Friday, April 15, 2011

ScienceDaily: Latest Science News

ScienceDaily: Latest Science News

Genes that control 'aging' steroid identified

Posted: 14 Apr 2011 03:30 PM PDT

Eight genes which control levels of the main steroid produced by the adrenal gland, believed to play a role in aging and longevity, have now been uncovered.

Antibody response may lead to narrowed arteries and organ rejection

Posted: 14 Apr 2011 03:30 PM PDT

Kidney transplant recipients who develop antibodies in response to receiving new organs can develop accelerated arteriosclerosis, or narrowing of the arteries that supply blood to the kidney, according to a new study. The results indicate that arteriosclerosis resulting from such donor-specific antibodies may play an important role in organ rejection following transplantation.

Evolution points to genes involved in birth timing: New gene may increase risk for preterm birth

Posted: 14 Apr 2011 03:30 PM PDT

Evolutionary changes that make us uniquely human -- such as our large heads and narrow pelvises -- may have "pushed" human birth timing earlier and can be used to identify genes associated with preterm birth, a new study suggests. Variations in the follicle stimulating hormone receptor (FSHR) gene may increase a woman's risk for delivering her infant prematurely, researchers say.

Novel therapy improves immune function in teen with rare disease

Posted: 14 Apr 2011 02:10 PM PDT

In a novel approach that works around the gene defect in Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome, an inherited immune deficiency disorder, researchers used an alternative cell signaling pathway to significantly improve immune function in a 13-year-old boy with the disease. The study provides a proof-of-principle that immunotherapy, which harnesses elements of the body's immune system, may be used to treat this rare but often deadly disorder.

Older workers benefit from high-tech, high-touch health promotion

Posted: 14 Apr 2011 02:10 PM PDT

Older workers benefit most from a modest health behavior program when it combines a web-based risk assessment with personal coaching, according to new research.

Studies of marine animals aim to help prevent rejection of transplanted organs

Posted: 14 Apr 2011 02:10 PM PDT

Studies of the small sea squirt may ultimately help solve the problem of rejection of organ and bone marrow transplants in humans, according to scientists.

Targeting top 911 callers can trim cost, improve patient care

Posted: 14 Apr 2011 02:10 PM PDT

Repeated unnecessary 911 calls are a common drain on the personnel and finances of emergency medical services, but a pilot program that identified Baltimore City's top 911 callers and coupled them with a case worker has succeeded in drastically cutting the number of such calls while helping callers get proper care.

Stroke survival among seniors better in sociable neighborhoods

Posted: 14 Apr 2011 02:10 PM PDT

Seniors living in closely-knit, supportive neighborhoods have significantly better stroke survival rates than others, regardless of other health or socioeconomic factors. For each single point increase in a neighborhood "cohesion" scoring system, survival increased 53 percent. Researchers found no differences in the incidence of strokes -- only in death rates -- and the benefits were not observed among African-Americans for reasons that remain unclear.

NASA announces new homes for shuttle orbiters after retirement

Posted: 14 Apr 2011 01:57 PM PDT

After 30 years of spaceflight, more than 130 missions, and numerous science and technology firsts, NASA's space shuttle fleet will retire and be on display at institutions across the country to inspire the next generation of explorers and engineers.

NASA's next generation space telescope marks key milestone

Posted: 14 Apr 2011 01:54 PM PDT

The first six of 18 segments that will form NASA's James Webb Space Telescope's primary mirror for space observations will begin final round-the-clock cryogenic testing this week. These tests will confirm the mirrors will respond as expected to the extreme temperatures of space prior to integration into the telescope's permanent housing structure.

WISE delivers millions of galaxies, stars, asteroids

Posted: 14 Apr 2011 01:51 PM PDT

Astronomers across the globe can now sift through hundreds of millions of galaxies, stars and asteroids collected in the first bundle of data from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission.

Fast-rotating asteroid winks for astronomer's camera

Posted: 14 Apr 2011 01:49 PM PDT

Video imaging of newly discovered asteroid 2011 GP59 shows the object appearing to blink on and off about once every four minutes.

Solar power without solar cells: A hidden magnetic effect of light could make it possible

Posted: 14 Apr 2011 01:14 PM PDT

A dramatic and surprising magnetic effect of light discovered by researchers could lead to solar power without traditional semiconductor-based solar cells. The researchers found a way to make an "optical battery." In the process, they overturned a century-old tenet of physics.

Tansy may be used to treat herpes, study suggests

Posted: 14 Apr 2011 01:09 PM PDT

A folk remedy may be an effective treatment for the sexually transmitted disease herpes according to new research.

People who overuse credit believe products have unrealistic properties

Posted: 14 Apr 2011 01:07 PM PDT

Researchers say people who overuse credit have very different beliefs about products than people who spend within their means. Following a new study, researchers said that many people buy products thinking that the items will make them happier and transform their lives.

Highest percentage of Americans in four decades say financial situation has gotten worse

Posted: 14 Apr 2011 01:07 PM PDT

A new report shows that for the first time since 1972, more Americans say that their financial situation has gotten worse in recent years rather than better. Understandably, also for the first time since 1972, the percentage of Americans saying that they are "not at all" satisfied with their financial situation (31.5 percent) notably exceeds those saying they are "pretty well" satisfied (23.4 percent).

Aggressive glycemic control in diabetic CABG patients does not improve survival, study suggests

Posted: 14 Apr 2011 01:07 PM PDT

Surgeons have found that in diabetic patients undergoing coronary artery bypass graft surgery, aggressive glycemic control does not result in any significant improvement of clinical outcomes as compared with moderate control. The findings also found the incidence of hypoglycemic events increased with aggressive glycemic control.

Lights and flat-panel displays: Researchers 'brighten' the future of organic light-emitting diode technology

Posted: 14 Apr 2011 12:15 PM PDT

A one-atom thick sheet of the element chlorine is set to revolutionize the next generation of flat-panel displays and lighting technology. Scientists have found a simple method of using chlorine to drastically reduce traditional organic light-emitting diode (OLED) device complexity and dramatically improve its efficiency all at the same time.

Too much information? Risk-benefit data does not always lead to informed decision-making

Posted: 14 Apr 2011 12:15 PM PDT

Giving patients data about the risks and benefits of a medical intervention is not always helpful and may even lead them to irrational decisions, according to a new article. That finding calls into question whether it is essential to disclose quantitative data to patients to help them make informed decisions. An accompanying commentary calls for experimental evidence to determine the best way to provide information to patients.

Most substance–dependent individuals report poor oral health

Posted: 14 Apr 2011 12:15 PM PDT

Researchers have found that the majority of individuals with substance dependence problems report having poor oral health. They also found that opioid users, in particular, showed a decline in oral health over the period of one year.

Human factors/ergonomics research leads to improved bunk bed safety standards

Posted: 14 Apr 2011 12:15 PM PDT

Ryan was just four years old when he went to sleep on his bunk bed one night and never woke up. His mother found him strangled to death the next morning with his neck caught between the vertical post of his side ladder and mattress.

Possible cause of salt-induced hypertension identified

Posted: 14 Apr 2011 12:15 PM PDT

New research shows that salt intake raises blood pressure because it makes it harder for the cardiovascular system to simultaneously juggle the regulation of blood pressure and body temperature.

Diet plus exercise is more effective for weight loss than either method alone

Posted: 14 Apr 2011 11:14 AM PDT

When it comes to losing weight and body fat, diet and exercise are most effective when done together as compared to either strategy alone, according to new research.

Integrative medicine, spirituality improves outcomes in urban adolescents with asthma, study suggests

Posted: 14 Apr 2011 11:14 AM PDT

A new study shows that urban adolescents with asthma may experience worse outcomes when not using spiritual coping and often use complementary and alternative medicine, or integrative medicine, like prayer or relaxation, to manage symptoms.

Enzyme crucial to DNA replication may provide potent anti-cancer drug target

Posted: 14 Apr 2011 11:14 AM PDT

An enzyme essential for DNA replication and repair in humans works in a way that might be exploited as anti-cancer therapy, say researchers.

Recent census in war-torn DR Congo finds gorillas have survived, even increased

Posted: 14 Apr 2011 11:14 AM PDT

A census team has announced some encouraging news from a region plagued by warfare and insecurity: a small population of Grauer's gorillas has not only survived, but also increased since the last census.

Temporary memory loss strikes hospitalized seniors

Posted: 14 Apr 2011 11:14 AM PDT

Battling an illness, lack of sleep and strange surroundings can make any hospital patient feel out of sorts. For seniors, hospitalizations actually may cause temporary memory loss and difficulty in understanding discharge instructions, according to a new study.

New clues about how to prevent aortic aneurysm in patients with Marfan syndrome

Posted: 14 Apr 2011 11:14 AM PDT

Scientists whose laboratory studies first suggested that an FDA-approved drug, losartan, might prevent the potentially deadly enlargement of the aorta caused by Marfan syndrome now have an even clearer picture of the cellular signals that contribute to the disease. While a clinical trial testing losartan's ability to slow progression of aneurysm in people with Marfan syndrome continues, ongoing research is generating data that will help guide treatment decisions and inform efforts to develop alternate therapies.

New spin on graphene makes it magnetic

Posted: 14 Apr 2011 11:14 AM PDT

Scientists have found a way to make wonder material graphene magnetic, opening up a new range of opportunities for the world's thinnest material in the area of spintronics.

Ocean front is energetic contributor to mixing, data shows

Posted: 14 Apr 2011 11:13 AM PDT

Wind blowing on the ocean is a crucial factor mixing carbon dioxide into the ocean depths and keeping it from going back into the atmosphere. For more than two decades scientists have suspected there's another -- possibly substantial -- source of energy for mixing that's generated where cold, heavy water collides with warm, light water. However, there's never been a way to get enough measurements of such a "front" to prove this -- until now.

A bicycle built for none: Riderless bike helps researchers learn how balance rolls along

Posted: 14 Apr 2011 11:13 AM PDT

In a discovery that could lead to better and safer bicycle design, researchers have shown that long-accepted "gyro" and "caster" effects are not needed to make a bike balance itself. In fact, it's a mixture of complicated physical effects -- linked to the distribution of mass -- that allows a bicycle to remain up when moving.

The eyes have it: Dinosaurs hunted by night

Posted: 14 Apr 2011 11:13 AM PDT

The movie Jurassic Park got one thing right: those velociraptors hunted by night while the big plant-eaters browsed around the clock, according to a new study of the eyes of fossil animals.

DNA nanoforms: Miniature architectural forms -- some no larger than viruses -- constructed through DNA origami

Posted: 14 Apr 2011 11:13 AM PDT

Miniature architectural forms -- some no larger than viruses -- have been constructed through a revolutionary technique known as DNA origami. Now, scientists have expanded the capability of this method to construct arbitrary, two and three-dimensional shapes, mimicking those commonly found in nature.

Sleep strategy commonly used by night nurses throws off their circadian clocks

Posted: 14 Apr 2011 10:19 AM PDT

As many as 25 percent of hospital nurses go without sleep for at least 24 hours in order to adjust to working on the night shift, which is the least effective strategy for adapting their internal, circadian clocks to a night-time schedule.

Wikipedia deemed a reliable source for political information, according to study

Posted: 14 Apr 2011 10:18 AM PDT

Not so long ago Wikipedia was considered a playground for Capitol Hill staffers to game the system and make "the boss look better and the opponent look ridiculous." Now a new study of articles related to candidates for governor across the US found very few inaccuracies.

Compassion, not sanctions, is best response to workplace anger

Posted: 14 Apr 2011 10:18 AM PDT

Challenging traditional views of workplace anger, a new article suggests that even intense emotional outbursts can prove beneficial if responded to with compassion.

Carbon sequestration estimate in US increased, barring a drought

Posted: 14 Apr 2011 10:18 AM PDT

Forests and other terrestrial ecosystems in the lower 48 states can sequester up to 40 percent of the nation's fossil fuel carbon emissions, a larger amount than previously estimated -- unless a drought or other major disturbance occurs, new research shows.

Rising star of brain found to regulate circadian rhythms

Posted: 14 Apr 2011 10:18 AM PDT

The circadian system that controls sleep patterns is regulated by glial brain cells called astrocytes, according to a new study. Neuroscientists found that disruption of astrocyte function in fruit flies led to altered daily rhythms, an indication that these cells contribute to the control of circadian behavior. These results provide, for the first time, a tractable genetic model to study the role of astrocytes in circadian rhythms and sleep disorders.

Crystal 'eyes' let simple mollusks called chitons see predators

Posted: 14 Apr 2011 10:18 AM PDT

Using eyes made of a calcium carbonate crystal, a simple mollusk may have evolved enough vision to spot potential predators, scientists say.

Heart needs work after heart attack: New study challenges the notion that the heart must rest

Posted: 14 Apr 2011 10:18 AM PDT

A new study shows that for best results in stable patients after heart attack, early exercise as well as prolonged exercise is the key to the best outcomes. The study found that stable patients who have suffered heart attacks get more benefits for heart performance when starting an exercise program one week after the heart attack, than waiting a month or longer to begin rehabilitation.

Toward a more efficient use of solar energy

Posted: 14 Apr 2011 10:18 AM PDT

The exploitation and utilization of new energy sources are considered to be among today's major challenges. Solar energy plays a central role, and its direct conversion into chemical energy, for example hydrogen generation by water splitting, is one of its interesting variants. Titanium oxide-based photocatalysis is the presently most efficient, yet little understood conversion process.

Many restaurant staff are undertrained and misinformed about food allergies

Posted: 14 Apr 2011 10:18 AM PDT

A new study reveals that there is no association between a restaurant worker's knowledge of food allergy and his or her confidence in being able to provide a safe meal to a food allergic customer.

Carbon fiber used to reinforce buildings; protect from explosion

Posted: 14 Apr 2011 10:18 AM PDT

Most buildings are not constructed to withstand an unexpected explosion or impact. Now, a researcher is working with the US Army to test a method of retrofitting buildings to protect them in the case of a terrorist attack.

Polluted air leads to disease by promoting widespread inflammation

Posted: 14 Apr 2011 10:18 AM PDT

Chronic inhalation of polluted air appears to activate a protein that triggers the release of white blood cells, setting off events that lead to widespread inflammation, according to new research in an animal model. This finding narrows the gap in researchers' understanding of how prolonged exposure to pollution can increase the risk for cardiovascular problems and other diseases.

Better HIV prevention interventions needed for juvenile offenders

Posted: 14 Apr 2011 10:17 AM PDT

More intensive or family-based HIV prevention interventions may be needed to encourage juvenile offenders to use condoms and stop engaging in risky sexual behavior, say researchers.

Precipitation, predators may be key in ecological regulation of infectious disease

Posted: 14 Apr 2011 10:17 AM PDT

Ecologists have shown that just three ecological factors -- rainfall, predator diversity, and island size and shape -- can account for nearly all of the differences in infection rates among the eight Channel Islands off the California coast.

Training future doctors to enlist patients as partners in care

Posted: 14 Apr 2011 10:16 AM PDT

With mounting evidence that patient-centered care improves medical outcomes, investigators are providing a call to action for the training of future physicians to master relationship skills as well as the burgeoning scientific knowledge needed to practice 21st Century medicine.

The heat is on: Zeroing in on energy consumption of ice makers

Posted: 14 Apr 2011 10:16 AM PDT

In tests of four different types of new refrigerators, researchers found that ice makers increased rated energy consumption by 12 to 20 percent. About three-fourths of that additional energy cost is due to the electric heaters used to release the ice bits from the molds.

Following cancer prevention guidelines lowers risk of death from cancer, heart disease, all causes

Posted: 14 Apr 2011 10:16 AM PDT

A study of more than 100,000 men and women over 14 years finds nonsmokers who followed recommendations for cancer prevention had a lower risk of death from cancer, cardiovascular disease, and all-causes.

Sharpened focus: Improving the numbers, utility of medical imaging

Posted: 14 Apr 2011 10:16 AM PDT

The idea of probing the body's interior with radiation stretches back to experiments with X rays in the 1800s, but more than a century later, images taken with radiological scans still are not considered reliable enough to, serve as the sole indicator of the efficacy of a cancer treatment. Researchers have now set out to change that.

Scientists finely control methane combustion to get different products

Posted: 14 Apr 2011 10:16 AM PDT

Scientists find that combustion of methane using two gold atoms at room temperature yields ethylene, while at lower temperatures it yields formaldehyde.

Dietary yeast extracts tested as alternative to antibiotics in poultry

Posted: 14 Apr 2011 10:14 AM PDT

A dietary yeast extract could be an effective alternative to antibiotics for poultry producers, according to a new study. Microbiologists have been studying the effects of yeast extract as an immune stimulant and alternative to antibiotics in conventional turkeys. Non-pharmaceutical remedies and preventatives are particularly needed for organic poultry production.

How DNA changes: Newly revealed process has implications for understanding cancers, psychiatric disorders and neurodegenerative diseases

Posted: 14 Apr 2011 10:14 AM PDT

Using human kidney cells and brain tissue from adult mice, scientists have uncovered the sequence of steps that makes normally stable DNA undergo the crucial chemical changes implicated in cancers, psychiatric disorders and neurodegenerative diseases. The process may also be involved in learning and memory, the researchers say.

Humpback whale songs spread eastward like the latest pop tune

Posted: 14 Apr 2011 10:14 AM PDT

Humpback whales have their own version of the hit single, according to a new study. At any given time within a population, male humpbacks all sing the same mating tune. But the pattern of the song changes over time, with the new and apparently catchy versions of the song spreading repeatedly across the ocean, almost always traveling from west to east.

Parents' 'um's' and 'uh's' help toddlers learn new words, cognitive scientists find

Posted: 14 Apr 2011 10:14 AM PDT

A team of cognitive scientists has good news for parents who are worried that they are setting a bad example for their children when they say "um" and "uh." A new study shows that toddlers actually use their parents' stumbles and hesitations (technically referred to as disfluencies) to help them learn language more efficiently.

New elastic material changes color in UV light

Posted: 14 Apr 2011 07:42 AM PDT

Researchers have created a range of soft, elastic gels that change color when exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light -- and change back when the UV light is removed or the material is heated up.

Climate change from black carbon depends on altitude

Posted: 14 Apr 2011 07:42 AM PDT

Scientists have known for decades that black carbon aerosols add to global warming. These airborne particles made of sooty carbon are believed to be among the largest human-made contributors to global warming because they absorb solar radiation and heat the atmosphere. New research quantifies how black carbon's impact on climate depends on its altitude in the atmosphere.

Search for dark matter moves one step closer to detecting elusive particle

Posted: 14 Apr 2011 07:42 AM PDT

Dark matter, the mysterious substance that may account for nearly 25 percent of the universe, has so far evaded direct observation. But researchers participating in the international XENON collaboration say they are now closer than ever before.

Filtering out pesticides with genetically modified bacteria

Posted: 14 Apr 2011 07:42 AM PDT

Genetically modified bacteria could be used in air filters to extract pesticide vapors from polluted air, new research shows.

Domestic violence and pregnancy

Posted: 14 Apr 2011 07:16 AM PDT

Does experience of violence affect a woman's labor during delivery? And how do midwives in maternity care deal with the issue of violence against pregnant women? These are questions that area addressed in new research from Sweden.

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