ScienceDaily: Latest Science News

ScienceDaily: Latest Science News


Action video games bolster sensorimotor skills, study finds

Posted: 17 Oct 2014 08:11 AM PDT

People who play action video games such as Call of Duty or Assassin's Creed seem to learn a new sensorimotor skill more quickly than non-gamers do, psychology researchers have found.

Superconducting circuits, simplified

Posted: 17 Oct 2014 08:11 AM PDT

New circuit design could unlock the power of experimental superconducting computer chips.

Atomic trigger shatters mystery of how glass deforms

Posted: 17 Oct 2014 08:10 AM PDT

A new study has cracked one mystery of glass to shed light on the mechanism that triggers its deformation before shattering. Glass hangs in a metastable state in which the energy of the system is higher than the lowest-energy state the system could assume, a crystalline state. But its state is stable enough at room temperature to last a human lifetime.

How the brain leads us to believe we have sharp vision

Posted: 17 Oct 2014 07:13 AM PDT

We assume that we can see the world around us in sharp detail. In fact, our eyes can only process a fraction of our surroundings precisely. In a series of experiments, psychologists have been investigating how the brain fools us into believing that we see in sharp detail.

Scientific breakthrough will help design antibiotics of the future

Posted: 17 Oct 2014 07:13 AM PDT

Computer simulations have been used to show how bacteria are able to destroy antibiotics -- a breakthrough which will help develop drugs which can effectively tackle infections in the future.

Blinded by non-science: Trivial scientific information increases trust in products

Posted: 17 Oct 2014 07:12 AM PDT

Beware of trivial graphs and formulas, warns new research. The study found trivial graphs or formulas accompanying medical information can lead consumers to believe products are more effective.

'Red effect' sparks interest in female monkeys

Posted: 17 Oct 2014 07:12 AM PDT

Recent studies showed that the color red tends increase our attraction toward others, feelings of jealousy, and even reaction times. Now, new research shows that female monkeys also respond to the color red, suggesting that biology, rather than our culture, may play the fundamental role in our "red" reactions.

New data about endangered marsh harrier distribution in Europe

Posted: 17 Oct 2014 06:53 AM PDT

The use of ringing recoveries -- a conventional method used to study bird migration -- in combination with more modern techniques such as species distribution modelling and stable isotope analysis is useful to understand better bird distribution patterns and origin considering place and time of the year.

Improving bladder function among people with spinal cord injuries

Posted: 17 Oct 2014 06:31 AM PDT

New research may lead to dramatically fewer bladder infections following spinal cord injuries and other traumatic injuries -- infections that can cause kidney damage, and even death, scientists report.

Physicists sound warning to 'nail beauty fanatics'

Posted: 17 Oct 2014 06:31 AM PDT

The daily trimming of fingernails and toenails to make them more aesthetically pleasing could be detrimental and potentially lead to serious nail conditions.

Cystic Fibrosis lung infection: Scientists open black box on bacterial growth

Posted: 17 Oct 2014 06:31 AM PDT

Researchers have shown for the first time how bacteria can grow directly in the lungs of Cystic fibrosis patients, giving them the opportunity to get tremendous insights into bacteria behavior and growth in chronic infections.

Divide and conquer: Novel trick helps rare pathogen infect healthy people

Posted: 17 Oct 2014 06:31 AM PDT

New research into a rare pathogen has shown how a unique evolutionary trait allows it to infect even the healthiest of hosts through a smart solution to the body's immune response against it, scientists report.

Plastic nanoparticles also harm freshwater organisms

Posted: 17 Oct 2014 06:29 AM PDT

Organisms can be negatively affected by plastic nanoparticles, not just in the seas and oceans but in freshwater bodies too. These particles slow the growth of algae, cause deformities in water fleas and impede communication between small organisms and fish.

High-speed evolution in the lab: Geneticists evaluate cost-effective genome analysis

Posted: 17 Oct 2014 06:29 AM PDT

Life implies change. And this holds true for genes as well. Organisms require a flexible genome in order to adapt to changes in the local environment. Researchers want to know why individuals differ from each other and how these differences are encoded in the DNA. In two review papers, they discuss why DNA sequencing of entire groups can be an efficient and cost-effective way to answer these questions. 

Emergency aid for overdoses

Posted: 17 Oct 2014 06:29 AM PDT

Every minute counts in the event of an overdose. Now, researchers have developed an agent to filter out toxins from the body more quickly and efficiently. It can also be used for dialysis in patients suffering from hepatic failure.

Tailored 'activity coaching' by smartphone

Posted: 17 Oct 2014 06:29 AM PDT

Today's smartphone user can obtain a lot of data about his or her health, thanks to built-in or separate sensors. Researchers now take this health monitoring to a higher level. Using the system he developed, the smartphone also acts as an 'activity coach': it advices the user to walk or take a rest. In what way the user wants to be addressed, is typically something the system learns by itself.

Presence of enzyme may worsen effects of spinal cord injury and impair long-term recovery

Posted: 17 Oct 2014 06:29 AM PDT

Traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) is a devastating condition with few treatment options. Studies show that damage to the barrier separating blood from the spinal cord can contribute to the neurologic deficits that arise secondary to the initial trauma. Through a series of experiments, researchers suggest that matrix metalloproteinase-3 (MMP-3) plays a pivotal role in disruption of the brain/spinal cord barrier (BSCB), cell death, and functional deficits after SCI. This link also presents new therapeutic possibilities.

First step: From human cells to tissue-engineered esophagus

Posted: 17 Oct 2014 06:26 AM PDT

In a first step toward future human therapies, researchers have shown that esophageal tissue can be grown in vivo from both human and mouse cells.

Explosion first evidence of a hydrogen-deficient supernova progenitor

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 04:28 PM PDT

A new model is the first characterization of the progenitor for a hydrogen-deficient supernova. The model predicts that a bright hot star, which is the binary companion to an exploding object, remains after the explosion.Their findings have important implications for the evolution of massive stars.

NASA begins sixth year of airborne Antarctic ice change study

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 04:28 PM PDT

NASA is carrying out its sixth consecutive year of Operation IceBridge research flights over Antarctica to study changes in the continent's ice sheet, glaciers and sea ice. This year's airborne campaign, which began its first flight Thursday morning, will revisit a section of the Antarctic ice sheet that recently was found to be in irreversible decline.

Cellular self-destruct program has deep roots throughout evolution

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 04:28 PM PDT

In what seems like a counter-intuitive move against survival, within animals, some cells are fated to die from the triggering of an elaborate cell death program, known as apoptosis. Now, researchers have honed in on understanding the evolution of caspase-8, a key cell death initiator molecule that was first identified in humans.

Blood test helps predict relapse in patients with autoimmune disease affecting the kidneys

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 04:27 PM PDT

Among patients with an autoimmune disease called ANCA-associated vasculitis, autoantibody increases were linked with an 11-fold increased risk of relapse in patients whose kidneys were affected, a study concludes. Among patients without kidney involvement, such increases were associated only weakly with relapses.

NASA spacecraft provides new information about sun's atmosphere

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 03:54 PM PDT

NASA's Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) has provided scientists with five new findings into how the sun's atmosphere, or corona, is heated far hotter than its surface, what causes the sun's constant outflow of particles called the solar wind, and what mechanisms accelerate particles that power solar flares.

First detailed map of aboveground forest carbon stocks in Mexico unveiled

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 02:06 PM PDT

The first detailed map of aboveground forest carbon stocks of Mexico has been released by researchers. This carbon stock inventory is very valuable for Mexico, as one of the first tropical nations to voluntarily pledge to mitigation actions within the context of the United Nation's Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation program.

How a molecular Superman protects genome from damage

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 02:06 PM PDT

A new role for the RNAi protein Dicer has been found in preserving genomic stability. Researchers discovered that Dicer helps prevent collisions during DNA replication by freeing transcription machinery from active genes. Without Dicer function, transcription and replication machinery collide, leading to DNA damage and massive changes across the genome -- changes that are associated with aging and cancer.

Tiny 'nanoflares' might heat the Sun's corona

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 02:06 PM PDT

Why is the Sun's million-degree corona, or outermost atmosphere, so much hotter than the Sun's surface? This question has baffled astronomers for decades. Today, a team led by Paola Testa is presenting new clues to the mystery of coronal heating. The team finds that miniature solar flares called 'nanoflares' -- and the speedy electrons they produce -- might partly be the source of that heat, at least in some of the hottest parts of the Sun's corona.

Cells' powerhouses were once energy parasites: Study upends current theories of how mitochondria began

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 01:59 PM PDT

Parasitic bacteria were the first cousins of the mitochondria that power cells in animals and plants -- and first acted as energy parasites in those cells before becoming beneficial, according to a new study.

Major benefits for students who attend live theater, study finds

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 01:59 PM PDT

Field trips to live theater enhance literary knowledge, tolerance, and empathy among students, according to a study. The research team found that reading and watching movies of Hamlet and A Christmas Carol could not account for the increase in knowledge experienced by students who attended live performances of the plays. Students who attended live performances of the play also scored higher on the study's tolerance measure than the control group by a moderately large margin and were better able to recognize and appreciate what other people think and feel.

Sugared soda consumption, cell aging associated in new study

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 01:59 PM PDT

Sugar-sweetened soda consumption might promote disease independently from its role in obesity, according to UC San Francisco researchers who found in a new study that drinking sugary drinks was associated with cell aging.

I have to walk how many miles to burn off this soda?

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 01:59 PM PDT

Adolescents who saw printed signs explaining the number of miles they would need to walk to burn off the calories in a sugary drink were more likely to leave the store with a lower calorie beverage, a healthier beverage or a smaller size beverage, according to new research.

Journey to the center of the Earth: Geochemist uses helium and lead isotopes to gain insight into makeup of planet’s deep interior

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 11:40 AM PDT

A geochemist studying Samoan volcanoes has found evidence of the planet's early formation still trapped inside Earth. Known as hotspots, volcanic island chains such as Samoa can ancient primordial signatures from the early solar system that have somehow survived billions of years.

Modeling tumor dormancy: What makes a tumor switch from dormant to malignant?

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 11:40 AM PDT

A new computational model may help illuminate the conditions surrounding tumor dormancy and the switch to a malignant state. The so-called cellular automaton model simulated various scenarios of tumor growth leading to tumor suppression, dormancy or proliferation.

'Paradigm shift' in understanding of potassium channels

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 11:40 AM PDT

A new discovery relating to one of the most common processes in human cells is being described as a 'paradigm shift' in understanding. Researchers have observed ion permeation in potassium channels which does not follow previously predicted pathways.

Loss of big predators could leave herbivores in a thorny situation

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 11:37 AM PDT

Global declines in carnivore populations could embolden plant eaters to increasingly dine on succulent vegetation, driving losses in plant and tree biodiversity, according to new research published in Science.

Scientists find 'hidden brain signatures' of consciousness in vegetative state patients

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 11:37 AM PDT

Scientists in Cambridge have found hidden signatures in the brains of people in a vegetative state, which point to networks that could support consciousness even when a patient appears to be unconscious and unresponsive. The study could help doctors identify patients who are aware despite being unable to communicate.

Protons hog the momentum in neutron-rich nuclei

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 11:37 AM PDT

Protons and neutrons that have briefly paired up in the nucleus have higher-average momentum, leaving less for non-paired nucleons. Researchers have now shown for the first time that this phenomenon exists in nuclei heavier than carbon, including aluminum, iron and lead and also surprisingly allows a greater fraction of protons than neutrons to have high momentum in these neutron-rich nuclei, contrary to long-accepted theories and with implications for ultra-cold atomic gas systems and neutron stars.

Cosmic jets of young stars formed by magnetic fields

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 11:37 AM PDT

Astrophysical jets are counted among our universe's most spectacular phenomena: From the centers of black holes, quasars, or protostars, these rays of matter sometimes protrude several light years into space. Now, for the first time ever, an international team of researchers has successfully tested a new model that explains how magnetic fields form these emissions in young stars.

Myelin vital for learning new practical skills

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 11:37 AM PDT

New evidence of myelin's essential role in learning and retaining new practical skills, such as playing a musical instrument, has been uncovered by research. Myelin is a fatty substance produced by the brain and spinal cord into early adulthood as it is needed for many developmental processes, and although earlier studies of human white matter hinted at its involvement in skill learning, this is the first time it has been confirmed experimentally.

Wobbling of a Saturn moon hints at what lies beneath

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 11:36 AM PDT

Using instruments aboard the Cassini spacecraft to measure the wobbles of Mimas, the closest of Saturn's regular moons, an astronomer has inferred that this small moon's icy surface cloaks either a rugby ball-shaped rocky core or a sloshing sub-surface ocean.

To wilt or not to wilt: MicroRNAs determine tomato susceptibility to Fusarium fungus

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 11:36 AM PDT

Plant breeders have long identified and cultivated disease-resistant varieties. A new study reveals the molecular basis for resistance and susceptibility to a common fungus that causes wilt in susceptible tomato plants.

Resveratrol boosts spinal bone density in men with metabolic syndrome

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 11:08 AM PDT

Resveratrol, a natural compound found in red wine and grapes, increased spinal bone density in men with metabolic syndrome and could hold promise as a treatment for osteoporosis, according to a new study.

Engineers find a way to win in laser performance by losing

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 11:08 AM PDT

Engineers have shown a new way to reverse or eliminate loss by, ironically, adding loss to a laser system to actually reap energy gains. To help laser systems overcome loss, operators often pump the system with an overabundance of photons, or light packets, to achieve optical gain. But now engineers have shown a new way to reverse or eliminate such loss by, ironically, adding loss to a laser system to actually reap energy gains. In other words, they've invented a way to win by losing.

MicroRNA molecules serve as on/off switches for inflammation

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 09:36 AM PDT

Two microRNA molecules that control chronic inflammation have been found by researchers, a discovery that one day may help researchers prevent certain fatal or debilitating conditions before they start.

Impact of offshore wind farms on marine species

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 09:36 AM PDT

Offshore wind power is a valuable source of renewable energy that can help reduce carbon emissions. Technological advances are allowing higher capacity turbines to be installed in deeper water, but there is still much unknown about the effects on the environment. Scientists have now reviewed the potential impacts of offshore wind developments on marine species and make recommendations for future monitoring and assessment as interest in offshore wind energy grows around the world.

That pregnant feeling makes a fly start nesting

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 09:35 AM PDT

Across the animal kingdom, it's not uncommon for pregnancy to change an expectant mom's behavior. Even female flies have their own rudimentary way of 'nesting,' which appears to be brought on by the stretch of their egg-filled abdomens rather than the act of mating, according to a study.

Cell architecture: Finding common ground

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 09:35 AM PDT

When it comes to cellular architecture, function follows form. Plant cells contain a dynamic cytoskeleton, which is responsible for directing cell growth, development, movement, and division. Over time, changes in the cytoskeleton form the shape and behavior of cells and, ultimately, the structure and function of the organism. New work hones in on how one particular organizational protein influences cytoskeletal and cellular structure in plants, findings that may also have implications for animal cytoskeletal organization, scientists report.
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