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Measuring sea-level rise in the Falklands

2010-10-21
Sea levels around the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic have risen since the mid nineteenth century and the rate of sea-level rise has accelerated over recent decades, according to newly published research. The findings are as expected under global warming and consistent with observations elsewhere around the globe. "We have been fortunate in being able to compare modern sea-level measurements obtained from tide gauges and from satellite radar altimeters with historical measurements made at Port Louis in the Falkland Islands in 1842," explained researcher Prof. Philip ...

Eating mostly whole grains, few refined grains linked to lower body fat

2010-10-21
BOSTON (October 20, 2010) - People who consume several servings of whole grains per day while limiting daily intake of refined grains appear to have less of a type of fat tissue thought to play a key role in triggering cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, a new study suggests. Researchers at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Researcher Center on Aging (USDA HNRCA) at Tufts University observed lower volumes of visceral adipose tissue (VAT) in people who chose to eat mostly whole grains instead of refined grains. "VAT volume was approximately 10 % lower in adults ...

Cancer: Discovery of a very promising biological marker

2010-10-21
The follicle stimulating hormone, FSH, targets the human reproductive organs: the ovaries and testicles. In women, it stimulates maturation of ovarian follicles and production of oestrogens (via its action on granulosa cells). In men, it stimulates production of spermatozoa (via its action on the Sertoli cells). FSH receptor, which was the subject of the work carried out by the Inserm researchers, is normally only found in cells stimulated by FSH (granulosa cells in women and Sertoli cells in men). However, it is also present in very small quantities in the blood vessels ...

Small is beautiful in hydroelectric power plant design, and good for the environment

Small is beautiful in hydroelectric power plant design, and good for the environment
2010-10-21
Hydroelectric power is the oldest and the "greenest" source of renewable energy. In Germany, the potential would appear to be completely exploited, while large-scale projects in developing countries are eliciting strong criticism due to their major impact on the environment. Researchers at Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM) have developed a small-scale hydroelectric power plant that solves a number of problems at the same time: The construction is so simple, and thereby cost-efficient, that the power generation system is capable of operating profitably in connection ...

New equation could advance research in solar cell materials

2010-10-21
ANN ARBOR, Mich.---A groundbreaking new equation developed in part by researchers at the University of Michigan could do for organic semiconductors what the Shockley ideal diode equation did for inorganic semiconductors: help to enable their wider adoption. Without the Shockley equation, the computers of today would not be possible. Developed in 1949 by William Shockley, the inventor of the transistor, the Shockley equation describes the relationship between electric current and voltage in inorganic semiconductors such as silicon. The new equation describes the ...

Philippines may have more unique bird species: CCNY biologist

2010-10-21
Recent work by Dr. David Lohman, assistant professor of biology at The City College of New York, suggests the Philippines, considered by biologists to be a "biodiversity hotspot," could have more unique species of birds than previously thought. If that proves to be the case, it could have important ramifications for conservation practices there. Many of the animal species found in the Philippines are endemic to this nation, which is made up of more than 7,100 islands. For example, 64 percent of its land mammal species and 77 percent of its amphibians are not found anywhere ...

Dopamine model could play role in treating schizophrenia and drug addiction

2010-10-21
In the brain, dopamine is involved in a number of processes that control the way we behave. If an action results in the substance being released, we are more likely to repeat the action. This applies to actions such as eating, sexual intercourse or winning a competition. However, the same also holds true when individuals take harmful narcotics. Scientists believe that mental illnesses such as schizophrenia can be linked to dopamine imbalances. Learning signal If an action leads to a better response than expected, the brain will temporarily release more dopamine. If ...

Psychologists at the forefront of weight management

2010-10-21
Over the last few decades, the dramatic rise in pediatric obesity rates has emerged as a public health threat requiring urgent attention. The responsibility of identifying and treating eating and weight-related problems early in children and adolescents falls to health care providers and other professionals who work with the child, according to Professor Denise Wilfley and colleagues from the Department of Psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine in the US. Furthermore, the key to successful treatment is a team effort involving providers and parents. Wilfley's ...

Hormone therapy increases invasive breast cancer and mortality, WHI 11-year follow up finds

2010-10-21
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Results of a new Women's Health Initiative (WHI) report show that hormone therapy is associated with an increased the risk of death from breast cancer, as well as an increased risk of developing invasive breast cancer in postmenopausal women. Jean Wactawski-Wende, PhD, professor of social and preventive medicine at the University at Buffalo and one of the primary authors on the paper, published today in JAMA, says the breast cancers found in these women also tended to have more lymph node involvement, indicating a poorer prognosis. "This report, which ...

The real 'mommy brain': New mothers grew

2010-10-21
WASHINGTON — Motherhood may actually cause the brain to grow, not turn it into mush, as some have claimed. Exploratory research published by the American Psychological Association found that the brains of new mothers bulked up in areas linked to motivation and behavior, and that mothers who gushed the most about their babies showed the greatest growth in key parts of the mid-brain. Led by neuroscientist Pilyoung Kim, PhD, now with the National Institute of Mental Health, the authors speculated that hormonal changes right after birth, including increases in estrogen, ...

New regulator of circadian clock identified

2010-10-21
Montreal, October 20, 2010 – Daily sleeping and eating patterns are critical to human well-being and health. Now, a new study from Concordia University has demonstrated how the brain chemical dopamine regulates these cycles by altering the activity of the "clock-protein" PER2. Published in the Journal of Neuroscience, these findings may have implications for individuals with Parkinson's Disease with disrupted 24-hour rhythms of activity and sleep. "PER2 is a protein well-known for its role in the regulation of daily or circadian rhythms, this is why it is referred to ...

Measuring the electrical properties of nano-crystals

2010-10-21
The UK's National Physical Laboratory (NPL) is working to provide more reliable measurement of the electrical properties of materials used in nanotechnology – which could lead to much more accurate devices in the future. Scanning probe microscopy (SPM) won the Nobel Prize in 1986. It uses a nano-sized probe to feel the surface of a material – akin to a finger reading Braille on an extremely small scale. The technique can also measure the electrical properties of materials used in nanotechnology – and "feel" how the materials react when electricity is passed through it. ...

Microbes may consume far more oil-spill waste than earlier thought

2010-10-21
CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Oct. 20, 2010 -- Microbes living at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico may consume far more of the gaseous waste from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill than previously thought, according to research carried out within 100 miles of the spill site. A paper on that research, conducted before the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded six months ago today, will appear in a forthcoming issue of the journal Deep-Sea Research II. It describes the anaerobic oxidation of methane, a key component of the Gulf oil spill, by microbes living in seafloor brine pools. "Because ...

Researchers analyze student grief online after campus shootings

Researchers analyze student grief online after campus shootings
2010-10-21
CHAMPAIGN, lll. — After the campus shootings at Virginia Tech in 2007 and Northern Illinois University in 2008, hundreds of affected students turned to social media websites to share their grief and search for solace. A new study of these students found that their online activities neither helped nor harmed their long-term psychological health. The study, which appears in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, gives a first-of-its-kind portrait of student reactions to shootings on their campuses. It also documents the (online and off-line) activities they engaged ...

Link between 2 forms of ALS suggests drug target

2010-10-21
For the first time, researchers have discovered a disease mechanism that links hereditary amyotrophic lateral sclerosis to the more common "sporadic" form of ALS -- and points to a possible therapeutic target. The findings are reported online in advance of publication in the journal Nature Neuroscience. ALS is an adult-onset disease that causes progressive degeneration of motor neurons and death within three to five years of diagnosis. Scott Brady, professor and head of anatomy and cell biology at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine, studies ...

Study identifies barriers to successful treatment of children with sarcoma in low-income countries

2010-10-21
BOSTON––Raising the survival rate of children with sarcoma in low-income countries will require steps to diagnose the disease sooner, train cancer pathologists, expand radiation therapy services, create multi-specialty teams to review each case, and other actions, according to an international study led by Dana-Farber/Children's Hospital Cancer Center researchers. The findings will be presented at the 42nd Congress of the International Society of Paediatric Oncology (SIOP) in Boston on Friday, Oct. 22. The study explored why, despite advances in the treatment of pediatric ...

Progress toward treating infections by silencing microbes' 'smart phones'

2010-10-21
So disease-causing bacteria in the body finally have multiplied to the point where their numbers are large enough to cause illness. What's next? They get out their "smart phones" and whisper "Let's roll!" That's how an article in ACS' monthly Chemical Reviews describes the substances — "smart phones of the microbial world" — that bacteria use to transmit chemical signals that launch infections and monitor their environment. The authors describe progress toward understanding and blocking this biochemical chitchat, a development that could lead to new treatments for the growing ...

Girls with ovarian germ-cell tumors can safely skip chemotherapy unless disease recurs

2010-10-21
BOSTON – Researchers from Dana-Farber/Children's Hospital Cancer Center (DF/CHCC) have found that as many as 50 percent of young girls treated for germ-cell ovarian tumors might safely be spared chemotherapy using a "watch and wait" strategy to determine if the follow-up treatment is needed. In contrast to the current practice of administering chemotherapy to all patients following removal of these rare tumors, researchers said the study demonstrated that treatment could safely be delayed and given only if the cancer recurred. Data from the trial involving 25 young ...

Biodegradable foam plastic substitute made from milk protein and clay

2010-10-21
Amid ongoing concern about plastic waste accumulating in municipal landfills, and reliance on imported oil to make plastics, scientists are reporting development of a new ultra-light biodegradable foam plastic material made from two unlikely ingredients: The protein in milk and ordinary clay. The new substance could be used in furniture cushions, insulation, packaging, and other products, they report in the ACS' Biomacromolecules, a monthly journal. David Schiraldi and colleagues explain that 80 percent of the protein in cow milk is a substance called casein, which already ...

Black rice bran may help fight disease-related inflammation

2010-10-21
Scientists are reporting evidence that black rice — a little-known variety of the grain that is the staple food for one-third of the world population — may help soothe the inflammation involved in allergies, asthma, and other diseases. Their study appears in ACS' bi-weekly Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Mendel Friedman and colleagues point out that their previous research showed several potential health benefits of eating black rice bran. Bran is the outer husk of the grain, which is removed during the processing of brown rice to produce the familiar white ...

Traveling by car increases global temperatures more than by plane, but only in long term

2010-10-21
Driving a car increases global temperatures in the long run more than making the same long-distance journey by air according to a new study. However, in the short run travelling by air has a larger adverse climate impact because airplanes strongly affect short-lived warming processes at high altitudes. The study appears in ACS' Environmental Science & Technology, a semi-weekly journal. In the study, Jens Borken-Kleefeld and colleagues compare the impacts on global warming of different means of transport. The researchers use, for the first time, a suite of climate chemistry ...

Women fight the effects of chemotherapy long after treatment ends

Women fight the effects of chemotherapy long after treatment ends
2010-10-21
COLUMBIA, Mo. -- For some women, the effects of breast cancer, the most common cancer affecting women, do not end when they leave the hospital. Now, researchers in the University of Missouri School of Health Professions have studied the lives of breast cancer patients following chemotherapy and found that their environments and available support systems help determine the quality of their lives. "A lot of times people get mentally and emotionally ready to deal with chemotherapy and they receive a lot of support during that time," said Stephanie Reid-Arndt, an assistant ...

Behind-the-scenes advances underpin new super-strong plastics

2010-10-21
Long-awaited advances in reducing the cost of certain catalysts — substances that kick-start chemical reactions — have quietly led to production of super-strong forms of the world's most widely used plastics, according to the cover story of the current issue of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), ACS' weekly newsmagazine. These upgraded forms of polyethylene have led to availability of stronger, more durable consumer products ranging from garbage bags to camping cookware. C&EN Senior Editor Alexander Tullo notes that the catalysts, called "metallocenes," engendered excitement ...

'Reaper' protein strikes at mitochondria to kill cells

2010-10-21
Our cells live ever on the verge of suicide, requiring the close attention of a team of molecules to prevent the cells from pulling the trigger. This self-destructive tendency can be a very good thing, as when dangerous precancerous cells are permitted to kill themselves, but it can also go horribly wrong, destroying brain cells that store memories, for instance. Rockefeller University scientists are parsing this perilous arrangement in ever finer detail in hopes that understanding the basic mechanisms of programmed cell death, or apoptosis, will enable them eventually ...

Obsessing over strep throat in kids

2010-10-21
A common infection in children, strep throat can lead to problems with a child's heart, joints or brain if left untreated. And when the brain is involved, motor and mental functioning may be compromised, leading to syndromes such as attention deficit disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). While scientists have speculated on a link between OCD and childhood infections like strep for more than two decades, Prof. Daphna Joel and her team of researchers at Tel Aviv University's Department of Psychology have now scientifically demonstrated that strep can lead to ...
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