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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

ScienceDaily: Most Popular News

ScienceDaily: Most Popular News

A smiling lens: 'Happy face' galaxy cluster reveals arcs caused by strong gravitational lensing

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 01:30 PM PST

An image taken with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows what appears to be a smiling galaxy cluster SDSS J1038+4849. In the case of this "happy face," the two eyes are very bright galaxies and the misleading smile lines are actually arcs caused by an effect known as strong gravitational lensing.

Does a competent leader make a good friend?

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 01:01 PM PST

New research shows that when we elect leaders and politicians we tend to prefer dominant-looking, masculine men, but when we are looking to make new friends we seek the opposite.

Global sea ice diminishing, despite Antarctic gains

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 01:01 PM PST

Sea ice increases in Antarctica do not make up for the accelerated Arctic sea ice loss of the last decades, a new study finds. As a whole, the planet has been shedding sea ice at an average annual rate of 13,500 square miles (35,000 square kilometers) since 1979, the equivalent of losing an area of sea ice larger than the state of Maryland every year.

Significant link between cannabis use and onset of mania symptoms

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 01:01 PM PST

Researchers have found evidence to suggest a significant relationship between cannabis use and the onset and exacerbation of mania symptoms.

Geoengineering report: Scientists urge more research on climate intervention

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 12:59 PM PST

Deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, while necessary, may not happen soon enough to stave off climate catastrophe. So, in addition, the world may need to resort to so-called geoengineering approaches that aim to deliberately control the planet's climate.

Mesothelioma in southern Nevada likely result of asbestos in environment

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 12:59 PM PST

Malignant mesothelioma has been found at higher than expected levels in women and in individuals younger than 55 years old in the southern Nevada counties of Clark and Nye, likewise in the same region carcinogenic mineral fibers including actinolite asbestos, erionite, winchite, magnesioriebeckite and richterite were discovered. These data suggest that these elevated numbers of malignant mesothelioma cases are linked to environmental exposure of carcinogenic mineral fibers.

Earthquake activity linked to injection wells may vary by region

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 12:59 PM PST

The Williston Basin in north central US produced fewer earthquakes caused by wastewater injection than in Texas, suggesting the link between seismicity and production activities may vary by region, according to a new study.

New cellular pathway defect found in cystinosis

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 12:52 PM PST

Scientists have identified a new cellular pathway affected in cystinosis, a rare genetic disorder that can result in eye and kidney damage. The findings could eventually lead to new drug treatments for reducing or preventing the onset of renal failure in patients.

Mars orbiter spies Curiosity rover at work

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 08:11 AM PST

A Dec. 13, 2014, image from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera orbiting Mars shows NASA's Curiosity Mars rover on the rover's walkabout examination of the "Pahrump Hills" outcrop. The outrcrop forms part of the basal layer of Mount Sharp inside Mars' Gale Crater.

Dawn gets closer views of Ceres

Posted: 05 Feb 2015 08:11 AM PST

NASA's Dawn spacecraft, on approach to dwarf planet Ceres, has acquired its latest and closest-yet snapshot of this mysterious world.

Listeria pathogen is prevalent, persistent in retail delis

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 11:20 AM PST

New research shows that standard cleaning procedures in retail delis may not eradicate Listeria monocytogenes bacteria, which can cause a potentially fatal disease in people with vulnerable immune systems.

Engineers put the 'squeeze' on human stem cells

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 11:20 AM PST

After using optical tweezers to squeeze a tiny bead attached to the outside of a human stem cell, researchers now know how mechanical forces can trigger a key signaling pathway in the cells.The squeeze helps to release calcium ions stored inside the cells and opens up channels in the cell membrane that allow the ions to flow into the cells, according to a new study.

Epigenetic breakthrough: A first of its kind tool to study the histone code

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 11:20 AM PST

Scientists have created a new research tool, based on the fruit fly, to help crack the histone code. This research tool can be used to better understand the function of histone proteins, which play critical roles in the regulation of gene expression in animals and plants.

Too much of a good thing: Extra genes make bacteria lethal

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 11:18 AM PST

We, as most animals, host many different beneficial bacteria. Being beneficial to the host often pays off for the bacteria, as success of the host determines the survival and spread of the microbe. But if bacteria grow too much they may become deadly. Scientists have found that a single genomic change can turn beneficial bacteria into pathogenic bacteria, by boosting bacterial density inside the host.

The Princess and the Pea: Cells' ultra-sensitivity for strong molecular forces in adhesion processes

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 11:17 AM PST

Knowing how cells exert force and sense mechanical feedback in their microenvironment is crucial to understanding how they activate a wide range of cellular functions, such as cell reproduction, differentiation and adhesion. Now a more fine-grained picture of adhesion mechanics is emerging, thanks to a new tool developed in recent years called a "tension gauge tether," which allows scientists to measure cell mechanics at the single-molecule level.

Low childhood vitamin D linked to adult atherosclerosis

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 11:17 AM PST

Low levels of 25-OH vitamin D in childhood were associated with subclinical atherosclerosis over 25 years later in adulthood, according to a new study.

Napping reverses health effects of poor sleep

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 11:17 AM PST

A short nap can help relieve stress and bolster the immune systems of men who slept only two hours the previous night, according to a new study.

Arachnid Rapunzel: Researchers Spin Spider Silk Proteins Into Artificial Silk

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 11:17 AM PST

Incredibly tough, slightly stretchy spider silk is a lightweight, biodegradable wonder material with numerous potential biomedical applications. But although humans have been colonizing relatively placid silkworms for thousands of years, harvesting silk from territorial and sometimes cannibalistic spiders has proven impractical. Instead, labs hoping to harness spider silk's mechanical properties are using its molecular structure as a template for their own biomimetic silks.

Planck Mission Explores the History of Our Universe

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 10:55 AM PST

Hot gas, dust and magnetic fields mingle in a colorful swirl in this new map of our Milky Way galaxy. The image is part of a new and improved data set from Planck, a European Space Agency mission in which NASA played a key role.

NASA's Curiosity analyzing sample of Martian mountain

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 10:54 AM PST

The second bite of a Martian mountain taken by NASA's Curiosity Mars rover hints at long-ago effects of water that was more acidic than any evidenced in the rover's first taste of Mount Sharp, a layered rock record of ancient Martian environments.

NASA spacecraft completes 40,000 Mars orbits

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 10:52 AM PST

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter passed a mission milestone of 40,000 orbits on Feb. 7, 2015, in its ninth year of returning information about the atmosphere, surface and subsurface of Mars, from equatorial to polar latitudes.

Mars rover nearing marathon achievement

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 10:50 AM PST

NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity is nearing a location on Mars at which its driving distance will surpass the length of a marathon race. A drive on Feb. 8, 2015, put the rover within 220 yards (200 meters) of this marathon accomplishment. An Olympic marathon is 26.219 miles (42.195 kilometers).

Studying microscopic phytoplankton: Prototype ready for the open ocean

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 10:32 AM PST

Its name refers to one of the biggest animals in the sea, but ORCA, the Ocean Radiometer for Carbon Assessment instrument, will be observing the smallest. If selected for a flight mission, ORCA will study microscopic phytoplankton, tiny green plants that float in the upper layer of the ocean and make up the base of the marine food chain.

Plain packaging reduces 'cigarette-seeking' response by almost ten percent

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 10:32 AM PST

Plain tobacco packaging may reduce the likelihood of smokers seeking to obtain cigarettes by almost 10 percent compared to branded packs, according to new research.

Coral reef symbiosis: Paying rent with sugar and fat

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 10:31 AM PST

Scientists have revealed how coral-dwelling microalgae harvest nutrients from the surrounding seawater and shuttle them out to their coral hosts, sustaining a fragile ecosystem that is under threat.

DNA 'cage' could improve nanopore technology

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 10:31 AM PST

Researchers have designed a tiny cage that can trap a single strand of DNA after it has been pulled through a nanopore. While caged, biochemical experiments can be performed on the strand, which can then be zipped back through the nanopore. The device could enable researchers to probe DNA before and after a reaction takes place.

Smoking thins vital part of brain

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 10:31 AM PST

A major study shows new evidence that long-term smoking could cause thinning of the brain's cortex. The cortex is the outer layer of the brain in which critical cognitive functions such as memory, language and perception take place. Interestingly, the findings also suggest that stopping smoking helps to restore at least part of the cortex's thickness.

Eruptions evicted: Anti-geyser testing completed for Space Launch System liquid oxygen tank

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 10:29 AM PST

Goodbye, geysers! NASA engineers have successfully finished anti-geyser testing for the liquid oxygen tank that will help fuel the agency's new rocket, the Space Launch System, on the journey to Mars.

How conditions of spaceflight affect living organisms: New research headed to space station

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 10:27 AM PST

New research will be heading to the International Space Station to help NASA understand how the conditions of spaceflight affect living organisms. This work is helping the agency develop the resources and measures necessary to ensure astronauts remain healthy as we venture beyond low-Earth orbit and head out to study an asteroid and eventually Mars.

NASA's LRO discovers lunar hydrogen more abundant on moon's pole-facing slopes

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 10:19 AM PST

The recent discovery of hydrogen-bearing molecules, possibly including water, on the moon has explorers excited because these deposits could be mined if they are sufficiently abundant, sparing the considerable expense of bringing water from Earth. Recent observations by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft indicate these deposits may be slightly more abundant on crater slopes in the southern hemisphere that face the lunar South Pole.

Scientist to gather greenhouse gas emissions from melting permafrost

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 10:08 AM PST

A NASA scientist who has developed a novel suitcase-size instrument to measure column carbon dioxide and methane is taking her recently patented instrument on the road this summer to comprehensively measure emissions of these important greenhouse gases from Alaska's melting permafrost.

When a broken heart becomes a real medical condition

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 10:05 AM PST

Broken heart syndrome occurs during highly stressful or emotional times, such as a romantic breakup, death of a spouse, serious medical diagnosis or significant financial problems. Symptoms can easily be mistaken for a heart attack.

Electronics you can wrap around your finger

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 10:01 AM PST

A new multiferroric film keeps its electric and magnetic properties even when highly curved, paving the way for potential uses in wearable devices.

Smartphone apps just as accurate as wearable devices for tracking physical activity

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 10:01 AM PST

Although wearable devices have received significant attention for their ability to track an individual's physical activity, most smartphone applications are just as accurate, according to new research. The study tested 10 of the top-selling smartphone apps and devices in the United States by having 14 participants walk on a treadmill for 500 and 1,500 steps, each twice (for a total of 56 trials), and then recording their step counts.

Size of biomarker associated with improved survival following transplantation

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 10:01 AM PST

Among patients with severe aplastic anemia who received stem cell transplant from an unrelated donor, longer leukocyte (white blood cells) telomere length (a structure at the end of a chromosome) was associated with increased overall survival at 5 years, according to a new study.

Creatine does not slow rate of Parkinson disease progression

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 10:01 AM PST

Treatment with creatine monohydrate for at least 5 years for patients with early and treated Parkinson disease failed to slow clinical progression of the disease, compared with placebo, according to a new study.

Iron supplementation improves hemoglobin recovery time following blood donation

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 10:01 AM PST

Among blood donors with normal hemoglobin levels, low-dose oral iron supplementation, compared with no supplementation, reduced the time to recovery of the postdonation decrease in hemoglobin concentration in donors with low or higher levels of a marker of overall iron storage (ferritin), according to a new study.

Blood pressure-lowering treatment for type 2 diabetes linked to longer survival

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 10:01 AM PST

Blood pressure-lowering treatment among patients with type 2 diabetes is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and heart disease events and improved mortality.

NASA scientist advances methane sounder to measure another greenhouse gas

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 09:57 AM PST

A NASA scientist who has played a key role developing and demonstrating a new technique for gathering around-the-clock global carbon-dioxide measurements is applying the same general principles to develop a new laser instrument sensitive to another greenhouse gas -- methane.

Drug targeting Ebola virus protein VP24 shows promise in monkeys

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 07:34 AM PST

An experimental medication that targets a protein in Ebola virus called VP24 protected 75 percent of a group of monkeys that were studied from Ebola virus infection, according to new research.

Cracks in the surface coating of gas turbines are necessary for longer life-span and better thermal insulation

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 07:33 AM PST

Gas turbines are used for the production of electricity and in aircraft engines. To increase the life-span of the turbines, they are sprayed with a surface coating. The coating consists of two layers – one of metal to protect against oxidation and corrosion , and one of ceramic to give thermal insulation. The structure of the coating varies greatly, consisting of pores and cracks of different sizes. It is these cracks and pores that largely determine the efficiency of the thermal insulation and the length of the  coating life-span.

Historic Indian sword was masterfully crafted

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 07:33 AM PST

The master craftsmanship behind Indian swords was highlighted when scientists and conservationists from Italy and the UK joined forces to study a curved single-edged sword called a shamsheer. The 75-centimeter-long sword from the Wallace Collection in London was made in India in the late eighteenth or early nineteenth century. The design is of Persian origin, from where it spread across Asia and eventually gave rise to a family of similar weapons called scimitars being forged in various Southeast Asian countries. Two different approaches were used to examine the shamsheer: the classical one (metallography) and a non-destructive technique (neutron diffraction).

Security gaps found in 39,890 online databases containing customer data

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 05:38 AM PST

Anyone could call up or modify several million pieces of customer data online including names, addresses and e-mails. Three students were able to show this for 40,000 online databases in both Germany and France. The cause is a misconfigured open source database upon which millions of online stores and platforms from all over the world base their services. If the operators blindly stick to the defaults in the installation process and do not consider crucial details, the data is available online, completely unprotected.

Hybrid perovskite nanoparticles with 80% luminescence yield obtained

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 05:37 AM PST

Researchers have developed a method for preparing methylammonium-lead bromide hybrid nanoparticles with extraordinary luminescence. They have successfully increased the luminescence efficiency of nanoparticles up to 80% and has also proven their high stability under ultraviolet visible light.

Water ice renders short-lived molecule sustainable

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 05:36 AM PST

"Antiaromatic compounds" is what chemists call a class of ring molecules which are extremely instable – the opposite of the highly stable aromatic molecules. Because they exist for mere split seconds, they can only be detected by extremely demanding, ultrafast methods. Scientists have now succeeded in isolating the antiaromatic fluorenyl cation at extremely low temperatures in water ice. Thus, they were able to conduct a spectroscopic analysis for the very first time.

Taking too much folic acid while pregnant may put daughters at risk of diabetes and obesity

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 05:36 AM PST

Mothers that take excessive amounts of folic acid during pregnancy may predispose their daughters to diabetes and obesity later in life, according to a new study. With high dose supplements being widely available, the study calls for a need to establish a safe upper limit of folic acid intake for pregnant women. 

Understanding how to teach 'intelligence'

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 05:36 AM PST

More than ever, we need problem-solving skills to be able to adapt to our fast changing economies and societies. Researchers believe it is possible to teach these skills which are widely known as "intelligence".

Damage from obesity passed to offspring, but impact of obesity on fertility can be reversed, mouse study finds

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 05:35 AM PST

In a breakthrough discovery, researchers have revealed how damage from obesity in mice is passed from a mother to her children, and also how that damage can be reversed.

Tobacco-smoking moms and dads increase diabetes risk for children in utero

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 02:09 AM PST

Children exposed to tobacco smoke from their parents while in the womb are predisposed to developing diabetes as adults.

Smoking impairs treatment response in inflammatory back arthritis

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 02:09 AM PST

Smoking impairs the response to biological drugs used to treat inflammatory arthritis affecting the lower back, known as axial spondyloarthritis, or AxSpA, for short, new research reveals.

Historic US and UK dietary advice on fats 'should not have been introduced'

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 02:09 AM PST

National dietary advice on fat consumption issued to millions of US and UK citizens in 1977 and 1983, to cut coronary heart disease incidence, lacked any solid trial evidence to back it up, and 'should not have been introduced,' concludes new research.

Growing number of donor hearts rejected, need for transplants rises

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 02:09 AM PST

Surgeons and transplant centers nationwide increasingly have rejected hearts donated for transplantation despite a growing need for them, according to a new study.

Construction of the world's biggest solar telescope

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 02:08 AM PST

With a four-meter diameter primary mirror, the telescope will be able to pick up unprecedented detail on the surface of the Sun -- the equivalent of being able to examine a coin from 100 kms away. It will address fundamental questions at the core of contemporary solar physics. It will do this via high-speed (sub-second timescales) spectroscopic and magnetic measurements of the solar photosphere, chromosphere and corona.

Women with a pregnancy history of spontaneous preterm delivery found at higher risk of cardiovascular diseases

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 02:08 AM PST

A history of spontaneous preterm delivery appears to double a woman's risk of heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases, according to new results. The strength of the association was described by the investigators as "robust", and, as an independent risk factor for CVD, "almost equally strong" as raised blood pressure, elevated lipid levels, overweight, smoking and diabetes mellitus (with similar hazard ratios between 2.0 and 2.5).

Novel bio-inspired robotic sock promotes blood circulation and prevents blood clots in legs

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 02:08 AM PST

Innovative robotic sock, which mimics tentacle movements of corals, can benefit bedridden or immobile patients.

Exposure to mercury, seafood associated with risk factor for autoimmune disease

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 02:04 AM PST

One of the greatest risk factors for autoimmunity among women of childbearing age may be associated with exposure to mercury such as through seafood, a new study says. Mercury -- even at low levels generally considered safe -- was associated with autoimmunity. Autoimmune disorders, which cause the body's immune system to attack healthy cells by mistake, affects nearly 50 million Americans and predominately women.

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