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New nanomaterials unlock new electronic and energy technologies

2011-02-04
A new way of splitting layered materials to give atom thin "nanosheets" has been discovered. This has led to a range of novel two-dimensional nanomaterials with chemical and electronic properties that have the potential to enable new electronic and energy storage technologies. The collaborative* international research led by the Centre for Research on Adaptive Nanostructures and Nanodevices (CRANN), Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, and the University of Oxford has been published in this week's Science. The scientists have invented a versatile method for creating these ...

Scientists unlock 1 mystery of tissue regeneration

2011-02-04
The human body has a remarkable ability to heal itself. Due to the presence of dedicated stem cells, many organs can undergo continuous renewal. When an organ becomes damaged, stem cells in the organ are typically activated, producing new cells to regenerate the tissue. This activity of stem cells, however, has to be carefully controlled, as too much stem cell activity can cause diseases like cancer. Current research in stem cell biology is starting to unravel the control mechanisms that maintain a balance between efficient regeneration and proper control of stem cell function. ...

CSHL study unmasks a stem cell origin of skin cancer and the genetic roots of malignancy

2011-02-04
Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y. – A constellation of different stem cell populations within our skin help it to cope with normal wear and tear. By constantly proliferating, the stem cells allow skin to replenish itself, allowing each cell to be replaced by a new one about once a month. But the normal cycle of division and death within one or more of these stem cell types can sometimes be derailed by genetic mishaps. Such events are believed to spawn carcinomas and other deadly skin cancers, which are the mostly frequently diagnosed cancers in the United States. Researchers ...

Genetic study uncovers new path to Polynesia

2011-02-04
Surprising new evidence which overturns current theories of how humans colonised the Pacific has been discovered by scientists at the University of Leeds, UK. The islands of Polynesia were first inhabited around 3,000 years ago, but where these people came from has long been a hot topic of debate amongst scientists. The most commonly accepted view, based on archaeological and linguistic evidence as well as genetic studies, is that Pacific islanders were the latter part of a migration south and eastwards from Taiwan which began around 4,000 years ago. But the Leeds research ...

2 severe Amazon droughts in 5 years alarms scientists

2011-02-04
New research shows that the 2010 Amazon drought may have been even more devastating to the region's rainforests than the unusual 2005 drought, which was previously billed as a one-in-100 year event. Analyses of rainfall across 5.3 million square kilometres of Amazonia during the 2010 dry season, published tomorrow in Science, shows that the drought was more widespread and severe than in 2005. The UK-Brazilian team also calculate that the carbon impact of the 2010 drought may eventually exceed the 5 billion tonnes of CO2 released following the 2005 event, as severe droughts ...

Sentinel of change: Waterflea genome to improve environmental monitoring capabilities

Sentinel of change: Waterflea genome  to improve environmental monitoring capabilities
2011-02-04
WALNUT CREEK, Calif.—A tiny crustacean that has been used for decades to develop and monitor environmental regulations is the first of its kind to have its genetic code sequenced and analyzed—revealing the most gene-packed animal characterized to date. The information deciphered could help researchers develop and conduct real-time monitoring systems of the effects of environmental remediation efforts. Considered a keystone species in freshwater ecosystems, the waterflea, Daphnia pulex, is roughly the size of the equal sign on a keyboard. Its 200 million-base genome was ...

Scripps Research scientists develop powerful new methodology for stabilizing proteins

2011-02-04
La Jolla, CA, February 2, 2011 – Embargoed by the journal Science until February 3, 2011, 2 PM, Eastern time - A team of scientists at The Scripps Research Institute has discovered a new way to stabilize proteins — the workhorse biological macromolecules found in all organisms. Proteins serve as the functional basis of many types of biologic drugs used to treat everything from arthritis, anemia, and diabetes to cancer. As described in the February 4, 2011 edition of the journal Science, when the team attached a specific oligomeric array of sugars called a "glycan" to ...

Princeton scientists discover mechanism involved in breast cancer's spread to bone

Princeton scientists discover mechanism involved in breast cancers spread to bone
2011-02-04
In a discovery that may lead to a new treatment for breast cancer that has spread to the bone, a Princeton University research team has unraveled a mystery about how these tumors take root. Cancer cells often travel throughout the body and cause new tumors in individuals with advanced breast cancer -- a process called metastasis -- commonly resulting in malignant bone tumors. What the Princeton research has uncovered is the exact mechanism that lets the traveling tumor cells disrupt normal bone growth. By zeroing in on the molecules involved, and particularly a protein ...

Boosting body's immune response may hold key to HIV cure

Boosting bodys immune response may hold key to HIV cure
2011-02-04
Australian scientists have successfully cleared a HIV-like infection from mice by boosting the function of cells vital to the immune response. A team led by Dr Marc Pellegrini from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute showed that a cell signaling hormone called interleukin-7 (IL-7) reinvigorates the immune response to chronic viral infection, allowing the host to completely clear virus. Their findings were released in today's edition of the journal Cell. Dr Pellegrini, from the institute's Infection and Immunity division, said the finding could lead to a cure for chronic ...

Expectations speed up conscious perception

Expectations speed up conscious perception
2011-02-04
The human brain works incredibly fast. However, visual impressions are so complex that their processing takes several hundred milliseconds before they enter our consciousness. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt am Main have now shown that this delay may vary in length. When the brain possesses some prior information − that is, when it already knows what it is about to see − conscious recognition occurs faster. Until now, neuroscientists assumed that the processes leading up to conscious perception were rather rigid and that ...

Northern hunters slowed down advance of Neolithic farmers

Northern hunters slowed down advance of Neolithic farmers
2011-02-04
One of the most significant socioeconomic changes in the history of humanity took place around 10,000 years ago, when the Near East went from an economy based on hunting and gathering (Mesolithic) to another kind on agriculture (Neolithic). Farmers rapidly entered the Balkan Peninsula and then advanced gradually throughout the rest of Europe. Various theories have been proposed over recent years to explain this process, and now physicists from the University of Girona (UdG) have for the first time presented a new model to explain how the Neolithic front slowed down as ...

Adapting technology to elderly people

2011-02-04
Massive Art Multimedia in Austria and CoSi Elektronik in Germany have a history of collaboration on successful technical projects. A brainstorming session between their developers produced the idea of bringing together many aspects of the modern computing world and applying them specifically to the one group in society that is least likely to already feel those benefits - senior citizens. As with so many projects of this nature, the funding for development was out of reach of two SMEs. By facilitating the funding process EUREKA permitted the development of the project now ...

Death in the bat caves: Disease wiping out hibernating bats

2011-02-04
Conservationists across the United States are racing to discover a solution to White-Nose Syndrome, a disease that is threatening to wipe out bat species across North America. A review published in Conservation Biology reveals that although WNS has already killed one million bats, there are critical knowledge gaps preventing researchers from combating the disease. WNS is a fatal disease that targets hibernating bats and is believed to be caused by a newly discovered cold-adapted fungus, Geomyces destructans, which infects and invades the living skin of hibernating bats. ...

Using a generic blood pressure and heart drug could save the UK $324 million in 2011

2011-02-04
Using a generic drug to treat hypertension and heart failure, instead of branded medicines from the same class, could save the UK National Health Service (NHS) at least £200 million in 2011 without any real reduction in clinical benefits. That is the key finding of a systematic review, statistical meta-analysis and cost-effectiveness analysis just published online by IJCP, the International Journal of Clinical Practice. Researchers from University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust looked at 14 hypertension and heart studies published between 1998 and 2009 ...

Lund adopts chromosome 19

2011-02-04
The genes that make up the human genome were mapped by HUGO, the Human Genome Organisation, and published in 2001. Now the project is expanding into the HUPO, the Human Proteome Organisation. Within the framework of this organisation, many hundreds of researchers around the world will work together to identify the proteins that the different genes give rise to in the human body. "The 'proteome', the set of all human proteins, is significantly more complicated than the genome. There are over 20 000 proteins coded by the genome in the human body and each protein can have ...

Current use of biodiesel no more harmful than regular diesel

2011-02-04
Up to seven per cent biodiesel blended in regular diesel will presumably not cause greater health risks for the population than the use of pure fossil diesel. This is the main conclusion in a memorandum from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and the Climate and Pollution Control Agency (formerly SFT) to the Ministry of Health and Care Services and the Ministry of the Environment in Norway. "A higher content of biodiesel (up to 20 per cent) requires more research to assess health effects. This must include different types of biofuels and blending ratios, as well ...

Blood-clotting agent can diagnose fatal genetic diseases, finds study

2011-02-04
University of Manchester scientists have shown that a protein involved in blood clotting can be used to diagnose and subsequently monitor the treatment of a group of childhood genetic diseases. In the study, published in the Journal of Inherited Metabolic Disease, the researchers were able to show that the clotting agent, heparan cofactor II/Thrombin (HCII/T) complex, could be used as a 'biomarker', or biological tell, in individuals with mucopolysaccharide (MPS) diseases. MPS diseases are severe metabolic conditions caused by a genetic defect that affects the body's ...

Drug-abusers have difficulty to recognize negative emotions as wrath, fear and sadness

2011-02-04
University of Granada scientists have been the first to analyze the relation between drug abuse and recognition of basic emotions (happiness, surprise, wrath, fear, sadness and disgust) by drug-abusers. Thus, the study revealed that drug-abusers have difficulty to identify negative emotions by their facial expression: wrath, disgust, fear and sadness. Further, regular abuse of alcohol, cannabis and cocaine usually affects abusers' fluency and decision-making. Consuming cannabis and cocaine negatively affects work memory and reasoning. Similarly, cocaine abuse is associated ...

Advancing biocrop alternatives in the Pacific Northwest

2011-02-04
Pacific Northwest farmers could someday be filling up their machinery's tanks with fuels produced from their own fields, according to ongoing research by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists. Since 2003, Agricultural Research Service (ARS) microbiologist Hal Collins and agronomist Rick Boydston have been studying safflower, camelina, soybeans, mustard, canola, wheat, corn and switchgrass to assess their potential for bioenergy production. ARS is USDA's chief intramural scientific research agency, and this research supports the USDA priority of developing ...

Younger immigrants adjust to a new culture faster than do older immigrants

2011-02-04
Moving to a new country is difficult—learning the cultural rules and meanings of your new home is especially challenging. A new study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, finds that this process is easier for children, but quickly becomes more difficult after about the age of 15. Psychological scientists have found that many aspects of learning and development have a critical window—if a developmental event doesn't happen by a particular age, it never will. For example, learning perfect pitch or learning to see with ...

Research suggests V8 100% vegetable juice can help people meet key dietary guidelines

2011-02-04
Camden, N.J., February 3, 2011– Studies show drinking V8® 100% vegetable juice may be a simple way for people to increase their vegetable intake and may help them manage their weight – two areas of concern outlined in the newly released 2010 U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans.1 A study conducted by researchers at the University of California-Davis found that adults who drank one, 8-ounce glass of vegetable juice each day, as part of a calorie-appropriate Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, got nearly twice as many vegetable servings a day than those ...

Rare insect fossil reveals 100 million years of evolutionary stasis

Rare insect fossil reveals 100 million years of evolutionary stasis
2011-02-04
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Researchers have discovered the 100 million-year-old ancestor of a group of large, carnivorous, cricket-like insects that still live today in southern Asia, northern Indochina and Africa. The new find, in a limestone fossil bed in northeastern Brazil, corrects the mistaken classification of another fossil of this type and reveals that the genus has undergone very little evolutionary change since the Early Cretaceous Period, a time of dinosaurs just before the breakup of the supercontinent Gondwana. The findings are described in a paper in the open access ...

First crustacean genome is sequenced

First crustacean genome is sequenced
2011-02-04
MBL, WOODS HOLE, MA—The ubiquitous freshwater "water flea," Daphnia pulex, may be too small to see, but it has amply proven its value as an "sentinel species" for the presence of toxins and pollutants in the environment. Daphnia's response to exposure to toxic metals and other chemical pollutants is well studied, and this information is routinely used by groups such as the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to define regulatory limits, and to monitor industrial and municipal discharges. This week, Daphnia pulex is receiving an enormous pat on the back from the ...

University of Leicester releases stunning satellite imagery of cyclone Yasi from space

University of Leicester releases stunning satellite imagery of cyclone Yasi from space
2011-02-04
Earth observation scientists at the University of Leicester have recorded stunning images of tropical cyclone Yasi by orbiting satellites. Japanese Meteorological Agency and European Space Agency satellite instruments have been observing the intense storm over Australia from their vantage points in space. University of Leicester scientists have used two instruments, MTSAT-2 and MERIS, which have enabled the scientists to follow the progress of the storm as it headed towards and then struck the Australian coast. They have provided unique views from space of a storm ...

Discovery may lead to turning back the clock on ovarian cancer

Discovery may lead to turning back the clock on ovarian cancer
2011-02-04
Cancer researchers have discovered that a type of regulatory RNA may be effective in fighting ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer isn't typically discovered until it's in the advanced stages, where it is already spreading to other organs and is very difficult to fight with chemotherapy. This new discovery may allow physicians to turn back the clock of the tumor's life cycle to a phase where traditional chemotherapy can better do its job. Scientists at the Ovarian Cancer Institute Laboratory at the Georgia Institute of Technology have found in initial tests that a regulatory ...
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