ScienceDaily: Latest Science News

Otzi Iceman had genetic predisposition for atherosclerosis: Much the same in ancient peoples as it is today

Posted: 30 Jul 2014 05:37 PM PDT

While prevalence and types of risk factors for atherosclerosis have varied over time from ancient times to modern society -- such as levels of obesity, physical activity -- genetic predisposition/risk for the condition today appears to be very similar to that in ancient times.

Mechanism promoting multiple DNA mutations described by scientists

Posted: 30 Jul 2014 02:31 PM PDT

Recent studies have shown that cancer development frequently involves the formation of multiple mutations that arise simultaneously and in close proximity to each other. These groups of clustered mutations are frequently found in regions where chromosomal rearrangements take place. The finding that cancer development often involves multiple mutations arising in clusters and in regions where chromosomal rearrangement takes place may one day lead to new cancer therapies.

Diverticulitis patients reveal psychological, physical symptoms long after acute attacks

Posted: 30 Jul 2014 01:15 PM PDT

Patients were interviewed by a research team in great detail about the symptoms they experience weeks, months or even years after an acute diverticulitis attack. Their striking findings add to growing evidence that, for some patients, diverticulitis goes beyond isolated attacks and can lead to a chronic condition that mimics irritable bowel syndrome. The researchers used those insights to develop a questionnaire to help doctors better assess the long-term impact of diverticulitis, which ultimately could lead to better understanding and management of the disease.

Pesticide DDT linked to slow metabolism, obesity and diabetes, mouse study finds

Posted: 30 Jul 2014 12:17 PM PDT

A new study in mice is the first to show that developmental exposure to DDT increases the risk of females later developing metabolic syndrome -- a cluster of conditions that include increased body fat, blood glucose, and cholesterol.

Vocal variety in African penguins: Four basic vocalizations used for adult communication, two more for the young

Posted: 30 Jul 2014 12:17 PM PDT

Adult African penguins communicate using four different vocalizations and juveniles and chicks use two begging calls to request food.

New malaria vaccine candidates identified

Posted: 30 Jul 2014 12:11 PM PDT

Researchers have discovered new vaccine targets that could help in the battle against malaria. Taking a new, large-scale approach to this search, researchers tested a library of proteins from the Plasmodium falciparum parasite with antibodies produced by the immune systems of a group of infected children.

Fear of losing money, not spending habits, affects investor risk tolerance

Posted: 30 Jul 2014 11:10 AM PDT

Scientists analyzed the causes of risk tolerance and found that loss aversion, or the fear of losing money, is the primary factor that explains investors' risk tolerance.

Antarctic ice sheet is result of carbon dioxide decrease, not continental breakup

Posted: 30 Jul 2014 11:10 AM PDT

Climate modelers have shown that the most likely explanation for the initiation of Antarctic glaciation during a major climate shift 34 million years ago was decreased carbon dioxide levels. The finding counters a 40-year-old theory suggesting massive rearrangements of Earth's continents caused global cooling and the abrupt formation of the Antarctic ice sheet. It will provide scientists insight into the climate change implications of current rising global carbon dioxide levels.

Deep-sea octopus broods eggs for over four years -- longer than any known animal

Posted: 30 Jul 2014 11:09 AM PDT

Researchers have observed a deep-sea octopus brooding its eggs for four-and-a-half years -- longer than any other known animal. Throughout this time, the female kept the eggs clean and guarded them from predators.

Kids with autism and sensory processing disorders show differences in brain wiring

Posted: 30 Jul 2014 11:09 AM PDT

Researchers have found that children with sensory processing disorders have decreased structural brain connections in specific sensory regions different than those in autism, further establishing SPD as a clinically important neurodevelopmental disorder.

Scientists reproduce evolutionary changes by manipulating embryonic development of mice

Posted: 30 Jul 2014 10:32 AM PDT

By modifying the embryonic development of mice, scientists have reproduced in the laboratory the changes in teeth shape which, in mammals, took millions of years of evolution to take place.

Barnacles: Marine 'pest' provides advances in maritime anti-fouling and biomedicine

Posted: 30 Jul 2014 10:31 AM PDT

Biologists performed cutting-edge research on a marine pest that will pave the way for novel anti-fouling paint for ships and boats and also improve bio-adhesives for medical and industrial applications.

Tidal forces gave moon its shape early in its history, new analysis finds

Posted: 30 Jul 2014 10:31 AM PDT

The shape of the moon deviates from a simple sphere in ways that scientists have struggled to explain. A new study shows that most of the moon's overall shape can be explained by taking into account tidal effects acting early in the moon's history. The results provide insights into the moon's early history, its orbital evolution, and its current orientation in the sky.

Scientists call for new strategy in pursuit of HIV-free generation

Posted: 30 Jul 2014 10:31 AM PDT

In light of the recent news that HIV has been detected in the Mississippi baby previously thought to have been cured of the disease, researchers are assessing how to help those born to HIV-infected mothers. These infants around the world are in need of new immune-based protective strategies, including vaccines delivered to mothers and babies and the means to boost potentially protective maternal antibodies, say researchers.

Double star with weird and wild planet-forming discs

Posted: 30 Jul 2014 10:29 AM PDT

Astronomers have found wildly misaligned planet-forming gas discs around the two young stars in the binary system HK Tauri. These new observations provide the clearest picture ever of protoplanetary discs in a double star. The new result also helps to explain why so many exoplanets — unlike the planets in the Solar System — came to have strange, eccentric or inclined orbits.

Birthweight and breastfeeding have implications for children's health decades later

Posted: 30 Jul 2014 10:24 AM PDT

Young adults who were breastfed for three months or more as babies have a significantly lower risk of chronic inflammation associated with cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, according to new research.

Dissolvable fabric loaded with medicine might offer faster protection against HIV

Posted: 30 Jul 2014 10:24 AM PDT

Bioengineers have discovered a potentially faster way to deliver a topical drug that protects women from contracting HIV. Their method spins the drug into silk-like fibers that quickly dissolve when in contact with moisture, releasing higher doses of the drug than possible with other topical materials.

Appreciation for fat jokes, belief in obese stereotypes linked

Posted: 30 Jul 2014 10:24 AM PDT

From movies to television, obesity is still considered "fair game" for jokes and ridicule. A new study took a closer look at weight-related humor to see if anti-fat attitudes played into a person's appreciation or distaste for fat humor in the media.

Finding quantum 'lines of desire': Physicists track quantum system's wanderings through quantum state space

Posted: 30 Jul 2014 10:24 AM PDT

What paths do quantum particles, such as atoms or photons, follow through quantum state space? Scientists have used an "artificial atom" to continuously and repeatedly record the paths through quantum state space. From the cobweb of a million paths, a most likely path between two quantum states emerged, much as social trails emerge as people round off corners or cut across lawns between buildings.

Supportive moms and sisters boost female baboon's rank

Posted: 30 Jul 2014 09:02 AM PDT

A study of dominance in female baboons suggests that the route to a higher rank is to maintain close ties with mom, and to have lots of supportive sisters.

Money talks when it comes to acceptability of 'sin' companies, study reveals

Posted: 30 Jul 2014 09:02 AM PDT

Companies who make their money in the 'sin' industries such as the tobacco, alcohol and gaming industries typically receive less attention from institutional investors and financial analysts. But new research shows social norms and attitudes towards these types of businesses are subject to compromise when their share price looks to be on the rise.

Saving seeds the right way can save the world's plants

Posted: 30 Jul 2014 09:02 AM PDT

Exotic pests, shrinking ranges and a changing climate threaten some of the world's most rare and ecologically important plants, and so conservationists establish seed collections to save the seeds in banks or botanical gardens in hopes of preserving some genetic diversity. For decades, these seed collections have been guided by simple models that offer a one-size-fits-all approach for how many seeds to gather. A new study, however, has found that more careful tailoring of seed collections to specific species and situations is critical to preserving plant diversity.

Dimly lit working environments: Correcting body clock is possible

Posted: 30 Jul 2014 09:02 AM PDT

Researchers have, for the first time, conducted a study under real conditions on the body clocks of members of an international polar research station. The researchers have shown that a particular kind of artificial light is capable of ensuring that their biological rhythms are correctly synchronized despite the absence of sunlight.

Naltrexone may be effective in diminishing impulse control disorders in Parkinson's disease patients

Posted: 30 Jul 2014 09:01 AM PDT

Parkinson's disease (PD) patients may confront a common but largely unrecognized challenge: the occurrence of impulse control disorders (ICDs) such as compulsive gambling, sexual behavior, eating, or spending. A team of investigators conducted a pilot study and found that the opioid antagonist naltrexone may be an effective treatment for diminishing ICD symptoms in PD patients.

Many depressed preschoolers still suffer in later school years

Posted: 30 Jul 2014 09:01 AM PDT

Children diagnosed with depression as preschoolers are likely to suffer from depression as school-age children and young adolescents, new research shows. The investigators followed 246 children, now ages 9 to 12, who were enrolled in the study as preschoolers when they were 3 to 5 years old. The children and their primary caregivers participated in up to six annual and four semiannual assessments. They were screened using a tool called the Preschool Feelings Checklist and evaluated using an age-appropriate diagnostic interview.

Income a major driver of avoidable hospitalizations across New Jersey

Posted: 30 Jul 2014 07:41 AM PDT

The household income of its residents is the most important factor in whether a community has high or low rates of avoidable hospital visits -- conditions that could be better managed in a doctor's office or other health care settings if treated at an early stage, according to a report.

Nature inspires a greener way to make colorful plastics

Posted: 30 Jul 2014 07:41 AM PDT

Long before humans figured out how to create colors, nature had already perfected the process -- think stunning, bright butterfly wings of many different hues, for example. Now scientists are tapping into those secrets to develop a more environmentally friendly way to make colored plastics. Their method uses structure -- or the shapes and architectures of materials -- rather than dyes, to produce colors.

Exploring 3-D printing to make organs for transplants

Posted: 30 Jul 2014 07:41 AM PDT

Printing whole new organs for transplants sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie, but the real-life budding technology could one day make actual kidneys, livers, hearts and other organs for patients who desperately need them. Scientists are reporting new understanding about the dynamics of 3-D bioprinting that takes them a step closer to realizing their goal of making working tissues and organs on-demand.

Decades-old amber collection offers new views of a lost world: Tiny grasshopper encased in amber

Posted: 30 Jul 2014 07:41 AM PDT

Scientists are searching through a massive collection of 20-million-year-old amber found in the Dominican Republic more than 50 years ago, and the effort is yielding fresh insights into ancient tropical insects and the world they inhabited. Perhaps the most striking discovery thus far is that of a pygmy locust, a tiny grasshopper the size of a rose thorn that lived 18- to 20-million years ago and fed on moss, algae and fungi.

Laughter is the best medicine? The emotional appeal of stand-up comedy

Posted: 30 Jul 2014 07:40 AM PDT

Comics taking to the stage should take note: how much of a hit they are with their audiences won't be down to just their jokes. The link between humor and emotion plays a large part in how well an audience connects with a comedian, and vice versa, according to new research.

Breastfeeding: Do celebrity ambassadors help the ordinary woman?

Posted: 30 Jul 2014 07:40 AM PDT

Breasts are the strongest symbol of female sexuality and are abundant in the media, on magazines, in adverts and in film. Celebrity breasts are depicted as objects of sexual desire and as a model for everyday women to aspire to. Broadcast images of breastfeeding however are scarce and elicit controversy and even revulsion.

Solar energy: Dyes help harvest light

Posted: 30 Jul 2014 07:40 AM PDT

A new dye-sensitized solar cell absorbs a broad range of visible and infrared wavelengths. Dye-sensitized solar cells rely on dyes that absorb light to mobilize a current of electrons and are a promising source of clean energy. Scientists have now developed zinc porphyrin dyes that harvest light in both the visible and near-infrared parts of the spectrum.

Heat-responsive polymers that do not breakdown in water may lead to new antifouling coatings and enhanced oil recovery

Posted: 30 Jul 2014 07:40 AM PDT

Heat-responsive polymers that do not breakdown in water may lead to new antifouling coatings and enhanced oil recovery.

Electric vehicles: Recharging in private

Posted: 30 Jul 2014 07:40 AM PDT

An electronic payment system will protect the privacy of customers recharging their electric vehicles.

Is a cancer drug working? Modified drug gives a 'green light' for its own success

Posted: 30 Jul 2014 07:40 AM PDT

A modified anticancer drug can simultaneously target tumor sites and show whether or not it is working.

Mercury's bizzare magnetic field tells scientists how its interior is different from Earth's

Posted: 30 Jul 2014 06:43 AM PDT

Mercury's interior is different from the Earth's interior in a way that explains Mercury's bizarre magnetic field, planetary physicists report. Measurements from NASA's Messenger spacecraft have revealed that Mercury's magnetic field is approximately three times stronger at its northern hemisphere than its southern one.

Scientists caution against exploitation of deep ocean

Posted: 30 Jul 2014 06:43 AM PDT

The world's oceans are vast and deep, yet rapidly advancing technology and the quest for extracting resources from previously unreachable depths is beginning to put the deep seas on the cusp of peril, an international team of scientists has warned.

Toward a home test for detecting potentially dangerous levels of caffeine

Posted: 30 Jul 2014 06:43 AM PDT

The shocking news of an Ohio teen who died of a caffeine overdose in May highlighted the potential dangers of the normally well-tolerated and mass-consumed substance. To help prevent serious health problems that can arise from consuming too much caffeine, scientists are reporting progress toward a rapid, at-home test to detect even low levels of the stimulant in most beverages and even breast milk.

Sugar mimics guide stem cells toward neural fate

Posted: 30 Jul 2014 06:40 AM PDT

Many growth factors that influence the fate of embryonic stem cells must bind to sugars attached to specific receptors on the surface of the cell to work. Because the sugars are difficult to manipulate, biochemists created synthetic stand ins that helped to identify substructures recognized by a growth factor involved in neural development.

Climate extremes are here to stay: Expect more heat waves and cold snaps

Posted: 30 Jul 2014 06:40 AM PDT

Researchers show how they've used advanced computational data science tools to demonstrate that despite global warming, we may still experience severe cold snaps due to increasing variability in temperature extremes.

Spin-based electronics: New material successfully tested

Posted: 30 Jul 2014 06:40 AM PDT

Spintronics is a new field of electronics, using electron spin rather than motion. This technology requires insulating components that can control this quantum property. Scientists have shown experimentally that a novel material shows all the required properties.

New catalyst converts carbon dioxide to fuel

Posted: 30 Jul 2014 06:40 AM PDT

Scientists have synthesized a catalyst that improves their system for converting waste carbon dioxide into syngas, a precursor of gasoline and other energy-rich products, bringing the process closer to commercial viability.

Peru's carbon quantified: Economic and conservation boon

Posted: 30 Jul 2014 06:40 AM PDT

Today scientists unveiled the first high-resolution map of the carbon stocks stored on land throughout the entire country of Peru. The new and improved methodology used to make the map marks a sea change for future market-based carbon economies. The new carbon map also reveals Peru's extremely high ecological diversity and it provides the critical input to studies of deforestation and forest degradation for conservation, land use, and enforcement purposes.

Numerical learning disability: Dyscalculia linked to difficulties in reading and spelling

Posted: 30 Jul 2014 06:38 AM PDT

Between three and six percent of schoolchildren suffer from an arithmetic-related learning disability. Researchers now show that these children are also more likely to exhibit deficits in reading and spelling than had been previously suspected.

Superman's solar-powered feats break a fundamental law of physics

Posted: 30 Jul 2014 06:38 AM PDT

It goes without saying that Superman can accomplish some pretty spectacular feats. But according to students, the Man of Steel actually achieves the impossible--by breaking the fundamental physics law of conservation of energy.

All-in-one energy system offers greener power for off–grid homes, farms and businesses

Posted: 30 Jul 2014 06:38 AM PDT

An innovative 'trigeneration' system fuelled entirely by raw plant oils could have great potential for isolated homes and businesses operating outside grid systems.

Ice age lion figurine: Ancient fragment of ivory belonging to 40,000 year old animal figurine unearthed

Posted: 30 Jul 2014 06:38 AM PDT

Archaeologists have found an ancient fragment of ivory belonging to a 40,000 year old animal figurine. Both pieces were found in the Vogelherd Cave in southwestern Germany, which has yielded a number of remarkable works of art dating to the Ice Age. The mammoth ivory figurine depicting a lion was discovered during excavations in 1931. The new fragment makes up one side of the figurine's head.

Older adults are at risk of financial abuse, often from family members

Posted: 30 Jul 2014 06:38 AM PDT

Nearly one in every 20 elderly American adults is being financially exploited -- often by their own family members. This burgeoning public health crisis especially affects poor and black people. It merits the scrutiny of clinicians, policy makers, researchers, and any citizen who cares about the dignity and well-being of older Americans, says an expert.

Good news for couch potatoes: 3-D TV may be the victim of negative preconceptions

Posted: 30 Jul 2014 06:38 AM PDT

An academic led a lab-based research, involving 433 viewers of ages from 4 to 82 years, in which participants were asked to watch Toy Story in either 2-D or 3-D (S3D) and report on their viewing experience. The objective of the study was to investigate visual discomfort in relation to 3-D display technologies, as well as to determine the impact of people's preconceptions on their experience of 3D TV. It's no secret that the format hasn't taken off in the way many had anticipated.

Chinese mosquitoes on the Baltic Sea: Ancient insect inclusions in East-Asian amber

Posted: 30 Jul 2014 06:38 AM PDT

The analysis of the roughly 3,000 pieces is still in its infant stage. But it is already evident that the results will be of major significance. The Baltic amber comes from the Baltic Sea region, which is almost 10,000 kilometers from Fushun. Sites rich in finds are, e.g., the coastal regions of Mecklenburg, Poland and Belarus. The pieces from the Baltic region are slightly younger than the ones from Fushun–according to estimates, about 40 to 50 million years.

Hope for more accurate diagnosis of memory problems

Posted: 30 Jul 2014 06:38 AM PDT

More accurate tests could be created to diagnose diseases such as Alzheimer's or memory problems stemming from head injuries, leading to earlier intervention, according to new findings.

High frequency of potential entrapment gaps in hospital beds

Posted: 30 Jul 2014 06:38 AM PDT

A survey of beds within a large teaching hospital in Ireland has shown than many of them did not comply with dimensional standards put in place to minimize the risk of entrapment. The report therefore emphasizes the need for careful selection of patients for whom bedrails are to be used, as well as the need for monitoring and maintenance of hospital bed systems.

Ablation increases survival for adults with atrial fibrillation

Posted: 30 Jul 2014 06:35 AM PDT

Easing heart palpitations is one benefit of catheter ablation. A longer life span is another. Study shows 60 drop in cardiovascular mortality after ablation for atrial fibrillation. More than 4 million people have atrial fibrillation, an age-related heart rhythm disorder that can cause a fluttering sensation in the chest and impair the heart's ability to pump blood.

Parenting skills improve in ADHD parents with medication

Posted: 30 Jul 2014 06:35 AM PDT

Parenting skills of adults with ADHD improve when their ADHD is treated with medication, according to researchers. At least 25 percent of clinic-referred children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder have a parent with ADHD. At least 25 percent of clinic-referred children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder have a parent with ADHD.

Brain response to appetizing food cues varies among obese people

Posted: 30 Jul 2014 06:35 AM PDT

People who have the most common genetic mutation linked to obesity respond differently to pictures of appetizing foods than overweight or obese people who do not have the genetic mutation, according to a new study. More than one-third of adults are obese. Obesity typically results from a combination of eating too much, getting too little physical activity and genetics.

Teen insomnia linked with depression, anxiety

Posted: 30 Jul 2014 06:35 AM PDT

A study of high school students has shed new light on the links between insomnia-related mental health conditions among teens. "People with insomnia find it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep for as long as they need to. This is a widespread sleep disorder among the general public, and in most countries about 11% of teens aged 13-16 years experience insomnia at some stage," one researcher said.

Fossils found in Siberia suggest all dinosaurs could have been feathered

Posted: 30 Jul 2014 02:05 AM PDT

The first ever example of a plant-eating dinosaur with feathers and scales has been discovered in Russia. Previously only flesh-eating dinosaurs were known to have had feathers, so this new find raises the possibility that all dinosaurs could have been feathered.

Soy may help women's hearts if they start early

Posted: 30 Jul 2014 01:34 AM PDT

A diet rich in soy may help feminine hearts, but timing matters, finds a new study. "This study underscores how important it is for women to get into the best cardiovascular shape they can before menopause. The healthy habits they start then will carry them through the years to come," says one expert.

Acupuncture provides significant quality of life improvements among breast cancer patients taking drugs to prevent recurrence, study shows

Posted: 30 Jul 2014 01:34 AM PDT

Use of electroacupuncture (EA) – a form of acupuncture where a small electric current is passed between pairs of acupuncture needles – produces significant improvements in fatigue, anxiety and depression in as little as eight weeks for early stage breast cancer patients experiencing joint pain related to the use of aromatase inhibitors (AIs) to treat breast cancer. The study is the first demonstration of EA's efficacy for both joint pain relief, as well as these other common symptoms.

A blood test for suicide risk? Alterations to a single gene could predict risk of suicide attempt

Posted: 30 Jul 2014 01:34 AM PDT

Researchers say they have discovered a chemical alteration in a single human gene linked to stress reactions that, if confirmed in larger studies, could give doctors a simple blood test to reliably predict a person's risk of attempting suicide.