Selasa, 15 Februari 2011

ScienceDaily Top Science Headlines

for Tuesday, February 15, 2011

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World phosphorous use crosses critical threshold (February 15, 2011) -- Recalculating the global use of phosphorous, a fertilizer linchpin of modern agriculture, a team of researchers warns that the world's stocks may soon be in short supply and that overuse in the industrialized world has become a leading cause of the pollution of lakes, rivers and streams. ... > full story

An early step in Parkinson's disease: Problems with mitochondria (February 15, 2011) -- For the last several years, neurologists have been probing a connection between Parkinson's disease and problems with mitochondria, the miniature power plants of the cell. Now researchers have found that a protein called MEF2D, which helps brain cells withstand stress and toxins, also plays an unexpected role inside mitochondria. MEF2D's ability to keep mitochondria well tuned appears to be especially sensitive to impairment in Parkinson's disease. ... > full story

Estrogen reduces breast cancer stem cells and aggression in breast cancer, study suggests (February 15, 2011) -- Estrogen can reduce the risk of breast cancer. Their work shows that estrogen is capable of reducing the number of breast cancer stem cells, which may explain the lower aggression of the tumor and, as a consequence, the possibility of a better prognosis. ... > full story

New anti-clotting drug added to recommendations for treating irregular heartbeat (February 15, 2011) -- A new anti-clotting drug, dabigatran, is added to recommendations for treating atrial fibrillation. Dabigatran is an alternative to the anti-clotting drug warfarin. Previous recommendations for warfarin still stand. ... > full story

How plants near Chernobyl shrug off radiation (February 15, 2011) -- Scientists are reporting discovery of the biological secrets that enable plants growing near the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant to adapt and flourish in highly radioactive soil -- legacy of the 1986 nuclear disaster in the Ukraine. ... > full story

Ancient Mesoamerican sculpture uncovered in southern Mexico (February 15, 2011) -- With one arm raised and a determined scowl, the figure looks ready to march right off his carved tablet and into the history books. If only we knew who he was -- corn god? Tribal chief? Sacred priest? ... > full story

Magnesium sulfate may offer protection from cerebral palsy, study suggests (February 15, 2011) -- The use of magnesium sulfate (Mg) significantly reduced the neonatal brain injury associated with maternal inflammation or maternal infection in rats. ... > full story

Turtle populations affected by climate, habitat loss and overexploitation (February 15, 2011) -- Although turtles have been on the planet for about 220 million years, scientists now report that almost half of all turtle species is threatened. ... > full story

Few physicians refer patients to cancer clinical trials (February 15, 2011) -- A small proportion of adult cancer patients participate in clinical trials in part due to a low level of physician referrals, according to an new study. ... > full story

New research changes understanding of C4 plant evolution (February 15, 2011) -- A new analysis of fossilized grass-pollen grains deposited on ancient European lake and sea bottoms 16-35 million years ago reveals that C4 grasses evolved earlier than previously thought. This new evidence casts doubt on the widely held belief that the rise of this incredibly productive group of plants was driven by a large drop in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations during the Oligocene epoch. ... > full story

Preterm birth clinic attendence leads to major reduction in infant disability (February 15, 2011) -- Researchers have found that when women at high risk for preterm birth participated in a preterm birth prevention clinic, more women delivered full term babies and there were fewer cases of infant morbidity. ... > full story

X-rays show why van Gogh paintings lose their shine (February 14, 2011) -- Scientists using synchrotron X-rays have identified the chemical reaction in two van Gogh paintings that alters originally bright yellow colors into brown shades. This process is observed in many 19th century paintings. Microsamples of period paint samples and of the two paintings were analyzed, revealing how the chrome yellow pigments are covered by a brown shade under the influence of sunlight. ... > full story

Moderate-to-heavy alcohol intake may increase risk of atrial fibrillation (February 14, 2011) -- Atrial fibrillation is the most common cardiac arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm). Its name comes from the fibrillating (i.e., quivering) of the heart muscles of the atria, instead of a coordinated contraction. The result is an irregular heartbeat, which may occur in episodes lasting from minutes to weeks, or it could occur all the time for years. ... > full story

Culling can't control deadly bat disease, mathematical model shows (February 14, 2011) -- Culling will not stop the spread of a deadly fungus that is threatening to wipe out hibernating bats in North America, according to a new mathematical model. ... > full story

Use of alcohol-free antibacterial mouth-rinse is associated with decrease in preterm birth (February 14, 2011) -- The use of non alcohol antibacterial mouth-rinse containing cetylpyridinium chloride decreases the incidence of preterm birth, a new study suggests. ... > full story

Satisfied in submerged cages: Salmon happy in deeper water (February 14, 2011) -- It was thought to be impossible to farm salmon in submerged sea cages. But new research demonstrates otherwise. These findings may also prove valuable in combating sea lice and algae. ... > full story

Total cooperation among people is not viable, Spanish study finds (February 14, 2011) -- A situation where a majority of people cooperate never happens. This is due to the fact that a significant number of individuals never cooperate and if they do it is in response to the decision of their neighbors to cooperate or not, or a result of their mood at the time, according to a new study by researchers in Spain. ... > full story

Next-generation electronic devices: Conduction, surface states in topological insulator nanoribbons controlled (February 14, 2011) -- In recent years, topological insulators have become one of the hottest topics in physics. These new materials act as both insulators and conductors, with their interior preventing the flow of electrical currents while their edges or surfaces allow the movement of a charge. Perhaps most importantly, the surfaces of topological insulators enable the transport of spin-polarized electrons while preventing the "scattering" typically associated with power consumption, in which electrons deviate from their trajectory, resulting in dissipation. Because of such characteristics, these materials hold great potential for use in future transistors, memory devices and magnetic sensors that are highly energy efficient and require less power. ... > full story

Not so fast: Differences in the first embryonic cell lineage decision of mammals (February 14, 2011) -- New research shows that all not mammals are created equal. In fact, this work shows that the animals most commonly used by scientists to study mammalian genetics -- mice -- develop unusually quickly and may not always be representative of embryonic development in other mammals. The study identifies significant differences in the timing of cell fate commitment during mouse and cattle embryonic development and raises important strategic implications for the generation of embryonic stem cells. ... > full story

Quest for designer bacteria uncovers a 'Spy' (February 14, 2011) -- Scientists have discovered a molecular assistant called Spy that helps bacteria excel at producing proteins for medical and industrial purposes. ... > full story

Early signs of heart disease in preadolescent children with type 1 diabetes (February 14, 2011) -- Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in patients with diabetes. Patients with type 1 diabetes have a 200 percent to 400 percent greater chance of developing cardiovascular disease than those without diabetes. Researchers have now discovered that the early signs of cardiovascular disease are likely to manifest before the onset of puberty in many children with diabetes. ... > full story

Working toward automating sedation in intensive care units (February 14, 2011) -- Researchers are one step closer to their goal of automating the management of sedation in hospital intensive care units. They have developed control algorithms that use clinical data to accurately determine a patient's level of sedation and can notify medical staff if there is a change in the level. ... > full story

United Kingdom is a nation of happy couples, study finds (February 14, 2011) -- Whether you are married or cohabiting with your partner, the vast majority of couples in the UK are happy in their relationship. Initial findings show that around 90 percent of individuals who are living with a partner are happy with their relationship. ... > full story

Deep-sea volcanic vents discovered in chilly waters of Southern Ocean (February 14, 2011) -- Scientists have discovered a new set of deep-sea volcanic vents in the chilly waters of the Southern Ocean. The discovery is the fourth made by the research team in three years, which suggests that deep-sea vents may be more common in our oceans than previously thought. ... > full story

Jumping genes: Tumor microvesicles reveal detailed genetic information (February 14, 2011) -- The same research team that first discovered tumor-associated RNA in tiny membrane-enclosed sacs released into the bloodstream by cancer cells has now found that these microvesicles also contain segments of tumor DNA, including retrotransposons -- also called "jumping genes" -- that copy and insert themselves into other areas of the genome. ... > full story

Training for walking on Mars (February 14, 2011) -- Three crewmembers of the Mars500 virtual flight to Mars have 'landed' on their destination planet and two of them took their first steps on the simulated martian terrain. ... > full story

Pesticide-free method takes a bite out of mosquito-borne disease (February 14, 2011) -- Two strategies to control mosquito-borne diseases, such as malaria and dengue fever, are reducing mosquito population sizes or replacing populations with disease-refractory varieties. Scientists have modeled a genetic system that may be used for both, without the use of pesticides. ... > full story

Delving into manganite conductivity (February 14, 2011) -- Chemical compounds called manganites have been studied for many years since the discovery of colossal magnetoresistance, a property that promises important applications in the fields of magnetic sensors, magnetic random access memories and spintronic devices. However, understanding -- and ultimately controlling -- this effect remains a challenge, because much about manganite physics is still not known. This new research marks an important breakthrough in our understanding of the mysterious ways manganites respond when subjected to intense pressure. ... > full story

Playtime helps bind generations (February 14, 2011) -- A new study has confirmed an old adage: A family that plays together stays together. Researchers examined the ways grandparents can maintain close ties with their adult grandchildren. True to the old maxim, recreation emerged as the glue sealing intergenerational bonds. ... > full story

Mummy remains show false toes helped ancient Egyptians walk (February 14, 2011) -- Two artificial big toes -- one found attached to the foot of an ancient Egyptian mummy -- may have been the world's earliest functional prosthetic body parts, says the scientist who tested replicas on volunteers. ... > full story

Offspring of female rats given folic acid supplements develop more breast cancer, study suggests (February 14, 2011) -- The daughters of rats who took folic acid supplements before conception, during pregnancy and while breastfeeding have breast cancer rates twice as high as other rats, according to a new study. ... > full story

Invasive plants can create positive ecological change (February 14, 2011) -- Invasive fruiting plants sometimes can be beneficial to an ecosystem, contrary to prevailing ideas. The discovery is expected to affect the prevailing approach to ecosystem maintenance, which typically involves efforts to eliminate non-native, invasive shrubs. ... > full story

New gene test offers personalized treatment for inherited neuromuscular disorder (February 14, 2011) -- A new genetic test will allow rapid diagnosis and earlier treatment of a debilitating neuromuscular condition. ... > full story

Roses get celery gene to help fight disease (February 14, 2011) -- A rose is a rose is a rose is ... celery. Researchers insert a gene from celery into the rose to help keep it safe from a nasty disease called petal blight. The modified roses look and smell like normal roses; now they'll be tested to see if they can better withstand disease. ... > full story

Trial and error: The brain learns from mistakes (February 14, 2011) -- The process of establishing a neuronal network does not always prove precise or error free. Researchers have been able to document this phenomenon using advanced microscopy techniques in the developing cerebellum, a brain area required for fine movement control. ... > full story

Massive flux of gas, in addition to liquid oil, at BP well blowout in Gulf (February 14, 2011) -- A new study that is the first to examine comprehensively the magnitude of hydrocarbon gases released during the Gulf of Mexico oil discharge has found that up to 500,000 tons of gaseous hydrocarbons were emitted. The authors conclude that such a large gas discharge could result in small-scale zones of "extensive and persistent depletion of oxygen." ... > full story

Clues to mystery of preterm delivery (February 14, 2011) -- Researchers have found that excessive formation of calcium crystal deposits in the amniotic fluid may be a reason why some pregnant women suffer preterm premature rupture of the membranes leading to preterm delivery. ... > full story

Partnership of genes affects the brain's development (February 14, 2011) -- The human brain consists of approximately one hundred billion nerve cells. Each of these cells needs to connect to specific other cells during the brain's development in order to form a fully functional organism. Yet how does a nerve cell know where it should grow and which cells to contact? Scientists have now shown that growing nerve cells realize when they've reached their target area in the fly brain thanks to the interaction of two genes. Similar mechanisms are also likely to play a role during the development of the vertebrate brain and could thus be important for a better understanding of certain developmental disorders. ... > full story

Electronic fetal heart rate monitoring greatly reduces infant mortality, study finds (February 14, 2011) -- In a new study, researchers have found that the use of fetal heart rate monitors lowers the rate of infant mortality. ... > full story

The recycled port? An alternative to dumping at sea (February 14, 2011) -- In search of a sustainable alternative to dumping at sea or disposal on land, researchers blended contaminated sediment with a special mix of binders to produce a safe construction material for use in ports and harbors. ... > full story

Thoughts of hopes, opportunities keep people from clinging to failing investments (February 14, 2011) -- It's a common problem in the business world -- throwing good money after bad. People cling to bad investments, hoping that more time, effort, and money will rescue their turkey of a project. A new study finds that changing people's mindsets can make them more likely to abandon a failing investment. ... > full story

Lost whaling shipwreck with link to Melville's Moby-Dick discovered in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (February 14, 2011) -- Maritime heritage archaeologists have found the nationally-significant wreckage of a famous 1800's Nantucket whale ship, Two Brothers, on a reef off French Frigate Shoals, nearly six hundred miles northwest of Honolulu. This rare archaeological discovery is the first discovery of a wrecked whaling ship from Nantucket, Mass., the birthplace of America's whaling industry. Two Brothers was captained by George Pollard Jr., whose previous Nantucket whaling vessel, Essex, was rammed and sunk by a whale in the South Pacific, inspiring Herman Melville's famous book, Moby-Dick. ... > full story

Light shed on RNA 'on/off switches' (February 14, 2011) -- Scientists have shed new light on a molecular switch that turns genes on or off in response to a cell's energy needs. ... > full story

Fleeting fluctuations in superconductivity disappear close to transition temperature (February 14, 2011) -- As part of an ongoing effort to uncover details of how high-temperature superconductors carry electrical current with no resistance, scientists have measured fluctuations in superconductivity that disappear 10-15 Kelvin (K) above the transition temperature. The findings suggest that the transition to the non-superconducting state is driven by a loss of coherence among electron pairs. ... > full story

Severely obese women may need to gain less weight during pregnancy (February 14, 2011) -- Extremely obese women may not need to gain as much weight during pregnancy as current guidelines suggest, according to a new study. Severely obese women who gained less than the recommended amount of weight during the second and third trimester suffered no ill effects, nor did their babies. In contrast, obese and non-obese women who gained less weight had undesirable outcomes. ... > full story

U.S. security experts help Kazakhstan safely transport, store Soviet-era bomb materials (February 14, 2011) -- U.S. experts helped reach a major milestone in the nation's nuclear nonproliferation efforts by working with the Central Asian country of Kazakhstan to move nuclear materials -- enough to build an estimated 775 nuclear weapons -- to safety. ... > full story

You benefit if your romantic partner recovers well from spats (February 14, 2011) -- People searching for fulfilling and stable romantic relationships should look for a romantic partner who recovers from conflict well. Yes, it turns out that if your romantic partner recoups well after the two of you have a spat, you reap the benefits, according to new results. ... > full story

Pesky bacterial slime reveals its survival secrets (February 14, 2011) -- By rethinking what happens on the surface of things, engineers have discovered that Bacillus subtilis biofilm colonies exhibit an unmatched ability to repel a wide range of liquids -- and even vapors. ... > full story

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