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Science current events and breaking science news on health, climate change, nanotechnology, the environment, stem cells, global warming, current cancer research, physics, biology, computer science, astronomy, endangered species and alternative energy.

Gout may lessen chances of developing Alzheimer's disease

Gout appears to have a protective effect for the brain, possibly thanks to uric acid, the chemical in a person's blood that can crystallize, leading to gout, said a team of researchers from north America.




How big data can be used to understand major events

With the most unpredictable UK general election looming in modern times, how can big data be used to understand how elections are covered by the media?

Study reveals mechanism behind most common form of inherited Alzheimer's disease

A study from researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) reveals for the first time exactly how mutations associated with the most common form of inherited Alzheimer's disease produce the disorder's devastating effects.

Direct evidence that drought-weakened Amazonian forests 'inhale less carbon'

For the first time, an international research team has provided direct evidence of the rate at which individual trees in the Amazonian basin 'inhale' carbon from the atmosphere during a severe drought.

Solar cells get growth boost

Researchers at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University's (OIST) Energy Materials and Surface Sciences Unit have found that growing a type of film used to manufacture solar cells in ambient air gives it a growth boost.

Professor analyzes role of trade sanctions against Iran

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed Congress on Tuesday as about 50 Democratic lawmakers threatened to boycott the address, offering the latest and one of the most clear microcosms of the debate about Iran's nuclear program and strained relations among nations.

Why isn't the universe as bright as it should be?

A handful of new stars are born each year in the Milky Way, while many more blink on across the universe.

Novel approach helps prevent early menopause in breast cancer patients, study finds

Early menopause can be prevented and fertility may be preserved in young women with early stage breast cancer, according to a study published today in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Common antidepressant may hold the key to heart failure reversal

A team led by researchers at Temple University School of Medicine (TUSM) found that a commonly prescribed antidepressant restored heart function in mice with heart failure, a finding that could lead to clinical trials for a disease long considered irreversible.

Relief for diabetics with painful condition

Walking barefoot on sand "felt like walking on glass" for Keith Wenckowski, who has lived with type-one diabetes for more than two decades.

Kids and robots learn to write together

A little girl lines up plastic letters fitted with QR codes in front of a little humanoid robot. The robot struggles to reproduce them on a tablet - especially the loop of the letter p.

Personalized health coaching helps reverse progression to diabetes

People with prediabetes who took part in a comprehensive health program to improve nutrition, exercise, stress and sleep were able to revert to normal blood glucose metabolism, reducing their risk for developing diabetes--a known risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

Permafrost's turn of the microbes

As the Arctic warms, tons of carbon locked away in Arctic tundra will be transformed into the powerful greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane, but scientists know little about how that transition takes place.

Better midlife fitness may slow brain aging

People with poor physical fitness in their 40s may have lower brain volumes by the time they hit 60, an indicator of accelerated brain aging, according to new research presented at the American Heart Association EPI/Lifestyle 2015 meeting.

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions with a more effective carbon capture method

Trapping carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from power plants and various industries could play a significant role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the future.

Characterizing permafrost microbes in a changing climate

In the effort to curb climate change by reducing global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, thawing permafrost poses a critical challenge.

Deadly frog fungus dates back to 1880s, studies find

A deadly fungus responsible for the extinction of more than 200 amphibian species worldwide has coexisted harmlessly with animals in Illinois and Korea for more than a century, a pair of studies have found.

Study shows that use of statins increases risk of developing diabetes by 46 percent

New research published in Diabetologia (the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes) shows that use of statins is associated with a 46% increase in the risk of developing diabetes, even after adjustment for confounding factors.

New protein booster may lead to better DNA vaccines and gene therapy

Scientists have discovered a new way to manipulate how cells function, a finding that might help advance an experimental approach to improving public health: DNA vaccines, which could be more efficient, less expensive and easier to store than traditional vaccines.

Hormone-blocking drug prevents ovarian failure and improves fertility in breast cancer patients

Breast cancer patients who are given the hormone-blocking drug goserelin during chemotherapy are less likely to experience ovarian failure and more likely to have successful pregnancies.

New studies fail to find cardiovascular risk with testosterone therapy

Two studies scheduled for presentation at the American College of Cardiology's 64th Annual Scientific Session in San Diego failed to find a connection between testosterone therapy in men and heart problems, contradicting research that prompted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to investigate its safety.

Male images seen by left side of the brain, new study finds

A new study published today in the journal Laterality, has found that people are quicker to categorise a face as being male when it is shown to the left side of the brain.

Earliest known fossil of the genus Homo dates to 2.8 to 2.75 million years ago

The earliest known record of the genus Homo -- the human genus -- represented by a lower jaw with teeth, recently found in the Afar region of Ethiopia, dates to between 2.8 and 2.75 million years ago, according to an international team of geoscientists and anthropologists.

Study: One-third of Americans do not have access to stroke center within 1 hour

One-third of the US population does not have access to a primary stroke center within one hour by ambulance, and even under optimal conditions, a large proportion of the US would be unable to access a stroke center within this window

L.A. story: Cleaner air, healthier kids

A 20-year study finds that millennial children in Southern California breathe easier than ones who came of age in the '90s, for a reason as clear as the air in Los Angeles today.

Using fruit flies to understand how we sense hot and cold

Innately, we pull our hand away when we touch a hot pan on the stove, but little is known about how our brain processes temperature information.

New data provided by seabed sediments on the climate within the Mediterranean basin

An international team of scientists which included three University of Granada and the Andalusian Institute of Earth Sciences researchers (a joint UGR-CISC centre) have found new data on the weather in the Mediterranean basin over the course of the past 20.000 years thanks to the chemical composition of sediments deposited in its seabed.

Energy-generating cloth could replace batteries in wearable devices

From light-up shoes to smart watches, wearable electronics are gaining traction among consumers, but these gadgets' versatility is still held back by the stiff, short-lived batteries that are required.

NSU researchers discover hurricanes helped accelerate spread of lionfish

Their names roll of the tongue like a rogues' gallery: Floyd, Frances, Irene, Wilma and Andrew. But these aren't the names of notorious criminals; rather, they are just a few of the hurricanes since 1992 that have helped spread invasive marine species throughout the Florida Straits.

Choice of monitoring method could be key for babies with poor growth in the womb

Babies that grow poorly in the womb could have better outcomes if a method for the timing of delivery was used more widely, a study suggests.

Genetic data can help predict how pine forests will cope with climate change

Data from only a small number of gene variants can predict which maritime pine trees are most vulnerable to climate change, scientists report in the March issue of GENETICS.

Mental health soon after war-zone concussions predicts disability

Evaluating military personnel with blast-related mild traumatic brain injuries, researchers have found that early symptoms of post-traumatic stress, such as anxiety, emotional numbness, flashbacks and irritability, are the strongest predictors of later disability.

An alternative to medical marijuana for pain?

Medical marijuana is proliferating across the country due to the ability of cannabis ingestion to treat important clinical problems such as chronic pain.

Determining recipes for some of the world's oldest preserved beers

Some breweries have taken to resurrecting the flavors of ages past. Adventurous beer makers are extrapolating recipes from clues that archeologists have uncovered from old and even ancient brews found at historical sites.

Flexible sensors turn skin into a touch-sensitive interaction space for mobile devices

Someone wearing a smartwatch can look at a calendar or receive e-mails without having to reach further than their wrist.

New models yield clearer picture of emissions' true costs

When its environmental and human health toll is factored in, a gallon of gasoline costs us about $3.80 more than the pump price, a new Duke University study finds.

New research could lead to more efficient electrical energy storage

Lawrence Livermore researchers have identified electrical charge-induced changes in the structure and bonding of graphitic carbon electrodes that may one day affect the way energy is stored.

Breakthrough in nonlinear optics research

A method to selectively enhance or inhibit optical nonlinearities in a chip-scale device has been developed by scientists, led by the University of Sydney.

Evidence indicates Yucatan Peninsula hit by tsunami 1,500 years ago

The eastern coastline of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, a mecca for tourists, may have been walloped by a tsunami between 1,500 and 900 years ago, says a new study involving Mexico's Centro Ecological Akumal (CEA) and the University of Colorado Boulder.

Exercise benefits when young could be undermined in people unable to cope with stress

Researchers from Sweden and the UK found that the worse a person deals with stress when they are an adolescent, the more likely they will develop heart disease later in life and exercise might make little difference.

Scientists quantify healthy years gained by avoiding risk factors

Obesity, hypertension and diabetes are known risk factors for heart failure, a chronic condition in which the heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the body's needs.

Atrial fibrillation patients on digoxin face increased risk of death

Patients taking digoxin to control atrial fibrillation face a 27 percent greater risk of dying than atrial fibrillation patients who are not taking digoxin.

Activating genes on demand

When it comes to gene expression - the process by which our DNA provides the recipe used to direct the synthesis of proteins and other molecules that we need for development and survival - scientists have so far studied one single gene at a time.

Mediterranean diet cuts heart disease risk by nearly half

Adults who closely followed the Mediterranean diet were 47 percent less likely to develop heart disease over a 10-year period compared to similar adults who did not closely follow the diet.

The brain works as a 'cyclops,' compensating the optical differences between the eyes

The eyes differ in their optical properties what results in a blur projected in each retina, despite we see sharp images because the visual system calibrates itself.

Amazon deforestation 'threshold' causes species loss to accelerate

One of the first studies to map the impact of deforestation on biodiversity across entire regions of the Amazon has found a clear 'threshold' for forest cover below which species loss becomes more rapid and widespread.

Galactic 'rain' could be key to star formation

Some of the galaxies in our universe are veritable star nurseries. For example, our own Milky Way produces, on average, at least one new star every year.

Research uncovers basis for cadmium toxicity

University of Adelaide research has uncovered how the metal cadmium, which is accumulating in the food chain, causes toxicity in living cells.

LSU Health New Orleans discovers retina protein that may help conquer blindness

Research led by Nicolas Bazan, MD, PhD, Boyd Professor and Director of the LSU Health New Orleans Neuroscience Center of Excellence, discovered a protein in the retina that is crucial for vision.

How to make palm oil without destroying forests

The versatility of palm oil has led to its use in not just food products but also in everyday goods from lipstick to laundry detergent.

Infant gut bacteria and food sensitization: Associations in the first year of life

A new study from Canadian researchers at the University of Alberta and University of Manitoba is shedding new light on changes in intestinal bacteria of infants that can predict future development of food allergies or asthma.

Metabolic path to improved biofuel production

Researchers with the Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI), a partnership that includes the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California (UC) Berkeley, have found a way to increase the production of fuels and other chemicals from biomass fermented by yeast.

Smoking when pregnant increases cancer risk for daughters

A new study has found women who smoke when pregnant are putting their daughters at a greater risk of developing ovarian and breast cancer later in life.

Older, white males with advanced bladder cancer at high risk for suicide

Older, single white males with advanced bladder cancer have the highest suicide risk among those with other cancers of the male genitals and urinary system, researchers report.

History holds valuable lessons in the war on drugs

Researchers say they're at the forefront of a new movement delving into the deep history of illicit drug use in Latin America and how it affects the rest of the world, a history that spans numerous fields of study.

UT Dallas technology could make night vision, thermal imaging affordable

Engineers at The University of Texas at Dallas have created semiconductor technology that could make night vision and thermal imaging affordable for everyday use.

Northeastern researchers make breakthrough discovery in cancer treatment

Michail Sitkovsky, an immunophysiology expert at Northeastern University, and his research colleagues have made a breakthrough discovery in cancer treatment.

Usual prey gone, a fish survives by changing predictably

A species of fish that normally eats smaller fish changes in predictable ways when isolated from its prey, research led by a Case Western Reserve University biologist found.

Omega-3 fatty acids appear to protect damaged heart after heart attack

Taking omega-3 fatty acids appeared to lower inflammation and guard against further declines in heart function among recent heart attack survivors already receiving optimal standard care.

Full-annual-cycle models track migratory bird populations throughout the year

Ignoring the wintering ranges of migratory birds when studying their populations is like doing a puzzle with half of the pieces missing. In a new Review published this week in The Auk: Ornithological Advances, Jeffrey Hostetler and his colleagues show how statistical analysis can fill in those missing pieces.

GeneSight multi-gene test more predictive of antidepressant response

The combinatorial, multi-gene GeneSight test has been found to better predict antidepressant treatment outcomes for patients with depression, and their use of health care resources, than any of the individual genes that comprise the test, according to a peer-reviewed analysis by investigators from the Mayo Clinic and Assurex Health, and published online by The Pharmacogenomics Journal.

Cebit 2015: DIY printing custom touch-sensitive displays

The researchers are presenting their award-winning approach at the computer trade show Cebit in Hanover from March 16th to March 20th (Hall 9, Booth 13).

Study quantifies costs, utilization, access to care for patients with eczema

Adults with the common chronic skin condition eczema had higher out-of-pocket health care costs, more lost workdays, poorer overall health, more health care utilization and impaired access to care compared to adults without eczema.

Heritability of autism spectrum disorder studied in UK twins

Substantial genetic and moderate environmental influences were associated with risk of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and broader autism traits in a study of twins in the United Kingdom.

Air pollution connected with narrowing of the arteries

People living in areas with more air pollution face a greater risk of carotid artery stenosis, a narrowing of the arteries that supply blood to the brain.

New information on Parkinson's disease: GDNF not needed by the midbrain dopamine system

A key factor in the motor symptoms associated with Parkinson's disease is the gradual destruction of dopamine neurons.

Scientists question rush to build Nicaragua canal

A consortium of environmental scientists has expressed strong concern about the impact of a controversial Central American canal across Nicaragua.

Strong genetic risk factor for MS discovered in family of five affected siblings

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago have identified a genetic variation that in women significantly increases their risk of developing multiple sclerosis.

New materials discovered to detect neutrons emitted by radioactive materials

Scientist Christopher Lavelle of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, together with a team of researchers from the University of Maryland and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, has successfully shown that boron-coated vitreous carbon foam can be used in the detection of neutrons emitted by radioactive materials -- of critical importance to homeland security.

Cities have a memory and interact with their neighbors

Demographic changes in large cities depend on millions of individual decisions, but the population evolves depending on two factors: what 'reminds' them of their recent past and the existence of other urban areas around them.

Obesity is associated with brain's neurotransmitters

Researchers at Aalto University and University of Turku have revealed how obesity is associated with altered opioid neurotransmission in the brain.

X-ray imaging of a single virus in 3-D

Since the determination of the molecular structure of myoglobin in 1957, X-ray crystallography has been the defining tool of structural biology, allowing researchers to determine the structure (and hence the function) of tens of thousands of proteins, nucleic acids, and other biological molecules.

Budget first, thank yourself later: Are realistic consumers more successful?

Every time you run errands, you make decisions about what to get done and how much to spend. How do you make these decisions when there is just not enough time or money to accomplish everything you want?

Miscanthus-based ethanol boasts bigger environmental benefits, higher profits

A recent study simulated a side-by-side comparison of the yields and costs of producing ethanol using miscanthus, switchgrass, and corn stover.

Turning a vole into a mighty rodent

Take a wild, common forest-dwelling mouse-like rodent, known as a vole, and subject it to 13 rounds of selection for increased aerobic exercise metabolism, and what do you get?

Chance as a motivator? Uncertainty can make people work harder

Can uncertainty motivate people to work harder? According to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research, people will often put in more effort to obtain uncertain rewards.

Big box stores could ditch the grid, use natural gas fuel cells instead

Large facilities like big box stores or hospitals could keep the lights on by using a fuel cell that runs off the natural gas that already flows in pipelines below most city streets.

Protecting crops from radiation-contaminated soil

Almost four years after the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan, farmland remains contaminated with higher-than-natural levels of radiocesium in some regions of Japan, with cesium-134 and cesium-137 being the most troublesome because of the slow rate at which they decay.

Poverty, not the 'teenage brain' account for high rates of teen crime

While many blame the "teenage brain" for high rates of teen crime, violence, and driving incidents, an important factor has been ignored: teenagers as a group suffer much higher average poverty rates than do older adults.

Wild yaks -- shaggy barometers of climate change

A new study led by WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society), University of Montana, Qinghai Forestry Bureau, Keke Xili National Nature Reserve, and other groups finds that climate change and past hunting in the remote Tibetan Plateau is forcing female wild yaks onto steeper and steeper terrain.

Twitter chatter predicts health insurance marketplace enrollment, Penn study shows

An increase in Twitter sentiment (the positivity or negativity of tweets) is associated with an increase in state-level enrollment in the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) health insurance marketplaces -- a phenomenon that points to use of the social media platform as a real-time gauge of public opinion and provides a way for marketplaces to quickly identify enrollment changes and emerging issues.

ILROG issues treatment guidelines for pediatric Hodgkin lymphoma

The International Lymphoma Radiation Oncology Group (ILROG) has issued a guideline that outlines the use of 3-D computed tomography (CT)-based radiation therapy planning and volumetric image guidance to more effectively treat pediatric Hodgkin lymphoma and to reduce the radiation dose to normal tissue, thus decreasing the risk of late side effects.

Dog DNA tests alone not enough for healthy pedigree, experts say

Breeding dogs on the basis of a single genetic test carries risks and may not improve the health of pedigree lines, experts warn.

Cell powerhouse sequencing technology provides deeper look at inherited disease risk

A new sequencing technique may provide a clearer picture of how genes in mitochondria, the "powerhouses" that turn sugar into energy in human cells, shape each person's inherited risk for diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Often-ignored glucose value in routine blood tests correlates with risk of type 2 diabetes

Glucose values obtained during routine blood tests are often overlooked, but could provide valuable insight into whether someone is at risk for having type 2 diabetes, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have found.

Antiseptic prevents deaths in newborns

A low-cost antiseptic used to cleanse the cord after birth could help reduce infant death rates in developing countries by 12%, a systematic review published in The Cochrane Library suggests.

Trying to lose weight? How to avoid setting yourself up for failure

If you're on a diet, just skipping dessert can seem like a huge accomplishment, leading you to think you're well on your way to losing weight.

Excavation reveals ancient town and burial complex in Diros Bay, Greece

Recent research by The Diros Project, a five-year excavation program in Diros Bay, Greece, has uncovered the remains of an ancient town and burial complex that date to the Neolithic and Bronze Age.

3-D imaging reveals hidden forces behind clogs, jams, avalanches, earthquakes

Pick up a handful of sand, and it flows through your fingers like a liquid. But when you walk on the beach, the sand supports your weight like a solid. What happens to the forces between the jumbled sand grains when you step on them to keep you from sinking?

Study: Men tend to be more narcissistic than women

With three decades of data from more than 475,000 participants, a new study on narcissism from the University at Buffalo School of Management reveals that men, on average, are more narcissistic than women.

Launching a new brand: Is partnering with a popular brand a good idea?

If you're trying to sell a new brand of cereal, teaming up with Kellogg's or General Mills would seem like a really great idea. However, a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research shows that partnering with established brands may not always benefit new brands.

Catching the drinking game bug

When the conversation fades and the food runs out, exuberant partygoers might turn to drinking games for their postprandial entertainment.

America's Next Top Model: How do fans contribute to the decline of their favorite TV shows?

Popular TV shows can rapidly lose much of their audience. According to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research, the most devoted fans of popular TV shows could actually be contributing to their decline.

Family interventions reduce smoking rates in children and adolescents

A global review by Canada's University of Calgary and QUT into the effectiveness of family-based programs has found these programs can be highly effective in stopping children from taking up smoking.

Genetic data can help predict how pine forests will cope with climate change

Data from only a small number of gene variants can predict which maritime pine trees are most vulnerable to climate change, scientists report in the March issue of GENETICS.

Deciding on a purchase: Does it matter if you look up or down while shopping?

Next time you look up at a higher shelf in a store or down at your phone when making a purchase, think about how the direction you are looking could influence your decision.

Strength in numbers

When scientists develop a full quantum computer, the world of computing will undergo a revolution of sophistication, speed and energy efficiency that will make even our beefiest conventional machines seem like Stone Age clunkers by comparison.

U of M researchers call for US government to expand role in helping rebuild Somalia

As Somalia continues to rebuild after a prolonged civil war that began in the early 1990s, researchers at the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School of Public Affairs recommend the U.S. government shift its work from peacekeeping to rebuilding in ways that will help grow Somalia's economy.

Experiment and theory unite at last in debate over microbial nanowires

Scientific debate has been hot lately about whether microbial nanowires, the specialized electrical pili of the mud-dwelling anaerobic bacterium Geobacter sulfurreducens, truly possess metallic-like conductivity as its discoverers claim.

Defined by your possessions? How loving parents unintentionally foster materialism in their children

Can loving and supportive parents unintentionally encourage their children to define their self-worth through possessions? According to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research, children who receive more material rewards from their parents grow up to be more materialistic as adults.

Time management: Why we feel busier when close to reaching a goal

Is there any worse time to be interrupted than right now? Regardless of what we're doing or the nature of the interruption, we often feel as if we have no time to spare at the moment.

Think twice about investing in own company

Employees whose retirement plan is invested in stock of the company where they work do not pull out money as the firms approach financial distress, a recently released, but yet to be published paper, co-authored by a University of California, Riverside assistant professor found.

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