Jumat, 28 Januari 2011

ScienceDaily Top Science Headlines

for Friday, January 28, 2011

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How bacteria keep ahead of vaccines and antibiotics (January 28, 2011) -- A new study has used DNA sequencing to provide the first detailed genetic picture of an evolutionary war between Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria and the vaccines and antibiotics used against it over recent decades. By looking at the genomes of 240 samples, the scientists could precisely describe the recent evolution and success of a drug-resistant lineage of the bacteria. They suggests that their technique could improve infection control measures against bacterial diseases in the future. ... > full story

Biomarkers of poor outcomes in preemies identified (January 28, 2011) -- Researchers have identified biomarkers of poor outcomes in preterm infants that may help identify new approaches to prevention. ... > full story

Membrane molecule keeps nerve impulses hopping (January 28, 2011) -- New research describes a key molecular mechanism in nerve fibers that ensures the rapid conductance of nervous system impulses. ... > full story

New test better predicts breast cancer outcomes (January 28, 2011) -- Researchers have discovered a gene signature that can accurately predict which breast cancer patients are at risk of relapse, thereby sparing those who are not from the burdens associated with unnecessary treatment. ... > full story

Nanowires exhibit giant piezoelectricity (January 28, 2011) -- Researchers have reported that piezoelectricity in GaN and ZnO nanowires is enhanced by as much as two orders of magnitude as the diameter of the nanowires decrease. ... > full story

Weighing the costs of disaster (January 28, 2011) -- Disasters -- both natural and humanmade -- can strike anywhere and they often hit without warning, so they can be difficult to prepare for. But what happens afterward? How do people cope following disasters? Researchers now review the psychological effects of disasters and why some individuals have a harder time recovering than do others. ... > full story

Warming North Atlantic water tied to heating Arctic (January 28, 2011) -- The temperatures of North Atlantic Ocean water flowing north into the Arctic Ocean adjacent to Greenland -- the warmest water in at least 2,000 years -- are likely related to the amplification of global warming in the Arctic, says a new study. ... > full story

Protein related to aging holds breast cancer clues (January 28, 2011) -- A new study shows how a deficiency in an aging-associated protein may set the stage for a common, age-associated type of breast cancer. ... > full story

Production of plant pollen is regulated by several signalling pathways (January 28, 2011) -- Plants producing flower pollen must not leave anything to chance. The model plant thale cress (Arabidopsis), for instance, uses three signaling pathways in concert with partially overlapping functions. The yield becomes the greatest when all three processes are active; however, two are sufficient to form an acceptable quantity of flower pollen. ... > full story

Newborn screening increases survival outcome for patients with severe combined immunodeficiency (January 28, 2011) -- Severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) occurs in just one out of every 50,000 to 100,000 births in the United States, yet it is the most serious primary immunodeficiency disorder. A new study demonstrates that babies with SCID who are diagnosed at birth and receive a hematopoietic stem cell transplant, which is the transplantation of blood-forming stem cells, have significantly improved survival. ... > full story

New computer tool for elderly and disabled (January 28, 2011) -- Disabled and elderly people could find it easier to navigate around town and city centers with a new hand-held computer being developed by a geographical information systems. ... > full story

Mother's happier when babies are six months old than when three years old, Norwegian study suggests (January 28, 2011) -- The baby and toddler phase is not necessarily the happiest time in life for new mothers. Satisfaction with life and one's relationship can deteriorate for most new mothers. However, those who are satisfied with their relationship during pregnancy are most satisfied three years later. General satisfaction with life increased in the first months after birth and peaked when the child reached 6 months old. ... > full story

Brain 'GPS' illuminated in migratory monarch butterflies (January 27, 2011) -- A new study takes a close look at the brain of the migratory monarch butterfly to better understand how these remarkable insects use an internal compass and skylight cues to navigate from eastern North America to Mexico each fall. The research provides key insights into how ambiguous sensory signals can be integrated in the brain to guide complex navigation. ... > full story

Discovery could lead to new therapies for asthma, COPD (January 27, 2011) -- Researchers have proved that a single "master switch" enzyme, known as aldose reductase, is key in producing excess mucous that clogs the airways of people with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. ... > full story

Climatic fluctuations in last 2,500 years linked to social upheavals (January 27, 2011) -- Complete record of the Central European climate of the last 2,500 years reconstructed for the first time. It would seem that there are striking chronological parallels between significant variations of climate and major historical epochs, such as the Migration Period and the heyday of the Middle Ages. ... > full story

Origins of the pandemic: Lessons of H1N1 (January 27, 2011) -- As H1N1 "swine flu" returns to the national headlines, a new research paper reveals the key lessons about the origins of the 2009 pandemic. The article reveals how the pandemic challenges the traditional understanding of "antigenic shift", given that the virus emerged from an existing influenza subtype. ... > full story

Physics for financial markets (January 27, 2011) -- When regulating financial markets, physics may help. As a result of the financial crisis, many countries are trying to regulate their financial markets. Recently the heated debates about bonus taxes, a permanent levy on banks' balance sheets and a ban on short sales have taken another turn, with France's President Nicolas Sarkozy promoting a transaction tax. But are policy-makers doing the right thing? Or will they obstruct the self-regulating forces of the markets? ... > full story

Women in Congress outperform men on some measures, study finds (January 27, 2011) -- Congresswomen consistently outperform their male counterparts on several measures of job performance, according to a new study. The study authors argue that because women face difficult odds in reaching Congress -- women account for fewer than one in six representatives -- the ones who succeed are more capable on average than their male colleagues. ... > full story

Mass extinction linked to ancient climate change, new details reveal (January 27, 2011) -- About 450 million years ago, Earth suffered the second-largest mass extinction in its history -- the Late Ordovician mass extinction, during which more than 75 percent of marine species died. Exactly what caused this tremendous loss in biodiversity remains a mystery, but now scientists have discovered new details supporting the idea that the mass extinction was linked to a cooling climate. ... > full story

Bacteria possible cause of preterm births (January 27, 2011) -- The type of bacteria that colonize the placenta during pregnancy could be associated with preterm birth and other developmental problems in newborns according to new research. ... > full story

First large-scale, physics-based space weather model transitions into operation (January 27, 2011) -- The first large-scale, physics-based space weather prediction model is transitioning from research into operation. ... > full story

NSAID receptor responsible for olive oil's 'cough' and more (January 27, 2011) -- Scientists report that two structurally unrelated anti-inflammatory compounds both activate the TRPA1 receptor. One, oleocanthal, is found in extra virgin olive oil while ibuprofen is an over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. The researchers also localized the TRPA1 receptor to the back of the throat, which is where the distinctive irritating sting from olive oil is felt. The findings may provide novel insights into anti-inflammatory pharmacology. ... > full story

NASA comet hunter spots its Valentine (January 27, 2011) -- NASA's Stardust spacecraft has downlinked its first images of comet Tempel 1, the target of a flyby planned for Valentine's Day, Feb. 14. The images were taken on Jan. 18 and 19 from a distance of 26.3 million kilometers (16.3 million miles), and 25.4 million kilometers (15.8 million miles) respectively. On Feb. 14, Stardust will fly within about 200 kilometers (124 miles) of the comet's nucleus. ... > full story

Modern humans reached Arabia earlier than thought, new artifacts suggest (January 27, 2011) -- Artifacts unearthed in the United Arab Emirates date back 100,000 years and imply that modern humans first left Africa much earlier than researchers had expected, a new study reports. The timing and dispersal of modern humans out of Africa has been the source of long-standing debate, though most evidence has pointed to an exodus along the Mediterranean Sea or along the Arabian coast approximately 60,000 years ago. ... > full story

Early antibiotic use can lead to increased risk of childhood asthma, study suggests (January 27, 2011) -- When babies are given antibiotics, their risk of developing asthma by age 6 may increase by 50 percent. ... > full story

Fluorescent color of coral larvae predicts whether they'll settle or swim; Finding could help scientists monitor how corals adapt to global warming (January 27, 2011) -- Young staghorn coral that fluoresce redder are less likely to settle and develop into coral polyps than their greener peers, biologists have discovered. ... > full story

Secondhand smoke laws may reduce childhood ear infections, study suggests (January 27, 2011) -- Researchers have found that a reduction in secondhand smoking in American homes was associated with fewer cases of otitis media, the scientific name for middle ear infection. ... > full story

Graphene and 'spintronics' combo looks promising (January 27, 2011) -- A team of physicists in China has taken a big step toward the development of useful graphene spintronic devices. ... > full story

Denmark, Finland and Belgium have best democracies, experts say (January 27, 2011) -- A new democracy barometer shows the development of the thirty best democracies in the world. Denmark, Finland and Belgium have the highest quality of democracy, whereas Great Britain, France, Poland, South Africa and Costa Rica the lowest. Moreover, the barometer shows no evidence of a crisis of democracy. ... > full story

Potential 'cure' for type 1 diabetes? (January 27, 2011) -- Type 1 diabetes could be converted to an asymptomatic, non-insulin-dependent disorder by eliminating the actions of a specific hormone, new findings suggest. ... > full story

HIV causes rapid aging in key infection-fighting cells, study suggests (January 27, 2011) -- A new study suggests that HIV pushes a specific subset of the CD4+ "helper" T-cell toward more rapid aging by as much as 20 to 30 years over a three-year period. These findings could partially explain why older HIV-positive people progress to AIDS more rapidly than younger ones. They could also explain why younger HIV-positive people develop illnesses more common to older people. ... > full story

New lab-on-chip advance uses low-cost, disposable paper strips (January 27, 2011) -- Researchers have invented a technique that uses inexpensive paper to make "microfluidic" devices for rapid medical diagnostics and chemical analysis. The innovation represents a way to enhance commercially available diagnostic devices that use paper-strip assays. ... > full story

Getting more anti-cancer medicine into the blood (January 27, 2011) -- Scientists are reporting successful application of the technology used in home devices to clean jewelry, dentures, and other items to make anticancer drugs like tamoxifen and paclitaxel dissolve more easily in body fluids, so they can better fight the disease. The process can make other poorly soluble materials more soluble, and has potential for improving the performance of dyes, paints, rust-proofing agents and other products. ... > full story

Agave fuels excitement as a bioenergy crop (January 27, 2011) -- Agave, currently known for its use in the production of alcoholic beverages and fibers, thrives in semi-arid regions where it is less likely to conflict with food and feed production. Agave is a unique feedstock because of its high water use efficiency and ability to survive without water between rainfalls. Scientists found that in 14 independent studies, the yields of two Agave species greatly exceeded the yields of other biofuel feedstocks, such as corn, soybean, sorghum, and wheat. ... > full story

Eight percent of fans legally drunk after attending professional sports games, study finds (January 27, 2011) -- A new study finds that blood alcohol content (BAC) levels can be measured using a breath tester on fans as they exit football and baseball events. And the results show that 60 percent of the fans had zero BAC, 40 percent had a positive BAC, and nearly 8 percent were legally drunk. ... > full story

Ancient body clock discovered that helps keep all living things on time (January 27, 2011) -- The mechanism that controls the internal 24-hour clock of all forms of life from human cells to algae has been identified by scientists. ... > full story

Household bugs: A risk to human health? (January 27, 2011) -- Superbugs are not just a problem in hospitals but could be also coming from our animal farms. New research indicates insects could be responsible for spreading antibiotic resistant bacteria from pigs to humans. ... > full story

World can be powered by alternative energy, using today's technology, in 20-40 years, experts say (January 27, 2011) -- A new study analyzing what is needed to convert the world's energy supplies to clean and sustainable sources says that it can be done with today's technology at costs roughly comparable to conventional energy. But converting will be a massive undertaking on the scale of the moon landings. What is needed most is the societal and political will to make it happen. ... > full story

Key enzyme that affects radiation response identified (January 27, 2011) -- Cancer researchers have discovered that targeting an enzyme called uroporphyrinogen decarboxylase can sensitize diseased tissue to radiation and chemotherapy, which could mean fewer side effects for individuals with head and neck cancer. ... > full story

Soap films help to solve mathematical problems (January 27, 2011) -- Soap bubbles and films have always fascinated children and adults, but they can also serve to solve complex mathematical calculations. This is shown by a study carried out by two professors who have succeeded in solving classic problems using just such an innovative procedure. ... > full story

Gender and hygiene: Could cleanliness be hurting girls? (January 27, 2011) -- Little girls growing up in western society are expected to be neat and tidy -- "all ribbon and curls" -- and one researcher who studies science and gender differences thinks that emphasis may contribute to higher rates of certain diseases in adult women. ... > full story

Natural growth factor enhances memory, prevents forgetting in rats (January 27, 2011) -- A naturally occurring growth factor significantly boosted retention and prevented forgetting of a fear memory when injected into rats' memory circuitry during time-limited windows when memories become fragile and changeable. In a new study, animals treated with insulin-like growth factor excelled at remembering to avoid a location where they had previously experienced a mild shock. The researchers say IGF-II could become a potential drug target for enhancing memory. ... > full story

Traffic noise increases the risk of having a stroke, study suggests (January 27, 2011) -- Exposure to noise from road traffic can increase the risk of stroke, particularly in those aged 65 years and over, according to a new study. The study found that for every 10 decibels more noise the risk of having a stroke increased by 14 percent among the 51,485 study participants. ... > full story

Nervous system as a 3-D map: First complete map of special connections of nerve cells in zebrafish (January 27, 2011) -- Researchers have succeeded in creating the first complete map of all axons which use dopamine as a messenger in a vertebrate, namely in the model organism zebrafish. ... > full story

3-D MRI helps kids with ACL tears: Surgery without harming the growth plate (January 27, 2011) -- New technology has made it possible for surgeons to reconstruct anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears in young athletes without disturbing the growth plate. ... > full story

Hungry chicks have unique calls to their parents (January 27, 2011) -- It can be hard to get noticed when you're a little chick in a big colony, but new research reveals that baby birds in need of a feed have individual ways of letting their parents know. ... > full story

'Difficult' patients more likely to experience worse symptoms (January 27, 2011) -- 'Difficult' patient-clinician encounters have a negative impact on patients' health outcomes in the short-term, according to a new study. Nearly 18 percent of patients are perceived as difficult by their physicians and are less likely to trust or be satisfied with their doctor. Importantly, these patients are also more likely to report worse symptoms two weeks after the consultation. ... > full story

'Hidden plumbing' helps slow Greenland ice flow: Hotter summers may actually slow down flow of glaciers (January 27, 2011) -- Hotter summers may not be as catastrophic for the Greenland ice sheet as previously feared and may actually slow down the flow of glaciers, according to new research. ... > full story

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