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New study alters long-held beliefs about shingles

2011-02-02
ROCHESTER, Minn. -- For decades, medical wisdom about shingles has been that it's a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The commonly-held belief is that patients are protected from a recurrence of the herpes zoster virus, which causes shingles, after one episode. But according to a study published in the February issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings, recurrences of shingles may be significantly more common than doctors have suspected. "It's been thought that recurrences were limited to people with compromised immune systems, for instance from chemotherapy or bloodborne malignancies, ...

High Arctic avian athlete gives lessons about animal welfare

2011-02-02
Researchers report that an arctic relative of the grouse has evolved to cope with its extreme environment by moving efficiently at high speeds or when carrying winter weight. This discovery is of relevance to welfare in the poultry industry where birds are bred to be heavier. Ultimately better understanding the physiology of a natural animal model of extreme weight gain could one day lead to improving the welfare and meat yield of domesticated breeds and so contribute to preventing a future food security crisis. The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council ...

Cluster encounters a natural particle accelerator

Cluster encounters a natural particle accelerator
2011-02-02
ESA's Cluster satellites have flown through a natural particle accelerator just above Earth's atmosphere. The data they collected are unlocking how most of the dramatic displays of the northern and southern lights are generated. Two of Cluster's four satellites found themselves in a natural particle accelerator above the northern hemisphere on 5 June 2009. The first to cross was satellite C3 at an altitude of 6400 km, followed five minutes later by C1 at 9000 km. This is the first time that scientists have measured such a region simultaneously using more than one satellite. ...

Study links physical activity to political participation

2011-02-02
How is going for a jog like voting for president? As far as our brains are concerned, physical activity and political activity are two sides of the same coin. Scientists found that people who live in more active states are also more likely to vote. And in an experiment, volunteers who were exposed to active words like "go" and "move" said they were more likely to vote than did people who saw words like "relax" and "stop." The study was inspired by research showing that brains lump all kinds of activity together. For instance, a message that's meant to promote fitness—physical ...

Researchers unlock the potential for exploring kidney regeneration

2011-02-02
Boston, MA - It is estimated that up to 10 percent of the U.S. population may have some form of renal disease, with 450,000 patients with end stage renal disease (ESRD) requiring hemodialysis. Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital and the University of Pittsburgh have identified a cell in zebrafish that can be transplanted from one fish to another to regenerate nephrons, providing the potential to improve kidney function. These findings are published in the February 3 edition of Nature. Currently, the five-year survival rate for ...

Where has all the Gulf spill oil gone?

Where has all the Gulf spill oil gone?
2011-02-02
New Rochelle, NY, February 1, 2011—Many questions remain about the fate and environmental impact of the marine oil caused by the massive spill in the Gulf of Mexico from the Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling platform. A predictive model based on engineering design tools is described in an article in Environmental Engineering Science, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. www.liebertpub.com). The article is available free online at www.liebertpub.com/ees Unlike more common surface spills, the Deepwater Horizon incident was the first spill to release ...

Brain scans predict likely success when it comes to quitting smoking

2011-02-02
New research from University of Michigan says brain scans showing neural reactions can predict behavior change even better than the person whose brain is being scanned. Emily Falk, director of University of Michigan's Communication Neuroscience Laboratory, recently led a study that scanned the brain activity of 28 heavy smokers to investigate whether pro-health messages would have an impact on their ability to quit smoking. The smokers were recruited from an anti-smoking program. The researchers found a positive relationship exists between observed brain activity and ...

Therapeutic AIDS vaccine designed by HIVACAT reduces the viral load in the majority of AIDS patients

2011-02-02
The therapeutic vaccines are a priority research line of the HIVACAT, the catalan programme for the development of therapeutic vaccines and prevention against the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). This type of therapeutic vaccine helps the patients who are carriers of the virus, combat infection and control the appearance of AIDS in the same way as with the current antiretroviral treatments. The final aim of the therapeutic vaccines will be to avoid a life long treatment with antiretroviral drugs. The research team 'Infectious Diseases and AIDS' led by Dr. Josep Maria ...

Technology protects cotton from caterpillar's appetite

Technology protects cotton from caterpillars appetite
2011-02-02
BLACKVILLE, S.C. — The furry-looking insects start their development smaller than the head of a pin, but the caterpillars soon develop an appetite for cotton as big as the crop. To demonstrate the insects' destructive power, Clemson University entomologist Jeremy Greene planted two cotton varieties — one genetically modified to provide protection from caterpillars, one not — in a demonstration field at the Edisto Research and Education Center. The non-protected cotton was planted in a pattern that spelled the word "Tigers." Aerial photographs taken near harvest show ...

PET scans may allow early prediction of response to targeted therapy of thyroid cancer

2011-02-02
Reston, Va. (February 1, 2011) — Positron emission tomography (PET) can image metabolic changes following treatment with the protein kinase inhibitor vandetanib, helping to define the therapy response or the effectiveness of the therapeutic agent, according to research published in the February issue of The Journal of Nuclear Medicine. Currently being tested in clinical trials, vandetanib inhibits the function of the RET (rearranged-during-transfection protein) proto-oncogene and other protein kinases involved in the development and progression of cancer. "For the most ...

Barrow TRPV1 research highlighted in Journal of Neuroscience

2011-02-02
(Phoenix, Arizona February 1, 2011) -- Research by a Barrow Neurological Institute scientist on the thermoregulatory effects of a receptor more commonly studied for its role in pain is the cover story in the Feb. 2 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience. The research was conducted by an international team led by Andrej Romanovsky, MD, PhD, Director of the Systemic Inflammation Laboratory (FeverLab), at Barrow, which is a part of St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center. The featured research discovers a new role of TRPV1 (transient receptor potential vanilloid-1) receptors ...

Gestures provide a helping hand in problem solving

2011-02-02
WASHINGTON — Talking with your hands can trigger mental images that help solve complex problems relating to spatial visualization, an important skill for both students and professionals, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association. Spatial visualization is the ability to mentally rotate or move an object to a different position or view. An air traffic controller uses spatial visualization to mentally track planes in the air based only on a two-dimensional radar screen. An interior decorator needs spatial visualization to picture how ...

Seeking social genes

2011-02-02
In order understand the evolution of complex societies, researchers are sequencing the genomes of social insects. The most recent data, published this week in the Early Edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, come from several species of ants, including the red harvester ant, Pogonomyrmex barbatus. A team, lead by Arizona State University organismal and systems biology professor Juergen Gadau, sequenced one of the genomes and set out to decipher which genes might be responsible for defining which ants work and which ants reproduce in a red harvester ...

Home and away: Are invasive plant species really that special?

Home and away: Are invasive plant species really that special?
2011-02-02
Invasive plant species are a serious environmental, economic and social problem worldwide. Their abundance can lead to lost native biodiversity and ecosystem functions, such as nutrient cycling. Despite substantial research, however, little is known about why some species dominate new habitats over native plants that technically should have the advantage. A common but rarely tested assumption, say biologists, is that these plants behave in a special way, making them more abundant when introduced into communities versus native plants that are already there. If true, ...

NASA satellites capture data on monster winter storm affecting 30 states

NASA satellites capture data on monster winter storm affecting 30 states
2011-02-02
It has already been called one of the largest winter storms since the 1950s and it is affecting 30 U.S. states today with snow, sleet, freezing rain and rain. NASA satellites have gathering data on the storm that stretches from Texas and the Rockies to the New England states. NASA's Aqua and Terra satellites have been providing visible, infrared and microwave looks at the storm system's clouds, precipitation, temperatures and extent. Visible and infrared images and animations of the storm's clouds and movement are created every 15 minutes by the NASA GOES Project at ...

Transplanted human placenta-derived stem cells show therapeutic potential in stroke models

2011-02-02
Human amniotic epithelial cells, stem cells derived from human placenta left over from live births and generally discarded, proliferated and differentiated when they interacted with one kind of melatonin receptor, MT1. This potentially therapeutic response occurred when the stem cells were transplanted into laboratory test tube and animal models of stroke. The same cells did not perform similarly when interacting with melatonin receptor MT2. Researchers from the University of South Florida's Department of Neurosurgery and Brain Repair, and co-researchers in Brescia, ...

Study examines incident hepatitis C infection in HIV-infected men

2011-02-02
Hepatitis C is a leading cause of illness and death for individuals infected with both HIV and hepatitis C. Recent reports from around the world demonstrate that hepatitis C is emerging as a sexually transmitted infection among HIV-infected men who do not inject drugs. However, many HIV-infected men do not receive continued screening for hepatitis C throughout their HIV care. Hepatitis C symptoms often do not manifest themselves until the later stages of the illness, so people are not as likely to know that they have become infected and hence need further testing and ...

NASA satellites reveal heavy rains in dangerous Cyclone Yasi on its Australian approach

NASA satellites reveal heavy rains in dangerous Cyclone Yasi on its Australian approach
2011-02-02
Several NASA satellites have been monitoring the growth of powerful and massive Cyclone Yasi and providing data on clouds, rainfall and intensity to forecasters as it nears Queensland, Australia. NASA data shows where the heaviest rainfall is occurring, frigid temperatures at the top of its thunderstorms and the size of Yasi's eye. Tropical cyclone Yasi became much more powerful and was upgraded to a dangerous category fpur tropical cyclone on the Saffir Simpson scale on February 1, 2011. A Cyclone Warning is now in effect for Queensland, Australia for coastal areas ...

Tuning graphene film so it sheds water

2011-02-02
Windshields that shed water so effectively that they don't need wipers. Ship hulls so slippery that they glide through the water more efficiently than ordinary hulls. These are some of the potential applications for graphene, one of the hottest new materials in the field of nanotechnology, raised by the research of James Dickerson, assistant professor of physics at Vanderbilt. Dickerson and his colleagues have figured out how to create a freestanding film of graphene oxide and alter its surface roughness so that it either causes water to bead up and run off or causes ...

Targeted particle fools brain's guardian to reach tumors

Targeted particle fools brains guardian to reach tumors
2011-02-02
HOUSTON — A targeted delivery combination selectively crosses the tight barrier that protects the brain from the bloodstream to home in on and bind to brain tumors, a research team led by scientists from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center reported in the January issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation. In experiments with mice, the researchers demonstrated that the targeted particles guide payloads to image tumors, treat tumors, or can potentially do both to monitor treatment as it occurs. Their findings open a new research avenue for detecting and ...

As armor against criticism, corp. social responsibility no substitute for product quality

2011-02-02
Chestnut Hill, MA (2/1/2011) – More than 90 percent of Fortune 500 companies commit themselves to corporate social responsibility initiatives in order to protect themselves against negative information. But these moves don't serve as a strong insurance policy against bad press and criticism, according to a report in the current edition of the Journal of Service Research. The authors found that general corporate social responsibility in and of itself will not shield a company from criticism or negative information because consumers separate ethical/social issues from product ...

February 2011 Geosphere highlights

2011-02-02
Boulder, CO, USA - The February 2011 Geosphere includes two articles designated for the latest Geosphere theme, "New developments in Grenville geology: In honor of James McLelland." Other topics include 3-D characterization of rocks, ash, minerals, lava, and so forth through various technical means: X-ray computed tomography, Stereo Scanning Electron Microscopy, X-ray micro-fluorescence, X-ray diffraction, and terrestrial LiDAR. Also studied: the La Silla and Todos Santos Formations, Mexico, Death Valley, the south-central Andes, and the Nellis Dunes Recreation Area. Keywords: ...

Teens with HIV at high risk for pregnancy, complications

2011-02-02
Teenage girls and young women infected with HIV get pregnant more often and suffer pregnancy complications more frequently than their HIV-negative peers, according to new research led by Johns Hopkins investigators. A report on the multi-center study, based on an analysis of records from 181 patients with HIV, ages 13 to 24, treated at four hospitals over 12 years, will be published in the Feb. 2 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. The findings are alarming for at least two reasons, the investigators say. First, teen pregnancies — planned or ...

More doctors must join nurses, administrators in leading efforts to improve patient safety, outcomes

2011-02-02
Efforts to keep hospital patients safe and continually improve the overall results of health care can't work unless medical centers figure out a way to get physicians more involved in the process. "Physicians' training and perspectives on patient care make their contributions to improvement efforts essential," says Peter J. Pronovost, M.D., Ph.D., a Johns Hopkins patient safety expert and co-author of a commentary published in the Feb. 2 Journal of the American Medical Association. "But the work of improving quality currently rests primarily with hospital administrators ...

Johns Hopkins researchers develop safer way to make induced pluripotent stem cells

2011-02-02
Researchers at Johns Hopkins have found a better way to create induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells—adult cells reprogrammed with the properties of embryonic stem cells—from a small blood sample. This new method, described last week in Cell Research, avoids creating DNA changes that could lead to tumor formation. "These iPS cells are much safer than ones made with previous technologies because they don't involve integrating foreign viruses that can potentially lead to uncontrolled, cancerous cell growth," says Linzhao Cheng, Ph.D., an associate professor of medicine in ...
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