Wednesday, April 06, 2011

ScienceDaily: Latest Science News

ScienceDaily: Latest Science News

Climate change threatens global security, warn medical and military leaders

Posted: 05 Apr 2011 04:41 PM PDT

Medical and military leaders have come together to warn that climate change not only spells a global health catastrophe, but also threatens global stability and security.

Face time with a female aids males bent on monkey business

Posted: 05 Apr 2011 04:41 PM PDT

The time males spend around a prospective mate might be the key to detecting subtle sexual signals that show which females are fertile and which are not, according to a new study by biologists and psychologists.

Better a sprint than a marathon: Brief intense exercise better than endurance training for preventing cardiovascular disease

Posted: 05 Apr 2011 04:41 PM PDT

Exercise is important for preventing cardiovascular disease, especially in children and adolescents, but is all exercise equally beneficial? New research reveals that high intensity exercise is more beneficial than traditional endurance training.

Obesity increases the risk of fetal and infant death, and the risk of complications after hysterectomy

Posted: 05 Apr 2011 04:40 PM PDT

Women who are obese during early pregnancy have a significantly increased risk of their baby dying before, during or up to one year after birth, according to new research. A second article shows that obesity increases the risk of complications, such as bleeding and infections, during and after a hysterectomy operation.

Climate change is making our environment 'bluer'

Posted: 05 Apr 2011 04:40 PM PDT

The "color" of our environment is becoming "bluer," a change that could have important implications for animals' risk of becoming extinct, ecologists have found. In a major study, researchers examined how quickly or slowly animal populations and their environment change over time, something ecologists describe using "spectral color."

Did dinosaurs have lice? Researchers say it's possible

Posted: 05 Apr 2011 04:40 PM PDT

A new study louses up a popular theory of animal evolution and opens up the possibility that dinosaurs were early -- perhaps even the first -- animal hosts of lice.

Frozen comet's watery past: Discovery challenges paradigm of comets as 'dirty snowballs' frozen in time

Posted: 05 Apr 2011 02:50 PM PDT

Scientists have found convincing evidence for the presence of liquid water in a comet, shattering the current paradigm that comets never get warm enough to melt the ice that makes up the bulk of their material.

Hotspots of genetic rearrangement: Findings in mice could aid understanding of how mammals genetically adapt

Posted: 05 Apr 2011 02:50 PM PDT

Researchers have zoomed in on mouse chromosomes to map hotspots of genetic recombination -- sites where DNA breaks and reforms to shuffle genes. The findings have the potential to improve the detection of genes linked to disease and to help understand the root causes of genetic abnormalities.

Elevated levels of sodium blunt response to stress, study shows

Posted: 05 Apr 2011 02:50 PM PDT

All those salty snacks available at the local tavern might be doing more than increasing your thirst: They could also play a role in suppressing social anxiety. New research shows that elevated levels of sodium blunt the body's natural responses to stress by inhibiting stress hormones that would otherwise be activated in stressful situations.

Instructors can reduce cheating by being clear, researcher says

Posted: 05 Apr 2011 02:48 PM PDT

A new study says that the reasons students give for cheating are rational, and that stricter punishments won't solve the problem. Instead, teachers should communicate clear standards and provide consistent enforcement to reduce instances of cheating.

Electron microscopy: New type of genetic tag illuminates life in never-before-seen detail

Posted: 05 Apr 2011 02:48 PM PDT

By modifying a protein from a plant that is much favored by science, researchers have created a new type of genetic tag visible under an electron microscope, illuminating life in never-before-seen detail.

Effects of pneumococcal vaccination program on pneumococcal carriage and invasive disease

Posted: 05 Apr 2011 02:48 PM PDT

Using a cross-sectional study, researchers investigated the effects of the UK pneumococcal vaccination program on serotype-specific carriage and invasive pneumococcal disease.

Off-label marketing of medicines in the US is rife but difficult to control, study finds

Posted: 05 Apr 2011 02:48 PM PDT

Despite U.S. Federal Drug Administration regulation of the approval and use of pharmaceutical products, "off-label" marketing of drugs (for purposes other than those for which the drug was approved) has occurred in all aspects of the US health care system. In a new study, researchers report that the most common alleged off-label marketing practices also appear to be the most difficult to control through external regulatory approaches.

Comprehensive approach can improve clinical care of Kenyan children, study finds

Posted: 05 Apr 2011 02:48 PM PDT

A multifaceted approach that addressed deficiencies in clinical knowledge, skills, motivation, resources, and the organization of care was associated with improvements in practice for high mortality conditions in young children in rural Kenya compared with less comprehensive approaches, a new study finds.

Demystifying meditation: Brain imaging illustrates how meditation reduces pain

Posted: 05 Apr 2011 02:48 PM PDT

Meditation produces powerful pain-relieving effects in the brain, according to new research. For the study, healthy volunteers who had never meditated learned a meditation technique known as focused attention. Focused attention is a form of mindfulness meditation where people are taught to attend to the breath and let go of distracting thoughts and emotions.

How marijuana affects the way the brain processes emotional information

Posted: 05 Apr 2011 02:48 PM PDT

Drugs like marijuana act on naturally occurring receptors in the brain called cannabinoid receptors. However, the mechanisms by which these drugs produce their sensory and mood altering effects within the brain are largely unknown. Researchers have now identified a critical brain pathway responsible for the effects of cannabinoid drugs on how the brain processes emotional information.

Happiness, comparatively speaking: How we think about life's rewards

Posted: 05 Apr 2011 01:19 PM PDT

You win some, you lose some. You get the perfect job -- the one your heart is set on. Or you get snubbed. Such are life's ups and downs. But what if you win and lose at the same time? You land a good job, not a great one. A new study says you'll find a way to be happy anyway.

Opioids now most prescribed class of medications in America

Posted: 05 Apr 2011 01:19 PM PDT

Two reports by addiction researchers show a drastic shift in prescribing patterns impacting the magnitude of opioid substance abuse in America. The reports recommend a comprehensive effort to reduce public health risks while improving patient care, including better training for prescribers, pain management treatment assessment, personal responsibility and public education.

Death rates after hospitalization down for oldest heart failure patients

Posted: 05 Apr 2011 01:19 PM PDT

Death rates after hospitalization for heart failure have declined in recent years for the most elderly patients, while rehospitalizations remain frequent. As the US population ages, a better understanding of heart failure in the oldest patients is needed.

HIV-1 drug resistance mutations associated with increased risk of antiretroviral treatment failure

Posted: 05 Apr 2011 01:19 PM PDT

An analysis of data from 10 studies indicates that the presence of low frequency (also called "minority") human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) drug resistance mutations, particularly those involving nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) resistance, are significantly associated with an increased risk of first-line antiretroviral treatment failure, according to new research.

Risk of death from opioid overdose related to higher prescription dose

Posted: 05 Apr 2011 01:19 PM PDT

In an analysis of opioid prescription patterns and deaths, receiving higher prescribed doses is associated with an increased risk of opioid overdose death, but receiving both as-needed and regularly scheduled doses is not associated with overdose risk, according to a new study.

Blood biomarker associated with prevalence, severity of Alzheimer's, but not risk of development

Posted: 05 Apr 2011 01:18 PM PDT

Higher levels in blood of the protein clusterin, also known as apolipoprotein J, are significantly associated with the prevalence and severity of Alzheimer's disease, but not with the risk of onset of new disease, according to a new study.

Longer-term follow-up of users of estrogen therapy finds some changes in risks

Posted: 05 Apr 2011 01:18 PM PDT

Among postmenopausal women with prior hysterectomy who had used estrogen therapy for about 6 years and then stopped, longer-term follow-up indicates that the increased risk of stroke seen during the intervention period had dissipated, the decreased risk of hip fracture was not maintained, while the decreased risk of breast cancer persisted, according to a new study.

NASA's Spitzer discovers time-delayed jets around young star

Posted: 05 Apr 2011 01:13 PM PDT

Astronomers have discovered that two symmetrical jets shooting away from opposite sides of a blossoming star are experiencing a time delay: knots of gas and dust from one jet blast off four-and-a-half years later than identical knots from the other jet. The finding, which required the infrared vision of NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, is helping astronomers understand how jets are produced around forming stars, including those resembling our sun when it was young.

Scientists find new type of mineral in historic meteorite

Posted: 05 Apr 2011 12:16 PM PDT

Researchers have found a new mineral named "Wassonite" in one of the most historically significant meteorites recovered in Antarctica in December 1969.

Drought-exposed leaves adversely affect soil nutrients, study shows

Posted: 05 Apr 2011 12:12 PM PDT

Chemical changes in tree leaves subjected to warmer, drier conditions that could result from climate change may reduce the availability of soil nutrients, according to a new study.

Link between chronic depression and accelerated immune cell aging

Posted: 05 Apr 2011 12:12 PM PDT

Certain cases of major depression are associated with premature aging of immune cells, which may make people more susceptible to other serious illness, according to findings from a new study.

Migratory birds, domestic poultry and avian influenza

Posted: 05 Apr 2011 12:12 PM PDT

The persistence and recurrence of H5N1 avian influenza in endemic regions can largely be blamed on movement and infection by migratory birds. In a new paper, researchers analyze the interaction between non-migratory poultry and migratory birds in order to investigate the role of the latter in the spread of H5N1.

Non-traditional learning environments need clearer definitions, researchers say

Posted: 05 Apr 2011 12:12 PM PDT

What is the difference between e-learning, online learning and distance learning? Researchers have found that even educators can't agree on what different forms of learning environments entail and, without some common definitions, it is difficult to study the best methods and provide students with accurate previews of courses.

Nanopolymer shows promise for helping reduce cancer side effects

Posted: 05 Apr 2011 12:12 PM PDT

A biochemist has demonstrated a process using nanotechnology to better assess whether cancer drugs hit their targets, which may help reduce drug side effects.

The 'molecular octopus': A little brother of 'Schroedinger’s cat'

Posted: 05 Apr 2011 12:12 PM PDT

For the first time, the quantum behavior of molecules consisting of more than 400 atoms was demonstrated by scientists. The research also sheds new light on an important aspect of the famous thought experiment known as "Schroedinger's cat".

Device drops blood pressure in patients with difficult-to-treat hypertension

Posted: 05 Apr 2011 11:17 AM PDT

A device designed to treat people with resistant hypertension helped lower blood pressure by 33 points, a substantial drop that would otherwise require patients to take an additional three or four drugs, on top of this subgroup's usual regimen of up to five drugs, to control their difficult-to-treat condition.

How materialistic advertising messages negatively shape the female body image, study finds

Posted: 05 Apr 2011 11:17 AM PDT

A new study is the first to examine the impact of materialistic messages and values -- the desire for financial success and an affluent lifestyle on women's feelings about their own body.

Cost-effective manure management, thanks to computer-simulated farms

Posted: 05 Apr 2011 11:17 AM PDT

Scientists have used computer-simulated farms with the support of field research to compare the environmental impact and economic efficacy of using alternative manure application methods in farming systems.

Modern targeted drug plus old malaria pill serve a one-two punch in advanced cancer patients

Posted: 05 Apr 2011 11:17 AM PDT

Researchers may have found a way to turn an adaptive cellular response into a liability for cancer cells, by treating a group of patients with several different types of advanced cancers with temsirolimus, a molecularly targeted cancer drug that blocks nutrient uptake, plus hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug that inhibits autophagy. This regimen halted tumor growth in two-thirds of the patients.

Vitamin A derivative can inhibit early forms of breast cancer, researchers show

Posted: 05 Apr 2011 11:17 AM PDT

A nutrient found in carrots and sweet potatoes may prove key to fighting breast cancer at early stages, according to a new study.

Soy isoflavones not a risk for breast cancer survivors, study finds

Posted: 05 Apr 2011 11:17 AM PDT

Soy food consumption did not increase the risk of cancer recurrence or death among survivors of breast cancer, according to the results of a new study.

Protein found to be the link missing between HPV infection and cervical cancer development

Posted: 05 Apr 2011 11:17 AM PDT

Most women are infected with human papillomavirus (HPV), which can cause cervical cancer -- yet few develop the cancer. Now researchers believe they have found the missing link explaining why: activation of the beta-catenin oncogene.

Students around the world report being addicted to media, study finds

Posted: 05 Apr 2011 10:24 AM PDT

College students around the world report that they are 'addicted' to media, describing in vivid terms their cravings, their anxieties and their depression when they have to abstain from using cell phones, social networking sites, mp3 player.

Metabolic signaling pathway responsible for dyslipidemia identified

Posted: 05 Apr 2011 10:07 AM PDT

Researchers have demonstrated that a nutrient sensing pathway is involved in the disruption of cellular lipid homeostasis in obese and insulin resistant mice fed a diet high in fat and sucrose.

World's reef fishes tussling with human overpopulation

Posted: 05 Apr 2011 10:03 AM PDT

Coral reefs provide a range of critical goods and services to humanity -- everything from nutrient cycling to food production to coast protection to economic revenues through tourism, according to researchers. Yet, they say, the complex nature and large-scale distribution of coral reefs is challenging scientists to understand if this natural ecosystem will continue working to deliver goods and services given the ongoing loss of biodiversity in coral reefs.

New method delivers Alzheimer’s drug to the brain

Posted: 05 Apr 2011 09:45 AM PDT

Scientists have developed a new method for delivering complex drugs directly to the brain, a necessary step for treating diseases like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Motor Neuron Disease and Muscular Dystrophy.

Quantum mapmakers complete first voyage through spin liquid

Posted: 05 Apr 2011 09:32 AM PDT

Scientists have mapped a state of matter called 'quantum spin liquid', whose existence was proposed in the 1970s but which has only been observed recently.

People willing to pay painful price for friendship

Posted: 05 Apr 2011 09:26 AM PDT

People will suffer more pain for their close friends than for their acquaintances and sometimes more than they would for themselves, a scientist has found.

Fewer multiple births in U.S. states with insurance coverage for infertility

Posted: 05 Apr 2011 09:23 AM PDT

Faced with the prospect of costly in vitro fertilization (IVF) but with no help from insurance coverage, some infertile couples feel pressure to transfer multiple embryos in an attempt to ensure that the IVF is a success. This can lead to higher rates of twin and triplet births and prematurity. But having insurance coverage could curtail the costs associated with these multiple births, according to a new study.

History of nuclear power needs to be addressed, expert says

Posted: 05 Apr 2011 09:23 AM PDT

The long-standing conflicts over nuclear power and the risks of radiation exposure are nothing new -- in fact, the debate over the damaged Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant in Japan are similar to arguments happening between scientists, governmental agencies and the public since 1945, according to an expert on the history of science.

Toward a solution to nerve agent exposure: Chemist uses supercomputers to test reagents for new treatments

Posted: 05 Apr 2011 09:23 AM PDT

A chemist is harnessing the power of supercomputing systems to help develop a new drug that will regenerate a critical enzyme in the human body that "ages" after a person is exposed to deadly organophosphorus nerve agents.

Invisibility cloaks and more: Force of acoustical waves tapped for metamaterials

Posted: 05 Apr 2011 09:23 AM PDT

A very simple bench-top technique that uses the force of acoustical waves to create a variety of 3-D structures will benefit the rapidly expanding field of metamaterials and their myriad applications -- including "invisibility cloaks."

Economics, physics are roadblocks for mass-scale algae biodiesel production, study finds

Posted: 05 Apr 2011 09:23 AM PDT

Companies looking to engineer an eco-friendly diesel fuel have more red lights in their path. According to researchers, making petroleum diesel completely green would not only bend the laws of physics, it would cost too much green.

Cellular feast or famine: How cells decide whether they have enough fat

Posted: 05 Apr 2011 09:23 AM PDT

Not all cholesterol is bad. Every cell requires it for growth -- they either have to get cholesterol somewhere or they die. In a new study, researchers found that a protein sensor known to balance cholesterol sources can also access a previously under-appreciated cellular fat storage depot.

Huntington's disease protein has broader effects on brain, study shows

Posted: 05 Apr 2011 09:23 AM PDT

In Huntington's disease, the mutant protein known as huntingtin leads to the degeneration of a part of the brain known as the basal ganglia, causing the motor disturbances that represent one of the most defining features of the fatal disease. But this new study shows that the mutant protein is also responsible for metabolic imbalances in the hypothalamus, a brain region that plays an important role in appetite control.

Getting to the root of fatty liver disease

Posted: 05 Apr 2011 09:23 AM PDT

Researchers have identified a molecular switch that appears to be a common feature in the development of fatty liver disease. The discovery made in mice is consistent with data from human patients, suggesting that it may provide an underlying explanation for the development of fatty liver in people with obesity and metabolic syndrome.

It’s not over when it's over: Storing sounds in the inner ear

Posted: 05 Apr 2011 09:23 AM PDT

Research shows that vibrations in the inner ear continue even after a sound has ended, perhaps serving as a kind of mechanical memory of recent sounds. In addition to contributing to the understanding of the complex process of sound perception, the results may shed light on other fascinating aspects of the auditory system, such as why some gaps between sounds are too brief to be perceived by the human ear.

Air France wreckage located nearly 2.5 miles below surface of Atlantic Ocean

Posted: 05 Apr 2011 08:32 AM PDT

A search team has located the wreckage of Air France Flight 447 some 3,900 meters, or nearly 2.5 miles, below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean off Brazil's northeastern coast.

Science 101: Different teaching fosters better comprehension, study finds

Posted: 05 Apr 2011 08:32 AM PDT

Introductory science courses -- in biology, chemistry, math and physics -- can be challenging for first-year college and university students. Science 101 courses can make or break a student's decision to venture into a scientific field or even pursue higher education.

Renewal of a life and physical sciences research program at NASA could facilitate longer, farther human space missions

Posted: 05 Apr 2011 08:32 AM PDT

By elevating its life and physical sciences research program, NASA could achieve the biological understanding and technical breakthroughs needed to allow humans to be sent deeper into space, according to a new report.

End-of-life management of implanted defibrillators: Heart patients share perspectives on deactivation, donation and reuse of devices

Posted: 05 Apr 2011 08:32 AM PDT

Each year, more than 100,000 patients in the US undergo implantation of a new ICD for heart rhythm abnormalities. Current medical guidelines advocate discussion of end-of-life care of these medical devices, including deactivation. Now, researchers say that discussions should also address post-mortem donation of ICDs for product improvement or reuse overseas as pacemakers, to help reduce global health disparities.

Genetic clues to major cause of kidney disease worldwide

Posted: 05 Apr 2011 08:32 AM PDT

For the first time, researchers have found five regions in the human genome that increase susceptibility to immunoglobulin A (IgA) nephropathy, a major cause of kidney failure worldwide -- systematically identifying those that point to a tendency for IgA nephropathy, or a protection against it.

Chimp, bonobo study sheds light on the social brain

Posted: 05 Apr 2011 08:30 AM PDT

Why our two closest living primate relatives, chimpanzees and bonobos, have widely different social traits, despite belonging to the same genus, has long been a puzzle. Now, a comparative analysis of their brains shows neuroanatomical differences that may be responsible for these behaviors, from the aggression more typical of chimpanzees to the social tolerance of bonobos.

Repulsion more important than cohesion in embryonic tissue separation

Posted: 05 Apr 2011 08:30 AM PDT

Until now, adherence was thought to be the principle force responsible for the separation of the ectoderm from the mesoderm in embryonic cells. But by using high resolution imaging, researchers have now discovered that, although embryonic cells of different types will temporarily adhere when they touch, they then invariably pull apart rather violently, suggesting that direct contact between two "foreign" cells triggers a "repulsive signal."

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