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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

ScienceDaily: Most Popular News

ScienceDaily: Most Popular News

Splash down: High-speed images capture patterns by which raindrops spread pathogens among plants

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 05:44 PM PST

Farmers have long noted a correlation between rainstorms and disease outbreaks among plants. Fungal parasites known as "rust" can grow particularly rampant following rain events, eating away at the leaves of wheat and potentially depleting crop harvests. While historical weather records suggest that rainfall may scatter rust and other pathogens throughout a plant population, the mechanism by which this occurs has not been explored, until now.

Giant rodent used incisors like tusks

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 05:43 PM PST

The largest rodent ever to have lived may have used its front teeth just like an elephant uses its tusks, a new study has found. "We concluded that Josephoartigasia must have used its incisors for activities other than biting, such as digging in the ground for food, or defending itself from predators. This is very similar to how a modern day elephant uses its tusks," an investigator said.

One in two people in the UK will get cancer

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 05:43 PM PST

One in two people will develop cancer at some point in their lives, according to the most accurate forecast to date from the UK. Age is the biggest risk factor for most cancers, and the increase in lifetime risk is primarily because more people are surviving into old age, when cancer is more common.

One in three people would risk shorter life rather than take daily pill to avoid heart disease

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 04:03 PM PST

In a survey, one in three adults say they would risk living a shorter life rather than taking a daily pill to prevent cardiovascular disease. About one in five say they were willing to pay $1,000 or more to avoid taking a daily pill for the rest of their lives. Most respondents weren't willing to trade any weeks of life to avoid daily medication.

Widening health inequalities among adolescents, international study reveals

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 04:02 PM PST

Over the past decade, rising national wealth across high-income countries has contributed to some improvements in health and well-being among adolescents. But the gap in health between rich and poor has widened, an international study of nearly half a million adolescents from 34 countries across Europe and North America has found.

Researchers reprogram tumor's cells to attack itself

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 04:00 PM PST

Inserting a specific strain of bacteria into the microenvironment of aggressive ovarian cancer transforms the behavior of tumor cells from suppression to immunostimulation, researchers have found.

Online photos provide evidence for value of clean water

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 01:01 PM PST

A novel approach to calculating the value of clean water has been developed by scientists. Analyzing photos posted to the online photo-sharing site Flickr, researchers found Minnesota and Iowa lakes with greater water quality receive more visits than dirtier lakes, and that users are willing to travel farther to visit those clean, clear lakes.

One-atom-thin silicon transistors hold promise for super-fast computing

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 01:01 PM PST

Researchers have created the first transistors out of silicene, the world's thinnest silicon material. This new 'wonder material' could make computers and other electronics more efficient.

Sea slug has taken genes from algae it eats, allowing it to photosynthesize like a plant

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 12:59 PM PST

How a brilliant-green sea slug manages to live for months at a time 'feeding' on sunlight, like a plant, is clarified in a recent study. The authors present the first direct evidence that the emerald green sea slug's chromosomes have some genes that come from the algae it eats.

Astronomers find new details in first known spiral galaxy: Plumes

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 12:59 PM PST

Astronomers have discovered faint plumes extending from the northeast and south of the nearby spiral galaxy M51a, also called the 'Whirlpool Galaxy,' by taking what is essentially a photograph made by a 20-hour exposure.

Rediscovering spontaneous light emission

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 12:59 PM PST

LEDs could replace lasers for short-range optical communications with the use of an optical antenna that enhances the spontaneous emission of light from atoms, molecules and semiconductor quantum dots.

University partnerships in high- and low-income countries can increase research capacity

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 12:59 PM PST

Developing national health research capacity in low- and middle-income countries is a key element toward strengthening their health systems.

A novel shuttle for fatty acids

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 12:59 PM PST

Oils from plant seeds provide the basis for many aspects of modern life that are taken for granted, being used to make cooking oil, soap, fuel, cosmetics, medicines, flooring, and many other everyday products. While most of the process by which plants make fatty acids is well-known, the mechanism by which these important molecules get out of the chloroplast was unclear.

Our thoughts are susceptible to external influence, even against our will

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 11:23 AM PST

New research documents how our thoughts are influenced by our outside environment. This research is the first demonstration of two thoughts in the stream of consciousness being controlled externally and against participants' will.

There have been a lot of cats in The New York Times over the years

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 11:23 AM PST

The cute cat video seems to be everywhere online, and it's become a handy epithet for everything that journalism should not be. So what should we make of the fact that The New York Times, that paragon of journalism, has written a lot about cats over 140 years? That's the question posed by a journalism professor after compiling hundreds of cat-related tales from the Times' digital archive.

Penta-graphene, a new structural variant of carbon, discovered

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 11:23 AM PST

Researchers have discovered a new structural variant of carbon called 'penta-graphene' -- a very thin sheet of pure carbon that has a unique structure inspired by a pentagonal pattern of tiles found paving the streets of Cairo.

Get the gist? Tool provides unique insight for those with traumatic brain injury

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 11:23 AM PST

Individuals with traumatic brain injury have significantly more difficulty with gist reasoning than traditional cognitive tests, research shows. Using a unique cognitive assessment, these findings indicate that an individual's ability to 'get the gist' after a TBI more strongly predicts daily functionality than traditional cognitive tests alone.

New research sheds light on neural circuit development

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 10:33 AM PST

Using multiphoton imaging, researchers are now able to move beyond characterizing the properties of individual cells to investigate how communication among neurons changes over the course of development. In a new paper, researchers report substantial developmental changes in communication among cells that significantly improve the information processing capabilities of the brain.

From pecan to walnut: American leafminer invades Italy on a new tree

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 10:33 AM PST

A leafminer that has been invading Italian walnut orchards since 2010, has been shown to be identical to the North American species that feeds on hickories and pecan. The identity of these moths as Coptodisca lucifluella was proved by DNA barcoding and morphological study. Probably the moth invaded the new host plant after it invaded Italy. The leafminer is already widespread in Italy but the level of damage does not seem to be worrisome, experts report.

Rarely understood ammonium carbonate monohydrate

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 10:32 AM PST

New structural studies of the superficially simple ammonium carbonate monohydrate could shed light on industrial processes, biochemistry and even the interstellar building blocks of life.

Add nature, art and religion to life's best anti-inflammatories

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 10:32 AM PST

Taking in such spine-tingling wonders as the Grand Canyon, Sistine Chapel ceiling or Schubert's 'Ave Maria' may give a boost to the body's defense system. Researchers have linked positive emotions -- especially the awe we feel when touched by the beauty of nature, art and spirituality -- with lower levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines.

Physicists observe motion of skyrmions

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 10:31 AM PST

Small magnetic whirls may revolutionize future data storage and information processing if they can be moved rapidly and reliably in small structures. Scientists have now been able to investigate the dynamics of these whirls experimentally. The skyrmions, as these tiny whirls are called after the British nuclear physicist Tony Skyrme, follow a complex trajectory and even continue to move after the external excitation is switched off. This effect will be especially important when one wants to move a skyrmion to a selected position as necessary in a future memory device.

Children's hunger born from mothers' trauma

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 09:34 AM PST

The roots of children's hunger today may stretch back, in part, to the past childhood trauma of their caregivers. Evidence amassed over the past two decades has demonstrated that stress and deprivation during childhood have lifelong consequences on health, as well as school and job performance. A new small-scale study now suggests a strong relationship between exposure to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and household food insecurity among mothers of young children.

If Facebook use causes envy, depression could follow

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 09:34 AM PST

Facebook use can lead to symptoms of depression if the social networking site triggers feelings of envy among its users, research shows. "Facebook can be a fun and healthy activity if users take advantage of the site to stay connected with family and old friends and to share interesting and important aspects of their lives," an author said. "However, if Facebook is used to see how well an acquaintance is doing financially or how happy an old friend is in his relationship--things that cause envy among users--use of the site can lead to feelings of depression."

White potatoes should be allowed under WIC, says report

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 09:34 AM PST

The US Department of Agriculture should allow white potatoes as a vegetable eligible for purchase with vouchers issued by the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Woman, Infants, and Children (WIC), says a new report. If relevant changes occur in the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the recommendation should be re-evaluated.

Role of gravitational instabilities in volcanic ash deposition: The example of Eyjafjallajökull

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 09:31 AM PST

Volcanic ash poses a significant hazard for areas close to volcanoes and for aviation. For example, the 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull, Iceland, clearly demonstrated that even small-to-moderate explosive eruptions, in particular if long-lasting, can paralyze entire sectors of societies, with significant, global-level, economic impacts. Researchers now present the first quantitative description of the dynamics of gravitational instabilities and particle aggregation based on the 4 May 2010 eruption.

Neurologists Find Movement Tracking Device Helps Assess Severity of Parkinson's Disease

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 09:31 AM PST

A device that measures movement and balance can effectively help assess and track the progression of Parkinson's disease, even when medications are used to reduce Parkinson's symptoms, researchers report.

Surgical metrics do not provide a clear path to improvement

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 09:31 AM PST

While surgical outcomes have improved nationally over time, surgical outcome reporting does not necessarily lead to better outcomes, according to a study. The study found no association between hospital-based participation in the NSQIP and improvements in postoperative outcomes over time, suggesting that a surgical outcomes reporting system does not provide a clear mechanism for quality improvement. According to the research team, the failure of these types of outcomes monitoring systems to produce measurable improvements in outcomes may be related to difficulties in identifying mechanisms that translate reports into changes in how surgical care is provided.

Study sheds new light on aggressive cancer in children

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 08:21 AM PST

A new study has revealed how children with an aggressive cancer predisposition syndrome experience a never before seen flood of mutations in their disease in just six months. The syndrome, called 'biallelic mismatch repair deficiency' (bMMRD) causes multiple brain tumours, lymphomas and gastrointestinal cancers by the age of 10. As a result these children rarely survive into adulthood.

How will ocean acidification impact marine life?

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 08:21 AM PST

A new analysis provides a holistic assessment of the impacts of climate change and ocean acidification on marine organisms including coral, shellfish, sea urchins, and other calcifying species.

Female sticklebacks prime their offspring to cope with climate change

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 08:21 AM PST

Three-spined sticklebacks in the North Sea pass on information concerning their living environment to their offspring, without genetic changes, researchers have found. "Female sticklebacks pass on optimized mitochondria, which have adapted to the environmental conditions the mothers experienced, to their offspring. As a result the young fish receive information on their mothers' environment and living conditions without any genetic changes. In this species, then, maternal effects play a decisive role in terms of the potential to adapt to changes in their habitat," researchers say.

New way to clone hemlock trees able to fight off deadly pest

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 08:21 AM PST

For the first time, University of Georgia researchers have successfully cryogenically frozen germplasm from hemlock trees being wiped out across the eastern US by an invasive insect. They've also unlocked a new way to clone the few hemlock trees apparently fighting off the hemlock woolly adelgid, which could potentially lead to a solution for the pest.

Protective brain protein reveals gender implications for autism, Alzheimer's research

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 08:21 AM PST

Both autism and Alzheimer's disease can have tragic consequences for sufferers and their families. Now a new study may offer insight into the pathology of both autism and Alzheimer's by revealing that different activities of certain proteins in males and females cause gender-specific tendencies toward these diseases. The research may lead to new drugs for potential future therapeutics to treat both illnesses.

Customers who binge-consume are more valuable, says study

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 08:21 AM PST

In contrast to traditional market segmentation, one based on 'binge consumption' brings a higher long-term return to business, a new article suggests.

Power psychs people up about... themselves

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 08:21 AM PST

We all know the type -- people who can talk on and on about their latest adventures, seemingly unaware that those around them may not be interested. They also get really psyched up about their own experiences. A new paper suggests that what separates such people from the rest of us is their perceived sense of power: Powerful people, researchers found, draw inspiration from themselves rather than others.

Long-term control of cane toads demonstrated

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 08:21 AM PST

Preventing cane toads from entering human-made dams to cool down in the hot, arid zones of Australia kills them in large numbers and is an effective way to stop their spread, new research shows. The study, which involved erecting toad-proof fences around dams, is the first to demonstrate long-term control of the toxic amphibians.

Sparing hope for the future: Preserving fertility in cancer patients

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 08:21 AM PST

While families around the world delay childbearing to later in life, cancer diagnoses are affecting people ever earlier in life. When these lifestyle trends collide, we see an increasing number of young women rendered infertile by cancer or cancer treatments. What can be done about it? What do doctors need to know? And does a cancer diagnosis mean that a patient can never have children?

How do 'graduation' ceremonies affect addiction treatment?

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 08:20 AM PST

As 64 percent of Americans entering addiction treatment are repeat patients, many health care professionals have questioned the significance of addiction graduation ceremonies. In a new article, an addiction clinician explores this disconnect and its origins in the treatment context.

Artificial blood vessels: Tri-layered artificial blood vessels for first time

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 08:19 AM PST

By combining micro-imprinting and electro-spinning techniques, researchers have developed a vascular graft composed of three layers for the first time. This tri-layered composite has allowed researchers to utilize separate materials that respectively possess mechanical strength and promote new cell growth - a significant problem for existing vascular grafts that have only consisted of a single or double layer.

Industrial pump inspired by flapping bird wings

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 08:19 AM PST

Researchers have taken inspiration from avian locomotion strategies and created a pump that moves fluid using vibration instead of a rotor.

Just knowing isn't enough: Issuing hospital 'report cards' had no impact on surgical outcomes

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 08:19 AM PST

If you're an older person having a major operation these days, it is very likely that your hospital is receiving a "report card" on its performance. These reports are designed to prompt hospitals to improve in areas where they perform poorly. That's the good news. The not-so-good news: Those "report cards" do not seem to be making things better for patients.

Study compares effectiveness of different transfusion strategies for severe trauma

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 08:19 AM PST

Among patients with severe trauma and major bleeding, those who received a transfusion of a balanced ratio of plasma, platelets, and red blood cells (RBCs) were more likely to have their bleeding stopped and less likely to die due to loss of blood by 24 hours compared to patients who received a transfusion with a higher ratio of RBCs, according to a study.

Care of patients prior to making a diagnosis rarely assessed by quality measures

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 08:19 AM PST

An examination of process measures endorsed by the National Quality Forum finds that these measures focus predominantly on management of patients with established diagnoses, and that quality measures for patient presenting symptoms often do not reflect the most common reasons patients seek care, according to a study.

Hospital readmissions after surgery often related to complications from surgery

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 08:19 AM PST

In a study that included readmission information from nearly 350 hospitals, readmissions the first 30 days after surgery were associated with new postdischarge complications related to the surgical procedure and not a worsening of any medical conditions the patient already had while hospitalized for surgery, according to a study.

The future of holographic video

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 08:18 AM PST

Holographic video displays, featuring 3-D images, are about to "go large" and become a lot more affordable at the same time.

Skin based immunity secrets revealed

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 07:41 AM PST

A new mechanism by which immune cells in the skin function as the body's 'border control' has been discovered by researchers, revealing how these cells sense whether lipid or fat-like molecules might indicate the presence of foreign invaders.

Scientists discover organism that hasn't evolved in more than 2 billion years

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 07:41 AM PST

The greatest absence of evolution ever reported has been discovered by an international group of scientists: a type of deep-sea microorganism that appears not to have evolved over more than 2 billion years. But the researchers say that the organisms' lack of evolution actually supports Charles Darwin's theory of evolution.

Reducing hospital readmission rates will require community-focused efforts

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 07:41 AM PST

Most of the variation in hospital readmission rates in the United States is related to geography and other factors over which hospitals have little or no control, researchers have concluded.

Non-invasive first trimester blood test reliably detects Down's syndrome

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 07:41 AM PST

Cell-free fetal DNA testing, which measures the relative amount of free fetal DNA in a pregnant woman's blood, is a new screening test that indicates the risk of Down syndrome (trisomy 21), researchers report.

Research points to genes that may help us form memories

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 07:41 AM PST

Gene expression within neurons is critical for the formation of memories, but it's difficult to identify genes whose expression is altered by learning. Now researchers have successfully monitored the expression of genes in neurons after rats were exposed to auditory fear conditioning, in which a neutral auditory tone is paired with electric shock.

Sleep problems may impact bone health

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 07:41 AM PST

The daily rhythm of bone turnover is likely important for normal bone health, and recent research suggests that sleep apnea may be an unrecognized cause of some cases of osteoporosis. Sleep apnea's effects on sleep duration and quality, oxygen levels, inflammation, and other aspects of health may have a variety of impacts on bone metabolism, experts say.

Clarity needed in studies on gender, access to cardiac rehabilitation

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 07:41 AM PST

Sex-based inequalities in life expectancy and quality due to heart disease are repeatedly described, but how gender and social structure play roles in this phenomenon are unclear. Women and men can equally benefit from secondary prevention/cardiac rehabilitation, and there is a need to understand gender barriers to uptake, researchers say.

Smoking linked to higher risk of death among colorectal cancer survivors

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 07:41 AM PST

Colorectal cancer survivors who smoke cigarettes were at more than twice the risk of death than non-smoking survivors, according to a new study, one of the largest of its kind.

Birth method, gestation duration may alter infants' gut microbiota

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 07:40 AM PST

Environmental factors like mode of delivery and duration of gestation may affect how infants' gut bacteria mature, and that rate could help predict later body fat, international researchers have found.

New method to assess hormone metabolite concentrations in wildlife research

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 07:39 AM PST

Measuring hormone metabolites in urine and feces are essential for studies in wildlife conservation. Scientists have developed a new method with which they can match metabolite concentrations obtained from different measurements during long-term studies or from analyses carried out in different laboratories.

Primed memories tempt people into gambling more

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 07:39 AM PST

When reminded, or primed, of past winning outcomes as part of a controlled test, people were over 15% more likely to gamble and select the risky option. Surprisingly, being reminded of past losing outcomes did not change their gambling behavior.

A few cells could prevent bone marrow transplant infections

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 07:29 AM PST

Researchers have found clues for reducing infections after bone marrow transplantation for leukemia and lymphoma. Bone marrow transplantation is a life-saving therapy for patients with blood cancers like leukemia or lymphoma. However, the depletion of the patient's immune system prior to transplantation can put patients at risk of for an infection by a virus called cytomegalovirus (CMV) that can be life threatening in these immune-compromised individuals.

Early childhood programs found to significantly lower likelihood of special education placements in third grade

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 07:29 AM PST

Access to state-supported early childhood programs significantly reduces the likelihood that children will be placed in special education in the third grade, academically benefiting students and resulting in considerable cost savings to school districts, according to new research.

Simple strategies used by parents lead to improvements in one-year-olds at risk for autism spectrum disorder

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 07:29 AM PST

A collection of simple strategies used by parents can lead to significant improvements in one-year-olds at risk for autism spectrum disorder (ASD), researchers have found. The study followed 18 families with a one-year-old child at risk for ASD. Researchers compared the effects of a parent-coaching, home-based intervention called "Adapted Responsive Teaching" (ART) versus referral to early intervention and monitoring.

Seeing the knee in a new light: Fluorescent probe tracks osteoarthritis development

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 07:29 AM PST

A harmless fluorescent probe injected into a joint may make it easier to diagnose and monitor osteoarthritis, leading to better patient care. A new study led by biomedical researchers reports that such a probe successfully tracked the development of early to moderate osteoarthritis in male mice.

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