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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

ScienceDaily: Top Science News

ScienceDaily: Top Science News

Children's vulnerability reflected in genes: Some children more sensitive to their environments, for better and worse

Posted: 06 Jan 2015 05:30 PM PST

Some children are more sensitive to their environments, for better and for worse. Now researchers have identified a gene variant that may serve as a marker for these children, who are among society's most vulnerable. The study found that children from high-risk backgrounds who carried a common gene variant were very likely to develop serious problems as adults, but were also more responsive to treatment.

Computer model explains how animals select actions with rewarding outcomes

Posted: 06 Jan 2015 11:07 AM PST

A computer model charting what happens in the brain when an action is chosen that leads to a reward has been developed by researchers. The model could provide new insights into the mechanisms behind motor disorders such as Parkinson's Disease. It may also shed light on conditions involving abnormal learning, such as addiction.

Eight new planets found in 'Goldilocks' zone: Two are most similar to Earth of any known exoplanets

Posted: 06 Jan 2015 10:46 AM PST

Astronomers announced today that they have found eight new planets in the 'Goldilocks' zone of their stars, orbiting at a distance where liquid water can exist on the planet's surface. This doubles the number of small planets (less than twice the diameter of Earth) believed to be in the habitable zone of their parent stars. Among these eight, the team identified two that are the most similar to Earth of any known exoplanets to date.

Study casts doubt on mammoth-killing cosmic impact

Posted: 06 Jan 2015 10:05 AM PST

Rock soil droplets formed by heating most likely came from Stone Age house fires and not from a disastrous cosmic impact 12,900 years ago, according to new research. The study, of soil from Syria, is the latest to discredit the controversial theory that a cosmic impact triggered the Younger Dryas cold period.

Planet-hunting satellite observes supermassive black hole

Posted: 06 Jan 2015 06:51 AM PST

Astrophysicists combined ground observations with those from NASA's planet-hunting satellite. The study looked at a black hole more than 100 million light years away. They estimate KA 1858 to have 8 million times the mass of our sun.

When DNA gets sent to time-out: New details revealed in the coordinated regulation of large stretches of DNA

Posted: 06 Jan 2015 06:50 AM PST

For a skin cell to do its job, it must turn on a completely different set of genes than a liver cell -- and keep genes it doesn't need switched off. One way of turning off large groups of genes at once is to send them to 'time-out' at the edge of the nucleus. New research shows how DNA gets sent to the nucleus' far edge, a process critical to controlling genes and determining cell fate.

New drug design enhances brain signaling by a factor of 1,000

Posted: 06 Jan 2015 06:17 AM PST

Chemical-biological research sheds light on important communication processes in the brain by means of new effective molecules that improve the starting point provided by nature by more than 1,000 times. In the long term, this new knowledge may lead to psychopharmacological drugs with fewer side effects, researchers say.

More whole grains associated with lower early mortality, especially cardiovascular

Posted: 05 Jan 2015 09:58 AM PST

Eating more whole grains appears to be associated with reduced early mortality, especially deaths due to cardiovascular disease, but not cancer deaths, according to a new report.

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