grown from human cells

Posted: 08 Jan 2015 11:13 AM PST

Tissue-engineered small intestine grown from human cells replicates key aspects of a functioning human intestine, researchers have demonstrated. The work brings surgeons one step closer to helping human patients using this regenerative medicine technique.

Astronomers use vanishing neutron star to measure space-time warp

Posted: 08 Jan 2015 10:19 AM PST

In an interstellar race against time, astronomers have measured the space-time warp in the gravity of a binary star and determined the mass of a neutron star--just before it vanished from view.

Ecological rule about pigmentation for animals applies to flowers

Posted: 08 Jan 2015 10:01 AM PST

Flower pigmentation evolves in response to ultraviolet light -- and may be a bellwether of climate disruption, researchers suggest. One might predict that as Earth receives more ultraviolet light at extreme northern and southern climes due to depletion of the ozone layer, flowers farther from the equator are likely to begin to evolve traits, such as larger ultraviolet light-absorbing bull's-eyes. However, this may come at a cost as bigger bull's-eyes obscure the 'sweet center' of the flower where pollen and nectar rewards are found, thus making poorer targets for pollinators.

Rihanna's music eases kids' pain after surgery

Posted: 08 Jan 2015 10:01 AM PST

Pediatric patients who listened to 30 minutes of songs by Rihanna, Taylor Swift and other singers of their choosing -- or audio books -- had a significant reduction in pain after major surgery, according to a new study. Audio therapy avoids risky side effects of opioid drugs, which can cause breathing problems in children. Because caregivers usually limit the amount of opiods prescribed, children's pain can sometimes be not well controlled.

Requirements of implementing next generation science standards

Posted: 08 Jan 2015 10:01 AM PST

A new report offers guidance to district and school leaders and teachers on necessary steps for putting the Next Generation Science Standards into practice over the next decade and beyond.

Smoking, alcohol, gene variant interact to increase risk of chronic pancreatitis

Posted: 08 Jan 2015 10:00 AM PST

Genetic mutations may link smoking and alcohol consumption to destruction of the pancreas observed in chronic pancreatitis, according to a 12-year study. The findings provides insight into why some people develop this painful and debilitating inflammatory condition while most heavy smokers or drinkers do not appear to suffer any problems with it.

Practice really does make perfect

Posted: 08 Jan 2015 10:00 AM PST

New research into the way in which we learn new skills finds that a single skill can be learned faster if its follow-through motion is consistent, but multiple skills can be learned simultaneously if the follow-through motion is varied.

To trigger energy-burning brown fat, just chill

Posted: 08 Jan 2015 10:00 AM PST

Researchers found that exposure to cold increases levels of a newly discovered protein that is critical for the formation of brown fat, the type of fat in our bodies that burns energy and generates heat. Mice with increased levels of this protein gained less weight than control mice after a month of eating a high-fat diet.

Facial motion activates a dedicated network within the brain

Posted: 08 Jan 2015 10:00 AM PST

Like humans, rhesus macaque monkeys have a network of small areas within their brains that respond to images of faces. But it hasn't been clear if these same areas in the monkey's brain are responsible for processing changing expressions and other facial movements. New research confirms that they are.

Hunting bats rely on 'bag of chips effect'

Posted: 08 Jan 2015 10:00 AM PST

When bats hunt in groups at night, they rely on the sounds of their fellow bats to tip them off on the best places to a grab a good meal. Researchers reporting their findings are calling this behavior the 'bag of chips effect.'

Monkeys can learn to see themselves in the mirror

Posted: 08 Jan 2015 10:00 AM PST

Unlike humans and great apes, rhesus monkeys don't realize when they look in a mirror that it is their own face looking back at them. But, according to a new report, that doesn't mean they can't learn. What's more, once rhesus monkeys in the study developed mirror self-recognition, they continued to use mirrors spontaneously to explore parts of their bodies they normally don't see.

Emissions-free cars get closer

Posted: 08 Jan 2015 09:59 AM PST

Hydrogen fuel cells -- possibly the best option for emission-free vehicles -- require costly platinum. Nickel and other metals work but aren't nearly as efficient. New findings help pin down the basic mechanisms of the fuel-cell reaction on platinum, which will help researchers create alternative electrocatalysts.

Alcohol warnings from parents matter

Posted: 08 Jan 2015 09:59 AM PST

Parenting practices and restrictions when it comes to alcohol use can make a difference with adolescent drinking, and there is considerable value to consistent and sustained parental attitudes about drinking, according to new research.

Could gut microbes help treat brain disorders? Mounting research tightens their connection with the brain

Posted: 08 Jan 2015 09:59 AM PST

The community of microbes that inhabits the body, known as the microbiome, has a powerful influence on the brain and may offer a pathway to new therapies for psychiatric and neurological disorders, according to researchers.

Newly discovered antibiotic kills pathogens without resistance

Posted: 08 Jan 2015 09:48 AM PST

For years, pathogens' resis­tance to antibi­otics has put them one step ahead of researchers, which is causing a public health crisis. But now scientists have discovered a new antibi­otic that elim­i­nates pathogens without encoun­tering any detectable resistance -- a finding that chal­lenges long-held sci­en­tific beliefs and holds great promise for treating chronic infec­tions like tuber­cu­losis and those caused by MRSA.

Best job performance comes from match between first, later work experiences

Posted: 08 Jan 2015 08:38 AM PST

What's better for an employee's long-term success: starting off at a company when the good times are rolling? Or, when money is tight? The answer may be neither, says a new paper. What really makes a difference is how closely the economic environment an employee lands in initially aligns with the one they end up working in later.

Albiglutide in type 2 diabetes: Hint of minor added benefit

Posted: 08 Jan 2015 08:38 AM PST

Study data for a combination with metformin show a hint of a minor added benefit because symptomatic hypoglycemia occurs less frequently, experts report after an investigation.

Sipuleucel-T in prostate cancer: Added benefit is not proven

Posted: 08 Jan 2015 08:38 AM PST

Evaluators report that data on survival were not evaluable because group differences might have been caused by the circumstances of the subsequent therapies when reviewing the potential added benefit of Sipulecuel-T. Certain side effects such as fever were found to be more frequent.

Added benefit of idelalisib is not proven

Posted: 08 Jan 2015 08:38 AM PST

The drug manufacturer presented no suitable data to evaluators for the therapeutic indication chronic lymphocytic leukaemia or for refractory follicular lymphoma.

Huntington's disease: Therapeutic potential of triheptanoin confirmed

Posted: 08 Jan 2015 08:38 AM PST

The therapeutic potential of triheptanoin in 10 patients with Huntington's disease has been demonstrated by researchers. Huntington's disease is a genetic disease; mutation of the gene encoding the huntingtin protein results in a progressive degeneration of the neurons, especially in regions of the brain involved in the control of movement, thereby causing serious neurological, motor, cognitive and psychiatric problems. Weight loss is also observed in patients at an early stage in the disease, despite normal or even increased food intake. These two observations (degeneration of neurons and loss of weight) led the researchers to propose the hypothesis that an energy deficit in these patients might play an important role in the onset and progression of the disease symptoms.

Focusing on lasting legacy prompts environmental action

Posted: 08 Jan 2015 08:37 AM PST

Prompting people to think about the legacy they want to leave for future generations can boost their desire and intention to take action on climate change, according to new research.

Moving origami techniques forward for self-folding 3-D structures

Posted: 08 Jan 2015 08:37 AM PST

Though the past 15 years have seen an exciting run of creative scientific advances in fabricating three-dimensional (3-D) structures by self-folding of 2-D sheets, the complexity of structures achieved to date falls far short of what can easily be folded by hand using paper, says a polymer scientist. Now he has developed an approach that could open the door to a new wave of discoveries.

T cell receptor ensures Treg functionality

Posted: 08 Jan 2015 08:37 AM PST

Misdirected immune responses that target the body's own tissue can result in diseases. Regulatory T cells combat this effect by suppressing excessive immune responses and responses against our own bodies. Until now, scientists had been aware of two molecular properties of regulatory T cells that control these functions. Now researchers have shown that signals emitted by T cell receptor on the regulartory T cells' surface are also essential for their identity and suppressive functions.

Mapping snake venom variety reveals unexpected evolutionary pattern

Posted: 08 Jan 2015 08:37 AM PST

Venom from an eastern diamondback rattlesnake in the Everglades is distinct from the cocktail of toxins delivered by the same species in the Florida panhandle area, some 500 miles away. But no matter where you go in the Southeastern United States, the venom of the eastern coral snake is always the same. The results challenge common assumptions in venom evolution research, provide crucial information for rattlesnake conservation, and will help coral snake antivenom development.

Blood vessel lining cells control metastasis, research shows

Posted: 08 Jan 2015 08:37 AM PST

An innovative combination therapy against metastases is under development. Researchers treated mice with a combination of a low-dose metronomic chemotherapy and an antibody against Ang-2, a regulatory protein of the blood vessel lining cells. The treated animals had significantly less metastases.

Novel vision of the death of massive stars

Posted: 08 Jan 2015 08:36 AM PST

Scientists have published a compendium of data obtained after the simultaneous research of three supernovas and of their corresponding Gamma-Ray Bursts (GRB). The research enabled contrasting statistically that the supernovas associated with GRB emit greater quantities of nickel compared to those not linked to GRB.

Students testing Indian toilets

Posted: 08 Jan 2015 08:35 AM PST

A group students and researchers spent New Year's in an unconventional way -- installing sanitation systems in India. The systems employ breathable fabric, the sort you'd find in raincoats and tents, to contain waste and protect nearby groundwater from contamination.

Blueberries may help reduce blood pressure and arterial stiffness

Posted: 08 Jan 2015 08:35 AM PST

Just one cup of blueberries per day could be the key to reducing blood pressure and arterial stiffness, both of which are associated with cardiovascular disease.

New recommendations for return to activity after concussion in military personnel

Posted: 08 Jan 2015 08:35 AM PST

Military service members with mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), or concussion, should follow a six-step process of progressive activity, leading to return to active duty, according to new clinical recommendations by an expert panel.

All in a good night's sleep: How quality of sleep impacts academic performance in children

Posted: 08 Jan 2015 08:35 AM PST

A good night's sleep is linked to better performance by schoolchildren in math and languages -- subjects that are powerful predictors of later learning and academic success, according to a study. The researchers reported that "sleep efficiency" is associated with higher academic performance in those key subjects. Sleep efficiency is a gauge of sleep quality that compares the amount of actual sleep time with the total time spent in bed.

Wearable tracking devices alone won't drive health behavior change, according to researchers

Posted: 08 Jan 2015 08:35 AM PST

New Year's weight loss resolutions are in full swing, but despite all the hype about the latest wearable tracking devices, there's little evidence that this technology alone can change behavior and improve health for those that need it most, according to a new research.

Breathing in diesel exhaust leads to changes 'deep under the hood'

Posted: 08 Jan 2015 07:07 AM PST

Diesel exhaust switches some genes on, while switching others off, by altering the methylation of DNA, scientists say.

Quantum optical hard drive breakthrough

Posted: 08 Jan 2015 07:06 AM PST

Scientists developing a prototype optical quantum hard drive have improved storage time by a factor of over 100. The team's record storage time of six hours is a major step towards a secure worldwide data encryption network based on quantum information which could be used for banking transactions and personal emails.

Regional patterns of soot, dirt on North American snow discovered

Posted: 08 Jan 2015 07:06 AM PST

A first large-scale survey of snow in the US and Canada finds that disturbed soil often darkens the snow as much as air pollution. The new readings complement recent snow surveys in the Arctic and Northern China.

Longest-ever case of sperm storage in sharks documented

Posted: 08 Jan 2015 07:06 AM PST

Biologists were taken aback when a shark egg case dropped by an adult bamboo shark, who spent nearly 4 years isolated from males, showed signs of healthy development. Their results mark the longest documented case of sperm storage in any species of shark, and highlight a bright bit of news for the future of wild sharks threatened by overfishing and habitat loss.

Unusual light signal yields clues about elusive black hole merger

Posted: 08 Jan 2015 06:44 AM PST

Scientists have found what appear to be two supermassive black holes in the final stages of a merger, a rare event never seen before. The discovery could help shed light on a long-standing conundrum in astrophysics called the "final parsec problem," which refers to the failure of theoretical models to predict what the final stages of a black hole merger look like or even how long the process might take.

Preventing transformer explosions

Posted: 08 Jan 2015 06:20 AM PST

Technology used in the crumple zones of cars can avert serious explosions in transformers, believe researchers. Large oil filled transformers are found in all power and switching stations, as well as in many large buildings. If an internal short-circuit occurs, an electrical arc, gas formation and pressure increase will be the result.

Ethnic discrimination and health: Direct link found

Posted: 08 Jan 2015 05:49 AM PST

Women who experience racial discrimination while pregnant suffer significant health impacts that are passed on to their infants, new research has found.

Algae use same molecular machinery as land plants to respond to a plant hormone

Posted: 08 Jan 2015 05:49 AM PST

Land-based plants -- including the fruits and vegetables in your kitchen -- produce and respond to hormones in order to survive. Scientists once believed that hormone signaling machinery only existed in these relatively complex plants. But new research shows that some types of freshwater algae can also detect ethylene gas -- the same stress hormone found in land plants -- and might use these signals to adapt to changing environmental conditions.

Ancient maize followed two paths into Southwest

Posted: 08 Jan 2015 05:49 AM PST

DNA from archaeological samples and traditional maize varieties indicate that ancient maize moved from Mexico into the Southwest US by a highland route and later a coastal lowland route, settling a long debate over its path.

Pathogen strains competing for same host plant change disease dynamics

Posted: 08 Jan 2015 05:49 AM PST

The epidemics caused by co-infection of several pathogen strains in a plant population is more severe than epidemics caused by single strains, researchers have discovered.

Defying the Achilles heel of 'wonder material' graphene: Resilience to extreme conditions

Posted: 08 Jan 2015 05:48 AM PST

A resilience to extreme conditions by the most transparent, lightweight and flexible material for conducting electricity could help revolutionize the electronic industry, according to a new study. Researchers have discovered that a material adapted from the 'wonder material' graphene can withstand prolonged exposure to both high temperature and humidity.

Targeting supernovae in our neighborhood of the universe

Posted: 08 Jan 2015 05:48 AM PST

While many astronomical collaborations use powerful telescopes to target individual objects in the distant universe, a new project is doing something radically different: using small telescopes to study a growing portion of the nearby universe all at once. Since it officially launched in May 2014, the project has detected 89 bright supernovae and counting -- more than all other professional astronomical surveys combined.

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