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Genetic mutants alter entire biological communities

Genetic mutants alter entire biological communities
2015-09-10
Dublin, Thursday September 10th, 2015 - Scientists from Trinity College Dublin have discovered that one gene mutation in a single species can trigger dramatic changes in whole biological communities; changes can be as great as those caused by the extinction of a top predator. By using bacteria to replicate ecological systems in the lab, they found that mutations of a single gene that alter how one bacterial species interacts with others had huge structural impacts across their multi-species microbial communities. These 'social mutants' varied in their ability to produce ...

Understanding of complex networks could help unify gravity and quantum mechanics

Understanding of complex networks could help unify gravity and quantum mechanics
2015-09-10
Mathematicians investigating one of science's great questions -- how to unite the physics of the very big with that of the very small -- have discovered that when the understanding of complex networks such as the brain or the Internet is applied to geometry the results match up with quantum behavior. The findings, published today (Thursday) in Scientific Reports, by researchers from Queen Mary University of London and Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, could explain one of the great problems in modern physics. Currently ideas of gravity, developed by Einstein and Newton, ...

Oxygen is not definitive evidence of life on habitable extrasolar planets

Oxygen is not definitive evidence of life on habitable extrasolar planets
2015-09-10
This news release is available in Japanese. The Earth's atmosphere contains oxygen because plants continuously produce it through photosynthesis. This abundant supply of oxygen allows life forms like animals to flourish. Therefore, oxygen had been thought to be an essential biomarker for life on extrasolar planets. But now, a research assistant professor Norio Narita of the Astrobiology Center of National Institutes of Natural Sciences (NINS), which was founded in April 2015, and an associate professor Shigeyuki Masaoka, of the Institute of Molecular Science of NINS, ...

Scientists from CU Denver, CU Anschutz help discover new ancient ancestor

Scientists from CU Denver, CU Anschutz help discover new ancient ancestor
2015-09-10
DENVER (Sept. 10, 2015) - An international team of scientists, including one from the University of Colorado Denver and another from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, announced the discovery Thursday of a new species of hominin, a small creature with a tiny brain that opens the door to a new way of thinking about our ancient ancestors. The discovery of 15 individuals, consisting of 1,550 bones, represents the largest fossil hominin find on the African continent. "We found adults and children in the cave who are members of genus Homo but ...

Facebook data suggests people from higher social class have fewer international friends

2015-09-10
A new study conducted in collaboration with Facebook using anonymised data from the social networking site shows a correlation between people's social and financial status, and the levels of internationalism in their friendship networks - with those from higher social classes around the world having fewer friends outside of their own country. Despite the fact that, arguably, people from higher social classes should be better positioned to travel and meet people from different countries, researchers found that, when it comes to friendship networks, people from those ...

Breast cancer incidence, death rates rising in some economically transitioning countries

2015-09-10
ATLANTA -September 10, 2015- A new study finds breast cancer incidence and death rates are increasing in several low and middle income countries, even as death rates have declined in most high income countries, despite increasing or stable incidence rates. The findings come from a new report examining global patterns and trends in breast cancer using the most up-to-date cancer registry-based data available. It appears early online in Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention. Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among all women worldwide overall and ...

Stress main cause of smoking after childbirth

2015-09-10
Mothers who quit smoking in pregnancy are more likely to light-up again after their baby is born if they feel stressed - according to a new report from the University of East Anglia. Researchers studied interviews with more than 1,000 new mothers and found that the stress of caring for a newborn, sleepless nights, social pressure, and the idea that they no longer need to protect the baby - all contribute to relapse. The study also found that women who felt they were being supported by a partner were less likely to start smoking again. Lead researcher Dr Caitlin Notley, ...

Major European study moves a step closer to treatments for severe asthma

2015-09-10
Major European study moves a step closer to treatments for severe asthma Initial findings from a major European study have helped identify key characteristics of severe asthma, which will help with the development of new treatments for patients with the condition. The new paper, published online today (10 September, 2015) in the European Respiratory Journal, is one of the largest assessments of adults with severe asthma to date, looking at several characteristics including symptoms, patients' quality of life and blood and airway measurements. Over 30 million adults ...

Brief bouts of exercise begin to reverse heart abnormalities in people with type 2 diabetes

2015-09-10
A new study in Diabetologia (the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes) is the first to show that high intensity intermittent exercise training improves heart structure and benefits diabetes control in patients with type 2 diabetes. The study is led by Professor Michael Trenell and Dr Sophie Cassidy from Newcastle University (UK) and was funded by the National Institute for Health Research. People with type 2 diabetes are twice as likely as those without diabetes to have heart disease, and heart disease is the leading cause of death and complications ...

Higher-earning men would take a pay cut to spend more time with partners

2015-09-10
Most men in Europe want to spend fewer hours at work and more time with their families even though it would cut their income, a major study on employment shows. The common belief that higher-earning men like to work longer to build their careers is shown to be wrong by the study - men who earn the majority of their household's income were most likely to want to work less. Sociologists Dr Shireen Kanji and Dr Robin Samuel also found that for men breadwinners the attraction of spending more time with their partner is as strong a pull as children's company. Dr Kanji, ...

Penn team: Sustained remission of multiple myeloma after personalized cellular therapy

2015-09-10
PHILADELPHIA - A multiple myeloma patient whose cancer had stopped responding after nine different treatment regimens experienced a complete remission after receiving an investigational personalized cellular therapy known as CTL019 developed by a team at the University of Pennsylvania. The investigational treatment was combined with chemotherapy and an autologous stem cell transplant - a new strategy designed to target and kill the cells that give rise to myeloma cells. The team's findings are published in a case report today in the New England Journal of Medicine. Prior ...

New enzyme-replacement therapy shows promise for genetic lipid disease treatment

2015-09-10
PHILADELPHIA--Of the more than 50 known lysosomal storage diseases (LSDs)-rare inherited metabolic disorders-only seven can be treated with approved enzyme-replacement therapies. Lysosomal acid lipase deficiency (LALD) is an LSD that causes fatty liver disease and cirrhosis. There is no treatment for the disease, which afflicts 1- 40,000 - 1 in 300,000 people across the world. In this week's New England Journal of Medicine, researchers report results of a trial showing the efficacy of a new enzyme-replacement therapy for LALD. In an accompanying editorial, Daniel J. Rader, ...

Study defines clinical trials likely to exclude patients with brain metastases

2015-09-09
Non-small cell lung cancer frequently spreads to the central nervous system (CNS), but patients with CNS metastases may be excluded from clinical trials of new drugs. A University of Colorado Cancer Center study being presented at the 16th World Conference on Lung Cancer reveals the full extent to which the CNS may be under-explored in clinical research. The study combed the website ClinicalTrials.gov to identify 413 open lung cancer clinical trials. Overall, 41 percent of trials only included patients if their CNS disease was previously treated. Twenty-six percent allowed ...

A new marker for migraine?

2015-09-09
MINNEAPOLIS - Researchers may have discovered a new marker found in the blood for episodic migraine, according to a study published in the September 9, 2015, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. Episodic migraine is defined as having less than 15 headaches per month. "While more research is needed to confirm these initial findings, the possibility of discovering a new biomarker for migraine is exciting," said study author B. Lee Peterlin, DO, with the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore and a member ...

Patients prefer relief from lower back pain over improved mobility

2015-09-09
A new study out today in the journal Neurology examines the question of quality of life for individuals with a common form of lower back pain called lumbar spinal stenosis. The findings show that, when asked to choose between treatments that reduced pain or would help them stand or walk, patients overwhelmingly chose pain relief. "There has long been a debate in the medical community over striking the right balance between pain relief and physical function," said John Markman, M.D., director of the Translational Pain Research Program in the University of Rochester ...

Last chance for oasis in China's desert

Last chance for oasis in Chinas desert
2015-09-09
This news release is available in German. Ten percent of the world's cotton is produced in the Xinjiang region in northwestern China. Irrigating the cotton fields, however, is causing ecological problems. After many years of research, a team of international researchers headed by Prof. Markus Disse at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed a set of recommendations aimed at preserving the local environment. The Tarim basin in the Xinjiang region of northwestern China is unique. No other natural landscape is located as far from the ocean. It has ...

Discrimination during adolescence has lasting effect on body

2015-09-09
EVANSTON, Ill. --- In both blacks and whites, everyday feelings of discrimination can mess with the body's levels of the primary stress hormone, cortisol, new research suggests. In African-Americans, however, the negative effects of perceived discrimination on cortisol are stronger than in whites, according to the study, one of the first to look at the biological response to the cumulative impact of prejudicial treatment. The team of researchers, led by Northwestern University, also found that the teenage years are a particularly sensitive period to be experiencing ...

Can black Republicans win black votes? Not likely, UC study finds

2015-09-09
Are black voters more likely to vote for black candidates, regardless of political party affiliation? A new study by a University of Cincinnati researcher presents discouraging news for Republican leaders hoping to win over this Democratic stronghold by nominating black Republican candidates for political offices. "There are some very successful African-American Republicans, but those folks don't attract African-American votes," said the study's author, David Niven, a University of Cincinnati professor of political science. "Party matters so much more than race." In ...

Michigan 'See You in 7' program helps reduce heart failure readmissions

2015-09-09
Michigan hospitals participating in the American College of Cardiology's "See You in 7" program demonstrated important reductions in 30-day readmission rates for Medicare heart failure patients when compared to non-participating hospitals despite only modest increases in seven-day follow-up appointments, according to a study today in JACC: Heart Failure. "See You in 7" is part of the ACC's Hospital-to-Home initiative, a national quality improvement program aimed at reducing heart disease-related hospital readmissions and improving the transition from hospital to home. ...

Bats may use bidirectional echolocation to detect prey, orient themselves

Bats may use bidirectional echolocation to detect prey, orient themselves
2015-09-09
The barbastelle bat may emit two different types of weak echolocation signals alternately, one upward through the nose and one downward through the mouth, to find prey while undetected and to sufficiently keep track of the environment, respectively, according to a study published September 9, 2015 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Anna-Maria Seibert and colleagues from the University of Tübingen, Germany. Barbastelle bats prey almost exclusively on eared moths, using "stealth echolocation" signals that are 10-100 times weaker than those of other aerial hawking ...

UQ scientists close in on first dengue treatment

UQ scientists close in on first dengue treatment
2015-09-09
Clinical trials for a dengue fever treatment could start within a year, following a discovery by University of Queensland scientists. UQ's School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences Head Professor Paul Young said the researchers had identified similarities in how the body reacted to dengue virus and bacterial infections, in a finding that would allow them to re-purpose existing drugs. "We have discovered that the dengue virus NS1 protein acts as a toxin in the body, in a similar manner to the way bacterial cell wall products lead to septic shock in bacterial infections," ...

NFL fans and ESPN reporters overly optimistic about team prospects

2015-09-09
US fans of the National Football League (NFL) and sports reporters assigned to specific teams have unrealistic expectations about how well their team will perform, finds new research from UCL and Oxford University. The study, published in PLOS ONE, also reveals which teams are most liked and disliked, as well as which teams have the most optimistic fans. The main results are from an April 2015 survey of 1,116 US-based NFL fans, who were asked to predict how many games their favourite and least favourite teams would win in the 2015 season. As each team plays 16 games ...

Paying farmers to help the environment works, but 'perverse' subsidies must be balanced

Paying farmers to help the environment works, but perverse subsidies must be balanced
2015-09-09
New research suggests that offering financial incentives for farming industries to mitigate the impact agriculture has on the environment, by reducing fertiliser use and 'sparing' land for conservation, for example, actually has a positive effect on critical areas such as greenhouse gas reduction and increased biodiversity. It has been a point of contention whether such 'cash for conservation' initiatives succeed. For the latest study, researchers aggregated investment in environmental incentives at a national level for the first time, and, by comparing them to broad ...

A hint of increased brain tumor risk -- 5 years before diagnosis

2015-09-09
COLUMBUS, Ohio - A new study suggests that changes in immune function can occur as long as five years before the diagnosis of a brain tumor that typically produces symptoms only three months before it is detected. Using blood samples collected an average of 15 years before brain tumor diagnosis to analyze interactions between 12 allergy-related proteins, researchers looked at how those relationships differed between people later diagnosed with brain tumors and cancer-free controls. Among people who were subsequently diagnosed with this brain tumor, called a glioma, ...

New video series 'Beyond the Desktop' explores potential of 3-D printing

2015-09-09
The Wilson Center's Science and Technology Innovation Program (STIP) is releasing a five-episode video series looking at the potential for additive manufacturing to transform how we build things - and what we need to do to fully realize this potential. Beyond the Desktop explores how additive manufacturing could affect the fields of medicine, aerospace, space technology and more. Beginning Sept. 9, 2015, a new episode will be released each Wednesday through early October. Episodes will be posted on the Wilson Center homepage: https://www.wilsoncenter.org/3dprinting Many ...
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