Rabu, 09 Februari 2011

ScienceDaily Top Science Headlines

for Wednesday, February 9, 2011

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Border patrol: Immune cells protect body from invaders (February 9, 2011) -- Barrier sites -- the skin, gut, lung -- limit the inner body's exposure to allergens, pollutants, viruses, bacteria, and parasites. Understanding how the immune system works in these external surfaces has implications for understanding such inflammatory diseases as asthma, psoriasis, IBD, and food allergies, all of which occur at the body's barriers. Researchers have identified an immune cell population that acts as the body's border patrol with the outside world. ... > full story

The hitch in the drug? The itch in the drug: Scientists discover clue to ending chronic itching side effect of certain drugs (February 9, 2011) -- Scratching deep beneath the surface, a team of researchers the U.S. and South Korea have identified two distinct neuronal signaling pathways activated by a topical cream used to treat a variety of skin diseases. One pathway produces the therapeutic benefit; the other induces severe itching as a side effect. ... > full story

Successful operation of carbon nanotube-based integrated circuits manufactured on plastic substrates (February 9, 2011) -- Scientists have developed a simple and fast process to manufacture high-quality carbon nanotube-based thin film transistors (TFT) on a plastic substrate, enabling them to manufacture the world's first sequential logic circuits using carbon nanotubes. The technology could lead to the development of high-speed, roll-to-roll manufacturing processes to manufacture low-cost flexible devices such as electronic paper in the future. ... > full story

Method to identify fleetingly ordered protein structures identified (February 9, 2011) -- Scientists have developed a novel technique to observe previously unknown details of how folded structures are formed from an intrinsically disordered protein. The insights could help scientists to better understand the mechanism of plaque formation in neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases. ... > full story

Jatropha: Green biodiesel from African tree (February 9, 2011) -- Jatropha has been championed as a major environmental opportunity for developing countries with a semi-arid climate and marginal soil. Scientists have been investigating whether this small, hardy and relatively pest-free tree lives up to its billing. ... > full story

Huge decline in HIV rates in Zimbabwe driven by fear of infection, says study (February 9, 2011) -- The big drop in the numbers of people infected with HIV in Zimbabwe is because of mass social change, driven by fear of infection, according to an international study. The scientists unravelling the reasons behind this unexpected downturn now reveal what they hope are the most important lessons in the fight against the disease for the rest of Africa. ... > full story

Earth warming unevenly: Tropical Atlantic sees weaker trade winds and more rainfall (February 9, 2011) -- Earth is gradually warming, but not evenly. Efforts to pin down regional climate impacts of this warming have been hampered by biased wind observations over the oceans. Developing a new technique to remove the bias, scientists found that during the last 60 years the tropical Atlantic trade winds weakened, ocean temperature patterns shifted, and Amazon and Guinea Coast rainfall increased. ... > full story

Why HIV-uninfected babies born to mothers with HIV might be more vulnerable to infections (February 9, 2011) -- Babies whose mothers have HIV, but who are not HIV-infected themselves, are born with lower levels of specific proteins in their blood called antibodies, which fight infection, compared with babies not exposed to HIV, a new study has found. The finding might explain in part why uninfected babies born to women with HIV have a higher risk of illness and death early in life. ... > full story

Second pathway for antidepressants: New fluorescent assay reveals TREK1 mechanism (February 9, 2011) -- Researchers have developed a unique cell-based fluorescent assay that enabled them to identify a means by which fluoxetine, the active ingredient in Prozac, suppresses the activity of the TREK1 potassium channel. TREK1 could be an important new target for antidepressant drugs. ... > full story

Limited lymph node removal for certain breast cancer does not appear to result in poorer survival (February 9, 2011) -- Among patients with early-stage breast cancer that had spread to a nearby lymph node and who received treatment that included lumpectomy and radiation therapy, women who just had the sentinel lymph node removed (the first lymph node to which cancer is likely to spread from the primary tumor) did not have worse survival than women who had more extensive axillary lymph node dissection (surgery to remove lymph nodes found in the armpit), according to a new study. ... > full story

Using mining by-products to reduce algal blooms (February 9, 2011) -- Researchers in Australia have shown that some mining by-products can be effective in preventing nutrients from entering river systems, thereby reducing the potential for algal blooms. ... > full story

Heavy drinking in older teenagers has long- and short-term consequences (February 9, 2011) -- In a systematic review of current evidence, researchers conclude that there is enough evidence to recommend that reducing drinking during late adolescence is likely to be important for preventing long-term adverse consequences of drinking, as well as protecting against more immediate harms. ... > full story

Turning bacteria against themselves (February 8, 2011) -- Bacteria often attack with toxins designed to hijack or even kill host cells. To avoid self-destruction, bacteria have ways of protecting themselves from their own toxins. Now, researchers have described one of these protective mechanisms, potentially paving the way for new classes of antibiotics that cause the bacteria's toxins to turn on themselves. ... > full story

Generic drug may improve the effectiveness of cancer nanotherapies (February 8, 2011) -- Low doses of losartan, an FDA-approved generic hypertension medication, may improve the results of nanotherapeutic approaches to cancer treatment by modifying the network of abnormal collagen fibers that characterizes most solid tumors. ... > full story

Why leatherback turtles linger in South Pacific Gyre, and why it matters (February 8, 2011) -- Tagging and tracking leatherback sea turtles has produced new insights into the turtles' behavior in a part of the South Pacific Ocean long considered an oceanic desert. The new data will help researchers predict the turtles' movements in the ever-changing environment of the open ocean, with the goal of reducing the impact of fishing on the endangered leatherback population. ... > full story

Male cancer survivor offspring slightly higher risk of congenital birth abnormalities (February 8, 2011) -- The incidence of major congenital birth abnormalities was slightly higher in the offspring of male cancer survivors compared with children of fathers with no history of cancer, according to a new study. ... > full story

Detecting pathogens in waterways: An improved approach (February 8, 2011) -- U.S. scientists have come up with a way to detect pathogenic Escherichia coli and Salmonella bacteria in waterways at lower levels than any previous method. Similar methods have been developed to detect pathogenic E. coli in meat products, but this latest approach represents a first for waterways. ... > full story

Charismatic leadership can be measured, learned, study finds (February 8, 2011) -- How do you measure charisma? Much has been written in business management textbooks and self-help guides about the role that personal charisma plays in leadership. But according to a newly published study, until recently no one was able to describe and measure charisma in a systematic way. ... > full story

Brief diversions vastly improve focus, researchers find (February 8, 2011) -- A new study overturns a decades-old theory about the nature of attention and demonstrates that even brief diversions from a task can dramatically improve one's ability to focus on that task for prolonged periods. ... > full story

Delayed-enhancement MRI may predict, prevent strokes, study shows (February 8, 2011) -- Researchers have found that delayed-enhancement magnetic resonance imaging holds promise for predicting the risks of strokes, the third leading cause of death in the US. ... > full story

Tool makes search for Martian life easier: Red Planet a good fit for laser-ion funnel mass spectrometry (February 8, 2011) -- Newly developed ion funnel technology could make finding life on Mars's surface easier when coupled with a laser and a mass spectrometer that are placed directly on the robotic arm of a space rover. ... > full story

Figuring out fetal alcohol syndrome in fruit flies (February 8, 2011) -- Drinking excess alcohol while pregnant can harm an unborn baby, often causing fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) or even death. FAS is the leading cause of congenital mental retardation in the Western world, resulting in severe behavioral problems and stunted growth. However, despite its harmful effects, alcohol consumption during pregnancy is common. Researchers now show that a simple experimental system -- the fruit fly -- can be used to study how alcohol causes damage during development. ... > full story

Home and away: How do invasive plant species dominate native species? (February 8, 2011) -- Invasive plant species present a serious environmental, economic and social problem worldwide as their abundance can lead to lost native biodiversity and ecosystem functions, such as nutrient cycling. Despite substantial research, little is known about why some species can dominate new habitats over native plants that technically should have the advantage. ... > full story

What your TV habits may say about your fear of crime (February 8, 2011) -- When it comes to prime-time crime shows, do you like dramas like "CSI" or real-life tales like "The First 48" better? Your answer to that question says a lot about your fears and attitudes about crime, a study finds. ... > full story

Polar bear births could plummet with climate change (February 8, 2011) -- Researchers have studied the reproductive ecology of polar bears in Hudson Bay and have linked declining litter sizes with loss of sea ice. ... > full story

Processed food diet in early childhood may lower subsequent IQ (February 8, 2011) -- A diet, high in fats, sugars and processed foods in early childhood may lower IQ, while a diet packed full of vitamins and nutrients may do the opposite, suggests new research. ... > full story

Fingerprint makes computer chips counterfeit-proof (February 8, 2011) -- Product counterfeiters are increasingly targeting computer chips and electronic components, with attacks on hardware modules becoming commonplace. Tailor-made security technology utilizes a component's individual material properties to generate a digital key. This provides components with an identity -- since their unique structure cannot be copied. ... > full story

Combining brain imaging, genetic analysis may help identify people at early risk of Alzheimer's (February 8, 2011) -- A new study has found evidence suggesting that a variation of a specific gene may play a role in late-onset Alzheimer's, the disease which accounts for over 90 percent of Alzheimer's cases. This innovative study has combined genetics and brain imaging to determine who may be at risk for developing late-onset Alzheimer's disease long before symptoms appear. ... > full story

Helping drivers cut fuel use (February 8, 2011) -- Ever wonder how much fuel you can save by avoiding stop-and-go traffic, closing your window, not using air conditioning or coasting toward stops? ... > full story

Sleep deprivation: Late nights can lead to higher risk of strokes and heart attacks, study finds (February 8, 2011) -- New research shows that prolonged sleep deprivation and disrupted sleep patterns can be linked to strokes, heart attacks and cardiovascular disorders which often result in early death. ... > full story

Secrets of dinosaur footprints revealed, thanks to 'Goldilocks' (February 8, 2011) -- Terrain thought to be ruled by only the largest dinosaurs to inhabit Earth could have in fact been home to dozens of other creatures, ground-breaking research has found. ... > full story

Lack of sleep found to be a new risk factor for colon cancer (February 8, 2011) -- An inadequate amount of sleep has been associated with higher risks of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and death. Now colon cancer can be added to the list. In a ground-breaking new study, researchers found that individuals who averaged less than six hours of sleep at night had an almost 50 percent increase in the risk of colorectal adenomas compared with individuals sleeping at least seven hours per night. ... > full story

Conceptualizing cancer cells as ancient 'toolkit' (February 8, 2011) -- In a new paper, astrobiology researchers seek to explain why cancer cells deploy so many clever tricks in such a coherent and organized way. ... > full story

Hope for stroke victims (February 8, 2011) -- Two new studies from Spain provide conclusive evidence that a new approach could speed recovery from stroke and head trauma. ... > full story

Researchers predict future of electronic devices, see top ten list of expected breakthroughs (February 8, 2011) -- In the first published critical review of technical developments related to electronic paper devices (i.e., e-readers like the Amazon Kindle), experts review the next generation of these devices. ... > full story

Bad things seem even worse if people have to live through them again (February 8, 2011) -- When people think unpleasant events are over, they remember them as being less painful or annoying than when they expect them to happen again, pointing to the power of expectation to help people brace for the worst, according to new studies. ... > full story

Change of heart keeps bears healthy while hibernating (February 8, 2011) -- Hibernating, it turns out, is much more complicated than one might think. New research illustrates a complex series of changes that occur in grizzly bears' hearts as they hibernate. The changes guard against complications that could arise from greatly reduced activity. ... > full story

Sun exposure, vitamin D may lower risk of multiple sclerosis (February 8, 2011) -- People who spend more time in the sun and those with higher vitamin D levels may be less likely to develop multiple sclerosis, according to a new study. MS is a chronic disease of the brain and spinal cord, usually with recurrent flare-ups of symptoms. It is often preceded by a first episode (or event) of similar symptoms lasting days to weeks. ... > full story

Bound neutrons pave way to free ones: Scientists extract information about internal structure of free neutrons (February 8, 2011) -- A study of bound protons and neutrons has allowed scientists, for the first time, to extract information through experimentation about the internal structure of free neutrons, without the assistance of a theoretical model. ... > full story

Urine-sniffing dogs: Early detection of prostate cancer (February 8, 2011) -- Researchers report the evaluation of the efficacy of prostate cancer (PCa) detection by trained dogs on human urine samples. ... > full story

New technique controls sizes of nanoparticle clusters for environmental, health and safety studies (February 8, 2011) -- Researchers have demonstrated for the first time a method for producing nanoparticle clusters in a variety of controlled sizes that are stable over time. The technique can be used in studies on the environmental, health and safety impacts of nanoparticle clusters. ... > full story

New link between genes and stress response, depression: Neuropeptide Y (February 8, 2011) -- Researchers have found that people whose genes predispose them to produce lower levels of brain molecule neuropeptide Y are more responsive to negative stimuli in key brain circuits related to emotion -- and are therefore less resilient in the face of stress and may be at higher risk for developing a major depressive disorder. ... > full story

Unexpected exoskeleton remnants found in Paleozoic fossils (February 8, 2011) -- Surprising new research shows that, contrary to conventional belief, remains of chitin-protein complex -- structural materials containing protein and polysaccharide -- are present in abundance in fossils of arthropods from the Paleozoic era. Previously the oldest molecular signature of chitin-protein complex was discovered in 25-million-year-old Cenozoic fossils. Their findings could have major implications for our understanding of the organic fossil record. ... > full story

Antipsychotics for schizophrenia associated with subtle loss in brain volume (February 8, 2011) -- Patients with schizophrenia who take antipsychotic medications appear to lose a small but measurable amount of brain tissue over time, according to a report in the February issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. ... > full story

Evolution led to genetic variation that may affect diabetes, scientist says (February 8, 2011) -- The root causes of complex diseases such as type-2 diabetes and obesity have been difficult to identify because the diseases are, well, complex. They occur at the dicey biological intersection of genes and environment, and, because they arose in our relatively recent past, it's not easy to simply compare DNA sequences from "then" and "now" to pinpoint likely genetic culprits. Now researchers have identified genetic variations in a hormone involved in the secretion of insulin -- a molecule that regulates blood sugar levels -- that occur more frequently in some human populations than others. ... > full story

Lifestyle affects life expectancy more than genetics, Swedish study finds (February 8, 2011) -- How long your parents lived does not necessarily affect how long you will live. Instead it is how you live your life that determines how old you will get, reveals research from Sweden. ... > full story

Giant whitefly: Presence of insect pest discovered in Indonesia (February 8, 2011) -- Scientists have discovered the presence of the giant whitefly in western Java, the first known infestation of this pest in Asia. The scientists fear an infestation could cause widespread destruction of crops in southeastern and South Asia. ... > full story

Psychotic illness appears to begin at younger age among those who use cannabis (February 8, 2011) -- Cannabis use appears to be associated with an earlier onset of psychotic illness, according to a meta-analysis of previously published studies. ... > full story

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