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NASA's Hubble harvests distant solar system objects

NASAs Hubble harvests distant solar system objects
2010-09-13
Beyond the orbit of Neptune reside countless icy rocks known as trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs). One of the biggest, Pluto, is classified as a dwarf planet. The region also supplies us with comets such as famous Comet Halley. Most TNOs are small and receive little sunlight, making them faint and difficult to spot. Now, astronomers using clever techniques to cull the data archives of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have added 14 new TNOs to the catalog. Their method promises to turn up hundreds more. "Trans-Neptunian objects interest us because they are building blocks ...

Few white voters upset about Obama victory despite lingering racism

2010-09-13
GAINESVILLE, Fla. --- Racism may be less of a factor in politics than other realms of life, according to a new University of Florida study, which found few white voters in Florida to be upset by the presidential candidacy of a black man, and many to be proud of it. To assess attitudes among white voters in a southern state about Barack Obama's historic election to the presidency, two UF political scientists analyzed results from four statewide telephone surveys -- each involving between 449 and 829 respondents – conducted in the fall of 2008 and spring of 2009. Their ...

If the water looks and smells bad, it may be toxic

2010-09-13
Earthy or musty odors, along with visual evidence of blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria, may serve as a warning that harmful cyanotoxins are present in lakes or reservoirs. In a newly published USGS study of cyanobacterial blooms in Midwest lakes, taste-and-odor compounds were found almost every time cyanotoxins were found, indicating odor may serve as a warning that harmful toxins are present. "It is commonly believed that there are no health risks associated with taste-and-odor compounds," said Dr. Jennifer Graham, USGS limnologist and lead scientist on this ...

Avoiding an asteroid collision

Avoiding an asteroid collision
2010-09-13
Though it was once believed that all asteroids are giant pieces of solid rock, later hypotheses have it that some are actually a collection of small gravel-sized rocks, held together by gravity. If one of these "rubble piles" spins fast enough, it's speculated that pieces could separate from it through centrifugal force and form a second collection ― in effect, a second asteroid. Now researchers at Tel Aviv University, in collaboration with an international group of scientists, have proved the existence of these theoretical "separated asteroid" pairs. Ph.D. student ...

Male maturity shaped by early nutrition

2010-09-13
EVANSTON, Ill. --- It seems the old nature versus nurture debate can't be won. But a new Northwestern University study of men in the Philippines makes a strong case for nurture's role in male to female differences -- suggesting that rapid weight gain in the first six months of life predicts earlier puberty for boys. Males who experienced rapid growth as babies -- an indication that they were not nutritionally stressed -- also were taller, had more muscle and were stronger, and had higher testosterone levels as young adults. They had sex for the first time at a younger ...

Manatee subspecies genetically confirmed, but diversity challenge looms

2010-09-13
Gainesville, FL. -- The first genetic study to compare nuclear DNA of endangered Antillean manatees in Belize with Florida manatees confirmed their designation as separate subspecies. Belize's manatees, however, were found to have extremely low genetic diversity, raising questions about their long-term genetic viability. The Central American country of Belize hosts the largest known breeding population of Antillean manatees and is touted by biologists for its potential to repopulate other parts of Central America where manatees are severely reduced, rare or absent. ...

Information patients use to pick physicians not always good predictor of quality, study finds

2010-09-13
When looking for a new physician, patients are often encouraged to select those who are board certified or who have not made payments on malpractice claims. Yet these characteristics are not always a good predictor of which physicians will provide the highest quality medical care, according to a new study from the RAND Corporation, a nonprofit research organization, and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. "We found that the types of information widely available to patients for choosing a physician do not predict whether that physician will deliver evidence-based ...

Wildflower 'armors' itself against disease

2010-09-13
An unusual wildflower that accumulates metals in its leaves has been found to use them as a kind of 'armor' against bacterial infection. Scientists from Oxford University have shown that when Alpine pennycress (Thlaspi caerulescens) plants accumulate metals in their leaves, they become resistant to attack by the bacterium Pseudomonas syringae pv. maculicola. They report their findings September 9 in the open-access journal PLoS Pathogens. Thlaspi, a small plant in the mustard family that grows on metal-rich soils scattered around Britain and Europe, such as the sites ...

New artificial skin could make prosthetic limbs and robots more sensitive

New artificial skin could make prosthetic limbs and robots more sensitive
2010-09-13
VIDEO: Artificial skin for people and robots could be a reality using the ultra-sensitive sensors developed by Zhenan Bao, associate professor of chemical engineering at Stanford University, and her team. The... Click here for more information. The light, tickling tread of a pesky fly landing on your face may strike most of us as one of the most aggravating of life's small annoyances. But for scientists working to develop pressure sensors for artificial skin for use on ...

Would a molecular horse trot, pace or glide across a surface?

Would a molecular horse trot, pace or glide across a surface?
2010-09-13
RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Molecular machines can be found everywhere in nature, for example, transporting proteins through cells and aiding metabolism. To develop artificial molecular machines, scientists need to understand the rules that govern mechanics at the molecular or nanometer scale (a nanometer is a billionth of a meter). To address this challenge, a research team at the University of California, Riverside studied a class of molecular machines that 'walk' across a flat metal surface. They considered both bipedal machines that walk on two 'legs' and quadrupedal ones ...

New pathway identified in Parkinson's through brain imaging

2010-09-13
(NEW YORK, NY, September 13, 2010) – A new study led by researchers at Columbia University Medical Center has identified a novel molecular pathway underlying Parkinson's disease and points to existing drugs which may be able to slow progression of the disease. The pathway involved proteins – known as polyamines – that were found to be responsible for the increase in build-up of other toxic proteins in neurons, which causes the neurons to malfunction and, eventually, die. Though high levels of polyamines have been found previously in patients with Parkinson's, the new ...

Wives as the new breadwinners

2010-09-13
Durham, NH—September 13, 2010— During the recent recession in the United States, many industries suffered significant layoffs, leaving individuals and families to revise their spending and rethink income opportunities. Many wives are increasingly becoming primary breadwinners or entering the labor market. A new article in Family Relations tests "the added worker" theory, which suggests wives who are not working may seek work as a substitute for husband's labor if he becomes unemployed, and finds that during a time of economic downturn wives are more likely to enter the ...

Making cookies that are good for your heart

Making cookies that are good for your heart
2010-09-13
VIDEO: Years of research has proven that saturated and trans fats clog arteries, make it tough for the heart to pump and are not valuable components of any diet. Unfortunately, they... Click here for more information. COLUMBIA, Mo. ¬— Years of research has proven that saturated and trans fats clog arteries, make it tough for the heart to pump and are not valuable components of any diet. Unfortunately, they are contained in many foods. Now, a University of Missouri research ...

Obama administration responds to call to action from Concordia researchers

2010-09-13
Montreal / September 13, 2010 – September 21, 2010 marks the one year anniversary of the release of a landmark document produced by researchers at Concordia University. Mobilizing The Will to Intervene (W2I) offers governments practical steps to prevent future genocides and mass atrocities. Produced by researchers with the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies (MIGS) based at Concordia, the document was presented to the governments of Canada and The United States of America. It has already yielded concrete results. Under President Barack Obama's leadership, ...

Latent HIV infection focus of NIDA's 2010 Avant-Garde Award

2010-09-13
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health, announced today that Dr. Eric M. Verdin of the J. David Gladstone Institutes in San Francisco, Calif., has been selected as the 2010 recipient of the NIDA Avant-Garde Award for HIV/AIDS Research for his proposal to study the mechanisms of latent HIV infection. NIDA's annual Avant-Garde award competition, now in its third year, is intended to stimulate high-impact research that may lead to groundbreaking opportunities for the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS in drug abusers. Awardees ...

New study reconciles conflicting data on mental aging

2010-09-13
WASHINGTON — A new look at tests of mental aging reveals a good news-bad news situation. The bad news is all mental abilities appear to decline with age, to varying degrees. The good news is the drops are not as steep as some research showed, according to a study published by the American Psychological Association. "There is now convincing evidence that even vocabulary knowledge and what's called crystallized intelligence decline at older ages," said study author Timothy Salthouse, PhD. Longitudinal test scores look good in part because repeat test-takers grow familiar ...

Scientists glimpse dance of skeletons inside neurons

2010-09-13
Scientists at Emory University School of Medicine have uncovered how a structural component inside neurons performs two coordinated dance moves when the connections between neurons are strengthened. The results are published online in the journal Nature Neuroscience, and will appear in a future print issue. In experiments with neurons in culture, the researchers can distinguish two separate steps during long-term potentiation, an enhancement of communication between neurons thought to lie behind learning and memory. Both steps involve the remodeling of the internal ...

CU-Boulder study sheds light on how our brains get tripped up when we're anxious

2010-09-13
A new University of Colorado at Boulder study sheds light on the brain mechanisms that allow us to make choices and ultimately could be helpful in improving treatments for the millions of people who suffer from the effects of anxiety disorders. In the study, CU-Boulder psychology Professor Yuko Munakata and her research colleagues found that "neural inhibition," a process that occurs when one nerve cell suppresses activity in another, is a critical aspect in our ability to make choices. "The breakthrough here is that this helps us clarify the question of what is happening ...

Energy Express focus issue: Thin-film photovoltaic materials and devices

2010-09-13
WASHINGTON, September 13 – Developing renewable energy sources has never been more important, and solar photovoltaic (PV) technologies show great potential in this field. They convert direct sunlight into electricity with little impact on the environment. This field is constantly advancing, developing technologies that can convert power more efficiently and at a lower cost. To highlight breakthroughs in this area, the editors of Energy Express, a bi-monthly supplement to Optics Express, the open-access journal of the Optical Society (OSA), today published a special Focus ...

Over-the-top grass control in sorghum on the horizon

2010-09-13
AMARILLO - Apply today's chemicals to a sorghum crop for grass control and the sorghum will be killed off also. But a solution could be only a few years away if Texas AgriLife Research plots are any indication. Dr. Brent Bean, AgriLife Research and Texas AgriLife Extension Service agronomist, has test plots that demonstrate sorghum hybrids tolerant to herbicides typically associated with grass control. The control is needed not only for annual grass control but also for Johnsongrass, Bean said. Because Johnsongrass is closely related to grain sorghum, herbicides typically ...

Study finds that sorghum bran has more antioxidants than blueberries, pomegranates

2010-09-13
Athens, Ga. - A new University of Georgia study has found that select varieties of sorghum bran have greater antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties than well-known foods such as blueberries and pomegranates. Researchers measured polyphenolic compounds, which naturally occur in plants to help fight against pests and disease, and found that the black and sumac varieties of sorghum have significant levels of antioxidants. Many fruits also contain these compounds, they said, though sorghum bran may prove to be the richest and cheapest source. "Since most human chronic ...

Mount Sinai performs first tricuspid ring implantation

2010-09-13
David H. Adams, MD, Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis Professor and Chairman of the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery at The Mount Sinai Medical Center, has performed the first implantation of the Medtronic Tri-Ad Semi-Flexible Tricuspid Annuloplasty Ring in the United States. Dr. Adams invented the ring, which was recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The tricuspid valve lies between the right atrium and right ventricle of the heart. Tricuspid valve regurgitation occurs when the valve does not close completely and blood leaks back into the right atrium ...

Good long-term results for fusion surgery for high-grade spondylolisthesis

2010-09-13
A group of children who underwent fusion surgery for spondylolisthesis in the lumbar spine 30 years ago showed a clear reduction in back pain when followed up seven years later. A new study of these patients as adults has found that the benefits have lasted, reveals research from the Sahlgrenska Academy and Sahlgrenska University Hospital presented this week at the International Society of Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology (SICOT) annual international conference in Gothenburg. Spondylolisthesis (forward displacement of a vertebra) in the lumbar spine occurs in 6% ...

Bone-anchored leg prostheses improve quality of life

2010-09-13
Today sees the presentation of a study that, for the first time, shows the results of treatment using prostheses attached to titanium implants in the bones of patients with above-the-knee amputations. It reveals that the treatment improves function and quality of life in nine out of ten patients, and is the result of research carried out at the Sahlgrenska Academy and Sahlgrenska University Hospital that is being presented this week at the International Society of Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology (SICOT) annual international conference in Gothenburg. At a symposium ...

Early childhood education important for sustainable development

Early childhood education important for sustainable development
2010-09-13
Early childhood education can play a key role in relation to change when the world fails to adopt a sustainable approach economically, ecologically and socially. This was highlighted at the World Congress "Children, citizens in a challenged world", which was hosted by the University of Gothenburg. In a statement, the congress urges governments around the world to protect children's right to a childhood. More and more people are realising that work with young children is a force for change in itself, towards creating a different society. Early childhood education has ...
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