New light has been shed on solar power generation using devices made with polymers. Researchers identified a new polymer -- a type of large molecule that forms plastics and other familiar materials -- which improved the efficiency of solar cells. The group also determined the method by which the polymer improved the cells' efficiency. The polymer allowed electrical charges to move more easily throughout the cell, boosting the production of electricity -- a mechanism never before demonstrated in such devices.
Rising temperatures and shifting precipitation patterns may get the lion’s share of our climate change attention, but predators may want to give some thought to wind, according to a zoologist’s study, which is among the first to demonstrate the way “global stilling” may alter predator-prey relationships.
The first human tests of using a perfluorocarbon (PFC) tracer in combination with non-invasive magnetic resonance imaging to track therapeutic immune cells injected into patients with colorectal cancer have been reported by scientists.
Domestic violence occurs at least as frequently, and likely even more so, between same-sex couples compared to opposite-sex couples, according to a new review of research. Abuse is underreported in same-sex couples due to the stigma of sexual orientation, researchers note.
A possible 6,800 new Ebola cases this are predicted this month, as suggested by researchers who used modelling analysis to come up with their figures. The rate of new cases significantly increased in August in Liberia and Guinea, around the time that a mass quarantine was put in place, indicating that the mass quarantine efforts may have made the outbreak worse than it would have been otherwise.
Korean white winter wheat is particularly susceptible to preharvest sprouting, according to researchers. Researchers have identified proteins that are differentially expressed in tolerant cultivars, with the goal of breeding more resistant varieties that can help increase wheat production in Korea.
A defect in a key cell-signaling pathway has been discovered that researchers say contributes to both overproduction of toxic protein in the brains of Alzheimer’s disease patients as well as loss of communication between neurons — both significant contributors to this type of dementia.
Even among flies, mating is a complicated ritual. Their elaborate, and entirely innate, courtship dance combines multiple motor skills with advanced sensory cues. Now, researchers have determined that the Abdominal-B (Abd-B) gene, previously known as the gene that sculpts the posterior parts of the developing fly, is also important for this complex behavior, at least in the case of female flies.
Researchers have equipped a robot with a novel tactile sensor that lets it grasp a USB cable draped freely over a hook and insert it into a USB port.
A new gene associated with fasting glucose and insulin levels in rats, mice and in humans, has been discovered by researchers. 29 million Americans have diabetes -- more than nine percent of the total population. It is the 7th leading cause of death, and experts estimate diabetes is an underreported cause of death because of the comorbidities and complications associated with the disease.
A refined approach to proteins at low resolution [Fri, 19 Sep 2014 12:22:14 EDT]
Crystals of membrane proteins and protein complexes often diffract to low resolution owing to their intrinsic molecular flexibility, heterogeneity or the mosaic spread of micro-domains. At low resolution, the building and refinement of atomic models is a more challenging task. The deformable elastic network refinement method developed previously has been instrumental in the determination of several structures at low resolution. Now, DEN refinement has been reviewed.
A new resource provides both experienced and aspiring researchers with the intellectual raw materials needed to design, build, and operate robots made from soft, flexible materials. With the advent of low-cost 3-D printing, laser cutters, and other advances in manufacturing technology, soft robotics is emerging as an increasingly important field.
Engineers have developed a new form of low-power wireless sensing technology that lets users "train" their smartphones to recognize and respond to specific hand gestures near the phone.
Drivers are frustrated at slowing down at inactive roadwork sites are ignoring reduced speed limits, an Australian study has found. The survey involved more than 400 people who were asked to estimate their speed for a range of different roadwork site scenarios, some of which were inactive sites and others with road workers visible.
Call it the Jimmy Durante of dinosaurs -- a newly discovered hadrosaur with a truly distinctive nasal profile. The new dinosaur, named Rhinorex condrupus by paleontologists, lived in what is now Utah approximately 75 million years ago during the Late Cretaceous period.
A simple test that combines thinking and movement can help to detect heightened risk for developing Alzheimer's disease in a person, even before there are any telltale behavioural signs of dementia, researchers report, adding that the findings don't predict who will develop Alzheimer's disease, but they do show there is something different in the brains of those who go on to be diagnosed with Alzheimer's.
Graphene sensor tracks down cancer biomarkers [Fri, 19 Sep 2014 11:06:43 EDT]
An ultrasensitive biosensor made from the wonder material graphene has been used to detect molecules that indicate an increased risk of developing cancer. The biosensor has been shown to be more than five times more sensitive than bioassay tests currently in use, and was able to provide results in a matter of minutes, opening up the possibility of a rapid, point-of-care diagnostic tool for patients.
Some pollutants are more harmful in a cold climate than in a hot, because they affect the temperature sensitivity of certain organisms. Now researchers have demonstrated how this happens, and it can help us better predict contamination risks, especially in the Arctic.
Faster, smaller, greener computers, capable of processing information up to 1,000 times faster than currently available models, could be made possible by replacing silicon with materials that can switch back and forth between different electrical states.
Many patients with advanced, incurable cancer do not receive any palliative care, reveals new research. The findings are astonishing as they come at the same time as 15 new oncology centres in Europe, Canada, South America and Africa are being awarded the title of 'ESMO Designated Centre of Integrated Oncology and Palliative Care.'
When space probes, such as Rosetta and Cassini, fly over certain planets and moons, in order to gain momentum and travel long distances, their speed changes slightly for an unknown reason. A researcher has now analyzed whether or not a hypothetical gravitomagnetic field could have an influence. However, other factors such as solar radiation, tides, or even relativistic effects or dark matter could be behind this mystery.
With protein supplement use by athletes on the rise, a group of researchers expanded upon prior research examining the effects of soy and whey protein supplementation on testosterone, sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), and cortisol responses to an acute bout of resistance exercise.
A child is likely to achieve better grades in high school and ultimately earn higher wages if they have received a preschool education, a new UK study suggests. High school achievement was rated by grades achieved for the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) in the UK.
Seeding plant diversity for future generations [Fri, 19 Sep 2014 10:34:44 EDT]
Researchers have constructed a 'hit list' of the plant species most needed to boost the overall diversity of the Millennium Seed Bank, which is storing seeds in its vaults for future generations.
Spy on penguin families for science [Fri, 19 Sep 2014 10:25:59 EDT]
Online volunteers are being asked to classify images of penguin families to help scientists monitor the health of penguin colonies in Antarctica. Recent evidence suggests that populations of many species of penguin, such as chinstrap and Adélie, are declining fast as shrinking sea ice threatens the krill they feed on. By tagging the adults, chicks, and eggs in remote camera images Penguin Watch volunteers will help scientists to gather information about penguin behavior and breeding success, as well as teaching a computer how to count and identify individuals of different species.
A report has looked at which sections of the population are left most exposed to food shortages after extreme weather events. Extreme weather events leave populations with not enough food both in the short- and the long-term.
Scientists have known for some time that Pacific islanders are more prone to obesity than people in other nations. Now a new study has examined why islanders on Nauru and in the Cook Islands in the Pacific have the highest levels and fastest rates of obesity increase in the world. On both the islands, between 1980 and 2008 the increase in the average body mass index was four times higher than the global average.
A quantum effect in which excited atoms team up to emit an enhanced pulse of light can be turned on its head to create 'superabsorbing' systems that could make the 'ultimate camera pixel'.
A new study has found that children who revealed they had been bullied by their brothers or sisters several times a week or more during early adolescence were twice as likely to report being clinically depressed as young adults.
For future astronauts, the process of suiting up may go something like this: Instead of climbing into a conventional, bulky, gas-pressurized suit, an astronaut may don a lightweight, stretchy garment, lined with tiny, musclelike coils. She would then plug in to a spacecraft's power supply, triggering the coils to contract and essentially shrink-wrap the garment around her body.
Two solids made of the same elements but with different geometric arrangements of the atoms, or crystal phases, can produce materials with different properties. Coal and diamond offer a spectacular example of this effect. Researchers have found that some crystals have an easier time of making a solid-solid transition if they take it in two steps. Surprisingly, the first step of the process involves the parent phase producing droplets of liquid. The liquid droplets then evolve into the daughter phase.
Chips that use light, rather than electricity, to move data would consume much less power -- and energy efficiency is a growing concern as chips' transistor counts rise. Scientists have developed a new technique for building MoS2 light emitters tuned to different frequencies, an essential requirement for optoelectronic chips. Since thin films of material can also be patterned onto sheets of plastic, the same work could point toward thin, flexible, bright, color displays.
The brain uses three perceptual parameters, the contrast-of-highlight, sharpness-of-highlight, or brightness of the object, as parameters when the brain recognizes a variety of glosses, researchers have discovered. They also found that different parameters are represented by different populations of neurons.
A new study sheds light on a longstanding question about the role of mitochondria in debilitating and fatal motor neuron diseases and resulted in a new mouse model to study such illnesses. Mitochondria are organelles -- compartments contained inside cells -- that serve several functions, including making ATP, a nucleotide that cells convert into chemical energy to stay alive. For this reason mitochondria often are called "cellular power plants."
MS drug candidate shows new promise [Fri, 19 Sep 2014 09:27:55 EDT]
Positive new data have been released on a drug candidate, RPC1063, for relapsing multiple sclerosis. According to the results from a six-month Phase 2 study of 258 multiple sclerosis patients, the drug candidate reduced the annualized relapse rate of participants with multiple sclerosis by up to 53 percent, compared with placebo. The potential therapy also decreased the emergence of new brain damage seen by MRI by more than 90 percent.
Does your child have Enterovirus 68 or just a bad cold? It can be hard to tell the difference between the two, but an infectious diseases specialist suggests how parents should treat their kids’ symptoms and when to seek medical attention.
Wireless sensor transmits tumor pressure [Fri, 19 Sep 2014 09:27:51 EDT]
A novel sensor that can wirelessly relay pressure readings from inside a tumor has been developed by researchers. The interstitial pressure inside a tumor is often remarkably high compared to normal tissues and is thought to impede the delivery of chemotherapeutic agents as well as decrease the effectiveness of radiation therapy. While medications exist that temporarily decrease tumor pressure, identifying the optimal window to initiate treatment -- when tumor pressure is lowest -- has remained a challenge.
With sustained international efforts, the number of premature deaths could be reduced by 40% over the next two decades (2010-2030), researchers say, halving under–50 mortality and preventing a third of the deaths at ages 50–69 years.
The effect of Ochratoxin A on the subventricular zone of the brain, which in the adult mammalian brain is where neurogenesis primarily occurs, has been the focus of recent research.
It is where we all came from and it is vital to our future, but Earth’s oceans, seas and waterways remain a mystery to us – a final frontier. A new project is at the forefront of a revolution in communications, creating an underwater ‘internet of things’, that will mobilize robots to work in groups, interacting together and passing back information to us on life underwater.
The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer collaboration has just presented its latest results. These are based on the analysis of 41 billion particles detected with the space-based AMS detector aboard the International Space Station. The results provide new insights into the nature of the mysterious excess of positrons observed in the flux of cosmic rays.
A chemical bond between a superheavy element and a carbon atom has been established for the first time. This research opens new vistas for studying the effects of Einstein's relativity on the structure of the periodic table.
Paratuberculosis, also known as Johne’s disease, is caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP). Paratuberculosis mainly affects ruminants and causes treatment-resistant diarrhea and wasting among affected animals. The disease can cause considerable economic losses for commercial farms. The animals produce less milk, exhibit fertility problems and are more susceptible to other conditions such as udder inflammation.
Smartgels, like gelatin, are thicker than water [Fri, 19 Sep 2014 08:38:51 EDT]
Transforming substances from liquids into gels plays an important role across many industries, including cosmetics, medicine, and energy. But the transformation process, called gelation, where manufacturers add chemical thickeners and either heat or cool the fluids to make them more viscous or elastic, is expensive and energy demanding. Take shampoo, for example. Without gelation, the contents of the shampoo bottle would be thin and watery. Instead of squirting a gooey dollop into the palm of your hand, the shampoo would rush between your fingers and escape down the drain before you could slather it on your head.
For legume plants, a new route from shoot to root [Fri, 19 Sep 2014 08:38:49 EDT]
Legume plants regulate their symbiotic relationship with soil bacteria by using cytokinins—signaling molecules that are transmitted through the plant structure from leaves into the roots to control the number of bacteria-holding nodules in the roots. Legumes, an important plant family which includes lentils, soybeans, and peanuts, have the ability to prosper in nitrogen-poor soil environments thanks to an ingenious adaptation: they develop a symbiotic relationship with nitrogen-fixing bacteria, allowing the bacteria to infect them within special structures known as nodules that are located along their roots.
Massive galaxies in the universe have stopped making their own stars and are instead snacking on nearby galaxies. Astronomers looked at more than 22,000 galaxies and found that while smaller galaxies are very efficient at creating stars from gas, the most massive galaxies are much less efficient at star formation, producing hardly any new stars themselves, and instead grow by 'eating' other galaxies.
Couples and other adult family members living without minors in the house are just as likely as adults living with young children or adolescents to eat family meals at home on most days of the week, new research suggests.
A major success in developing new biomedical implants with the ability to accelerate bone healing has been reported by a group of scientists, which suggests a move toward a future of personalized products. "It is very much like your taste in music and TV shows. People are different and the new trend in biotechnology is to make personalized medicine that matches the patient's needs," he says. "With regard to implants, we have the problem of variations in bone density in patients with osteoporosis and in some cases, even healthy individuals."
Scientists have figured out a dramatically easier and more cost-effective way to do research on science curriculum in the classroom -- and it could include playing video games. Called 'computational modeling,' it involves a computer 'learning' student behavior and then 'thinking' as students would. It could revolutionize the way educational research is done.
Unique waste cleanup for rural areas developed [Thu, 18 Sep 2014 21:01:36 EDT]
A unique method has been developed to use microbes buried in pond sediment to power waste cleanup in rural areas. The first microbe-powered, self-sustaining wastewater treatment system could lead to an inexpensive and quick way to clean up waste from large farming operations and rural sewage treatment plants while reducing pollution.
Gun deaths are twice as high among African-Americans as they are among white citizens in the US, finds a study of national data. But the national figures, which have remained relatively steady over the past decade, mask wide variation in firearms deaths by ethnicity and state, the findings show.
Referrals for genetic counseling and testing for breast cancer risk more than doubled across the UK after actress Angelina Jolie announced in May last year that she tested positive for a BRCA1 gene mutation and underwent a double mastectomy. The rise in referrals continued through to October long after the announcement was made, a study shows.
A new study uses tree rings to document arroyo evolution along the lower Rio Puerco and Chaco Wash in northern New Mexico, USA. By determining burial dates in tree rings from salt cedar and willow, investigators were able to precisely date arroyo sedimentary beds 30 cm thick or greater. They then combined this data with aerial imagery, LiDAR, longitudinal profiles, and repeat surveys to reconstruct the history of these arroyos. Arroyos are deep, oversized channels that have vertical or steeply cut walls made up of silt, clay, or sand.
As much as we might try to leave personal lives at home, the personality traits of a spouse have a way of following us into the workplace, exerting a powerful influence on promotions, salaries, job satisfaction and other measures of professional success, new research suggests.
No matter how many times it’s demonstrated, it’s still hard to envision bacteria as social, communicating creatures. But by using a signaling system called “quorum sensing,” these single-celled organisms radically alter their behavior to suit their population. Chemists now report that they have been making artificial compounds that mimic the natural quorum-sensing signals.
Dialysis drives progressive white matter brain injury due to blood pressure instability, however, patients who dialyzed at 0.5 degrees Celcius below body temperature were completely protected against such white matter changes, a study shows.
Study after study has proven it true: exercise is good for you. But new research suggests that exercise may have an added benefit for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. Their work, performed in a mouse model of melanoma, found that combining exercise with chemotherapy shrunk tumors more than chemotherapy alone.
Microplastics have been discovered widely distributed across the bottom of the St. Lawrence River, the first time such pollutants have been found in freshwater sediments. The microbeads likely originate from cosmetics, household cleansers, or industrial cleansers, to which they are commonly added as abrasives. Owing to their small size and buoyancy, they may readily pass through sewage treatment plants. Microplastics are a global contaminant in the world's oceans, but have only recently been detected in the surface waters of lakes and rivers.
A sleep-promoting circuit located deep in the primitive brainstem has revealed how we fall into deep sleep. This is only the second 'sleep node' identified in the mammalian brain whose activity appears to be both necessary and sufficient to produce deep sleep.
For years, neuroscientists have been trying to develop tools that would allow them to clearly view the brain's circuitry in action -- from the first moment a neuron fires to the resulting behavior in an organism. To get this complete picture, neuroscientists are working to develop a range of new tools to study the brain. Researchers have now developed one such tool that provides a new way of mapping neural networks in a living organism.
Title: One Dose of Antidepressant Changes Brain Connections, Study Says
Category: Health News
Created: 9/18/2014 12:35:00 PM
Last Editorial Review: 9/19/2014 12:00:00 AM
Title: New Ebola Cases Top 700 in Just One Week, Officials Report
Category: Health News
Created: 9/18/2014 12:35:00 PM
Last Editorial Review: 9/19/2014 12:00:00 AM
When Violence Hits Home [Mon, 15 Sep 2014 10:49:38 +0000]
Photo by bark - http://flic.kr/p/8UuR2R

When it comes to understanding relationship violence and fully appreciating the risks, there are still too many folks harboring dangerous misconceptions and perhaps even engaging in a fair amount of denial.

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Perception is Reality – Or Is It? [Mon, 08 Sep 2014 10:40:14 +0000]
Photo by Tom - http://flic.kr/p/7Afn4b

While our perceptions might define our reality at any given moment, we always have the power to change perspectives -- even dramatically.

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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: Major U.S. Food Makers Cut 6.4 Trillion Calories From Products: Report
Category: Health News
Created: 9/17/2014 12:36:00 PM
Last Editorial Review: 9/18/2014 12:00:00 AM
Title: Artificial Sweeteners May Raise Blood Sugar Levels: Study
Category: Health News
Created: 9/17/2014 2:36:00 PM
Last Editorial Review: 9/18/2014 12:00:00 AM
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