Earth's first ecosystems were more complex than previously thought, study finds

Earth's first ecosystems were more complex than previously thought, study finds

Computer simulations have allowed scientists to work out how a puzzling 555-million-year-old organism with no known modern relatives fed, revealing that some of the first large, complex organisms on Earth formed ecosystems that were much more complex than previously thought.

Soil pulled from deep under Oregon's unglaciated Coast Range unveils frosty past climate

EUGENE, Ore. -- Nov. 27, 2015 -- Lush greenery rich in Douglas fir and hemlock trees covers the Triangle Lake valley of the Oregon Coast Range. Today, however, geologists across the country are more focused on sediment samples dating back 50,000 years that were dug up by University of Oregon scientists.

Mystery of how snakes lost their legs solved by reptile fossil

Fresh analysis of a reptile fossil is helping scientists solve an evolutionary puzzle - how snakes lost their limbs.

The 90 million-year-old skull is giving researchers vital clues about how snakes evolved.

Comparisons between CT scans of the fossil and modern reptiles indicate that snakes lost their legs when their ancestors evolved to live and hunt in burrows, which many snakes still do today.

The findings show snakes did not lose their limbs in order to live in the sea, as was previously suggested.

Seizure risk of anti-shivering agent meperidine greatly overstated

Meperidine, an opioid analgesic commonly used to control shivering in accidental or therapeutic hypothermia, has been linked to increased seizure risk, but a new study finds little published evidence to support this risk. While use of meperidine for pain relief has declined, its role as an effective anti-shivering agent should continue to be explored, conclude the authors of the study "Seizures and Meperidine: Overstated and Underutilized," published in Therapeutic Hypothermia and Temperature Management.

Immune-disorder treatment in mice holds potential for multiple sclerosis patients

A University of Florida Health researcher has found a simple, rapid way to treat an immune-related disorder in mice, an approach that could eventually help multiple sclerosis patients after further research.

The process attaches disease-related protein fragments called autoantigens to spleen cells to prevent a disease known as experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, or EAE, which causes brain and spinal cord inflammation in animal models. EAE is commonly used in research because it mimics some of the traits of multiple sclerosis in humans.

Microgravity reduces regenerative potential of embryonic stem cells

A study performed on the NASA Space Shuttle Discovery showed that exposure of mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs) to microgravity inhibited their ability to differentiate and generate most cell lineages, needed for the development of bone, muscle, the immune system, and other organs and tissues. This inhibition of mESC differentiation could have significant implications for the field of human tissue engineering and the use of stem cells to regenerate adult tissues, as described in the study published in Stem Cells and Development.

A common mechanism for human and bird sound production

November 27, 2015 - When birds and humans sing it sounds completely different, but now new research reported in the journal Nature Communications shows that the very same physical mechanisms are at play when a bird sings and a human speaks.

Birds and humans look different, sound different and evolved completely different organs for voice production. But now new research published in Nature Communications reveals that humans and birds use the exact same physical mechanism to make their vocal cords move and thus produce sound.

Synapse discovery could lead to new treatments for Alzheimer's disease

A team of researchers led by UNSW Australia scientists has discovered how connections between brain cells are destroyed in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease - work that opens up a new avenue for research on possible treatments for the degenerative brain condition.

"One of the first signs of Alzheimer's disease is the loss of synapses - the structures that connect neurons in the brain," says study leader, Dr Vladimir Sytnyk, of the UNSW School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences.

Study shows white matter damage caused by 'skunk-like' cannabis

Smoking high potency 'skunk-like' cannabis can damage a crucial part of the brain responsible for communication between the two brain hemispheres, according to a new study by scientists from King's College London and Sapienza University of Rome.

Cognitive behavior therapy can help overcome fear of the dentist

Cognitive behavioural therapy could help many people with a dental phobia overcome their fear of visiting the dentist and enable them to receive dental treatment without the need to be sedated, according to a new study by King's College London.