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Which factors control the height of mountains?
Which forces and mechanisms determine the height of mountains? A group of researchers from Münster and Potsdam has now found a surprising answer: It is not erosion and weathering of rocks that determine the upper limit of mountain massifs, but rather an equilibrium of forces in the Earth's crust. This finding, published in Nature, is fundamentally new and important for the earth sciences. (2020-06-11)

The disease pyramid: Environment, pathogen, individual and microbiome
Researchers from the Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB), the Université de Toulouse and the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) show how the microbial colonisation of the organism influences the interactions between living organisms, the environment and pathogens, using amphibians like frogs as examples. This is basic research for health prophylaxis. (2020-06-11)

A continuous simulation of Holocene effective moisture change in East and Central Asia
Based on a transient climate evolution model, a lake energy balance model and a lake water balance model, the effective moisture change during the Holocene in East and Central Asia is continuously and quantitatively traced by constructing a virtual lake system. Furthermore, according to the changes of precipitation, runoff, evaporation, solar radiation and atmosphere radiation, researchers completed a sensitivity study of effective moisture to climate change. (2020-06-10)

Gene therapy with a new base editing technique restores hearing in mice
Using a base editing technique, researchers from Boston Children's Hospital and the Broad Institute, have restored hearing in mice with a known recessive genetic mutation. Researchers repaired one single error in the Tmc1 gene known to cause a hereditary form of deafness. The one-time repair involved switching one incorrect DNA base in the gene with the correct version. This is the first time base editing has been used for a genetic sensory disorder. (2020-06-03)

Genetic cause of difference in sexual development uncovered
Researchers at the Francis Crick Institute, the Institut Pasteur and their clinical collaborators have identified a cause of testicular tissue developing in people with female chromosomes. (2020-06-01)

New gut-brain link: How gut mucus could help treat brain disorders
Gut bacterial imbalance is linked with many neurological disorders. Now researchers have identified a common thread: changes in gut mucus. It's a new gut-brain connection that opens fresh paths for scientists searching for ways to treat brain disorders by targeting our 'second brain' - the gut. (2020-05-29)

Children's temperament traits affect their motor skills
A recent study among 3- to 7-year-old children showed that children's motor skills benefitted if a child was older and participated in organised sports. Additionally, the study provided information about the importance of temperament traits for motor skills. (2020-05-27)

Exploring the use of 'stretchable' words in social media
An investigation of Twitter messages reveals new insights and tools for studying how people use stretched words, such as 'duuuuude,' 'heyyyyy,' or 'noooooooo.' Tyler Gray and colleagues at the University of Vermont in Burlington present these findings in the open-access journal PLOS ONE on May 27, 2020. (2020-05-27)

Advanced X-ray technology tells us more about Ménière's disease
The organ of balance in the inner ear is surrounded by the hardest bone in the body. Using synchrotron X-rays, researchers at Uppsala University have discovered a drainage system that may be assumed to play a major role in the onset of Ménière's disease, a common and troublesome disorder. These results are published in the journal Scientific Reports. (2020-05-19)

Quantum jump tipping the balance
Measuring tiny differences in mass between different quantum states provides new insights into heavy atoms. (2020-05-07)

Could hotel service robots help the hospitality industry after COVID-19?
A new research study, investigating how service robots in hotels could help redefine leadership and boost the hospitality industry, has taken on new significance in the light of the seismic impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on tourism and business travel. The study by academics at The University of Surrey and MODUL University Vienna focuses on how HR experts perceive service robots and their impact on leadership and HR management in the hotel industry. (2020-05-06)

The unexpected benefits of tailored exercise for aged care residents
Tailored exercise programs led by accredited exercise physiologists don't just provide physical benefits for residents living in aged care -- they improve mental wellbeing and social engagement, according to new Edith Cowan University (ECU) research. (2020-05-06)

Workers happy despite crisis and uncertainty
In general, workers in Switzerland and Germany are coping well with the COVID-19 crisis and the associated social disruption. They are feeling happier and finding it easier to unwind and balance work and private life. They are also more engaged at work than last year, a survey among 600 participants carried out by researchers of the University of Zurich shows. (2020-05-06)

Learn from past to protect oceans
History holds valuable lessons -- and stark warnings -- about how to manage fisheries and other ocean resources, a new study says. (2020-04-24)

Delivery drones instead of postal vans? Study reveals drones still consume too much energy
When delivering parcels, drones often have a poorer energy balance than traditional delivery vans, as shown by a new study conducted at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg. In densely populated areas, drones consume comparatively high amounts of energy and their range is strongly influenced by wind conditions. In rural areas, however, they may be able to compete with diesel-powered delivery vans. The study has been published in the journal Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment. (2020-04-22)

Researchers propose theoretical model to describe capillary force balance at contact line
It provided a theoretical insight into capillary forces at the contact line and validated Young's equation based on a mechanical interpretation. (2020-04-16)

Unusually clear skies drove record loss of Greenland ice in 2019
Last year was one of the worst years on record for the Greenland ice sheet, which shrunk by hundreds of billions of tons. According to a study published today in The Cryosphere, that mind-boggling ice loss wasn't caused by warm temperatures alone; the new study identifies exceptional atmospheric circulation patterns that contributed in a major way to the ice sheet's rapid loss of mass. (2020-04-15)

Self-isolation or keep calm and carry on -- the plant cell's dilemma
Self-isolation in the face of a pandemic may save lives but it comes at the expense of life-sustaining essentials such as transport, communication and connectivity. New research suggests plants must balance similar trade-offs as they respond to pathogens (2020-04-14)

Reducing sulfur dioxide emissions alone cannot substantially decrease air pollution
Due to the reduced emissions of SO2, and considering the high level of NH3 emissions in China, nitrogen dioxide emissions control is more effective in reducing the surface PM2.5 concentration in China. (2020-04-11)

New research suggests in-womb gene correction
New research led by hearing scientists at Oregon Health & Science University suggests an avenue to treat and prevent intractable genetic disorders before birth. Researchers at the Oregon Hearing Research Center, working with mice, injected a specially designed synthetic molecule into the developing inner ear of fetal mice 12 days after fertilization. The study found that the technique corrected the expression of a mutated gene that causes Usher syndrome. (2020-04-05)

Northern peatlands will lose some of their CO2 sink capacity under a warmer climate
A Nordic study sheds new light on the role of northern peatlands in regulating the regional climate. According to the researchers, peatlands will remain carbon sinks until the end of this century, but their sink capacity will be substantially reduced after 2050, if the climate warms significantly. (2020-04-03)

Sound can directly affect balance and lead to risk of falling
Mount Sinai research highlights the need for more hearing checks among groups at high risk for falls. (2020-03-12)

Virtual reality shows promise for early detection of MS balance problems
People with multiple sclerosis (MS) often have a greatly increased risk of falling and injuring themselves even when they feel they're able to walk normally. Now a team led by scientists from the UNC School of Medicine has demonstrated what could be a relatively easy method for the early detection of such problems, using virtual reality. (2020-03-11)

Yale researchers help restore hormonal balance disrupted in metabolic diseases
Many health problems in the developed world stem from the disruption of a delicate metabolic balance between glucose production and energy utilization in the liver. Now Yale scientists report March 4 in the journal Nature that they have discovered the molecular mechanisms that trigger metabolic imbalance between these two distinct but linked processes, a finding with implications for the treatment of diabetes and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. (2020-03-04)

Not only what you eat, but how you eat, may affect your microbiome
Researchers from Tokyo Medical and Dental University (TMDU) found that post-stroke patients re-grow a healthy microbiota in their mouth and gut when they revert to normal food intake from tube feeding. These results emphasize the need to actively normalize feeding in these patients, not only to minimize the risks of tube feeding, but also because oral feeding significantly alters the microbiome of both the mouth and the gut, potentially with beneficial consequences for overall health. (2020-03-03)

Glacier algae creates dark zone at the margins of the Greenland Ice Sheet
New research led by scientists from the University of Bristol has revealed new insights into how the microscopic algae that thrives along the edge of the Greenland Ice Sheet causes widespread darkening. (2020-02-24)

UCLA researchers discover new compound that promotes lung health
A molecule identified by UCLA researchers helps maintain a healthy balance of cells in airway and lung tissue. If the compound, so far only studied in isolated human and mouse cells, has the same effect in people, it may lead to new drugs to treat or prevent lung cancer. (2020-02-18)

Stop or go: The cell maintains its fine motility balance with the help of tropomodulin
Tropomodulin maintains the fine balance between the protein machineries responsible for cell movement and morphogenesis. Disturbances in this balance are common in many diseases, for example, invasive cancers. (2020-02-17)

Tougher start could help captive-bred game birds
Tougher early lives could help captive-bred game birds develop survival skills for adulthood in the wild, new research suggests. (2020-01-29)

Protein AKAP8 suppresses breast cancer metastasis
A protein naturally produced in the body has been found to suppress breast cancer metastasis in animal models of human tumors. (2020-01-27)

Greening at high latitudes may inhibit the expansion of midlatitude deserts
Besides inducing a stronger greenhouse effect, increasing carbon dioxide is also leading to global vegetation greening, especially in high latitudes, by the fertilization effect. A new study finds high-latitude vegetation greening may inhibit the expansion of midlatitude deserts. (2020-01-08)

How the brain balances pleasure and pain
The region of the brain called the ventral pallidum balances signals that either excite or inhibit neurons to influence the motivation of an animal to seek pleasure or avoid pain. An imbalance skews positive vs. negative motivation and may explain behaviors associated with psychiatric disorders like depression or anxiety. (2019-12-31)

Asian black bears' smart strategy for seasonal energy balance
A collaboration led by scientists at Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology (TUAT), Japan, has discovered that daily energy balance of Asian black bears exhibited seasonal change with a twin-peak pattern: up in spring, down to the lowest point in summer, and up again in autumn. From spring to summer, the energy balance is surprisingly negative. Interestingly, bears obtain about 80% of the energy they need in a year by eating acorns in autumn. (2019-12-23)

Study busts 9 to 5 model for academic work
An observational study of academic working hours has identified large differences in how researchers around the world manage their work-life balance. (2019-12-19)

Ice sheet melting: Estimates still uncertain, experts warn
Estimates used by climate scientists to predict the rate at which the world's ice sheets will melt are still uncertain despite advancements in technology, new research shows. (2019-12-18)

Why whales are so big, but not bigger
Whales' large bodies help them consume their prey at high efficiencies, a more than decade-long study of around 300 tagged whales now shows, but their gigantism is limited by prey availability and foraging efficiency. (2019-12-12)

Deciphering the equations of life
Research led by the University of Arizona has resulted in a set of equations that describes and predicts commonalities across life despite its enormous diversity. The new theory allows predictions for organisms that might not be well understood by science. (2019-12-11)

Scientists create 'epigenetic couch potato' mouse
A study in mice shows for the first time that epigenetics -- the molecular mechanisms that determine which genes are turned on or off -- plays a key role in determining an individual's innate drive to exercise. (2019-12-04)

Recovery from years of inactivity requires focusing on doing resistance exercises rapidly
Several years of hospitalisation, one example of muscle inactivity, causes a disproportionate decline in the muscle strength known to affect balance, increase the risk of joint injuries, and hinder movements involved in sports. That's according to research from the University of Roehampton, published today in Experimental Physiology. (2019-11-26)

A sleeping pill that doesn't make you sway: a new targeted insomnia treatment
University of Tsukuba researchers compared the physical and cognitive side effects of two sleep agents that affect two different kinds of brain receptor. Brotizolam, commonly prescribed for insomnia in Japan, affects GABA receptors, which are present throughout the brain. A newer agent, suvorexant, affects receptors that are specifically involved in wakefulness. Suvorexant was just as effective as brotizolam in terms of sleep duration and efficiency, and had fewer body balance side effects. Future large-scale trials are warranted. (2019-11-22)

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