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New desalination method offers low energy alternative to purify salty water

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 02:11 PM PST

Providing safer drinking water to those in need may be a little easier. A new desalination technique is able to remove salt from water using less energy than previous methods.

State-of-the-art MRI technology bypasses need for biopsy

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 02:00 PM PST

The most common type of tumor found in the kidney is generally quite small (less than 1.5 in). These tumors are usually found by accident when CAT scans are performed for other reasons and the serendipitous finding poses a problem for doctors.

A virus-bacteria coevolutionary 'arms race' solves diversity by 'killing the winner'

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 12:32 PM PST

Researchers have shed new light on a fundamental question in ecology, by improving a popular proposed scenario for diversity known as 'Kill the Winner.' Scientists approached the diversity paradox from the perspective of non-equilibrium statistical mechanics.

Genetic changes help mosquitoes survive pesticide attacks

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 12:32 PM PST

The fascinating array of genetic changes that confer pesticide resistance in Anopheles mosquitoes has been reviewed. Findings highlight the interplay between human interventions, mosquito evolution, and disease outcomes, and will help scientists develop new strategies to overcome pesticide resistance.

ADHD medications may reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infection

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 12:32 PM PST

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) increases the risk of subsequent sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among adolescent and young adult populations by about three times, reports a new study.

Lethal fungus that causes white-nose syndrome may have an Achilles' heel

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 12:32 PM PST

In the course of genomic analyses of the fungus behind white-nose-syndrome, a devastating disease that has killed millions of bats in North America, US Forest Service scientists discovered something very surprising: brief exposure to UV-light kills Pseudogymnoascus destructans.

'Quantum radio' may aid communications and mapping indoors, underground and underwater

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 12:32 PM PST

Researchers have demonstrated that quantum physics might enable communications and mapping in locations where GPS and ordinary cellphones and radios don't work reliably or even at all, such as indoors, in urban canyons, underwater and underground.

Spider's web inspires removable implant that may control type 1 diabetes

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 12:31 PM PST

For the more than 1 million Americans who live with type 1 diabetes, daily insulin injections are literally a matter of life and death. And while there is no cure, a team has developed a device that could revolutionize management of the disease.

Tweaking quantum dots powers-up double-pane solar windows

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 10:48 AM PST

Researchers are creating double-pane solar windows that generate electricity with greater efficiency and also create shading and insulation. It's all made possible by a new window architecture which utilizes two different layers of low-cost quantum dots tuned to absorb different parts of the solar spectrum. The approach complements existing photovoltaic technology by adding high-efficiency sunlight collectors to existing solar panels or integrating them as semitransparent windows into a building's architecture.

Randomness a key in spread of disease, other 'evil'

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 10:48 AM PST

Working with a simple mathematical model in which chance plays a key role, researchers calculated how long it would take a bacterial infection or cancer cell to take over a network of healthy cells. The distribution of incubation times in most cases, they contend, is close to 'lognormal' -- meaning that the logarithms of the incubation periods, rather than the incubation periods themselves, are normally distributed.

Migraine surgery produces 'dramatic improvements' in functioning, study finds

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 10:48 AM PST

In addition to reducing headache frequency and severity, surgical treatment for migraine leads to significant improvements in everyday functioning and coping ability, according to a new study.

A fossil fuel technology that doesn't pollute

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 10:48 AM PST

Engineers are developing technologies that have the potential to economically convert fossil fuels and biomass into useful products including electricity without emitting carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.

Blacks' high diabetes risk driven by obesity, not mystery

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 10:48 AM PST

In a surprising finding, blacks and whites have the same risk of developing diabetes when all biological factors for the disease are considered over time, reports a study. The finding flips long-held beliefs that there is an unexplained reason why blacks have double the rate of diabetes compared to whites by midlife, which is considered early onset.

How the midshipman fish sustains its hour-long mating call

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 10:48 AM PST

Researchers have discovered how the Pacific midshipman fish can hum continuously for up to an hour in order to attract potential mates. The study explains how the muscle fibers surrounding the fish's swimbladder can sustain the high rates of contraction -- up to 100 times per second -- that are needed to produce the animal's distinctive call.

Novel nanomedicine inhibits progression of pancreatic cancer in mice

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 08:42 AM PST

A new study pinpoints the inverse correlation between a known oncogene -- a gene that promotes the development of cancer -- and the expression of an oncosuppressor microRNA as the reason for extended pancreatic cancer survival. The study may serve as a basis for the development of an effective cocktail of drugs for this deadly disease and other cancers.

Social susceptibility: Leader-follower dynamics of influential individuals in a social group

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 08:42 AM PST

This is the story of a spider, small but bold. This particular arachnid, in fact, has helped to debunk the Great Man Theory, a 19th-century notion positing that highly influential individuals use their power -- be it personal charisma, intelligence, wisdom or political skill -- to maximize their impact in shaping the course of history.

Higher environmental impact from cookstove emissions

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 08:42 AM PST

Millions of Asian families use cookstoves and often fuel them with cheap biofuels to prepare food. But the smoke emitted from these cookstoves has a definite, detrimental environmental impact, particularly in India. New research offers a clearer picture of the topic's true scope.

Exploring electrolysis for energy storage

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 08:42 AM PST

A research team developed a flow-type polymer electrolyte cell for power storage. The cell reduces oxalic acid (OX) to glycolic acid, which has a higher volumetric energy-storage capacity than hydrogen gas. Newly fabricated TiO2 cathode enhanced the speed and efficiency of OX reduction. This competitive energy-storage device could be used to balance out the fluctuations in renewable power supplies.

Silver nanoparticles take spectroscopy to new dimension

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 08:42 AM PST

As medicine and pharmacology investigate nanoscale processes, it has become increasingly important to identify and characterize different molecules. Raman spectroscopy, which leverages the scattering of laser light to identify molecules, has a limited capacity to detect molecules in diluted samples because of low signal yield, but researchers in India have improved molecular detection at low concentration levels by arranging silver nanoparticles on silicon nanowires.

Locating the precise reaction path: Methane dissociation on platinum

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 08:42 AM PST

So far, the search for catalysts even better than transition metals has been largely based on trial and error, and on the assumption that catalyzed reactions take place on step edges and other atomic defect sites of the metal crystals. An international research team has combined experiments using advanced infrared techniques with quantum theory to explore methane dissociation reactions in minute detail.

An organ-on-a-chip device that models heart disease

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 08:42 AM PST

Recently, researchers have been studying diseases with a new approach: small, organ-on-a-chip devices that mimic the functions of human organs, serving as potentially cheaper and more effective tools. Now researchers have built a device that's especially good for modeling atherosclerosis. Researchers illustrate how the new device can be used to study important inflammatory responses in cells that line the vessel in ways that could not be done in animal models.

Modifying baby formula doesn't prevent type 1 diabetes in children

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 08:41 AM PST

The long-awaited results from the first large international trial to try to prevent type 1 diabetes shows that modified baby formula in which cow's milk proteins have been split does not prevent type 1 diabetes in children with genetic risk factors for the condition.

Call for improvement in post-sepsis outcomes

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 08:41 AM PST

Despite improvement in the rates of people dying of sepsis in the hospital, the condition is still a leading cause of hospital readmissions and costs, as well as long-term disabilities and impairments, prompting medical scientists to develop thorough recommendations for post-hospital recovery care and future clinical trials.

A changing climate, changing wine

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 08:41 AM PST

A new study suggests that, though vineyards might be able to counteract some of the effects of climate change by planting lesser-known grape varieties, scientists and vintners need to better understand the wide diversity of grapes and their adaptions to different climates.

Diabetic blindness caused and reversed 'trapped' immune cells in rodent retinas

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 07:39 AM PST

Researchers have discovered a cell signaling pathway in mice that triggers vision loss in patients with diabetic retinopathy and retinal vein occlusion – diseases characterized by the closure of blood vessels in the retina, leading to blindness. In experiments that suppressed vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in the eye, researchers were able to re-establish normal blood flow in the retina, offering a potential means of stalling or even reversing diabetes-related blindness.

Medication to prevent osteoporotic fractures may hinder the repair of damaged tissue

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 07:38 AM PST

A study has found that one of the most common medications to prevent osteoporitic fractures gives rise to previously unknown mineralization of bone cells. The discovery may be important for understanding the effect of medication on bone quality.

Virtual twin in ten minutes

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 07:38 AM PST

Avatars -- virtual persons: A new system makes it possible to practice and improve motion sequences by providing individualized feedback in real time. The system is embodied by a virtual person acting as a coach. In addition, users see themselves as avatars -- virtual copies of themselves in the mirror of the virtual room. The creation of such personalized avatars used to take several days, but researchers have now developed an accelerated process.

Food cues undermine healthy eating choices

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 07:38 AM PST

Obesity has become a major health issue due to the current 'obesogenic' environment in which unhealthy food is both easy and cheap to purchase. As a result, many (government) organisations encourage healthy eating habits among the general public by providing information on healthy diets. Nevertheless, when people encounter stimuli that they have learned to associate with certain snacks, they tend to choose those products, even when they know these are unhealthy.

Invasive tree species: Call for action to tackle threat to a global biodiversity hotspot

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 07:33 AM PST

An invasive Australian tree is now posing a serious threat to a global diversity 'hotspot' in the natural forests of Jamaica's Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park. The tree species, Pittosporum undulatum, known locally as 'mock orange', is threatening many rare and endangered species, some of which are found nowhere else in the world. Scientists are urging the relevant institutions to prioritise a program of control of this species.

Immune cells play key role in early breast cancer metastasis even before a tumor develops

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 07:33 AM PST

Researchers have discovered that normal immune cells called macrophages, which reside in healthy breast tissue surrounding milk ducts, play a major role in helping early breast cancer cells leave the breast for other parts of the body, potentially creating metastasis before a tumor has even developed, according to a new study.

Standardizing perovskite aging measurements

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 07:33 AM PST

Scientists have produced a data-driven proposal for standardizing the measurements of perovskite solar cell stability and degradation. The work aims to create consensus in the field and overcome one of the major hurdles on the way to commercializing perovskite photovoltaics.

New cholesterol calculation may avoid need to fast before testing, study suggests

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 07:33 AM PST

In a direct comparison study, researchers have added to evidence that a newer method of calculating so-called 'bad cholesterol' levels in the blood is more accurate than the older method in people who did not fast before blood was drawn.

New brain mapping technique highlights relationship between connectivity and IQ

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 07:33 AM PST

A new and relatively simple technique for mapping the wiring of the brain has shown a correlation between how well connected an individual's brain regions are and their intelligence, say researchers.

A safer route to ultrasonic therapy

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 07:33 AM PST

A new system designed to study how cavitation bubbles created by ultrasound therapy affect nearby cells shows that attaching microbeads to the cellular membrane could make techniques like sonogenetics or ultrasonic modulation safer and more effective.

Bifidobacterium or fiber protect against deterioration of the inner colonic mucus layer

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 07:33 AM PST

If you are concerned about your health, you should also think about what your gut bacteria consume. Dietary fiber is a key source for their nutrition. Thus the quantity of fiber in your diet influences your weight, blood glucose level and sensitivty to insulin is well-established. The latest research shows that colonic health is also affected.

Perfectionism among young people significantly increased since 1980s, study finds

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 07:33 AM PST

The drive to be perfect in body, mind and career among today's college students has significantly increased compared with prior generations, which may be taking a toll on young people's mental health, according to research.

Possible biomarker for Huntington's disease

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 07:33 AM PST

A new discovery of a potential biomarker for Huntington's disease (HD) could mean a more effective way of evaluating the effectiveness of treatments for this neurological disease. The findings may provide insight into treatments that could postpone the death of neurons in people who carry the HD gene mutation, but who do not yet show symptoms of the disease.

Increased risk of uterine fibroids in African-American women with a common form of hair loss

Posted: 01 Jan 2018 11:48 AM PST

In a study of medical records gathered on hundreds of thousands of African-American women, researchers say they have evidence that women with a common form of hair loss have an increased chance of developing uterine leiomyomas, or fibroids.

Study predicts a significantly drier world at 2ºC

Posted: 01 Jan 2018 11:47 AM PST

New research predicts a significantly drier world if global warming reaches 2ºC. Over a quarter of the world's land could become significantly drier and the change would cause an increased threat of drought and wildfires. Limiting warming to under 1.5ºC would dramatically reduce the fraction of the Earth's surface that undergoes such changes. Areas which would most benefit from keeping warming below 1.5ºC include Central America, Southern Europe, Southern Australia, parts of South East Asia, and Southern Africa.