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Science Daily

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 14:44:01 EST
Hubble's celestial snow globe
It's beginning to look a lot like the holiday season in this Hubble Space Telescope image of a blizzard of stars, which resembles a swirling snowstorm in a snow globe. The stars are residents of the globular star cluster Messier 79 (also known as M79 or NGC 1904), located 41,000 light-years from Earth, in the constellation Lepus.
How fires are changing the tundra’s face
Climate change takes a heavy toll on the tundra, increasing the probability of extreme droughts. As a result, the frequency of fires in forests, bogs and even wetlands continues to rise. In addition, the northern areas of the tundra have also become more accessible and negatively impacted by human activities in recent years.
Electrical and chemical coupling between Saturn and its rings
A Langmuir probe, flown to Saturn on the Cassini spacecraft, has made exciting discoveries in the atmosphere of the planet. They discovered that there is a strong coupling, both chemically and electrically, between the atmosphere of Saturn and its rings.
How honey bee gut bacteria help to digest their pollen-rich diet
The honey bee gut is colonized by specialized bacteria that help digest components of the floral pollen diet and produce molecules that likely promote bee health. Researchers have now uncovered which bacterial species perform which specific digestive functions in the bee gut.
Life's building blocks observed in spacelike environment
Where do the molecules required for life originate? It may be that small organic molecules first appeared on earth and were later combined into larger molecules, such as proteins and carbohydrates. But a second possibility is that they originated in space, possibly within our solar system. A new study shows that a number of small organic molecules can form in a cold, spacelike environment full of radiation.
Trust in e-cigarette safety varies by worldview, source of messaging
Public health messaging about the safety of e-cigarettes needs to account for the worldviews of the target audience, with different groups displaying varying levels of trust depending on the source of the message, according to a recent study.
Epigenetic aging linked to bipolar disorder
Bipolar disorder may involve accelerated epigenetic aging, which could explain why persons with the disorder are more likely to have -- and die from -- age-related diseases, according to researchers.
Sweet spot for engineering better cellulose-degrading enzymes
New insights have been gained into how glycosylation -- the natural attachment of sugars to proteins -- affects a key cellulase enzyme. This work could be used to improve enzyme performance to better break down biomass and convert waste plant matter to renewable fuels and products. Namely, the more effective the enzyme, the more efficient and economical the process will be.
Novel method produces renewable acrylonitrile
A novel catalytic method has been created to produce renewable acrylonitrile using 3-hydroxypropionic acid (3-HP), which can be biologically produced from sugars. This hybrid biological-catalytic process offers an alternative to the conventional petrochemical production method and achieves unprecedented acrylonitrile yields.
Suburban ponds are a septic buffet
Human waste accounts for a high percentage of nutrients consumed by some animals and plants in suburban ponds, new research indicates. Researchers found that residential, suburban land use is altering the dynamics of the food chain, as well as where nutrients originate and how they move through pond ecosystems.
African immigrants: How race and gender shape the American dream
Africans represent one of the fastest-growing immigrant groups in the United States, but women far outpace men for securing high-skilled jobs and earnings growth, indicates a new study.
3-D printed microfibers could provide structure for artificially grown body parts
Much as a frame provides structural support for a house and the chassis provides strength and shape for a car, a team of engineers believes they have a way to create the structural framework for growing living tissue using an off-the-shelf 3-D printer.
Estrogen discovery could shed new light on fertility problems
Estrogen produced in the brain is necessary for ovulation in monkeys, according to researchers who have upended the traditional understanding of the hormonal cascade that leads to release of an egg from the ovaries. Their findings may reveal the cause of some undiagnosed infertility problems and point the way to new methods of birth control.
Cancer imaging aid developed from horse chestnuts
Cancer imaging can be simplified by a photonic process utilizing molecules derived from horse chestnuts, research shows.
Privacy policies affect quantity of genetic testing
Different types of privacy laws in US states produce markedly different effects on the willingness of patients to have genetic testing done, according to a new study.
New instrument identifies unexploded artillery shells
Society faces threats through the malicious use of chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and/or explosive (CBRNE) materials. The detection of illicit trafficking or other criminal acts, as well as many security and safety applications, call for novel material analysis techniques and instruments. These detection systems should be non-destructive but still be able to detect and identify the threat objects, even from inside a shielding or masking enclosure. Active interrogation methods that use penetrative particle beams can reveal the presence of CBRNE materials.
Pokémon Go could help people who struggle socially
Video games may have a reputation for attracting introverts, but when it comes to augmented reality games like Pokémon Go, extroverts tend to be better players. That's the key finding of a new psychology study, the first to look at the impact of players' personalities, social competence and social anxiety when playing the hit mobile game.
Cystic fibrosis: Discovery of a key molecule for improving treatments
Researchers identify a promising avenue for improving treatments for people with cystic fibrosis. They found that adding molecules called quorum-sensing inhibitors to current drugs not only reduces bacterial production of certain harmful residues but also restores the efficacy of existing treatments, such as Orkambi and Kalydeco, on the cells of cystic fibrosis patients. This breakthrough paves the way for new personalized therapies.
Action games expand the brain's cognitive abilities, study suggests
The human brain learns and adapts. Numerous research studies have focused on the impact of action video games on the brain by measuring cognitive abilities, such as perception and reaction time. An international team of psychologists has assembled data from the last fifteen years to quantify how action video games impact cognition. The research has resulted in two meta-analyses, which reveal a significant improvement in the cognitive abilities of gamers.
Computer scientists develop a simple tool to tell if websites suffered a data breach
Computer scientists have built and successfully tested a tool designed to detect when websites are hacked by monitoring the activity of email accounts associated with them. The researchers were surprised to find that almost 1 percent of the websites they tested had suffered a data breach during their 18-month study period, regardless of how big the companies' reach and audience are.
Water without windows: Capturing water vapor inside an electron microscope
Scientists were able to demonstrate another way of viewing biological samples at high resolution, explains a new report.
Immune diseases inflict identical twins differently
A new study reports which epigenetic factors in certain chromosomes that make one twin more at risk for autoimmune thyroid diseases.
African genetic diversity to unlock disease susceptibility
Scientists have sequenced the genetic makeup of 24 South African individuals of different ethnolinguistic origins. The first government-funded human genomics research study performed on African soil, aimed at unlocking the unique genetic character of southern African populations, has revealed a high level of genetic diversity.
Marijuana may help HIV patients keep mental stamina longer
A chemical found in marijuana, known as tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, has been found to potentially slow the process in which mental decline can occur in up to 50 percent of HIV patients, says a new study.
Using genomics to determine origins of deadly White-Nose Syndrome
A new study is trying to definitively answer several questions about White-Nose Syndrome in bats: where did this fungus come from? And more importantly, can a resistance be evolved?
Telescopes team up to study giant galaxy
Astronomers have used two Australian radio telescopes and several optical telescopes to study complex mechanisms that are fuelling jets of material blasting away from a black hole 55 million times more massive than the Sun.
New therapy can help schizophrenia sufferers re-engage socially
A new therapy aimed at helping young people suffering from schizophrenia to reconnect and engage with the world around them has had promising results, according to a new study.
Recordings reveal deep credibility gap when doctors and parents discuss outcomes for critically ill
An analysis of 16 audiotaped conversations between parents of infants in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and clinicians found that medical staff routinely downplay quality of life issues and leave families more optimistic about their babies' prognoses than the clinicians intended.
Teaching antibiotics to be more effective killers
Research suggests bond duration, not bond tightness, may be the most important differentiator between antibiotics that kill bacteria and antibiotics that only stop bacterial growth.
Common psychological traits in group of Italians aged 90 to 101
In remote Italian villages nestled between the Mediterranean Sea and mountains lives a group of several hundred citizens over the age of 90. Researchers have identified common psychological traits in members of this group.
Native fish species at risk following water removal from the Colorado River
Agriculture and domestic activities consume much of the Colorado River water that once flowed to the Colorado Delta and Northern Gulf of California. The nature and extent of impact of this fresh-water loss on the ecology and fisheries of the Colorado Delta and Gulf of California is controversial. A recent publication reveals a previously unseen risk to the unique local biodiversity of the tidal portion of the Delta.
Medical marijuana for children with cancer? What providers think
Most providers willing to consider medical marijuana use in children with cancer, but those with legal eligibility to certify are less likely to approve.
Time of day affects severity of autoimmune disease
Immune responses and the regulation of autoimmunity are affected by the time of day when the response is activated. There may be important differences in time-of-day response to drugs used to treat autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis.
Hot vibrating gases under the electron spotlight
Scientists have studied the vibration of four gases using electron microscopy and spectroscopy. Combined with simulations, they measured the increased vibration at 1,000°C compared with room temperature. O2 and CH4 showed significant excitation, although the vibration of hot O2 was overestimated by the simulations. N2 and CO showed no increase in vibration, because of rigid bonds. The method can be used to design efficient gaseous reactions.
Genetics preserves traces of ancient resistance to Inca rule
The Chachapoyas region was conquered by the Inca Empire in the late 15th century. Inca oral histories, written down after the Spanish conquest, claim that the native population was forcibly resettled out of Chachapoyas and dispersed across the Inca Empire. However, a new study uses genetic evidence to reveal that despite Inca conquest, the population of Chachapoyas has remained genetically distinct, and not assimilated with that of the Inca heartland.
Forest resilience declines in face of wildfires, climate change
The forests you see today are not what you will see in the future. That's the overarching finding from a new study on the resilience of Rocky Mountain forests.
Scientists discover path to improving game-changing battery electrode
A comprehensive picture has now been gained of how the same chemical processes that give cathodes their high capacity are also linked to changes in atomic structure that sap performance.
Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake
Engineers have developed a realistic proposition for creating a water cloak that moves water around an object by applying forces on dissolved ions through a carefully designed electromagnetic field.
Certain books can increase infant learning during shared reading, study shows
Parents and pediatricians know that reading to infants is a good thing, but new research shows reading books that clearly name and label people and objects is even better.
Simpler way to deposit magnetic iron oxide onto gold nanorods
Researchers have found a simpler way to deposit magnetic iron oxide (magnetite) nanoparticles onto silica-coated gold nanorods, creating multifunctional nanoparticles with useful magnetic and optical properties.
How errors affect credibility of online reviews
Shoppers increasingly consult online reviews before making holiday purchases. But how do they decide which reviewers to trust? Consumer trust in online reviews is influenced by spelling errors and typos, research shows. But how much those errors influence each consumer depends on the type of error and that consumer's general tendency to trust others.
How do you track a secretive hawk? Follow the isotopes
A study has found that the rare Henst's goshawk of Madagascar hunts lemurs in low-lying areas that are most at risk to deforestation. Researchers could use this isotope analysis to study the habitat and prey needs of other threatened species that are difficult to track.
Quality control is vital for the energy production of cells
Researchers have uncovered a mitochondrial error-correction mechanism, which is vital for the construction of the mitochondrial respiratory chain and the energy production of cells.
Drug suppresses spread of breast cancer caused by stem-like cells
Rare stem-like tumor cells play a critical role in the spread of breast cancer, but a vulnerability in the pathway that powers them offers a strategy to target these cells using existing drugs before metastatic disease occurs, report researchers.
Single-dose vaccine could provide faster protection in cholera epidemics
Each year there are more than three million cases of cholera worldwide. Research now shows that giving a stronger single-dose of a live oral vaccine could be an effective tool in controlling outbreaks more quickly.
Two holograms in one surface
Engineers have developed a way to encode more than one hologram in a single surface with no loss of resolution.
Personalized blood sugar goals can save diabetes patients thousands
A cost analysis shows treatment plans that set individualized blood sugar goals for diabetes patients, tailored to their age and health history, can save $13,546 in health care costs over their average lifetime when compared with treatment strategies that stick to a uniform national standard.
Turning pathogens against each other to prevent drug resistance
Limiting a much-needed resource could pit pathogens against one another and prevent the emergence of drug resistance. New research demonstrates that harnessing competition among pathogens inside a patient could extend the life of existing drugs where resistance is already present and prevent resistance to new drugs from emerging.
Patients' individual genomes may affect efficacy, safety of gene editing
Gene editing has begun to be tested in clinical trials, using CRISPR-Cas9 and other technologies to directly edit DNA inside people's cells, and multiple trials are recruiting or in planning. A new study raises a note of caution, finding person-to-person genetic differences that may undercut the efficacy of gene editing or, more rarely, cause potentially dangerous 'off target' effects. It suggests that gene editing may need to be adapted to each patient's genome.
Protein Daple coordinates single-cell and organ-wide directionality in the inner ear
Sensory hair cells in the inner ear combine into hair bundles to convert sound waves into electrical signals. Both single-cell and organ-wide directionality are critical for hearing, but these two levels of organization are controlled by largely distinct molecular mechanisms during inner ear development. Researchers have identified a protein, Daple, that interacts with both systems and is a promising candidate to coordinate single cell and organ-wide directionality.
Social media trends can predict tipping points in vaccine scares
Analyzing trends on Twitter and Google can help predict vaccine scares that can lead to disease outbreaks, according to a study from the University of Waterloo.
Violence a matter of scale, not quantity, researchers show
Are societies more or less violent today than they were thousands of years ago? It's a matter of scale, researchers show. In a new study, researchers present an expanded data set showing that the larger the population of a society, the smaller its war group size, proportionally, and the fewer casualties in a conflict.
DNA element may cause rare movement disorder
A team of researchers has identified a specific genetic change that may be the cause of a rare but severe neurological disorder called X-linked dystonia parkinsonism.
People say they want to live longer -- if in good health
Individually most people only want to live long lives if they will be healthy, according to a new study.
The force is strong: Amputee controls individual prosthetic fingers
Luke Skywalker's bionic hand is a step closer to reality for amputees in this galaxy. Researchers have created an ultrasonic sensor that allows amputees to control each of their prosthetic fingers individually. It provides fine motor hand gestures that aren't possible with current commercially available devices.
AML study reports high response rates with combination targeted therapy
Initial findings from a multi-national open-label phase Ib study of inhibitory drug therapy for relapsed or refractory acute myeloid leukemia (AML) have demonstrated a complete response in up to 50 percent patients say researchers.
Blueprints for anti-cancer drugs discovered in bacterial genomes
New research suggests bacterial genomes hold the blueprints for designing new, even more effective cancer-targeting compounds.
Artificial intelligence and supercomputers to help alleviate urban traffic problems
Researchers have developed a tool that uses artificial intelligence to recognize objects in raw traffic camera footage and characterize how those objects move and interact. This information can then be analyzed and queried by traffic engineers and officials to improve the safety and performance of the city's transportation network.
Scientists pioneer new way to analyze ancient artwork
Scientists have used a combination of three advanced imaging techniques to produce a highly detailed analysis of a second century Egyptian painting. They are the first to use the specific combination -- which they termed "macroscale multimodal chemical imaging" -- to examine an ancient work of art.
Glass with switchable opacity could improve solar cells and LEDs
Researchers have created glass that lets through a large amount of light while appearing hazy, a combination of properties that could help boost the performance of solar cells and LEDs.