Kamis, 06 Januari 2011

ScienceDaily Top Science Headlines

for Thursday, January 6, 2011

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Identity parade clears cosmic collisions of the suspicion of promoting black hole growth (January 6, 2011) -- What happens when galaxies crash together? For years, these cosmic collisions have been blamed for triggering violent outbursts at the hearts of galaxies. Now, a remarkable piece of detective work has given a verdict: galactic mergers do not usually whet the appetite of the black holes that power these active galactic nuclei -- meaning other, less dramatic phenomena are responsible. ... > full story

Malfunctioning gene associated with Lou Gehrig's disease leads to nerve-cell death in mice (January 6, 2011) -- Researchers describe the first direct evidence of how mutated TDP-43 prtein can cause neurons to die. ... > full story

Helicopter transport increases survival for seriously injured patients, study finds (January 6, 2011) -- Severely injured patients transported by helicopter from the scene of an accident are more likely to survive than patients brought to trauma centers by ground ambulance, according to a new study. The study is the first to examine the role of helicopter transport on a national level and includes the largest number of helicopter-transport patients in a single analysis. ... > 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

Male pattern balding may be due to stem cell inactivation (January 6, 2011) -- Using cell samples from men undergoing hair transplants, researchers compared follicles from bald scalp and non-bald scalp, and found that bald areas had the same number of stem cells as normal scalp in the same person. However, they did find that another, more mature cell type called a progenitor cell was markedly depleted in the follicles of bald scalp. ... > full story

Advancements in fertility preservation provide oncology patients new options (January 6, 2011) -- Many young people who've just learned that they have cancer also are told that the therapies that may save their lives could rob them of their ability ever to have children. Infertility caused by chemotherapy and radiation affects a sizable population: Of the 1.5 million people diagnosed with cancer in 2009, nearly 10 percent were still in their reproductive years. The good news, according to a new article, is that techniques to harvest and store reproductive cells have vastly improved in the last several years. ... > 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

Optimizing patient outcomes after therapeutic hypothermia for traumatic brain injury (January 6, 2011) -- Lowering the body temperature of patients soon after they have suffered a severe brain injury may reduce neurologic complications and improve outcomes. The safety of therapeutic hypothermia for traumatic brain injury has been demonstrated in national studies. According to a roundtable discussion of renowned experts in the field, when and how it is administered should depend on the clinical condition of individual patients. ... > full story

Films for façades: New building material offers new design options (January 6, 2011) -- The plastic film ETFE is experiencing a boom these days because it gives architects completely new design options. You can use this material not only for futuristic sports stadiums, but also to insulate and for the heating control of buildings. ... > full story

Mothers key to college-age women receiving HPV vaccine, study suggests (January 6, 2011) -- Even after young women reach adulthood, their mothers can play a key role in convincing them to receive the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, new research suggests. A study found that college-aged women were more likely to say they had received the HPV vaccine if they had talked to their mother about it. ... > 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

Diamond detectors provide a glimpse into artificial suns (January 5, 2011) -- Unique Cherenkov detectors for measurements of electron beams in thermonuclear installations of the tokamak type are being developed. Tests conducted this year revealed that the device might be useful for investigating the extreme physical conditions inside the largest present-day installations, which will form the basis of future fusion energy reactors, commonly known as artificial suns. ... > full story

Metabolic cost of human sleep deprivation quantified by researchers (January 5, 2011) -- In the first-ever quantification of energy expended by humans during sleep, a research team has found that the metabolic cost of an adult missing one night of sleep is the equivalent of walking slightly less than two miles. ... > 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

Resiliency on the battlefield: Soldiers with a positive outlook less likely to suffer anxiety, depression (January 5, 2011) -- In the first combat-zone study of its kind, a research team has found that soldiers with a positive outlook in the most traumatic situations were less likely to suffer health problems such as anxiety and depression. ... > full story

'Nanoscoops' could spark new generation of electric automobile batteries (January 5, 2011) -- An entirely new type of nanomaterial could enable the next generation of high-power rechargeable lithium-ion batteries for electric automobiles, as well as batteries for laptop computers, mobile phones, and other portable devices. The new material, dubbed a "nanoscoop" because its shape resembles a cone with a scoop of ice cream on top, can withstand extremely high rates of charge and discharge that would cause conventional electrodes used in today's Li-ion batteries to rapidly deteriorate and fail. ... > full story

Walking speed associated with survival in older adults (January 5, 2011) -- In an analysis that included data from 9 studies, having higher measures of walking speed among older adults was associated with increased length of survival, according to a new study. ... > full story

New glaucoma test allows earlier, more accurate detection (January 5, 2011) -- A prototype glaucoma test instrument that's noninvasive and simpler to use than current procedures -- and can also be used in situations that are difficult or impossible with current tests -- has been designed by engineering researchers. ... > full story

Vitamin D deficiencies may impact onset of autoimmune lung disease (January 5, 2011) -- A new study shows that vitamin D deficiency could be linked to the development and severity of certain autoimmune lung diseases. ... > 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

Anti-bullying program reduces malicious gossip on school playgrounds (January 5, 2011) -- Elementary school students who participated in a three-month anti-bullying program in Seattle schools showed a 72 percent decrease in malicious gossip. The study is the first to show that the widely-used Steps to Respect bullying prevention program can curb children's gossip, an element of playground culture often seen as harmless but capable of causing real harm. ... > 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

Model predicts a drug's likelihood of causing birth defects (January 5, 2011) -- When pregnant women need medications, there is often concern about possible effects on the fetus. Although some drugs are clearly recognized to cause birth defects, and others are generally recognized as safe, surprisingly little is known about most drugs' level of risk. Researchers have created a preclinical model for predicting a drug's teratogenicity (tendency to cause fetal malformations) based on characterizing the genes that it targets. ... > 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

Trust your gut ... but only sometimes (January 5, 2011) -- When faced with decisions, we often follow our intuition -- our self-described "gut feelings" -- without understanding why. Our ability to make hunch decisions varies considerably: Intuition can either be a useful ally or it can lead to costly and dangerous mistakes. A new study finds that the trustworthiness of our intuition is really influenced by what is happening physically in our bodies. ... > 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

Experimental drug more potent, longer lasting than morphine (January 5, 2011) -- A little-known morphine-like drug is potentially more potent, longer lasting and less likely to cause constipation than standard morphine, a study has found. The drug also is less likely to cause constipation. ... > 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

Body temperature sensor, TRPM2, promotes insulin secretion (January 5, 2011) -- Researchers in Japan have found that the TRPM2 ion channel in pancreatic beta-cells is important for insulin secretion stimulated by glucose and gastrointestinal hormone (incretin) secreted after food intake. ... > 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

Adopting healthy habits in youth associated with more favorable cholesterol levels in adulthood (January 5, 2011) -- Lifestyle changes between childhood and adulthood appear associated with whether an individual will maintain, improve or develop high-risk cholesterol levels, according to a new study. ... > 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

Obesity research targets brain's use of fatty acids (January 5, 2011) -- Researchers have created a promising new mouse model to study how lipid sensing and metabolism in the brain relate to the regulation of energy balance and body weight. ... > full story

Detecting esophageal cancer with light (January 5, 2011) -- A tiny light source and sensors at the end of an endoscope may provide a more accurate way to identify pre-cancerous cells in the lining of the esophagus. ... > full story

Dampening inflammation with aspirin (January 5, 2011) -- Upon microbe clearance from the body or completion of wound healing, protective inflammatory responses must be dampened down. One set of molecules known to play a role in resolving the inflammatory response is the E-series resolvins. While analyzing the blood of several individuals to investigate the pathway by which E-series resolvins are generated, researchers have identified a new 18S E-series resolvin, which could be generated from aspirin. ... > 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

Europe reins in the smoking habit (January 5, 2011) -- A study by researchers in Spain has confirmed that the anti-tobacco laws in Europe have a direct effect on the reduction in consumption and passive exposure to smoke. ... > 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

Protein wields phosphate group to inhibit cancer metastasis; Tagging an enzyme with chemical also is crucial to bone cell formation (January 4, 2011) -- By sticking a chemical group to it at a specific site, a protein arrests an enzyme that may worsen and spread cancer, an international research team reports. ... > full story

Impregnating plastics with carbon dioxide (January 4, 2011) -- Everyone has heard that carbon dioxide is responsible for global warming. But the gas also has some positive characteristics. Researchers are now impregnating plastics with compressed CO2 in a process that could lead to new applications ranging from colored contact lenses to bacteria-resistant door handles. ... > full story

Kids frequently exposed to medical imaging procedures that use radiation, study finds (January 4, 2011) -- A new study shows that kids frequently receive imaging procedures during their routine clinical care, and highlights the importance of initiatives to ensure that those tests being performed are necessary and use the lowest possible doses of radiation. ... > full story

New system for analyzing information on WikiLeaks, social media (January 4, 2011) -- Researchers in Spain have created a new computer system that has multiple applications for exploring information in a variety of areas including fraud detection, biomedicine, education, social media and the Internet. For example, the technology can be used to extract information from WikiLeaks from two perspectives: one, to obtain generic indicators that provide information on whether the data network has the features of a social network and whether communities of data are created that can provide relevant information; and two, to use the documents hosted on the website to analyze how a topic evolves over time, how a person or a group relates to different topics and how the documents themselves interrelate. ... > full story

US soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder more likely to feel long-term psychological effect (January 4, 2011) -- Combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms appear to be associated with longer-term physical (headache, tinnitus), emotional (irritability) and cognitive (diminished concentration or memory) symptoms, according to a new report. Conversely, concussion/mild traumatic brain injuries do not appear to have long-term negative effects on troops. ... > full story

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