A joint analysis of data from the Planck space mission and the ground-based experiment BICEP2 has found no conclusive evidence of gravitational waves from the birth of our universe, despite earlier reports of a possible detection. The collaboration between the teams has resulted in the most precise knowledge yet of what signals from the ancient gravitational waves should look like, aiding future searches.
NASA successfully launched its first Earth satellite designed to collect global observations of the vital soil moisture hidden just beneath our feet. The Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) observatory now begins a three-year mission that will figuratively scratch below Earth's surface to expand our understanding of a key component of the Earth system that links the water, energy and carbon cycles driving our living planet.
Hydrogen production in extreme bacterium [Sat, 31 Jan 2015 07:18:17 EST]
Scientists have discovered a bacterium that can produce hydrogen, an element that one day could lessen the world’s dependence on oil.
Seismic investigations from the Qinling-Dabie-Sulu orogenic belt in eastern China suggest that this region was affected by extreme mantle perturbation and crust-mantle interaction during the Mesozoic era. The Qinling-Dabie-Sulu orogenic belt formed through the collision between the North and South China blocks, which produced large-scale destruction of the cratonic lithosphere, accompanied by widespread magmatism and metallogeny.
Evidence mounts for quantum criticality theory [Fri, 30 Jan 2015 21:14:01 EST]
A new study adds to the growing evidence supporting a theory that strange electronic behaviors -- including high-temperature superconductivity and heavy fermion physics -- arise from quantum fluctuations of strongly correlated electrons.
HIV can lie dormant in infected cells for years, even decades. Scientists think unlocking the secrets of this viral reservoir may make it possible to cure, not just treat, HIV. Researchers have gained new insight on which immune cells likely do, and do not, harbor this latent virus.
NWA 7034, a meteorite found a few years ago in the Moroccan desert, is like no other rock ever found on Earth. It's been shown to be a 4.4 billion-year-old chunk of the Martian crust, and according to a new analysis, rocks just like it may cover vast swaths of Mars.
Radar Images of Near-Earth Asteroid [Fri, 30 Jan 2015 14:23:19 EST]
A team of astronomers has made the most detailed radar images yet of asteroid 2004 BL86. The images, which were taken early in the morning on Jan. 27, 2014, reveal the asteroid's surface features in unprecedented clarity.
Minority stress -- which results from being stigmatized and disadvantaged in society -- affects same-sex couples' stress levels and overall health, research indicates. Authors of a new study state that the health effects of minority stress shared by a couple can be understood as distinct from individual stress, a new framework in the field.
If you can't find the ideal material, then design a new one. By manipulating the ordered arrangement of atoms in layered complex oxide materials, scientists have found a way to control their electronic band gaps, which determines the electrical behavior of the material and how it interacts with light.
Policies in the European Union and elsewhere requiring the use of renewable and low greenhouse gas-emitting energy are driving demand for wood pellets used to generate bioenergy. This demand could provide new markets for US timber exports, increase wood prices, and lead to increases in forestland area.
Craigslist's entry into a market results in a 15.9 percent increase in reported HIV cases, according to research. When mapped at the national level, more than 6,000 HIV cases annually and treatment costs estimated between $62 million and $65.3 million can be linked to the popular website, the authors state.
A strong link between the most aggressive type of breast cancer and a gene that regulates the body's natural cellular recycling process, called autophagy, has been uncovered by researchers.
Every undergraduate computer-science major takes a course on data structures, which describes different ways of organizing data in a computer's memory. Every data structure has its own advantages: Some are good for fast retrieval, some for efficient search, some for quick insertions and deletions, and so on. Scientists have now developed a new way of implementing priority queues that lets them keep pace with the addition of new cores. In simulations, algorithms using their data structure continued to demonstrate performance improvement with the addition of new cores, up to a total of 80 cores.
'Bio-molecular interaction analysis, a cornerstone of biomedical research, is traditionally accomplished using equipment that can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars,' said the senior author of a new study. 'Rather than develop a new instrument, we've created a nanoscale tool made from strands of DNA that can detect and report how molecules behave, enabling biological measurements to be made by almost anyone, using only common and inexpensive laboratory reagents.'
Ethicists question impact of hospital advertising [Fri, 30 Jan 2015 12:18:09 EST]
Ethicists question the impact of health information that is available online, specifically hospital advertisements, and argue that while the Internet offers patients valuable data and tools -- including hospital quality ratings and professional treatment guidelines - that may help them when facing decisions about where to seek care or whether to undergo a medical procedure, reliable and unbiased information may be hard to identify among the growing number of medical care advertisements online.
Population genomics unveil seahorse domain [Fri, 30 Jan 2015 12:18:07 EST]
In a finding vital to effective species management, a team of biologists has determined that the lined seahorse (Hippocampus erectus) is more a permanent resident of the western mid-Atlantic Ocean than a vagrant.
The close of the Permian Period around 250 million years ago saw Earth's biggest extinction ever. At this time large volcanic eruptions were occurring in what is now Siberia. The volcanoes pumped out gases that led to acid rain. Falling on the supercontinent Pangaea, the acid rain killed off end-Permian forests. The demise of forests led to soil erosion and the production of organic-rich sediments in shallow marine waters.
More than three-fourths of US neurosurgeons practice some form of defensive medicine--performing additional tests and procedures out of fear of malpractice lawsuits, new research reports.
Fluorescent dyes 'light up' brain cancer cells [Fri, 30 Jan 2015 12:16:17 EST]
Two new fluorescent dyes attracted to cancer cells may help neurosurgeons more accurately localize and completely resect brain tumors, suggests a new study. Removing all visible areas of cancer (gross total resection) significantly improves survival after brain cancer surgery.
Older adults may need to double up on the recommended daily allowance of protein to efficiently maintain and build muscle. Current US recommendations for daily dietary protein intake are 0.8 grams/kilogram of body weight (roughly 62 g of protein per day for a 170-pound person).
Mobile devices are everywhere and children are using them more frequently at young ages. The impact these mobile devices are having on the development and behavior of children is still relatively unknown. Researchers review the many types of interactive media available today and raise important questions regarding their use as educational tools, as well as their potential detrimental role in stunting the development of important tools for self-regulation.
Investigators have developed an analysis 'pipeline' that slashes the time it takes to search a person's genome for disease-causing variations from weeks to hours.
Gene interactions that determine whether cells live or die in such conditions as age-related macular degeneration and ischemic stroke have been discovered by researchers. These common molecular mechanisms in vision and brain integrity can prevent blindness and also promote recovery from a stroke.
A new article explores what is preventing the reinforcing ability of carbon nanotubes from being used in a ceramic matrix. Ever since their discovery, carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have been considered the ultimate additive to improve the mechanical properties of structural ceramics, such as aluminum oxide, silicon nitride and zirconium dioxide. Yet despite the remarkable strength and stiffness of CNTs, many studies have reported only marginal improvements or even the degradation of mechanical properties after these super-materials were added.
The world's urban areas have experienced significant increases in heat waves over the past 40 years, according to new research. These prolonged periods of extreme hot days have significantly increased in over 200 urban areas across the globe between 1973 and 2012, and have been most prominent in the most recent years on record.
A novel, bacteria-repelling coating material that could increase the success of medical implants has been created. The material helps healthy cells 'win the race' to the medical implant, beating off competition from bacterial cells and thus reducing the likelihood of the implant being rejected by the body.
Can Lean Management improve hospitals? [Fri, 30 Jan 2015 09:29:25 EST]
Waiting times in hospital emergency departments could be cut with the introduction of Lean Management and Six Sigma techniques according to research.
Why do zebras have stripes? Temperature counts [Fri, 30 Jan 2015 09:29:23 EST]
One of nature's fascinating questions is how zebras got their stripes. A team of life scientists has found at least part of the answer: The amount and intensity of striping can be best predicted by the temperature of the environment in which zebras live.
Altered dopamine signaling a clue to autism [Fri, 30 Jan 2015 09:29:21 EST]
Newly discovered genetic variations linked to autism spectrum disorder disrupt the function of the dopamine transporter, suggesting that altered dopamine signaling contributes to this common developmental condition, according to researchers.
Mussels could be the perfect 'sentinel' species to signal the health of coastal ecosystems. But a new study of blue mussels in estuary ecosystems along 600 kilometers of coastline in the Northeast uncovered three key mysteries that will have to be solved first.
Scientists have discovered a 'hidden' mechanism which could explain why some cancer therapies which aim to block tumor blood vessel growth are failing cancer trials. The same mechanism could play the role in the bacterial or viral septic shock -- e.g. in Ebola fever -- by destabilizing the blood vessels.
A mosquito-borne virus that has spread to the Caribbean and Central and South America and has caused isolated infections in Florida often causes joint pain and swelling similar to that seen in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
Having a team in the Super Bowl correlated to an average 18 percent increase in flu deaths among those over 65 years old, according to a study of health data covering 35 years of championship games.
A drug already approved for treating other diseases may be useful as a treatment for cerebral malaria, according to researchers who discovered a novel link between food intake during the early stages of infection and the outcome of the disease, identifying two molecular pathways that could serve as new targets for treatment.
Publically tweeting about sexism could improve a woman's wellbeing as it has the potential to let them to express themselves in ways that feel like they can make a difference, a new report suggests.
The most thorough analysis of oseltamivir (marketed as Tamiflu) data to date, including all available published and unpublished randomised treatment trials of adults, suggests that the antiviral drug shortens the duration of flu symptoms by about a day, compared to placebo, in adults with laboratory-confirmed influenza.
A new satellite imaging concept could significantly reduce search areas for missing boats and planes. Researchers have been trialling a concept for using satellite imagery to significantly improve the chances of locating ships and planes, such as the missing Malaysian flight MH370, lost at sea. A preliminary study identified 54 satellites with 85 sensors, currently only taking images of land, which could be used to take images of Earth's oceans and inland waters. The research team believe regularly updated images of the seas via these satellites could enable the reduction of search areas for missing ships to just a few hundred square miles. This offers the possibility of dramatically reducing search and rescue times and significantly improving chances of survival for missing ships.
A new compact transistor model was developed and the framework for realizing a faster design support process and product development for integrated circuits in the ultra-low voltage category was established. The new compact model, HiSIM-SOTB (Hiroshima University STARC IGFET Model Silicon-on-Thin BOX), was developed by Hiroshima University’s HiSIM Research Center in collaboration with its partners in the industry and government institutions, including the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) of Japan.
New wearable sensor networks and mobile phone applications are being tested for their potential to monitor and manage patients with Parkinson’s disease. The research aim is the usage of low-cost wearable sensors that can continuously collect and process the accelerometry signals to automatically detect and quantify the symptoms of the patient. Once we this is done, the information is sent to hospital to generate a daily report that will alert the doctor in case of any outlier.
Water purification: Running fuel cells on bacteria [Fri, 30 Jan 2015 08:15:35 EST]
Researchers in Norway have succeeded in getting bacteria to power a fuel cell. The "fuel" used is wastewater, and the products of the process are purified water droplets and electricity. This is an environmentally-friendly process for the purification of water derived from industrial processes and suchlike. It also generates small amounts of electricity – in practice enough to drive a small fan, a sensor or a light-emitting diode. In the future, the researchers hope to scale up this energy generation to enable the same energy to be used to power the water purification process, which commonly consists of many stages, often involving mechanical and energy-demanding decontamination steps at its outset.
The most popular next-generation solar cells under development may have a problem – the top layer is full of tiny pinholes, researchers have found.
Using whole genomic sequencing, scientists have for the first time demonstrated the profound effect that chronic hepatitis infection and inflammation can have on the genetic mutations found in tumors of the liver, potentially paving the way to a better understanding of the mechanisms through which these chronic infections can lead to cancer. Primary liver cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death worldwide, and recent studies have shown that particularly in Asia, infection with either hepatitis B or C is often associated with such cancers.
Building trustworthy big data algorithms [Thu, 29 Jan 2015 17:04:04 EST]
Much of our reams of data sit in large databases of unstructured text. Finding insights among emails, text documents, and websites is extremely difficult unless we can search, characterize, and classify their text data in a meaningful way. A new algorithm shows better accuracy and reproducibility than the leading algorithm for mining unstructured text.
Drinking more than two alcoholic beverages a day in middle-age raised stroke risks more than traditional factors such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Heavy drinking in mid-life was linked to having a stroke about five years earlier in life irrespective of genetic and early-life factors.
FDA approves first-of-kind device to treat obesity [Thu, 29 Jan 2015 17:03:27 EST]
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the Maestro Rechargeable System for certain obese adults, the first weight loss treatment device that targets the nerve pathway between the brain and the stomach that controls feelings of hunger and fullness.
Engineers have shone new light on an emerging family of solar-absorbing materials that could clear the way for cheaper and more efficient solar panels and LEDs. The materials, called perovskites, are particularly good at absorbing visible light, but had never been thoroughly studied in their purest form: as perfect single crystals. Using a new technique, researchers grew large, pure perovskite crystals and studied how electrons move through the material as light is converted to electricity.
Here's some good news for the New Year: According to new research, there's a 1 in 9 chance that a typical American will hit the jackpot and join the wealthiest 1 percent for at least one year in her or his working life. And now the bad news: That same research says only an elite few get to stay in that economic stratosphere -- and nonwhite workers remain among those who face far longer odds.
Complex environments push 'brain' evolution [Thu, 29 Jan 2015 16:08:58 EST]
Little animations trying to master a computer game are teaching neuroscience researchers how the brain evolves when faced with difficult tasks. Neuroscientists have programmed animated critters that they call 'animats.' The critters have a rudimentary neural system made of eight nodes: two sensors, two motors, and four internal computers that coordinate sensation, movement and memory.
Just four fairly vague pieces of information -- the dates and locations of four purchases -- are enough to identify 90 percent of the people in a data set recording three months of credit-card transactions by 1.1 million users. If someone had copies of just three of your recent receipts -- or one receipt, one Instagram photo of you having coffee with friends, and one tweet about the phone you just bought -- would have a 94 percent chance of extracting your credit card records from those of a million other people. This is true, the researchers say, even in cases where no one in the data set is identified by name, address, credit card number, or anything else that we typically think of as personal information.
A team of California scientists believes a far-flung Okenia rosacea bloom -- along with a slew of other marine species spotted north of their typical ranges -- may signal a much larger shift in ocean climate and a strong forthcoming El Niño.
Biologists used the world’s largest single-celled organism, an aquatic alga called Caulerpa taxifolia, to study the nature of structure and form in plants. It is a single cell that can grow to a length of six to twelve inches.
Generating Mobius strips of light [Thu, 29 Jan 2015 15:16:21 EST]
Physicists have experimentally produced Möbius strips from the polarization of light, confirming a theoretical prediction that it is possible for light's electromagnetic field to assume this peculiar shape.
Researchers have revealed a new solution-based hot-casting technique that allows growth of highly efficient and reproducible solar cells from large-area perovskite crystals. The researchers fabricated planar solar cells from pervoskite materials with large crystalline grains that had efficiencies approaching 18%.
Life scientists now have access to a publicly available web resource that streamlines and simplifies the process of gleaning insight from 3-D protein structures. Aquaria, as it's known, is fast, easy-to-use and contains twice as many models as all other similar resources combined.
Drugs that are on the market to treat erectile dysfunction could have another use: they might be able to protect the liver from damage caused by sepsis, a systemic inflammatory response to infection, say researchers.
In a role reversal, RNAs proofread themselves [Thu, 29 Jan 2015 15:16:12 EST]
Building a protein is a lot like a game of telephone: information is passed along from one messenger to another, creating the potential for errors. Enzymatic machines proofread at each step, and scientists have uncovered a new quality control mechanism along this path. But in a remarkable role reversal, the proofreading isn't done by an enzyme. Instead, one of the messengers itself has a built-in mechanism to prevent errors.
Some 6 million to 10 million gallons of oil from the BP oil spill are buried in the sediment on the Gulf floor, about 62 miles southeast of the Mississippi Delta, researchers have discovered.
Cassiopeia A, or Cas A for short, is one of the most well studied supernova remnants in our galaxy. But it still holds major surprises. Astronomers have now generated a new 3-D map of its interior using the astronomical equivalent of a CAT scan. They found that the Cas A supernova remnant is composed of a collection of about a half dozen massive cavities -- or 'bubbles.'
When new medicines are invented, the drug may hit the intended target and nullify the symptoms, but nailing a bull's eye -- one that produces zero side effects -- can be quite elusive. New research has, for the first time, revealed the crystal structure of a key protein, TSPO, which is associated with several forms of anxiety disorders.
Title: Little Improvement in Children Paralyzed After Viral Infection, Study Finds
Category: Health News
Created: 1/29/2015 12:00:00 AM
Last Editorial Review: 1/30/2015 12:00:00 AM
Title: Diabetes Patients Lax With Meds If Diagnosed With Cancer, Study Finds
Category: Health News
Created: 1/29/2015 12:00:00 AM
Last Editorial Review: 1/30/2015 12:00:00 AM
Are You a Perfectionist? Is That a Bad Thing? [Mon, 26 Jan 2015 12:00:22 +0000]
Photo by Claus Rebler - http://flic.kr/p/5PfpUa

Are you one of those folks who always has to have things done right? Do you hate the very thought of failure and are you always striving to achieve? Do you set the most lofty goals and find yourself driven to succeed? If you are one of those folks some call "perfectionistic," is it necessarily a bad thing?

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The “Directive” Therapist [Mon, 19 Jan 2015 12:30:42 +0000]
Photo by treehouse1977 - http://flic.kr/p/5xjjxL

Folks in emotional distress need to know there's a way out. They don't just need to be understood and accepted. They need far more than merely feeling both safe and relieved in venting their concerns to another human being.

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Designed to cover half the surface area of a pack, new proposed labels are meant to vividly remind smokers of tobacco’s dangers.
Caregivers of veterans report greater difficulties than do those of other disabled adults.
Title: Experts See Place for Weight-Loss Drugs in Obesity Treatment
Category: Health News
Created: 1/20/2015 12:00:00 AM
Last Editorial Review: 1/21/2015 12:00:00 AM
Smoking, Obesity: Weighing the Financial Toll [Fri, 16 Jan 2015 00:00:00 PDT]
Title: Smoking, Obesity: Weighing the Financial Toll
Category: Health News
Created: 1/16/2015 12:00:00 AM
Last Editorial Review: 1/16/2015 12:00:00 AM
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