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Brain plasticity restored in adult mice through targeting specific nerve cell connections

Posted: 08 Jan 2019 03:13 PM PST

Research in mice finds a new molecular mechanism that is essential for maturation of brain function and may be used to restore plasticity in aged brains. Unlike previous research that broadly manipulated brain plasticity and affected the entire brain, this work targets for the first time a specific molecule acting on a single type of neuronal connection to modulate brain function. The findings may advance treatment of human diseases such as autism and stroke.

Bee mite arrival in Hawaii causes pathogen changes in honeybee predators

Posted: 08 Jan 2019 03:13 PM PST

Entomologists have performed a study on the Big Island and found viruses associated with the varroa mite, a parasite of honeybees, have spilled over into the western yellowjacket, a honeybee predator and honey raider. The result is a hidden, yet remarkable, change in the genetic diversity of viruses associated with the larger pathogen community of the mite and wasp, with repercussions yet to be understood.

Ancient gene duplication gave grasses multiple ways to wait out winter

Posted: 08 Jan 2019 03:13 PM PST

New research shows how grasses count the short days of winter to prepare for flowering. The findings provide valuable insight into how winter-adapted grasses gain the ability to flower in spring, which could be helpful for improving crops, like winter wheat, that rely on this process.

Scientists discover a process that stabilizes fusion plasmas

Posted: 08 Jan 2019 03:13 PM PST

New research describes a newly discovered stabilizing effect of an underappreciated 1983 finding that variations in plasma temperature can influence the growth of magnetic islands that lead to disruption of fusion plasmas.

Finding an elusive mutation that turns altruism into selfish behavior among honeybees

Posted: 08 Jan 2019 03:13 PM PST

For the first time, researchers have finally found the root cause responsible for thelytoky syndrome -- which dramatically turns bees from altruistic helpers to selfish mercenaries.

'Missing' galactic mergers come to light with new technique

Posted: 08 Jan 2019 03:13 PM PST

Researchers have developed a new technique for finding galaxy mergers -- events in which two galaxies join together in sometimes-dramatic bursts of light.

Researchers overcome hurdle in CRISPR gene editing for muscular dystrophy

Posted: 08 Jan 2019 01:19 PM PST

The gene editing technique known as CRISPR is a revolutionary approach to treating inherited diseases. However, the tool has yet to be used to effectively treat long-term, chronic conditions. A research team has identified and overcome a barrier in CRISPR gene editing that may lay the foundation for sustained treatments using the technique.

Giant singers from neighboring oceans share song parts over time

Posted: 08 Jan 2019 01:18 PM PST

Singing humpback whales from different ocean basins seem to be picking up musical ideas from afar, and incorporating these new phrases and themes into the latest song, according to a newly published study that's helping scientists better understand how whales learn and change their musical compositions.

High society wants its fine foods to also be ethical

Posted: 08 Jan 2019 01:18 PM PST

Truffles and caviar have traditionally been delicacies of the upper class, but a new study finds that free-range and fair-trade foods are becoming increasingly important among the elite.

Maternal programming during pregnancy induces long-term postpartum obesity

Posted: 08 Jan 2019 12:35 PM PST

In a new study using a mouse model, researchers suggest that long-term postpartum weight gain may be due not so much to retained fat as to reprogramming of maternal energy metabolism.

Immigrant kids in U.S. deliberately build STEM skills

Posted: 08 Jan 2019 12:26 PM PST

US immigrant children study more math and science in high school and college, which leads to their greater presence in STEM careers, according to new findings.

Programming light on a chip

Posted: 08 Jan 2019 12:08 PM PST

Researchers have developed a new integrated photonics platform that can store light and electrically control its frequency (or color) in an integrated circuit.

Obesity surgery leads to emergence of new microbial strains in the human fecal community

Posted: 08 Jan 2019 12:08 PM PST

Using a unique bioinformatics technique, researchers have detected the emergence of new strains of microbes in the human fecal microbiota after obesity surgery. These new strains emerged after surgical disruption of the stomach and upper small intestine. In contrast, the researchers found that strains of the human gut fecal microbiota resembled those found pre-surgery following surgery in the colon.

A survey machine and a data trove: Dark Energy Survey's rich legacy

Posted: 08 Jan 2019 11:13 AM PST

On the night of Jan. 9, 2019, the V. M. Blanco 4-meter telescope at the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO), high in the mountains of Chile, will close the camera's shutter on the final image from the Dark Energy Survey (DES) -- a survey that has mapped 5,000 square degrees of the heavens, almost one-quarter of the southern sky.

Nature's magnifying glass reveals unexpected intermediate mass exoplanets

Posted: 08 Jan 2019 11:13 AM PST

Astronomers have found a new exoplanet that could alter the standing theory of planet formation. With a mass that's between that of Neptune and Saturn, and its location beyond the 'snow line' of its host star, an alien world of this scale was supposed to be rare.

Space microbes aren't so alien after all

Posted: 08 Jan 2019 11:13 AM PST

A new study has found that -- despite its seemingly harsh conditions -- the ISS is not causing bacteria to mutate into dangerous, antibiotic-resistant superbugs. The bacteria are instead simply responding, and perhaps evolving, to survive in a stressful environment.

Fighting human disease with birth control ... for mosquitoes

Posted: 08 Jan 2019 11:13 AM PST

A newly discovered protein that is crucial for egg production in mosquitoes opens a possibility for 'mosquito birth control.' The approach might offer a way to reduce mosquito populations in areas of human disease transmission without harming beneficial insects such as honey bees.

Having more than one chronic disease amplifies costs of diseases

Posted: 08 Jan 2019 11:13 AM PST

Having two or more non-communicable diseases (multimorbidity) costs the country more than the sum of those individual diseases would cost, according to a new study.

Intermittent fasting could improve obese women's health

Posted: 08 Jan 2019 09:55 AM PST

Research shows that obese women lost more weight and improved their health by fasting intermittently while following a strictly controlled diet.

Close flu vaccine supply gaps to ease flu seasons, make pandemics less deadly

Posted: 08 Jan 2019 09:55 AM PST

Gaps in the logic of how we restock flu vaccines may be costing hundreds of lives, or more. A new model to tweak the gaps could save hundreds to hundreds-of-thousands of people and millions to multiple millions of dollars in medical costs.

Ketogenic supplements delay tonic-clonic seizures without dietary restrictions

Posted: 08 Jan 2019 09:55 AM PST

Researchers have discovered supplementing a normal, carbohydrate-rich diet with specific ketogenic agents may significantly delay tonic-clonic seizures caused by exposure to high levels of oxygen.

Genetics may influence the effects of vitamin E on cancer risk

Posted: 08 Jan 2019 09:55 AM PST

A new study has investigated whether taking vitamin E supplements could affect risk of cancer and found that genetic variations in the gene COMT influenced whether vitamin E decreased or increased risk of developing cancer during and after the study periods.

Physics can show us the inside of tumors

Posted: 08 Jan 2019 09:55 AM PST

A team of physicists has demonstrated the potential, for oncology, of an imaging technique based only on the physical properties of tumors. It can differentiate populations of malignant cells and monitor how effective an anticancer treatment is. These results should help in the design of new therapeutic molecules and in the personalization of treatments.

Hormone therapy may be best defense against knee osteoarthritis

Posted: 08 Jan 2019 09:55 AM PST

There is an ongoing debate regarding the relationship between knee osteoarthritis and hormone therapy (HT), with small-scale studies providing mixed results. A new large-scale study from Korea shows that women receiving HT had a significantly lower prevalence of symptomatic knee osteoarthritis compared with women who did not take hormones.

Nanophysicists developed a high-performance organic phototransistor

Posted: 08 Jan 2019 09:55 AM PST

Converting light into electrical signals is essential for a number of future applications including imaging, optical communication and biomedical sensing. Researchers have now developed a new molecular device enabling to detect light and translate it with high efficiency to detectable electronical current.

Bacterial immunity and infectious disease

Posted: 08 Jan 2019 09:54 AM PST

Patients with cystic fibrosis are often infected by pseudomonas aeruginosa, a bacterium that infects the lungs and prevents breathing, often causing death. P. aeruginosa itself can also be infected by viruses, which can affect the clinical outcomes of cystic fibrosis patients. Researchers have now used P. aeruginosa as a kind of 'model system' for understanding how bacteria's interactions with viruses may affect human health.

How locusts switch colors in different settings

Posted: 08 Jan 2019 09:54 AM PST

Scientists have discovered how locusts change their body color to adapt to different environments.

Scientists provide new insight on how gene expression is controlled

Posted: 08 Jan 2019 09:54 AM PST

Researchers have provided new insight on the mechanism underlying the control of gene expression in all living organisms, according to a new study.

New physics rule to find mechanical strain

Posted: 08 Jan 2019 09:54 AM PST

Addressing a physics problem that dates back to Galileo, three researchers this week propose a new approach to the theory of how thin sheets can be forced to conform to 'geometrically incompatible' shapes -- think gift-wrapping a basketball -- that relies on weaving together two fundamental ideas of geometry and mechanics that were long thought to be irreconcilable.

The new green alternative for drug production

Posted: 08 Jan 2019 09:54 AM PST

For the production of drugs, pesticides and smartphone displays, most of the processes are cost-intensive and generate a large amount of waste. Scientists have now succeeded in developing a resource-saving 'green' alternative.

Engineers identify improved membranes to capture CO2 at coal-fired power plants

Posted: 08 Jan 2019 09:54 AM PST

A computational modeling method may help to fast-track the identification and design of new carbon capture and storage materials for use by the nation's coal-fired power plants that would provide a more economical solution than current methods, with a predicted cost of less than $50 per ton of carbon dioxide (CO2) removed.

Future of planet-cooling tech: Study creates roadmap for geoengineering research

Posted: 08 Jan 2019 09:54 AM PST

A new study sets out to establish a roadmap for responsible exploration of geoengineering.

Myth of Mona Lisa's magical gaze debunked

Posted: 08 Jan 2019 09:54 AM PST

The 'Mona Lisa Effect' refers to the impression that the eyes of the person portrayed in an image seem to follow the viewer as they move in front of the picture. Researchers now demonstrate that this effect does not occur with Leonardo da Vinci's world-famous painting 'Mona Lisa'.

How today's high school cliques compare to yesterday's

Posted: 08 Jan 2019 09:54 AM PST

Changing demographics, cultural influences and the increasing number of college-bound youth have led to the emergence of new peer groups and perceptions among adolescents.

Great potential for floating solar photovoltaics systems

Posted: 08 Jan 2019 09:54 AM PST

Researchers estimate that installing floating solar photovoltaics on the more than 24,000 human-made US reservoirs could generate about 10 percent of the nation's annual electricity production. Their findings reveal for the first time the potential for floating PV to produce electricity in the United States.

Exposure to cannabis and stress in adolescence can lead to anxiety disorders in adulthood

Posted: 08 Jan 2019 09:54 AM PST

A new study conducted on laboratory animals shows that exposure to cannabis and stress during adolescence may lead to long-term anxiety disorders characterized by the presence of pathological fear.

Technique boosts omega 3 fatty acid levels in brain 100 fold

Posted: 08 Jan 2019 09:54 AM PST

Researchers report that adding a lysophospholipid form of EPA (LPC-EPA) to the diet can increase levels of EPA in the brain 100-fold in mice.

Researchers uncover new mechanism of gene regulation involved in tumor progression

Posted: 08 Jan 2019 09:54 AM PST

Researchers have discovered a new mechanism controlling the expression of a set of genes important for cell proliferation and tumor progression. Their research responds to a very fundamental question about how key genes lead to tumors growth by maintaining their active expression. This finding opens the possibility to better target and develop new therapies for certain types of cancer.

Algae thrive under Greenland sea ice

Posted: 08 Jan 2019 09:54 AM PST

Microscopic marine plants flourish beneath the ice that covers the Greenland Sea, according to a new study. These phytoplankton create the energy that fuels ocean ecosystems, and the study found that half of this energy is produced under the sea ice in late winter and early spring, and the other half at the edge of the ice in spring.

Researchers create a wireless, battery-free, biodegradable blood flow sensor

Posted: 08 Jan 2019 09:54 AM PST

Transforming super-sensitive touch sensors, engineers and medical researchers build a way to wirelessly monitor blood flow after surgery.

Pyronaridine-artesunate for treating uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria

Posted: 08 Jan 2019 07:12 AM PST

Researchers have looked at the efficacy of using a novel artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT), pyronaridine-artesunate, to treat malaria in areas where resistance to other ACTs is becoming a problem. The analysis finds it at least as effective as the currently used ACTs, if not better.

How herpesviruses shape the immune system

Posted: 08 Jan 2019 07:12 AM PST

Scientists have developed an analytic method that can very precisely detect viral infections using immune responses.

Mitosis: Chromosome DNA packed in stacked layers

Posted: 08 Jan 2019 07:12 AM PST

A new study based on electron microscopy techniques at low temperatures demonstrates that, during mitosis, chromosome DNA is packed in stacked layers of chromatin. The research, published in EMBO Journal, confirms a surprising structure proposed by UAB researchers over a decade ago, but criticized due to the limitations of the technique used.

New complex carbohydrate discovered in barley

Posted: 08 Jan 2019 06:51 AM PST

Researchers have discovered a new complex carbohydrate in barley. The first of its kind to be discovered in over 30 years, the cereal polysaccharide has potential applications in food, medicine and cosmetics.

Different brain areas linked to smoking and drinking

Posted: 08 Jan 2019 06:51 AM PST

Academics have found that low functional connectivity of the lateral orbitofrontal cortex that is associated with the tendency to smoke is associated with increased impulsiveness -- which may contribute to the tendency to smoke. The high connectivity of the reward-related medial orbitofrontal cortex in drinkers may increase the tendency to be attracted to the reward of alcohol consumption.

Power cut: Engineers create a wireless charger you can easily cut to shape

Posted: 08 Jan 2019 06:51 AM PST

Researchers have developed a new system to charge electronic devices such as smartphones and smartwatches wirelessly. The method involves a cuttable, flexible power transfer sheet which charges devices wirelessly and can be molded or even cut with scissors to fit different-shaped surfaces and objects.

Post-traumatic stress disorder: alleviating flashbacks by playing Tetris

Posted: 08 Jan 2019 06:51 AM PST

A behavioral intervention procedure including the computer game Tetris could help people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to alleviate involuntarily recurring visual memories of traumatic experiences. Following an intervention involving playing Tetris, the number of flashbacks for the stressful events decreased.

New anti-Wolbachia drug with potential to treat onchocerciasis and lymphatic filariasis

Posted: 08 Jan 2019 06:51 AM PST

Researchers have successfully optimized a hit from a whole cell screening of a 10000-compound library to deliver the first novel fully synthetic and rationally designed anti-Wolbachia drug, AWZ1066S, which could potentially be used to treat onchocerciasis and lymphatic filariasis (LF).

In VR boys learn best when the teacher is a drone -- girls lean better from virtual Marie

Posted: 08 Jan 2019 06:51 AM PST

The teacher is just as important in a virtual learning environment as in a normal classroom, but a new study shows that boys and girls differ greatly in terms of how they learn best: Boys learn best when their virtual teacher comes in the form of a drone, while girls get more knowledge from VR-teaching when they are taught by a young, female researcher-type named Marie.

Experts warn against mega-dams in lowland tropical forests

Posted: 08 Jan 2019 06:51 AM PST

Mega-dams should not be built in lowland tropical forest regions due to the threat they pose to biodiversity and ecosystems, according to experts.

Antibiotic resistance in the environment linked to fecal pollution

Posted: 08 Jan 2019 06:51 AM PST

A study shows that 'crAssphage', a virus specific to bacteria in human feces, is highly correlated to the abundance of antibiotic resistance genes in environmental samples.

Holographic color printing for optical security

Posted: 08 Jan 2019 06:51 AM PST

Researchers have invented a new type of anti-counterfeiting device that can be useful for counterfeit deterrence of important documents such as identity cards, passports and banknotes.

Flies release neuronal brakes to fly longer

Posted: 08 Jan 2019 06:50 AM PST

In a new study, researchers describe how groups of different neurons connect up to make insect flight possible for longer periods.

Drinking water guidelines in the US vary widely from state to state

Posted: 08 Jan 2019 06:50 AM PST

In response to the growing problem of drinking water contaminated with per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a new analysis shows that many states are establishing their own guideline levels for two types of PFAS--PFOA and PFOS--that differ from federal guidelines.

How common pain relievers may promote Clostridium difficile infections

Posted: 08 Jan 2019 05:44 AM PST

Clostridium difficile causes the most common and most dangerous hospital-born infections in the United States and around the world. People treated with antibiotics are at heightened risk because those drugs disturb the microbial balance of the gut, but observational studies have also identified a link between severe C. difficile infections and use of NSAIDs, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

High-fat diets appear bad for blood pressure in younger males and females

Posted: 08 Jan 2019 05:44 AM PST

There's more evidence that a high-fat diet is bad for both younger males and females, but exactly how it's harmful may differ between the sexes, scientists report.

Roaming cats prey on their owners' minds

Posted: 08 Jan 2019 05:44 AM PST

Many cat owners worry about their pets wandering the streets, but perceive cats hunting mice and birds to be unavoidable instinct, researchers have found.

Variable venom: Why are some snakes deadlier than others?

Posted: 08 Jan 2019 05:44 AM PST

By comparing records of venom potency and quantity for over 100 venomous snake species, researchers have discovered that the potency of a snake's venom depends on what it eats.

The first case of a Portuguese beetle living exclusively in groundwater

Posted: 08 Jan 2019 05:44 AM PST

A diving beetle demonstrating various adaptations to the life underground, including depigmentation and evolutionary loss of eyes, was discovered in the cave Soprador do Carvalho, Portugal. This new to science species is the first known representative of the whole order of beetles to exclusively inhabit the underground waters of Portugal.

New CRISPR-based technology developed to control pests with precision-guided genetics

Posted: 08 Jan 2019 05:44 AM PST

Using the CRISPR gene editing tool, researchers have developed a new way to control and suppress populations of insects, potentially including those that ravage agricultural crops and transmit deadly diseases. The 'precision-guided sterile insect technique' alters key genes that control insect sex determination and fertility. When pgSIT eggs are introduced into targeted populations, only adult sterile males emerge, resulting in a novel, environmentally friendly and relatively low-cost method of controlling pest populations in the future.