Thursday, February 28, 2013

ScienceDaily: Top Science News

ScienceDaily: Top Science News Top science news, featured on ScienceDaily's home page.en-usWed, 27 Feb 2013 19:23:17 ESTWed, 27 Feb 2013 19:23:17 EST60ScienceDaily: Top Science News For more science articles, visit ScienceDaily.Ectopic eyes function without natural connection to brain For the first time, scientists have shown that transplanted eyes located far outside the head in a vertebrate animal model can confer vision without a direct neural connection to the brain. Biologists used a frog model to shed new light ? literally ? on one of the major questions in regenerative medicine and sensory augmentation research.Wed, 27 Feb 2013 18:33:33 EST the human genome: First step-by-step look at transcription initiation Researchers have achieved a major advance in understanding how genetic information is transcribed from DNA to RNA by providing the first step-by-step look at the biomolecular machinery that reads the human genome.Wed, 27 Feb 2013 15:13:13 EST limbs and nervous system of one of Earth's earliest animals discovered Unique fossils literally 'lift the lid' on ancient creature's head to expose one of the earliest examples of food manipulating limbs in evolutionary history, dating from around 530 million years ago.Wed, 27 Feb 2013 13:44:44 EST walks again after surgery to reverse muscle paralysis After four years of confinement to a wheelchair, Rick Constantine, 58, is now walking again after undergoing an unconventional surgery to restore the use of his leg.Wed, 27 Feb 2013 13:43:43 EST brains coordinate singing with intricate timing As a bird sings, some neurons in its brain prepare to make the next sounds while others are synchronized with the current notes?a coordination of physical actions and brain activity that is needed to produce complex movements. The finding that may lead to new ways of understanding human speech production.Wed, 27 Feb 2013 13:43:43 EST can have immune systems: A pirate phage commandeers the immune system of bacteria A new study reports that a viral predator of the cholera bacteria has stolen the functional immune system of bacteria and is using it against its bacterial host. This provides the first evidence that this type of virus, the bacteriophage, can acquire an adaptive immune system. The study has implications for phage therapy, the use of phages to treat bacterial diseases.Wed, 27 Feb 2013 13:43:43 EST's NuSTAR helps solve riddle of black hole spin Two X-ray space observatories, NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) and the European Space Agency's XMM-Newton, have teamed up to measure definitively, for the first time, the spin rate of a black hole with a mass 2 million times that of our sun.Wed, 27 Feb 2013 13:25:25 EST diet contributes to exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals: Phthalates and BPA While water bottles may tout BPA-free labels and personal care products declare phthalates not among their ingredients, these assurances may not be enough. According to a new study, we may be exposed to these chemicals in our diet, even if our diet is organic and we prepare, cook, and store foods in non-plastic containers. Children may be most vulnerable.Wed, 27 Feb 2013 12:19:19 EST'Network' analysis of brain may explain features of autism A look at how the brain processes information finds distinct pattern in autistic children. Using EEGs to track the brain's electrical cross-talk, researchers found structural difference in brain connections. Compared with neurotypical children, those with autism have multiple redundant connections between neighboring brain areas at expense of long-distance links. The study, using "network analysis" like with airlines or electrical grids, may help in understanding some classic autistic behaviors.Wed, 27 Feb 2013 10:20:20 EST A chance for highly endangered mammals Oocytes of lions, tigers and other cat species survive the preservation in liquid nitrogen. Scientists have now succeeded in carrying out cryopreservation of felid ovary cortex.Wed, 27 Feb 2013 10:19:19 EST about the future may lead to longer, healthier life Older people who have low expectations for a satisfying future may be more likely to live longer, healthier lives than those who see brighter days ahead, according to new research.Wed, 27 Feb 2013 10:19:19 EST on animal memory opens doors to research on memory impairment diseases A new study offers the first evidence of source memory in a nonhuman animal. The findings have fascinating implications, both in evolutionary terms and for future research into the biological underpinnings of memory, as well as the treatment of diseases marked by memory failure such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Huntington's, or disorders such as schizophrenia, PTSD and depression.Wed, 27 Feb 2013 08:59:59 EST fabrication technique could provide breakthrough for solar energy systems Scientists are using a novel fabrication process to create ultra-efficient solar energy rectennas capable of harvesting more than 70 percent of the sun's electromagnetic radiation and simultaneously converting it into usable electric power.Wed, 27 Feb 2013 08:59:59 EST Greek observatory sheds light on old star Continuing a tradition stretching back more than 25 centuries, astronomers have used the new 2.3-meter 'Aristarchos' telescope, sited at Helmos Observatory (2340m high) in the Pelοponnese Mountains in Greece, to determine the distance to and history of an enigmatic stellar system, discovering it to likely be a binary star cocooned within an exotic nebula.Wed, 27 Feb 2013 08:58:58 EST much vitamin D during pregnancy can cause food allergies, research suggests Pregnant women should avoid taking vitamin D supplements, new research suggests. Substitution appears to raise the risk of children developing a food allergy after birth.Wed, 27 Feb 2013 08:58:58 EST risk of sleep disorder narcolepsy in children who received swine flu vaccine A study finds an increased risk of narcolepsy in children and adolescents who received the A/H1N1 2009 influenza vaccine (Pandemrix) during the pandemic in England.Tue, 26 Feb 2013 19:40:40 EST sea turtle could be extinct within 20 years at last stronghold in the Pacific Ocean An international team led by the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) has documented a 78 percent decline in the number of nests of the critically endangered leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) at the turtle's last stronghold in the Pacific Ocean.Tue, 26 Feb 2013 14:12:12 EST test holographic technique for restoring vision Researchers are testing the power of holography to artificially stimulate cells in the eye, with hopes of developing a new strategy for bionic vision restoration. Computer-generated holography, they say, could be used in conjunction with a technique called optogenetics, which uses gene therapy to deliver light-sensitive proteins to damaged retinal nerve cells. In conditions such as retinitis pigmentosa (RP), these light-sensing cells degenerate and lead to blindness.Tue, 26 Feb 2013 13:42:42 EST well could help spread disease, water flea study suggests Plentiful food can accelerate the spread of infections, scientists have shown in a study of water fleas. Scientists studying bacterial infections in tiny water fleas have discovered that increasing their supply of food can speed up the spread of infection.Tue, 26 Feb 2013 12:05:05 EST glass possible: In probing mysteries of glass, researchers find a key to toughness Glass doesn't have to be brittle. Scientists propose a way of predicting whether a given glass will be brittle or ductile -- a property typically associated with metals like steel or aluminum -- and assert that any glass could have either quality.Tue, 26 Feb 2013 11:40:40 EST the (quantum) dots: First viable high-speed quantum computer moves closer Scientists have developed a new method that better preserves the units necessary to power lightning-fast electronics, known as qubits. Hole spins, rather than electron spins, can keep quantum bits in the same physical state up to 10 times longer than before, the report finds.Tue, 26 Feb 2013 11:40:40 EST discovery could hold key to causes of inherited diseases Fresh insights into the protective seal that surrounds the DNA of our cells could help develop treatments for inherited muscle, brain, bone and skin disorders. Researchers have discovered that the proteins within this coating -- known as the nuclear envelope -- vary greatly between cells in different organs of the body.Tue, 26 Feb 2013 11:38:38 EST battery completes stretchable electronics package: Can stretch, twist and bend -- and return to normal shape Researchers have demonstrated a stretchable lithium-ion battery -- a flexible device capable of powering their innovative stretchable electronics. The battery can stretch up to 300 percent of its original size and still function -- even when stretched, folded, twisted and mounted on a human elbow. The battery enables true integration of electronics and power into a small, stretchable package that is wirelessly rechargeable.Tue, 26 Feb 2013 11:38:38 EST digital holography allows firefighters to see through flames, image moving people Firefighters now have a new tool that could help save lives. A team of researchers have developed a new technique using digital holography that can "see" people through intense flames -- the first time a holographic recording of a live person has been achieved while the body is moving. The new technique allows imaging through both.Tue, 26 Feb 2013 10:14:14 EST for an artificial brain: Scientists experiment with memristors that imitate natural nerves Scientists have long been dreaming about building a computer that would work like a brain. This is because a brain is far more energy-saving than a computer, it can learn by itself, and it doesn't need any programming. Scientists are experimenting with memristors -- electronic microcomponents that imitate natural nerves.Tue, 26 Feb 2013 10:14:14 EST source of human kidney cells created Researchers have successfully generated human kidney cells from human embryonic stem cells in vitro1. Specifically, they produced the renal cells under artificial conditions in the lab without using animals or organs. This has not been possible until now.Tue, 26 Feb 2013 09:21:21 EST observed properties of vacuums: Light particles illuminate the vacuum Researchers have succeeded in showing experimentally that vacuums have properties not previously observed. According to the laws of quantum mechanics, it is a state with abundant potentials. Vacuums contain momentarily appearing and disappearing virtual pairs, which can be converted into detectable light particles.Tue, 26 Feb 2013 09:21:21 EST reinforces learning: Children?s brains transform subconsciously learned material into active knowledge During sleep, our brains store what we have learned during the day a process even more effective in children than in adults, new research shows.Tue, 26 Feb 2013 08:11:11 EST diet helps cut risk of heart attack, stroke: Results of PREDIMED study presented Results of a major study aimed at assessing the efficacy of the Mediterranean diet in the primary prevention of cardiovascular diseases show that such a diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or tree nuts reduces by 30 percent the risk of suffering a cardiovascular death, a myocardial infarction or a stroke.Mon, 25 Feb 2013 18:15:15 EST levels of several toxic metals found in children with autism Researchers have found significantly higher levels of toxic metals in children with autism, compared to typical children. They hypothesize that reducing early exposure to toxic metals may help lessen symptoms of autism, though they say this hypotheses needs further examination.Mon, 25 Feb 2013 16:22:22 EST stem cells grown in culture, transplanted with demonstrated therapeutic benefit For decades scientists around the world have attempted to regenerate primary liver cells known as hepatocytes because of their numerous biomedical applications, including hepatitis research, drug metabolism and toxicity studies, as well as transplantation for cirrhosis and other chronic liver conditions. But no lab in the world has been successful in identifying and growing liver stem cells in culture -- using any available technique -- until now.Mon, 25 Feb 2013 15:31:31 EST extremes provoked by trapping of giant waves in the atmosphere The world has suffered from severe regional weather extremes in recent years, such as the heat wave in the United States in 2011. Behind these devastating individual events there is a common physical cause, propose scientists in a new study. It suggests that human-made climate change repeatedly disturbs the patterns of atmospheric flow around the globe's Northern hemisphere through a subtle resonance mechanism.Mon, 25 Feb 2013 15:31:31 EST to climate cycles dug from South Pole snow pit Particles from the upper atmosphere trapped in a deep pile of Antarctic snow hold clear chemical traces of global meteorological events, climate scientists from France have found. Anomalies in oxygen found in sulfate particles coincide with several episodes of the world-wide disruption of weather known as El Nino and can be distinguished from similar signals left by the eruption of huge volcanoes, the team reports.Mon, 25 Feb 2013 15:31:31 EST in diets of people in coastal Peru dates to 5,000 years ago Scientists have concluded that during the Late Archaic, maize (corn) was a primary component in the diet of people living in the Norte Chico region of Peru, an area of remarkable cultural florescence in 3rd millennium B.C. Up until now, the prevailing theory was that marine resources, not agriculture and corn, provided the economic engine behind the development of civilization in the Andean region of Peru.Mon, 25 Feb 2013 15:31:31 EST may affect the developing brain by disrupting gene regulation Environmental exposure to bisphenol A (BPA), a widespread chemical found in plastics and resins, may suppress a gene vital to nerve cell function and to the development of the central nervous system, according to a new study.Mon, 25 Feb 2013 15:31:31 EST evidence for extraterrestrial life might come from dying stars Even dying stars could host planets with life -- and if such life exists, we might be able to detect it within the next decade. This encouraging result comes from a new theoretical study of Earth-like planets orbiting white dwarf stars. Researchers found that we could detect oxygen in the atmosphere of a white dwarf's planet much more easily than for an Earth-like planet orbiting a Sun-like star.Mon, 25 Feb 2013 13:16:16 EST of spirituality can induce liberal attitudes, researchers find People become more politically liberal immediately after practising a spiritual exercise such as meditation, researchers have found.Mon, 25 Feb 2013 13:15:15 EST maps depict potential worldwide coral bleaching by 2056 New maps by scientists show how rising sea temperatures are likely to affect all coral reefs in the form of annual coral bleaching events under different emission scenarios. If carbon emissions stay on the current path most of the world's coral reefs (74 percent) are projected to experience coral bleaching conditions annually by 2045, results of the study show.Mon, 25 Feb 2013 12:20:20 EST reveals autism risk at birth, study finds Low-birth-weight babies with a particular brain abnormality are at greater risk for autism, according to a new study that could provide doctors a signpost for early detection of the still poorly understood disorder.Mon, 25 Feb 2013 11:25:25 EST of the pathogens: Parasite metabolism can foretell disease ranges under climate change Researchers developed a model that can help determine the future range of nearly any disease-causing parasite under climate change, even if little is known about the organism. Their method calculates how the projected temperature change for an area would alter the creature's metabolism and life cycle.Mon, 25 Feb 2013 11:25:25 EST mothers induce parenting behaviors in fathers with ultra-sonic noises Researchers have demonstrated the existence of communicative signalling from female mice that induces male parental behavior.Mon, 25 Feb 2013 10:21:21 EST'NanoVelcro' device to grab single cancer cells from blood: Improvement enables 'liquid biopsies' for metastatic melanoma Researchers have refined a method they previously developed for capturing and analyzing cancer cells that break away from patients' tumors and circulate in the blood. With the improvements to their device, which uses a Velcro-like nanoscale technology, they can now detect and isolate single cancer cells from patient blood samples for analysis.Mon, 25 Feb 2013 09:22:22 EST develop a whole new way of harvesting energy from the sun A new method of harvesting the sun's energy is emerging. Though still in its infancy, the research promises to convert sunlight into energy using a process based on metals that are more robust than many of the semiconductors used in conventional methods.Sun, 24 Feb 2013 14:29:29 EST algorithm breakthrough: Performs a true calculation for the first time Scientists have demonstrated a quantum algorithm that performs a true calculation for the first time. Quantum algorithms could one day enable the design of new materials, pharmaceuticals or clean energy devices.Sun, 24 Feb 2013 14:28:28 EST of continents hidden under lava in Indian Ocean: New micro-continent detected under Reunion and Mauritius The islands Reunion and Mauritius, both well-known tourist destinations, are hiding a micro-continent, which has now been discovered. The continent fragment known as Mauritia detached about 60 million years ago while Madagascar and India drifted apart, and had been hidden under huge masses of lava.Sun, 24 Feb 2013 14:27:27 EST ultimate chimp challenge: Chimps do challenging puzzles for the fun of it Scientists are putting their bananas away, because chimpanzees don't need any persuading when it comes to getting stuck into brain games.Sun, 24 Feb 2013 12:46:46 EST cells to fight diabetes For years researchers have been searching for a way to treat diabetics by reactivating their insulin-producing beta cells, with limited success. The "reprogramming" of related alpha cells into beta cells may one day offer a novel and complementary approach for treating type 2 diabetes. Treating human and mouse cells with compounds that modify cell nuclear material called chromatin induced the expression of beta cell genes in alpha cells, according to a new study.Sat, 23 Feb 2013 11:13:13 EST from cockroaches could inform robotics Running cockroaches start to recover from being shoved sideways before their dawdling nervous system kicks in to tell their legs what to do, researchers have found. These new insights on how biological systems stabilize could one day help engineers design steadier robots and improve doctors' understanding of human gait abnormalities.Fri, 22 Feb 2013 14:32:32 EST of stem cells found in a human parasite Researchers have now found stem cells inside the parasite that cause schistosomiasis, one of the most common parasitic infections in the world. These stem cells can regenerate worn-down organs, which may help explain how they can live for years or even decades inside their host.Fri, 22 Feb 2013 14:31:31 EST evolution given humans unique brain structures? Humans have at least two functional networks in their cerebral cortex not found in rhesus monkeys. This means that new brain networks were likely added in the course of evolution from primate ancestor to human.Fri, 22 Feb 2013 12:07:07 EST flies force their young to drink alcohol for their own good When fruit flies sense parasitic wasps in their environment, they lay their eggs in an alcohol-soaked environment, essentially forcing their larvae to consume booze as a drug to combat the deadly wasps. The finding adds to the evidence that using toxins in the environment to medicate offspring may be common across the animal kingdom.Fri, 22 Feb 2013 10:29:29 EST premiere of muscle and nerve controlled arm prosthesis Electrodes have been permanently implanted in nerves and muscles of an amputee to directly control an arm prosthesis, for the first time. The result allows natural control of an advanced robotic prosthesis, similarly to the motions of a natural limb.Fri, 22 Feb 2013 07:57:57 EST study: Meet virus' new enemy Virologists have discovered a new class of molecular compounds capable of killing the influenza virus. Working on the premise that too much of a good thing can be a killer, the scientists have advanced previous researchers' methods of manipulating an enzyme that is key to how influenza replicates and spreads. The new compounds will lead to a new generation of anti-influenza drugs that the virus' strains can't adapt to, and resist, as easily as they do Tamiflu.Thu, 21 Feb 2013 19:42:42 EST physics research sheds new light on possible 'fifth force of nature' In a breakthrough for the field of particle physics, researchers have established new limits on what scientists call "long-range spin-spin interactions" between atomic particles. These interactions have been proposed by theoretical physicists but have not yet been seen. Their observation would constitute the discovery of a "fifth force of nature" (in addition to the four known fundamental forces: gravity, weak, strong and electromagnetic) and would suggest the existence of new particles, beyond those presently described by the Standard Model of particle physics.Thu, 21 Feb 2013 19:27:27 EST make older adults less forgetful in memory tests Scientists have found compelling evidence that older adults can eliminate forgetfulness and perform as well as younger adults on memory tests. The cognitive boost comes from a surprising source -- a distraction learning strategy.Thu, 21 Feb 2013 14:39:39 EST bat wing engineered: Researchers uncover flight secrets of real bats Researchers have developed a robotic bat wing that is providing valuable new information about dynamics of flapping flight in real bats. From an engineering perspective, the researchers hope the data may make for better aircraft, especially micro air vehicles. From a biological and evolutionary perspective, building the robot offered the researchers a new perspective on how bat anatomy is adapted to deal with the forces generated by flapping wings.Thu, 21 Feb 2013 14:39:39 EST point to thawing of Siberia: Thaw in Siberia's permafrost may accelerate global warming Evidence from Siberian caves suggests that a global temperature rise of 1.5 degrees Celsius could see permanently frozen ground thaw over a large area of Siberia, threatening release of carbon from soils, and damage to natural and human environments.Thu, 21 Feb 2013 14:39:39 EST signs go electric: Bumblebees find and distinguish electric signals from flowers Flowers' methods of communicating are at least as sophisticated as any devised by an advertising agency, according to a new study. The research shows for the first time that pollinators such as bumblebees are able to find and distinguish electric signals given out by flowers. However, for any advertisement to be successful, it has to reach, and be perceived by, its target audience.Thu, 21 Feb 2013 14:39:39 EST 'passport' helps nanoparticles get past immune system The immune system exists to destroy foreign objects, whether they are bacteria, viruses, flecks of dirt or splinters. Unfortunately, drug-delivering nanoparticles and implanted devices like pacemakers are just as foreign and subject to the same response. Now, researchers have figured out a way to provide a "passport" for such therapeutic devices, enabling them to bypass the body's security system.Thu, 21 Feb 2013 14:38:38 EST human language could have evolved from birdsong: Researchers propose new theory on deep roots of human speech The sounds uttered by birds offer in several respects the nearest analogy to language," Charles Darwin wrote in "The Descent of Man" (1871), while contemplating how humans learned to speak. Language, he speculated, might have had its origins in singing, which "might have given rise to words expressive of various complex emotions." Linguistics and biology now researchers propose a new theory on the deep roots of human speech.Thu, 21 Feb 2013 14:16:16 EST


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