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New lithium-rich battery could last much longer

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 04:46 PM PST

By using iron and oxygen to simultaneously drive the electrochemical reaction, a novel battery is less expensive and has a higher capacity.

Engineers make wearable sensors for plants, enabling measurements of water use in crops

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 04:46 PM PST

Scientists are developing graphene-based, sensors-on-tape that can be attached to plants and can provide data to researchers and farmers about water use in crops. The technology could have many other applications, including sensors for biomedical diagnostics, for checking the structural integrity of buildings, for monitoring the environment and, with modifications, for testing crops for diseases or pesticides.

Scientists find surprising evidence of rapid changes in the Arctic

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 01:02 PM PST

Scientists have found surprising evidence of rapid climate change in the Arctic: In the middle of the Arctic Ocean near the North Pole, they discovered that the levels of radium-228 have almost doubled over the last decade.

Sperm-sorting device could improve IVF success

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 01:01 PM PST

Women undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) may become pregnant with fewer treatment cycles, thanks to a new device that uses an 'obstacle course' to sort and select faster and healthier sperm cells for use in IVF treatment.

Little wasp bodies mean little wasp brain regions

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 01:01 PM PST

A new study looking at 19 species of paper wasps found that body size may lead to variation in the complex parts of their brains.

The sixth taste? Calcium

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 01:01 PM PST

Calcium is something of a double-edged sword. Too much of the essential element is as dangerous as too little, either case adversely affecting health in animals from humans to mice to fruit flies.

Past falls can help predict an individual's risk of bone fracture independent of other factors

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 01:01 PM PST

Results from a new study indicate that an individual's history of past falls can help predict their risk of bone fractures, independent of bone mineral density and other clinical factors.

An unusual form of antibiotic resistance in pandemic cholera

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 12:59 PM PST

Researchers have now shown that the enzyme that makes the El Tor family of V. cholerae resistant to those antibiotics has a different mechanism of action from any comparable proteins observed in bacteria so far. Understanding that mechanism better equips researchers to overcome the challenge it presents in a world with increasing antibiotic resistance.

Agricultural parasite takes control of host plant's genes

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 10:27 AM PST

Dodder, a parasitic plant that causes major damage to crops in the US and worldwide every year, can silence the expression of genes in the host plants from which it obtains water and nutrients. This cross-species gene regulation, which includes genes that contribute to the host plant's defense against parasites, has never before been seen from a parasitic plant.

Four-dimensional physics in two dimensions

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 10:27 AM PST

For the first time, physicists have built a two-dimensional experimental system that allows them to study the physical properties of materials theorized to exist only in four-dimensional space. An international team of researchers demonstrated that the behavior of particles of light can be made to match predictions about the four-dimensional version of the 'quantum Hall effect' -- a phenomenon at the root of three Nobel Prizes in physics -- in a two-dimensional array of 'waveguides.'

Scientists design bacteria to reflect 'sonar' signals for ultrasound imaging

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 10:27 AM PST

Scientists have designed bacteria to reflect sound waves like submarines. The technology could eventually allow doctors to image therapeutic bacteria in the body using ultrasound.

Gene fusion shifts cell activity into high gear, causing some cancer

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 10:27 AM PST

Researchers have discovered that a common fusion of two adjacent genes can cause cancer by kicking mitochondria into overdrive, increasing the amount of fuel available for rampant cell growth.

Evidence of previously unknown population of ancient Native Americans, research reveals

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 10:26 AM PST

Genetic analysis of ancient DNA from a 6-week-old infant found at an Interior Alaska archaeological site has revealed a previously unknown population of ancient people in North America. The findings represent a major shift in scientists' theories about how humans populated North America. The researchers have named the new group 'Ancient Beringians.'

How alcohol damages DNA and increases cancer risk

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 10:26 AM PST

Scientists have shown how alcohol damages DNA in stem cells, helping to explain why drinking increases your risk of cancer, according to new research.

Discovery brings stem cell therapy for eye disease closer to the clinic

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 09:30 AM PST

Scientists report that tiny tube-like protrusions called primary cilia on cells of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) -- a layer of cells in the back of the eye -- are essential for the survival of the retina's light-sensing photoreceptors. The discovery has advanced efforts to make stem cell-derived RPE for transplantation into patients with geographic atrophy, otherwise known as dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of blindness in the US.

Tailoring cancer treatments to individual patients

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 09:30 AM PST

Researchers have developed computer models to predict how cancer will progress in a specific individual, based on tissue, cellular and subcellular protein signaling responses. The models can predict how brain tumors (gliomas) will grow with much greater accuracy than previous models. Recently, the group began a clinical study to predict how an individual's cancer will progress after one cycle of therapy, and to use that prediction to plan the course of treatment.

Researchers use 'global thermometer' to track temperature extremes, droughts

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 09:30 AM PST

Large areas of Earth's surface are experiencing rising maximum temperatures, which affect virtually every ecosystem on the planet, including ice sheets and tropical forests that play major roles in regulating the biosphere, scientists have reported.

Environmentally safe red glare rocket changes fireworks, soldier technology

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 09:30 AM PST

Researchers have developed an environmentally friendly red light flare popular in fireworks displays and among Soldiers who use them in training and battlefield operations as signaling devices.

Total-body PET: Maximizing sensitivity for clinical research and patient care

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 08:14 AM PST

The new total-body PET/CT scanner could revolutionize our understanding and treatment of disease through analysis of better imaging data from the whole body. Scientists have outlined the development and benefits of this innovative diagnostic tool and explained how maximizing PET sensitivity will advance clinical research and patient care.

In clinical trial, cream reduces squamous cell carcinoma risk

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 08:14 AM PST

Results of a new randomized, double-blinded, controlled clinical trial in veterans showed a 75 percent reduction in the risk of needing surgery to treat a squamous cell carcinoma for a year after applying a skin cream for up to four weeks.

Pong paddles and perception: Our actions influence what we see

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 08:14 AM PST

Most people think of vision as simply a function of information the eye gathers. For cognitive psychologists vision is a little more complicated than that. One researcher now faces head-on the notion that her experimental subjects have been victims of a psychological phenomenon called response bias. She employed a classic, action-specific experiment involving a video game familiar to children of the 80s: Pong.

Integrating two types of crop models to predict the effect of climate change on crop yields

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 07:11 AM PST

Scientists now have a new tool to predict the future effects of climate change on crop yields. Researchers are attempting to bridge two types of computational crop models to become more reliable predictors of crop production in the U.S. Corn Belt.

Scientists explore mysteries behind diversity of DNA composition among species

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 07:11 AM PST

DNA rules specify that G always pairs with C, and A with T. But, when it's all added up, the amount of G+C vs A+T content among species is not a simple fixed percentage or, standard one-to-one ratio. Biologists have now experimentally demonstrated that G+C composition is generally strongly favored by natural selection, regardless of the class of DNA, size of a species' genome, or where the species is found on the evolutionary tree of life.

Hysterectomy alone associated with increased long-term health risks

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 07:11 AM PST

Researchers show that hysterectomy with ovarian conservation is associated with a significantly increased risk of several cardiovascular diseases and metabolic conditions.

Arctic clouds highly sensitive to air pollution

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 07:11 AM PST

A study by atmospheric scientists has found that the air in the Arctic is extraordinarily sensitive to air pollution, and that particulate matter may spur Arctic cloud formation. These clouds can act as a blanket, further warming an already-changing Arctic.

Tabby's Star: Alien megastructure not the cause of dimming of the 'most mysterious star in the universe'

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 07:11 AM PST

Scientists are one step closer to solving the mystery behind the 'most mysterious star in the universe.'

Automated bird identification system based on bird calls and song

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 07:11 AM PST

Birds play an important role in a wide variety of ecosystems as both predator and prey, in controlling insect populations, pollinating and seed dispersal for many plants, and in releasing nutrients on to land and sea in the form of guano. From a scientific perspective it is therefore crucial to monitor bird populations. Now, research could pave the way to an automated bird identification system based on bird calls and song.

Female professors asked for favors more than male professors

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 07:11 AM PST

Who do students turn to when they want to ask for an extended assignment deadline or an increase in their marks? Most likely their female professors according to a new study which investigated the added work demands often faced by women in academia.

The making of biorelevant nanomaterials

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 07:11 AM PST

The interactions of biological macromolecules such as nucleic acids, proteins, and polysaccharide-protein conjugates can be mimicked by artificial polyelectrolytes. Such synthetic polyionic complexes are expected to serve as novel platforms to stabilize and deliver drugs, proteins, or nucleic acids. Investigators have now introduced a versatile, commercially applicable preparation strategy of such nanomaterials with tunable morphology. The preparation of libraries of these low-dimensional biorelevant nanostructures can be envisaged.

New behavioral science approach combines experiments, models

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 07:11 AM PST

Researchers are outlining a new approach to behavioral research that draws on experimental studies and computer models to offer new insights into organizational and group behavior.

An adaptation 150 million years in the making

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 07:10 AM PST

Just how do snapping shrimp snap? This was the question plaguing scientists who set out to uncover the mysterious mechanisms producing big biology in tiny crustaceans.

Birds and dinosaurs: High-performance breathing in bones

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 07:09 AM PST

Dinosaurs are far from 'extinct', but dominate as birds still most regions of the globe. Part of this huge success is due to the evolution of air sacs, which are crucial for the high efficiency of their respiratory system. Scientists have analyzed the structure of bones that are in contact with air sacs and found both in extinct and extant species a hitherto unknown type of bony tissue.

Cultural evolution has not freed hunter-gatherers from environmental forcing

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 07:09 AM PST

Cultural evolution has made humans enormously potent ecosystem engineers and has enabled us to survive and flourish under a variety environmental conditions. Even hunter-gatherers, who obtain their food from wild plant and animal resources using seemingly simple technologies, have been able to extract energy in harsh arctic and desert conditions and compile vast knowledge on medical plants to fight against pathogens in the tropics.

Using rank order to identify complex genetic interactions

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 07:08 AM PST

Genome sequencing has revolutionized genetics. It also requires new mathematical tools to help life scientists make sense of enormous amounts of data. Applying new math, experts in the area of mathematical biology show how ranking pathogen mutants can help scientists understand how mutants evolve to resist drug treatments. This line of research could have implications for the treatment of diseases that can resist drug treatments, such as HIV and malaria.

High doses of vitamin D rapidly reduce arterial stiffness in overweight/obese, vitamin-deficient African-Americans

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 08:41 AM PST

In just four months, high-doses of vitamin D reduce arterial stiffness in young, overweight/obese, vitamin-deficient, but otherwise still healthy African-Americans, researchers say.