Senin, 21 Maret 2011

ScienceDaily Top Science Headlines

for Monday, March 21, 2011

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Miniature lasers could help launch new age of the Internet (March 21, 2011) -- A new laser device could make high-speed computing faster and more reliable, opening the door to a new age of the Internet. ... > full story

Making viruses pass for 'safe' (March 21, 2011) -- Viruses can penetrate every part of the body, making them potentially good tools for gene therapy or drug delivery. But with our immune system primed to seek and destroy these foreign invaders, delivering therapies with viruses is currently inefficient and can pose a significant danger to patients. ... > full story

How inherited genes contribute to a common, incurable neurodegenerative disease (March 21, 2011) -- A team of scientists has developed a new model for how inherited genes contribute to a common but untreatable and incurable neurodegenerative disease. The disease, frontotemporal lobar degeneration, is the second most common cause of dementia before age 65, after Alzheimer's disease. ... > full story

New gene sites affecting nonalcoholic fatty liver disease discovered (March 21, 2011) -- Five genetic variants in humans -- four new -- associate with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, according to a study. ... > full story

The case for a neoproterozoic oxygenation event (March 21, 2011) -- The Cambrian "explosion" of multicellular animal life is one of the most significant evolutionary events in Earth's history. But what was it that jolted the Earth system enough to prompt the evolution of animals? While we take the presence of oxygen in our atmosphere for granted, it was not always this way. ... > full story

Can bees color maps better than ants? (March 21, 2011) -- In mathematics, you need at most only four different colors to produce a map in which no two adjacent regions have the same color. Utah and Arizona are considered adjacent, but Utah and New Mexico, which only share a point, are not. The four-color theorem proves this conjecture for generic maps of countries, but actually of more use in solving scheduling problems, scheduling, register allocation in computing and frequency assignment in mobile communications and broadcasting. ... > full story

Mutant prions help cells foil harmful protein misfolding (March 21, 2011) -- Misfolded proteins are implicated in many incurable neurological diseases. A new and improved understanding of how naturally occurring variants keep proteins from bunching up and spreading provides more options for developing a treatment than scientists had realized. ... > full story

Hormone pathway to fatty liver disease uncovered (March 21, 2011) -- Scientists have discovered how a change in growth hormone activity in mice leads to fatty liver disease, a condition whose human counterpart is of rising concern worldwide. ... > full story

Natural clay as a potential host rock for nuclear waste repositories (March 21, 2011) -- Nuclear chemists in Germany have studied natural claystone in the laboratory for more than four years in order to determine how the radioactive elements plutonium and neptunium react with this rock. ... > full story

Message to postmenopausal women: 'Increase yearly dental checkups,' researcher urges (March 21, 2011) -- Postmenopausal women have a new health message to hear. Two annual dental checkups aren't enough. Older women need more, according to new research findings. That message comes from a comparison study of women on and off bone-strengthening bisphosphonate therapies for osteoporosis. ... > full story

Important structure in the transmission of light signals deciphered (March 21, 2011) -- Scientists have made a new discovery in the basics of signal transduction research. They were able to clarify for the first time, in an important information carrier in the human body, the receptor protein rhodopsin, how such a protein must be designed to accommodate a light signal. ... > full story

Psychosocially hazardous neighborhoods associated with worse cognitive function in some older adults (March 21, 2011) -- Residing in a psychosocially hazardous neighborhood is associated with worse cognitive function in older age for persons with the apolipoprotein E µ4 allele (an alternative form of the gene), according to a new report. ... > full story

Masked fears: Are fears that are seemingly overcome only hidden? (March 20, 2011) -- Fear is a natural part of our emotional life and acts as a necessary protection mechanism. However, fears sometimes grow beyond proportions and become difficult to shed. Scientists have now used computer simulations to understand the processes within the brain during the formation and extinction of fears. ... > full story

Economics and evolution help scientists identify new strategy to control antibiotic resistance (March 20, 2011) -- Scientists have taken lessons from Adam Smith and Charles Darwin to devise a new strategy that could one day slow, possibly even prevent, the spread of drug-resistant bacteria. The scientists show that bacterial gene mutations that lead to drug resistance come at a biological cost not borne by nonresistant strains. ... > full story

Spintronics: Enhancing the magnetism (March 20, 2011) -- Researchers have enhanced the spontaneous magnetization in a special form of the popular multiferroic bismuth ferrite. What's more, they can turn this magnetization "on/off" through the application of an external electric field, a critical ability for the advancement of spintronic technology. ... > full story

Modified mRNA is the key to novel anti-cancer therapy, experts offer (March 20, 2011) -- Modern gene therapies raise hopes of combating many diseases until now considered terminal. Today, however, the methods are expensive and carry a risk of severe complications. Modifications to ribonucleic acid mRNA may offer safer and more effective gene drug alternatives. Clinical trials of the first new-generation anti-cancer vaccine will begin later this year. ... > full story

'Pruned' microchips are faster, smaller, more energy-efficient (March 20, 2011) -- Computing experts from the United States, Switzerland and Singapore have unveiled a technique for doubling the efficiency of computer chips by trimming away rarely used circuits. While these "pruned" microchips make a few calculation errors, tests show that cleverly managing the errors can yield chips that are two times faster, consume about half the energy and take up about half the space of traditional microchips. ... > full story

Virtual conversation simulator found beneficial for adults with autism (March 20, 2011) -- Simulated interactions in which adults with autism converse with a virtual partner may help them develop better social interaction skills, according to a novel study. ... > full story

Is space like a chessboard? (March 20, 2011) -- Unveiling a concept that is at once novel and deceptively simple, physicists have found that two-valued spin can arise from having two types of tiles -- light and dark -- in a chessboard-like space. And they found this model working on a surprisingly practical problem, how to make better transistors out of a new material called graphene. ... > full story

Researchers find indirect path to attack breast cancer stem cells (March 20, 2011) -- Scientists have identified a potential new way of attacking breast cancer stem cells, the small number of cells in a tumor that fuel its growth and spread. ... > full story

Fairy wrens are accountants of the animal kingdom, not altruistic as previously thought (March 20, 2011) -- A puzzling example of altruism in nature has been debunked with researchers showing that purple-crowned fairy wrens are in reality cunningly planning for their own future when they assist in raising other birds' young by balancing the amount of assistance they give with the benefits they expect to receive in the future. ... > full story

Tests on century-old equipment show how far X-rays have come (March 20, 2011) -- Researchers recently tested first-generation x-ray equipment from 1896 and found that it produced radiation doses and exposure times that were vastly higher than those of today's systems, according a new study. ... > full story

Are whole-body image scanners used for U.S. airport security safe? (March 20, 2011) -- The Transportation Security Administration has begun to use whole-body imaging scanners as a primary screening measure on travelers passing through airport security checkpoints. One type of scanner currently deployed at airports uses backscatter X-rays that expose the individual being screened to very low levels of ionizing radiation. Two new articles address the question of what potential long-term public health threats backscatter X-ray systems pose. ... > full story

Tai chi beats back depression in the elderly, study shows (March 20, 2011) -- To fight depression in the elderly, researchers combined a weekly Tai chi exercise class with a standard depression treatment for a group of depressed, elderly people. The found greater improvement in their level of depression, along with improved quality of life, better memory and cognition, and more overall energy. ... > full story

Scientists use light to move molecules within living cells (March 20, 2011) -- Using a light-triggered chemical tool, scientists report that they have refined a means of moving individual molecules around inside living cells and sending them to exact locations at precise times. This new tool, they say, gives scientists greater command than ever in manipulating single molecules, allowing them to see how molecules in certain cell locations can influence cell behavior and to determine whether cells will grow, die, move or divide. ... > full story

U.S. death rate falls for 10th straight year (March 20, 2011) -- The age-adjusted death rate for the U.S. population fell to an all-time low of 741 deaths per 100,000 people in 2009 -- 2.3 percent lower than the 2008 rate, according to preliminary 2009 death statistics. This marks the 10th year in a row that U.S. deaths rates have declined. ... > full story

New process cleanly extracts oil from tar sands and fouled beaches (March 20, 2011) -- An environmentally friendlier method of separating oil from tar sands has now been developed. The method, which utilizes ionic liquids to separate the heavy viscous oil from sand, is also capable of cleaning oil spills from beaches and separating oil from drill cuttings, the solid particles that must be removed from drilling fluids in oil and gas wells. ... > full story

Radiation risks to health: A joint statement from leading scientific experts (March 20, 2011) -- The growing concern surrounding the release of radiation from an earthquake and tsunami-stricken nuclear complex in Japan has raised fears of radiation exposure to populations in North America from the potential plume of radioactivity crossing the Pacific Ocean. Experts have issued a statement to help Americans understand their radiation-related health risks. ... > full story

Magnetic stripes behind mysterious hourglass magnetic spectrum of high temperature superconductors? (March 20, 2011) -- New evidence suggests fluctuating magnetic stripes are the cause of mysterious hourglass magnetic spectrum of high temperature superconductors. Scientists have used neutrons to probe the magnetic glue thought to produce high temperature superconductivity and have identified stripes of magnetic moments and charge as the cause of a strange hourglass-shaped magnetic spectrum. Their findings will aid the search for a model of high temperature superconductivity. ... > full story

Americans like their drinks 'sickeningly sweet' but new labeling may make a difference (March 20, 2011) -- Americans may like their drinks "sickeningly sweet" but a new labeling initiative may discourage us from pouring on the unnecessary calories, said a medical weight-loss specialist. ... > full story

New insight into the brain's ability to reorganize itself (March 19, 2011) -- New research brings scientists one step closer to to isolating the mechanisms by which the brain compensates for disruptions and reroutes neural functioning -- which could ultimately lead to treatments for cognitive impairments in humans caused by disease and aging. ... > full story

Enzyme can steer cells or possibly stop them in their tracks (March 19, 2011) -- Researchers have discovered that members of an enzyme family found in humans and throughout the plant and animal kingdoms play a crucial role in regulating cell motility. Their findings suggest an entirely new strategy for treating conditions ranging from diabetic ulcers to metastatic cancer. ... > full story

More efficient means of creating, arranging carbon nanofibers developed (March 19, 2011) -- Carbon nanofibers hold promise for technologies ranging from medical imaging devices to precise scientific measurement tools, but the time and expense associated with uniformly creating nanofibers of the correct size has been an obstacle -- until now. A new study demonstrates an improved method for creating carbon nanofibers of specific sizes, as well as explaining the science behind the method. ... > full story

Secrets of plague revealed through super-resolution microscopy technique (March 19, 2011) -- In work that is pushing the "diffraction barrier" associated with microscopic imaging of living cells, researchers have demonstrated the power of a new super-resolution microscopy technique called Stochastic Optical Reconstruction Microscopy (STORM), which can simultaneously image multiple molecules in living immune cells. ... > full story

Chemical-free pest management cuts rice waste (March 19, 2011) -- A novel way of bringing sustainable, pesticide-free processes to protect stored rice and other crops from insects and fungi can drastically cut losses of stored crops and help increase food security for up to 3 billion daily rice consumers. ... > full story

Terminology matters in parents' willingness to enroll their children in research (March 19, 2011) -- When presented with different terms to describe a clinical trial, parents were far more likely to consent to enroll their child if it was called a "research study" than if it was called a "medical experiment" or a "research project," in large part because they perceived the former as safer, even though that was not necessarily the case, according to a new report. ... > full story

An icy gaze into the big bang: Quantum physicists investigate new states of matter in ultracold atom mixtures (March 19, 2011) -- Scientists have reached a milestone in the exploration of quantum gas mixtures. In an international first, researchers have succeeded in producing controlled strong interactions between two fermionic elements -- lithium-6 and potassium-40. This model system not only promises to provide new insights into solid-state physics but also shows intriguing analogies to the primordial substance right after the Big Bang. ... > full story

Transmissible treatment proposed for HIV could target superspreaders to curb epidemic (March 19, 2011) -- Researchers propose a fundamentally new intervention for the HIV/AIDS epidemic based on engineered, virus-like particles that could subdue HIV infection within individual patients and spread to high-risk populations that are difficult for public health workers to reach. A model shows that their approach could work in concert with current treatments for HIV infection and lower the prevalence of infection more effectively than current drugs or proposed vaccines alone. ... > full story

Allergies? Pollen also appears outside flowering season (March 19, 2011) -- Researchers have shown that the pollen levels of certain plants, such as grasses and cupressaceae, can appear before or after the peak moment of flowering. This phenomenon is caused by the "resuspension" of pollen, and its dispersal over large distances, and this is of great use in predicting allergies. ... > full story

World record for DNA analysis (March 19, 2011) -- Until recently, researchers have been limited to running just a few DNA samples at a time, at a cost of about ,000 U.S. per run. Now researchers have hit upon a new method that allows 5,000 samples to be run at the same time and at the same price. This cuts the cost per sample result considerably and constitutes a world record for the number of tests run in a single DNA sequencing analysis. ... > full story

Wide variety in nutritional content found in 'senior' dog foods (March 19, 2011) -- The nutritional content of dog foods marketed for old dogs varies as widely as owner's perceptions about them, according to a new study. ... > full story

Electricity sparks interest in new technologies and cosmeceuticals for aging skin (March 19, 2011) -- It may seem as if new developments to combat aging skin are being introduced faster than the speed of light. At the forefront of the research, dermatologists are underpinning these advancements, refining the basic understanding of how the skin ages in order to develop more effective non-invasive cosmetic procedures and products. Now, as an alternative to laser light -- used successfully for years to make skin appear younger -- dermatologists are investigating electricity. ... > full story

Human prejudice has ancient evolutionary roots (March 18, 2011) -- The tendency to perceive others as "us versus them" isn't exclusively human but appears to be shared by our primate cousins, a new study has found. ... > full story

'Bilingual' neurons may reveal the secrets of brain disease (March 18, 2011) -- Researchers have discovered a type of "cellular bilingualism" -- a phenomenon that allows a single neuron to use two different methods of communication to exchange information. ... > full story

Human gender roles influence research on animals, Swedish biologists argue (March 18, 2011) -- Biologists have shown that animals' and plants' traits and behavior in sexual conflicts are colored by a human viewpoint. They want to raise awareness of the issue and provoke discussion among their colleagues in order to promote objectivity and broaden the research field. ... > full story

Epilepsy and coordination disorders: Important role for the cerebellum (March 18, 2011) -- Hereditary diseases such as epilepsy or various coordination disorders may be caused by changes in nerve cells of the cerebellum, which do not set in until after birth. ... > full story

Ecologists use 70-year-old pressed plants to chart city's vanishing native flora (March 18, 2011) -- More than half of the world's population now lives in cities, yet we know little about how urbanization affects biodiversity. In one the first studies of its kind, ecologists in Indianapolis, USA have used 70-year-old dried plant specimens to track the impact of increasing urbanization on plants. ... > full story

Sad dads spank more, read less, study finds (March 18, 2011) -- Depression in fathers can negatively affect a young child's health and development. Compared to their non-depressed counterparts, depressed fathers are nearly four times more likely to report spanking their child, according to a new study. Depressed dads are also less likely to read to their children, the study found. ... > full story

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