Rabu, 16 Maret 2011

ScienceDaily Top Science Headlines

for Wednesday, March 16, 2011

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Hubble snaps close-up of Tarantula Nebula (March 16, 2011) -- The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has produced an outstanding image of part of the famous Tarantula Nebula, a vast star-forming cloud of gas and dust in our neighboring galaxy, the Large Magellanic Cloud. In this picture, we see a close-up of the Tarantula's central region, glowing brightly with ionized gases and young stars. ... > full story

Malaria drug slows pancreatic cancer growth in mouse models (March 16, 2011) -- Scientists report they have used hydroxychloroquine, a drug routinely prescribed for malaria and rheumatoid arthritis, to shrink or slow the growth of notoriously resistant pancreatic tumors in mice. ... > full story

Unprecedented view of protein folding may help develop brain disease therapies (March 16, 2011) -- When vital proteins in our bodies are misfolded, debilitating diseases can result. If researchers could see the folding happen, they might be able to design treatments for some of these diseases. But many of our most critical proteins are folded, hidden from sight, inside tiny molecular chambers. Now researchers have gotten the first-ever peek inside one of these protein-folding chambers as the folding happened, and the folding mechanism they saw surprised them. ... > full story

Treatments for recurring TB infection failing the developing world, study finds (March 16, 2011) -- The standard approach to re-treating tuberculosis (TB) in low and middle income settings is failing, according to new research. Researchers call for improved access to rapid diagnostics for drug resistant TB, second-line TB treatment and antiretroviral HIV therapy. ... > full story

Scientists fly through the clouds to piece together climate puzzle (March 16, 2011) -- As scientists try to better understand and put together the puzzle of Earth's climate, the role of clouds remains one of the most important missing pieces. Researchers from four NASA centers, other U.S. agencies and several colleges and universities are set to participate in the Mid-latitude Airborne Cirrus Properties Experiment (MACPEX), an airborne field campaign based at Ellington Field, Texas, that aims to answer some major questions about clouds. ... > full story

New study predicts cholera epidemic in Haiti will far exceed UN projections (March 16, 2011) -- A new study predicts that the cholera epidemic in Haiti this year will be far worse than United Nations' projections, which had estimated 400,000 cases of the diarrheal disease over the course of the epidemic. ... > full story

New microscope decodes complex eye circuitry (March 16, 2011) -- The properties of optical stimuli need to be conveyed from the eye to the brain. To do this efficiently, the relevant information is extracted by pre-processing in the eye. Using a novel microscopy method researchers have now discovered that the distribution of the synapses between ganglion cells and interneurons follows highly specific rules. ... > full story

New vaccine candidate shows strong potential to prevent highly contagious norovirus (March 16, 2011) -- Scientists have found that an experimental vaccine against human norovirus -- the bug behind 90 percent of highly contagious nonbacterial illnesses causing diarrhea and vomiting -- generates a strong immune response in mice without causing the animals any harm. Using a novel viral vector-based method to grow and deliver the vaccine that has shown promise in other agents designed to fight such infections as HIV and hepatitis C, they are the first to test this vaccine design method's effectiveness against the human norovirus. ... > full story

Dairy farmer finds unusual forage grass (March 16, 2011) -- A grass breeder has rediscovered a forage grass that seems just right for today's intensive rotational grazing. ... > full story

Vitamin D deficiency in cirrhosis (March 16, 2011) -- A research team from Denmark examined the vitamin D status in patients with alcoholic cirrhosis compared to those with primary biliary cirrhosis. They found that vitamin D deficiency in cirrhosis relates to liver dysfunction rather than etiology, with lower levels of vitamin D in alcoholic cirrhosis than in primary biliary cirrhosis. ... > full story

Wheels up for NASA mission's most extensive Arctic ice survey (March 16, 2011) -- Researchers and flight crew arrived in Thule, Greenland, on March 14 for the start of NASA's 2011 Operation IceBridge, an airborne mission to study changes in Arctic polar ice. This year's plans include surveys of Canadian ice caps and expanded international collaboration. ... > full story

Association found between industry funding and promotional pieces on menopausal hormone therapy (March 16, 2011) -- There may be a link between receiving industry funding for speaking, consulting, or research, and the publication of apparently promotional opinion pieces on menopausal hormone therapy. Furthermore, such publications may encourage physicians to continue prescribing these therapies to women of menopausal age. ... > full story

Optical illusions show vision in a new light (March 15, 2011) -- Optical illusions have fascinated humans throughout history. Greek builders used an optical illusion to ensure that that their columns appeared straight (they built them with a bulge) and we are all intrigued by the mental flip involved in the case of the young girl/old woman faces. New research demonstrates a more serious use of these illusions in understanding how the brain assesses relative size. ... > full story

Why some people are apple-shaped and others are pear-shaped (March 15, 2011) -- Scientists have shed light on why some people are apple-shaped and others are pear-shaped. Researchers have pinpointed a protein that plays a part in how fat is stored in the body. ... > full story

Finding of long-sought drug target structure may expedite drug discovery (March 15, 2011) -- Researchers have solved the 3-D structure of a key biological receptor. The finding has the potential to speed drug discovery in many areas, from arthritis to respiratory disorders to wound healing, because it enables chemists to better examine and design molecules for use in experimental drugs. ... > full story

How tuberculosis bacteria manage to survive inside body’s macrophage cells (March 15, 2011) -- Tuberculosis kills two million people each year. Researchers in Sweden are now presenting new findings that show how the bacterium that causes the disease manages to survive inside the body’s macrophage cells in order eventually to blow them up and spread their infection. ... > full story

Seedlings thrive with distant relatives, seeds with close family (March 15, 2011) -- A variety of angiosperm seedlings suffered from competition when planted with near relatives in home soils and fared best with distant relatives. But, seeds did just the opposite in a new study. And seedlings in potting soil also grew best with near relatives, raising the question of why soils affect competition outcomes. ... > full story

The new adulthood: Extended parental support as a safety net (March 15, 2011) -- A new study shows that contrary to popular anxieties about slacker young adults who refuse to grow up, or indulgent parents who stifle their adult children's development by continuing to support them, there is evidence that parental assistance in early adulthood promotes progress toward autonomy and self-reliance. ... > full story

Bilinguals see the world in a different way, study suggests (March 15, 2011) -- Scientists have found that regularly speaking in a second language makes you literally see the world in a different way. Color perception is an ideal way of testing bilingual concepts because there is a huge variation between where different languages place boundaries on the color spectrum. ... > full story

Lung cancer metastasis: Researchers find key component -- and possible way to block it (March 15, 2011) -- Researchers have discovered a new, key component in the spread of lung cancer as well as a likely way to block it with drugs now in clinical trial. ... > full story

Mini disks for data storage: Slanted edges favor tiny magnetic vortices (March 15, 2011) -- Slanted exterior edges on tiny magnetic disks could lead to a breakthrough in data processing. Materials researchers were able to create magnetic vortices with a diameter of only one third of a thousandth of a millimeter - structures which were impossible in the past. They could help to store larger amounts of data on increasingly smaller surfaces with as little energy as possible. ... > full story

Potentially pathogenic microbes growing on at least half of all orthodontic retainers, study suggests (March 15, 2011) -- Insufficient cleaning could allow build-up of microbes on orthodontic retainers, researchers have found. Researchers looked at the types of microbes which live on retainers. This study found potentially pathogenic microbes growing on at least 50% of the retainers. ... > full story

Basketball: Optimal aim points for bank shots (March 15, 2011) -- New research show that, from many areas of the basketball court within 12 feet of the basket, you have a better chance of scoring with a bank shot than with a direct shot. The study also shows the optimal aim points to convert a bank shot from most areas of the court. ... > full story

Why argue? Helping students see the point (March 15, 2011) -- Read the comments on any website and you may despair at Americans' inability to argue well. Thankfully, educators now name argumentative reasoning as one of the basics students should leave school with. ... > full story

MESSENGER spacecraft to swing into orbit around Mercury (March 15, 2011) -- The MESSENGER spacecraft is scheduled to go into orbit around Mercury on March 17. The mission is an effort to study the geologic history, magnetic field, surface composition and other mysteries of the planet. The findings are expected to broaden our understanding of rocky planets in other solar systems. ... > full story

Surgical technique helps adult male survivors of childhood cancer regain fertility (March 15, 2011) -- A new study has shown that a surgical technique called microdissection testicular sperm extraction can effectively locate and extract viable sperm in more than one-third of adult male childhood cancer survivors who were previously considered sterile due to prior chemotherapy treatment. ... > full story

New role for an old molecule: Protecting the brain from epileptic seizures (March 15, 2011) -- The aftermath of an epileptic seizure has some mysterious characters, including the molecule putrescine. In new research on tadpoles, which share similar brain chemistry with humans, putrescine emerges as a calming influence that conveys resistance to subsequent seizures. In the long run, the discovery could aid in developing drugs for young children with epilepsy. ... > full story

How pathogenic E. coli bacterium causes illness (March 15, 2011) -- Scientists have shown how the O157:H7 strain of Escherichia coli causes infection and thrives by manipulating the host immune response. The bacterium secretes a protein called NleH1 that directs the host immune enzyme IKK-beta to alter specific immune responses. This process not only helps the bacterium evade elimination by the immune system, it also works to prolong the survival of the infected host, enabling the bacterium to persist and ultimately spread to unaffected individuals. ... > full story

Genetic analysis reveals history, evolution of an ancient delicacy -- morels (March 15, 2011) -- Scientists have completed one of the most detailed genetic analyses ever done on morels, to help identify their ancestry, show how they evolved and what conservation policies may be needed to manage and protect this valuable resource. ... > full story

Best possible night light: Researchers study how light cycles impact zoo animals (March 15, 2011) -- A doctoral student reaches across a Cleveland Metroparks Zoo exhibit with a long pole tipped with a synthetic swab soaked in honey water. A pygmy slow loris, a big-eyed nocturnal primate, climbs down a branch and begins licking and chewing the swab. Something as seemingly innocuous as incorrect lighting may negatively impact the health and reproduction of lorises, pottos and their kin, researchers say. ... > full story

Ferroelectric materials discovery could lead to better memory chips (March 15, 2011) -- Engineering researchers have found a way to improve the performance of ferroelectric materials, which have the potential to make memory devices with more storage capacity than magnetic hard drives and faster write speed and longer lifetimes than flash memory. ... > full story

New understanding of male puberty (March 15, 2011) -- Scientists have uncovered a new understanding of how male puberty begins. The key to their findings lies with a protein known as SMAD3 and the rate at which it is produced. ... > full story

Better batteries for electric cars (March 15, 2011) -- The breakthrough with electric cars is a long time coming -- not least on account of their key component, the battery. Lithium-ion batteries are still too expensive and their range too limited. New materials should pave the way for better batteries. Simulation software from researchers is helping speed up the development process. ... > full story

Stopping smoking shortly before surgery is not associated with increased postoperative complications (March 15, 2011) -- A meta-analysis of nine previous studies found that quitting smoking shortly before surgery was not associated with an increased risk of postoperative complications, according to a new study. ... > full story

Old-growth tree stumps tell the story of fire in the upper Midwest (March 15, 2011) -- Researchers have constructed a 226-year history of fire in southern Illinois by looking at fire scars in tree stumps. Their study, the most in-depth fire history reported for the upper Midwest, reveals that changes in the frequency of fires dating back to the time of early European settlement permanently altered the ecology of the region. ... > full story

Describing humor with an equation (March 15, 2011) -- A new theory of humor addresses questions of human attraction to errors and our susceptibility to ideas we know are bad for us, and summarizes it with an equation. The new theory suggests an equation for identifying the cause and level of our responses to any humorous stimuli: h = m x s. ... > full story

Trapping a rainbow: Researchers slow broadband light waves with nanoplasmonic structures (March 15, 2011) -- A research team has experimentally verified the "rainbow" trapping effect, demonstrating that plasmonic structures can slow down light waves over a broad range of wavelengths, a key for improving optical data processing. ... > full story

Tumor metastasis with a 'twist:' Protein is key to early embryonic development, but later promotes spread of cancer (March 15, 2011) -- In the early stages of human embryogenesis, a transcription factor called Twist1 plays a key regulatory role in how the embryo assumes form and function. Much later in life, however, researchers now say Twist1 can re-emerge, taking a darker and more deadly turn. ... > full story

Orchid lures flies with scent of rotting flesh (March 15, 2011) -- Sex and violence, or at least death, are the key to reproduction for the orchid Satyrium pumilum. The orchid lures flies into its flowers by mimicking the smell of rotting flesh. A new study compares the scent of the orchids with that of roadkill. ... > full story

Omega-3 fatty acid intake linked with reduced risk of age-related macular degeneration in women (March 15, 2011) -- Regular consumption of fish and omega-3 fatty acids found in fish is associated with a significantly reduced risk of developing age-related macular degeneration in women, according to a new study. ... > full story

U.S. Geological Survey updates magnitude of Japan’s 2011 Tohoku earthquake to 9.0 (March 15, 2011) -- The U.S. Geological Survey has updated the magnitude of the March 11, 2011, Tohoku earthquake in northern Honshu, Japan, to 9.0 from the previous estimate of 8.9. Independently, Japanese seismologists have also updated their estimate of the earthquake's magnitude to 9.0. This magnitude places the earthquake as the fourth largest in the world since 1900 and the largest in Japan since modern instrumental recordings began 130 years ago. ... > full story

Impact of a bad job on mental health as harmful as no job at all (March 15, 2011) -- The impact on mental health of a badly paid, poorly supported, or short term job can be as harmful as no job at all, new research indicates. ... > full story

Japan quake may have slightly shortened Earth days, moved axis, theoretical calculations suggest (March 15, 2011) -- The magnitude 9.0 earthquake that struck Japan March 11, 2011 may have slightly shortened the length of each Earth day and shifted its axis. Using a U.S. Geological Survey estimate for how the fault responsible for the earthquake slipped, a NASA research scientist applied a complex model to perform a preliminary theoretical calculation of how the Japan earthquake -- the fifth largest since 1900 -- affected Earth's rotation. The calculations indicate that by changing the distribution of Earth's mass, the Japanese earthquake should have caused Earth to rotate a bit faster, shortening the length of the day by about 1.8 microseconds. ... > full story

Combining two peptide inhibitors might block tumor growth (March 15, 2011) -- A new study suggests that combining two experimental anticancer peptide agents might simultaneously block formation of new tumor blood vessels while also inhibiting the growth of tumor cells. The findings suggest that the double hit can stifle tumor progression, avoid drug resistance and cause few side effects, say the researchers who developed the agents and evaluated their effectiveness in laboratory and animal tests. ... > full story

Seedless cherimoya, the next banana? (March 15, 2011) -- Mark Twain called it "the most delicious fruit known to man." But the cherimoya, or custard apple, and its close relations the sugar apple and soursop, also have lots of big, awkward seeds. Now new research by plant scientists in the United States and Spain could show how to make this and other fruits seedless. ... > full story

Newer doesn't mean better when it comes to type 2 diabetes drugs (March 15, 2011) -- An inexpensive type 2 diabetes drug that has been around for more than 15 years works just as well and has fewer side effects than a half-dozen other, mostly newer and more expensive classes of medication used to control the chronic disease, new research suggests. ... > full story

Snapshots of laser driven electrons (March 15, 2011) -- Physicists have succeeded in the first real-time observation of laser produced electron plasma waves and electron bunches accelerated by them. ... > full story

The impact of sex selection and abortion in China, India and South Korea (March 15, 2011) -- In the next 20 years in large parts of China and India, there will be a 10 percent to 20 percent excess of young men because of sex selection and this imbalance will have societal repercussions, states a new analysis. ... > full story

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