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Latest Science News -- ScienceDaily
  • Narrow focus on physical activity could be ruining kids' playtime
    While public health authorities focus on the physical activity benefits of active play, a new study reveals that for children, playing has no goal -- it is an end in itself, an activity that is fun, done alone or with friends, and it represents "an opportunity to experience excitement or pleasure, but also to combat boredom, sadness, fear, or loneliness."'By focusing on the physical activity aspect of play, authorities put aside several aspects of play that are beneficial to young people's emotional and social health,' says a professor.
  • Fear of failure from a young age affects attitude to learning
    An early established fear of failure at school can influence students’ motivation to learn and negatively affect their attitude to learning. The analysis found that irrespective of the goal students adopt those who had developed a fear of failure at an early age were more likely to adopt the goal to validate their ego rather than for their own personal interest and development, and were less likely to use effective learning strategies but more likely to cheat.
  • Smallest possible diamonds form ultra-thin nanothreads
    For the first time, scientists have discovered how to produce ultra-thin 'diamond nanothreads' that promise extraordinary properties, including strength and stiffness greater than that of today's strongest nanotubes and polymers. The threads have a structure that has never been seen before.
  • Engineered proteins stick like glue -- even in water
    Researchers have found new adhesives based on mussel proteins could be useful for naval or medical applications. To create their new waterproof adhesives, researchers engineered bacteria to produce a hybrid material that incorporates naturally sticky mussel proteins as well as a bacterial protein found in biofilms -- slimy layers formed by bacteria growing on a surface. When combined, these proteins form even stronger underwater adhesives than those secreted by mussels.
  • Magnetic fields make the excitons go 'round: New way to improve efficiency of solar cells
    A major limitation in the performance of solar cells happens within the photovoltaic material itself: When photons strike the molecules of a solar cell, they transfer their energy, producing quasi-particles called excitons -- an energized state of molecules. That energized state can hop from one molecule to the next until it's transferred to electrons in a wire, which can light up a bulb or turn a motor.
  • Immune system of newborn babies stronger than previously thought
    Contrary to what was previously thought, newborn immune T cells may have the ability to trigger an inflammatory response to bacteria, according to a new study. Although their immune system works very differently to that of adults, babies may still be able to mount a strong immune defense, finds the study.
  • Battling superbugs: Two new technologies could enable novel strategies for combating drug-resistant bacteria
    Two new technologies could enable novel strategies for combating drug-resistant bacteria, scientists report. Most antibiotics work by interfering with crucial functions such as cell division or protein synthesis. However, some bacteria have evolved to become virtually untreatable with existing drugs. In the new study, researchers target specific genes that allow bacteria to survive antibiotic treatment. The CRISPR genome-editing system presented the perfect strategy to go after those genes, they report.
  • Program predicts placement of chemical tags that control gene activity
    Biochemists have developed a program that predicts the placement of chemical marks that control the activity of genes based on sequences of DNA. By comparing sequences with and without epigenomic modification, they identified DNA motifs associated with the changes. They call this novel analysis pipeline Epigram and have made both the program and the DNA motifs they identified openly available to other scientists.
  • New 'star' shaped molecule breakthrough
    Scientists have generated a new star-shaped molecule made up of interlocking rings, which is the most complex of its kind ever created. Known as a 'Star of David' molecule, scientists have been trying to create one for over a quarter of a century.
  • Uncovering the forbidden side of molecules: Infrared spectrum of charged molecule seen for first time
    Researchers have succeeded in observing the “forbidden” infrared spectrum of a charged molecule for the first time. These extremely weak spectra offer perspectives for extremely precise measurements of molecular properties and may also contribute to the development of molecular clocks and quantum technology.
  • A Breakthrough in Electron Microscopy: Scientists reconstruct third dimension from a single image
    Imagine that you want to find out from a single picture taken of the front of a house, what the building looks like from behind, whether it has any extensions or if the brickwork is damaged, and how many rooms are in the basement.  Sounds impossible? Not in the nanoworld. Scientists have developed a new method with which crystal structures can be reconstructed with atomic precision in all three dimensions.
  • From light into matter, nothing seems to stop quantum teleportation
    Physicists have succeeded in teleporting the quantum state of a photon to a crystal over 25 kilometers of optical fiber. The experiment constitutes a first, and simply pulverizes the previous record of 6 kilometers achieved ten years ago by the same team. Passing from light into matter, using teleportation of a photon to a crystal, shows that, in quantum physics, it is not the composition of a particle which is important, but rather its state, since this can exist and persist outside such extreme differences as those which distinguish light from matter.
  • Global warming: Dwindling chances to stay below 2°C warming
    Carbon dioxide emissions continue to track the high end of emission scenarios, eroding the chances to keep global warming below 2°C, and placing increased pressure on world leaders ahead of the United Nations Climate Summit on the 23rd September.
  • Cancer cells adapt energy needs to spread illness to other organs
    Cancer cells traveling to other sites have different energy needs from their “stay-at-home” siblings, which continue to proliferate at the original tumor site, researchers have discovered. Given that a cancer cell's unyielding ability to metastasize is the primary cause of cancer-related death, understanding how they successfully migrate can be lifesaving.
  • Fracking's environmental impacts scrutinized
    Greenhouse gas emissions from the production and use of shale gas would be comparable to conventional natural gas, but the controversial energy source actually fared better than renewables on some environmental impacts, according to new research.
  • On/off switch for aging cells discovered by scientists
    An on-and-off “switch” has been discovered in cells that may hold the key to healthy aging. This switch points to a way to encourage healthy cells to keep dividing and generating, for example, new lung or liver tissue, even in old age. In our bodies, newly divided cells constantly. However, most human cells cannot divide indefinitely -– with each division, a cellular timekeeper at the ends of chromosomes shortens. When this timekeeper becomes too short, cells can no longer divide, causing organs and tissues to degenerate, as often happens in old age. But there is a way around this countdown, researchers have found.
  • New hepatitis c medication in children to be studied
    After the success of a new drug treatment in adults with hepatitis C infection, a Saint Louis University pediatric researcher is testing the safety and efficacy of the medications in children. The current approach to treat the hepatitis C infection is with interferon shots combined with Ribavirin, a therapy that takes about six to 12 months and also causes many side effects including, flu-like symptoms and depression.
  • Ultrasound enhancement provides clarity to damaged tendons, ligaments
    Ultrasound is a safe, affordable and noninvasive way to see internal structures, including the developing fetus. Ultrasound can also “see” other soft tissue — including tendons, which attach muscles to bone, and ligaments, which attach bone to bone. Now one expert is commercializing an ultrasound method to analyze the condition of soft tissue.
  • A nanosized hydrogen generator
    Researchers have created a small scale “hydrogen generator” that uses light and a two-dimensional graphene platform to boost production of the hard-to-make element. The research also unveiled a previously unknown property of graphene. The two-dimensional chain of carbon atoms not only gives and receives electrons, but can also transfer them into another substance.
  • New cancer drug target involving lipid chemical messengers
    More than half of human cancers have abnormally upregulated chemical signals related to lipid metabolism, yet how these signals are controlled during tumor formation is not fully understood. Researchers report that TIPE3, a newly described oncogenic protein, promotes cancer by targeting these pathways.
  • Solar-cell efficiency improved with new polymer devices
    New light has been shed on solar power generation using devices made with polymers. Researchers identified a new polymer -- a type of large molecule that forms plastics and other familiar materials -- which improved the efficiency of solar cells. The group also determined the method by which the polymer improved the cells' efficiency. The polymer allowed electrical charges to move more easily throughout the cell, boosting the production of electricity -- a mechanism never before demonstrated in such devices.
  • Climate Change: Dwindling wind may tip predator-prey balance
    Rising temperatures and shifting precipitation patterns may get the lion’s share of our climate change attention, but predators may want to give some thought to wind, according to a zoologist’s study, which is among the first to demonstrate the way “global stilling” may alter predator-prey relationships.
  • Better way to track emerging cell therapies using MRIs
    The first human tests of using a perfluorocarbon (PFC) tracer in combination with non-invasive magnetic resonance imaging to track therapeutic immune cells injected into patients with colorectal cancer have been reported by scientists.
  • Domestic violence likely more frequent for same-sex couples
    Domestic violence occurs at least as frequently, and likely even more so, between same-sex couples compared to opposite-sex couples, according to a new review of research. Abuse is underreported in same-sex couples due to the stigma of sexual orientation, researchers note.
  • Possible 6,800 new Ebola cases this month, research predicts
    A possible 6,800 new Ebola cases this are predicted this month, as suggested by researchers who used modelling analysis to come up with their figures. The rate of new cases significantly increased in August in Liberia and Guinea, around the time that a mass quarantine was put in place, indicating that the mass quarantine efforts may have made the outbreak worse than it would have been otherwise.
  • Using genetic screening to improve Korean white wheat
    Korean white winter wheat is particularly susceptible to preharvest sprouting, according to researchers. Researchers have identified proteins that are differentially expressed in tolerant cultivars, with the goal of breeding more resistant varieties that can help increase wheat production in Korea.
  • Pathway that contributes to Alzheimer's disease revealed by research
    A defect in a key cell-signaling pathway has been discovered that researchers say contributes to both overproduction of toxic protein in the brains of Alzheimer’s disease patients as well as loss of communication between neurons — both significant contributors to this type of dementia.
  • Genetically driven gut feelings help female flies choose a mate
    Even among flies, mating is a complicated ritual. Their elaborate, and entirely innate, courtship dance combines multiple motor skills with advanced sensory cues. Now, researchers have determined that the Abdominal-B (Abd-B) gene, previously known as the gene that sculpts the posterior parts of the developing fly, is also important for this complex behavior, at least in the case of female flies.
  • Two generation lens: Current state policies fail to support families with young children
    Recent two generation approaches to reducing poverty that help children and their parents are receiving increasing attention. By combining education and training for parents, these programs aim to improve the life opportunities of both. However, according to a new report, while research supports this poverty reduction strategy, state policies fail to provide adequate two generation supports to families with young children.
  • Fingertip sensor gives robot unprecedented dexterity
    Researchers have equipped a robot with a novel tactile sensor that lets it grasp a USB cable draped freely over a hook and insert it into a USB port.
  • Gene responsible for traits involved in diabetes discovered
    A new gene associated with fasting glucose and insulin levels in rats, mice and in humans, has been discovered by researchers. 29 million Americans have diabetes -- more than nine percent of the total population. It is the 7th leading cause of death, and experts estimate diabetes is an underreported cause of death because of the comorbidities and complications associated with the disease.
  • A refined approach to proteins at low resolution
    Crystals of membrane proteins and protein complexes often diffract to low resolution owing to their intrinsic molecular flexibility, heterogeneity or the mosaic spread of micro-domains. At low resolution, the building and refinement of atomic models is a more challenging task. The deformable elastic network refinement method developed previously has been instrumental in the determination of several structures at low resolution. Now, DEN refinement has been reviewed.
  • Soft robotics 'toolkit' features everything a robot-maker needs
    A new resource provides both experienced and aspiring researchers with the intellectual raw materials needed to design, build, and operate robots made from soft, flexible materials. With the advent of low-cost 3-D printing, laser cutters, and other advances in manufacturing technology, soft robotics is emerging as an increasingly important field.
  • Reflected smartphone transmissions enable gesture control
    Engineers have developed a new form of low-power wireless sensing technology that lets users "train" their smartphones to recognize and respond to specific hand gestures near the phone.
  • Monitoring heavy metals using mussels
    Caged mussels are useful for monitoring heavy metal contamination in coastal waters in the Strait of Johore, researchers have confirmed. Initial results of a study indicate that there is increasing pollution in the eastern part of the Johore Strait.
  • Don't cry wolf: Drivers fed up with slowing down at inactive roadwork sites
    Drivers are frustrated at slowing down at inactive roadwork sites are ignoring reduced speed limits, an Australian study has found. The survey involved more than 400 people who were asked to estimate their speed for a range of different roadwork site scenarios, some of which were inactive sites and others with road workers visible.
  • Hadrosaur with huge nose discovered: Function of dinosaur's unusual trait a mystery
    Call it the Jimmy Durante of dinosaurs -- a newly discovered hadrosaur with a truly distinctive nasal profile. The new dinosaur, named Rhinorex condrupus by paleontologists, lived in what is now Utah approximately 75 million years ago during the Late Cretaceous period.
  • Simple test can help detect Alzheimer's before dementia signs show, study shows
    A simple test that combines thinking and movement can help to detect heightened risk for developing Alzheimer's disease in a person, even before there are any telltale behavioural signs of dementia, researchers report, adding that the findings don't predict who will develop Alzheimer's disease, but they do show there is something different in the brains of those who go on to be diagnosed with Alzheimer's.
  • Graphene sensor tracks down cancer biomarkers
    An ultrasensitive biosensor made from the wonder material graphene has been used to detect molecules that indicate an increased risk of developing cancer. The biosensor has been shown to be more than five times more sensitive than bioassay tests currently in use, and was able to provide results in a matter of minutes, opening up the possibility of a rapid, point-of-care diagnostic tool for patients.
  • Environmental pollutants make worms susceptible to cold
    Some pollutants are more harmful in a cold climate than in a hot, because they affect the temperature sensitivity of certain organisms. Now researchers have demonstrated how this happens, and it can help us better predict contamination risks, especially in the Arctic.
  • Computers 1,000 times faster? Quick-change materials break silicon speed limit for computers
    Faster, smaller, greener computers, capable of processing information up to 1,000 times faster than currently available models, could be made possible by replacing silicon with materials that can switch back and forth between different electrical states.
  • Some patients with advanced, incurable cancer denied palliative care
    Many patients with advanced, incurable cancer do not receive any palliative care, reveals new research. The findings are astonishing as they come at the same time as 15 new oncology centres in Europe, Canada, South America and Africa are being awarded the title of 'ESMO Designated Centre of Integrated Oncology and Palliative Care.'
  • An anomaly in satellites' flybys confounds scientists
    When space probes, such as Rosetta and Cassini, fly over certain planets and moons, in order to gain momentum and travel long distances, their speed changes slightly for an unknown reason. A researcher has now analyzed whether or not a hypothetical gravitomagnetic field could have an influence. However, other factors such as solar radiation, tides, or even relativistic effects or dark matter could be behind this mystery.
  • The effects of soy and whey protein supplementation on acute hormonal reponses to resistance exercise in men
    With protein supplement use by athletes on the rise, a group of researchers expanded upon prior research examining the effects of soy and whey protein supplementation on testosterone, sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), and cortisol responses to an acute bout of resistance exercise.
  • Children who go to preschool achieve higher grades at high school graduation, British study shows
    A child is likely to achieve better grades in high school and ultimately earn higher wages if they have received a preschool education, a new UK study suggests. High school achievement was rated by grades achieved for the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) in the UK.
  • Seeding plant diversity for future generations
    Researchers have constructed a 'hit list' of the plant species most needed to boost the overall diversity of the Millennium Seed Bank, which is storing seeds in its vaults for future generations.
  • Spy on penguin families for science
    Online volunteers are being asked to classify images of penguin families to help scientists monitor the health of penguin colonies in Antarctica. Recent evidence suggests that populations of many species of penguin, such as chinstrap and Adélie, are declining fast as shrinking sea ice threatens the krill they feed on. By tagging the adults, chicks, and eggs in remote camera images Penguin Watch volunteers will help scientists to gather information about penguin behavior and breeding success, as well as teaching a computer how to count and identify individuals of different species.
  • Climate change report identifies 'the most vulnerable' sections of the population
    A report has looked at which sections of the population are left most exposed to food shortages after extreme weather events. Extreme weather events leave populations with not enough food both in the short- and the long-term.
  • Obesity in Pacific islands 'a colonial legacy' of settlers trying to civilize the locals
    Scientists have known for some time that Pacific islanders are more prone to obesity than people in other nations. Now a new study has examined why islanders on Nauru and in the Cook Islands in the Pacific have the highest levels and fastest rates of obesity increase in the world. On both the islands, between 1980 and 2008 the increase in the average body mass index was four times higher than the global average.
  • Superabsorbing ring could make light work of snaps, be ultimate camera pixel
    A quantum effect in which excited atoms team up to emit an enhanced pulse of light can be turned on its head to create 'superabsorbing' systems that could make the 'ultimate camera pixel'.
  • Sibling bullying linked to later depression, self-harm
    A new study has found that children who revealed they had been bullied by their brothers or sisters several times a week or more during early adolescence were twice as likely to report being clinically depressed as young adults.
  • Shrink-wrapping spacesuits: Spacesuits of the future may resemble a streamlined second skin
    For future astronauts, the process of suiting up may go something like this: Instead of climbing into a conventional, bulky, gas-pressurized suit, an astronaut may don a lightweight, stretchy garment, lined with tiny, musclelike coils. She would then plug in to a spacecraft's power supply, triggering the coils to contract and essentially shrink-wrap the garment around her body.
  • Mechanism behind solid-solid phase transitions uncovered
    Two solids made of the same elements but with different geometric arrangements of the atoms, or crystal phases, can produce materials with different properties. Coal and diamond offer a spectacular example of this effect. Researchers have found that some crystals have an easier time of making a solid-solid transition if they take it in two steps. Surprisingly, the first step of the process involves the parent phase producing droplets of liquid. The liquid droplets then evolve into the daughter phase.
  • Toward optical chips: Promising light source for optoelectronic chips can be tuned to different frequencies
    Chips that use light, rather than electricity, to move data would consume much less power -- and energy efficiency is a growing concern as chips' transistor counts rise. Scientists have developed a new technique for building MoS2 light emitters tuned to different frequencies, an essential requirement for optoelectronic chips. Since thin films of material can also be patterned onto sheets of plastic, the same work could point toward thin, flexible, bright, color displays.
  • Brain uses three perceptual parameters to recognize 'gloss'
    The brain uses three perceptual parameters, the contrast-of-highlight, sharpness-of-highlight, or brightness of the object, as parameters when the brain recognizes a variety of glosses, researchers have discovered. They also found that different parameters are represented by different populations of neurons.
  • Mitochondria's role in neurodegenerative diseases clearer thanks to mouse study
    A new study sheds light on a longstanding question about the role of mitochondria in debilitating and fatal motor neuron diseases and resulted in a new mouse model to study such illnesses. Mitochondria are organelles -- compartments contained inside cells -- that serve several functions, including making ATP, a nucleotide that cells convert into chemical energy to stay alive. For this reason mitochondria often are called "cellular power plants."
  • MS drug candidate shows new promise
    Positive new data have been released on a drug candidate, RPC1063, for relapsing multiple sclerosis. According to the results from a six-month Phase 2 study of 258 multiple sclerosis patients, the drug candidate reduced the annualized relapse rate of participants with multiple sclerosis by up to 53 percent, compared with placebo. The potential therapy also decreased the emergence of new brain damage seen by MRI by more than 90 percent.
  • Bad cold or Enterovirus 68? Infectious diseases specialist answers common questions
    Does your child have Enterovirus 68 or just a bad cold? It can be hard to tell the difference between the two, but an infectious diseases specialist suggests how parents should treat their kids’ symptoms and when to seek medical attention.
  • Wireless sensor transmits tumor pressure
    A novel sensor that can wirelessly relay pressure readings from inside a tumor has been developed by researchers. The interstitial pressure inside a tumor is often remarkably high compared to normal tissues and is thought to impede the delivery of chemotherapeutic agents as well as decrease the effectiveness of radiation therapy. While medications exist that temporarily decrease tumor pressure, identifying the optimal window to initiate treatment -- when tumor pressure is lowest -- has remained a challenge.
  • Premature deaths could be reduced by 40% over next 20 years, researchers say
    With sustained international efforts, the number of premature deaths could be reduced by 40% over the next two decades (2010-2030), researchers say, halving under–50 mortality and preventing a third of the deaths at ages 50–69 years.
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