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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.

Does it help conservation to put a price on nature?

Putting a price on the services which a particular ecosystem provides may encourage the adoption of greener policies, but it may come at the price of biodiversity conservation. Writing today (30 October) in the journal Science, Professor Bill Adams of the University's Department of Geography argues that assigning a quantitative value to nature does not automatically lead to the conservation of biodiversity, and may in fact contribute to species loss and conflict.




Size matters: Baby's size at birth may predict risk for disease later in life

A new research report published in the November 2014 issue of The FASEB Journal suggests that being overweight might be better in the long term than being underweight.

Unlocking the secrets of pulmonary hypertension

A UAlberta team has discovered that a protein that plays a critical role in metabolism, the process by which the cell generates energy from foods, is important for the development of pulmonary hypertension, a deadly disease.

Self-reported cognitive difficulties better for patients with tinnitus in clinical trial

Using the medication D-cycloserine in conjunction with a computer-assisted cognitive training (CT) program to try to improve the bother of tinnitus (persistent ringing in the ears) and its related cognitive difficulties was no more effective than placebo at relieving the bother of the annoying condition although self-reported cognitive deficits improved.

Peripheral clocks don't need the brain's master clock to function correctly

Circadian clocks regulate functions ranging from alertness and reaction time to body temperature and blood pressure. New research published in the November 2014 issue of The FASEB Journal further adds to our understanding of the circadian rhythm by suggesting that the suprachiasmaticus nucleus (SCN) clock, a tiny region of the hypothalamus considered to be the body's "master" timekeeper, is not necessary to align body rhythms with the light-dark cycle.

University of Tennessee study finds saving lonely species is important for the environment

The lemur, Javan rhino and Santa Cruz kangaroo rat are all lonesome animals. As endemic species, they live in habitats restricted to a particular area due to climate change, urban development or other occurrences.

Toddlers Copy Their Peers to Fit In, but Apes Don't

From the playground to the board room, people often follow, or conform, to the behavior of those around them as a way of fitting in. New research shows that this behavioral conformity appears early in human children, but isn't evidenced by apes like chimpanzees and orangutans.

Dartmouth study finds restoring wetlands can lessen soil sinkage, greenhouse gas emissions

Restoring wetlands can help reduce or reverse soil subsidence and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to research in California's Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta by Dartmouth College researchers and their colleagues.

Hubble Sees 'Ghost Light' From Dead Galaxies

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has picked up the faint, ghostly glow of stars ejected from ancient galaxies that were gravitationally ripped apart several billion years ago. The mayhem happened 4 billion light-years away, inside an immense collection of nearly 500 galaxies nicknamed "Pandora's Cluster," also known as Abell 2744.

Molecular tumor markers could reveal new therapeutic targets for lung cancer treatment

Analysis of 607 small cell lung cancer (SCLC) lung tumors and neuroendocrine tumors (NET) identified common molecular markers among both groups that could reveal new therapeutic targets for patients with similar types of lung cancer, according to research presented today at the 2014 Chicago Multidisciplinary Symposium in Thoracic Oncology.

Yale finds a planet that won't stick to a schedule

For their latest discovery, Yale astronomers and the Planet Hunters program have found a low-mass, low-density planet with a punctuality problem.

New study finds oceans arrived early to Earth

Earth is known as the Blue Planet because of its oceans, which cover more than 70 percent of the planet's surface and are home to the world's greatest diversity of life.

Heart's own immune cells can help it heal

The heart holds its own pool of immune cells capable of helping it heal after injury, according to new research in mice at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Pterostilbene, a molecule similar to resveratrol, as a potential treatment for obesity

Pterostilbene is a phenolic compound in the same family as resveratrol and is present in small amounts in a large variety of foods and beverages like blueberries or red wine.

Post-operative radiation therapy improves overall survival for patients with resected non-small cell lung cancer

Patients who received post-operative radiation therapy (PORT), radiation therapy after surgery, lived an average of four months longer when compared to the patients who had the same disease site, tumor histology and treatment criteria and who did not receive PORT, according to research presented today at the 2014 Chicago Multidisciplinary Symposium in Thoracic Oncology.

Female frogs modify offspring development depending on reproduction date

Global warming is altering the reproduction of plants and animals, notably accelerating the date when reproduction and other life processes occur.

Novel tinnitus therapy helps patients cope with phantom noise

Patients with tinnitus hear phantom noise and are sometimes so bothered by the perceived ringing in their ears, they have difficulty concentrating.

Hygienic funerals, better protection for health workers offer best chance to stop Ebola

Hygienic funeral practices, case isolation, contact tracing with quarantines, and better protection for health care workers are the keys to stopping the Ebola epidemic that continues to expand in West Africa, researchers said today in a new report in the journal Science.

Four new dragon millipedes found in China

A team of speleobiologists from the South China Agriculture University and the Russian Academy of Sciences have described four new species of the dragon millipedes from southern China, two of which seem to be cave dwellers.

2014 Antarctic Ozone Hole Holds Steady

The Antarctic ozone hole reached its annual peak size on Sept. 11, according to scientists from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The size of this year's hole was 24.1 million square kilometers (9.3 million square miles) - an area roughly the size of North America.

Seeing dinosaur feathers in a new light

Why were dinosaurs covered in a cloak of feathers long before the early bird species Archaeopteryx first attempted flight?

New molecule sneaks medicines across the blood/brain barrier

Delivering life-saving drugs across the blood-brain barrier (BBB) might become a little easier thanks to a new report published in the November 2014 issue of The FASEB Journal.

Link seen between seizures and migraines in the brain

Seizures and migraines have always been considered separate physiological events in the brain, but now a team of engineers and neuroscientists looking at the brain from a physics viewpoint discovered a link between these and related phenomena.

Magma pancakes beneath Lake Toba

The tremendous amounts of lava that are emitted during super-eruptions accumulate over millions of years prior to the event in the Earth's crust.

Ion adsorption matter in biology

Biological membranes are mainly composed of lipid bilayers. Gaining a better understanding of adsorption of solution ions onto lipid membranes helps clarify functional processes in biological cells.

Independent safety investigation needed in the NHS

The NHS should follow the lead of aviation and other safety-critical industries and establish an independent safety investigation agency, according to a paper published today by the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine.

Can parents make their kids smarter?

Reading bedtime stories, engaging in conversation and eating nightly dinners together are all positive ways in which parents interact with their children, but according to new research, none of these actions have any detectable influence on children's intelligence later in life.

For stroke patients, hospital bed position is delicate balancing act

During the first 24 hours after a stroke, attention to detail --such as hospital bed positioning -- is critical to patient outcomes.

They know the drill: UW leads the league in boring through ice sheets

Wisconsin is famous for its ice fishers - the stalwarts who drill holes through lake ice in the hope of catching a winter dinner.

New step towards eradication of H5N1 bird flu

A University of Adelaide-led project has developed a new test that can distinguish between birds that have been vaccinated against the H5N1 strain of avian influenza virus or "bird flu" with those that have been naturally infected.

A matter of life and death: cell death proteins key to fighting disease

Melbourne researchers have uncovered key steps involved in programmed cell death, offering new targets for the treatment of diseases including lupus, cancers and neurodegenerative diseases.

Report examines health care challenges for pregnant women enrolled in covered California

A new report by Milken Institute School of Public Health (Milken Institute SPH) at the George Washington University examines the challenge of maintaining enriched health care for pregnant women who are enrolled in Covered California and who are also eligible for Medi-Cal, which includes the Comprehensive Perinatal Services Program (CPSP).

Synthetic Lethality Offers a New Approach to Kill Tumor Cells, Explains Moffitt Cancer Center Researcher

The scientific community has made significant strides in recent years in identifying important genetic contributors to malignancy and developing therapeutic agents that target altered genes and proteins.

Researchers find bat influenza viruses unlikely threaten human health

Bats seen at Halloween this year may not be quite as scary as they appear - at least when it comes to the spread of specific viruses.

Breakdown in Gut Barriers to Bacteria May Promote Inflammation and Craving in Alcoholics

Bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract fulfill many vital functions and are critical for digestion. Yet, these same bacteria can induce strong inflammatory responses by the immune system if they penetrate the gut and enter the bloodstream.

Campaign to reduce firearm suicide wins support among firearm retailers in New Hampshire

Nearly half (48%) of firearm retailers in New Hampshire displayed materials from a firearm suicide prevention campaign generated by a coalition of gun owners and public health professionals, according to a new study led by Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) researchers.

Medicare costs analysis indicates need for decreasing use of biopsies as diagnosis tool for lung cancer

Biopsies were found to be the most costly tool prescribed in lung cancer diagnosis, according to research presented today at the 2014 Chicago Multidisciplinary Symposium in Thoracic Oncology.

Doubt cast over air pollution link between childhood leukemia and power lines

Researchers from the UK have called into question a theory suggesting that a previously reported risk of leukaemia among children born close to overhead power lines could be caused by an alteration to surrounding air pollution.

New research show that bats will hang out with their friends this Halloween

New research has shown that despite moving house frequently, bats choose to roost with the same social groups of 'friends'.

Blocking a fork in the road to DNA replication

A team of Whitehead Institute scientists has discovered the surprising manner in which an enigmatic protein known as SUUR acts to control gene copy number during DNA replication.

Why scratching makes you itch more

Turns out your mom was right: Scratching an itch only makes it worse. New research from scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis indicates that scratching causes the brain to release serotonin, which intensifies the itch sensation.

Reconstruction of a patterned piece of spinal cord in 3-D culture

Professor Elly Tanaka and her research group at the DFG Research Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden - Cluster of Excellence at the TU Dresden (CRTD) demonstrated for the first time the in vitro growth of a piece of spinal cord in three dimensions from mouse embryonic stem cells.

BPA exposure by infants may increase later risk of food intolerance

If it seems like more people are allergic to, or intolerant of, more and different kinds of foods than ever before, there might be a reason why.

New guidelines for reproductive & developmental toxicity testing of oligonucleotide drugs

Oligonucleotide-based therapeutics present unique challenges when it comes to testing their potential to cause reproductive and developmental harm. New consensus guidelines for toxicity testing that take into consideration the combined chemical and biological characteristics of these novel biopharmaceuticals are presented in Nucleic Acid Therapeutics, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. publishers.

Researchers probe link between newborn health and vitamin A

The impact vitamin A has on newborns is virtually unknown, but Penn State nutrition researchers have published two papers that may provide a framework for future investigations of the vitamin and neonatal health.

Clock gene dysregulation may explain overactive bladder

If you think sleep problems and bladder problems are a fact of life in old age, you may be right. A new report appearing in the November 2014 issue of The FASEB Journal, shows that our sleep-wake cycles are genetically connected to our bladder, and disruptions to one may cause problems with the other.

Clinical Practice Guidelines Address Multimodality Treatment for Esophageal Cancer

The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) has released new clinical practice guidelines for treating cancer of the esophagus and gastroesophageal junction (area where the esophagus meets the stomach).

NYU research: Majority of high school seniors favor more liberal marijuana policies

The United States is undergoing a drastic change in marijuana policy. Two states legalized recreational use for adults in 2012, and next week, citizens of Oregon, Alaska and the District of Columbia will vote for or against legalization in their area.

Is space tourism safe or do civilians risk health effects?

Several companies are developing spacecraft designed to take ordinary citizens, not astronauts, on short trips into space.

Reef-builders with a sense of harmony

Cold-water corals of the species Lophelia pertusa are able to fuse skeletons of genetically distinct individuals. On dives with JAGO, a research submersible stationed at GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, scientists from Scotland and Germany made the first-ever discovery of branches of different colours that had flawlessly merged.

Study shows vibrating insoles could reduce falls among seniors

Findings published in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation show that imperceptible vibratory stimulation applied to the soles of the feet improved balance by reducing postural sway and gait variability in elderly study participants.

Himalayan Viagra fuels caterpillar fungus gold rush

Overwhelmed by speculators trying to cash-in on a prized medicinal fungus known as Himalayan Viagra, two isolated Tibetan communities have managed to do at the local level what world leaders often fail to do on a global scale - implement a successful system for the sustainable harvest of a precious natural resource, suggests new research from Washington University in St. Louis.

Biology meets geometry

Architecture imitates life, at least when it comes to those spiral ramps in multistory parking garages. Stacked and connecting parallel levels, the ramps are replications of helical structures found in a ubiquitous membrane structure in the cells of the body.

Experts recommend tumor removal as first-line treatment for acromegaly

The Endocrine Society today issued a Clinical Practice Guideline (CPG) for the diagnosis and treatment of acromegaly, a rare condition caused by excess growth hormone in the blood.

The geometry of RNA

Messenger, transfer, ribosomal... there's more than one type of RNA. The difference lies not only in the sequence of the nucleotides, the "beads" that form the strand, but also in the three-dimensional structure that this long molecule takes on.

New tech aims to improve communication between dogs and humans

North Carolina State University researchers have developed a suite of technologies that can be used to enhance communication between dogs and humans, which has applications in everything from search and rescue to service dogs to training our pets.

Even mild depressive symptoms result in poorer lumbar spinal stenosis surgery outcome

Even mild depressive symptoms can weaken the outcome of lumbar spinal stenosis surgery, according to a recent study completed at the University of Eastern Finland and Kuopio University Hospital. Patients with depressive symptoms had a weaker functional capacity post-surgery even five years after surgery.

Sadness lasts longer than other emotions

Why is it that you can feel sad up to 240 times longer than you do feeling ashamed, surprised, irritated or even bored?

New optimal screening threshold for gestational diabetes in twin pregnancies

A common complication, gestational diabetes affects approximately 6-7% of pregnant women. Currently, screening is done in two steps to help identify patients most at risk; however, the suggested levels for additional testing were based on singleton pregnancy data.

Cochrane Review of RDT for diagnosis of drug resistant TB

Researchers from the Cochrane Infectious Diseases Group, hosted at LSTM, have conducted an independent review to examine the diagnostic accuracy of the GenoType® MTBDRsl assay for the detection of resistance to second-line anti-tuberculosis drugs.

Making lab-grown tissues stronger

Lab-grown tissues could one day provide new treatments for injuries and damage to the joints, including articular cartilage, tendons and ligaments.

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