Our internal circadian clock regulates daily life processes and is synchronized by external cues, the Zeitgeber, with the main cue being the light-dark cycle.
But the light-dark cycle effect is largely reduced in extreme habitats such as in the Arctic during the polar summer. Using a radiotelemetry system a team of researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology have now found, in four bird species in Alaska, different daily activity patterns ranging from strictly rhythmic to completely arrhythmic. These differences are attributed to the species' mating systems and behaviors. Their study shows that activity patterns can change according to social and environmental factors, which suggests a remarkable plasticity in the avian circadian system.
Glycoproteins are sugar-protein hybrid molecules that the protective mucus that lines our lungs and stomach and are also part of the fluid that lubricates our joints, the synovial fluid, and cover all our cells, with the sugar parts, the glycans, sticking out like a tiny forest of antennae.
Researchers at ETH Zurich and Empa have also identified a surprising effect that glycans have on the water molecules that surround them.
Air pollution is related to forest decline and also appears to attack the protecting wax on tree leaves and needles, say scientists who have now discovered a responsible mechanism: particulate matter salt compounds that become deliquescent because of humidity and form a wick-like structure that removes water from leaves and promotes dehydration.
Wax helps to protect leaves and needles from water loss.
In the fall of 2012, the European Medicines Agency approved the modified adeno-associated virus AAV-LPL S447X as the first ever gene therapy for clinical use in the Western world.
AAV-LPL S447X was developed for the treatment of a rare inherited metabolic disease called lipoprotein lipase deficiency which affects approximately 1-2 out of 1,000,000 people. Though incredibly rare, the disease causes severe, life-threatening inflammations of the pancreas. Afflicted individuals carry a defect in the gene coding for the lipoprotein lipase enzyme which is necessary for breakdown of fatty acids. AAV-LPLS447X shall be used as a viral vector to deliver an intact gene copy to affected cells.
In August of 2011, astronomers witnessed the dazzling appearance of the closest and brightest Type Ia supernova since Type Ia's were established as the "standard candles" for measuring the expansion of the universe.
The visual of SN 2011fe was caught by the Palomar Transient Factory less than 12 hours after it exploded in the Pinwheel Galaxy in the Big Dipper. Because it was to see through binoculars, 2011fe was soon dubbed the Backyard Supernova. Major astronomical studies from the ground and from space followed close on its heels, recording its luminosity and colors as it rapidly brightened and then slowly faded away.
For the past the 1,000,000 years the global climate has cycled every 100,000 years, between long glacial periods (with great masses of ice covering the continents in the northern hemisphere) and shorter interglacial periods, lasting around 10,000 years. It has been 12,000 years since the last one so enjoy that while it lasts.
However, within the long periods there have been abrupt climate changes, sometimes happening in the space of just a few decades, with variations of up to 10º C in the average temperature in the polar regions caused by changes in the Atlantic ocean circulation. These changes affected rainfall in southern Africa.
While too much of anything can be bad at any time, a little drinking - 3 to 7 glasses of alcohol a week - does not seem to harm fetal neurodevelopment, according a large study published in the online only journal BMJ Open.
Good thing too, or entire generations of children would be mentally stunted - not drinking at all during pregnancy became the cultural norm a generation ago and it used the same kinds of longitudinal study that now says moderate drinking is okay.
And more affluent and better educated mums-to-be tend to drink more than women who are less well off, say the researchers, which means that kids from wealthier families should be neurodevelopmentally limited, but are not.
Goals need to be flexible, according to a new paper. People who set a goal of losing between 2 and 4 pounds will still lose an average of 3 lbs. while a person who targets 3 lbs. specifically has less chance of success.
Consumers often have a choice about the types of goals they want to set for themselves, and they may want to repeat various goals over time. For example, consumers often reengage goals such as losing weight, saving money, or improving their exercise or sports performance.
Long-term cigarette smoking impacts morbidity and mortality, no question about that, but there may be a good reason to stop smoking in the weeks before surgery even if you don't intend to quit overall.
In a review article, researchers from the University of California San Francisco and Yale University examined neurosurgical literature to characterize the impact of active smoking on neurosurgical outcomes. They found strong evidence for the association between smoking and perioperative complications throughout the surgical literature.
Scholars have linked higher IQ at early school age to weight gain and increased head size in the first month of a baby's life.
The findings in Pediatrics were that babies who put on 40% of their birth weight in the first four weeks had an IQ 1.5 points higher by the time they were six years of age, compared with babies who only put on 15% of their birth weight. Those with the biggest growth in head circumference also had the highest IQs.
Fibromyalgia is a blanket term for a general painful condition that affects approximately 10 million people in the United States.
Because it lacks consistent symptoms and treatments, some doctors believe an unknown number of instances are psychosomatic but a new paper in PAIN MEDICINE concludes that fibromyalgia may have a rational biological basis, located in the skin.
Sustainability programs are not just about advocation and action - a lot of thought also goes into how many people working together can change the world.
It doesn't matter what issue, conservation or climate change action, some groups work using strength of numbers while others believe a dedicated core is best - and just as many groups have been huge flops using both. The mystery of how to keep a group dynamic powerful rather than unproductive hasn't been solved.
A team of researchers has identified a highly promising new anti-tuberculosis compound that attacks the tuberculosis (TB) bacterium in two different ways.
Although isoniazid and rifampin, two front-line TB drugs, came into use in 1952 and 1967 respectively, new TB infections still occur at the rate of roughly one per second. At any moment about a third of the existing human population is infected. Though it is mostly winactive, latent TB, active TB still kills over one million people each year, with Russia, Africa, China and Southeast Asia especially hard hit.
Almost no one outside New York City government and health advocates engaged in social experimentation thought a ban on some drink sizes for New York City made any sense or would actually do any good.
Soda companies were obviously against it. They would prefer not to be demonized in Mayor Michael Bloomberg's latest culture war. Small businesses were against it, since a ton of products sold by large companies like Starbucks and McDonald's were somehow exempted. Movie theaters were against it, since overpriced giant sizes of popcorn and drinks are part of the experience (and a lot of the profit).
Fracking, which mines natural gas using horizontal, hydraulically fractured wells, is widespread across Pennsylvania, with high-volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing (HVHHF) from the Marcellus and Utica shales covering up to 280,000 km² of the Appalachian Basin.
A new paper in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences by Dr.Erik Kiviat, of the Hudsonia ecology group, says that natural gas wells are a threat to biodiversity, including pollution from toxic chemicals, the building of well pads and pipelines, and changes to wetlands.
Natural gas is much cleaner than coal but it's also important that its energy return on investment (EROI) - the total input energy with the energy expected to be made available to end users - is similar to coal, according to a paper in the Journal of Industrial Ecology.
The paper looked at gas from horizontal, hydraulically fractured wells in the Marcellus Shale of Pennsylvania and their analysis indicates that the EROI ratio of a typical well is likely between 64:1 and 112:1, with a mean of approximately 85:1. This range assumes an estimated ultimate recovery of 3.0 billion cubic feet per well, similar to the estimated ultimate recovery of coal, which falls between 50:1 and 85:1.