Kamis, 23 Desember 2010

ScienceDaily Top Science Headlines

for Thursday, December 23, 2010

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Component in common dairy foods may cut diabetes risk, study suggests (December 23, 2010) -- Scientists have identified a natural substance in dairy fat that may substantially reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. ... > full story

Most common adult brain cancer linked to gene deletion, doctors say (December 23, 2010) -- A new study has identified an important gene deletion in up to one of every four cases of glioblastoma, the most common adult brain cancer. This deletion contributes to tumor development, promotes resistance to therapy and considerably worsens a patient's survival prospects. ... > full story

Cassini finishes sleigh ride by Saturn's icy moons (December 23, 2010) -- On the heels of a successful close flyby of Saturn's moon Enceladus, NASA's Cassini spacecraft is returning images of Enceladus and the nearby moon Dione. ... > full story

Photons vs. protons for treatment of spinal cord gliomas (December 23, 2010) -- A study comparing the long-term outcomes of patients with spinal-cord tumors following radiation therapy suggests that certain subsets of patients have better long-term survival, and that photon-based radiation therapy may result in better survival than proton-beam therapy, even in patients with more favorable characteristics. ... > full story

New annotated database sifts through mountains of sequencing data to find gene promoters (December 23, 2010) -- Researchers announce the release of an online tool that will help scientists find "gene promoters" -- regions along a DNA strand that tell a cell's transcription machinery where to start reading in order to create a particular protein. The Mammalian Promoter Database (MPromDb) integrates sequencing data generated at Wistar with publicly available data on human and mouse genomics. MPromDb pinpoints known promoters and predicts where new ones are likely to be found. ... > full story

Why do risks with human characteristics make powerful consumers feel lucky? (December 23, 2010) -- People who feel powerful are more likely to believe they can beat cancer if it's described in human terms, according to new study. ... > full story

Young female chimpanzees treat sticks as dolls: Growing evidence of biological basis for gender-specific play in humans (December 22, 2010) -- Researchers have reported some of the first evidence that chimpanzee youngsters in the wild may tend to play differently depending on their sex, just as human children around the world do. Scientists say female chimpanzees appear to treat sticks as dolls, carrying them around until they have offspring of their own. Young males engage in such behavior much less frequently. ... > full story

Genome-wide hunt reveals links to abnormal rhythms behind sudden death, heart damage (December 22, 2010) -- A study among almost 50,000 people worldwide has identified DNA sequence variations linked with the heart's electrical rhythm in several surprising regions among 22 locations across the human genome. ... > full story

New single-pixel photo camera developed (December 22, 2010) -- Researchers have developed a new tool for the field of scientific imaging. A sensor of just one pixel can record high-quality images and distribute them securely, that is, without allowing unauthorized people access to information. ... > full story

Immunity in emerging species of a major mosquito carrer of malaria (December 22, 2010) -- A new study suggests that the mosquitoes' immune response to malaria parasites, mediated by a gene called TEP1, is one of the traits that differ between two evolving species of Anopheles gambiae. ... > full story

Muscle filaments make mechanical strain visible (December 22, 2010) -- Plastics manufacturers face a serious hurdle in their quest for new developments: Substantial influences of the microscopic material structure on mechanical material properties cannot be observed directly. Synthetic polymer molecules are too small for microscopic observation in mechanical experiments. Physicists have now developed a method that allows just these kinds of measurements. ... > full story

Climbing Mount Everest: Noble adventure or selfish pursuit? (December 22, 2010) -- Adventure seekers are plunking down more than ,000 to climb Mount Everest, but a new study finds that people who pay for transformative experiences often lack the communitarian spirit that usually defines such activities. ... > full story

Sex reversal gene: Male mice can be created without Y chromosome via ancient brain gene (December 22, 2010) -- Researchers in Australia are a step closer to unraveling the mysteries of human sexual development, following genetic studies that show male mice can be created without a Y chromosome -- through the activation of an ancient brain gene. ... > full story

Blue-green algae tested for treating amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (December 22, 2010) -- Spirulina, a nutrient-rich, blue-green algae, an ancient food source used by the Aztecs, may have a dual antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect on motor neurons. Spirulina appeared to provide neuroprotective support for dying motor neurons in a mouse model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. ... > full story

A robot with finger-tip sensitivity (December 22, 2010) -- Two arms, three cameras, finger-tip sensitivity and a variety of facial expressions -- these are the distinguishing features of the pi4-workerbot. Similar in size to a human being, it can be employed at any modern workstation in an industrial manufacturing environment. Its purpose is to help keep European production competitive. ... > full story

Tumor cells in blood may signal worse prognosis in head and neck cancer patients (December 22, 2010) -- A new study suggests that the presence of tumor cells in the circulating blood of patients with squamous cell cancer of the head and neck might predict disease recurrence and reduced survival. An increased number of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) also correlates with a worse outcome. The findings of the ongoing, prospective study suggest that CTCs might be a prognostic marker to help further individualize therapy. Currently, no prognostic blood test exists for this malignancy. ... > full story

New ideas enhance efficiency of wind turbines (December 22, 2010) -- One issue confronting the efficiency of wind as a promising renewable energy source is the wind itself -- specifically, its changeability. While the aerodynamic performance of a wind turbine is best under steady wind flow, the efficiency of the blades degrades when exposed to conditions such as wind gusts, turbulent flow, upstream turbine wakes and wind shear. Now, a new type of air-flow technology may soon increase the efficiency of large wind turbines under many different wind conditions. ... > full story

Eating healthier means living longer (December 22, 2010) -- The leading causes of death have shifted from infectious diseases to chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. In a new study, researchers investigated empirical data regarding the associations of dietary patterns with mortality through analysis of the eating patterns of over 2500 adults between the ages of 70 and 79 over a ten-year period. They found that diets favoring certain foods were associated with reduced mortality. ... > full story

Fossil finger bone yields genome of a previously unknown human relative (December 22, 2010) -- A 30,000-year-old finger bone found in a cave in southern Siberia came from a young girl who belonged to a previously unknown group of human relatives who may have lived throughout much of Asia. Although the fossil evidence consists of just a bone fragment and one tooth, DNA extracted from the bone has yielded a genome sequence that leads to some startling conclusions about this extinct branch of the human family tree. ... > full story

Smoking may worsen pain for cancer patients (December 22, 2010) -- The relationship between smoking and cancer is well established. In a new study, researchers report evidence to suggest that cancer patients who continue to smoke despite their diagnosis experience greater pain than nonsmokers. They found that for a wide range of cancer types and for cancers in stages I to IV, smoking was associated with increased pain severity and the extent to which pain interfered with a patient's daily routine. ... > full story

Discovery of new molecule could lead to more efficient rocket fuel (December 22, 2010) -- Trinitramid is the name of the new molecule that may be a component in future rocket fuel. This fuel could be 20 to 30 percent more efficient in comparison with the best rocket fuels available today, according to researchers in Sweden. ... > full story

Gene alteration identified that predisposes to syndrome with high risk of cancer (December 22, 2010) -- Researchers have identified a new genetic alteration that predisposes individuals to Cowden syndrome, a rare disorder that is characterized by high risks of breast, thyroid and other cancers, according to preliminary research. ... > full story

Toxin-laden nectar poses problems for honeybees (December 22, 2010) -- Researchers in the UK have shown for the first time that chemical seratonin enables the honeybee to learn to avoid nectar containing toxins. ... > full story

Stress can enhance ordinary, unrelated memories (December 22, 2010) -- Stress can enhance ordinary, unrelated memories, a team of neuroscientists has found in a study of laboratory rats. Their results may bolster our understanding of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and could offer a pathway for addressing PTSD and related afflictions. ... > full story

Africa has two elephant species, genetic analysis confirms (December 22, 2010) -- By comparing the DNA of modern elephants from Africa and Asia to DNA extracted from two extinct species, the woolly mammoth and the mastodon, researchers have concluded that Africa has two -- not one -- species of elephant. Since 1950, all African elephants have been conserved as one species. Now that we know the forest and savanna elephants are two very different animals, the forest elephant should become a bigger priority for conservation purposes. ... > full story

Obesity increases risk of death in severe vehicle crashes, study shows (December 22, 2010) -- Moderately and morbidly obese persons face many health issues -- heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, stroke, gallbladder disease and others. Now, increased chances of dying while driving during a severe auto accident can be added to the list. ... > full story

Laser twinkles in rare color (December 22, 2010) -- December is a time for twinkling lights, and scientists are delivering. They've just produced a long-sought, rare color of laser light 100 times brighter than that generated anywhere else. The Free-Electron Laser delivered vacuum ultraviolet light in the form of 10 eV photons (124 nanometers). This color is called vacuum ultraviolet because it's absorbed by molecules in air, requiring its use in a vacuum. ... > full story

Biomarkers could predict death in AIDS patients with severe inflammation (December 22, 2010) -- A new study suggests that AIDS patients with cryptococcal meningitis who start HIV therapy are predisposed to immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome -- an exaggerated inflammatory immune response that kills up to one-third of affected people -- if they have biomarkers (biochemicals) in their blood showing evidence of a damaged immune system that is not capable of clearing the fungal infection. ... > full story

Long-lasting chemicals threaten the environment and human health (December 22, 2010) -- New research suggests that a number of high production volume chemicals are likely to become sequestered in post-treatment sludge and enter the environment when these biosolids are deposited on land. ... > full story

Singing fish: Choir of electric fish makes debut in interactive 'scale' exhibit at Netherlands festival (December 22, 2010) -- A neurobiologist, an artist, and a composer recently presented their collaborative "singing electric fish" installation to thousands of people attending the STRP Festival, one of the largest art and technology festival venues in Europe. Many visitors had the chance to grab a baton and direct the unusual choir. ... > full story

Neuroimaging helps to predict which dyslexics will learn to read (December 22, 2010) -- Researchers have used sophisticated brain imaging to predict with 90 percent accuracy which teenagers with dyslexia would improve their reading skills over time. ... > full story

Natural supplement, echinacea, may reduce common-cold duration by only half a day (December 22, 2010) -- An over-the-counter herbal treatment believed to have medicinal benefits has minimal impact in relieving the common cold, according to new research. ... > full story

Pen to measure and reduce stress (December 22, 2010) -- In the future, more and more products will be able to interpret what users are feeling and use that information in a smart way. To illustrate the power of this theory, researchers have developed a pen which can measure the stress levels of the person using it, and can actually help to reduce that stress. In experiments, the heart rate of people who used the anti-stress pen fell by an average of five percent. ... > full story

New breathing therapy reduces panic and anxiety by reversing hyperventilation (December 22, 2010) -- A new treatment that helps people with panic disorder to normalize their breathing works better to reduce panic symptoms and hyperventilation than traditional cognitive therapy, according to a new study. The new 'CART' treatment was found to be better than traditional cognitive therapy at altering hyperventilation and panic symptoms. ... > full story

Sea-level study brings good and bad news to Chesapeake Bay (December 22, 2010) -- A study of sea-level trends brings both good and bad news to localities concerned with coastal inundation and flooding along the shores of Chesapeake Bay. Dr. John Boon, the study's lead author, says the good news is that "absolute sea level in Chesapeake Bay is rising only about half as fast as the global average rise rate." The bad news, says Boon, is that "local subsidence more than makes up for it." ... > full story

Membership in many groups leads to quick recovery from physical challenges (December 22, 2010) -- Being a part of many different social groups can improve mental health and help a person cope with stressful events. It also leads to better physical health, making you more able to withstand -- and recover faster from -- physical challenges, according to a new study. ... > full story

Universe's most massive stars can form in near isolation, new study finds (December 22, 2010) -- New observations by astronomers add weight to the theory that the most massive stars in the universe could form essentially anywhere, including in near isolation; they don't need a large stellar cluster nursery. ... > full story

Genetic trait could triple odds of whites' susceptibility to heavy cocaine abuse (December 22, 2010) -- Nearly one in five whites could carry a genetic variant that substantially increases their odds of being susceptible to severe cocaine abuse, according to new research. This genetic variant, characterized by one or both of two tiny gene mutations, alters the brain's response to specific chemical signals. In the study, the variant was associated with a more than threefold increase in the odds that carriers will be susceptible to severe cocaine abuse leading to fatal overdosing, compared to non-carriers. ... > full story

New Miscanthus hybrid discovery in Japan could open doors for biofuel industry (December 22, 2010) -- In the minds of many, Miscanthus x giganteus is the forerunner in the race of viable feedstock options for lignocellulosic bioenergy production. But researchers believe "putting all their eggs in one basket" could be a big mistake. Scientists recently reported the first natural occurrence in several decades of Miscanthus hybrid plants in Japan. ... > full story

Spread of tuberculosis in prisons increases the incidence of TB in the general population (December 22, 2010) -- The risk of tuberculosis (TB) and latent TB (in which the bacteria that cause TB lie dormant but can reactivate later to cause active TB disease) is higher in the prison population than in the general population, according to new research. ... > full story

Smarter systems help busy doctors remember (December 22, 2010) -- Busy doctors can miss important details about a patient's care during an office exam. To prevent that, researchers have created a whip smart-assistant for physicians -- a new system using electronic health records that alerts doctors during an exam when a patient's care is amiss. A yellow light on their computer alerts them to problems. The new system, tied to doctor performance reviews, improved patient care and boosted preventive screenings. ... > full story

Use the right metaphor to get patients to enroll in clinical trials (December 22, 2010) -- The language that doctors use with low-income, rural patients can help determine whether these patients agree to participate in clinical trials testing new cancer treatments, a new study found. Researchers found that the metaphors doctors used to help explain what happens in such trials played a big role in whether patients would agree to participate. ... > full story

Being good moms couldn't save the woolly mammoth (December 21, 2010) -- Woolly mammoths living north of the Arctic Circle during the Pleistocene Epoch (approx. 150,000 to 40,000 years ago) began weaning infants up to three years later than modern day African elephants due to prolonged hours of darkness, new research suggests. This adapted nursing pattern could have contributed to the prehistoric elephant's eventual extinction. ... > full story

Cellular mechanism responsible for chronic inflammation, type 2 diabetes uncovered (December 21, 2010) -- Researchers have demonstrated that certain T cells require input from monocytes in order to maintain their pro-inflammatory response in people with type 2 diabetes (T2D). The study also showed, for the first time, how a loss in homeostasis in this group of T cells most likely promotes chronic inflammation associated with T2D. ... > full story

Biomagnification of nanomaterials in simple food chain demonstrated (December 21, 2010) -- Researchers have produced a groundbreaking study of how nanoparticles are able to biomagnify in a simple microbial food chain. ... > full story

Fruit fly study digs deeper into poorly understood details of forming embryos (December 21, 2010) -- Using fruit flies as a model to study embryo formation, scientists report that molecular breakdown of a protein called Bicoid is vital to normal head-to-tail patterning of the insect's offspring. The study shows how Bicoid is targeted for molecular degradation by a newly identified protein the researchers named Fates-shifted (Fsd). Without the interaction between Bicoid and Fsd, fruit fly embryos are improperly formed. ... > full story

Engineers take plasmon lasers out of deep freeze (December 21, 2010) -- Researchers have developed a new technique that allows plasmon lasers to operate at room temperature, overcoming a major barrier to practical utilization of the technology. Previous plasmon lasers required temperatures as low as minus 450 degrees Fahrenheit to function properly. ... > full story

Beautiful people convey personality traits better during first impressions (December 21, 2010) -- A new study has found that people identify the personality traits of people who are physically attractive more accurately than others during short encounters. ... > full story

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