Jumat, 18 Februari 2011

ScienceDaily Top Science Headlines

for Friday, February 18, 2011

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Bears uncouple temperature and metabolism for hibernation, new study shows (February 18, 2011) -- New findings show that although black bears only reduce their body temperatures slightly during hibernation, their metabolic activity drops dramatically, slowing to about 25 percent of their normal, active rates. This feat leads researchers to believe that, in the future, the data collected in this study might be applied to a very wide range of endeavors -- from improving medical care to pioneering deep space travel. ... > full story

Warm weather may hurt thinking skills in people with multiple sclerosis (February 18, 2011) -- People with multiple sclerosis may find it harder to learn, remember or process information on warmer days of the year, according to new research. ... > full story

World's largest lake sheds light on ecosystem responses to climate variability (February 18, 2011) -- Siberia's Lake Baikal, the world's oldest, deepest and largest freshwater lake, has provided scientists with insight into the ways that climate change affects water temperature, which in turn affects life in the lake. ... > full story

Total knee replacement patients functioning well after 20 years, study finds (February 18, 2011) -- Most patients who undergo total knee replacement are age 60 to 80. More than 90 percent of these individuals experience a dramatic reduction in knee pain and a significant improvement in the ability to perform common activities. However questions have been raised about the decline in physical function over the long term despite the absence of implant-related problems. New research evaluates patient functionality 20 years after knee replacement. ... > full story

New method for unraveling molecular structures (February 18, 2011) -- Chemists in Germany have introduced a new method for identifying chemical compounds. The approach they used is an improvement on nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) measurements -- for decades one of the most successful methods for determining the chemical structure of organic molecules. The results show a sophisticated approach to structural data when classical methods of analysis fail. ... > full story

Broader psychological impact of 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill (February 18, 2011) -- The explosion and fire on a BP-licensed oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010 had huge environmental and economic effects, with millions of gallons of oil leaking into the water for more than five months. It also had significant psychological impact on people living in coastal communities, even in those areas that did not have direct oil exposure, according to researchers. ... > full story

Pollution triggers genetic resistance mechanism in a coastal fish (February 18, 2011) -- For 30 years, two General Electric facilities released about 1.3 million pounds of polychlorinated biphenyls into New York's Hudson River, devastating and contaminating fish populations. Some 50 years later, one type of fish -- the Atlantic tomcod -- has not only survived but appears to be thriving in the hostile Hudson environment. ... > full story

Swedish discovery could lead to new stroke therapy (February 18, 2011) -- The opportunities to treat a stroke have long been limited to the hours after an attack. The loss of brain function caused by the stroke has previously been regarded as permanent. Brain researchers in Sweden have now discovered a substance that opens up the possibility of treatment up to two days after a stroke. ... > full story

Toward an optical atomic clock: Physicists develop atomic frequency standard for one of world’s most precise clocks (February 18, 2011) -- Polish physicists have been aiming to build an optical atomic clock, an extremely precise device with an accuracy of one second in a few dozen billion years, since 2008. The last of the three key components of the clock: an atomic frequency standard based on cold strontium atoms has just been developed. The clock itself will be assembled already this year. ... > full story

Checklist cuts lethal ventilator-associated lung infections (February 18, 2011) -- Cases of ventilator-associated pneumonia -- the most lethal and among the most common of all hospital-associated infections -- dropped by more than 70 percent in Michigan hospitals where medical staff used a simple checklist. Such pneumonias kill an estimated 36,000 Americans each year. ... > full story

3-D video without the goggles (February 18, 2011) -- High-quality video communications capable of supporting flawless video conferencing and home entertainment without goggles could become a reality. Researchers in the UK are working on systems to support telepresence with the aid of three-dimensional 'Avatar-style' stereoscopic video and audio communications. ... > full story

Chronically ill children are 88% more likely to suffer physical abuse, Swedish researchers find (February 18, 2011) -- Children with chronic health conditions are 88% more likely to suffer physical abuse than healthy children and 154% more likely to suffer a combination of physical abuse and exposure to intimate partner violence. Researchers in Sweden analyzed 2,510 questionnaires completed anonymously by children aged ten, 12 and 15 from 44 schools. Nearly one in four had at least one chronic health condition. 12% of all the children who took part in the survey said they had been physically abused, 7% had witnessed intimate partner violence and 3% had experienced both. But when researchers looked at children with chronic illness, the figures were significantly higher for physical abuse and for physical abuse combined with intimate partner violence. ... > full story

Ozone layer’s future linked strongly to changes in climate, study finds (February 17, 2011) -- The ozone layer -- the thin atmospheric band high-up in the stratosphere that protects living things on Earth from the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays, not to be confused with damaging ozone pollution close to the ground -- faces potential new challenges even as it continues its recovery from earlier damage, according to a recently released international science assessment. The report also presents stronger evidence that links changes in stratospheric ozone and Earth's climate. ... > full story

New testing could replace colonoscopies in the future (February 17, 2011) -- Nobody enjoys colonoscopies, including mice. Researchers are excited about the potential of using genetic biomarkers to predict colon cancer caused by inflammation. A new method could eventually lead to a method that might eliminate colonoscopies altogether. ... > full story

Flocculent spiral has relatively low star formation rate (February 17, 2011) -- The galaxy NGC 2841 -- shown in a new Hubble Space Telescope image -- currently has a relatively low star formation rate compared to other spirals. It is one of several nearby galaxies that have been specifically chosen for a new study in which a pick 'n' mix of different stellar nursery environments and birth rates are being observed. ... > full story

Group of enzymes could have a positive impact on health, from cholesterol to osteoporosis (February 17, 2011) -- Recent studies on a group of PCSK enzymes could have a positive impact on health, from cholesterol to osteoporosis. ... > full story

Getting cars onto the road faster (February 17, 2011) -- Auto manufacturers are looking for shorter production times, faster logistics processes, new materials and technologies. A novel software platform will help companies to achieve these goals by reducing not only the development times but also the development costs. ... > full story

Female topics encourage girls to study science, study finds (February 17, 2011) -- Girls are more interested in studying science if topics are presented in a female friendly way, according to new research. ... > full story

Insects hold atomic clues about the type of habitats in which they live (February 17, 2011) -- Scientists have discovered that insects contain atomic clues as to the habitats in which they are most able to survive. The research has important implications for predicting the effects of climate change on the insects, which make up three-quarters of the animal kingdom. ... > full story

Promising treatment for heroin dependency (February 17, 2011) -- A new treatment using naltrexone implants could lead to a significant reduction in heroin dependency. According to the researchers responsible for a recent Norwegian study, this should have major implications for the treatment options offered to heroin-dependent patients. ... > full story

World's first skyscraper was a monument to intimidation (February 17, 2011) -- An ancient tower at the archaeological site of Tel Jericho was built to exploit the primeval fears of Jericho's residents, according to new findings. "We believe this tower was one of the mechanisms to motivate people to take part in a communal lifestyle," one archeologist says. ... > full story

Neurologists develop software application to help identify subtle epileptic lesions (February 17, 2011) -- Researchers have identified potential benefits of a new computer application that automatically detects subtle brain lesions in MRI scans in patients with epilepsy. ... > full story

Scientists discover agave's tremendous potential as new bioenergy feedstock (February 17, 2011) -- A new article reviews the suitability of agave as a bioenergy feedstock that can sustain high productivity in spite of poor soil and stressful climatic conditions accompanying climate change. ... > full story

US public's knowledge of science: Getting better but a long way to go, study finds (February 17, 2011) -- Amid concerns about the lagging math and science performance of American children, American adults are actually scoring higher than they did 20 years ago on a widely used index of civic scientific literacy, according to new research. ... > full story

Global warming may reroute evolution, milkweed research finds (February 17, 2011) -- Rising carbon dioxide levels associated with global warming may affect interactions between plants and the insects that eat them, altering the course of plant evolution, research suggests. ... > full story

Mobile phone use not related to increased brain cancer risk, UK study suggests (February 17, 2011) -- Radio frequency exposure from mobile phone use does not appear to increase the risk of developing brain cancers by any significant amount, a new study suggests. ... > full story

Scientists elevate warfighter readiness against invisible threats (February 17, 2011) -- In asymmetric warfare, early detection and identification of trace level chemical and biological agents and explosive compounds is critical to rapid reaction, response, and survivability. ... > full story

Cigarette smoking increases production of mucus in patients with bronchitis (February 17, 2011) -- Cigarette smoking has been linked with overproduction of mucus associated with chronic bronchitis, according to a new study. The study indicates cigarette smoke suppresses a protein that causes the natural death of mucus-producing cells in the airways of bronchitis patients. ... > full story

Physicists propose beaming laser at atmospheric sodium to measure global magnetic field (February 17, 2011) -- Oil and mineral companies, climatologists and geophysicists all rely on expensive satellites to measure the Earth's magnetic field, but there may be a cheaper option. A physicist proposes shining a pulsed orange laser on the layer of sodium atoms 90 km above the Earth to directly read the local magnetic field. All that's needed is a simple laser like those used to produce laser guide stars for telescopes, plus a telescope detector. ... > full story

Innovative virtual reality exposure therapy shows promise for returning troops (February 17, 2011) -- A new study is one of the first to provide evidence of the effectiveness of exposure therapy with active duty military service members suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The study shows that virtual reality exposure therapy resulted in significant reductions in PTSD symptoms after an average of seven treatment sessions. Additionally, 62 % of patients reported clinically meaningful, reliable change in PTSD symptoms. ... > full story

Herschel measures dark matter for star-forming galaxies (February 17, 2011) -- The Herschel Space Observatory has revealed how much dark matter it takes to form a new galaxy bursting with stars. The findings are a key step in understanding how dark matter, an invisible substance permeating our universe, contributed to the birth of massive galaxies in the early universe. ... > full story

Treatment for manic-depressive illness restores brain volume deficits (February 17, 2011) -- Lithium, introduced in the late 1940's, was the first "wonder drug" in psychiatry. It was the first medication treatment for the manic and depressive episodes of bipolar disorder and it remains among one of the most effective treatments for this disorder. In the past 15 years, as molecular mechanisms underlying the treatment of bipolar disorder began to emerge, basic research studies conducted in animals began to identify neuroprotective and perhaps neurotrophic effects of this important medication. ... > full story

Choosing your neighbors: Scientists see how microbes relate in space (February 17, 2011) -- It is now possible to see up to 28 differently labeled microbes in a single field of view, due to a new microscopy technique. ... > full story

Biomarker discovery may lead to reliable blood test for ectopic pregnancy (February 17, 2011) -- A long, urgent search for proteins in the blood of pregnant women that could be used in early diagnosis of ectopic pregnancy has resulted in discovery of biomarkers that seem to be specific enough to begin testing in clinical trials. ... > full story

'Periodic table of shapes' to give a new dimension to math (February 17, 2011) -- Mathematicians are creating their own version of the periodic table that will provide a vast directory of all the possible shapes in the universe across three, four and five dimensions, linking shapes together in the same way as the periodic table links groups of chemical elements. The three-year project should provide a resource that mathematicians, physicists and other scientists can use for calculations and research in a range of areas, including computer vision, number theory, and theoretical physics. The researchers are aiming to identify all the shapes across three, four and five dimensions that cannot be divided into other shapes. ... > full story

Children of working moms face more health problems, study suggests (February 17, 2011) -- Children of working mothers are significantly more likely to experience health problems, including asthma and accidents, than children of mothers who don't work outside the home, according to new research. ... > full story

Regrowing hair: Researchers may have accidentally discovered a solution (February 17, 2011) -- Scientists were investigating how stress affects gastrointestinal function may have found a chemical compound that induces hair growth by blocking a stress-related hormone associated with hair loss -- entirely by accident. ... > full story

Key culprit identified in breast cancer metastasis (February 17, 2011) -- New research suggests that regulatory T cells, whose job is to help mediate the body's immune response, produce a protein that appears to hasten and intensify the spread of breast cancer to distant organs and, in doing so, dramatically increase the risk of death. ... > full story

Reflected glory: New image of nebula shows brilliant starlight as it ricochets off dust particles (February 17, 2011) -- The nebula Messier 78 takes center stage in this image taken with the Wide Field Imager on the MPG/ESO 2.2-meter telescope at the La Silla Observatory in Chile, while the stars powering the bright display take a backseat. The brilliant starlight ricochets off dust particles in the nebula, illuminating it with scattered blue light. Igor Chekalin was the overall winner of ESO's Hidden Treasures 2010 astrophotography competition with his image of this stunning object. ... > full story

Water softeners not found to improve childhood eczema (February 17, 2011) -- Water softeners provide no additional clinical benefit to usual care in children with eczema, so the use of ion-exchange water softeners for the treatment of moderate to severe eczema in children should not be recommended, experts say. ... > full story

New probe of proton spin structure: How quarks of different flavors contribute to spin (February 17, 2011) -- Scientists hoping to unravel the mystery of proton spin at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), a 2.4-mile-circumference particle accelerator at Brookhaven National Laboratory, have a new tool at their disposal -- the first to directly explore how quarks of different types, or "flavors," contribute to the overall spin of the proton. ... > full story

Waking up is hard to do: Scientists identify a gene important for the daily rhythms of the sleep-wake cycle (February 17, 2011) -- Scientists have discovered a new mechanism in the core gears of the circadian clock. They found the loss of a certain gene, dubbed "twenty-four," messes up the rhythm of the common fruit fly's sleep-wake cycle, making it harder for the flies to awaken. The circadian clock drives, among other things, when an organism wakes up and when it sleeps. While the study was done using Drosophila melanogaster, the findings have implications for humans. ... > full story

Thawing permafrost likely will accelerate global warming, study finds (February 17, 2011) -- Up to two-thirds of Earth's permafrost likely will disappear by 2200 as a result of warming temperatures, unleashing vast quantities of carbon into the atmosphere, says a new study. ... > full story

Researchers reveal first autism candidate gene that demonstrates sensitivity to sex hormones (February 17, 2011) -- Biochemists and molecular biologists have found that male and female sex hormones regulate expression of an important gene in neuronal cell culture through a mechanism that could explain not only higher levels of testosterone observed in some individuals with autism, but also why males have a higher incidence of autism than females. ... > full story

Tau-induced memory loss in Alzheimer’s mice is reversible; Study raises hopes for the development of effective therapies (February 17, 2011) -- Amyloid-beta and tau protein deposits in the brain are characteristic features of Alzheimer disease. The effect on the hippocampus, the area of the brain that plays a central role in learning and memory, is particularly severe. However, it appears that the toxic effect of tau protein is largely eliminated when the corresponding tau gene is switched off. Researchers have succeeded in demonstrating that once the gene is deactivated, mice with a human tau gene, which previously presented symptoms of dementia, regain their ability to learn and remember, and that the synapses of the mice also reappear in part. The scientists are now testing active substances to prevent the formation of tau deposits in mice. This may help to reverse memory loss in the early stages of Alzheimer disease -- in part, at least. ... > full story

Host genetics plays unexpected role in dance with pathogen (February 17, 2011) -- A new study suggests that differences in the host's genetics can make a big difference in susceptibility bacterial infection. Researchers show that the virulence of a strain of Yersinia pestis, notable for causing bubonic plague, varies drastically among mice strains with different genetic backgrounds. These findings carry major implications for vaccine development. ... > full story

Storms, soccer matches hidden in seismometer noise (February 17, 2011) -- Who knew? The chance discovery that spikes in seismometer noise recorded in Africa corresponded with soccer matches has led to the discovery that there's a lot more buried in the noise, including a signal from the famous storms of the Southern Atlantic Ocean, the bane of ships of sail. ... > full story

Lie detection: Misconceptions, pitfalls and opportunities for improvement (February 17, 2011) -- Unlike Pinocchio, liars do not usually give telltale signs that they are being dishonest. In lieu of a growing nose, is there a way to distinguish people who are telling the truth from those who aren't? A new report discusses some common misconceptions about those proficient in the art of deception, reviews the shortcomings of commonly used lie-detection techniques, and presents new empirically supported methods for telling liars from truth-tellers with greater accuracy. ... > full story

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