last updated: Wed, 16 Apr 2014 16:24:16 GMT
Researchers have found that environmental stressors -- from the Trail of Tears to the Civil War -- led to significant changes in the shape of skulls in the eastern and western bands of the Cherokee people. The findings highlight the role of environmental factors in shaping our physical characteristics.
Researchers have shown the ability to grow high quality, single-layer materials one on top of the other using chemical vapor deposition. This highly scalable technique, often used in the semiconductor industry, can produce new materials with unique properties that could be applied to solar cells, ultracapacitors for energy storage, or advanced transistors for energy efficient electronics, among many other applications.
Despite the recent rainfall, California is still in a drought, so not only are water supplies limited, but demand for water is increasing from a variety of uses. In a recent study, scientists document the importance of irrigated agricultural crops in California's Central Valley to a conspicuous shorebird.
Use of video surveillance to better understand essential hygiene behavior has been pioneered by researchers. Still, despite years of global public awareness campaigns, hand washing rates remain low. Caregivers of young children in low-income, developing world settings are found to wash their hands only 17 percent of the time after using the toilet. A new study finds that video surveillance can provide insights into hand washing behavior. Study findings could inform the design, monitoring and evaluation of hygiene campaigns.
An escape route mapping system based on the behavior of ant colonies could give evacuees a better chance of reaching safe harbor after a natural disaster or terrorist attack by building a map showing the shortest routes to shelters and providing regular updates of current situations such as fires, blocked roads or other damage via the smart phones of emergency workers and those caught up in the disaster.
Parents can help toddlers' language skills by showing them a variety of examples of different actions, according to new research. Previous research has shown that verbs pose particular difficulties to toddlers as they refer to actions rather than objects, and actions are often different each time a child sees them.
The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction reported that disasters have affected around 2.9 billion people worldwide from 2000-2012- killing more than a million, and damaging around 1.7 trillion US dollars in estimates. Moreover, natural disasters and their damages have been documented to occur with increasing intensity. Given the staggering numbers, effective disaster preparedness and relief response plans is compelling, especially considering the fact that natural disasters are usually unpredictable and damage cannot be avoided. Scientists have now presented a model that looks into the logistics of disaster relief using open data and tools and measures developed in the field of network science.
By combining a synchrotron's bright X-ray beam with high speed X-ray cameras, scientists shot a 'movie' showing how organic molecules form into crystals. This is a first. Their new techniques will improve our understanding of crystal packing and should help lead to better electronic devices as well as pharmaceuticals -- indeed any product whose properties depend on precisely controlling crystallization.
Have you ever wished you had a virtual time machine that could show you how your street looked last century? Or have you wanted to see how your new furniture might look, before you’ve even bought it? Thanks to new research you can now do just that.
A mechanism that may help explain the severe forms of schistosomiasis, or snail fever, has been discovered by researchers. Schistosomiasis is one of the most prevalent parasitic diseases in the world. The study in mice may also offer targets for intervention and amelioration of the disease. Although schistosomiasis is not contracted in the United States or Europe, the World Health Organization reports that this neglected tropical disease is endemic primarily in Africa, but is also found in South America, the Middle East, and Asia.
PCNA is a protein essential to DNA repair and replication, and researchers are targeting it in neuroblastoma cells in order to halt tumor growth and induce cell death. Neuroblastoma is one of the deadliest childhood cancers, accounting for 15 percent of pediatric cancer deaths. For patients with high-risk neuroblastomas, the five-year survival rate is 40 to 50 percent even with the most rigorous treatments available today.
A new nanomaterial called a metal organic framework could extend the lifespan of lithium-sulfur batteries, which could be used to increase the driving range of electric vehicles. Researchers added the powder, a kind of nanomaterial called a metal organic framework, to the battery's cathode to capture problematic polysulfides that usually cause lithium-sulfur batteries to fail after a few charges. During lab tests, a lithium-sulfur battery with the new MOF cathode maintained 89 percent of its initial power capacity after 100 charge-and discharge cycles.
Real-time engagement detection technology that processes facial expressions can perform with accuracy comparable to that of human observers, according to new research. The study used automatic expression recognition technology to analyze students' facial expressions on a frame-by-frame basis and estimate their engagement level. The study also revealed that engagement levels were a better predictor of students' post-test performance than the students' pre-test scores.
Increasing tigers' genetic diversity -- via interbreeding and other methods -- and not just their population numbers may be the best solution to saving this endangered species, according to research. Iconic symbols of power and beauty, wild tigers may roam only in stories someday soon. Their historical range has been reduced by more than 90 percent. But conservation plans that focus only on increasing numbers and preserving distinct subspecies ignore genetic diversity, according to the study. In fact, under that approach, the tiger could vanish entirely.
A larger waist circumference is associated with higher risk of postmenopausal breast cancer, but not beyond its contribution to BMI, a new study of predominantly white women finds. The study fails to confirm previous findings that body shape itself is an independent risk factor for breast cancer.
A quasiparticle called an exciton -- responsible for the transfer of energy within devices such as solar cells, LEDs, and semiconductor circuits -- has been understood theoretically for decades. But exciton movement within materials has never been directly observed. Now scientists have achieved that feat, imaging excitons' motions directly. This could enable research leading to significant advances in electronics, they say, as well as a better understanding of natural energy-transfer processes, such as photosynthesis.
Carbon-based nanostructures such as nanotubes, graphene sheets, and nanoribbons are unique building blocks showing versatile nanomechanical and nanoelectronic properties. These materials which are ordered in the nanoscale, that is, in the dimension of a millionth of millimeter, are promising candidates to envision applications in nanoscale devices, ranging from energy conversion to nano-electronic transistors.
A new article shows the potential applications for Google Glass in the surgical setting, particularly in relation to training. Personal portable information technology is advancing at a breathtaking speed. Google has recently introduced Glass, a device that is worn like conventional glasses, but that combines a computerized central processing unit, touchpad, display screen, high-definition camera, microphone, bone-conduction transducer, and wireless connectivity.
An area of the southern sky, in the constellation of Centaurus (The Centaur), is home to many bright nebulae, each associated with hot newborn stars that formed out of the clouds of hydrogen gas. The intense radiation from the stellar newborns excites the remaining hydrogen around them, making the gas glow in the distinctive shade of red typical of star-forming regions.
The most “feminine” girls and “masculine” boys are more likely than their peers to engage in behaviors that pose cancer risks, according to a new study. The most feminine teenage girls use tanning beds more frequently and are more likely to be physically inactive, while the most masculine teenage boys are more likely to use chewing tobacco and to smoke cigars, compared with their gender-nonconforming peers.
Last winter’s curvy jet stream pattern brought mild temperatures to western North America and harsh cold to the East. A new study shows that pattern became more pronounced 4,000 years ago, and suggests it may worsen as Earth’s climate warms.
In the most comprehensive study of Ménière's Disease to date, researchers have been able to suggest what goes wrong in the body when people develop the disease, and provide an insight into factors that lead to its development. The analysis also showed that Ménière's patients were more likely to suffer falls and mental health problems, such as depression, than people without the condition.
Scientists have discovered what people’s preferred sleeping position reveals about their relationships and personality. The research revealed the most popular sleep positions for couples, with 42% sleeping back to back, 31% sleeping facing the same direction and just 4% spending the night facing one another. In addition, 12% of couples spend the night less than an inch apart whilst 2% sleep over 30 inches apart.
A functional brain imaging technique known as positron emission tomography is a promising tool for determining which severely brain damaged individuals in vegetative states have the potential to recover consciousness, according to new research.
Antibiotics improve growth in children at risk of undernourishment in low and middle income countries, according to researchers who have just conducted a research literature review on the subject. Their results suggest that the youngest children from the most vulnerable populations benefit most and show significant improvements toward expected growth for their age and sex, particularly for weight.
Women going through menopause most likely think of it as the time for an end to predictable monthly periods. Researchers say it's normal, however, for the majority of them to experience an increase in the amount and duration of bleeding episodes, which may occur at various times throughout the menopausal transition.
Life took root more than four billion years ago on our nascent Earth, a wetter and harsher place than now, bathed in sizzling ultraviolet rays. What started out as simple cells ultimately transformed into slime molds, frogs, elephants, humans and the rest of our planet's living kingdoms. How did it all begin?
Internal damage in fiber-reinforced composites, materials used in structures of modern airplanes and automobiles, is difficult to detect and nearly impossible to repair by conventional methods. A small, internal crack can quickly develop into irreversible damage from delamination, a process in which the layers separate. This remains one of the most significant factors limiting more widespread use of composite materials. Scientists have now created fiber-composite materials that can heal autonomously through a new self-healing system.
Tucked away in Hartford, Conn., a Puerto Rican community is creating a tropical home away from home through cuisine that is so authentic it has caught the attention of scientists. Biologists took a close look at the fresh crops in the Puerto Rican markets of Hartford and uncovered evidence that gives new meaning to a phrase that food lovers have been using for years: home is in the kitchen.
Sarcopenia -- the age-related loss of muscle mass and strength -- may put up to 50 percent of seniors at greater risk for disability, yet there is no consensus within the medical community for how this condition should be measured. However, a new collection of articles lays out an empirically derived set of criteria for diagnosing sarcopenia.
Photosynthesis provides fixed carbon and energy for nearly all life on Earth, yet many aspects of this fascinating process remain mysterious. We do not know the full list of the parts of the molecular machines that perform photosynthesis in any organism. A team developed a highly sophisticated tool that will transform the work of plant geneticists on this subject.
In the first known study of its kind, researchers have shown that the language we learn as children affects brain structure, as does hearing status. 'What we've learned to date about differences in brain anatomy in hearing and deaf populations hasn't taken into account the diverse language experiences among people who are deaf,' says one of the authors.
Over 20 years after the fatal fialuridine trial, a new study demonstrates that mice with humanized livers recapitulate the drug's toxicity. The work suggests that this mouse model should be added to the repertoire of tools used in preclinical screening of drugs for liver toxicity before they are given to human participants in clinical trials.
By predicting our eye movements, our brain creates a stable world for us. Researchers used to think that those predictions had so much influence that they could cause us to make errors in estimating the position of objects. Neuroscientists have now shown this to be incorrect. These new findings challenge fundamental knowledge regarding coordination between brain and eyes.
All organisms, from mammals to fungi, have daily cycles controlled by a tightly regulated internal clock, called the circadian clock. The whole-body circadian clock, influenced by the exposure to light, dictates the wake-sleep cycle. At the cellular level, the clock is controlled by a complex network of genes and proteins that switch each other on and off based on cues from their environment.
The size and shape of two brain regions involved in emotion and motivation may differ in young adults who smoke marijuana at least once a week, according to a new study. The findings suggest that recreational marijuana use may lead to previously unidentified brain changes, and highlight the importance of research aimed at understanding the long-term effects of low to moderate marijuana use on the brain.
Black adults who reported feeling more financial strain also rated their health more poorly than those with less financial strain, finds a new study. While lower income and education among minorities have been linked to poor health for decades, this study focused just on the connection between financial worries and poor health.
An analysis that included active military personnel finds that the rate of the thyroid disorder Graves disease is more common among blacks and Asian/Pacific Islanders compared with whites. The authors write that the differences in incidence by race/ethnicity found in this study may be due to different environmental exposures, genetics, or a combination of both.
Higher maternal body mass index (BMI) before or in early pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of fetal death, stillbirth, and infant death, with women who are severely obese having the greatest risk of these outcomes from their pregnancy, according to a study. The authors suggest that several biological mechanisms could explain the association found in this study, including that being overweight or obese has been associated with increased risk of preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, type 2 diabetes, gestational hypertension, and congenital anomalies, conditions that have been strongly associated with risk of fetal and infant death.
Miami could know as early as 2020 how high sea levels will rise into the next century, according to a team of researchers. Scientists conclude that sea level rise is one of the most certain consequences of climate change. But the speed and long-term height of that rise are unknown. Some researchers believe that sea level rise is accelerating, some suggest the rate is holding steady, while others say it's decelerating.
Scientists have solved a decades-old medical mystery -- and in the process have found a potentially less toxic way to fight invasive fungal infections, which kill about 1.5 million people a year. The researchers say they now understand the mechanism of action of amphotericin, an antifungal drug that has been in use for more than 50 years -- even though it is nearly as toxic to human cells as it is to the microbes it attacks.
Handling frozen fish caused nearly half of all injuries aboard commercial freezer-trawlers and about a quarter of the injuries on freezer-longliner vessels operating off the coast of Alaska. Many injuries could be prevented with the right interventions. Researchers are hoping to build from this research and explore other fishing-related injuries and prevention strategies. The Dungeness crab industry is one area that may be explored and another is land-based fish-processing, researchers said.
A fluctuating tilt in a planet's orbit does not preclude the possibility of life, according to new research. In fact, sometimes it may help. That's because such "tilt-a-worlds," as astronomers sometimes call them -- turned from their orbital plane by the influence of companion planets -- are less likely than fixed-spin planets to freeze over, as heat from their host star is more evenly distributed.
Cases of diabetes and pre-diabetes in the United States have nearly doubled since 1988, suggests new research, with obesity apparently to blame for the surge. The researchers also found that the burden of the disease has not hit all groups equally, with alarming increases in diabetes in blacks, Hispanics and the elderly.
In a study of nearly 1,000 mother-child pairs, researchers found that prenatal exposure to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), a frequently prescribed treatment for depression, anxiety and other disorders, was associated with autism spectrum disorder and developmental delays in boys.
Real-time audio recordings of children being spanked showed parents responded impulsively or emotionally, rather than being intentional with their discipline, says a psychologist and parenting expert. Researchers discovered that spanking was more common than parents admit, that children were hit for trivial misdeeds, and that children misbehaved within 10 minutes of punishment.
A mechanism has been discovered that explains why people with the hepatitis C virus get liver disease and why the virus is able to persist in the body for so long. The hard-to-kill pathogen, which infects an estimated 200 million people worldwide, attacks the liver cells' energy centers -- the mitochondria -- dismantling the cell's innate ability to fight infection. It does this by altering cells mitochondrial dynamics.
The very earliest childhood memories might begin even earlier than anyone realized -- including the one remembering, his or her parents and memory researchers. Four- to 13-year-olds in upstate New York and Newfoundland, Canada, probed their memories when researchers asked: "You know, some kids can remember things that happened to them when they were very little. What is the first thing you can remember? How old were you at that time?" The researchers then returned a year or two later to ask again about earliest memories -- and at what age the children were when the events occurred.
The concept of maximizing happiness has been explored by researchers, who have found that pursuing concrete 'giving' goals rather than abstract ones leads to greater satisfaction. One path to happiness is through concrete, specific goals of benevolence -- like making someone smile or increasing recycling -- instead of following similar but more abstract goals -- like making someone happy or saving the environment.
The intestinal bacteria of present-day hunter-gatherers has for the first time been deciphered by an international team of researchers. Bacterial populations have co-evolved with humans over millions of years, and have the potential to help us adapt to new environments and foods. Studies of the Hadza offer an especially rare opportunity for scientists to learn how humans survive by hunting and gathering, in the same environment and using similar foods as our ancestors did.
Computer scientists, mathematicians and geophysicists have optimized the SeisSol earthquake simulation software on the SuperMUC high performance computer to push its performance beyond the 'magical' one petaflops mark -- one quadrillion floating point operations per second.
Moms want their kids to grow up to be good people -- but how do they actually help their offspring sort out different types of moral issues? A new study shows many moms talk to their kids in ways that help them understand moral missteps. The study also shows that the nature of the maternal role develops along with the children, as parents evolve from gentle teachers for youngsters to sounding boards for teenagers.
The Micro Phone Lens can turn any smartphone or tablet computer into a hand-held microscope. The soft, pliable lens sticks to a device's camera without any adhesive or glue and makes it possible to see things magnified dozens of times on the screen.
Biologists have succeeded in visualizing the movement within plants of a key hormone responsible for growth and resistance to drought. The achievement will allow researchers to conduct further studies to determine how the hormone helps plants respond to drought and other environmental stresses driven by the continuing increase in the atmosphere’s carbon dioxide, or CO2, concentration.
An ornithologist has found that the capacity of a bird’s gut to change with environmental conditions is a primary limiting factor in their ability to adapt to the rapidly changing climate. And he believes that most other animals are also limited in a similar way.
Sandia National Laboratories has finished eight days of testing a full-scale mock unit representing the aerodynamic characteristics of the B61-12 gravity bomb in a wind tunnel. The tests on the mock-up were done to establish the configuration that will deliver the necessary spin motion of the bomb during freefall and are an important milestone in the Life Extension Program to deliver a new version of the aging system, the B61-12.
If an insect drew a line as it chased its next meal, the resulting pattern would be a tangled mess. But there’s method to that mess: It turns out the tiger beetle, known for its speed and agility, does an optimal reorientation dance as it chases its prey at blinding speeds.
A diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea may raise the risk of osteoporosis, particularly among women or older individuals, according to a new study. Sleep apnea is a condition that causes brief interruptions in breathing during sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea, the most common form, occurs when a person's airway becomes blocked during sleep. If sleep apnea goes untreated, it can raise the risk for stroke, cardiovascular disease and heart attacks.
Among severely obese people, vitamin D may make the difference between an active and a more sedentary lifestyle, according to a new study. The study found severely obese people who also were vitamin D-deficient walked slower and were less active overall than their counterparts who had healthy vitamin D levels. Poor physical functioning can reduce quality of life and even shorten lifespans.
A potential link between the genetic pre-disposition for high levels of exercise motivation and the speed at which mental maturation occurs has been found by researchers. These scientists studied the brains of the rats and found much higher levels of neural maturation in the brains of the active rats than in the brains of the lazy rats.