Kamis, 17 Maret 2011

ScienceDaily Top Science Headlines

for Thursday, March 17, 2011

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Rare Andean cat no longer exclusive to the Andes (March 17, 2011) -- Once thought to exclusively inhabit its namesake mountain range, the threatened Andean cat -- a house cat-sized feline that resembles a small snow leopard in both appearance and habitat -- also frequents the Patagonian steppe at much lower elevations, according to a new study. ... > full story

Omalizumab relieves seasonal asthma attacks in youth, study finds (March 17, 2011) -- A drug that targets the antibody immunoglobulin E, a key player in asthma, nearly eliminated seasonal increases in asthma attacks and decreased asthma symptoms among young people living in inner city environments, a clinical trial has found. ... > full story

NASA's Aqua satellite spies a '3-leaf Clover' view of Ireland for St. Patrick's Day (March 17, 2011) -- Typical clovers have three leaves, unless you happen to be lucky, and NASA's Aqua satellite has provided three different views of Ireland to mark Saint Patrick's Day on March 17, 2011. With the luck o' the Irish, NASA's Aqua satellite was fortunate to capture mostly clear views of the Emerald Isle in these near-infrared/visible, infrared and microwave light views acquired by Aqua's Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument on March 3, 2011, at 13:11 UTC. ... > full story

Improving the infant gut ‘microbiome’ (March 17, 2011) -- While next-generation sequencing-based research of gut microbiomes will ultimately benefit all members of the population, to date there has been a particular emphasis on investigating and, where necessary, altering the microbiota present in the gut of the elderly, infants and obese individuals. For example, evidence exists that early colonization of the infant gastrointestinal tract by microbes is crucial for the overall health of the infant. ... > full story

Construction of a record-breaking laser gets off the ground (March 17, 2011) -- Researchers have started work has started on the construction of an innovative laser. The compact device will make use of a unique light amplification technology to allow single laser pulses to reach the power of tens of terawatts with world record-breaking amplification parameters. ... > full story

'Pre-baby blues' due to lack of support from partner, study finds (March 17, 2011) -- Pregnancy is meant to be a joyous time however some women experience overwhelming "baby blues" before the birth of their child. Anxiety and depression during pregnancy can result in premature birth, or low birth weight, and impact the child's health even into early school years. New research shows that a bad relationship with their husband or partner is the strongest predictor of maternal emotional distress. ... > full story

Some blind people 'see' with their ears, neuropsychologists show (March 17, 2011) -- Neuropsychologists compared the brain activity of people who can see and people who were born blind, discovering that the part of the brain that normally works with our eyes to process vision and space perception can actually rewire itself to process sound information instead. ... > full story

New therapy found for rare lung disorder (March 17, 2011) -- Researchers have found that the FDA-approved drug sirolimus, used primarily to prevent rejection in organ transplant patients, stabilized lung function in women with lymphangioleiomyomatosis. ... > full story

Plasticity of plants helps them adapt to climate change (March 17, 2011) -- The phenotypic plasticity of plants, which enables them to change their structure and function, helps them to adapt to environmental change, according to new research. This research will make it easier to anticipate plants' response to current climate change. ... > full story

Altered gene protects some African-Americans from coronary artery disease (March 17, 2011) -- Scientists have discovered that a single alteration in the genetic code of about a fourth of African-Americans helps protect them from coronary artery disease, the leading cause of death in Americans of all races. ... > full story

Northern peatlands a misunderstood player in climate change (March 17, 2011) -- Researchers have determined that the influence of northern peatlands on the prehistorical record of climate change has been over estimated, but the vast northern wetlands must still be watched closely as the planet grapples with its current global warming trend. ... > full story

Current U.S. juvenile treatment methods for violent offenders costly, ineffective, researcher finds (March 17, 2011) -- Multisystemic therapy is more effective in the lives of troubled youth and costs less than the current US juvenile treatment methods, experts say. ... > full story

Ancient 'hyperthermals' serve as guide to anticipated climate changes; Sudden global warming events more frequent? (March 16, 2011) -- Bursts of intense global warming that have lasted tens of thousands of years have taken place more frequently throughout Earth's history than previously believe, according to new evidence. ... > full story

Neuro signals study gives new insight into brain disorders (March 16, 2011) -- Research into how the brain transmits messages to other parts of the body could improve understanding of disorders such as epilepsy, dementia, multiple sclerosis and stroke. Scientists have identified a protein crucial for maintaining the health and function of the segment of nerve fibers that controls transmission of messages within the brain. ... > full story

High-tech concrete technology has a famous past (March 16, 2011) -- Almost 1,900 years ago, the Romans built what continues to be the world's largest unreinforced solid concrete dome in the world-the Pantheon. The secret is in the light-weight concrete used to build the dome and a process called internal curing. A new paper reviews the status of modern improvements on this ancient material. ... > full story

More insight into Sensenbrenner syndrome (March 16, 2011) -- Dutch researchers have found a new gene for Sensenbrenner syndrome. The mutation adds support to the hypothesis that defects in ciliar transport are the cause of the disease. ... > full story

Zooming in on the weapons of Salmonella (March 16, 2011) -- Bacteria like salmonellae infect their host cells by needle-shaped extensions which they create in large numbers during an attack. Scientists have now employed recently developed methods of cryo-electron microscopy and have been able to clarify the structure of this infection apparatus on the near-atomic scale. The exact knowledge of the needles' building plan may help to develop substances that interfere with its function and thus prevent infection. ... > full story

'Ivory wave' may be new legal high after 'miaow miaow' (mephedrone) ban (March 16, 2011) -- A new legal high has emerged that seems to be replacing the banned substance mephedrone or "miaow miaow," warns a critical care paramedic in a new article. ... > full story

Viscous cycle: Quartz is key to plate tectonics (March 16, 2011) -- More than 40 years ago, pioneering tectonic geophysicist J. Tuzo Wilson described how ocean basins opened and closed along North America's eastern seaboard. His observations, dubbed "The Wilson Tectonic Cycle," suggested the process occurred many times during Earth's long history, most recently causing the giant supercontinent Pangaea to split into today's seven continents. Now, new findings shed surprising light on these restless rock cycles. ... > full story

Pig model of cystic fibrosis improves understanding of disease (March 16, 2011) -- Using a newly created pig model that genetically replicates the most common form of cystic fibrosis, researchers have now shown that the CF protein is "misprocessed" in the pigs and does not end up in the correct cellular location. This glitch leads to disease symptoms, including gastrointestinal abnormalities and lung disease in the pigs, which mimic CF in humans. ... > full story

Japan earthquake disaster: Geophysicists create animation showing sequence of quakes (March 16, 2011) -- The earthquake disaster on March 11, 2011 was an event of the century not only for Japan. With a magnitude of Mw = 8.9, it was one of the strongest earthquakes ever recorded worldwide. Two days before, a strong foreshock with a magnitude Mw = 7.2 took place almost exactly at the breaking point of the tsunami-earthquake. Geophysicists in Germany have now created an animation that shows the sequence of quakes since March 9. ... > full story

How common immune booster works: Research may lead to new and improved vaccines (March 16, 2011) -- Alum is an adjuvant (immune booster) used in many common vaccines, and researchers have now discovered how it works. ... > full story

Why some microbial genes are more promiscuous than others (March 16, 2011) -- While most organisms get their genes from their parents, bacteria also regularly pick up genes from more distant relatives. This ability to "steal" snippets of DNA from other species is responsible for the rapid spread of drug resistance among disease-causing bacteria. A new study of more than three dozen species - including the microbes responsible for pneumonia, ulcers and plague -- settles a longstanding debate about why bacteria are more likely to steal some genes than others. Bacteria are more likely to adopt 'loner' genes than genes that are well-connected, the study finds. ... > full story

Improving risk/benefit estimates in new drug trials (March 16, 2011) -- It's all too familiar: researchers announce the discovery of a new drug that eradicates disease in animals. Then, a few years later, the drug bombs in human trials. Now, two medical ethicists argue that this pattern of boom and bust may be related to the way researchers predict outcomes of their work in early stages of drug development. ... > full story

Naval sonar exercises linked to whale strandings, according to new report (March 16, 2011) -- An international team of researchers reports the first data on how beaked whales respond to naval sonar exercises. Their results suggest that sonar indeed affects the behavior and movement of whales. ... > full story

New 'dissolvable tobacco' products may increase risk of mouth disease (March 16, 2011) -- The first study to analyze the complex ingredients in the new genre of dissolvable tobacco products has concluded that these pop-into-the-mouth replacements for cigarettes in places where smoking is banned have the potential to cause mouth diseases and other problems. ... > full story

New way to test cancer drugs (March 16, 2011) -- A scientist's nanopolymer would make it easier and cheaper for drug developers to test the effectiveness of a widely used class of cancer inhibitors. He created the 'pIMAGO nanopolymer' that can be used to determine whether cancer drugs have been effective against biochemical processes that can lead to cancer cell formation. ... > full story

Brain injuries rise sharply in minor hockey after bodychecking rules relaxed, Canadian study shows (March 16, 2011) -- Minor league hockey players in the Atom division are more than 10 times likely to suffer a brain injury since bodychecking was first allowed among the 9- and 10-year-olds. ... > full story

Earthquake could mean major shortage of some Japanese cars in US (March 16, 2011) -- American consumers thinking about buying a car made by Toyota, Nissan or Honda might want to make their decisions quickly. That's because work at Toyota, Nissan, Honda and other auto plants in Japan has been interrupted following the historic earthquake, resulting in a loss of 10,000 vehicles per day for Toyota alone. ... > full story

Parental monitoring of opposite-gender child may decrease problem drinking in young adults (March 16, 2011) -- Young adults whose parents monitor their social interactions may be less likely to display impulsive behavior traits and to have alcohol-related problems, a new study suggests. The level of monitoring is linked to parenting style, and the link is stronger with the parent of the opposite gender. ... > full story

First permanent anti-fog coating developed (March 16, 2011) -- Researchers have developed the very first permanent anti-fog coating. This innovation which could eliminate, once and for all, the fog on eyeglasses, windshields, goggles, camera lenses and on any transparent glass or plastic surface. ... > full story

Laser beam makes cells 'breathe in' water and potentially anti-cancer drugs (March 16, 2011) -- Shining a laser light on cells and then clicking off the light-makes the cells "breathe in" surrounding water, providing a potentially powerful delivery system for chemotherapy drugs, as well as a non-invasive way to target anti-Alzheimer's medicines to the brain. ... > full story

NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter delivers treasure trove of data (March 16, 2011) -- NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) team released March 15, 2011 the final set of data from the mission's exploration phase along with the first measurements from its new life as a science satellite. ... > full story

Does selenium prevent cancer? It may depend on which form people take (March 16, 2011) -- Scientists are reporting that the controversy surrounding whether selenium can fight cancer in humans might come down to which form of the essential micronutrient people take. It turns out that not all "seleniums" are the same -- the researchers found that one type of selenium supplement may produce a possible cancer-preventing substance more efficiently than another form of selenium in human cancer cells. ... > full story

NASA satellite sees area affected by Japan tsunami (March 16, 2011) -- A new before-and-after image pair from the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) instrument on NASA's Terra spacecraft shows a region of Japan's northeastern coast, northeast of the city of Sendai, which was affected by the March 11, 2011 tsunami. ... > full story

Integrity of the brain's reward system is linked to relapse following treatment (March 16, 2011) -- The brain reward system (BRS) is involved in developing/maintaining addictive disorders, as well as relapse. New findings show that alcohol dependent individuals -- both future abstainers and relapsers -- have significantly thinner cortices in the BRS and throughout the entire brain. Findings support the influence of neurobiological factors on relapse. ... > full story

Large Hadron Collider could be world's first time machine, researchers' theory suggests (March 16, 2011) -- If the latest theory of Tom Weiler and Chui Man Ho is right, the Large Hadron Collider -- the world's largest atom smasher that started regular operation last year -- could be the first machine capable causing matter to travel backwards in time. ... > full story

Insulin-releasing switch discovered (March 16, 2011) -- Researchers believe they have uncovered the molecular switch for the secretion of insulin -- the hormone that regulates blood sugar -- providing for the first time an explanation of this process. In a new study, the researchers say the work solves a longtime mystery and may lead to better treatments for type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the disease. ... > full story

How chickens keep their cool: Mutation explains odd look of Transylvanian naked neck chicken (March 16, 2011) -- Its head looks like a turkey's, its body resembles a chicken's -- now scientists can explain why one of the poultry world's most curious specimens has developed such a distinctive look. The Transylvanian naked neck chicken -- once dubbed a Churkey or a Turken because of its hybrid appearance -- has developed its defining feature because of a complex genetic mutation. ... > full story

Inflammation behind heart valve disease, research suggests (March 16, 2011) -- Researchers in Sweden have shown that a specific inflammatory factor may be important in the development of the heart valve disease aortic stenosis. The results suggest that anti-inflammatory medication could be a possible new treatment. ... > full story

Gene modification: Leaf beetle larvae attacking birch trees produce toxic cocktails that differ from the ones produced by conspecifics living on willows (March 16, 2011) -- Larvae of the leaf beetle Chrysomela lapponica attack two tree species: willow and birch. To fend off predator attacks, their larvae produce toxic butyric acid esters or salicylaldehyde, whose precursors they ingest with their leafy food. Scientists found that a change in the genome has emerged in beetles specialized on birch: The activity of the salicylaldehyde producing enzyme salicyl alcohol oxidase is missing in these populations, whereas it is present in willow feeders. ... > full story

An early age at first drink combined with stressful life events can lead to heavy drinking (March 16, 2011) -- Researchers believe that an early age at first drink (AFD) may lead to greater stress-induced drinking. A new study examines interactions between AFD and stressful life events on drinking during young adulthood. Findings indicate a strong link between an early AFD and later heavy drinking when confronted by a high load of stressful life events. ... > full story

Room-temperature spintronic computers coming soon? Silicon spin transistors heat up and spins last longer (March 16, 2011) -- Researchers have built "spintronic" transistors and used them to align the magnetic "spins" of electrons for a record period of time in silicon chips at room temperature. The study is a step toward computers, phones and other spintronic devices that are faster and use less energy than their electronic counterparts. ... > full story

New device holds promise of making blood glucose testing easier for patients with diabetes (March 16, 2011) -- Bioengineers and physicians are developing a device designed to make it easier for people with diabetes to monitor their health. Current monitoring devices require that people prick themselves to draw blood for a glucose-level test sample -- often several times a day. The new device would enable accurate glucose-level testing by using tear fluid as a test sample -- relieving people from having to draw blood repeatedly. ... > full story

A good sense of smell is more a product of training than good genes (March 16, 2011) -- Do you need to be an expert to have a good nose? It turns out the answer is yes! Having a good nose is not something we are born with, but instead just a matter of training, new research suggests. ... > full story

Proteins may affect behavior and physiology of female mosquitoes (March 16, 2011) -- Researchers have identified 93 seminal fluid proteins and 52 sperm male-derived proteins that include candidates likely to affect the behavior and physiology of female mosquitoes of the species, Aedes aegypti. ... > full story

The development of better biotech enzymes (March 16, 2011) -- Enzymes are proteins that speed up chemical reactions, such as laundry detergent digesting protein stains, which are otherwise very difficult to remove. Scientists have now demonstrated a fundamental principle in changing the activity of enzymes by means of protein engineering. ... > full story

Prevalence of heavy smokers in US decreases (March 16, 2011) -- From 1965 to 2007, the population prevalence of persons who smoked 20 or more cigarettes per day declined significantly, and there was also a decrease in the prevalence of smoking 10 or more cigarettes a day, with these declines greater in California than in the rest of the US, according to a new study. ... > full story

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