Science2.0

Why Does Anyone Still Believe In The Loch Ness Monster?

Science2.0 - April 26, 2016 - 11:30am

People are fascinated by the unknown, by the possibility that there are things out there that are yet to be discovered.

We think that most of our planet has been mapped by satellites and continents have been thoroughly explored. Although scientists estimate that millions of species are yet to be discovered, these are mostly assumed to be very small animals, especially invertebrates.

Long gone are the days of famous explorers, when the borders of uncharted lands were marked with warnings such as “here be dragons”. And yet, many of us, still hope that some amazing, unexpected creatures may be hiding somewhere.

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Fighting Against Counterfeit Medicine

Science2.0 - April 26, 2016 - 12:39am

EAST LANSING, Mich. - Around the world, especially in developing nations, counterfeit medicines are a real problem. Until now, in many countries there hasn't been a standard protocol to conduct investigations and pursue prosecution.

New research, led by Michigan State University and featured in the current issue of the Journal of Forensic Science and Criminology, is providing the foundation to apply criminology theory to preventing the production and sale of fake and substandard medicines.


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If Your Favorite Brand Is Sincere, Is Innovation What You Expect?

Science2.0 - April 26, 2016 - 12:39am

EUGENE, Ore. -- April 25, 2016 -- Open the box of that new smartphone. Oops, it feels differently from expectations based on what you'd seen. Embrace it or be disappointed? Your reaction is likely tied to your perception of the brand, says Aparna Sundar of the University of Oregon.

A brand viewed as exciting has wiggle room to introduce innovations that don't match consumers' expectations, said Sundar, a professor of marketing in the Lundquist College of Business. Not so for a brand seen as sincere, she said.


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How Researchers Teach Bacteria New Behaviors

Science2.0 - April 26, 2016 - 12:39am

Researchers working in the field of synthetic biology use components that occur in nature and combine them in a new way. This is how bacteria acquire functions that they hadn't previously possessed. This offers great potential for biotechnology.

Bacteria respond to temperature and metabolic products

Johanna Roßmanith and her doctoral supervisor Prof Dr Franz Narberhaus from the Chair of Microbial Biology carried out a successful study where they controlled the type of proteins a bacterium would manufacture and its behaviour. This is how they have made a bacterium swim that hadn't previously had the ability to move. The researchers made that possible by combining various modules from the bacterium's RNA in a new way.


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For The Indiana Jones In You: How To Find Lost Treasure

Science2.0 - April 26, 2016 - 12:07am
A lost Nazi gold train was discovered in Poland. At least, that’s what a couple of treasure hunters told the world last year. Like all lost treasures, the search for this one had been going on for many years, usually without success.
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New Hampshire Infants Who Ate Rice Had Higher Urinary Concentrations Of Arsenic

Science2.0 - April 25, 2016 - 11:51pm

Rice and rice products are typical first foods for infants in some countries and a new study found that infants who ate rice and rice products had higher urinary arsenic concentrations than those who did not consume any type of rice.


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Increases In Food Allergies Or Diagnoses? No Change In IgE Antibody Levels, Finds Study

Science2.0 - April 25, 2016 - 9:30pm

There have been increases in prevalence of food allergies over the past several decades but a debate over why; some fundraising groups and websites claim it is due to science changing food while some say it is simply better diagnosis and others say it could be a changing relationship between the presence of food-specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) -- a blood marker associated with food allergy -- in children's blood between the 1980s and the 2000s.

A new study using 5,000 stored blood samples in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology found no increase in the presence of IgE.


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High Doses Of Common Chemo Drug Methotrexate Limit Relapses Of Childhood Leukemia

Science2.0 - April 25, 2016 - 9:08pm

With a cure rate approaching 90 percent, acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), the most common type of childhood cancer, is one of the big "success stories" of modern cancer treatment.

Yet up to 20 percent of patients with a high risk of relapse are not cured, which could change with the results from a clinical trial showing that high doses of the commonly-used chemotherapy drug methotrexate increases the survival rate for these patients. 


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Probiotics Protect Mice From Estrogen Deficiency-related Bone Loss

Science2.0 - April 25, 2016 - 9:04pm

After menopause, a decline in estrogen levels is linked to increases in inflammation that can cause osteoporosis. Intestinal bacteria have been shown to influence inflammation by modulating immune responses, and a new study suggests that differences in gut microbial populations may determine the extent of post-menopausal bone loss. In this month's issue of the JCI, a research team led by Roberto Pacifici at Emory University demonstrates a link between gut bacteria and the bone loss induced by estrogen deficiency. Mice lacking gut bacteria were protected against the estrogen deficiency-induced inflammation, gut permeability, and bone loss that occurred in mice with normal gut bacteria.


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GI Problems In Autism May Originate In Genes, Study Suggests

Science2.0 - April 25, 2016 - 9:04pm

NEW YORK, NY (April 25, 2016)--Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) have found evidence in mice that, for some types of autism, gastrointestinal difficulties may originate from the same genetic changes that lead to the behavioral and social characteristics of the condition. The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Children with autism spectrum disorder are four times more likely to suffer from gastrointestinal problems than other children. These GI troubles are often blamed on the tendency of kids with autism to limit their diets to a few favored food items.


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How Nature Disrupts Coral Reefs' Recycling

Science2.0 - April 25, 2016 - 8:54pm

Coral reefs, the world's most productive and diverse marine ecosystems, rely on a recycling program to stay healthy: The corals and algae that form the base of the reef's food web release a variety of nutrients that support a complex and efficient food chain.

But when this system gets out of whack, the cycle breaks down and endangers the coral reef's health, and a new paper in Nature Microbiology explores how a process known as "microbialization" destroys links in this delicate food chain.


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Why Is Visceral Fat Worse Than Subcutaneous Fat?

Science2.0 - April 25, 2016 - 8:52pm

Researchers have long-known that visceral fat - the kind that wraps around the internal organs - is more dangerous than subcutaneous fat that lies just under the skin around the belly, thighs and rear. But how visceral fat contributes to insulin resistance and inflammation has remained unknown.

A study led by researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago points blame at a regulatory molecule in cells called TRIP-Br2 that is produced in response to overeating's stress on the machinery cells use to produce proteins.

The findings are published in the journal Nature Communications.


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Accutane: Despite Birth Defects Risk, 50 Percent Of Canadian Women Don't Comply With Requirements

Science2.0 - April 25, 2016 - 8:51pm

Isotretinoin (popularly marketed as Accutane) is used to treat severe acne and has been approved in Canada since 1983. The average age of isotretinoin users in Canada is estimated to be 24 years, and half of all prescriptions are written for females, a concern because it can severely harm a fetus, causing craniofacial, cardiac and central nervous system defects, as well as a high likelihood of miscarriage or medical termination. 

Even Canada's program recommends informed written consent, two negative pregnancy tests before beginning treatment and the use of two reliable birth control methods during treatment, numerous studies in Canada and internationally have indicated poor adherence to pregnancy prevention guidelines among women taking isotretinoin. 


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Life's Timekeeper: A Biochemical Oscillator Suggestion For Animal Evolution

Science2.0 - April 25, 2016 - 8:00pm

Some new speculation on animal (metazoan) evolution, suggesting that it was partly mediated through a biochemical oscillator (cycler), named Life's Timekeeper, present in all animal cells. The cycler controls cell maintenance and repair, thereby determining how long cells survive (longevity) and it originated in the single-celled ancestor of all animals, which had very short cell longevity.


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Vitamin D Insufficiency, Low Rate Of DNA Methylation In Black Teens May Increase Disease Risk

Science2.0 - April 25, 2016 - 7:36pm

AUGUSTA, Ga. - Low levels of vitamin D in black teens correlates with low activity of a major mechanism for controlling gene expression that may increase their risk of cancer and other disease, researchers report.

Their study measured vitamin D levels as well as levels of global DNA methylation in 454 healthy individuals age 14-18. In this group, 99 percent of the white teens had adequate vitamin D levels, 66 percent of the black teens were vitamin D-deficient and all the black teens had lower levels of methylation compared to their white peers, said Dr. Haidong Zhu, molecular geneticist at the Georgia Prevention Institute at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University.


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Researchers Discover Fate Of Melting Glacial Ice In Greenland

Science2.0 - April 25, 2016 - 7:36pm

Athens, Ga. - Over the past several decades, scientists have observed a significant increase in the melting of glacial land ice on the island of Greenland, spurring concerns about global sea level rise and the long-term effects of atmospheric warming. What has been less clear, however, is what happens to this meltwater once it enters the ocean.

Now, a team of researchers led by faculty at the University of Georgia has discovered the fate of much of the freshwater that pours into the surrounding oceans as the Greenland ice sheet melts every summer. They published their findings today in the journal Nature Geoscience.


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Do Successful Leaders Produce More Successful Leaders?

Science2.0 - April 25, 2016 - 7:36pm

"Black Monday" has become as much a part of the National Football League season as Draft Day. The Monday after the last game of the season is marked by the firing of a number of head coaches and the start of a frenetic search for new ones. Many NFL teams searching for a coach rely on "coaching trees" and turn to assistants of highly successful head coaches.

Craig Crossland, a professor of management in the University of Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business, and his colleagues studied the NFL to determine if the so-called "acolyte effect" that makes protégés of successful head coaches successful in turn is real. They tracked the career outcomes of almost 1,300 coaches over 30 years.


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Soy Shows Promise As Natural Anti-microbial Agent: Study

Science2.0 - April 25, 2016 - 4:00pm

Soy isoflavones and peptides may inhibit the growth of microbial pathogens that cause food-borne illnesses, according to a new study from University of Guelph researchers.

Soybean derivatives are already a mainstay in food products, such as cooking oils, cheeses, ice cream, margarine, food spreads, canned foods and baked goods.

The use of soy isoflavones and peptides to reduce microbial contamination could benefit the food industry, which currently uses synthetic additives to protect foods, says engineering professor Suresh Neethirajan, director of the BioNano Laboratory.

U of G researchers used microfluidics and high-throughput screening to run millions of tests in a short period.


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CO2 Fertilization Greening The Earth

Science2.0 - April 25, 2016 - 3:30pm

An international team has just published a study titled "Greening of the Earth and its Drivers" in the journal Nature Climate Change (doi:10.1038/nclimate3004) showing significant greening of a quarter to one-half of the Earth's vegetated lands using data from the NASA-MODIS and NOAA-AVHRR satellite sensors of the past 33 years.

The greening represents an increase in leaves on plants and trees. Green leaves produce sugars using energy in the sunlight to mix carbon dioxide (CO2) drawn in from the air with water and nutrients pumped in from the ground. These sugars are the source of food, fiber and fuel for life on Earth. More sugars are produced when there is more CO2 in the air, and this is called CO2 fertilization.


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The Historical Basis For The Red Woman In Game Of Thrones

Science2.0 - April 25, 2016 - 2:40pm

Every "Game of Thrones" season premiere needs its shock reveal – and season six is no different. As the name of the episode – The Red Woman – hints, this one pertains to red priestess Melisandre, to whom, it turns out, there’s much more than meets the eye (don’t worry, no spoilers ensue). Even in a series known for its complex characters and even more complicated morality, Melisandre and her motives remain surprisingly opaque. And it looks as if her story’s only just getting started.

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