Selasa, 01 Februari 2011

ScienceDaily Top Science Headlines

for Tuesday, February 1, 2011

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Tracking the origins of speedy space particles (February 1, 2011) -- NASA's Time History of Events and Macroscale Interaction during Substorms (THEMIS) spacecraft combined with computer models have helped track the origin of the energetic particles in Earth's magnetic atmosphere that appear during a kind of space weather called a substorm. Understanding the source of such particles and how they are shuttled through Earth's atmosphere is crucial to better understanding the Sun's complex space weather system and thus protect satellites or even humans in space. ... > full story

Specific populations of gut bacteria linked to fatty liver (February 1, 2011) -- Rather than being controlled itself by diet, gut bacterial composition may control the body's key nutrients. A metagenomic study of gut bacteria during a choline-depletion experiment on patients with fatty liver predicted the nutrient restriction would modify gut microbial ecologies towards uniformity. Instead, results showed each individual's unique microflora bore a strong relationship to fatty liver susceptibility, indicating that two specific groups of bacteria may play significant roles in dietary choline availability. ... > full story

Hunt for dark matter closes in at Large Hadron Collider (February 1, 2011) -- Physicists are closer than ever to finding the source of the Universe's mysterious dark matter, following a better than expected year of research at the Compact Muon Solenoid particle detector, part of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Geneva. ... > full story

Signaling pathway crucial to acute lung injury discovered (February 1, 2011) -- Researchers have discovered a signaling pathway that is crucial to the devastating effects of acute lung injury (ALI). The data, obtained from cells, animals and ALI patients, suggest several potential therapeutic targets. Experimental blockade of one of the targets significantly reduced flooding of the lungs that is the hallmark of ALI. ... > full story

Nanotechnology: Detecting lethal diseases with rust and sand (February 1, 2011) -- The next big thing in medical diagnostics could be minutes particles of rust, iron oxide, coated with the material from which sand is formed, silicon dioxide. These magnetic nanoparticles, a mere 29 to 230 nanometers across, can be used to trap antibodies to the virus that causes cervical cancer and to the bacteria that causes potentially lethal diarrhea. ... > full story

Moderate aerobic exercise in older adults shown to improve memory (February 1, 2011) -- A new study shows that one year of moderate physical exercise can increase the size of the brain's hippocampus in older adults, leading to an improvement in spatial memory. ... > full story

Single molecule controlled at room temperature: Tiny magnetic switch discovered (February 1, 2011) -- Chemists have succeeded for the first time in directly controlling the magnetic state of a single molecule at room temperature. The switchable molecule could be used both in the construction of tiny electromagnetic storage units and in the medical imaging. ... > full story

When two rights make a wrong: Combating childhood heart disease (February 1, 2011) -- When the body can't distinguish its right side from its left during development, a child can develop a condition called heterotaxy in which the heart is severely malformed, leading to congenital heart disease. To improve survival in these children, researchers sought to identify the genes that cause heterotaxy. They have shown in a new study that patients with heterotaxy have considerably more copy number variations on their genomes than do control patients. ... > full story

Low-energy remediation with patented microbes: Naturally occurring microbes break down chlorinated solvents (February 1, 2011) -- Scientists have patented a consortium of microbes that have an appetite for chlorinated volatile organic compounds, similar to dry-cleaning fluid. ... > full story

Free radicals in cornea may contribute to Fuchs dystrophy, most common cause of corneal transplants (February 1, 2011) -- Scientists have found that free radicals (unstable molecules that cause the death of cells as the body ages) may also cause the damage in the eyes of patients with Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy, a hereditary disease that is one of the most common reasons for corneal transplants worldwide. ... > full story

New hardware boosts communication speed on multi-core chips (February 1, 2011) -- Computer engineers have developed hardware that allows programs to operate more efficiently by significantly boosting the speed at which the "cores" on a computer chip communicate with each other. ... > full story

Safety checklist use yields 10 percent drop in hospital deaths (February 1, 2011) -- A new safety checklist program that virtually eliminated bloodstream infections in hospital intensive-care units throughout Michigan appears to have also reduced deaths by 10 percent, a new study suggests. Although prior research showed a major reduction in central-line related bloodstream infections at hospitals using the checklist, the new study is the first to show its use directly lowered mortality. ... > full story

New appreciation of the ecology-evolution dynamic (January 31, 2011) -- Ecology drives evolution. Scientists now describe a growing evidence that the reverse is also true, and explores what that might mean to our understanding of how environmental change affects species and vice-versa. ... > full story

Novel immune system-based gene therapy induces strong responses in metastatic melanoma, sarcoma (January 31, 2011) -- Researchers have found that a novel form of personalized therapy that genetically engineers a patient's own anti-tumor immune cells to fight tumors could treat metastatic melanoma and metastatic synovial cell sarcoma, representing a potentially new therapeutic approach against these and other cancers. ... > full story

Secrets in stone: Rare archaeological find in Norway (January 31, 2011) -- It looked to be a routine excavation of what was thought to be a burial mound. But beneath the mound, archaeologists from Norway found something more: unusual Bronze Age petroglyphs. ... > full story

Little decline in hepatitis C infections among injection drug users, study finds (January 31, 2011) -- A recent 20-year study of injection drug users in Baltimore found a significant decline in new cases of HIV infection but only a slight decline in new cases of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. The findings suggest that efforts to curb blood-borne transmission of these viral infections have had success but must be expanded against the highly transmissible HCV. ... > full story

Plasma stability made to measure (January 31, 2011) -- Researchers are working to develop a power plant that, like the sun, derives energy from fusion of atomic nuclei, but first they must overcome several obstacles. The compensation of edge instabilities in the ASDEX Upgrade are now successfully pointing the way for the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER). Eight magnetic control coils on the wall of the plasma vessel of the ASDEX Upgrade fusion device have now succeeded in reducing perturbing instabilities of the plasma, so-called ELMs, to the level required. ... > full story

Megalomaniac CEOs: Good or bad for company performance? (January 31, 2011) -- According to a new study, dominant CEOs, who are powerful figures in the organization as compared to other members of the top management team, drive companies to extremes of performance. Unfortunately for shareholders, the performance of a company with an all powerful CEO can be either much worse than other companies, or much better. But there is one solution to an all powerful CEO: a strong board of directors. Companies with strong boards counteract powerful CEOS, and swing the tide of performance to the plus side. ... > full story

Deficiency of dietary omega-3 may explain depressive behaviors (January 31, 2011) -- How maternal essential fatty acid deficiency impact on its progeny is poorly understood. Dietary insufficiency in omega-3 fatty acid has been implicated in many disorders. Researchers have now studied mice fed on a diet low in omega-3 fatty acid. They discovered that reduced levels of omega-3 had deleterious consequences on synaptic functions and emotional behaviors. ... > full story

Scientists grow arteries with high level of elastic protein: Big step for living vascular grafts (January 31, 2011) -- Researchers have grown arteries that exhibit the elasticity of natural blood vessels at the highest levels reported to date, a development that could overcome a major barrier to creating living-tissue replacements for damaged arteries. The team used smooth muscle cells from adult baboons to produce arteries containing approximately 20 percent as much of the protein elastin -- which allows vessels to expand and retract in response to blood flow -- as an inborn artery. ... > full story

Physicists challenge classical world with quantum-mechanical implementation of 'shell game' (January 31, 2011) -- Inspired by the popular confidence trick known as "shell game," researchers have demonstrated the ability to hide and shuffle "quantum-mechanical peas" -- microwave single photons -- under and between three microwave resonators, or "quantized shells." ... > full story

Seeing kidney injury, as it happens: Animal-model study offers glimpse at real-time changes in kidney (January 31, 2011) -- The current check for kidney disease is a simple blood test for serum creatinine, but it can take longer than two days for this metabolite to accumulate to levels that are significant enough to indicate kidney damage -- and by then it may be too late to intervene. Now a team of researchers is working to close the gap between kidney injury and diagnosis. ... > full story

Plants can adapt genetically to survive harsh environments (January 31, 2011) -- Scientist have found genetic evidence of how some plants adapt to live in unfavorable conditions, a finding he believes could one day be used to help food crops survive in new or changing environments. ... > full story

Children's genetic potentials are subdued by poverty: Effects show by age 2 (January 31, 2011) -- Children from poorer families do worse in school, are less likely to graduate from high school, and are less likely to go to college. A new study finds that these differences appear surprisingly early: by the age of 2. It's not a genetic difference. Instead, something about the poorer children's environment is keeping them from realizing their genetic potentials. ... > full story

New African wolf discovered (January 31, 2011) -- Scientists studying genetic evidence have discovered a new species of wolf living in Africa. The researchers have proved that the mysterious animal, known as the 'Egyptian jackal' and often confused with the golden jackal, is not a sub-species of jackal but a gray wolf. ... > full story

Hormone therapy begun at menopause may pose risk for breast cancer (January 31, 2011) -- Starting hormone therapy at around the time of menopause is associated with a greater risk of breast cancer compared to starting after a longer gap, according to a new study. ... > full story

Plankton inspires creation of stealth armor for slow-release microscopic drug vehicles (January 31, 2011) -- The ability of some plankton and bacteria to build an extra natural layer of nanoparticle-like armor has inspired chemists to devise a startlingly simple way to give drug bearing polymer vesicles (microscopic polymer based sacs of liquid) their own armored protection, and in some cases provide "stealth" capabilities which can avoid the body's defenses while releasing the drug. ... > full story

Young rats given polyphenols show less endothelial function deterioration with aging (January 31, 2011) -- A new study examined whether intake of red wine polyphenols, a rich source of natural antioxidants, prevents aging-related impairment of vascular function and physical exercise capacity. ... > full story

Surf's up: New research provides precise way to monitor ocean wave behavior, shore impacts (January 31, 2011) -- Engineers have created a new type of "stereo vision" to use in studying ocean waves as they pound against the shore, providing a better way to understand and monitor this violent, ever-changing environment. ... > full story

Super Bowl losses can increase cardiac death, study finds (January 31, 2011) -- A Super Bowl loss for a home team was found to be associated with increased death rates in both men and women and in older individuals, according to a new study. ... > full story

Mussel power: Universal solvent no match for new self-healing sticky gel (January 31, 2011) -- Scientists can now manufacture a synthetic version of the self-healing sticky substance that mussels use to anchor themselves to rocks in pounding ocean surf and surging tidal basins. Potential applications include use as an adhesive or coating for underwater machinery or in biomedical settings as a surgical adhesive or bonding agent for implants. ... > full story

Stimulating the brain's immune response may provide treatment for Alzheimer's disease (January 31, 2011) -- CD45 molecule, a receptor on the surface of the brain's microglia cells, cells that support the brain's neurons and also participate in brain immune responses, may be a new target for the prevention of adverse immune responses identified as factors in the development of Alzheimer's disease. The researchers hope to apply these findings to develop new Alzheimer's disease treatments. ... > full story

War, plague no match for deforestation in driving CO<sub>2</sub> buildup (January 31, 2011) -- Genghis Khan and his Mongol hordes had an impact on the global carbon cycle as big as today's annual demand for gasoline. The Black Death, on the other hand, came and went too quickly for it to cause much of a blip in the global carbon budget. Dwarfing both of these events, however, has been the historical trend towards increasing deforestation as crop and pasture lands expanded to feed growing human populations. ... > full story

What are the right food supplements during pregnancy? Study shows risky knowledge gaps (January 31, 2011) -- Mothers-to-be can cover increased demands for most nutrients, vitamins and minerals with a balanced diet, but where dietary supplements are needed during pregnancy, knowledge may be a missing ingredient. According to researchers in Germany, pregnant women often start taking appropriate dietary supplements too late or not at all. Other micronutrients, whose effects during pregnancy have not yet been studied, may be unwittingly overdosed. ... > full story

Shape-shifting sugars pinned down (January 31, 2011) -- Scientists have solved a 50-year-old puzzle about how, why or indeed if, sugar molecules change their shape. ... > full story

Casualties of war: Wounded veterans more likely to die of coronary heart disease (January 31, 2011) -- War-time stress may lead to an increased risk death by coronary heart disease in later life. Researchers surveyed a cohort of 55 year old Finnish WW2 veterans in 1980, and then carried out a follow-up study 28 years later. ... > full story

New transistors: An alternative to silicon and better than graphene (January 31, 2011) -- Smaller and more energy-efficient electronic chips could be made using molybdenite. This material has distinct advantages over traditional silicon or graphene for use in electronics applications. ... > full story

Antibiotic offers potential for anti-cancer activity (January 31, 2011) -- An antibiotic known for its immunosuppressive functions could also point the way to the development of new anti-cancer agents. ... > full story

Asteroid deflection: What if a huge asteroid was going to slam into Earth? (January 31, 2011) -- What could happen if a 25-million-ton chunk of rock slammed into Earth? When something similar happened 65 million years ago, the dinosaurs and other forms of life were wiped out. Lasers aimed from a space probe positioned near an NEO could help determine its surface composition. Using that information, solar sail technology could more accurately focus the sun's rays to penetrate the asteroid's surface to the proper depth, heating it to the correct degree for generating a jet stream that would redirect the asteroid. ... > full story

Nerve cell molecule has antidepressant effect; animal study may lead to more effective treatments for depression (January 31, 2011) -- Mice that lack a molecule involved in regulating nerve cell signaling are more active and resilient to stressful situations, a new study shows. Mice lacking the molecule -- known as Cdk5 -- exhibited the same behaviors seen in mice given antidepressant drugs. ... > full story

Sprouts? Supplements? Team them up to boost broccoli's cancer-fighting power (January 31, 2011) -- A new study provides convincing evidence that the way you prepare and consume your broccoli matters, and also suggests that teaming broccoli with broccoli sprouts may make the vegetable's anti-cancer effect almost twice as powerful. ... > full story

Smoking habits are transmitted from mother to daughter and father to son, study suggests (January 31, 2011) -- A research group has studied how smoking habits are transmitted within the home. The results show that, in homes where both parents are present, there is a significant degree of inter-generational transmission of smoking habits between parents and children, particularly between individuals of the same gender. ... > full story

Adult skin cells converted directly to beating heart cells (January 31, 2011) -- Scientists have converted adult skin cells directly into beating heart cells efficiently without having to first go through the laborious process of generating embryonic-like stem cells. The powerful general technology platform could lead to new treatments for a range of diseases and injuries involving cell loss or damage, such as heart disease, Parkinson's, and Alzheimer's disease. ... > full story

Key mechanism governing nicotine addiction discovered (January 31, 2011) -- Scientists have identified a pathway in the brain that regulates an individual's vulnerability to the addictive properties of nicotine. The findings suggest a new target for anti-smoking therapies. ... > full story

Stem cell marker regulates synapse formation (January 31, 2011) -- Among stem cell biologists there are few better-known proteins than nestin, whose very presence in an immature cell identifies it as a "stem cell," such as a neural stem cell. As helpful as this is to researchers, until now no one knew which purpose nestin serves in a cell. ... > full story

Pre-surgical stress management boosts immune function, lowers mood disturbance in prostate cancer patients (January 31, 2011) -- Practicing stress management techniques before prostate cancer surgery may help activate the body's immune response leading to quicker recovery, as well as aid in lowering mood disturbance, according to a new study. ... > full story

'Old' information theory makes it easier to predict flooding (January 31, 2011) -- Many different aspects are involved in predicting high water and floods, such as the type of precipitation, wind, buildings and vegetation. The greater the number of variables included in predictive models, the better the prediction will be. However, the models will inevitably become increasingly more complex. Researchers use basic insight from the information theory (Shannon's Information Theory) to demonstrate the cohesion between this added complexity, the information from observational data and the uncertainty of predictions. ... > full story

Genetic clues to compulsive, self-injurious behavior in rare childhood disorder (January 31, 2011) -- Research provides new clues for the compulsive behavior and cognitive defects associated with a rare childhood neurological disease called Lesch-Nyhan Disease (LND). Two pathways found to be defective in LND are known to be associated with other neurodegenerative disease, such as Alzheimer's and Parknson's diseases, suggesting common causes of cognitive and behavioral defects in these neurological disorders. ... > full story

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