last updated: Tue, 31 Mar 2015 07:03:12 GMT
Neuroscientists are taking inspiration from natural motor control to design new prosthetic devices that can better replace limb function. Researchers have tested a range of brain-controlled devices -- from wheelchairs to robots to advanced limbs -- that work with their users to intelligently perform tasks.
Scientists have found the genetic signature of enterovirus D68 in half of the California and Colorado children diagnosed with acute flaccid myelitis -- sudden, unexplained muscle weakness and paralysis -- between 2012 and 2014, with most cases occurring during a nationwide outbreak of severe respiratory illness from EV-D68 last fall.
The first study to investigate the relationship between eating fruit and vegetables containing pesticide residues and the quality of men's semen has shown a link with lower sperm counts and percentages of normally-formed sperm.
Date syrup – a thick, sweet liquid derived from dates that is widely consumed across the Middle East – shows antibacterial activity against a number of disease-causing bacteria, including Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli.
For many, body odor is an unfortunate side effect of their daily lives. The smell is caused by bacteria on the skin breaking down naturally secreted molecules contained within sweat. Now scientists have studied the underarm microbiome and identified a unique set of enzymes in the bacterium Staphylococcus hominis that is effective at breaking down sweat molecules into compounds known as thioalcohols, an important component of the characteristic body odor smell.
Speaking in public is the top fear for many people. Now, researchers have developed an intelligent user interface for 'smart glasses' that gives real-time feedback to the speaker on volume modulation and speaking rate, while being minimally distracting.
Patients with chronic myelomonocytic leukemia have limited treatment options, and those that exist are effective only in fewer than half of patients. Now, a new study identifies a panel of genetic markers that predicted which tumor samples would likely respond to treatment.
Researchers have produced 3-D maps of molecular and microbial variations across the body. These maps provide a baseline for studies of the interplay between the molecules that make up our skin, our microbiomes, our personal hygiene routines and other environmental factors. The study may help further our understanding of the skin's role in human health and disease.
Researchers have identified a new source of methane for gas hydrates -- ice-like substances found in sediment that trap methane within the crystal structure of frozen water -- in the Arctic Ocean. The findings, point to a previously undiscovered, stable reservoir for methane that is 'locked' away from the atmosphere, where it could impact global climate change.
A new study reports that marine ecosystems can take thousands, rather than hundreds, of years to recover from climate-related upheavals. The study's authors analyzed thousands of invertebrate fossils to show that ecosystem recovery from climate change and seawater deoxygenation might take place on a millennial scale.
Researchers combed through more than 50 years of medical records on hundreds of lemurs for clues to their longevity. They found that how long these primates live and how fast they age correlates with the amount of time they spend in a state of suspended animation known as torpor. The research may eventually help scientists identify 'anti-aging' genes in humans.
To help scientists make sense of 'brain big data,' researchers have used data mining to create www.neuroelectro.org, a publicly available website that acts like Wikipedia, indexing physiological information about neurons. The site will help to accelerate the advance of neuroscience research by providing a centralized resource for collecting and comparing data on neuronal function.
The moon does not influence the timing of human births or hospital admissions, a new study finds, confirming what astronomers have known for decades. The study illustrates how intelligent people develop strong beliefs that are incorrect.
A medication called ZS-9 normalized potassium in the blood of 98 percent of chronic kidney disease patients treated for hyperkalemia. Hyperkalemia is high potassium in the blood, and may occur as a side effect of taking kidney disease medications called Renin Angiotensin Aldosterone System inhibitors. Hyperkalemia increases the risk of cardiac arrhythmias.
Scientists have created a 2,200-year-long record of extreme rainfall events that might also help predict future climate change.
Researchers are developing molecules that bind to more than 60 types of cancer. Several are being tested in early-stage clinical trials, including one for brain cancer. These custom-made molecules can carry either a "flag" that shines brightly in standard medical scanners or a bit of radiation to kill the targeted cancer cells.
Fasting in combination with chemotherapy has already been shown to kill cancer cells, but a pair of new studies in mice suggests that a less-toxic class of drugs combined with fasting may kill breast, colorectal and lung cancer cells equally well.
An estimated eight million adults in the U.S. suffer from binge eating disorder. Now, researchers have shown that compulsive binging on foods that are high in fat and sugar can trigger specific molecular changes that can lead to high blood pressure (hypertension). While others have studied the effects of binge eating on the brain, this study is the first to look at its molecular effects on the expression of certain proteins in the body.
New estimates suggest that 20 to 30 percent of opioid analgesic drugs prescribed for chronic pain are misused, while the rate of opioid addiction is approximately 10 percent. "On average, misuse was documented in approximately one out of four or five patients and addiction in approximately one out of ten or eleven patients," who were prescribed opioids as part of their treatment for chronic pain, write researchers. They note extremely wide variation in reported rates of misuse, abuse, and addiction and raise questions about the benefits of widespread opioid use for chronic pain, given the harmful consequences.
By studying the morphology and physiology of plants with tiny conical "hairs" or microfibers on the surface of their leaves, such as tomatoes, balsam pears and the flowers Berkheya purpea and Lychnis sieboldii, a team of researchers uncovered water collection-and-release secrets that may, in turn, one day soon "bioinspire" a technology to pull fresh water from the air to help alleviate global water shortages.
Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease receiving home oxygen have a higher risk of burn injury, a study shows. Physicians prescribing oxygen to patients with COPD struggle to balance the benefits with the risk of fire hazard in patients who continue to smoke. The number of active smokers prescribed oxygen is estimated to be 15 to 25 percent. Having heat source or flame near oxygen gas can ignite a fire.
A new peer-to-peer networking tool has been developed that enables sufferers of anxiety and depression to build online support communities and practice therapeutic techniques.
Bacteria have been discovered in the bladders of healthy women, discrediting the common belief that normal urine is sterile. "While traditional urine cultures have been the gold standard to identify urine disorders in the past, they do not detect most bacteria and have limited utility as a result," a researcher said. "They are not as comprehensive as the testing techniques used in this study."
A link between inflammation and depression, which affects approximately 148 million people in the United States, has been identified by researchers. A new study finds that resveratrol -- a natural anti-inflammatory agent found in the skin of red grapes -- can prevent inflammation as well as depression-related behaviors in rodents exposed to a social stress.
Supplemental feeding of wildlife can increase the spread of some infectious diseases and decrease the spread of others. A new study by ecologists finds that the outcome depends on the type of pathogen and the source of food. The findings have implications for human health and wildlife conservation, and contain practical suggestions for wildlife disease management and a roadmap for future study.
A potential drug molecule has been discovered that stops cancer cells, but not healthy ones, from getting their 'mail.' The average living cell needs communication skills: It must transmit a constant stream of messages quickly and efficiently from its outer walls to the inner nucleus, where most of the day-to-day decisions are made. But this rapid, long-distance communication system leaves itself open to mutations that can give rise to a "spam attack" that promotes cancer, the researchers say.
Stars form when gravity pulls together material within giant clouds of gas and dust. But gravity isn't the only force at work. Both turbulence and magnetic fields battle gravity, either by stirring things up or by channeling and restricting gas flows, respectively. New research focusing on magnetic fields shows that they influence star formation on a variety of scales, from hundreds of light-years down to a fraction of a light-year.
Workplace wellness programs can be effective in helping people lose weight by providing healthier food choices and increasing opportunities for physical activity, particularly if these efforts are designed with the input and active participation of employees, a new study confirms. The two-year project successfully reduced the number or people considered overweight or obese by almost 9 percent.
It is widely accepted that, in humans, music confers numerous benefits. An extensive body of research indicates that these benefits extend even to patients under general anesthesia, and include reduced perceived pain, anxiety and stress.
As the demand for instant, constant communication grows, so too does the urgency for more convenient portable devices -- especially computer displays that can be easily rolled up and stored or transported. A new study suggests that a novel DNA-peptide structure can be used to produce thin, transparent, and flexible screens. The research harnesses bionanotechnology to emit a full range of colors in a single pliable pixel layer.
A known antibiotic and antifungal compound produced by a soil microbe can inhibit another species of microbe from forming biofilms - -microbial mats that frequently are medically harmful -- without killing that microbe. These findings may apply to other microbial species, and can herald a plethora of scientific and societal benefits, researchers say.
A 'perverse disincentive' for hospitals that have invested in expensive technology for robotic surgery may be jeopardizing prostate cancer patients who seek out the procedure, concluded a new study. The study, which compared complication rates in hospitals with low volumes of robot-assisted radical prostatectomies to institutions with high volumes of the procedure, suggested that current pay-for-performance healthcare models are to blame.
Low pre-surgery uptake of a labeled glucose analogue, a marker of metabolic activity, in the primary tumor of patients with stage I non-small cell lung cancer is associated with increased overall survival and a longer time before tumor recurrence, a study shows. Patients with high labeled glucose uptake may benefit from additional therapy following surgery.
The 2000-2003 drought in the American southwest triggered a widespread die-off of forests around the region. A team of scientists developed a new modeling tool to explain how and where trembling aspen forests died as a result of this drought, based on damage to the individual trees' ability to transport water. Their results suggest that more widespread die-offs of aspen forests triggered by climate change are likely by the 2050s.
There are electrical signals in the nervous system, the brain and throughout the human body and there are tiny magnetic fields associated with these signals that could be important for medical science. Researchers have just developed a method that could be used to obtain extremely precise measurements of ultra-small magnetic fields.
A new study has confirmed the existence of a positive feedback operating in climate change whereby warming itself may amplify a rise in greenhouse gases resulting in additional warming.
Scientists have long puzzled over the planet Mercury's excessively dark surface. New research suggests that carbon from passing comets could be the planet's mystery darkening agent.
New technology could result in optical switches with sub-square-micron footprints, potentially allowing densely packed switching fabrics on a chip.
Analysis of 20 years of satellite data has revealed the total amount of vegetation globally has increased by almost 4 billion tons of carbon since 2003. This is despite ongoing large-scale deforestation in the tropics.
Before and After LiDAR Studies of the Sept. 2013 Colorado Front Range Flooding and Debris Flows
Intensive care units across the United States vary widely in how they manage the care of patients who have set preexisting limits on life-sustaining therapies, such as authorizing do-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders and prohibiting interventions such as feeding tubes or dialysis, according to new research.
Antibodies from dromedary camels protected uninfected mice from Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), and helped infected mice expunge the disease, according to a study.
Warming winters have allowed mountain pine beetle outbreaks in the coldest areas of the western United States, but milder winters can't be blamed for the full extent of recent outbreaks in the region, a study finds.
An outbreak of a novel Escherichia coli (E.coli) strain resistant to antibiotics has been linked to contaminated endoscopes in a Washington state hospital. The study indicates that industry standard cleaning guidelines, which were exceeded by hospital staff, may not be sufficient for sterilizing endoscopes adequately.
A short burst of intensive exercise before eating a high fat meal is better for blood vessel function in young people than the currently recommended moderate-intensity exercise, according to a new study. Cardiovascular diseases including heart attacks and stroke a leading cause of death, and the process underlying these diseases start in youth. An impairment in the function of blood vessels is thought to be the earliest event in this process, and this is known to occur in the hours after consuming a high fat meal.
Scientists have developed tiny 'nanoneedles' that have successfully prompted parts of the body to generate new blood vessels, in a trial in mice. The researchers hope their nanoneedle technique could ultimately help damaged organs and nerves to repair themselves and help transplanted organs to thrive.
Researchers have discovered that potentially aggressive T-cells that might lead to auto-immune disease can instead be enlisted to help "police" over-active immune responses, via the molecule CD5. This new breakthrough may open the door to design better treatments for autoimmune diseases, they say.
Biomedical researchers have successfully converted microbubble technology already used in diagnostic imaging into nanoparticles that stay trapped in tumors to potentially deliver targeted, therapeutic payloads.
Using a new high-speed, high-resolution imaging method, researchers were able to see blood flow and other functions inside a living mouse brain at faster rates than ever before.
New insight into the link between neurodegenerative disorders and inflammation has been gained by a new study that provides a framework to explore more fully the possibility that viral infection may lead to onset of these diseases.
Researchers have captured images of the underlying biological activity within brain cells and their tree-like extensions, or dendrites, in mice that show how their brains sort, store and make sense out of information during learning.
A new drug that shows potential in laboratory studies against a rare type of acute leukemia has been developed by scientists. And additional studies suggest the same compound could play a role in prostate cancer treatment as well, they say.
Characterizing associations between socioeconomic factors and children's brain development, a team of investigators reports correlative links between family income and brain structure. Relationships between the brain and family income were strongest in the lowest end of the economic range -- suggesting that interventional policies aimed at these children may have the largest societal impact.
A study of peanut consumption showed that including them as a part of a high fat meal improved the post-meal triglyceride response and preserved endothelial function. Vascular dysfunction plays a major role in the development of atherosclerosis and the formation of coronary plaques and lesions that lead to coronary artery disease.
Something as easy as adding more spinach, kale, collards and mustard greens to your diet could help slow cognitive decline, according to new research. The study also examined the nutrients responsible for the effect, linking vitamin K consumption to slower cognitive decline for the first time.
Two approaches to fat grafting—injection of fat cells versus fat-derived stem cells—have similar effects in reversing the cellular-level signs of aging skin, reports a study. The study included six middle-aged patients who were candidates for facelift surgery. All underwent fat grafting to a small area in front of the ear.
In women undergoing breast augmentation, a technique using transplantation of a small amount of the patient's own fat cells can produce better cosmetic outcomes, reports a study. In particular, the fat grafting technique can achieve a more natural-appearing cleavage -- avoiding the "separated breasts" appearance that can occur after breast augmentation.
Coast redwoods (Sequioa sempervirens), famous for being the world's tallest trees, are also unusual for their ability to reproduce clonally from stumps, fallen logs, and roots. Researchers have outlined a new method to identify clonal lineages and study clonal diversity across the species' geographic range. Genetic data produced from this protocol could help guide sustainable forest management of commercial young-growth forests and also improve efforts to preserve ancient redwood populations.
Scientists are using previously top-secret technology to zoom through the human body down to the level of a single cell. Scientists are also using cutting-edge microtome and MRI technology to examine how movement and weight bearing affects the movement of molecules within joints, exploring the relationship between blood, bone, lymphatics and muscle.
An unusual and very exciting form of carbon -- that can be created by drawing on paper -- looks to hold the key to real-time, high throughput DNA sequencing, a technique that would revolutionize medical research and testing.