New feather findings get scientists in a flap

New feather findings get scientists in a flap

Scientists from the University of Southampton have revealed that feather shafts are made of a multi-layered fibrous composite material, much like carbon fibre, which allows the feather to bend and twist to cope with the stresses of flight.

Since their appearance over 150 million years ago, feather shafts (rachises) have evolved to be some of the lightest, strongest and most fatigue resistant natural structures. However, relatively little work has been done on their morphology, especially from a mechanical perspective and never at the nanoscale.

Teens whose parents exert more psychological control have trouble with closeness, independence

For teenagers, learning to establish a healthy degree of autonomy and closeness in relationships (rather than easily giving in to peer pressure) is an important task. A new longitudinal study has found one reason adolescents struggle with balancing autonomy and closeness in relationships: parents' psychological control. Teens whose parents exerted more psychological control over them when they were 13 had more problems establishing friendships and romantic relationships that balanced closeness and independence, both in adolescence and into early adulthood.

Two days later: Adolescents' conflicts with family spill over to school, vice versa

The lives of adolescents at home and at school may seem quite separate, but recent research has highlighted important connections. Family conflict and problems at school tend to occur together on the same day and sometimes even spill over in both directions to the next day, with family conflict increasing the likelihood of problems at school and vice versa. Now a new study has found that conflicts at home spill over to school and school problems influence problems at home up to two days later, and that negative mood and psychological symptoms are important factors in the process.

Children in high-quality early childhood education are buffered from changes in family income

While losses in family income predict increases in behavior problems for many children, attending high-quality early childhood education and care centers offers some protection against families' economic declines, according to a new study out of Norway. In Norway, publicly subsidized high-quality early childhood education and care is available to all children, from low-income to affluent, starting at age 1. The study found that children who don't take part in such programs have more early behavior problems when their families' income drops.

'Breath test' shows promise for diagnosing fungal pneumonia

Many different microbes can cause pneumonia, and treatment may be delayed or off target if doctors cannot tell which bug is the culprit. A novel approach—analyzing a patient's breath for key chemical compounds made by the infecting microbe—may help detect invasive aspergillosis, a fungal infection that is a leading cause of mortality in patients with compromised immune systems, according to a proof-of-concept study now online in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

New test could identify infants with rare insulin disease

A rare form of a devastating disease which causes low blood sugar levels in babies and infants may now be recognised earlier thanks to a new test developed by researchers from The University of Manchester.

Music therapy reduces depression in children and adolescents

Researchers at Queen's University Belfast have discovered that music therapy reduces depression in children and adolescents with behavioural and emotional problems.

In the largest ever study of its kind, the researchers in partnership with the Northern Ireland Music Therapy Trust, found that children who received music therapy had significantly improved self-esteem and significantly reduced depression compared with those who received treatment without music therapy.

Turning waste from whisky into fuel - is it commercial reality yet?

A start-up company in Scotland is working to capitalize on the tons of waste produced by one of the country's most valued industries and turn the dregs of whisky-making into fuel. Celtic Renewables, formed in 2011, has refined its process based on a century-old fermentation technique and is now taking the next step toward a commercial plant, according to an article in Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN).

100 days in Michigan: U-M team releases new analysis of state's Medicaid expansion

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Right out of the starting gate, Michigan's expansion of health coverage for the poor and near-poor holds lessons for other states that are still on the fence about expanding their own Medicaid programs under the Affordable Care Act, a new analysis shows.

In an article in the New England Journal of Medicine, a team of University of Michigan Medical School researchers publish the first analysis of the initial results from the Healthy Michigan Plan, which launched this past April.

Trans fats still weighing Americans down

Good news, bad news: The amount of trans fats we eat has declined over the last 30 years, but we're still consuming more than recommended.

In a study reported in the Journal of the American Heart Association, researchers reviewed results from a series of six surveys as part of the Minnesota Heart Survey in 1980-2009.

More than 12,000 adults 25-74 years old in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area revealed that:

  • Trans fat intake dropped by about one-third in men (32 percent) and women (35 percent).