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Stars around the Milky Way: Cosmic space invaders or victims of galactic eviction?

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 03:16 PM PST

An international team of astronomers has made a surprising discovery about the birthplace of groups of stars located in the halo of our Milky Way galaxy. The astronomers now have compelling evidence showing that some of these halo structures actually originate from the Milky Way's disk itself, but were kicked out; this phenomenon is called galactic eviction.

Hidden 'rock moisture' possible key to forest response to drought

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 03:16 PM PST

A little-studied, underground layer of rock may provide a vital reservoir for trees, especially in times of drought, report scientists.

Nanomushroom sensors: One material, many applications

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 03:16 PM PST

Researchers have developed a new innovative biosensing material for counting dividing cells and detecting biomolecules.

How biofuels from plant fibers could combat global warming

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 03:15 PM PST

Research finds new promise for biofuels produced from switchgrass, a non-edible native grass that grows in many parts of North America.

Fossil turtle species, 5.5 million years old, sheds light on invasive modern relatives

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 03:15 PM PST

A 5.5-million-year-old fossil species of turtle has been discovered in eastern Tennessee. The turtle represents a new species of the genus Trachemys, commonly known as sliders, which are frequently kept as pets today.

Human neural stem cell grafts to repair spinal cord injuries in monkeys

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 01:52 PM PST

Neuroscientists and surgeons successfully grafted human neural progenitor cells into rhesus monkeys with spinal cord injuries. The grafts not only survived, but grew hundreds of thousands of human axons and synapses, resulting in improved forelimb function in the monkeys.

Scorpion venom component can reduce severity of rheumatoid arthritis

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 01:51 PM PST

A group of researchers has found that one of the hundreds of components in scorpion venom can reduce the severity of rheumatoid arthritis in animal models, without inducing side effects associated with similar treatments.

Sleuths find metal in 'metal-free' catalysts

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 01:51 PM PST

Scientists find the metal in supposedly 'metal-free' graphene catalysts for oxygen reduction reactions that turn chemical energy into electrical energy. The discovery could allow for better tuning of two-dimensional materials for fuel cells and other applications.

Complete genomes of extinct and living elephants sequenced

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 12:27 PM PST

Researchers have produced one of the most comprehensive evolutionary pictures to date by looking at one of the world's most iconic animal families - namely elephants, and their relatives mammoths and mastodons-spanning millions of years.

Reduce crime and gun violence and stabilize neighborhoods: A randomized controlled study

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 12:27 PM PST

Residents who lived near vacant land that had been restored reported a significantly reduced perception of crime and vandalism as well as increased feelings of safety and use of outside spaces for socializing, according to a new study. Police reports matched these perceptions showing significant reductions in overall crime, including gun violence, and nuisances.

Humans changed the ecosystems of Central Africa more than 2,600 years ago

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 12:27 PM PST

Humans shape nature, not only since the onset of industrialization. Such influences are well documented in the Amazonian rainforest. The influence of humans was debated in Central Africa where major interventions seem to have occurred 2,600 years ago.

Tracking data reveal the secret lives of marine animals

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 12:27 PM PST

Tracking devices deployed on wild animals have revealed unexpected behaviors and migratory patterns in marine animals ranging from sharks and seals to turtles and albatrosses. Researchers from around the world have now pooled their data on the movements of a wide array of marine animals, enabling them to look for common features in how animals move throughout the world's oceans.

Receptor protects against allergies, asthma

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 12:27 PM PST

A special receptor on cells that line the sinuses, throat and lungs evolved to protect mammals from developing a range of allergies and asthma, according to a new study.

Brain can navigate based solely on smells

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 12:27 PM PST

Researchers have developed a new 'smell virtual landscape' that enables the study of how smells engage the brain's navigation system. The work demonstrates, for the first time, that the mammalian brain can form a map of its surroundings based solely on smells.

Series of storms more than 150 years ago caused extensive erosion of the Carpinteria Salt Marsh

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 12:26 PM PST

Flooding isn't new to the Santa Barbara coastline. However, the inundation doesn't always come from the mountains as it did last month in Montecito. Back in 1861-2, a series of large storms washed beach sand more than a quarter mile inland into what today is the Carpinteria Salt Marsh. Although historical accounts document the inland flooding, little has been known about how those storms impacted a now heavily developed California coast.

New understanding of ocean turbulence could improve climate models

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 12:26 PM PST

Researchers have developed a new statistical understanding of how turbulent flows called mesoscale eddies dissipate their energy, which could be helpful in creating better ocean and climate models.

Life in world's driest desert seen as sign of potential life on Mars

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 12:26 PM PST

For the first time, researchers have seen life rebounding in the world's driest desert, demonstrating that it could also be lurking in the soils of Mars.

Flu forecasting system tracks geographic spread of disease

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 12:26 PM PST

Scientists developed a system to accurately predict the geographic spread of seasonal influenza in the United States

New technology may protect troops from blast-induced brain injury

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 11:33 AM PST

Researchers have developed a new military vehicle shock absorbing device that may protect troops from traumatic brain injury after a land mine blast. Over the past 18 years of conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, more than 250,000 troops have suffered such injuries.

Global fossil fuel emissions of hydrocarbons are underestimated

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 10:14 AM PST

Global levels of ethane and propane in the atmosphere have been underestimated by more than 50 percent, new research has revealed. These hydrocarbons are particularly harmful in large cities where, through chemical reactions with emissions from cars, they form ozone -- a greenhouse gas which is a key component of smog and directly linked to increases in mortality.

The onset of Alzheimer's disease: The importance of family history

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 10:14 AM PST

A new study shows that the closer a person gets to the age at which their parent exhibited the first signs of Alzheimer's, the more likely they are to have amyloid plaques, the cause of the cognitive decline associated with the disease, in their brain.

For energy experts, new method is a gas

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 10:14 AM PST

Researchers have developed a method that will help natural gas experts better understand shale samples and eventually help them decide whether to invest time and resources to extract gas from the formation the samples came from.

Improved method of treating pancreatic cancer

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 10:14 AM PST

A heating and freezing process known as dual thermal ablation can kill pancreatic cancer cells, according to new research.

Watch fat cells help heal a wound in a fly

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 09:26 AM PST

Fat body cells in Drosophila play a surprising role in sealing wounds and preventing infection, researchers report. The cells, which were previously thought to be immobile, propel themselves forward toward wounds with a worm-like wave motion, rather than adhering to and pushing off of other structures like most motile cells do.

Climate value of Earth's intact forests

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 09:26 AM PST

New research demonstrates the extraordinary value of Earth's remaining intact forests for addressing climate change and protecting wildlife, critical watersheds, indigenous cultures, and human health.

Social circle questions may better predict election outcomes

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 09:26 AM PST

Most election polls take the political pulse of a state or nation by reaching out to citizens about their voting plans. One researchers says pollsters might also ask: how do your friends plan to vote?

Going with the DNA flow: Molecule of life finds new uses in microelectronics

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 09:26 AM PST

Researchers created and tested a DNA circuit capable of splitting and combining current, much like an adapter that can connect multiple appliances to a wall outlet.

Beaming with the light of millions of suns

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 09:25 AM PST

An astronomy team is homing in on the nature of extreme objects known as ultraluminous X-ray sources, or ULXs.

Low magnesium levels make vitamin D ineffective

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 09:25 AM PST

Vitamin D can't be metabolized without sufficient magnesium levels, meaning Vitamin D remains stored and inactive for as many as 50 percent of Americans. In addition, Vitamin D supplements can increase a person's calcium and phosphate levels even while they remain Vitamin D deficient. People may suffer from vascular calcification if their magnesium levels aren't high enough to prevent the complication.

Seeing the brain's electrical activity

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 09:25 AM PST

Researchers have come up with a new way to measure electrical activity in the brain. Their new light-sensitive protein can be embedded into neuron membranes, where it emits a fluorescent signal that indicates how much voltage a particular cell is experiencing. This could allow scientists to study how neurons behave, millisecond by millisecond, as the brain performs a particular function.

Method of tracking reactions between air and carbon-based compounds established

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 09:25 AM PST

Study could allow researchers to study pollution, smog, and haze in a comprehensive way, backed by data that accurately depicts a compound's behavior over time.

Newest data shows childhood obesity continues to increase

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 09:25 AM PST

Despite reports in recent years suggesting childhood obesity could be reaching a plateau in some groups, the big picture on obesity rates for children ages 2 to 19 remains unfavorable, according to a new analysis.

Artificial intelligence techniques reconstruct mysteries of quantum systems

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 09:25 AM PST

The same techniques used to train self-driving cars and chess-playing computers are now helping physicists explore the complexities of the quantum world. For the first time, physicists have demonstrated that machine learning can reconstruct a quantum system based on relatively few experimental measurements. This method will allow scientists to thoroughly probe systems of particles exponentially faster than conventional, brute-force techniques.

King penguins may be on the move very soon

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 09:25 AM PST

More than 70 percent of the global King penguin population, currently forming colonies in Crozet, Kerguelen and Marion sub-Antarctic islands, may be nothing more than a memory in a matter of decades, as global warming will soon force the birds to move south, or disappear.

Printing of flexible, stretchable silver nanowire circuits

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 09:25 AM PST

Researchers have developed a new technique that allows them to print circuits on flexible, stretchable substrates using silver nanowires. The advance makes it possible to integrate the material into a wide array of electronic devices.

Accurate telomere length test influences treatment decisions for certain diseases

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 09:25 AM PST

Research by physicians and scientists shows that a test for measuring the length of DNA endcaps, called telomeres, which has a variability rate of 5 percent, can alter treatment decisions for patients with certain types of bone marrow failure.

Perceptions of old age change as we age

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 09:25 AM PST

Does life really begin at 40? Is 50 the new 30? For people in these age groups, the answer appears to be yes. But for young adults in their teens and early 20s, turning 50 equates to hitting old age. A new study of more than a half-million Americans shows just how skewed views of aging can be - particularly among the young.

New advances in medication for muscle disease in children

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 09:25 AM PST

Spinraza, the gene therapy medication, also provides significant improvements in cases with the next most severe form of neuromuscular disease, spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), which afflicts children from 6 to 18 months of age.

Discovery reveals way to stop inflammation in Alzheimer's, arthritis, more

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 09:25 AM PST

A new discovery about the immune system may allow doctors to treat harmful inflammation that damages the brain in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's. It might also let doctors save patients from the potentially deadly inflammation of sepsis, a full-body infection that kills a quarter-million Americans every year.

Could cleaning up beaches make Americans better off?

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 09:25 AM PST

Cleaning up beaches could boost local economies in addition to preserving natural treasures and animal habitats, a new study finds.

Not enjoying your dinner out? Try putting the phone away

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 09:25 AM PST

Researchers looking at the effect of smartphones on face-to-face social interactions found that people who used their devices while out for dinner with friends and family enjoyed themselves less than those who did not.

Health staff 'too stressed' to deal with disasters

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 09:25 AM PST

Increasing stress and a lack of motivation among healthcare staff could result in hospitals having to shut down in the wake of a major incident such as flooding or an earthquake.

Proof-of-concept study reveals feasibility of eliminating rabies in Africa

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 09:24 AM PST

Scientists have carried out a mass dog vaccination in Chad and determined its effect on human rabies exposure. The study employed a bio-mathematical method for estimating the transmission dynamics of rabies. The researchers conclude that with political will and the necessary funding, elimination of rabies is possible in Africa.

Quiescent cells also mutate

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 09:24 AM PST

For almost a hundred years, geneticists have believed that the more a cell divides the more mutations it acquires. However, scientists show that quiescent cells, which do not divide, also acquire a particular type of mutation -- deletions (mutations through loss of nucleobases).

Improving quality of life for people with chronic heart failure

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 09:24 AM PST

Patients with chronic heart failure face related problems, such as depression and fatigue, that could be relieved by an expanded model of care, according to a recently published study.

Behavior in high school predicts income and occupational success later in life

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 07:33 AM PST

Being a responsible student, maintaining an interest in school and having good reading and writing skills will not only help a teenager get good grades in high school but could also be predictors of educational and occupational success decades later, regardless of IQ, parental socioeconomic status or other personality factors, according to new research.

A new approach towards highly efficient and air-stable perovskite solar cells

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 07:33 AM PST

Research into the use of perovskite materials as solar cells has boomed in the last several years, following reports of high energy conversion efficiencies, which have continued to climb. New research reveals how to improve the lifetime of these solar cells.

Key inner control mechanism of cell's 'smart glue'

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 07:33 AM PST

Understanding of ALS and acute myeloid leukemia could advance with discovery of how the protein nucleophosmin undergoes 'self-interaction,' study shows.

Proxima Centauri's no good, very bad day

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 07:33 AM PST

Astronomers have detected a massive stellar flare -- an energetic explosion of radiation -- from the closest star to our own Sun, Proxima Centauri, which occurred last March. This finding raises questions about the habitability of our Solar System's nearest exoplanetary neighbor, Proxima b, which orbits Proxima Centauri.

Insights into depression could aid development of new treatments

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 07:33 AM PST

Fresh insights into changes in the brain linked to depression could pave the way for new therapies. The study also sheds light on why a certain category of antidepressant drugs stop working in some people.

Optical distance measurement at record-high speed

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 07:33 AM PST

Scientists have demonstrated the fastest distance measurement so far. The researchers demonstrated on-the-fly sampling of a gun bullet profile with micrometer accuracy. The experiment relied on a soliton frequency comb generated in a chip-based optical microresonator made from silicon nitride. Potential applications comprise real-time 3D cameras based on highly precise and compact LIDAR systems.

Improving the quality of high altitude medicine

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 07:33 AM PST

Study location, exact altitude and a detailed profile of the study participants are just three of altogether 42 factors which are to be included in any future study, project description or publication related to high altitude medicine. A select group of experts, including high altitude physicians from all over the world, were invited to define which factors were most pertinent for inclusion in the guidelines by forming a consensus through multiple rounds of discussion.

Largest molecular spin found close to a quantum phase transition

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 07:33 AM PST

An international research team has synthesized a new magnetic molecule. The team has confirmed that this reveals the largest ground state spin attained so far.

Oxytocin strengthens mothers' neural responses to infant and adult faces

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 07:33 AM PST

In a new study, nasally administered oxytocin spray strengthened brain responses to pictures of infant and adult faces in mothers of 1-year-old infants.

Virtual reality improves offenders' empathy

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 06:09 AM PST

Researchers have developed a virtual reality system so that men who committed a domestic violence crime can get into the victim's shoes. The study shows that these violent people have a lack of emotional recognition and that virtual experience improves the participant's perception of emotions.

Attoseconds break into atomic interior

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 06:09 AM PST

A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.

Daffodils to fight cancer: Anti-cancer effect of a daffodil extract

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 06:09 AM PST

A research describes the anti-cancer effects of a natural alkaloid extracted from daffodils. The researchers have discovered that this compound triggers the activation of an anti-tumoral surveillance pathway.

Geological change confirmed as a factor behind the extensive diversity in tropical rainforests

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 06:05 AM PST

Diversification of two genera of the Annonaceae plant family in the tropical rainforests of Central and South America has occurred largely in parallel and in line with major geological transitions.

Preterm birth leaves its mark in the functional networks of the brain

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 06:03 AM PST

Researcher have demonstrated that premature birth has a significant and, at the same time, a very selective effect on the functional networks of a child's brain. The effects can primarily be seen in the frontal lobe, which is significant for cognitive functions.

Plants evolve away from obsolete defenses when attacked by immune herbivores, study shows

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 05:58 AM PST

A new study shows that plants can evolve out of their obsolete defense mechanisms when facing an immune enemy, an illustration of the 'defense de-escalation' evolution theory.