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Successful boron-doping of graphene nanoribbon

2015-08-27
Physicists at the University of Basel succeed in synthesizing boron-doped graphene nanoribbons and characterizing their structural, electronic and chemical properties. The modified material could potentially be used as a sensor for the ecologically damaging nitrogen oxides, scientists report in the latest issue of Nature Communications. Graphene is one of the most promising materials for improving electronic devices. The two-dimensional carbon sheet exhibits high electron mobility and accordingly has excellent conductivity. Other than usual semiconductors, the material ...

New fossil skulls reveal insights about penguin brain evolution

New fossil skulls reveal insights about penguin brain evolution
2015-08-27
When they're not being the stars of various animated movies, penguins are playing an important role in evolutionary studies. Penguins are unique among modern birds in that they 'fly' through the water. Although flightless in air, penguins have a number of adaptations which allow them glide effortlessly through the water. And some of these adaptations are in an unlikely part of their anatomy - their brains. Recent finds of fossil penguins from 35 million year old sediments in Antarctica have begun to shed light on the changes in penguin brains that accompanied their ...

A new virus in liver cancer

2015-08-27
More than a cause of a simple infection, viruses are often involved in the development of serious diseases. Such is the case with liver cancer, which often develops in an organ that has been weakened by hepatitis B or C virus. Researchers at Inserm, the Paris Public Hospitals (AP-HP), Paris Descartes University, Paris 13 University (USPC), and Paris Diderot University have just identified the role of a new virus, hitherto unsuspected, in the occurrence of a rare type of liver cancer. This study, based on follow-up and observation of 193 patients, is published in the 24 ...

CWRU researchers efficiently charge a lithium-ion battery with solar cell

2015-08-27
Consumers aren't embracing electric cars and trucks, partly due to the dearth of charging stations required to keep them moving. Even the conservation-minded are hesitant to go electric in some states because, studies show, if fossil fuels generate the electricity, the car is no greener than one powered with an efficient gasoline. Charging cars by solar cell would appear to be the answer. But most cells fail to meet the power requirements needed to directly charge lithium-ion batteries used in today's all-electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Researchers at ...

Experts stress need for sufficient iodine nutrition during pregnancy

2015-08-27
New research published in Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica, a journal of the Nordic Federation of Societies of Obstetrics and Gynecology, found that pregnant women in Sweden had inadequate levels of iodine in their diets. Proper iodine nutrition is necessary for neurological development of the fetus. Iodine is an element that is involved in the production of thyroid hormones. Pregnant and breastfeeding women need about 50% more iodine in the diets, and WHO recommends a total daily iodine intake of 250 μg/d for pregnant and lactating women. Medical evidence ...

Probiotics show no impact preventing gastrointestinal colonization with drug-resistant bugs

2015-08-27
Probiotics show no benefit for preventing or eliminating gastrointestinal colonization with drug-resistant organisms in patients in the intensive care unit compared to standard care, according to new research published online today in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology, the journal of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America. "Our research suggests that probiotics do not help prevent gastrointestinal colonization with multidrug-resistant organisms in critically ill patients," said Jennie H. Kwon, DO, lead author of the study. This prospective, randomized ...

Dry eyes -- researchers report progress in diagnosis and treatment

2015-08-27
August 27, 2015 - Do you have problems with dry eyes? If so, you're not alone--it's one of the most common reasons for patient visits to eye care professionals. Recent years have seen significant progress in management of patients with dry eyes, according to the September special issue of Optometry and Vision Science, official journal of the American Academy of Optometry. The journal is published by Wolters Kluwer. "There has been a growing interest among clinicians and patients on treatment and management and origins of the signs and symptoms of dry eye," comments Anthony ...

Choosing to end it all

Choosing to end it all
2015-08-27
This news release is available in French. Not even close to every person who faces challenges or lives with severe depression commits suicide. Some people are more vulnerable than others. A series of studies has shown that the way in which a person makes decisions is among the main factors that determines whether that person is protected from or vulnerable to suicide. High-risk decision-making was prevalent among many parents of individuals who committed suicide, which may serve to explain its apparent "inheritability". Dr. Fabrice Jollant, Assistant Professor ...

Survey finds many physicians overestimate their ability to assess patients' risk of Ebola

2015-08-27
While most primary care physicians responding to a survey taken in late 2014 and early 2015 expressed confidence in their ability to identify potential cases of Ebola and communicate Ebola risks to their patients, only 50 to 70 percent of them gave answers that fit with CDC guidelines when asked how they would care for hypothetical patients who might have been exposed to Ebola. In addition, those who were least likely to encounter an Ebola patient - based on their location and characteristics of their patients - were most likely to choose overly intense management of patients ...

Mystery of polar bear Knut's disease finally solved

2015-08-27
Knut, the famous polar bear of the Berlin Zoological Garden (Germany) died of encephalitis, as diagnosed soon after his death. However, the cause of his disease has remained elusive until now. A team of scientists from the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW) and the Charite - Universitaetsmedizin Berlin has now solved the case: The polar bear suffered from an autoimmune disease of the brain. This non-infectious illness is called "anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis", with symptoms in human patients similar ...

Astronomers unravel the history of galaxies for the first time

2015-08-27
A team of international scientists, led by astronomers from Cardiff University's School of Physics and Astronomy, has shown for the first time that galaxies can change their structure over the course of their lifetime. By observing the sky as it is today, and peering back in time using the Hubble and Herschel telescopes, the team have shown that a large proportion of galaxies have undergone a major 'metamorphosis' since they were initially formed after the Big Bang. By providing the first direct evidence of the extent of this transformation, the team hope to shed light ...

At the origin of language structure

2015-08-27
Subject, verb, object: a triad that in spoken discourse (as well as written) can be arranged in different positions (six, in principle) although in the overwhelming majority of world languages, 86%, they occur in two forms: SVO ("Johnny eats the banana") and SOV ("Johnny the banana eats"). In particular, the latter is the most common and scientific literature supports the hypothesis that it is a basic form, perhaps the first to emerge when a new language or communication system is born. To back this up is the fact that over the course of history many languages have passed ...

UEA research shows high protein foods boost cardiovascular health

2015-08-27
Eating foods rich in amino acids could be as good for your heart as stopping smoking or getting more exercise - according to new research from the University of East Anglia (UEA). A new study published today reveals that people who eat high levels of certain amino acids found in meat and plant-based protein have lower blood pressure and arterial stiffness. And the magnitude of the association is similar to those previously reported for lifestyle risk factors including salt intake, physical activity, alcohol consumption and smoking. Researchers investigated the effect ...

MDC and MHH researchers show how dynamin mediates membrane constriction and scission

2015-08-27
Cells continually form membrane vesicles that are released into the cell. If this vital process is disturbed, nerve cells, for example, cannot communicate with each other. The protein molecule dynamin is essential for the regulated formation and release of many vesicles. Scientists of the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association (MDC) and the Institute for Biophysical Chemistry of Hannover Medical School (MHH), together with researchers from the Freie Universität Berlin and the Leibniz-Institut für Molekulare Pharmakologie (FMP), ...

Study finds fair trade logo boosts consumer's willingness to pay

Study finds fair trade logo boosts consumers willingness to pay
2015-08-27
Products labeled with a Fair Trade logo cause prospective buyers to dig deeper into their pockets. In an experiment conducted at the University of Bonn, participants were willing to pay on average 30 percent more for ethically produced goods, compared to their conventionally produced counterparts. The neuroscientists analyzed the neural pathways involved in processing products with a Fair Trade emblem. They identified a potential mechanism that explains why Fair Trade products are evaluated more positively. For instance, activity in the brain's reward center increases and ...

Humus depletion induced by climate change?

2015-08-27
This news release is available in German. The yields of many important crops in Europe have been stagnating since the 1990s. As a result, the input of organic matter into the soil - the crucial source for humus formation - is decreasing. Scientists from the Technical University Munich (TUM) suspect that the humus stocks of arable soils are declining due to the influence of climate change. Humus, however, is a key factor for soil functionality, which is why this development poses a threat to agricultural production - and, moreover, in a worldwide context. In their ...

Differences in brain structure and memory suggest adolescents may not 'grow out of' ADHD

2015-08-27
Young adults diagnosed with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adolescence show differences in brain structure and perform poorly in memory tests compared to their peers, according to new research from the University of Cambridge, UK, and the University of Oulu, Finland. The findings, published today in the journal European Child Adolescent Psychiatry, suggest that aspects of ADHD may persist into adulthood, even when current diagnostic criteria fail to identify the disorder. ADHD is a disorder characterised by short attention span, restlessness and ...

Health workers wasting expensive malaria drugs in Nigeria

2015-08-27
This news release is available in French and Portuguese. Health providers trained to perform malaria rapid diagnostic tests (RDT) are still prescribing valuable malaria medicines to patients who do not have malaria, according to new research published in PLOS ONE. Almost 5,000 participants from 40 communities took part in the study, at a variety of public health facilities, pharmacies and drug stores in the Nigerian state of Enugu. Despite the three different training interventions that they received and their satisfaction with the courses and materials, rates of ...

How the mind sharpens the senses

2015-08-27
A study conducted with experienced scholars of Zen-Meditation shows that mental focussing can induce learning mechanisms, similar to physical training. Researchers at the Ruhr-University Bochum and the Ludwig-Maximilians-University München discovered this phenomenon during a scientifically monitored meditation retreat. The journal Scientific Reports, from the makers of Nature, has now published their new findings on the plasticity of the brain. Participants of the study use a special meditation technique The participants were all Zen-scholars with many years of ...

HIV testing among older adults is declining, despite CDC recommendation

2015-08-27
Researchers led by the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health examined HIV testing trends among adults ages 50 through 64 both before and after 2006, when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that most doctors automatically screen all patients for HIV regardless of whether they have symptoms. The researchers found that gains in HIV testing were not sustained over time. Levels of engagement in HIV risk behaviors remained constant, yet testing decreased among this age group from 5.5 percent in 2003 to 3.6 percent in 2006. It increased immediately ...

Bacterial warfare

Bacterial warfare
2015-08-27
It's bacteria against bacteria, and one of them is going down. Two UC Santa Barbara graduate students have demonstrated how certain microbes exploit proteins in nearby bacteria to deliver toxins and kill them. The mechanisms behind this bacterial warfare, the researchers suggest, could be harnessed to target pathogenic bacteria. Their findings appear in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Lead authors Julia L.E. Willett and Grant C. Gucinski have detailed how gram-negative bacteria use contact-dependent growth inhibition (CDI) systems to infiltrate ...

Link between gene variant and aggression in children

2015-08-27
Some children react more strongly to negative experiences than others. Researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) have found a link between aggression and variants of a particular gene. But children who react most aggressively also tend to respond more strongly to good experiences, the Norwegian researchers found. These children's mood swings have deeper valleys, but also greater peaks. Aggression is common in young children. Aggressive behaviour increases until children are around 4 years old, and then gradually subsides. Research ...

Pigments, organelles persist in fossil feathers

Pigments, organelles persist in fossil feathers
2015-08-27
PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] -- A study provides multiple lines of new evidence that pigments and the microbodies that produce them can remain evident in a dinosaur fossil. In the journal Scientific Reports, an international team of paleontologists correlates the distinct chemical signature of animal pigment with physical evidence of melanosome organelles in the fossilized feathers of Anchiornis huxleyi, a bird-like dinosaur that died about 150 million years ago in China. The idea that melanosomes, which produce melanin pigment, are preserved in fossils has been ...

New theory leads to radiationless revolution

New theory leads to radiationless revolution
2015-08-27
Physicists have found a radical new way confine electromagnetic energy without it leaking away, akin to throwing a pebble into a pond with no splash. The theory could have broad ranging applications from explaining dark matter to combating energy losses in future technologies. However, it appears to contradict a fundamental tenet of electrodynamics, that accelerated charges create electromagnetic radiation, said lead researcher Dr Andrey Miroshnichenko from The Australian National University (ANU). "This problem has puzzled many people. It took us a year to get this ...

CanDL database shines light on clinically important cancer gene mutations

2015-08-27
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Many clinical trials use genome sequencing to learn which gene mutations are present in a patient's tumor cells. The question is important because targeting the right mutations with the right drugs can stop cancer in its tracks. But it can be difficult to determine whether there is evidence in the medical literature that particular mutations might drive cancer growth and could be targeted by therapy, and which mutations are of no consequence. To help molecular pathologists, laboratory directors, bioinformaticians and oncologists identify key mutations ...
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