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Titan's haze may hold ingredients for life

Titans haze may hold ingredients for life
2010-10-10
In an experiment exploring the chemical processes that might be going on in the hazy atmosphere enshrouding Saturn's largest moon, a University of Arizona-led team of scientists discovered a variety of complex organic molecules – including amino acids and nucleotide bases, the most important ingredients of life on Earth. "Our team is the first to be able to do this in an atmosphere without liquid water. Our results show that it is possible to make very complex molecules in the outer parts of an atmosphere," said Sarah Hörst, a graduate student in the UA's Lunar and Planetary ...

Measurements of CO2 and CO in China's air indicate sharply improved combustion efficiency

2010-10-10
Cambridge, Mass., October 7, 2010 – A collaborative, six-year study of carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in Beijing and surrounding provinces suggests that combustion efficiency, a component of overall energy efficiency, is improving in the region. The findings, published in the September 21 issue of Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, are generally consistent with official Chinese government statistics and could bolster their credibility as international negotiations proceed on commitments of China and other nations to combat climate change. A team of atmospheric scientists ...

Experts say direct-to-consumer genetic tests need innovative oversight

2010-10-10
HOUSTON, Oct. 8, 2010 – Direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic tests available from retailers and the Internet let people learn about their genomes without going to a doctor, but they raise the question of who is responsible for oversight and regulation of these tests. Critics worry about safety risks if consumers base important lifestyle or medical decisions on inaccurate or misunderstood test results. A group of four leading bioethical, legal and medical researchers believes the solution will require an innovative approach that combines premarket studies done before tests ...

Redescription of Cobitis longipectoralis Zhou from late early Miocene of East China

2010-10-10
The family Cobitidae is a group of small, bottom dwelling, primary freshwater fishes . They are widely distributed in Eurasia and Morocco, with the greatest diversity in southern Asia. However, known fossil cobitids are scarce, and only include a few species of Cobitis and a species of Sabanejewia. Most of the materials consist of either detached suborbital spines or poorly preserved skeletons with little information about the suborbital spines. †Cobitis longipectoralis Zhou, 1992, from the late early Miocene of Shanwang, Shandong Province, eastern China, is the only species ...

'Miracle rice' finding proves we can never stop rice breeding

2010-10-10
Los Baños, Philippines – Environmental changes are to blame for a 15% drop in the yield of "miracle rice" – also known as rice variety IR8 – since the 1960s when it was first released and lauded for its superior yields that helped avert famine across Asia at the time. IR8 used to produce 9.5 to 10.5 tons per hectare, significantly more than other varieties in the 1960s when average global rice yields were around only 2 tons per hectare. But, when grown today, IR8 can yield only around 7 tons per hectare. "IR8 still performs very well considering global average rice ...

Popular prostate cancer treatment associated with bone decay

2010-10-10
Chevy Chase, MD—Using novel technology allowing "virtual bone biopsies" researchers have found that a common treatment for prostate cancer called androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) is associated with structural decay of cortical and trabecular bone. The study has been accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM). Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men worldwide and estimates suggest there are currently 600,000 men in the United States with the condition who are being treated with ADT. Prostate ...

Frequent inaccuracies in testosterone testing lead to call for standardization

2010-10-10
Chevy Chase, MD—The use of testosterone assays for patient care and research is on the rise as new research links testosterone to a variety of diseases and conditions. Although the assays are heavily used, discrepancies and inaccuracies in measurements resulting from the various assays are widespread. Seeking to address this critical health issue, a multidisciplinary group of experts convened by The Endocrine Society and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention just issued recommendations for improving and standardizing testosterone testing in a consensus statement ...

Stem cells repair damaged spinal cord tissue

2010-10-10
Researchers at the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet have shown how stem cells, together with other cells, repair damaged tissue in the mouse spinal cord. The results are of potential significance to the development of therapies for spinal cord injury. There is hope that damage to the spinal cord and brain will one day be treatable using stem cells (i.e. immature cells that can develop into different cell types). Stem cell-like cells have been found in most parts of the adult human nervous system, although it is still unclear how much they contribute to ...

Oxidation mechanisms at gold nanoclusters unraveled

Oxidation mechanisms at gold nanoclusters unraveled
2010-10-10
Researchers believe that the puzzle of catalytic gold is now partially solved. Gold can catalyse an oxidation reaction by first oxidising itself. New research evidence on gold-oxide phase at room temperature and atmospheric pressure help us to finally understand the oxidation mechanisms of catalytic gold nanoclusters in these conditions. "This is vital if we want to design oxidation catalysts that could use ambient oxygen in the reaction process. Catalysts that function at low temperatures are significant in terms of energy efficiency in the future," says Academy Research ...

Mars: How low can you go?

Mars: How low can you go?
2010-10-10
There are few places on Mars lower than this. On the left of this image, the floor of Melas Chasma sinks nine kilometres below the surrounding plains. New images from ESA's Mars Express highlight the complex history of this enormous martian canyon. Melas Chasma is part of the huge Valles Marineris rift valley, which stretches for more than 4000 km across the surface of Mars. This image covers 200 x 100 km and covers an area of roughly 20 000 sq km, which is about the size of Slovenia. Around Melas Chasma, there is abundant evidence for water having flowed across Mars ...

HSAN 1: Identification of new mutations, more accurate diagnosis and improved genetic counseling

2010-10-10
Antwerp, Belgium – October 8, 2010– VIB researchers at the University of Antwerp have identified several mutations that play an important role in the development of Hereditary Sensory and Autonomous Neuropathy Type 1 (HSAN 1). HSAN 1 is a rare genetic disorder of the peripheral nervous system. Identification of the mutations will lead to a more accurate diagnosis of the disease in patients as well as improved genetic counseling and prenatal diagnostic tests for couples who are carriers and planning a pregnancy. HSAN Hereditary Sensory and Autonomous Neuropathy (HSAN) ...

Children's agitation after surgery may be preventable

Childrens agitation after surgery may be preventable
2010-10-10
AUGUSTA, Ga. – Temporary combativeness after surgery—a complication affecting up to half of anesthetized children—may be preventable with drugs that decrease epinephrine production, according to a Medical College of Georgia pediatric anesthesiologist. "Some children wake up after surgery and begin crying and become combative," said Dr. Ivan Florentino, associate professor of anesthesiology and perioperative medicine and pediatrics at MCG. "They are often extremely frightened, disoriented and refuse to be comforted, even after being reunited with their parents. Some even ...

Louisiana Tech researchers design, fabricate innovative energy harvesting device

2010-10-10
RUSTON, La. – Dr. Long Que, assistant professor of electrical engineering at Louisiana Tech University, has reported success in designing and fabricating a device that allows microscale electronic devices to harvest their own wasted energy. The work was described in a paper published in the September edition of Applied Physics Letters and has also caught the attention of PhysOrg.com, a website that features breakthroughs in science and technology from all over the world. The paper titled, "Light and thermal energy cell based on carbon nanotube films" and co-authored ...

Risks in multiple pregnancies

2010-10-10
The complication rate during pregnancy with twins is about 40%. Women with multiple pregnancies often develop pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, and hemorrhages during the term of their pregnancy. Joachim W Dudenhausen from the Charité Berlin University Medicine and Rolf F Maier from Magdeburg University Medical Center, investigate which risks can be minimized by close monitoring in multiple pregnancies (Dtsch Arztebl Int 2010; 107[38]: 663-8). 14 in 1000 pregnancies will be multiple pregnancies. The average term for multiple pregnancies is notably shorter (for twins, ...

Shift work and cancer

2010-10-10
Shift work can cause cancer. In the new issue of the Deutsches Ärzteblatt International (Dtsch Arztebl Int 2010; 107[38]: 657-62), Thomas C. Erren and colleagues describe the current state of knowledge in this area and point out the challenges lying ahead. Although it is well known that short-term disturbances of circadian rhythms, such as jet lag, can impair a person's sense of well-being, researchers only recently began to ask whether chronic disruption of biological rhythms over the long term might promote cancer. The possibility of financial compensation in such cases ...

Got fish? Nutrition studies explore health benefits

2010-10-10
Some of America's most popular fish--salmon and albacore tuna, for example--are rich in healthful natural compounds known as omega-3 fatty acids. Ongoing studies by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) chemist Darshan S. Kelley and co-investigators are helping uncover new details about how these fish-oil components help protect us from chronic diseases. Kelley is with the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Western Human Nutrition Research Center at the University of California-Davis. ARS is the USDA's principal intramural scientific research agency. In an early ...

Autistic children are not good at covering up their lies: Queen's University study

2010-10-10
Children with autism will tell white lies to protect other people's feelings and they are not very good at covering up their lies, according to a Queen's University study. The study, conducted by psychology professor Beth Kelley and developmental psychology PhD student Annie Li, is one of the first scientific studies of lying and autism. "The results are surprising because there is a notion that children with autism have difficulty appreciating the thoughts and feelings of other people, so we didn't expect them to lie to avoid saying things that may hurt others," says ...

Front-of-package symbols and systems: IOM phase 1 report

2010-10-10
Nutrition rating systems and their accompanying symbols are intended to help consumers make healthy choices, but shoppers may be confused by the variety of symbols that have proliferated in recent years. Moreover, different rating systems focus on different nutrients, and questions have been raised about the nutritional criteria underlying these systems. Front-of-Package Nutrition Rating Systems and Symbols: Phase 1 Report presents the preliminary findings of an Institute of Medicine committee's review of these nutrition information tools. and focuses on the criteria behind ...

Bloodstream infection surveillance inconsistent between institutions, U-M study shows

2010-10-10
The study, led by Matthew Niedner, M.D., assistant professor of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases at U-M C.S. Mott Children's Hospital, was conducted by the National Association of Children's Hospitals and Related Institutions Pediatric Intensive Care Unit Focus Group. It appears in the October issue of the American Journal of Infection Control. "There is an intense amount of attention being placed on measures of quality performance that have significant implications in pay-for-performance, and reimbursement," says Niedner, who led the study. "What you have is a desire ...

Targeted therapy promising for HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer

2010-10-10
A new type of breast cancer treatment has shown encouraging activity as a first-line therapy in HER2-positive metastatic disease, researchers reported at the 35th Congress of the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) in Milan, Italy. Principal investigator Edith Perez, MD, Mayo Clinic in Florida, presented the results of the first ever randomized trial of trastuzumab-DM1 (T-DM1) as a first-line treatment for metastatic breast cancer. T-DM1 is the first of a new type of cancer medicine known as an antibody-drug conjugate. It binds together two existing cancer ...

Neurons cast votes to guide decision-making

2010-10-10
NASHVILLE, Tenn.—We know that casting a ballot in the voting booth involves politics, values and personalities. But before you ever push the button for your candidate, your brain has already carried out an election of its own to make that action possible. New research from Vanderbilt University reveals that our brain accumulates evidence when faced with a choice and triggers an action once that evidence reaches a tipping point. The research was published in the October issue of Psychological Review. "Psychological models of decision-making explain that humans gradually ...

Studying illnesses caused by worms: Scientists are learning how immune cells communicate

2010-10-10
Saranac Lake, N.Y. – A billion people living in underdeveloped areas around the world are infected with parasitic helminthes, worms that survive by residing in and feeding on their hosts. These infestations can cause chronic intestinal (and occasionally systemic) illnesses leading to long-term disability. Irah King and Markus Mohrs, biomedical researchers at the Trudeau Institute, are investigating illnesses caused by these gut-dwelling worms in an effort to decipher how immune cells send and receive signals that determine the specific immune response to mount. In a study ...

Plants kick-start evolutionary drama of Earth's oxygenation

Plants kick-start evolutionary drama of Earths oxygenation
2010-10-10
TEMPE, Az. - An international team of scientists, exploiting pioneering techniques at Arizona State University, has taken a significant step toward unlocking the secrets of oxygenation of the Earth's oceans and atmosphere. Evolution of the Earth's multitude of organisms is intimately linked to the rise of oxygen in the oceans and atmosphere. The new research indicates that the appearance of large predatory fish as well as vascular plants approximately 400 million years ago coincided with an increase in oxygen, to levels comparable to those we experience today. If so, ...

Taking a fresh look

2010-10-10
Educational policy is controversial: positions on achievement gaps, troubled schools and class size are emotionally charged, and research studies often come to very different conclusions. But what if there was a new way of looking at the problem -- a way that treats education as a complex system (taking into account all interactions) and uses computer modeling and network analysis to provide a comprehensive look at the outcomes of policy choices? Researchers at Northwestern University's McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science and School of Education and ...

Texas Tech researcher: Bee colony collapse associated with viral, fungal infection

2010-10-10
The sudden death of bee colonies since late 2006 across North America has stumped scientists. But today, researchers may have a greater understanding of the mysterious colony collapse disorder, said a Texas Tech University biologist. Shan Bilimoria, a professor and molecular virologist, said the bees may be taking a one-two punch from both an insect virus and a fungus, which may be causing bees to die off by the billions. Bilimoria is part of a team of researchers searching for the cause of the collapse. Led by research professor Jerry Bromenshenk from the University ...
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