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NIST technique controls sizes of nanoparticle clusters for EHS studies

NIST technique controls sizes of nanoparticle clusters for EHS studies
2011-02-03
The same properties that make engineered nanoparticles attractive for numerous applications—small as a virus, biologically and environmentally stabile, and water-soluble—also cause concern about their long-term impacts on environmental health and safety (EHS). One particular characteristic, the tendency for nanoparticles to clump together in solution, is of great interest because the size of these clusters may be key to whether or not they are toxic to human cells. Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have demonstrated for the first time ...

Neurobiologists find that weak electrical fields in the brain help neurons fire together

Neurobiologists find that weak electrical fields in the brain help neurons fire together
2011-02-03
Pasadena, Calif.—The brain—awake and sleeping—is awash in electrical activity, and not just from the individual pings of single neurons communicating with each other. In fact, the brain is enveloped in countless overlapping electric fields, generated by the neural circuits of scores of communicating neurons. The fields were once thought to be an "epiphenomenon, a 'bug' of sorts, occurring during neural communication," says neuroscientist Costas Anastassiou, a postdoctoral scholar in biology at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). New work by Anastassiou ...

Field study of smoggy inversions to end

Field study of smoggy inversions to end
2011-02-03
SALT LAKE CITY, Feb. 2, 2011 – During the past two months, researchers launched weather balloons, drove instrument-laden cars and flew a glider to study winter inversions that often choke Salt Lake City in smog and trap dirty air in other urban basins worldwide. The field campaign – part of a three-year study by the University of Utah and other institutions – ends Monday, Feb. 7 as atmospheric scientists begin analyzing data they collected to learn how weather conditions contribute to inversions, which occur when warmer air aloft holds cold air ...

Accountable care at Academic Medical Centers: Lessons learned

2011-02-03
Academic Medical Centers (AMCs) must adjust and adapt to the new health care reform laws or risk marginalization in the new health care arena, according to a New England Journal of Medicine Perspective article published online February 2. The authors of the article, Scott A. Berkowitz, M.D., M.B.A., a fellow in cardiology and geriatrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and Edward D. Miller, M.D., dean and CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine, argue that AMCs can not only remain relevant in the face of sweeping change, but can lead the way by serving as examples ...

Neiker-Tecnalia creates air-conditioned greenhouse with alternative energies

2011-02-03
Neiker-Tecnalia (The Basque Institute for Agricultural Research and Development) has created an air-conditioned greenhouse using alternative energies that enable the reduction of energy costs, improvements in energy efficiency and an increase in crop yields. The novel system has a biomass boiler and thermodynamic solar panels, which reach an optimum temperature for the crop without using fuels derived from petroleum oil or gas. Neiker-Tecnalia has installed a biomass boiler (using wood and other organic waste as fuel), together with thermodynamic panels, with the goal ...

Older adults often excluded from clinical trials

2011-02-03
Older individuals, who constitute a rapidly growing population in the United States, account for a disproportionate share of health care utilization and cost. Yet more than half of clinical trials exclude people based on their age or age-related conditions, according to a new study by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Clinical Scholars® at the University of Michigan. "These findings are concerning because it means that doctors cannot be confident that clinical trial results apply to their older patients," says Donna Zulman, M.D., the study's lead author and a ...

First new C. difficile drug in a generation superior to existing treatments: Researchers

2011-02-03
Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) is a significant and growing problem in hospitals and other health care facilities, but no new drugs to treat the condition have been developed in several decades. However, a large-scale, phase 3 trial conducted by Canadian and U.S. researchers shows that the new antibiotic Fidaxomicin is superior to existing treatments, demonstrating a 45 percent reduction in recurrences vs. the existing licensed treatment. Their results were published in February, 2011 in The New England Journal of Medicine. "There wasn't much interest in C. difficile ...

First evidence for a spherical magnesium-32 nucleus

First evidence for a spherical magnesium-32 nucleus
2011-02-03
Elements heavier than iron come into being only in powerful stellar explosions, supernovae. During nuclear reactions all kinds of short-lived atomic nuclei are formed, including more stable combinations – the so-called magic numbers – predicted by theory. Yet here, too, there are exceptions: the islands of inversion. Headed by physicists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM), an international team of scientists has now taken a closer look at the island that was first discovered. They have now published their results in Physical ...

New nanoparticles make blood clots visible

New nanoparticles make blood clots visible
2011-02-03
For almost two decades, cardiologists have searched for ways to see dangerous blood clots before they cause heart attacks. Now, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis report that they have designed nanoparticles that find clots and make them visible to a new kind of X-ray technology. According to Gregory Lanza, MD, PhD, a Washington University cardiologist at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, these nanoparticles will take the guesswork out of deciding whether a person coming to the hospital with chest pain is actually having a heart attack. "Every ...

UF astronomers, NASA team find 6 closely packed planets orbiting same star

2011-02-03
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A NASA team including three University of Florida astronomers has found six new planets in a distant solar system that in some ways resembles our own. The NASA team, including UF associate professor Eric Ford, postdoctoral associate Althea Moorhead and graduate student Robert Morehead, will announce its findings in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature. "This is the new prototype for a system of rocky planets beyond our own," Ford said. "It changes our understanding of the frequency of solar systems like our own in deep space." The planets orbit ...

All in the family: Lower back disease may be in your genes

2011-02-03
– Symptomatic lumbar disc disease, a condition caused by degeneration or herniation of the discs of the lower spine, may be inherited, according to a new study published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery (JBJS). "Previous studies, including studies of twin siblings and subsequent genetic marker studies, have suggested a genetic predisposition for the development of symptomatic lumbar disc disease but have been limited by a small number of patients," noted study author Alpesh A. Patel, MD FACS, assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery at the University of Utah ...

Crowd workers are not online Shakespeares, but Carnegie Mellon research shows they can write

2011-02-03
PITTSBURGH—Writing can be a solitary, intellectual pursuit, but researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have shown that the task of writing an informational article also can be accomplished by dozens of people working independently online. Each person in the CMU experiments completed just a sliver of the work of preparing an article, such as preparing an outline, gathering facts or assembling facts into simple prose. The "authors" never even spoke with each other. But the research team led by Aniket Kittur, assistant professor in CMU's Human-Computer Interaction Institute ...

Losing body fat before pregnancy can be beneficial for the baby

2011-02-03
SAN ANTONIO (Feb. 2, 2011) — Obesity among women of childbearing age is increasing worldwide. Because babies of obese mothers are themselves predisposed to obesity, society can reasonably expect the epidemic of obese and overweight people to continue through future generations. In the midst of this trend, UT Health Science Center San Antonio obstetrics researchers are studying the question: If mothers lose body fat before pregnancy, does it improve the lifelong health of their children? This could be one way to break the transgenerational cycle. A collaborative study ...

Death in the bat caves: UC Davis experts call for action against fast-moving disease

Death in the bat caves: UC Davis experts call for action against fast-moving disease
2011-02-03
A team of wildlife experts led by UC Davis called today for a national fight against a new fungus that has killed more than 1 million bats in the eastern United States and is spreading fast throughout North America. "If we lose bats, we lose keystone species in some communities, predators that consume enormous numbers of insects, and beautiful wildlife species that are important parts of North America's biodiversity," said Janet Foley, a UC Davis professor of veterinary medicine at the Center for Vectorborne Diseases. Foley and her co-authors' call to action appears today ...

Synthetic materials that behave like mollusk shells

2011-02-03
Nacre, commonly known as mother-of-pearl, is the iridescent material lining many mollusk shells. It is part of a two-layer armor system that protects the animal from predators. The brittle outer layer of the shell absorbs the initial impact, but is prone to cracking. To prevent these cracks from catastrophically propagating through the shell to the animal itself, the nacreous layer is surprisingly strong and tough, with outstanding crack arresting properties. Thus it acts as a lining to maintain the integrity of the shell in the event of cracking of the outer layer. "What ...

GSA Bulletin highlights: New research posted Jan. 21-28

2011-02-03
Boulder, CO, USA - GSA Bulletin is now regularly posting pre-issue publication content -- finalized papers that have not been assigned to an issue but are not under embargo. GSA invites you to sign up for e-alerts and/or RSS feeds to have access to new journal content the minute it is posted online. Go to http://www.gsapubs.org/cgi/alerts and enter your e-mail address to manage your subscriptions. Faulted terrace risers place new constraints on the late Quaternary slip rate for the central Altyn Tagh fault, northwest Tibet Ryan D. Gold et al., Dept. of Geology, ...

Migraine surgery offers good long-term outcomes

2011-02-03
Surgery to "deactivate" migraine headaches produces lasting good results, with nearly 90 percent of patients having at least partial relief at five years' follow-up, reports a study in the February issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery®, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). In about 30 percent of patients, migraine headaches were completely eliminated after surgery, according to the new study, led by Dr. Bahman Guyuron, chairman of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at University Hospitals Case Medical Center and Case ...

Researchers lead search for better drug-addiction treatments

2011-02-03
DALLAS – Feb. 3, 2011 – UT Southwestern Medical Center psychiatry researchers are leading the Texas arm of a national network that conducts clinical trials aimed at finding effective treatments for drug addiction. More than 100 community treatment providers and academic medical centers throughout the country are funded in part through the National Institute on Drug Abuse's Clinical Trials Network (CTN). The Texas component includes partnerships between academic and community treatment providers in Dallas, El Paso, Austin and Houston. It is led by Dr. Madhukar Trivedi, ...

Earth's life support systems discussed in an open-access special issue

2011-02-03
In the search for life on Mars or any planet, there is much more than the presence of carbon and oxygen to consider. Using Earth's biogeochemical cycles as a reference point, elements like nitrogen, iron and sulfur are just as important for supporting life. As explored in studies published in February's open-access Special Issue of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, the most basic elements work together to support an extraordinary diversity of life. Cycles of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorous are intertwined and rely on organisms just as much as organisms rely ...

GOES-13 Satellite sees Groundhog's Day on ice

GOES-13 Satellite sees Groundhogs Day on ice
2011-02-03
Punxsutawney Phil predicted that spring will come on time, and NASA satellite data suggests that residents in more than one-third of the U.S. are now anxious for the prediction to come true. A massive winter storm touched 30 states over the last couple of days, including Phil's home at Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, Pa. where rain mixed with sleet and freezing rain this morning before it changed to snow as part of that system. Phil's town is about 80 miles northeast of Pittsburgh. Looking at the satellite data, it's more than likely that the cloud cover and wet weather ...

UC San Diego engineers play role in warehouse fire safety

UC San Diego engineers play role in warehouse fire safety
2011-02-03
VIDEO: UCSD engineers are studying how cardboard boxes burn in an effort to help predict how warehouse fires spread and to prevent severe damage and loss of lives. Click here for more information. Imagine this: Firefighters enter a several football field-sized, 60-foot high, pitch-black warehouse and they can't see inside—they don't know if there is an inferno or a small fire with a lot of smoke. It's a very dangerous situation, making choices hard. Engineers at UC San ...

Experiment reaches biology milestone with hard X-ray laser

Experiment reaches biology milestone with hard X-ray laser
2011-02-03
TEMPE, Ariz. – Unraveling the molecular basis of life is an age-old quest of humanity. A breakthrough towards this goal was reported in a pair of studies published Feb. 3 in the scientific journal Nature, detailing a new method developed to determine structures of biomolecules based on diffraction from protein nanocrystals that are so small that they are not even visible under the microscope. A tiny aerojet nozzle provides a fully hydrated constant stream of nanocrystals, both supplied from an interdisciplinary research team at Arizona State University. These developments ...

NASA Aqua Satellite sees powerful Cyclone Yasi make landfall in Queensland, Australia

NASA Aqua Satellite sees powerful Cyclone Yasi make landfall in Queensland, Australia
2011-02-03
NASA's Aqua satellite captured visible and infrared imagery of powerful Cyclone Yasi as it was making landfall in Queensland. The center of the monster cyclone Yasi made landfall on Australia's northeastern coast early Thursday (Australia local time) bringing heavy rainfall, severe winds and storm surge. On Feb. 2 at 03:35 UTC/1:35 p.m. Australia local time, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite captured a visible image of Cyclone Yasi before it made landfall in Queensland, Australia. The eye of the cyclone was ...

Oysters at risk: Gastronomes' delight disappearing globally

2011-02-03
A new, wide-ranging survey that compares the past and present condition of oyster reefs around the globe finds that more than 90 percent of former reefs have been lost in most of the "bays" and ecoregions where the prized molluscs were formerly abundant. In many places, such as the Wadden Sea in Europe and Narragansett Bay, oysters are rated "functionally extinct," with fewer than 1 percent of former reefs persisting. The declines are in most cases a result of over-harvesting of wild populations and disease, often exacerbated by the introduction of non-native species. Oysters ...

Blue Coat Enhances CacheFlow Appliances to Speed Delivery of Rich Web 2.0 Media while Reducing Bandwidth Consumption

2011-02-03
Blue Coat Systems, Inc. (Nasdaq: BCSI) today announced a new software release for its Blue Coat CacheFlow appliances. This update enables CacheFlow appliances to provide 50 percent bandwidth savings for general Web traffic and even greater bandwidth savings for dedicated large file and video caching. For mission-critical service provider deployments, this release delivers greater manageability, resiliency and scalability to support rapidly growing demand for new, rich media Web content. Since its introduction in 2010, CacheFlow appliances have been deployed around the ...
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