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Environmental 'tipping points' key to predicting extinctions

Environmental tipping points key to predicting extinctions
2014-11-24
Researchers from North Carolina State University have created a model that mimics how differently adapted populations may respond to rapid climate change. Their findings demonstrate that depending on a population's adaptive strategy, even tiny changes in climate variability can create a "tipping point" that sends the population into extinction. Carlos Botero, postdoctoral fellow with the Initiative on Biological Complexity and the Southeast Climate Science Center at NC State and assistant professor of biology at Washington State University, wanted to find out how diverse ...

Penn team's game theory analysis shows how evolution favors cooperation's collapse

2014-11-24
Last year, University of Pennsylvania researchers Alexander J. Stewart and Joshua B. Plotkin published a mathematical explanation for why cooperation and generosity have evolved in nature. Using the classical game theory match-up known as the Prisoner's Dilemma, they found that generous strategies were the only ones that could persist and succeed in a multi-player, iterated version of the game over the long term. But now they've come out with a somewhat less rosy view of evolution. With a new analysis of the Prisoner's Dilemma played in a large, evolving population, they ...

Wireless electronic implants stop staph, then dissolve

Wireless electronic implants stop staph, then dissolve
2014-11-24
MEDFORD/SOMERVILLE, Mass. (Nov. 24, 2014, 3 P.M.) -- Researchers at Tufts University, in collaboration with a team at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, have demonstrated a resorbable electronic implant that eliminated bacterial infection in mice by delivering heat to infected tissue when triggered by a remote wireless signal. The silk and magnesium devices then harmlessly dissolved in the test animals. The technique had previously been demonstrated only in vitro. The research is published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early ...

JAX research team identifies new mechanism for misfolded proteins in heart disease

2014-11-24
A Jackson Laboratory research team has found that the misfolded proteins implicated in several cardiac diseases could be the result not of a mutated gene, but of mistranslations during the "editing" process of protein synthesis. In 2006 the laboratory JAX Professor and Howard Hughes Medical Investigator Susan Ackerman, Ph.D., showed that the movement disorders in a mouse model with a mutation called sti (for "sticky," referring to the appearance of the animal's fur) were due to malformed proteins resulting from the incorporation of the wrong amino acids into proteins ...

Toxin targets discovered

2014-11-24
Research that provides a new understanding of how bacterial toxins target human cells is set to have major implications for the development of novel drugs and treatment strategies. Cholesterol-dependent cytolysins (CDCs) are toxins produced by major bacterial pathogens, most notably Streptococcus pneumoniae and group A streptococci, which collectively kill millions of people each year. The toxins were thought to work by interacting with cholesterol in target cell membranes, forming pores that bring about cell death. Published today in the prestigious journal Proceedings ...

Muscle relaxant may be viable treatment for rare form of diabetes

Muscle relaxant may be viable treatment for rare form of diabetes
2014-11-24
A commonly prescribed muscle relaxant may be an effective treatment for a rare but devastating form of diabetes, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis report. The drug, dantrolene, prevents the destruction of insulin-producing beta cells both in animal models of Wolfram syndrome and in cell models derived from patients who have the illness. Results are published Nov. 24 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) Online Early Edition. Patients with Wolfram syndrome typically develop type 1 diabetes as very young children ...

UAlberta researchers stop 'vicious cycle of inflammation' that leads to tumor growth

UAlberta researchers stop vicious cycle of inflammation that leads to tumor growth
2014-11-24
(Edmonton) A team of researchers from the University of Alberta has discovered a new approach to fighting breast and thyroid cancers by targeting an enzyme they say is the culprit for the "vicious cycle" of tumour growth, spread and resistance to treatment. A team led by University of Alberta biochemistry professor David Brindley found that inhibiting the activity of an enzyme called autotaxin decreases early tumour growth in the breast by up to 70 per cent. It also cuts the spread of the tumour to other parts of the body (metastasis) by a similar margin. Autotaxin is ...

Obese children burdened by more than weight

2014-11-24
High blood pressure and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) are two emerging health problems related to the epidemic of childhood obesity. In a recent study, researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine sought to determine the prevalence of high blood pressure in children with NAFLD, which places them at risk for premature cardiovascular disease. The study, published in the November 24 edition of PLOS ONE, found that children with NAFLD are at substantial risk for high blood pressure, which is commonly undiagnosed. "As a result of our ...

New bird species confirmed 15 years after first observation

New bird species confirmed 15 years after first observation
2014-11-24
PRINCETON, N.J.--A team led by researchers from Princeton University, Michigan State University and the Indonesian Institute of Sciences have confirmed the discovery of a new bird species more than 15 years after the elusive animal was first seen on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. The newly named Sulawesi streaked flycatcher (Muscicapa sodhii), distinguished by its mottled throat and short wings, was found in the forested lowlands of Sulawesi where it had last been observed. The researchers report in PLOS ONE that the new species is markedly different from other flycatchers ...

Study shows mental health impact of breast size differences in teens

2014-11-24
November 24, 2014 - Differences in breast size have a significant mental health impact in adolescent girls, affecting self-esteem, emotional well-being, and social functioning, reports the December issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery®, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). More than just a "cosmetic issue," breast asymmetry can have negative psychological and emotional effects, according to the study by ASPS Member Surgeon Dr. Brian I. Labow and colleagues of Boston Children's Hospital. They suggest that early intervention ...

Shared medical appointments increase contact time between women considering breast reduction and their surgeon

2014-11-24
November 24, 2014 - For women considering breast reduction surgery, initial evaluation at a shared medical appointment (SMA) provides excellent patient satisfaction in a more efficient clinic visit, reports a study in the December issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery®, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). Shared medical appointments have additional benefits, including "group learning, peer support, and a sense of solidarity and commonality" among women learning about breast reduction surgery, according to the study ...

Climate change could affect future of Lake Michigan basin

2014-11-24
Climate change could lengthen the growing season, make soil drier and decrease winter snowpack in the Lake Michigan Basin by the turn of the century, among other hydrological effects. A new U.S. Geological Survey precipitation and runoff model shows that by 2100, maximum daily temperature in the Lake Michigan Basin could increase by as much as seven degrees Fahrenheit, and the minimum daily temperature by as much as eight degrees. A new USGS report published today summarizes the potential hydrological effects of these increases on the basin through 2099. The tools can ...

Physicists and chemists work to improve digital memory technology

2014-11-24
Lincoln, Neb., Nov. 24, 2104 -- The improvements in random access memory that have driven many advances of the digital age owe much to the innovative application of physics and chemistry at the atomic scale. Accordingly, a team led by University of Nebraska-Lincoln researchers has employed a Nobel Prize-winning material and common household chemical to enhance the properties of a component primed for the next generation of high-speed, high-capacity RAM. The team, which published its findings in the Nov. 24 edition of the journal Nature Communications, engineered and tested ...

Babies remember nothing but a good time, study says

2014-11-24
Parents who spend their time playing with and talking to their five-month-old baby may wonder whether their child remembers any of it a day later. Thanks to a new BYU study, we now know that they at least remember the good times. The study, published in Infant Behavior and Development, shows that babies are more likely to remember something if there is a positive emotion, or affect, that accompanies it. "People study memory in infants, they study discrimination in emotional affect, but we are the first ones to study how these emotions influence memory," said BYU psychology ...

Can stress management help save honeybees?

Can stress management help save honeybees?
2014-11-24
Honeybee populations are clearly under stress--from the parasitic Varroa mite, insecticides, and a host of other factors--but it's been difficult to pinpoint any one of them as the root cause of devastating and unprecedented losses in honeybee hives. Researchers writing in the Cell Press journal Trends in Parasitology on November 24th say that the problem likely stems from a complex and poorly understood interplay of stresses and their impact on bee immunity and health. It's a situation they suspect might be improved through stress management and better honeybee nutrition. As ...

Study finds most older adults qualify for statin therapy under new cholesterol guidelines

2014-11-24
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - November 24, 2014 - Nearly all individuals in their late 60s and early 70s -- including 100 percent of men -- now qualify for and should consider starting a statin medication to reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease, under the recently released cholesterol guidelines from the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA). That's according to a research letter published today in the 11/20/2014 (JAMA-IM) by Michael D. Miedema, MD, MPH, a research cardiologist at Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation and cardiologist ...

Selenium compounds boost immune system to fight against cancer

2014-11-24
The immune system is designed to remove things not normally found in the body. Cells undergoing change, e.g. precursors of cancer cells, are therefore normally recognised and removed by the immune system. Unfortunately, the different cancer cells contain mechanisms that block the immune system's ability to recognise them, allowing them to freely continue cancer development. Certain cancer cells overexpress immunostimulatory molecules in liquid form. Such over-stimulation has a negative impact on the immune system: "You can say that the stimulating molecules over-activate ...

Bad news for kids

2014-11-24
The degree to which parents sacrifice themselves for their children depends on a variety of factors. On the one hand nest predators pose a threat to the young and the parent birds. But also the time of hatching plays a role. Earlier studies have shown that birds born late in the season are more likely to be protected by their parents, as the adult birds often do not have the chance to produce replacement clutches. Older offspring also tend to be protected more readily than younger ones, as much more parental care and energy have already been invested. "Studies on the ...

Asteroid impacts on Earth make structurally bizarre diamonds

Asteroid impacts on Earth make structurally bizarre diamonds
2014-11-24
Scientists have argued for half a century about the existence of a form of diamond called lonsdaleite, which is associated with impacts by meteorites and asteroids. A group of scientists based mostly at Arizona State University now show that what has been called lonsdaleite is in fact a structurally disordered form of ordinary diamond. The scientists' report is published in Nature Communications, Nov. 20, by Péter Németh, a former ASU visiting researcher (now with the Research Centre of Natural Sciences of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), together with ASU's ...

Lionfish analysis reveals most vulnerable prey as invasion continues

Lionfish analysis reveals most vulnerable prey as invasion continues
2014-11-24
CORVALLIS, Ore. - If you live in lionfish territory in the Atlantic Ocean, the last thing you want to be is a small fish with a long, skinny body, resting by yourself at night, near the bottom of the seafloor. If so, your chances of being gobbled up by a lionfish increase by about 200 times. Findings of a study on lionfish predation behavior, which may also apply to some other fish and animal species, have shed some new light on which types of fish are most likely to face attack by this invasive predator, which has disrupted ecosystems in much of the Caribbean Sea and ...

Preconception care for diabetic women could potentially save $5.5 billion

2014-11-24
Philadelphia, PA, November 24, 2014 - Pregnant women with diabetes are at an increased risk for many adverse birth outcomes. Preconception care (PCC) can significantly lower these risks by helping pregnant mothers with diabetes control their glucose levels, resulting in healthier babies and less money spent on complicated deliveries and lifelong medical complications. Effective, universal PCC for diabetic mothers could avert an estimated $5.5 billion in health expenditures and lost employment productivity over affected children's lifetimes, according to a new study published ...

Ultra-short X-ray pulses explore the nano world

Ultra-short X-ray pulses explore the nano world
2014-11-24
This news release is available in German. X-ray flashes are a unique scientific tool. They are generated by accelerating electrons to very high energy levels in kilometer-long vacuum tubes, so-called linear accelerators, and then deflecting them with specially arranged magnets. In the process the particles emit X-ray radiation that is amplified until an ultra-short and intensive X-ray flash is released. Researchers use these X-ray flashes to resolve structures as small as one ten billionth of a meter (0.1 nanometer) in size. That is roughly the diameter of a ...

Pain and itch in a dish

Pain and itch in a dish
2014-11-24
LA JOLLA, CA--November 24, 2014--A team led by scientists from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) has found a simple method to convert human skin cells into the specialized neurons that detect pain, itch, touch and other bodily sensations. These neurons are also affected by spinal cord injury and involved in Friedreich's ataxia, a devastating and currently incurable neurodegenerative disease that largely strikes children. The discovery allows this broad class of human neurons and their sensory mechanisms to be studied relatively easily in the laboratory. The "induced ...

Scientists identify bone cells that could help children who need corrective facial surgery

2014-11-24
ANN ARBOR--Our bones are smart. Bones know that by adolescence it's time to stop growing longer and stronger, and from that point on bones keep their shape by healing injuries. This question of why bones grow longer and stronger in children, but stay static in adults--yet retain the ability to heal themselves, has long perplexed scientists in the bone regeneration field. But researchers from the University of Michigan, Kyoto University and Harvard University believe they may have unearthed a big piece of this puzzle. The team discovered that a certain subset of cartilage-making ...

Drugs to block angiogenesis could provide new treatment for TB

Drugs to block angiogenesis could provide new treatment for TB
2014-11-24
VIDEO: When zebrafish are infected with bright blue Mycobacterium marinum, bright red immune cells quickly surround the bacteria to form tightly organized nuggets called granulomas (vessels green, bacteria blue, immune cells... Click here for more information. DURHAM, N.C. -- The body responds to tuberculosis infection by locking the bacterial offenders into tiny clusters of immune cells called granulomas, which are a hallmark of the disease. This containment strategy succeeds ...
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