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Supply signals critical to firms' profitability

2015-09-02
RIVERSIDE, Calif. -- Advance supply signals, such as financial health and production viability, contain rich information on supplier conditions. When and how these signals should be used is critical for improving firms' forecast and profitability. A recent paper, "Dynamic Supply Risk Management with Signal-Based Forecast, Multi-Sourcing, and Discretionary Selling," provides mathematical tools and management principles on this issue. The authors, Long Gao (from University of California, Riverside School of Business Administration), Nan Yang and Renyu Zhang (both from ...

Texas A&M team finds neuron responsible for alcoholism

2015-09-02
Scientists have pinpointed a population of neurons in the brain that influences whether one drink leads to two, which could ultimately lead to a cure for alcoholism and other addictions. A study, published in the Journal of Neuroscience by researchers at the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, finds that alcohol consumption alters the structure and function of neurons in the dorsomedial striatum, a part of the brain known to be important in goal-driven behaviors. The findings could be an important step toward creation of a drug to combat alcoholism. ...

Food insecurity linked to adolescent obesity, metabolic syndrome

2015-09-02
New research indicates that household food insecurity dramatically increases the likelihood of metabolic diseases in children, with many showing chronic disease markers before they graduate from high school. The study published today in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association. Food insecurity, defined as lacking access to food for an active, healthy life, is a preventable health threat. Yet, lack of basic access to food affects 14.3 percent of all U.S. households and 19.5 percent of households with children. "This is a looming health issue for the nation. ...

Researchers identify a new approach for lowering harmful lipids

2015-09-02
Brooklyn, NY - Xian-Cheng Jiang, PhD, professor of cell biology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, has led a study identifying a new approach for lowering "bad" lipids in blood circulation, a critical means to combat devastating cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis. The research was published in the online edition of Gastroenterology. The team established that an enzyme called LPCAT3 (Lysophosphatidylcholine acyltransferase 3) is involved in the biosynthesis of phosphatidylcholine (PC), a type of compound lipid that is a major component of cell membranes. ...

Study shows that nutrient shortfalls are a serious and persistent health disparity

2015-09-02
Northridge, CA (September 2, 2015) - A study published Monday in the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved (JHCPU) concludes that ethnicity is associated with nutrient shortfalls of important nutrients. This study compared usual intake for essential nutrients between Non-Hispanic Black and Non-Hispanic White Americans using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), 2007-2010. This new analysis is consistent with previous research and confirms a continuing diet-related health disparity in the American population. Nutrient shortfalls ...

How protein tangles accumulate in the brain and cause neurological disorders

2015-09-02
LA JOLLA, Calif., September 2, 2015 - A new Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP) study takes a step forward in understanding how similar, yet genetically unrelated neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease, frontal temporal dementia, and progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) are caused by the protein tau. The findings, published today in Neuron, create new opportunities to target this key protein that leads to the brain lesions found in patients with impaired motor functions and dementia. "Our research shows how the abundance of a protein ...

Fire in the Amazon

2015-09-02
Intentional burning in tropical forests has accounted for nearly 20% of all greenhouse-gas emissions since preindustrial times and will have major implications for Earth's climate and biodiversity in years to come. To better understand the complex dynamics surrounding these fires, a team of researchers led by Jennifer K. Balch, of the University of Colorado-Boulder, conducted a six-year controlled burn experiment in an Amazonian rainforest block located in Mato Grasso, Brazil. The results are described in an article that is part of BioScience's just-released Special Section ...

Scientists see motor neurons 'walking' in real time

Scientists see motor neurons walking in real time
2015-09-02
LA JOLLA--When you're taking a walk around the block, your body is mostly on autopilot--you don't have to consciously think about alternating which leg you step with or which muscles it takes to lift a foot and put it back down. That's thanks to a set of cells in your spinal cord that help translate messages between your brain and your motor neurons, which control muscles. Now, for the first time, researchers have created a method to watch--in real time--the activity of those motor neurons. The new technology, developed by Salk scientists and published in Neuron, is ...

Artificial intelligence authors crowdsourced interactive fiction

2015-09-02
Georgia Institute of Technology researchers have developed a new artificially intelligent system that crowdsources plots for interactive stories, which are popular in video games and let players choose different branching story options. With potentially limitless crowdsourced plot points, the system could allow for more creative stories and an easier method for interactive narrative generation. Current AI models for games have a limited number of scenarios, no matter what a player chooses. They depend on a dataset already programmed into a model by experts. Using ...

NASA sees Tropical Storm Fred losing its punch

NASA sees Tropical Storm Fred losing its punch
2015-09-02
Tropical Storm Fred is losing its punch. Satellite imagery shows that there are no strong thunderstorms developing in the tropical storm indicating that the storm is weakening. The RapidScat instrument that flies aboard the International Space Station measured Tropical Storm Fred's winds on September 1 at 4 a.m. EDT. RapidScat saw that the strongest winds tightly circled the center and were on the northern side of the storm, as strong as 24 and 27 meters per second (53.6 mph/ 86.4 kph and 60.4/97.2 kph). On September 1 at 13:00 UTC (9 a.m. EDT) the MODIS instrument ...

This week from AGU: Water tables, 3D rock formations, wind speed maps & hydrothermal vents

2015-09-02
GeoSpace High water tables can be a boon to crop yields A high water table - usually a bane to crop yields - can provide much-needed water during drought and to crops planted in coarse-grained soils, found a new study published online in Water Resources Research. 3-D maps illustrate formation of the Hangai Dome in central Mongolia Scientists used 1.7 million seismic wave measurements from 227 earthquakes across East Asia to create animated 3-D images of subsurface rock formations under the Hangai Dome in central Mongolia as part of their recent study accepted in Geophysical ...

Saving coral reefs depends more on protecting fish than safeguarding locations

Saving coral reefs depends more on protecting fish than safeguarding locations
2015-09-02
A new study by WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) has found that coral reef diversity 'hotspots' in the southwestern Indian Ocean rely more on the biomass of fish than where they are located, a conclusion that has major implications for management decisions to protect coral reef ecosystems. Using data gathered over a 12-year period from nearly 270 coral reefs across the southwestern Indian Ocean, the WCS study found that the highest conservation priorities in the region should be reef systems where fish biomass exceeds 600 kilograms per hectare. This finding conflicts ...

Stanford soil sleuths solve mystery of arsenic-contaminated water

2015-09-02
Can water ever be too clean? If the intent is to store it underground, the answer, surprisingly, is yes. In a new study, Stanford scientists have shown that recycled water percolating into underground storage aquifers in Southern California picked up trace amounts of arsenic because the water was too pure. The research, published online in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, sheds light on a poorly understood aspect of groundwater recharge with purified recycled water, namely the potential mobilization of arsenic. Arsenic is a naturally occurring element that ...

Prophylactic surgery nearly doubles in men with breast cancer

2015-09-02
ATLANTA - Sept. 2, 2015 - The number of men with breast cancer who undergo surgery to remove the unaffected breast has risen sharply, according to a new report by American Cancer Society and Dana Farber Cancer Institute researchers. The report, appearing in JAMA Surgery, is the first to identify the trend, which mirrors a trend seen in U.S. women over the past two decades. Breast cancer in men is rare, accounting for only about 1 percent of all cases in the United States. In women (particularly younger women), the use of contralateral prophylactic mastectomy (CPM) surgery ...

Tracking down the causes of Alzheimer's

Tracking down the causes of Alzheimers
2015-09-02
Genes are not only important for regular memory performance, but also for the development of Alzheimer's disease. Researchers at the University of Basel now identified a specific group of genes that plays a central role in both processes. This group of molecules controls the concentration of calcium ions inside the cell. Their results appear in the current issue of the journal JAMA Psychiatry. Intact memory capacity is crucial for everyday life. This fact becomes apparent once a memory disorder has developed. Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of age-associated ...

Study shows how fracking documentary influenced public perception and political change

2015-09-02
WASHINGTON, DC, September 2, 2015 -- Social scientists have long argued documentary films are powerful tools for social change. But a University of Iowa (UI) sociologist and his co-researchers are the first to use the Internet and social media to systematically show how a documentary film reshaped public perception and ultimately led to municipal bans on hydraulic fracking. By measuring an uptick in online searches as well as social media chatter and mass media coverage, Ion Bogdan Vasi, an associate professor of sociology at the UI and corresponding author of a new ...

Exposure to phthalates could be linked to pregnancy loss

2015-09-02
A new study of more than 300 women suggests that exposure to certain phthalates -- substances commonly used in food packaging, personal-care and other everyday products -- could be associated with miscarriage, mostly between 5 and 13 weeks of pregnancy. The research, appearing in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology, is the first epidemiological study on non-work-related exposure to phthalates to provide evidence for the possible link among a general population. Out of concern over the potential health effects of phthalates, the U.S. has banned six of these ...

New research discovers immune system protein can fix cystic fibrosis cells

2015-09-02
Scientific experiments examining what happens to the faulty channel protein that causes cystic fibrosis during inflammation have yielded unexpected and exciting results. The study, conducted by Sara Bitam and her colleagues at INSERM in France, has just passed peer review on open science publishing platform F1000Research. Cystic fibrosis is a life-limiting auto¬somal recessive monogenic disorder that affects 1 in every 2000 - 3500 newborns in the EU and US per year. It is caused by mutations in the gene that encodes the CFTR protein, an epithelial ion channel involved ...

Blueberry extract could help fight gum disease and reduce antibiotic use

2015-09-02
Gum disease is a common condition among adults that occurs when bacteria form biofilms or plaques on teeth, and consequently the gums become inflamed. Some severe cases, called periodontitis, call for antibiotics. But now scientists have discovered that wild blueberry extract could help prevent dental plaque formation. Their report in ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry could lead to a new therapy for periodontitis and a reduced need for antibiotics. Many people have had some degree of gum inflammation, or gingivitis, caused by dental plaque. The gums get ...

Evidence that Earth's first mass extinction was caused by critters not catastrophe

2015-09-02
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - In the popular mind, mass extinctions are associated with catastrophic events, like giant meteorite impacts and volcanic super-eruptions. But the world's first known mass extinction, which took place about 540 million years ago, now appears to have had a more subtle cause: evolution itself. "People have been slow to recognize that biological organisms can also drive mass extinction," said Simon Darroch, assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences at Vanderbilt University. "But our comparative study of several communities of Ediacarans, ...

New study reveals how changes in lifestyle are contributing to dramatic rise in obesity

2015-09-02
New research from Royal Holloway, University of London has found that changes in lifestyle over the past 30 years have led to a sharp reduction in the strenuousness of daily life, which researchers say may explain why there has been a dramatic rise in obesity. The study, carried out by Dr Melanie Luhrmann from the Department of Economics along with Professor Rachel Griffith and Dr Rodrigo Lluberas, revealed that while obesity rates have almost trebled, surprisingly, our actual calorie intake has fallen by around 20 per cent compared to 30 years ago. The researchers found ...

Silk bio-ink could help advance tissue engineering with 3-D printers

2015-09-02
Advances in 3-D printing have led to new ways to make bone and some other relatively simple body parts that can be implanted in patients. But finding an ideal bio-ink has stalled progress toward printing more complex tissues with versatile functions -- tissues that can be loaded with pharmaceuticals, for example. Now scientists, reporting in the journal ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering, have developed a silk-based ink that could open up new possibilities toward that goal. Most inks currently being developed for 3-D printing are made of thermoplastics, silicones, ...

Struggles ahead in China for chemical and pharmaceutical companies

2015-09-02
China's economic downturn plus other factors, including overcapacity and tightening regulations, mean the next two to three years could be challenging for the foreign chemical and pharmaceutical companies located there. To survive in China as it adjusts to a slower pace of growth, businesses will likewise need to adapt, reports Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society. Jean-François Tremblay, a senior correspondent at C&EN, notes that owing to reforms initiated in 1978, China has been a profitable place for chemical ...

Study provides insights into the mechanisms of fine-tuning of wheat to diverse environments

Study provides insights into the mechanisms of fine-tuning of wheat to diverse environments
2015-09-02
MANHATTAN, Kansas -- A Kansas State University wheat geneticist is part of a breakthrough study that identifies one of the wheat genes that controls response to low temperature exposure, a process called vernalization. Natural variation in vernalization genes defines when the plant begins to flower and is critical for adaptation to different environments. Researchers anticipate this will help wheat breeders design wheat varieties that can adapt and thrive in changing environments around the world. Eduard Akhunov, associate professor in the plant pathology department, ...

Men in China face increasing tobacco-related cancer risks

2015-09-02
In China, smoking now causes nearly a quarter of all cancers in adult males. The finding comes from a large study published early online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, as part of a Special Issue on Lung Cancer in China. High uptake rates of cigarette smoking in teenaged males and continued use in adulthood foreshadow even greater tobacco-related cancer risks for the nation. Tobacco-related deaths have been declining steadily in most developed countries; however, China now produces and consumes about 40 percent of the world's cigarettes, ...
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