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Southern Ocean carbon sink has renewed strength

Southern Ocean carbon sink has renewed strength
2015-09-10
This news release is available in Japanese. The Southern Ocean has increased its uptake of atmospheric carbon dioxide again, after showing signs of slowing uptake in the 1990s, according to a new report from Peter Landschützer and colleagues. The Southern Ocean is a huge player in carbon sequestration, accounting for up to 40% of oceanic uptake of atmospheric carbon dioxide. When earlier studies showed the Southern Ocean's carbon sink weakening, the findings raised concerns that the planet might lose a powerful way to remove the growing amounts ...

Revived oceanic CO2 uptake

Revived oceanic CO2 uptake
2015-09-10
Breathe in, breathe out, in, out... Like a giant lung, the Southern Ocean seasonally absorbs vast amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and releases it back later in the year. But on an annual average the seas surrounding Antarctica absorb significantly more CO2 than they release. Most importantly, these seas remove a large part of the CO2 that human activities emit into the atmosphere, thereby slowing down the growth of this greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, lessening the rate of climate change. Although the Southern Ocean represents no more than a quarter ...

How to beat the climate crisis? Start with carrots

2015-09-10
Berkeley -- To speed up progress in tackling climate change, policymakers need to build political support by investing in clean-energy industries rather than first penalizing polluters, according to a new policy paper by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley. In the paper, to be published Thursday, Sept. 10, in the journal Science, a multidisciplinary team of environmental, political and legal experts finds that instead of emphasizing cap-and-trade schemes and penalties on greenhouse gas emissions - strategies considered to be most efficient by many economists ...

Megathrust quake faults weaker and less stressed than thought

2015-09-10
MENLO PARK, Calif. -- Some of the inner workings of Earth's subduction zones and their "megathrust" faults are revealed in a paper published today in the journal Science. U.S. Geological Survey scientist Jeanne Hardebeck calculated the frictional strength of subduction zone faults worldwide, and the stresses they are under. Stresses in subduction zones are found to be low, although the smaller amount of stress can still lead to a great earthquake. Subduction zone megathrust faults produce most of the world's largest earthquakes. The stresses are the forces acting on ...

Brain cells get tweaked 'on the go'

2015-09-10
Researchers from the MRC Centre for Developmental Neurobiology (MRC CDN) at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN), King's College London, have discovered a new molecular 'switch' that controls the properties of neurons in response to changes in the activity of their neural network. The findings, published in Science, suggest that the 'hardware' in our brain is tuneable and could have implications that go far beyond basic neuroscience - from informing education policy to developing new therapies for neurological disorders such as epilepsy. Computers ...

Southern Ocean removing carbon dioxide from atmosphere more efficiently

2015-09-10
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Since 2002, the Southern Ocean has been removing more of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, according to two new studies. These studies make use of millions of ship-based observations and a variety of data analysis techniques to conclude that that the Southern Ocean has increasingly taken up more carbon dioxide during the last 13 years. That follows a decade from the early 1990s to 2000s, where evidence suggested the Southern Ocean carbon dioxide sink was weakening. The new studies appear today in the American Geophysical Union ...

Reduced heart rate variability may indicate greater vulnerability to PTSD

2015-09-10
A prospective longitudinal study of U.S. Marines suggests that reduced heart rate variability - the changing time interval between heartbeats - may be a contributing risk factor for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The findings are reported in the September 9 online issue of JAMA Psychiatry by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System. Even at rest, the normal rhythm of the heart fluctuates, reflecting influences and changes in other parts of the body. Generally speaking, the greater ...

Bringing 'dark data' into the light: Best practices for digitizing herbarium collections

2015-09-10
Imagine the scientific discoveries that would result from a searchable online database containing millions of plant, algae, and fungi specimen records. Thanks to a new set of workflow modules to digitize specimen collections currently preserved in herbaria, something like that might be within reach. The modules are provided by the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Integrated Digitized Biocollections (iDigBio), which is facilitating a collective effort to unify digitization projects across the nation. "North America's herbaria curate approximately 74 million specimens ...

People worldwide -- even nomads in Tanzania -- think of colors the same way

2015-09-10
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Would a color by any other name be thought of in the same way, regardless of the language used to describe it? According to new research, the answer is yes. A new study examines how a culture of nomadic hunter-gatherers names colors, and shows that they group colors into categories that align with patterns of color grouping evident in 110 other world languages. This study population - the Hadza people of Tanzania - has relatively few commonly shared color words in its language. During the study, the most common response by Hadza participants to a ...

Melatonin explains the mystery of seasonal multiple sclerosis flare-ups

2015-09-10
Seasonal flare-ups in patients with multiple sclerosis are caused by plummeting levels of melatonin in the spring and summer, according to research published September 10 in Cell. The study reveals that relapses in patients with this autoimmune disorder are much less frequent in the fall and winter, when levels of the so-called darkness hormone are at their highest, but the reverse is true in the spring and summer seasons. Moreover, treatment with melatonin improved clinical symptoms in a mouse model of multiple sclerosis by restoring a healthy balance of immune cells ...

GI side effects of chemotherapy reduced in mice by targeting gut microbes

GI side effects of chemotherapy reduced in mice by targeting gut microbes
2015-09-10
The blame for some of chemotherapy's awful side effects may lie with our gut microbes, early evidence suggests. As chemotherapy drugs are eliminated from the body, bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract can latch onto them and transform them into toxic species that cause severe diarrhea. In a Chemistry & Biology article published online on September 10, researchers present ways to shut down the ability of GI microbes to convert chemotherapy drugs to a toxic species in mice as a first step to helping cancer patients. "The GI microbiota are the great crowd-sourcers of chemistry, ...

When it comes to touch, to give is to receive

2015-09-10
Have you ever touched someone else and wondered why his or her skin felt so incredibly soft? Well, now researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on September 10 present evidence that this experience may often be an illusion. In a series of studies led by Aikaterini Fotopoulou of the University College London, participants consistently rated the skin of another person as being softer than their own, whether or not it really was softer. The researchers suggest that this phenomenon may exist to ensure that humans are motivated to build social bonds ...

You'd have to be smart to walk this lazy... and people are

Youd have to be smart to walk this lazy... and people are
2015-09-10
Those of you who spend hours at the gym with the aim of burning as many calories as possible may be disappointed to learn that all the while your nervous system is subconsciously working against you. Researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on September 10 have found that our nervous systems are remarkably adept in changing the way we move so as to expend the least amount of energy possible. In other words, humans are wired for laziness. The findings, which were made by studying the energetic costs of walking, likely apply to most of our movements, ...

Melatonin and multiple sclerosis: Why MS symptoms may improve as the days get shorter

2015-09-10
For patients and clinicians alike, it's long been a mystery: why do symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS) seem to get better in the winter and worse in the summer? A group led by Francisco Quintana, PhD, at the Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) and collaborators have found an explanation that could lead to a deeper understanding of the disease and more targeted treatment options for patients. By first looking broadly at possible environmental factors and then deeply at preclinical models of MS, the research team found that melatonin ...

Stanford scientists home in on origin of human, chimpanzee facial differences

2015-09-10
The face of a chimpanzee is decidedly different from that of a human, despite the fact that the apes are our nearest relative in the primate tree. Now researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have begun to pinpoint how those structural differences could arise in two species with nearly identical genetic backgrounds. The key lies in how genes involved in facial development and human facial diversity are regulated -- how much, when and where the genes are expressed-- rather than dissimilarities among the genes themselves. In particular, the researchers ...

Vision testing an effective tool for detecting concussion on the sidelines

2015-09-10
NEW YORK, NY - A timed vision test that involves rapidly reading numbers off of cards can be a valuable sideline tool for detecting whether a concussion occurred while playing sports, according to a meta-analysis and systematic review led by NYU Langone Medical Center concussion specialists. Researchers at the NYU Langone Concussion Center reviewed studies that involved athletes who sustained a concussion during sporting activities and found the vision test, known as the King-Devick test, was 86 percent sensitive in detecting whether a concussion had occurred, as confirmed ...

Solving a genetic mystery: Bridging diagnostic discovery through social media

2015-09-10
HOUSTON -- (Sept. 10, 2015) - "Help us find others like Tess." Bo Bigelow's plea jumps off the page of his blog, echoing across the continent from his leafy green home city of Portland, Maine. When he posted his call to action, all he knew was that his young daughter has a mutation in her USP7 gene and that she has global developmental delay, hip dysplasia and visual impairment caused by her brain (not a problem in her eyes themselves) among other health issues. An article in the New Yorker magazine by Seth Mnookin gave him hope that finding other children with the same ...

Pancreatic cancer stem cells could be 'suffocated' by an anti-diabetic drug

2015-09-10
Cancer cells commonly rely on glycolysis, the type of metabolism that does not use oxygen to generate their energy however, researchers from Queen Mary University of London's Barts Cancer Institute and the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) in Madrid have now found that not all cancer cells are alike when it comes to metabolism. PancSCs can make use of a more efficient form of metabolism, called oxidative phosphorylation or OXPHOS, which does use oxygen. OXPHOS uses a part of the cell called mitochondria and it is this which can be targeted with anti-diabetic ...

Discovery offers hope for treating leukemia relapse post-transplant

2015-09-10
Targeting exhausted immune cells may change the prognosis for patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) relapse after a stem cell transplant, according to Penn State College of Medicine researchers. There is currently no effective treatment for this stage of leukemia, and patients have only a 5 percent chance of survival over five years. AML is a fast-moving cancer of the blood and bone marrow. In patients with AML, the bone marrow produces abnormal white or red blood cells or platelets. Powerful rounds of chemotherapy can damage bone marrow, so many patients are given ...

Researchers find neuroanatomical signature for schizophrenia

2015-09-10
While it is known that the incidence and outward symptoms of schizophrenia are strongly influenced by ethnic factors--for instance, patients from Asian ethnicities are more likely to experience visual hallucinations, whereas patients from western cultures and Caucasian ethnicities are more likely to suffer from auditory hallucinations--it was unclear if brain deficits would differ amongst suffers from various ethnic backgrounds. Previous research had indicated that there were neuroanatomical signatures for schizophrenia, but a study titled, "A Neuroanatomical Signature ...

Marginalized Vancouver residents dying at 8 times the national average

2015-09-10
Marginalized residents of Vancouver's Downtown Eastside are dying at more than eight times the national average, and treatable conditions are the greatest risk factors for mortality, researchers at the University of British Columbia have found. In research outlined in the British Medical Journal Open, investigators recruited 371 study participants aged 23 to 72 from single room occupancy hotels and the Downtown Community Court. Over the course of nearly four years, 31 participants died--a mortality rate 8.29 times the average for Canadians of the same age and sex. For ...

Moon's crust as fractured as can be

2015-09-10
Scientists believe that about 4 billion years ago, during a period called the Late Heavy Bombardment, the moon took a severe beating, as an army of asteroids pelted its surface, carving out craters and opening deep fissures in its crust. Such sustained impacts increased the moon's porosity, opening up a network of large seams beneath the lunar surface. Now scientists at MIT and elsewhere have identified regions on the far side of the moon, called the lunar highlands, that may have been so heavily bombarded -- particularly by small asteroids -- that the impacts completely ...

New protein manufacturing process unveiled

2015-09-10
Researchers from Northwestern University and Yale University have developed a user-friendly technology to help scientists understand how proteins work and fix them when they are broken. Such knowledge could pave the way for new drugs for a myriad of diseases, including cancer. The human body has a nifty way of turning its proteins on and off to alter their function and activity in cells: phosphorylation, the reversible attachment of phosphate groups to proteins. These "decorations" on proteins provide an enormous variety of function and are essential to all forms of life. ...

EARTH: Closing the gap in the tetrapod fossil record

2015-09-10
Alexandria, VA - In a study covered by EARTH Magazine, geoscientists identified fossils that are helping close the 15-million-year period in the fossil record known as Romer's Gap - the time from when fish showed early evidence of arms and legs until we definitively see four-legged land animals. Scientists have been wondering for decades whether Romer's Gap exists because tetrapod fossils from that time were not preserved, or because their fossils simply have not been discovered yet. These new fossils are starting to close the gap and change the way scientists interpret ...

Frozen embryos as successful as fresh embryos in IVF

2015-09-10
IVF cycles using embryos that have been frozen and thawed are just as successful as fresh embryos according to a new UNSW report. The Assisted Reproductive Technology in Australia and New Zealand 2013 report, by UNSW's National Perinatal Epidemiology and Statistics Unit (NPESU), shows in the five years to 2013, fresh embryo IVF cycles that resulted in a baby remained stable at around 23%. However, there has been a more than 25% increase in the birth rate for frozen embryo transfers in the last five years, rising from 18% to 23%. The report also found a growing number ...
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