Jumat, 14 Januari 2011

ScienceDaily Top Science Headlines

for Friday, January 14, 2011

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Taking the pulse of a black hole system (January 14, 2011) -- Astronomers have discovered what drives the "heartbeats" seen in the light from an unusual black hole system. These results give new insight into the ways that black holes can regulate their intake and severely curtail their growth. ... > full story

Virus might fight brain tumors better if armed with bacterial enzyme, study shows (January 14, 2011) -- New research shows that oncolytic viruses, which are engineered to destroy cancer cells, might be more effective in treating deadly brain tumors if equipped with an enzyme that helps them penetrate the tumor. The enzyme removes sugar chains that branch from proteins that fill the narrow spaces between cells. By cutting away these branches, the enzyme clears a path that enables the virus to spread through the tumor. ... > full story

New light shed on river blindness parasite (January 14, 2011) -- Scientists have found how a parasitic worm in cattle, similar to that which causes river blindness in humans, survives due to bacteria that protect it from the body's immune system. ... > full story

Why PSA levels reflect prostate cancer progression (January 14, 2011) -- Researchers who have been studying prostate cancer cells for decades now think they know why PSA (prostate-specific antigen) levels reflect cancer progression. ... > full story

When metals reach end of life: Researcher develops new method (January 14, 2011) -- Though the prevalence of machinery allowed us to build bigger, travel faster and create more quickly with complexity increasing as science advances, our dependence upon them has limitations. Everything that moves can and will break, especially metals under strain. When they fail, the consequences can be catastrophic. A researcher has developed and proven a novel method to avoid the danger that comes with reaching the breaking point. ... > full story

Is 'breast only' for first six months best? (January 14, 2011) -- Current guidance advising mothers in the UK to exclusively breast feed for the first six months of their baby's life is being questioned by child health experts. ... > full story

Earth's hot past could be prologue to future climate (January 14, 2011) -- The magnitude of climate change during Earth's deep past suggests that future temperatures may eventually rise far more than projected if society continues its pace of emitting greenhouse gases, a new analysis concludes. Building on recent research, the study examines the relationship between global temperatures and high levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere tens of millions of years ago. ... > full story

'Longevity' protein SIRT1 may ward off precursor to prostate cancer (January 14, 2011) -- Researchers have discovered new evidence that suggests the "longevity" protein SIRT1, known for its life-spanning effects in different species, can inhibit the development of a known precursor to prostate cancer, prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia. ... > full story

Deep genomics: In the case of DNA, the package can be as important as its contents, new work with fruit flies reveals (January 14, 2011) -- The modENCODE project is a massive ongoing effort to map all the elements in model organisms that affect whether genes are silenced or expressed. The research is part of the burgeoning new field of epigenetics and the eventual goal in the words of the Washington University team leader is "to put flesh on the bones" of the Human Genome Project. ... > full story

Baby-led weaning is feasible but could cause nutritional problems for minority of infants (January 14, 2011) -- Most babies can reach out for and eat finger food by six to eight months, according to a study of 602 children from north-east England. But baby-led weaning -- babies feeding themselves solid foods, rather than being spoon fed purees -- could lead to nutritional problems for the small number of children who develop later than average. That is why researchers recommend combining self-feeding with solid finger food with traditional spoon feeding. ... > full story

Technique allows researchers to identify key maize genes for increased yield (January 14, 2011) -- Scientists have identified the genes related to leaf angle in corn (maize) -- a key trait for planting crops closer together, which has led to an eight-fold increase in yield since the early 1900s. ... > full story

Flaw in common approach of public opinion surveys about science (January 14, 2011) -- A new study highlights a major flaw in attempting to use a single survey question to assess public opinion on science issues. Researchers found that people who say that risks posed by new science fields outweigh benefits often actually perceive more benefits than risks when asked more detailed questions. ... > full story

NASA satellites find high-energy surprises in 'constant' Crab Nebula (January 13, 2011) -- The combined data from several NASA satellites has astonished astronomers by revealing unexpected changes in X-ray emission from the Crab Nebula, once thought to be the steadiest high-energy source in the sky. ... > full story

Popular sleep medicine puts older adults at risk for falls, cognitive impairment (January 13, 2011) -- Adults who take one of the world's most commonly prescribed sleep medications are significantly more at risk for nighttime falls and potential injury, according to a new study. ... > full story

What gives frogs a face? Zoologists clarify role of FOXN3 gene in development of clawed frog (January 13, 2011) -- Zoologists in Germany have analyzed the central factor for the development of morphologically distinctive features of tadpoles. The researchers were able to show that it is mostly the FOXN3 gene that influences the development of the cartilages in the oral region and the gills. These structures in particular belong to the evolutionary new developments typical of frogs. ... > full story

Private room intensive care units associated with lower infection rates (January 13, 2011) -- Converting hospital intensive care units to private rooms is associated with a reduction in the rate at which patients acquire infections, according to a new study. ... > full story

New way to calculate age of Earth's crust (January 13, 2011) -- A new way to calculate the age of Earth's crust has been developed by researchers in the UK. ... > full story

Writing about worries eases anxiety and improves test performance (January 13, 2011) -- Students can combat test anxiety and improve performance by writing about their worries immediately before the exam begins, according to a new study. Researchers found that students who were prone to test anxiety improved their high-stakes test scores by nearly one grade point after they were given 10 minutes to write about what was causing them fear. ... > full story

New predator 'dawn runner' discovered in early dinosaur graveyard (January 13, 2011) -- A team of paleontologists and geologists from Argentina and the United States have discovered a lanky dinosaur that roamed South America in search of prey as the age of dinosaurs began, approximately 230 million years ago. Sporting a long neck and tail and weighing only 10 to 15 pounds, the new dinosaur has been named Eodromaeus -- the "dawn runner." ... > full story

Overexpression of repetitive DNA sequences discovered in common tumor cells (January 13, 2011) -- Researchers have discovered massive overexpression of satellite repeats -- certain DNA sequences that do not code for proteins -- in some common tumor cells, findings that may improve knowledge of tumor development and lead to a novel cancer biomarker. ... > full story

Chemists develop fully biodegradable and recyclable synthetic resin (January 13, 2011) -- Modern synthetic resins are made from fossil sources, are not biodegradable and can only be burned under strict precautions due to the release of toxic substances. Scientists have now discovered a range of new thermoset resins made from renewable raw materials which are fully biodegradable, non-toxic and non-hazardous. ... > full story

Bisphenol A may have role in ovarian dysfunction (January 13, 2011) -- A recent study found higher bisphenol A (BPA) levels in women with polycystic ovary syndrome compared to controls. Furthermore, researchers found a statistically significant positive association between male sex hormones and BPA in these women suggesting a potential role of BPA in ovarian dysfunction. ... > full story

Hydrocarbon breakthrough made using gold catalyst (January 13, 2011) -- Researchers are opening up a new way of using hydrocarbon feedstocks to make a range of valuable products. ... > full story

Neuroscientists explain 'Proustian effect' of small details attached to big memories (January 13, 2011) -- Neuroscientists have uncovered why relatively minor details of an episode are sometimes inexplicably linked to long-term memories. ... > full story

Courtship affects gene expression in flies, study finds (January 13, 2011) -- Biologists have made an important step toward understanding human mating behavior by showing that certain genes become activated in fruit flies when they interact with the opposite sex. Their research shows that courtship behaviors may be far more influenced by genetics than previously thought. In addition, this new understanding as to why and how these genes become activated within social contexts may also lead to insight into disorders such as autism. ... > full story

Measles virus, a weapon against cancer? (January 13, 2011) -- Scientists believe that modified measles viruses can be "re-targeted" to attack only tumor cells, and thus transformed into a powerful new therapy for cancer. ... > full story

Light can control electrical properties of graphene (January 13, 2011) -- New research shows how light can be used to control the electrical properties of graphene, paving the way for graphene-based optoelectronic devices and highly sensitive sensors. ... > full story

More breaks from sitting are good for waistlines and hearts (January 13, 2011) -- It is becoming well accepted that, as well as too little exercise, too much sitting is bad for people's health. Now a new study has found that it is not just the length of time people spend sitting that can make a difference, but also the number of breaks that they take. Plenty of breaks, even if they are as little as one minute, seem to be good for people's hearts and their waistlines. ... > full story

Cosmology standard candle not so standard after all (January 13, 2011) -- Astronomers have turned up the first direct proof that "standard candles" used to illuminate the size of the universe, termed Cepheids, shrink in mass, making them not quite as standard as once thought. The findings, made with NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, will help astronomers make even more precise measurements of the size, age and expansion rate of our universe. ... > full story

Drug reduces the increase in fear caused by previous traumatic experiences in mice (January 13, 2011) -- Living a traumatic experience favors the persistence of fear associated with an aversive stimulus, known as fear conditioning. Scientists in the US and Spain have now found that such an effect, in mice, can be suppressed with a single dose of 7,8-Dihydroxyflavone, a type of flavonoid which boosts the ability to acquire new emotional behaviors. Researchers believe that the drug could also be used as an effective treatment of post-traumatic stress, panic and phobia disorders in humans. ... > full story

Gravitational lensing: Cosmic magnifying lenses distort view of distant galaxies (January 13, 2011) -- Looking deep into space is like experiencing the universe in a house of mirrors where everything is distorted through a phenomenon called gravitational lensing. Astronomers have started to apply this concept in a new way to determine the number of distant galaxies and measure dark matter in the universe. A new article makes the case that the tool may be even more necessary than originally thought when looking at distant galaxies. ... > full story

New measure trumps high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels in protecting against heart disease (January 13, 2011) -- A new study shows that a different metric, a measure of HDL function called cholesterol efflux capacity, is more closely associated with protection against heart disease than HDL cholesterol levels themselves. Findings from the study could lead to new therapeutic interventions in the fight against heart disease. ... > full story

New microscope records firing of thousands of individual neurons in 3-D (January 13, 2011) -- Neuroscientists have collaborated with physicists to develop a non-invasive, ultra high-speed microscope that can record the firing of thousands of individual brain cells -- neurons -- as they communicate or miscommunicate with each other. ... > full story

New method will triple amount of genetic information from newborn blood spot screenings (January 13, 2011) -- Researchers have developed a method that can yield more information from archived newborn blood that has implications for a vast array of research, including population health studies and answering questions about diseases in infants and children. ... > full story

Old-growth forests are what giant pandas need (January 13, 2011) -- A new study indicates that giant pandas need old-growth forests as much as bamboo forests. This work could assist conservationists in creating strategic plans that help conserve this critically endangered bear species. ... > full story

Energy drinks don't blunt effects of alcohol, study finds (January 13, 2011) -- While marketing efforts that encourage mixing caffeinated "energy" drinks with alcohol often try to sway young people to believe that caffeine will offset the sedating effects of alcohol, a new study has found that the addition of caffeine to alcohol -- mixing a caffeinated drink with vodka, for example -- has no effect on enhancing performance on a driving test or improving sustained attention or reaction times. ... > full story

Biomedical breakthrough: Blood vessels for lab-grown tissues (January 13, 2011) -- Researchers have broken one of the major roadblocks on the path to growing transplantable tissue in the lab; they've found a way to grow the necessary blood vessels and capillaries needed to keep tissues alive. ... > full story

Antibiotics best treatment for ear infections in toddlers, study finds (January 13, 2011) -- Adding new evidence to the debate on the best treatment for middle-ear infections, or acute otitis media, in young children, clinical researchers have found antibiotics to be more effective than a placebo in relieving symptoms. ... > full story

New responsive click-track software lets drummers set their own pace (January 13, 2011) -- New software has been developed that gives drummers the freedom to speed up or slow down the pace of the music with any pre-programmed material following their lead. ... > full story

Pandemic H1N1 influenza vaccine effective in 2009-10 flu season (January 13, 2011) -- One dose of the pandemic flu vaccines used in seven European countries conferred good protection against pandemic H1N1 influenza in the 2009-10 season, especially in people aged less than 65 years and in those without any chronic diseases. ... > full story

Engineers give solar power a boost (January 13, 2011) -- The growing popularity of solar photovoltaic systems across the United States has made it more important to maximize their power input. That's why environmental engineers are working on technologies and methods that will better predict how much power we can actually harness from the sun. ... > full story

Cancer costs projected to reach at least 8 billion in 2020 (January 13, 2011) -- Based on growth and aging of the US population, medical expenditures for cancer in the year 2020 are projected to reach at least 8 billion (in 2010 dollars) -- an increase of 27 percent over 2010. If newly developed tools for cancer diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up continue to be more expensive, medical expenditures for cancer could reach as high as 7 billion. Projections are based on the most recent data available on cancer incidence, survival and costs of care. ... > full story

Antifreeze proteins: How one gene becomes two (with different functions) (January 13, 2011) -- Researchers report that they are the first to show in molecular detail how one gene evolved two competing functions that eventually split up -- via gene duplication -- to pursue their separate destinies. The study validates a decades-old hypothesis about a key mechanism of evolution. The study also confirms the ancestry of a family of "antifreeze proteins" that helps the Antarctic eelpout survive in the frigid waters of the Southern Ocean. ... > full story

Adrenaline receptor 'frozen in action' by researchers (January 13, 2011) -- Adrenaline, the hormone that prepares our body to fight or flight, acts on a hyperdynamic receptor. This molecule switches so fast between several positions, that it was impossible to image it. Until now. Scientists have "frozen the molecule in action" using Xaperones, tiny, stable antibodies. ... > full story

Natural dissolved organic matter plays dual role in cycling of mercury (January 13, 2011) -- Nature has a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde relationship with mercury, but researchers have made a discovery that ultimately could help explain the split personality. ... > full story

Two medicines taken together improve control of blood pressure (January 13, 2011) -- New research shows that starting treatment of blood pressure with two medicines rather than the one produces better and faster results and fewer side effects -- findings that could change clinical practice world-wide. ... > full story

New approach to modeling power system aims for better monitoring and control of blackouts (January 13, 2011) -- Major power outages are fairly infrequent, but when they happen they can result in billions of dollars in costs -- and even contribute to fatalities. New research has led to the development of an approach by which high-resolution power-system measurements, also referred to as synchrophasors, can be efficiently used to develop reliable models of large power systems, which would help us keep an eye on their health. ... > full story

Family, friends, social ties influence weight status in young adults (January 13, 2011) -- Does obesity tend to "cluster" among young adults? And if so, what impact does it have on both their weight and weight-related behaviors? That's what researchers set out to answer to better understand how social influences affect both weight status and weight loss intentions in this difficult-to-reach age group. ... > full story

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