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Thursday, February 12, 2015

ScienceDaily: Most Popular News

ScienceDaily: Most Popular News

Terrible at remembering names? Blame it on the music, not the memory

Posted: 11 Feb 2015 12:39 PM PST

A study challenged younger and older people to look at faces and names while either listening to non-lyrical music or nothing at all. The college-aged participants had no problems -- the music didn't affect their performance. But the older adults remembered 10 percent fewer names when listening to background music or musical rain (as compared to silence).

A gene that shaped the evolution of Darwin's finches

Posted: 11 Feb 2015 12:39 PM PST

Researchers have identified a gene in Galápagos finches studied by English naturalist Charles Darwin that influences beak shape and that played a role in the birds' evolution from a common ancestor. The study illustrates the genetic foundation of evolution, including how genes can flow from one species to another, and how different versions of a gene within a species can contribute to the formation of new species.

In a first, astronomers catch a multiple star system in the process of forming

Posted: 11 Feb 2015 11:12 AM PST

This finding supports model predictions about how two- and three-star systems form. Astronomers say understanding why and how multiple star systems form is essential for grasping phenomena such as star and planet formation, planet frequency and habitability.

Brain's GPS system influenced by shape of environment

Posted: 11 Feb 2015 11:12 AM PST

Patterns created by the brain's grid cells, which are believed to guide navigation, are modified by the shape of the environment, according to new research. This means grid patterns aren't a universal metric for the brain's GPS system to measure distance, as previously thought.

How CBD, a component in marijuana, works within cells

Posted: 11 Feb 2015 11:09 AM PST

Researchers have identified fatty acid binding proteins (FABPs) as intracellular transporters for two ingredients in marijuana, THC and CBD (cannabidiol). The finding is significant because it helps explain how CBD works within the cells. Recent clinical findings have shown that CBD may help reduce seizures and could be a potential new medicine to treat pediatric treatment-resistant epilepsy.

Apes prefer the glass half full: Nearest primate relatives also susceptible to marketing spin

Posted: 11 Feb 2015 10:21 AM PST

Humans aren't the only species to be influenced by spin. Our closest primate relatives are susceptible, too. For example, people rate a burger as more tasty when it is described as "75 percent lean" than when it is described as "25 percent fat," even though that's the same thing. A new study finds that positive and negative framing make a big difference for chimpanzees and bonobos too.

How much sleep do we really need?

Posted: 11 Feb 2015 10:21 AM PST

An expert panel that examined data from 320 studies is recommending new guidelines on how much sleep people should get. The guidelines are based on age, ranging from newborns (who need 14 to 17 hours of sleep per day) to adults aged 65 and up (7 to 8 hours per day).

Breakthrough in stroke treatment: Stent thrombectomy

Posted: 11 Feb 2015 10:21 AM PST

A randomized clinical research study looked at the effectiveness of a new treatment for stroke. The study involved adding a minimally invasive clot removal procedure called stent thrombectomy to standard clot-dissolving therapy, known as tissue plasminogen activator. The study showed a dramatic improvement in restoring blood flow back to the brain, which is critical in the recovery of stroke.

Analogue quantum computers: Still wishful thinking?

Posted: 11 Feb 2015 10:20 AM PST

Many challenges lie ahead before quantum annealing, the analogue version of quantum computation, contributes to solve combinatorial optimization problems. Traditional computational tools are simply not powerful enough to solve some complex optimization problems, like, for example, protein folding. Quantum annealing, a potentially successful implementation of analogue quantum computing, would bring about an ultra-performant computational method.

Carbon release from ocean helped end the Ice Age

Posted: 11 Feb 2015 10:20 AM PST

A release of carbon dioxide from the deep ocean helped bring an end to the last Ice Age, according to new research. The study shows that carbon stored in an isolated reservoir deep in the Southern Ocean re-connected with the atmosphere, driving a rise in atmospheric CO2 and an increase in global temperatures. The finding gives scientists an insight into how the ocean affects the carbon cycle and climate change.

Love online is about being real, not perfect

Posted: 11 Feb 2015 10:19 AM PST

How you fill out an online profile makes a big difference in how you're seen by others. New research shows it is better to be real with your information than trying to be perfect.

Meth messes up brains of youths far more than adults

Posted: 11 Feb 2015 10:18 AM PST

In a study with chronic adolescent and adult meth users in South Korea, MRI brain scans showed decreased thickness in the gray matter of younger users' frontal cortex. Adult brains showed less damage.

Unraveling the complex web of global food trade

Posted: 11 Feb 2015 10:18 AM PST

Growing global trade is critically important for providing food when and where it's needed -- but it makes it harder to link the benefits of food and the environmental burden of its production. A new study proposes to extend the way we characterize global food trade to include nutritional value and resource consumption alongside more conventional measures of trade's value.

Largest ever genome-wide study strengthens genetic link to obesity

Posted: 11 Feb 2015 10:18 AM PST

While diet and exercise are important, new findings sharpen the role genetics play in people's tendency to gain weight and where the fat is stored. This work is the first step toward finding individual genes that play key roles in body shape and size.

Oldest fur seal identified, ending 5-million-year 'ghost lineage'

Posted: 11 Feb 2015 09:40 AM PST

The oldest known fur seal has been discovered by a Geology PhD student at New Zealand's University of Otago, providing a missing link that helps to resolve a more than 5-million-year gap in fur seal and sea lion evolutionary history.

New approach to childhood malnutrition may reduce relapses, deaths

Posted: 11 Feb 2015 09:40 AM PST

Children treated for moderate acute malnutrition experience a high rate of relapse and even death in the year following treatment and recovery. A new study indicates that supplementary feeding for a set time period -- 12 weeks -- makes an impact but may not be as important as treating children until they reach target weights and measures of arm circumference.

Plant extract fights brain tumor

Posted: 11 Feb 2015 09:40 AM PST

Silibinin from milk thistle seeds could be a novel, non-invasive treatment strategy for Cushing Disease. Cushing Disease, not to be confused with Cushing's Syndrome, is caused by a tumor in the pituitary gland in the brain.

Treating the uninjured side of the brain appears to aid stroke recovery

Posted: 11 Feb 2015 09:37 AM PST

To maximize stroke recovery, researchers may want to focus more on ways to support the side of the brain where the injury didn't occur, scientists report.

What makes the feather soar

Posted: 11 Feb 2015 09:36 AM PST

Bird species have adapted to so many ecological niches in large part because of the variety of ways feathers lend them a competitive advantage. New research shows that one key to the feather's manifold manifestations is the dynamic evolution of a protein family that first appeared some 150 million years ago: the beta-keratins.

Fluorescing food dyes as probes to improve food quality

Posted: 11 Feb 2015 09:25 AM PST

Food dyes can give cakes, candy and sodas brilliant colors of the rainbow. Now a team of food scientists has found that food coloring may be able to play more than its traditional esthetic role in food presentation.

Extreme mechano-sensitive neurons of tactile-foraging ducks fit the bill for touch research

Posted: 11 Feb 2015 09:25 AM PST

Mechanosensation is one of our fundamental physiological processes, on par with sight and smell, but how it works on a cellular level remains poorly understood, holding back development of effective treatments for mechanosensory disorders like chronic pain. Now, a team of researchers has identified a new model organism that may help elucidate the cellular mechanisms behind mechanosensation: the ordinary duck.

Better batteries inspired by lowly snail shells

Posted: 11 Feb 2015 09:25 AM PST

Researchers have isolated a peptide, a type of biological molecule, which binds strongly to lithium manganese nickel oxide (LMNO), a material that can be used to make the cathode in high performance batteries. The peptide can latch onto nanosized particles of LMNO and connect them to conductive components of a battery electrode, improving the potential power and stability of the electrode.

Unexpected 'storm' at galaxy's core: Supermassive black hole blasting gas, transforming galaxy

Posted: 11 Feb 2015 07:19 AM PST

Astronomers found surprisingly energetic activity in what they otherwise considered a "boring" galaxy, and their discovery provides important insight on how supermassive black holes can have a catastrophic effect on the galaxies in which they reside.

A new variant of the rabbit hemorrhagic disease endangers the Iberian lynx

Posted: 11 Feb 2015 07:19 AM PST

A new study demonstrates the effects that a new variant of the hemorrhagic disease virus RHDV has on wild rabbits on the Iberian Peninsula. The virus threatens the survival of its predator, the Iberian lynx. Scientists have identified a new variant of the rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV) throughout the entire Iberian Peninsula, including the areas where the Iberian lynx lives, such as the Sierra Morena mountains.

Why comets are like deep fried ice cream

Posted: 11 Feb 2015 06:08 AM PST

Astronomers tinkering with ice and organics in the lab may have discovered why comets are encased in a hard, outer crust. Using an icebox-like instrument nicknamed Himalaya, the researchers show that fluffy ice on the surface of a comet would crystalize and harden as the comet heads toward the sun and warms up. As the water-ice crystals form, becoming denser and more ordered, other molecules containing carbon would be expelled to the comet's surface. The result is a crunchy comet crust sprinkled with organic dust.

Stroke patients receiving better, more timely care

Posted: 11 Feb 2015 05:41 AM PST

One in four acute ischemic stroke patients receiving the clot-busting drug tissue plasminogen activator were transferred to a facility with expertise in stroke care. Those transferred to a certified stroke center were more likely to be younger, male and white. Hospitals that accepted transferred stroke patients were more common in the Midwest and more likely to be larger or academic medical centers.

Elementary teachers' depression symptoms related to students' learning

Posted: 11 Feb 2015 05:41 AM PST

A new study has found that teachers who report having more symptoms of depression had classrooms that were of lesser quality, and that students in these classrooms had fewer performance gains. Researchers looked at 27 teachers and their 523 third-grade students in a Florida school district. Teachers reported the frequency of their symptoms of clinical depression, and students' basic reading and math skills were assessed throughout the year.

New evidence on risks of advanced maternal age

Posted: 11 Feb 2015 05:40 AM PST

Many of the risk factors associated with pregnancy are more harmful when the expectant mother is over 35. According to an extensive, register-based study, the risks associated with overweight, smoking, gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia are higher in advanced maternal age than in younger expectant mothers. dvanced maternal age refers to women giving birth at the age of over 35.

Dynamic side of the early universe: Only 380,000 years after the Big Bang

Posted: 11 Feb 2015 05:40 AM PST

The Planck collaboration has released data from four years of observation by the European Space Agency's Planck spacecraft. The aim of the Planck mission is to study the Cosmic Microwave Background, the light left over from the Big Bang. The measurements, taken in nine frequency bands, were used to map not only the temperature of the radiation but also its polarization, which provides additional information about both the very early Universe (when it was 380,000 years old) and our Galaxy's magnetic field.

Scientists take first X-ray portraits of living bacteria

Posted: 11 Feb 2015 05:29 AM PST

Researchers have captured the first X-ray portraits of living bacteria. This milestone is a first step toward possible X-ray explorations of the molecular machinery at work in viral infections, cell division, photosynthesis and other processes that are important to biology, human health and our environment.

Want to save the planet? Neighbors better allies than family

Posted: 11 Feb 2015 05:29 AM PST

Socializing with neighbors leads to more planet-friendly behaviors than spending time with friends or family, research finds. That's due to the diversity of neighbors and overwhelming similarity of loved ones, researchers say. So be kind to your neighbors: they may hold the secret to greater action on climate change.

Smashing polarized protons to uncover spin and other secrets

Posted: 11 Feb 2015 05:29 AM PST

If you want to unravel the secrets of proton spin, put a "twist" in your colliding proton beams. The Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) is the only facility in the world with the ability to collide such spin-polarized protons. The latest round of these collisions has just begun and will continue for approximately the next nine weeks.

How Health Authorities Might Improve Communication about Vaccinations

Posted: 11 Feb 2015 05:29 AM PST

Fatalists trump rational thought: A new study by a political scientist examines perceptions of U.S. citizens about the benefits and risks of immunizations.

Unwanted impact of antibiotics broader, more complex than previously known

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 06:26 PM PST

Researchers have discovered that antibiotics have an unwanted impact on the microorganisms that live in an animal's gut that's more broad and complex than previously known. A study has helped to explain these processes, which are now believed to affect everything from the immune system to glucose metabolism, food absorption, obesity, stress and behavior.

New therapeutic principle for Parkinsonian dyskinesia shows clinical effect

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 06:26 PM PST

Involuntary dyskinetic movements induced by treatment with levodopa are a common problem for people with Parkinson's disease. Now, however, researchers seem to be close to a novel therapy to this distressing side effect.

Predicting plant responses to drought

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 06:26 PM PST

A new study shows how plants' vulnerability to drought varies across the landscape; factors such as plant structure and soil type where the plant is growing can either make them more vulnerable or protect them from declines.

Advent of geoengineering may help lower temperature of debate over climate change

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 06:26 PM PST

Geoengineering, an emerging technology aimed at counteracting the effects of human-caused climate change, also has the potential to counteract political polarization over global warming, according to a new study.

Crocodiles just wanna have fun, too

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 06:20 PM PST

Crocodilians engage in all three main types of play distinguished by behavior specialists: locomotor play, play with objects and social play. Crocodiles have also been seen playing with other animals. In rare cases, individual crocodilians have been known to bond so strongly with people that they become playmates for years.

Novel non-stick material joins portfolio of slippery surface technologies

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 06:20 PM PST

The technology leverages the molecular structure of polymers, which makes them highly capable of taking up and storing considerable volumes of lubricating liquids in their molecular structure, like sponges. This allows for absorption of a large reservoir of lubricant, which can then travel to the surface and render it continuously slippery and repellent -- creating an environment that challenges bacteria's ability to colonize.

Power efficiency in the violin: Key design features boost violins' acoustic power

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 06:20 PM PST

Some of the most prized violins in the world were crafted in the Italian workshops of Amati, Stradivari, and Guarneri -- master violinmaking families from the 17th and 18th centuries who produced increasingly powerful instruments in the renaissance and baroque musical eras. These violins, worth millions of dollars today, represent the Cremonese period -- what is now considered the golden age of violinmaking. Now acousticians and fluid dynamicists, along with violinmakers, have analyzed measurements from hundreds of Cremonese-era violins, identifying key design features that contribute to these particular violins' acoustic power, or fullness of sound.

Methane emissions vary at natural gas gathering and processing facilities

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 05:59 PM PST

A new study found wide variations in the amount of methane being emitted at U.S. natural gas gathering facilities and processing plants. Their findings indicate facility-level methane emissions ranged from less than 1 kilogram per hour to 698 kilograms per hour, while loss rates ranged from less than 0.01 percent to greater than 10 percent.

Babies can identify complex social situations and react accordingly

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 11:20 AM PST

In the social world, people constantly gather information through visual cues that are used to evaluate others and interact. A new study determined that babies can make sense of complex social situations, and that they expect people to behave appropriately.

Nanotubes self-organize and wiggle: Evolution of a nonequilibrium system demonstrates MEPP

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 11:20 AM PST

Since the mid-20th century, research has pointed to an extension of the second law for nonequilibrium systems: the Maximum Entropy Production Principle states that a system away from equilibrium evolves in such a way as to maximize entropy production, given present constraints. Now, physicists have demonstrated the emergence of self-organized structures that drive the evolution of a non-equilibrium system to a state of maximum entropy production.

Effectiveness of device to improve bowel control in women confirmed

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 11:17 AM PST

Medical researchers have successfully demonstrated a new device to control fecal incontinence in women.

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