Jumat, 07 Januari 2011

ScienceDaily Environment Headlines

for Friday, January 7, 2011

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Pain therapy for piglets (January 7, 2011) -- Piglets of different age groups have a unique ability to break down and excrete painkillers, according to new research. Painkilling and anti-inflammatory effect of medicines studied work to varying degrees on piglets. ... > full story

Atlantic sturgeon recovery efforts may benefit from new study tracking oceanic migrations (January 7, 2011) -- A first-of-its-kind study that tracked the oceanic migrations of adult Atlantic sturgeon that were caught and tagged in the Hudson River discovered that these fish move vast distances in the Atlantic Ocean, traveling as far south as Georgia and as far north as Nova Scotia, Canada. The findings indicate that recovery of Atlantic sturgeon fisheries will need to address long-range oceanic threats to the species in addition to local measures closer to spawning grounds. ... > full story

New method to quantify protein changes could advance study, treatment of various diseases including cancer (January 7, 2011) -- New research has yielded a novel method of analyzing and quantifying changes in proteins that result from a common chemical process. The findings could provide new insights into the effects of a highly destructive form of stress on proteins in various disease models, particularly cancer. ... > full story

Using cassava to address vitamin A deficiency (January 7, 2011) -- Cassava is an important food source in many poverty-stricken regions of the world, including sub-Saharan Africa, but the low levels of micronutrients in commercial varieties do little to address hidden hunger. New research shows that a single, naturally arising change in one gene leads to high provitamin A levels in cassava roots and opens the door to addressing vitamin A deficiency via biofortified cassava. ... > full story

Border collie comprehends over 1,000 object names as verbal referents (January 6, 2011) -- Researchers at Wofford College discovered that a border collie comprehends the names of over 1,000 objects, differentiating between names of objects and orders to fetch them. This research deepens the findings of researchers in Germany, who had discovered a dog that knew the names of a couple of hundred objects. Important questions were left open as to how far a dog could go, and whether the dog really understood that the object names were nouns and not commands to retrieve the object. ... > full story

Hidden literary references discovered in the Mona Lisa (January 6, 2011) -- The Leonardo da Vinci masterpiece, the Mona Lisa, incorporates images inspired by the Roman poet Horace and Florentine poet Petrarch, according to one expert. ... > full story

Carbon swap bank to beat climate change, Australian researchers propose (January 6, 2011) -- Australian researchers have suggested that nations should abandon the concept of carbon emissions trading in favor of a carbon swap bank that might lead to genuine reductions in the amount of carbon dioxide greenhouse gas entering the atmosphere and so provide a mechanism for reducing climate change. ... > full story

Household sewage: Not waste, but a vast new energy resource (January 6, 2011) -- In a finding that gives new meaning to the adage, "waste not, want not," scientists are reporting that household sewage has far more potential as an alternative energy source than previously thought. They say the discovery, which increases the estimated potential energy in wastewater by almost 20 percent, could spur efforts to extract methane, hydrogen and other fuels from this vast and, as yet, untapped resource. ... > full story

Widespread, persistent oxygen-poor conditions in Earth's ancient oceans impacted early evolution of animals (January 6, 2011) -- Researchers report that the transition from a generally oxygen-rich ocean during the Cambrian to the fully oxygenated ocean we have today was not a simple turn of the switch, as has been widely accepted. Their work shows the ocean fluctuated between oxygenation states 499 million years ago; such fluctuations, they say, played a major, perhaps dominant, role in shaping the early evolution of animals on the planet. ... > full story

How studded winter tires may damage public health, as well as pavement (January 6, 2011) -- Scientists are reporting new evidence on how studded tires -- wintertime fixtures in some areas but banned in others for causing damage to pavement -- may also damage the health of motorists and people living near highways. Studded tires have small metal protrusions from the rubber tread that improve traction on icy or snow-covered roads. ... > full story

Is the hornet our key to renewable energy? Physicist discovers that hornet's outer shell can harvest solar power (January 6, 2011) -- The brown and yellow parts of the Oriental hornet's body are able to harvest solar energy, and if that function can be mimicked, a novel way of achieving high-efficiency solar energy collection might be just around the corner, says a physicist who has demonstrated that the brown and yellow stripes on the insect's abdomen can absorb the sun's radiation, and the yellow pigment transforms that radiation into electric power. ... > full story

Protective properties of green tea uncovered (January 6, 2011) -- When green tea is digested it is even more effective at protecting the body against Alzheimer's and cancer than was previously thought. ... > full story

New method for making large quantities of deuterium-depleted drinking water (January 6, 2011) -- Scientists in China are reporting development of a less expensive, more eco-friendly method for making deuterium-depleted drinking water, citing studies suggesting that it may be a more healthful form of water. ... > full story

Where MRSA colonizes on the human body: Study identifies quantity and locations of MRSA colonization (January 6, 2011) -- When methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) is carried in the nares, it is a risk factor for an invasive infection, including a surgical site infection. Some studies have found that the heavier the carriage of MRSA in the nose, the greater the risk of transmission to others and the greater risk of infection to the patient. A new study now sheds light on both the quantity of MRSA at different body sites and the relationship between the quantities. ... > full story

Filtering kitchen wastewater for plants (January 6, 2011) -- Water is a precious commodity, so finding ways to re-use waste water, especially in arid regions is essential to sustainability. Researchers in India have now carried out a study of various waste-water filtration systems for kitchen wastewater and found that even the most poorly performing can produce water clean enough for horticultural or agricultural use. ... > full story

Call for truth in trans fats labeling by US FDA: Study shows how deceptive food labels lead to increased risk of deadly diseases (January 6, 2011) -- A new article reveals that misleading labeling practices can result in medically significant intake of harmful trans fat, despite what you read on U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved labels. ... > full story

Time running out to save climate record held in unique eastern European Alps glacier (January 6, 2011) -- A preliminary look at an ice field atop the highest mountain in the eastern European Alps suggests that the glacier may hold records of ancient climate extending back as much as a thousand years. Researchers warn, however, that the record may soon be lost as global warming takes its toll on these high-altitude sites. ... > full story

Drinking recycled water? Study establishes methods to assess recycled aquifer water (January 6, 2011) -- The Australian Government National Water Commission funded a study to establish an approach to assess the quality of water treated using managed aquifer recharge. Researchers at Australia's CSIRO Land and Water set out to determine if the en product would meet standard drinking water guidelines. ... > full story

Vaccine blocks cocaine high in mice: Approach could also stop addiction to other drugs, including heroin and nicotine (January 5, 2011) -- Researchers have produced a lasting anti-cocaine immunity in mice by giving them a safe vaccine that combines bits of the common cold virus with a particle that mimics cocaine. ... > full story

Birch bark ingredient comes with many metabolic benefits (January 5, 2011) -- An ingredient found in abundance in birch bark appears to have an array of metabolic benefits. In mice, the compound known as betulin lowered cholesterol, helped prevent diet-induced obesity, and improved insulin sensitivity. Betulin-treated mice were also more resistant to developing atherosclerotic plaques in their arteries. ... > full story

Recycled Haitian concrete can be safe, strong and less expensive, researchers say (January 5, 2011) -- Nearly one year after a 7.0-magnitude earthquake rocked the Republic of Haiti, engineering and concrete experts report that concrete and other debris in Port-au-Prince could be safely and inexpensively recycled into strong new construction material. ... > full story

Infant hydrocephalus, seasonal and linked to farm animals in Uganda (January 5, 2011) -- Hydrocephalus in Ugandan children and other developing countries is seasonal, linked to farm animals and in part, caused by previous bacterial infection, according to an international team of researchers from Uganda and the United States, who believe that the best approach to this problem is prevention. ... > full story

Prehistoric bird used club-like wings as weapon (January 5, 2011) -- Paleontologists have discovered that Xenicibis, a member of the ibis family that lived about ten thousand years ago and was found only in Jamaica, most likely used its specialized wings like a flail, swinging its upper arm and striking its enemies with its thick hand bones. ... > full story

Fueling the body on fat: Critical tuning dial for controlling energy found (January 5, 2011) -- Researchers have found what appears to be a critical tuning dial for controlling whole body energy. When energy levels within cells drop, it sets off a series of events designed to increase the amount of calorie-rich dietary fat that the body will absorb. ... > full story

On the trail of a stealthy parasite Biologist shows why some strains of Toxoplasma are more dangerous than others (January 5, 2011) -- About one-third of the human population is infected with a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii, but most of them don't know it. Though Toxoplasma causes no symptoms in most people, it can be harmful to individuals with suppressed immune systems, and to fetuses whose mothers become infected during pregnancy. Toxoplasma spores are found in dirt and easily infect farm animals such as cows, sheep, pigs and chickens. Humans can be infected by eating undercooked meat or unwashed vegetables. ... > full story

Corals provide evidence of changes to oceanic currents (January 5, 2011) -- Examination of deep sea corals reveals that there have been drastic changes to oceanic currents in the western North Atlantic since the 1970s. The influence of the cold water Labrador Current, which is in periodic interchange with the warm Gulf Stream, has been decreasing continually since the 1970s. Occurring at the same time as Global Warming this phenomenon is unique in the past 2000 years. ... > full story

Large-scale study reveals major decline in bumble bees in US (January 5, 2011) -- The first in-depth national study of wild bees in the US has uncovered major losses in the relative abundance of several bumble bee species and declines in their geographic range since record-keeping began in the late 1800s. ... > full story

Pregnant, constipated and bloated? Fly poo may tell you why (January 5, 2011) -- Clues about how the human gut helps regulate our appetite have come from a most unusual source -- fruit fly feces. Scientists are using the fruit fly to help understand aspects of human metabolism, including why pregnant women suffer from bloating and constipation, and even the link between a low calorie diet and longevity. ... > full story

A toast to history: 500 years of wine-drinking cups mark social shifts in ancient Greece (January 5, 2011) -- New research examines a timeline of wine-drinking cups over a 500-year period in ancient Athens. Changes in cup form and design point to political, social and economic shifts. ... > full story

Oceanic 'garbage patch' not nearly as big as portrayed in media (January 5, 2011) -- There is a lot of plastic trash floating in the Pacific Ocean, but claims that the "Great Garbage Patch" between California and Japan is twice the size of Texas are grossly exaggerated, according to a new analysis. ... > full story

US does not have infrastructure to consume more ethanol, study finds (January 5, 2011) -- The United States doesn't have the infrastructure to meet the federal mandate for renewable fuel use with ethanol but could meet the standard with significant increases in cellulosic and next-generation biofuels, according to a new study. ... > full story

Long-term framework for Minnesota water sustainability (January 5, 2011) -- The University of Minnesota's Water Resources Center has authored a first-ever, comprehensive report designed to protect and preserve Minnesota's lakes, rivers and groundwater for the 21st century and beyond. ... > full story

Even healthy cats act sick when their routine is disrupted (January 4, 2011) -- A cat regularly vomiting hairballs or refusing to eat probably isn't being finicky or otherwise "cat-like," despite what conventional wisdom might say. There is a good chance that the cat is acting sick because of the stress caused by changes in its environment, new research suggests. Healthy cats were just as likely as chronically ill cats to refuse food, vomit frequently and leave waste outside their litter box in response to changes in their routine. ... > full story

The ecosystem engineer: Research looks at beavers' role in river restoration (January 4, 2011) -- When engineers restore rivers, one professor hopes they'll keep a smaller engineer in mind: the North American beaver. ... > full story

Peptide delivers one-two punch to breast cancer in pre-clinical study (January 4, 2011) -- Researchers have discovered what may become a new weapon in the fight against breast cancer. For the first time, a peptide found in blood and tissue has been shown to inhibit the growth of human breast tumors in mice. ... > full story

Parallels between cancers, infection suppression: Same proteins involved, but cancer takes hold when response gets out of control (January 4, 2011) -- Tiny parasitoid wasps can play an important role in controlling the populations of other insect species by laying their eggs inside the larvae of these species. A newly hatched wasp gradually eats the host alive and takes over its body. The host insect is far from defenseless, however. In fruit flies, larvae activate humoral immunity in the fat body and mount a robust cellular response that encapsulates and chokes off the wasp egg. New research reveals parallels between how this mechanism fights the wasp infection and the way blood cancer develops. ... > full story

Clostridium bacteria infecting increasing numbers of hospitalized children (January 4, 2011) -- Hospitalized children in the United States are more frequently becoming infected with the bacteria Clostridium difficile, according to a new study. ... > full story

Eating low-fat, thanks to lupin proteins (January 4, 2011) -- Food should be delicious, healthy and sustainably produced. Researchers are working on new methods to use as many parts of plants as possible for nutrition. In the future, vegetable ingredients could replace animal raw materials. Lupin seeds, for instance, can be used to produce low-fat, exquisite sausage products. ... > full story

The movement of tree sap analyzed (January 4, 2011) -- Scientists have used 3D modeling to analyze the mechanisms used to by trees to transport water in their interior. The objective: to discover the keys to the movement of sap in order to apply these advances to new hydraulic systems or to suction pumps. ... > full story

Food bioterrorism: Safety precautions used by country club restaurants to protect food and beverages studied (January 4, 2011) -- A graduate student examined current safety precautions used by country club restaurants to protect food and beverages, as well as how often those practices were put into effect. ... > full story

Not so bird-brained: 3D X-rays piece together the evolution of flight from fossils (January 3, 2011) -- Three-dimensional X-ray scanning equipment is being used to help chart the evolution of flight in birds, by digitally reconstructing the size of bird brains using ancient fossils and modern bird skulls. ... > full story

Firefly protein lights pathway to improved detection of blood clots (January 3, 2011) -- The enzyme that makes fireflies glow is lighting up the scientific path toward a long-sought new medical imaging agent to better monitor treatment with heparin, the blood thinner that millions of people take to prevent or treat blood clots, scientists are reporting. ... > full story

Hair color of unknown offenders is no longer a secret (January 3, 2011) -- The hair color of an unknown perpetrator who has committed a crime will soon no longer be a secret for forensic investigators. Scientists have discovered that DNA can be used to predict people's probable hair color. ... > full story

Even molds can suffer jet lag: Simple organisms shed light on inner clock (January 3, 2011) -- Humans are not the only species ruled by a circadian rhythm. Even simple organisms like molds are governed by an inner clock. ... > full story

How cells export and embed proteins in the membrane (January 3, 2011) -- Scientists have determined the structure of a ribosome-protein complex involved in carrying nascent proteins out of the cell. Their work could increase understanding of illnesses such as cystic fibrosis and some forms of Parkinson's disease. ... > full story

How does your green roof garden grow? (January 3, 2011) -- Growing plants on rooftops is an old concept that has evolved from simple sod roofing to lightweight "extensive green roofs". Researchers have evaluated the influence of substrate type and depth on establishment of five common green roof plants. A standout performer was saxifrage pink, which had an attractive appearance and persistent flowering habit, making it an excellent choice as a green roof plant. ... > full story

Humans helped vultures colonize the Canary Islands (January 3, 2011) -- The Egyptian vulture population of the Canary Islands was established following the arrival of the first human settlers who brought livestock to the islands. A genetic comparison of Iberian and Canarian birds found that the Egyptian vulture population in the Canary Islands was likely established around 2500 years ago -- around the same time as humans began to colonize the islands. ... > full story

Bizarre bioluminescent snail: Secrets of strange mollusk and its use of light as a possible defense mechanism revealed (January 2, 2011) -- Two scientists have provided the first details about the mysterious flashes of dazzling bioluminescent light produced by a little-known sea snail. ... > full story

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