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Weeds out of control

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 02:00 PM PST

Herbicides can no longer control the weeds that threaten crop productivity and food security in the UK because the plants have evolved resistance, and future control must depend on management strategies that reduce reliance on chemicals. So concludes a nationwide epidemiological assessment of the factors that are driving the abundance and spread of the major agricultural weed, black-grass.

'Hot spots' of water quality violations

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 02:00 PM PST

While serious violations like those in the Flint, Michigan, crises are rare, ensuring reliable access to safe drinking water poses challenges for communities across the country, according to a recent study.

Tricking photons leads to first-of-its-kind laser breakthrough

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 01:59 PM PST

A team of optics researchers has demonstrated the first-ever nonmagnetic topological insulator laser, a finding that has the potential to substantially improve the efficiency, beam quality, and resilience of semiconductor laser arrays.

Ancient trail of Columbian mammoths uncovered in south-central Oregon

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 01:09 PM PST

A fossilized trackway on public lands in Lake County, Ore., may reveal clues about the ancient family dynamics of Columbian mammoths. Researchers who excavated a portion of the path found 117 footprints thought to represent a number of adults as well as juvenile and infant mammoths.

New machine learning algorithm uncovers time-delayed interactions in cells

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 01:09 PM PST

A new algorithm uses time-series data to show the cause-and-effect interactions that take place inside of living cells.

Middle Earth preserved in giant bird dung

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 01:08 PM PST

While the giant birds that once dominated New Zealand are all extinct, a study of their preserved dung (coprolites) has revealed many aspects of their ancient ecosystem, with important insights for ongoing conservation efforts.

Smart bomb virus shows promise as brain tumor immunotherapy

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 01:08 PM PST

A common cold virus engineered to attack the most common and deadly of brain tumors allowed 20 percent of patients with recurrent glioblastoma to live for three years or longer, researchers report after a phase I clinical trial.

Turbulence: Adequate scaling thanks to surface roughness

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 12:15 PM PST

Turbulence in oceans, in the atmosphere or in industry, is billions of times stronger than in lab experiments. Simply upscaling the lab results is not an option. Theoretically, however, there is a regime of turbulence in which scaling laws apply. Researchers have succeeded in reaching this 'asymptotic ultimate regime' of turbulence, by introducing roughness at the surface at which turbulent liquid flows.

Sea level rise accelerating: acceleration in 25-year satellite sea level record

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 12:07 PM PST

Global sea level rise is not cruising along at a steady rate per year, but rather accelerating a little every year like a driver merging onto a highway.

Limited scope of corporate sustainability revealed

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 12:07 PM PST

The first large-scale analysis of corporate practices for sourcing sustainable materials shows that many companies address sustainability at some level, but most deal with only one or a subset of materials within a small portion of their supply chain.

Neurotransmitter may play a role in alcohol relapse, addiction

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 12:07 PM PST

Researchers scanned the brains of individuals with alcohol abuse disorder and found that the neurotransmitter glutamate may play a role in some addition cravings.

New method for waking up devices

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 12:07 PM PST

A device that's turned off doesn't suck battery life, but it also doesn't work. Now a low-power system that's always on the alert can turn devices on when they are needed, saving energy in the networked internet of things.

Bed bug histamines are substantial, persistent in infested homes

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 11:42 AM PST

Nuisance pest to medically important threat? New research findings show that bed bugs emit substantial amounts of histamine that persist even after bed bugs are eliminated.

Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 11:41 AM PST

Scientists have announced that they have successfully combined two different imaging methods -- a type of lens designed for nanoscale interaction with lightwaves, along with robust computational processing -- to create full-color images.

New guide for finding genes linked with behavior

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 11:41 AM PST

Scientists interested in finding specific genes that influence the behavior of humans and animals have a new tool, thanks to a two-year research effort aimed at describing how to apply the latest techniques of molecular genomics to the study of complex behavior.

Captured electrons excite nuclei to higher energy states

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 11:41 AM PST

For the first time, scientists demonstrated a long-theorized nuclear effect called nuclear excitation by electron capture. This advance tests theoretical models that describe how nuclear and atomic realms interact and may also provide new insights into how star elements are created.

New fuel cell demonstrates exceptional power density and stability

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 11:41 AM PST

By combining a high-activity cathode with a new composition of matter, fuel cell operates at 500-degrees Celsius -- a commercialization sweet spot.

Progress, but far from perfection, on avoiding risky sedatives in older adults

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 11:41 AM PST

They help many people sleep, or feel calmer or less anxious. But in older people, they also double the risk of car crashes, falls and broken hips. That's why the medications known as benzodiazepines show up on international guidelines as drugs that very few people over the age of 65 should take. Yet a sizable percentage of adults in that age group still have an active prescription for one, according to new research.

Neutron study of glaucoma drugs offers clues about enzyme targets for aggressive cancers

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 11:41 AM PST

A team of researchers is using neutron imaging to study particulate filters that collect harmful emissions in vehicles. A better understanding of how heat treatments and oxidation methods can remove layers of soot and ash from these filters could lead to improved fuel-efficiency.

Study shows benefits of exercise can outweigh health effects of severe obesity

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 11:41 AM PST

New study that shows physical activity may be equally and perhaps even more important than weight for people living with severe obesity.

Tiny fossils, huge landslides: Are diatoms the key to Earth's biggest slides?

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 10:34 AM PST

The biggest landslides on Earth aren't on land, but on the seafloor. These mega-slides can move thousands of cubic kilometers of material, and sometimes trigger tsunamis. Yet, remarkably, they occur on nearly flat slopes of less than three degrees.

When the body attacks the brain: Immune system often to blame for encephalitis, study finds

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 10:34 AM PST

Encephalitis caused by the immune system attacking the brain is similar in frequency to encephalitis from infections.

Building and breaking connections: How neuronal networks influence alcoholism

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 10:34 AM PST

Although it has been known that alterations in the connections between neurons in the brain likely play a role in alcohol dependence and other addictions, the cause-and-effect between these brain alterations and behavior has been less clear.

Blocking action of gene enhancers halts spread of tumor cells

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 10:17 AM PST

In one of the first successes of its kind, researchers have inhibited the spreading of cancer cells from one part of the body to another. In doing so, they relied on a new model of how cancer metastasizes that emphasizes epigenetics, which examines how genes are turned on and off.

Innovative Restoration of Coral Reefs Helps Protect Caribbean Islands

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 10:08 AM PST

Researchers have measured the protective role of coral reefs and field-tested a solution that reduces coastal risks by combining innovative engineering with restoration ecology.

Wastewater treatment plants could generate electricity

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 09:58 AM PST

Researchers are working on improving the efficiency of microbial fuel cells (MFC) by using modified graphite felt. Primary results show that the new MFC can generate 20 percent higher voltage than usual cells.

Recordings spout secrets behind blue whale behavior

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 09:58 AM PST

Researchers are using underwater microphones to interpret and characterize the calls of blue whales swimming through Southern California's oceans, revealing new insights into the behavior of these endangered marine mammals.

Tiny drug-delivering capsules could sustain transplanted insulin-producing cells

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 09:58 AM PST

A drug-carrying microsphere within a cell-bearing microcapsule could be the key to transplanting insulin-secreting pig pancreas cells into human patients whose own cells have been destroyed by type I diabetes.

New cannabis products highly potent, pose mental health risks

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 09:58 AM PST

With states rapidly legalizing cannabis for medicinal and recreational use, physicians will be increasingly pressed to counsel patients on their frequency of use and dosage, as well as associated risks.

Acoustic imaging reveals hidden features of megathrust fault off Costa Rica

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 09:58 AM PST

Geophysicists have obtained detailed three-dimensional images of a dangerous megathrust fault west of Costa Rica where two plates of the Earth's crust collide. The images reveal features of the fault surface, including long grooves or corrugations, that may determine how the fault will slip in an earthquake.

Using injectable self-assembled nanomaterials for sustained delivery of drugs

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 09:57 AM PST

New injectable delivery system forms a non-inflammatory depot that can continuously release drug carriers for months at a time after a single administration.

Study sheds new light on mechanism of breast cancer treatment resistance

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 09:33 AM PST

A study by researchers has illuminated a specific mechanism by which estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) breast cancers can become resistant to standard therapies and metastasize.

Researchers raise a 170-million-year question over mysterious moss gene

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 09:33 AM PST

A surprise discovery provides insight into how cells build their external walls and raises questions about a one-of-a-kind, fused gene.

Shorter fitness test still accurately predicts risk of mortality

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 09:33 AM PST

Researchers have determined a short, five minute treadmill test can predict the risk of mortality. This risk is determined independent of other traditional risk factors including age, weight, blood pressure, smoking status, diabetes, cholesterol, and family history.

Global warming could cause key culinary crops to release seeds prematurely

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 09:12 AM PST

Climate change is threatening crop yields worldwide, yet little is known about how global warming will confuse normal plant physiology. Researchers now show that higher temperatures accelerate seed dispersal in crop species belonging to the cabbage and mustard plant family, limiting reproductive success, and this effect is mediated by a gene called INDEHISCENT.

Study suggests way to attack deadly, untreatable nerve tumors

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 09:12 AM PST

Genomic profiling of mostly untreatable and deadly nerve sheath tumors led scientists to test a possible therapeutic strategy that inhibited tumor growth in lab tests on human tumor cells and mouse models, according to new research. When the international team of researchers analyzed complete screens of genes and genetic material in malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNSTs), it revealed previously unknown genetic information about the disease.

Study finds gender and skin-type bias in commercial artificial-intelligence systems

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 09:12 AM PST

A new article shows that three commercial facial-analysis programs demonstrate gender and skin-type biases, and suggests a new, more accurate method for evaluating the performance of such machine-learning systems.

Study examines shift work and genetic risk factors for type 2 diabetes

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 09:12 AM PST

A new study takes a deep look at the connection between shift work and type 2 diabetes. Investigators leveraged data on hundreds of thousands of people in the UK Biobank to better understand how shift work -- especially frequent night work -- contributes to the likelihood of type 2 diabetes. The team also developed a genetic risk score for type 2 diabetes, examining genetic data for tens of thousands of workers in the database.

Deep-sea fish use hydrothermal vents to incubate eggs

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 09:12 AM PST

An international team of researchers have discovered egg cases of deep-sea fish near hydrothermal vents. The team believes that deep-sea skates, a relative of sharks and rays, use the warm water near the vents to accelerate the typically years-long incubation time of their eggs.

Lung cancer drug resistance explained by computer simulations

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 09:12 AM PST

Scientists have used molecular simulations to understand resistance to osimertinib -- an anticancer drug used to treat types of lung cancer.

Scalable two-dimensional materials advance future-gen electronics

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 09:10 AM PST

A pair of papers published online in two nanotechnology journals this month provide the basis for growing wafer-scale two-dimensional crystals for future electronic devices

Naltrexone treatment is more effective for heavy drinkers who use nicotine/cigarettes

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 09:10 AM PST

There are medications available to help people who drink excessive amounts of alcohol reduce or stop their drinking. One such medication is the opioid antagonist naltrexone, which has been approved for treatment of alcohol dependence by the Food and Drug Administration. Although naltrexone can reduce alcohol craving and help promote recovery for some individuals, it does not work for everyone. Prior research suggested that nicotine use/smoking status and genetic differences were predictors of response to naltrexone. This study further investigated the impact of nicotine use/smoking status and variation in the mu opioid receptor gene (OPRM1), specifically, an A118G single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP, or DNA sequence variation), on the effects of naltrexone on a range of drinking outcomes.

First scientific expedition to newly exposed Antarctic ecosystem

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 08:52 AM PST

A team of scientists heads to Antarctica this week (14 February) to investigate a mysterious marine ecosystem that's been hidden beneath an Antarctic ice shelf for up to 120,000 years.  

Another blow to fungal infection

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 08:20 AM PST

The first successful unpicking of a wheat gene that confers resistance to a devastating fungal disease promises to speed the unraveling of other resistance genes that, together, could provide wheat with a natural barrier to infection at a time when the fungus has already developed tolerance to most types of fungicides.

No sex for all-female fish species

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 08:20 AM PST

They reproduce through gynogenesis. Their offspring are clones of the mother. According to established theories, the Amazon molly should have become extinct a long time ago. A new study shows how the fish avoids this fate.

Underreporting in international wildlife trade

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 08:20 AM PST

Researchers have established several key trends in wildlife trade following an in-depth study on international wildlife trade data. The findings shed light on the market forces driving the movement of wildlife products around the globe, and indicate our understanding of illegal and legal wildlife trade is biased towards certain species and regions of the globe.

Experimental therapy restores nerve insulation damaged by disease

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 08:20 AM PST

When the body attacks its own healthy tissues in an autoimmune disease, peripheral nerve damage handicaps people and causes persistent neuropathic pain when insulation on healing nerves doesn't fully regenerate. Unfortunately, there are no effective ways to treat the condition. Now scientists describe an experimental molecular therapy that restores insulation on peripheral nerves in mice, improves limb function, and results in less observable discomfort.

Alternate method to uncover protein structures, design new drugs

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 08:20 AM PST

Antibodies made by camels, llamas and alpacas allow scientists to study the structure and function of proteins in disease and health. While valuable, the approach is time-consuming, costly and often unsuccessful. Overcoming this barrier, scientists have devised a faster, cheaper and more reliable way to create these critical antibodies using yeast in a test tube.

Which commonly prescribed drug is more effective for infants with epilepsy?

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 08:20 AM PST

Levetiracetam was found to be superior to phenobarbital as initial monotherapy for infants with nonsyndromic epilepsy.

Risk of fatal traffic crash higher during annual 4/20 cannabis celebration

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 08:20 AM PST

US drivers are more likely to be in a fatal traffic crash during the annual April 20 cannabis celebration. Twenty-five years' worth of data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows the number of drivers involved in fatal crashes after 4:20 pm on April 20 is higher compared to the same time intervals on control days one week earlier and one week later.

Cancer-fighting nanorobots programmed to seek and destroy tumors

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 08:20 AM PST

In a major advancement in nanomedicine, scientists have successfully programmed nanorobots to shrink tumors by cutting off their blood supply.

Portable optical clock used to measure gravitation for the first time

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 08:17 AM PST

A European collaboration has used one of the world's portable optical atomic clocks to measure gravitation for the first time.

Lightning storms less likely in a warming planet, study suggests

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 08:17 AM PST

Lightning may strike less often in future across the globe as the planet warms, a scientific study suggests.

New insight into workings of building blocks of life

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 07:52 AM PST

Pioneering new research could offer a fascinating new insight into how genomic information is read.

Why did gas hydrates melt at the end of the last ice age?

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 07:31 AM PST

Large amounts of the greenhouse gas methane are locked up as solid gas hydrates in the continental slopes of ocean margins. Their stability depends on low temperatures and high pressure. However, other factors that influence gas hydrate stability are not as well understood. A research team has found evidence off the coast of Norway that the amount of sediment deposited on the seafloor can play a crucial role.

Brain scans show why people get aggressive after a drink or two

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 07:31 AM PST

Researchers have used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans that measure blood flow in the brain to better understand why people often become aggressive and violent after drinking alcohol. After only two drinks, the researchers noted changes in the working of the prefrontal cortex of the brain, the part normally involved in tempering a person's levels of aggression.

New process allows 3-D printing of nanoscale metal structures

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 07:06 AM PST

By mixing metal ions and organic ligands, scientists have developed a process for the 3-D printing of metal structures that are smaller than ever before.

Mouse study adds to evidence linking gut bacteria and obesity

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 07:06 AM PST

A new study of mice with the rodent equivalent of metabolic syndrome has added to evidence that the intestinal microbiome -- a 'garden' of bacterial, viral and fungal genes -- plays a substantial role in the development of obesity and insulin resistance in mammals, including humans.

Engaging family in care of hospitalized loved ones enhances healing, reduces readmission rates

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 07:06 AM PST

A voluntary program that allows family members of hospitalized patients to participate in their care enhanced healing and reduced readmission rates.

Dyslexia does not reduce pass rates for UK GP licensing exam

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 07:06 AM PST

A study has found that UK GPs who declare dyslexia prior to taking the AKT are just as likely to pass the knowledge component of the licensing exam as their counterparts. Candidates who declared dyslexia after initially failing the exam were more likely to be minority ethnic candidates with a primary medical qualification outside of the UK.