Selasa, 21 Desember 2010

ScienceDaily Top Science Headlines

for Tuesday, December 21, 2010

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Novel weight-loss therapies? Scientists identify cells in mice that can transform into energy-burning brown fat (December 21, 2010) -- In some adults, the white fat cells that we all stockpile so readily are supplemented by a very different form of fat -- brown fat cells, which can offer the neat trick of burning energy rather than storing it. Researchers have now have identified progenitor cells in mouse white fat tissue and skeletal muscle that can be transformed into brown fat cells. ... > full story

Electronic nose detects cancer (December 21, 2010) -- Researchers have been able to confirm in tests that ovarian cancer tissue and healthy tissue smell different. ... > full story

Globalization burdens future generations with biological invasions, study finds (December 21, 2010) -- The consequences of the current high levels of socio-economic activity on the extent of biological invasions will probably not be completely realized until decades into the future, according to new research. ... > full story

Injectable and oral birth control do not adversely affect glucose and insulin levels, study shows (December 21, 2010) -- Fasting glucose and insulin levels remain within normal range for women using injectable or oral contraception, with only slight increases among women using depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA), commonly known as the birth control shot, according to new research. ... > full story

NASA spacecraft provides travel tips for Mars rover (December 21, 2010) -- NASA's Mars Opportunity rover is getting important tips from an orbiting spacecraft as it explores areas that might hold clues about past Martian environments. ... > full story

About one-fifth of women, less than 7 percent of men report use of indoor tanning (December 21, 2010) -- Women are more likely to report use of indoor tanning facilities than men, and some characteristics common to indoor tanners differ by sex, according to a new study. However, few tanners -- male or female -- mention avoiding tanning beds when asked about ways to reduce skin cancer risk. ... > full story

Ocean acidification changes nitrogen cycling in world seas (December 21, 2010) -- Increasing acidity in the sea's waters may fundamentally change how nitrogen is cycled in them, say marine scientists. Nitrogen is one of the most important nutrients in the oceans. All organisms, from tiny microbes to blue whales, use nitrogen to make proteins and other important compounds. ... > full story

Nasal congestion can mean severe asthma (December 21, 2010) -- Nasal congestion can be a sign of severe asthma, which means that healthcare professionals should be extra vigilant when it comes to nasal complaints. Furthermore, more severe asthma appears to be more common than previously thought, reveals a new study. ... > full story

Samples of vital human tumor tissue irradiated with ions for the first time (December 21, 2010) -- Scientists have for the first time irradiated samples of vital human tumor tissue in the scope of their systematical and fundamental research. Their long-term goal is to enhance the already highly effective ion beam therapy in a way that allows the optimization of the irradiation dose based on the specific tumor of the individual patient. Such a treatment would constitute a novel approach, as radiation treatment so far only considered the type and position of the tumor. ... > full story

Don't trouble your heart: Naturally high hemoglobin OK in dialysis patients, study suggests (December 21, 2010) -- Naturally occurring high hemoglobin levels are safe for kidney disease patients on dialysis, according to a new study. The results suggest that there is no need to lower these levels to protect patients' health. ... > full story

Comprehensive wind info collected to improve renewable energy (December 21, 2010) -- Scientists are researching how radar weather instruments can help improve predictions on when and how strongly winds will blow. They're testing the instruments from a working wind farm in southeastern Washington State with the goal of helping power grid operators better manage the intermittent stress that spinning wind turbines put on the electrical grid. ... > full story

Urban planning: Better spaces for older people (December 21, 2010) -- Urban planning needs to consider how older people use walking routes as well as public areas, concludes a new study. Planning should include a smooth transition between walking, driving and using public transport and should take account of how older people navigate between these. ... > full story

Free radicals good for you? Banned herbicide makes worms live longer (December 20, 2010) -- It sounds like science fiction -- scientists tested the current "free radical theory of aging" by creating mutant worms that had increased production of free radicals, predicting they would be short-lived. But they lived even longer than regular worms! Moreover, their enhanced longevity was abolished when they were treated with antioxidants such as vitamin C. ... > full story

Genetic sequencing used to identify and treat unknown disease (December 20, 2010) -- For the one of the first times in medical history, researchers and physicians sequenced all the genes in a boy's DNA to identify a previously-unknown mutation. The team was able not only to identify the mutation, but to develop a treatment plan using a cord blood transplant, and stop the course of the disease. ... > full story

Water pathways from the deep sea to volcanoes (December 20, 2010) -- Oceanic plates take up a lot of water when submerged into the Earths' interior at continental margins. This water plays a central role in plate boundary volcanism. Scientists have, for the first time, tracked the pathway of the water up to 120 kilometers in depth. This is an important piece in the puzzle to understand the highly active volcanoes in Pacific "ring of fire". ... > full story

Delay driving after foot or ankle surgery, experts urge (December 20, 2010) -- Patients recovering from a right foot injury or surgery should think twice about how soon they want to begin driving again. ... > full story

Satellites give an eagle eye on thunderstorms (December 20, 2010) -- It's one of the more frustrating parts of summer. You check the weather forecast, see nothing dramatic, and go hiking or biking. Then, four hours later, a thunderstorm appears out of nowhere and ruins your afternoon. Additional data, taken from a satellite, could greatly improve the accuracy of thunderstorm prediction a few hours out. ... > full story

Dementia: When the zebra loses its stripes (December 20, 2010) -- The capacity to remember that a zebra has stripes, or that a giraffe is a four-legged mammal, is known as semantic memory. It allows us to assign meaning to words and to recall general knowledge and concepts that we have learned. The deterioration of these capacities is a defining feature of semantic dementia and can also occur in Alzheimer’s disease. Neurologists and neuropsychologists have now identified the elements of semantic memory which are the first to deteriorate and may have thus explained why a surprising phenomenon known as hyperpriming can be seen in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. ... > full story

Genetic basis of brain diseases: Set of proteins account for over 130 brain diseases (December 20, 2010) -- Scientists have isolated a set of proteins that accounts for over 130 brain diseases, including diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, epilepsies and forms of autism and learning disability. They showed that the protein machinery has changed relatively little during evolution, suggesting that the behaviors governed by and the diseases associated with these proteins have not changed significantly over many millions of years. The findings open several new paths toward tackling these diseases. ... > full story

Study supports gluten-free diet in potential celiac disease patients (December 20, 2010) -- Findings from a new study of 141 adults add to an ongoing medical debate over which patients with symptoms of celiac disease should go on a gluten-free diet. The study concludes that people currently diagnosed as "potential" celiac disease patients and not advised to follow a gluten-free diet may not be "potential" patients at all. Rather, the scientists found that these patients have the same distinctive metabolic fingerprint as patients with full-blown disease who do benefit from gluten-free diets. ... > full story

Warning lights mark shellfish that aren't safe to eat (December 20, 2010) -- Red tides and similar blooms can render some seafood unsafe to eat, though it can be difficult to tell whether a particular batch harbors toxins that cause food poisoning. A new kind of marker makes it easier to see if shellfish are filled with toxin-producing organisms. ... > full story

Zebrafish provide new hope for cancer treatment (December 20, 2010) -- The imaging of tumor growth in zebrafish has revealed for the first time how newly formed cancer cells have the capacity to co-opt the immune system into spreading the disease, leading the way for investigations into potential therapies for eliminating early stage cancer in humans. ... > full story

Scientists identify a spontaneously chain-reacting molecule (December 20, 2010) -- A new paper describes, for the first time, a simple molecule that each time it chemically reacts with a surface prepares a hospitable neighboring site at which the next incoming molecule reacts. Accordingly, these molecules, when simply dosed (blindly) on the surface, spontaneously grow durable "molecular-chains." These molecular chains are the desired prototypes of nano-wires. ... > full story

Study links emotional and neural responses to musical performance (December 20, 2010) -- It is well known that music arouses emotions. But why do some musical performances move us, while others leave us flat? Why do musicians spend years perfecting the subtle nuances that bring us to tears? Scientists have now identified key aspects of musical performance that cause emotion-related brain activity, and they have shown for the first time how these performance nuances work in the brain, in real-time. ... > full story

Trace amounts of water created oceans on Earth and other terrestrial planets, study suggests (December 20, 2010) -- Study suggests that trace amounts of water created oceans on Earth and other terrestrial planets, including those outside the solar system. ... > full story

Fighting flu in newborns begins in pregnancy, study suggests (December 20, 2010) -- A three-year study has found that vaccinating pregnant women against influenza is over 90 percent effective in preventing their infants from being hospitalized with influenza in the first six months of life. ... > full story

The stemness of cancer cells (December 20, 2010) -- Researchers have found that the tumor suppressor p53, long thought of as the "Guardian of the Genome," may do more than thwart cancer-causing mutations. It may also prevent established cancer cells from sliding toward a more aggressive, stem-like state by serving as a "Guardian against Genome Reprogramming." ... > full story

Y-90 radioembolization offers promise for late-stage liver cancer (December 20, 2010) -- The latest weapon against inoperable liver cancer is so tiny that it takes millions of them per treatment, but according to interventional radiologists, those microscopic spheres really pack a therapeutic punch. ... > full story

A 'spin ratchet' paves the way for spin computers: New electronic structure for generating spin current (December 20, 2010) -- Scientists have proposed and experimentally demonstrated a ratchet concept to control the spin motion. In analogy to a ratchet wrench, which provides uniform rotation from oscillatory motion, such ratchets achieve directed spin transport in one direction, in the presence of an oscillating signal. Most important, this signal could be an oscillatory current that results from environmental charge noise; thus future devices based on this concept could function by gathering energy from the environment. ... > full story

Psychologists show how accent shapes our perception of a person (December 20, 2010) -- The accent someone talks in plays a crucial role in the way we judge this person, according to psychologists in Germany. "The accent is much more important than the way a person looks," Dr. Tamara Rakic sums up one of the key findings of the study. ... > full story

Three billion-year-old genomic fossils deciphered (December 20, 2010) -- Scientists traced thousands of genes from modern genomes back to those genes' first appearance on Earth to create a genomic fossil telling when genes came into being and which ancient microbes possessed them. They found that the collective genome underwent an expansion between 3.3 and 2.8 billion years ago, during which time 27 percent of all presently existing gene families came into being. Many are oxygen related, an early indicator of the Great Oxidation Event. ... > full story

High activity staves off pounds, especially for women (December 20, 2010) -- People will gain significantly less weight by middle age -- especially women -- if they engage in moderate to vigorous activity nearly every day of the week starting as young adults. A new study shows women particularly benefited from high activity over 20 years, gaining less weight than men with similar activity levels. It may be because highly active men ate more to compensate than women. ... > full story

Elevated zinc concentrations in Colorado waterway likely a result of climate change (December 20, 2010) -- Rising concentrations of zinc in a waterway on Colorado's Western Slope may be the result of climate change that is affecting the timing of annual snowmelt, says a new study. ... > full story

Faster and more reliable ovarian cancer diagnosis (December 20, 2010) -- It is crucial to differentiate between benign and malignant ovarian cysts and tumors in a fast and reliable manner. This improves the surgical management and prognosis of the patient. New research has validated that ultrasound-based simple rules may reliably distinguish between malignant and benign tumors. ... > full story

Efficient phosphorus use by phytoplankton (December 20, 2010) -- Rapid turnover and remodelling of lipid membranes could help phytoplankton cope with nutrient scarcity in the open ocean. ... > full story

Hemodynamic responses to the mother's face in infants by near-infrared spectroscopy (December 20, 2010) -- Scientists found that there was the different hemodynamic response in the temporal cortex between infants' perceptions of their own mother and of female strangers. The presentation of mother's face elicited increased hemodynamic responses in the bilateral temporal cortex. ... > full story

Unlocking the secrets of our compulsions (December 20, 2010) -- Researchers have shed new light on dopamine's role in the brain's reward system, which could provide insight into impulse control problems associated with addiction and a number of psychiatric disorders. ... > full story

Despite longer life spans, fewer years are disease-free (December 20, 2010) -- A 20-year-old today can expect to live one less healthy year than a 20-year-old a decade ago, even though life expectancy has grown. We spend fewer years of our lives without disease, even though we live longer. ... > full story

Organic electronic ratchets doing work (December 20, 2010) -- Researchers have succeeded in causing electron transport using an electronic ‘ratchet’. This is the first time that usable powers have been generated at room temperature with a device of this kind. The finding opens the possibility of a new kind of wireless drive for microelectronic circuits. ... > full story

Delaying surgical procedures increases infection risk and health care costs, new research finds (December 20, 2010) -- Delaying elective surgical procedures after a patient has been admitted to the hospital significantly increases the risk of infectious complications and raises hospital costs, according to a new study. ... > full story

Pathogenic attacks on host plants examined (December 20, 2010) -- Researchers focusing on rice genetics are providing a better understanding of how pathogens take over a plant's nutrients. Their research provides insight into ways of reducing crop losses or developing new avenues for medicinal research. ... > full story

Overindulgence is not the green option (December 20, 2010) -- At this time of year, indulgence is the buzzword. Luxury goods to buy, roaring fires to relax by, jetting off to sunnier climes, visiting distant friends and family. But, how does this festive spirit align with environmental obligations and our attitudes to going green? Researchers in Norway suggest we are deluding ourselves that overindulgence is the environmentally friendly option. ... > full story

First measurement of magnetic field in Earth's core (December 19, 2010) -- Measurements of the magnetic field at the earth's surface can tell only so much about the dynamo producing it in the planet's core. Geophysicists have now used precise astronomical position data to calculate tidal damping in the core and determine for the first time the magnetic field in the center of the planet. The magnetic field strength is 25 Gauss, or 50 times stronger than the magnetic field at the surface that makes compass needles align north-south. ... > full story

Virus-based gene therapy for metastatic kidney cancer developed (December 19, 2010) -- Researchers have developed a novel virus-based gene therapy for renal cell carcinoma that has been shown to kill cancer cells not only at the primary tumor site but also in distant tumors not directly infected by the virus. ... > full story

Construction of the world's largest neutrino observatory completed: Antarctica's IceCube (December 19, 2010) -- Culminating a decade of planning, innovation and testing, construction of the world's largest neutrino observatory, installed in the ice of the Antarctic plateau at the geographic South Pole, was successfully completed Dec. 18, 2010, New Zealand time. The last of 86 holes had been drilled and a total of 5,160 optical sensors are now installed to form the main detector -- a cubic kilometer of instrumented ice -- of the IceCube Neutrino Observatory, located at the National Science Foundation's Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. From its vantage point at the end of the world, IceCube provides an innovative means to investigate the properties of fundamental particles that originate in some of the most spectacular phenomena in the universe. ... > full story

Soft substrate promotes pluripotent stem cell culture (December 19, 2010) -- Researchers have found a key to keeping stem cells in their neutral state: It takes a soft touch. The researchers demonstrated that culturing mouse embryonic stem cells on a soft gel rather than on a hard plate or dish keeps them in their pluripotent state, a ground state with the ability to become any type of tissue. The soft substrate maintains homogeneous pluripotent colonies over long periods of time -- without the need for expensive growth chemicals. ... > full story

Which methods of heating are most efficient? (December 19, 2010) -- Supplying energy is in the process of metamorphosis because people want to know what is the most intelligent and efficient way to utilize all types of energy carriers. Researchers put the most common ideas for heating under the microscope and come up with major potential. ... > full story

Fighter pilots' brains are 'more sensitive' (December 19, 2010) -- Cognitive tests and MRI scans have shown significant differences in the brains of fighter pilots when compared to a control group, according to a new study. ... > full story

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