Kamis, 17 Februari 2011

ScienceDaily Top Science Headlines

for Thursday, February 17, 2011

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Why are vines overtaking the American tropics? (February 17, 2011) -- Vines are becoming more abundant in tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas. This fundamental change in forest structure may have a profound impact on the animals, human communities and businesses that depend on forests for their livelihood. ... > full story

Drug therapy shows significant benefit in treating a leading cause of childhood blindness (February 17, 2011) -- A readily available, inexpensive drug therapy showed a significant benefit in treating premature infants with the worst and historically most difficult-to-treat cases of retinopathy of prematurity. ... > full story

Eating berries may lower risk of Parkinson's (February 17, 2011) -- New research shows men and women who regularly eat berries may have a lower risk of developing Parkinson's disease, while men may also further lower their risk by regularly eating apples, oranges and other sources rich in dietary components called flavonoids. ... > full story

Biomarker could make diagnosing knee injury easier, less costly, othopaedists say (February 17, 2011) -- A recently discovered biomarker could help doctors diagnose a common type of knee injury, according to a new study. ... > full story

Security weaknesses in file-sharing methods used in clinical trials revealed (February 17, 2011) -- Patients who participate in clinical trials expect that their personal information will remain confidential, but a recent study found that the security practices used to transfer and share sensitive files were inadequate. ... > full story

Who's the boss? Americans respond faster to those with high social status (February 17, 2011) -- A new study examines how White Americans and Chinese people in China respond to pictures of their boss, suggesting cultural differences in our responses to authority figures. ... > full story

Fossil antelopes shed new light on today's sub-Saharan mammals (February 17, 2011) -- Modern-day Africa south of the Sahara is home to a unique variety of mammals, a great number of which are not found anywhere else in the world. New fossil antelope discoveries have provided a glimpse into the biogeographic configuration of Africa over the last seven million years. ... > full story

Whole genome sequencing used to help inform cancer therapy (February 17, 2011) -- Whole genome sequencing -- spelling out a person's entire DNA genetic code -- has moved one step closer to being a medical option for direct patient care. ... > full story

Acid oceans demand greater reef care (February 17, 2011) -- The more humanity acidifies and warms the world's oceans with carbon emissions, the harder we will have to work to save our coral reefs. That's the blunt message from a major new study which finds that ocean acidification and global warming will combine with local impacts like overfishing and nutrient runoff to weaken the world's coral reefs right when they are struggling to survive. ... > full story

Customized knee replacement depends on surgeon's skill, not implant design, study finds (February 17, 2011) -- While the choices of knee implants are plentiful, the success of total knee replacement surgery still is dependent on the surgeon's skill, researchers say. ... > full story

New romaine lettuce lines launched; Breeding lines prove dieback resistant, show improved shelf life (February 17, 2011) -- Dieback disease caused by soil-borne viruses affects romaine and leaf-type lettuce, often resulting in extensive crop loss. Researchers in California introduced two new romaine breeding lines that proved exemplary in terms of both disease resistance and shelf life. In replicated field trials the two breeding lines showed complete resistance to dieback. Testing of salad-cut lettuce in modified atmosphere packaging indicated slower decay in the two new lines compared with other dieback-resistant romaine varieties. ... > full story

Risks for quitting college identified (February 17, 2011) -- College students who consider dropping out are particularly sensitive to a handful of critical events including depression and loss of financial aid, according to a new study. ... > full story

Dwarfism gene linked to protection from cancer and diabetes (February 16, 2011) -- A long-term study finds extremely low incidence of cancer and diabetes among individuals with a growth-stunting genetic defect. The authors ask whether controlling growth hormone in healthy adults might provide similar protection. ... > full story

Bleeding disorder often misdiagnosed, study suggests (February 16, 2011) -- A rare bleeding disorder that can lead to life-threatening bleeding episodes is misdiagnosed in 15 percent of cases according to new findings. ... > full story

Finding a way to extend tomato shelf-life (February 16, 2011) -- Tomatoes spend so much time on shelves and in refrigerators that an estimated 20 percent are lost to spoilage, according to the US Department of Agriculture. But scientists with USDA's Agricultural Research Service are working with colleagues at Purdue University to extend the shelf life of tomatoes. The research also may lead to tomatoes that taste better and are more nutritious. ... > full story

Statin may affect markers associated with progression of HIV, trial suggests (February 16, 2011) -- A recent multicenter clinical trial of atorvastatin found that although the drug did not inhibit plasma HIV RNA levels, it did inhibit expression of cellular markers of immune activation and inflammation in patients with HIV infection. ... > full story

Build your online networks using social annotations (February 16, 2011) -- Researchers at Toshiba are working on a way of finding clusters of like-minded bloggers and others online using "social annotations." Social annotations are the tags and keywords, the comments and feedback that users, both content creators and others associate with their content. Their three-step approach could help you home in on people in a particular area of expertise much more efficiently and reliably than simply following search engine results. The same tools might also be used in targeted marketing. ... > full story

To escape blame, be a victim, not a hero, new study finds (February 16, 2011) -- Great works and praiseworthy behavior may bring respect and admiration, but these won't help us to escape blame when we do something wrong, says a new study by researchers at the University of Maryland and Harvard University. To do that, the researchers say, one needs to be a victim not a hero! ... > full story

Iceland volcano drilling suggests magma could become source of high-grade energy (February 16, 2011) -- Geologists drilling an exploratory geothermal well in 2009 in the Krafla volcano, Iceland, encountered a problem they were unprepared for: magma which flowed into the well at 2.1 kilometers depth, forcing the researchers to terminate the drilling. The research team believes it should be possible to find reasonably shallow bodies of magma elsewhere in Iceland and the world, which would make for attractive sources of high-grade energy. ... > full story

Brain insulin plays critical role in the development of diabetes (February 16, 2011) -- Researchers have discovered a novel function of brain insulin, indicating that impaired brain insulin action may be the cause of the unrestrained lipolysis that initiates and worsens Type 2 diabetes in humans. ... > full story

Ultra-fast suction traps leave no chance for prey animals (February 16, 2011) -- Bladderworts (Utricularia spp.) constitute the largest genus of carnivorous plants. They catch and digest prey animals, mainly small crustaceans, with millimetre-sized suction traps. These so-called bladders have fascinated scientists since Darwin's early works on carnivorous plants. Researchers have now investigated the biophysical details of this prey capture mechanism for the first time. ... > full story

New pneumococcal vaccine approach successful in early tests; Vaccine inhibits bacteria by mimicking naturally-acquired immunity (February 16, 2011) -- Pneumococcus (Streptococcus pneumoniae) accounts for as much as 11 percent of mortality in young children worldwide. While successful vaccines exist, they are expensive and only work against specific pneumococcal strains, with the risk of becoming less effective as new strains emerge. Researchers have now developed a new vaccine candidate that is potentially cheaper and able to protect against any pneumococcal strain. ... > full story

Sterility in frogs caused by environmental pharmaceutical progestogens, study finds (February 16, 2011) -- Frogs appear to be very sensitive to progestogens, a kind of pharmaceutical that is released into the environment. Female tadpoles that swim in water containing a specific progestogen, levonorgestrel, are subject to abnormal ovarian and oviduct development, resulting in adult sterility, according to new research. ... > full story

Dial 5683 for love: Dialing certain numbers on a cell phone changes your emotional state (February 16, 2011) -- A psychological scientist in Germany has found a way that cell phones, and specifically texting, have hacked into our brains. Just by typing the numbers that correspond to the letters in a word like "love," we can activate the meaning of that word in our minds. ... > full story

Fossils may look like human bones: Biological anthropologists question claims for human ancestry (February 16, 2011) -- "Too simple" and "not so fast" suggest biological anthropologists about the origins of human ancestry. The anthropologists question the claims that several prominent fossil discoveries made in the last decade are our human ancestors. ... > full story

Hearing with your nose: How nasal stem cells could tackle childhood hearing problems (February 16, 2011) -- Stem cell scientists have found that patients suffering from hearing problems which began during infancy and childhood could benefit from a transplant of stem cells from their nose. The research reveals that mucosa-derived stem cells can help preserve hearing function during the early-onset of sensorineural hearing loss. ... > full story

New way to estimate global rainfall and track ocean pollution (February 16, 2011) -- A new study suggests a new way to estimate how much of the ocean's pollution is falling from the sky. The new findings can help improve scientific understanding of how toxic airborne chemicals, from the burning of fossil fuels and industrial power plants emissions, are impacting the oceans globally. ... > full story

Using chlorhexidine gluconate baths to reduce hospital-acquired infections (February 16, 2011) -- A new study has found a reduced risk of hospital-acquired infections when using two percent chlorhexidine gluconate cloths for daily bathing instead of soap and water. The study found a 64 percent decrease in the risk of acquiring an infection from either methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus. ... > full story

US Secret Service moves tiny town to virtual tiny town: Teaching Secret Service agents and officers how to prepare a site security plan (February 16, 2011) -- With the help of the US Department of Homeland Security Science & Technology Directorate, the Secret Service is giving training scenarios a high-tech edge: moving from static tabletop models to virtual kiosks with gaming technology and 3-D modeling. ... > full story

Got a goal? A helpful partner isn't always helpful (February 16, 2011) -- You might think that a loving partner helps keep you on track -- say, when you want to stick to your jogging or concentrate on your studies. But a new study reports the opposite: Thinking about the support a significant other offers in pursuing goals can undermine the motivation to work toward those goals -- and can increase procrastination before getting down to work. ... > full story

Increasing brain enzyme may slow Alzheimer's disease progression; Study finds damaging accumulation of tau proteins removed (February 16, 2011) -- Increasing a naturally occurring enzyme in the brain slowed the damaging accumulation of tau proteins that are toxic to nerve cells and eventually lead to the neurofibrillary tangles, a major pathological hallmark of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. ... > full story

Losing hair at 20 is linked to increased risk of prostate cancer in later life, study finds (February 16, 2011) -- Men who start to lose hair at the age of 20 are more likely to develop prostate cancer in later life and might benefit from screening for the disease, according to a new study. ... > full story

Pheromone increases foraging honey bees, leads to healthier hives (February 16, 2011) -- The application of a naturally occurring pheromone to honey bee test colonies increases colony growth resulting in stronger hives overall, according to a new study. The study comes amid national concern in the U.S. over the existence of honey bee Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) -- a combination of events that result in the death of a bee colony. The causes behind CCD remain unknown, but researchers are focusing on four possible contributing factors: disease, pests, environmental conditions and nutrition. ... > full story

Researchers model fetal-to-adult hemoglobin switching: Important step towards cure for blood diseases (February 16, 2011) -- Researchers have engineered mice that model the switch from fetal to adult hemoglobin, an important step towards curing genetic blood diseases such as sickle cell anemia and beta-thalassemia. ... > full story

Inhaling 'Red Mud Disaster' dust may not be as harmful to health as feared (February 16, 2011) -- Scientists in Hungary are reporting that the potential health effects of last October's Red Mud Disaster, one of the worst environmental accidents in Europe, may be less dangerous than previously feared. Their study concludes that the dust from the mud may be no more harmful than particles of ordinary urban air pollution. ... > full story

Drivers engaging in a secondary task may pay more attention to the road, study suggests (February 16, 2011) -- Although many human factors/ergonomics studies conducted over the past few years indicate that drivers who talk on the phone fail to attend to the road and increase the likelihood of an accident, the monotony of driving may also pose an accident risk. ... > full story

Astronomers identify thick disc of older stars in nearby Andromeda galaxy (February 16, 2011) -- Astronomers have identified for the first time a thick stellar disc in the nearby Andromeda galaxy, a major result from a five-year investigation. Andromeda is our nearest large spiral neighbor, close enough to be visible to the unaided eye. ... > full story

Scientists discover cell of origin for childhood muscle cancer (February 16, 2011) -- Researchers have defined the cell of origin for a kind of cancer called sarcoma. They report that childhood and adult sarcomas are linked in their biology, mutations and the cells from which these tumors first start. These findings may lead to nonchemotherapy medicines that can inhibit "molecular targets" such as growth factor receptors, thereby stopping or eradicating the disease. ... > full story

Living fast but dying older is possible -- if you're a sheep (February 16, 2011) -- Modern humans may live longer than hunter gatherers, chimpanzees, mountain sheep or the European robin, but what does that tell us about how we age relative to other species? Not much, according to new research, which looks at a new way of comparing how different species age. ... > full story

Surgery without incisions for heartburn (February 16, 2011) -- Millions of Americans, or 10 percent of the population, suffer from daily heartburn or other symptoms of reflux such as regurgitation, chronic cough, hoarseness and dental erosion. In a city like Austin, as many as 180,000 to 210,000 people may suffer from heartburn/reflux. ... > full story

Device enables remote explosion of improvised land mines (February 16, 2011) -- Researchers in Switzerland have developed a new tool to eliminate improvised land mines by using electromagnetic energy. ... > full story

Analysis of violent deaths of Iraqi civilians between 2003-2008 (February 16, 2011) -- A new article provides the most detailed assessment thus far of civilian deaths in the course of the recent Iraq war. ... > full story

New material provides 25 percent greater thermoelectric conversion efficiency (February 16, 2011) -- Automobiles, military vehicles, even large-scale power generating facilities may someday operate more efficiently thanks to a new alloy developed at the US Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory. A team of researchers at the Lab achieved a 25 percent improvement in the ability of a material to convert heat into electrical energy. ... > full story

Zinc reduces the burden of the common cold (February 16, 2011) -- Zinc supplements reduce the severity and duration of illness caused by the common cold, according to a systematic review. The findings could help reduce the amount of time lost from work and school due to colds. ... > full story

Lavender oil has potent antifungal effect (February 16, 2011) -- Lavender oil could be used to combat the increasing incidence of antifungal-resistant infections, according to a new study. The essential oil shows a potent antifungal effect against strains of fungi responsible for common skin and nail infections. ... > full story

Overabundance of protein expands breast cancer stem cells; Two drugs block cancer-promoting chain of events (February 16, 2011) -- An essential protein for normal stem cell renewal also promotes the growth of breast cancer stem cells when it's overproduced in those cells, researchers report. ... > full story

Wireless device helps athletes get the most out of exercise (February 16, 2011) -- New research from the UK could help athletes train to their maximum potential without putting undue pressure on their muscles. A special wireless device -- called the iSense -- has been devised which is capable of predicting and detecting the status of muscles during training and can be adapted to any sport. ... > full story

Video games to enhance learning (February 16, 2011) -- It's a frustrating problem for many of today's parents: Little Jacob or Isabella is utterly indifferent to schoolwork during the day but then happily spends all evening engrossed in the latest video game. The solution isn't to banish the games, says one researcher. A far better approach, she says, is to make the learning experience more enjoyable by creating video games into which educational content and assessment tools have been surreptitiously added -- and to incorporate such games into school curricula. ... > full story

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