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If you're using drugs, scientists want to help you avoid addiction

2015-08-03
Abstinence is the best way to avoid drug addiction. But in many societies, drug use is the norm, not the exception, especially by youth. What keeps the majority of users from becoming addicted? How drugs are taken has something to do with it, according to pharmacology researchers at the University of Montreal. "Why do some drug users become addicts? The amount of drugs they take over time is one factor, but the speed with which the substance enters and exits the brain can be just as important," explained Professor Anne-Noël Samaha, who supervised the study into how ...

Want to boost your toddler's development? Put a toy chicken on your head!

2015-08-03
Parents who joke and pretend with their children are teaching them important life skills, research by the University of Sheffield has revealed. The study showed that children as young as 16 months old naturally learn the difference between joking and pretending by picking up on their parents' cues. It also showed understanding the difference between the two allows children the opportunity to learn, imagine, bond, and think in abstract ways. Researchers from the University's Department of Psychology carried out two studies; one involved parents being asked to joke ...

Childhood cancer cells drain immune system's batteries

2015-08-01
Cancer cells in neuroblastoma contain a molecule that breaks down a key energy source for the body's immune cells, leaving them too physically drained to fight the disease, according to new research published in the journal Cancer Research today (Saturday). Cancer Research UK-funded scientists have discovered that the cells in neuroblastoma - a rare type of childhood cancer that affects nerve cells - produce a molecule that breaks down arginine, one of the building blocks of proteins and an essential energy source for immune cells. This molecule - called 'arginase' ...

New design brings world's first solar battery to performance milestone

New design brings worlds first solar battery to performance milestone
2015-08-01
COLUMBUS, Ohio--After debuting the world's first solar air battery last fall, researchers at The Ohio State University have now reached a new milestone. In the Journal of the American Chemical Society, they report that their patent-pending design--which combines a solar cell and a battery into a single device--now achieves a 20 percent energy savings over traditional lithium-iodine batteries. The 20 percent comes from sunlight, which is captured by a unique solar panel on top of the battery, explained Yiying Wu, professor of chemistry and biochemistry at Ohio State. The ...

There may be a complex market living in your gut

2015-08-01
CLAREMONT, Calif. -- Conventional theories used by economists for the past 150 years to explain how societies buy, sell, and trade goods and services may be able to unlock mysteries about the behavior of microbial life on earth, according to a study by researchers from Claremont Graduate University, Boston University, and Columbia University. The findings, published July 29 in the open access journal PLOS ONE, provide new insight into the behavior of the planet's oldest and tiniest life forms, and also create a new framework for examining larger questions about biological ...

Agrarian settlements drive severe tropical deforestation across the Amazon

2015-07-31
Resettlement projects in the Amazon are driving severe tropical deforestation - according to new research from the University of East Anglia and Câmara dos Deputados (the Brazilian Lower House). Widely hailed as a socially responsible and 'innocuous' strategy of land redistribution, agrarian reform settlements have been created throughout the Brazilian Amazon since the early 1970s at an unprecedented scale. But a study published today in PLOS ONE reveals that these farmer resettlement projects are far from environmentally friendly or socio-economically beneficial. ...

How bees naturally vaccinate their babies

How bees naturally vaccinate their babies
2015-07-31
Tempe, Ariz. -- When it comes to vaccinating their babies, bees don't have a choice -- they naturally immunize their offspring against specific diseases found in their environments. And now for the first time, scientists have discovered how they do it. Researchers from Arizona State University, University of Helsinki, University of Jyväskylä and Norwegian University of Life Sciences made the discovery after studying a bee blood protein called vitellogenin. The scientists found that this protein plays a critical, but previously unknown role in providing bee babies ...

Gold-diamond nanodevice for hyperlocalized cancer therapy

2015-07-31
Precise targeting biological molecules, such as cancer cells, for treatment is a challenge, due to their sheer size. Now ,Taiwanese scientists have proposed an advanced solution, based on a novel combination of previously used techniques, which can potentially be applied to thermal cancer therapy. Pei-Chang Tsai from the Institute of Atomic and Molecular Sciences, at the Academia Sinica, Taipei, and colleagues just published in EPJ QT an improved sensing technique for nanometre-scale heating and temperature sensing. Using a chemical method to attach gold nanorods to the ...

Gout medications might be useful in treating alcohol-induced liver disease

2015-07-31
New research in mice shows that two commonly used gout medications, which target uric acid and adenosine triphosphate, may offer protection from alcohol-induced liver disease and inflammation. These findings suggest that clinical trials in humans with alcoholic liver disease should be considered. The report appears in the August 2015 issue of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology. "This study should ultimately help patients with alcoholic liver disease to prevent and/or treat acute episodes of alcoholic hepatitis, a potentially lethal condition," said Gyongyi Szabo, M.D., ...

Sugar in your cuppa ... not just about a sweet tooth!

2015-07-31
New research by scientists at the University of York has given tea and coffee drinkers new information about why their favourite drinks taste as they do. The study led by Dr Seishi Shimizu, of the York Structural Biology Laboratory in the University's Department of Chemistry, shows that sugar has an important effect in reducing the bitterness of tea and coffee, not just by masking it but by influencing the fundamental chemistry. The research published in Food and Function reveals new insights into the way in which caffeine, sugar and water interact at the molecular ...

Findings in research on photoaging could reverse negative impact of ultraviolet radiation

2015-07-31
While all human organs undergo normal, chronological aging, human skin undergoes an additional type of aging because of its direct contact with the environment. The environmental factor that ages human skin more than any other is UV radiation (UVR) from the sun, a process is called photoaging. Unlike chronological aging, which occurs exclusively with the passage of time, photoaging occurs when skin is repeatedly exposed to UV radiation from the sun. Over time, the sun's ultraviolet (UV) light damages the fibers in the skin called elastin. When these fibers break down, ...

Self-assembling, biomimetic membranes may aid water filtration

2015-07-31
A synthetic membrane that self assembles and is easily produced may lead to better gas separation, water purification, drug delivery and DNA recognition, according to an international team of researchers. This biomimetic membrane is composed of lipids -- fat molecules -- and protein-appended molecules that form water channels that transfer water at the rate of natural membranes, and self-assembles into 2-dimensional structures with parallel channels. "Nature does things very efficiently and transport proteins are amazing machines present in biological membranes," said ...

Perfectionism linked to burnout at work, school and sports, research finds

2015-07-31
Concerns about perfectionism can sabotage success at work, school or on the playing field, leading to stress, burnout and potential health problems, according to new research published by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology. In the first meta-analysis of the relationship between perfectionism and burnout, researchers analyzed the findings from 43 previous studies conducted over the past 20 years. It turns out perfectionism isn't all bad. One aspect of perfectionism called "perfectionistic strivings" involves the setting of high personal standards and ...

Researchers identify new cancer marker and possible therapeutic target for breast cancer

2015-07-31
(Boston)--A new way to detect - and perhaps treat - one of the deadliest types of breast cancer has been found. Led by researchers at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM), the study appears online in Breast Cancer Research. Basal-like breast cancer (BLBC) is an aggressive form of breast cancer and is often referred to as "triple negative," which means it is not responsive to the common medical therapeutics. BLBC is more likely to metastasize - or spread to different areas of the body - quicker and earlier, and is associated with a poor prognosis. Women younger ...

Young adults with autism show improved social function following UCLA skills program

2015-07-31
Researchers at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA have found that a social skills program for high-functioning young adults with autism spectrum disorder significantly improved the participants' ability to engage with their peers. In the study, the largest randomized controlled trial to show improved social functioning in young adults with autism, the participants' advances continued to be seen 16 weeks after the program's conclusion, and were even augmented by other improvements such as increased empathy and greater responsibility. The ...

Drinking at conception boosts diabetes risk for baby: UQ study

2015-07-31
Babies conceived by women who drink alcohol around the time of conception face dramatically increased risks of type 2 diabetes and obesity in early middle age, a University of Queensland study has found. The discovery was made by School of Biomedical Sciences scientist Associate Professor Karen Moritz during research into how events - particularly alcohol consumption - before and during pregnancy affect the long-term health of offspring. Using a laboratory rat model, Dr Moritz and PhD student Ms Emelie Gardebjer discovered that the equivalent of five standard drinks ...

Gold-diamond nanodevice for hyperlocalised cancer therapy

2015-07-31
Precise targeting biological molecules, such as cancer cells, for treatment is a challenge, due to their sheer size. Now ,Taiwanese scientists have proposed an advanced solution, based on a novel combination of previously used techniques, which can potentially be applied to thermal cancer therapy. Pei-Chang Tsai from the Institute of Atomic and Molecular Sciences, at the Academia Sinica, Taipei, and colleagues just published in EPJ QT an improved sensing technique for nanometre-scale heating and temperature sensing. Using a chemical method to attach gold nanorods to the ...

Shaping the hilly landscapes of a semi-conductor nanoworld

2015-07-31
Nanoscale worlds sometimes resemble macroscale roller-coaster style hills, placed at the tip of a series of hexagons. Surprisingly, these nanohills stem from the self-organisation of particles - the very particles that have been eroded and subsequently redeposited following the bombardment of semi-conductors with ion beams. Now, a new theoretical study constitutes the first exhaustive investigation of the redeposition effect on the evolution of the roughening and smoothing of two-dimensional surfaces bombarded by multiple ions. The results demonstrate that the redeposition ...

Solid state physics: Quantum matter stuck in unrest

2015-07-31
Using ultracold atoms trapped in light crystals, scientists from the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich, the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, and the Weizmann Institute observe a novel state of matter that never thermalizes. What happens if one mixes cold and hot water? After some initial dynamics, one is left with lukewarm water--the system has thermalized to a new thermal equilibrium. This is true not only when we pour cold milk into our hot coffee, but it is also what happens for almost all interacting systems we know in nature: in the long run ...

Birds, bugs and blanket bogs -- Scientists warn an entire eco-system is under threat

2015-07-31
Several rare upland bird species are being put at risk together with other ecosystem functions by the effects of climate change on the UK's blanket bogs, ecologists at the University of York have discovered. Most of our drinking water comes from these upland peats and several iconic bird species such as the dunlin, golden plover and red grouse depend on these wetland habitats for nesting and feeding. The scientists warn that climate change threatens these habitats, not only from rising temperatures increasing peat decomposition, but also via altered rainfall patterns ...

RNA-binding protein influences key mediator of cellular inflammation and stress responses

2015-07-31
Messenger (mRNA) molecules are a key component of protein biosynthesis. They are first transcribed as a "working copy" of the DNA and then translated into protein molecules. RNA-binding proteins such as RC3H1 (also known as ROQUIN) regulate the degradation of the mRNA molecules and thus prevent the production of specific proteins. Researchers at the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association (MDC) have now shown that ROQUIN binds several thousand mRNA molecules. They demonstrated that ROQUIN also influences the gene regulator NF-kappaB, ...

Parents inclined to misjudge child happiness based on personal feelings

2015-07-31
Parents' estimations of their children's happiness differ significantly from the child's own assessment of their feelings, a study has shown. Research by psychologists at Plymouth University showed parents of 10 and 11-year-olds consistently overestimated their child's happiness, while those with 15 and 16-year-olds were inclined to underestimate. Published in the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, the study attributed the discrepancies to an "egocentric bias" through which parents rely too heavily on their own feelings in assessing the happiness of the family ...

Butterflies heat up the field of solar research

2015-07-31
The humble butterfly could hold the key to unlocking new techniques to make solar energy cheaper and more efficient, pioneering new research has shown. A team of experts from the University of Exeter has examined new techniques for generating photovoltaic (PV) energy - or ways in which to convert light into power. They showed that by mimicking the v-shaped posture adopted by Cabbage White butterflies to heat up their flight muscles before take-off, the amount of power produced by solar panels can increase by almost 50 per cent. Crucially, by replicating this 'wing-like' ...

Exercise during adolescence linked to lowered risk of death later

2015-07-31
Main Finding(s): Women who participated in exercise as adolescents had a reduced risk of death from cancer and all causes in their middle and older ages. Journal in Which the Study was Published: Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research Author: Sarah J. Nechuta, MPH, PhD, assistant professor of medicine at Vanderbilt Epidemiology Center and Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center in Nashville, Tennessee Background: Understanding the long-term impact of modifiable lifestyle factors such as exercise in adolescence ...

Get up for your heart health and move for your waistline

2015-07-31
More time spent standing rather than sitting could improve your blood sugar, fats in the blood and cholesterol levels, according to a new study published today (Friday) in the European Heart Journal [1]. The study also shows that replacing time spent sitting with time walking could have additional benefits for your waistline and body mass index (BMI). Researchers in Australia gave activity monitors to 782 men and women, aged 36-80 years, who were taking part in the Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle Study. The monitors were capable of determining, very accurately, ...
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