Science2.0

Heparin Ineffective At Preventing Blood Clots In Pregnant Women

Science2.0 - July 25, 2014 - 6:30am

For two decades, women at risk of developing placental blood clots have been prescribed the anticoagulant low molecular weight heparin (LMWH) but it's ineffective, according to a clinical trial published today in The Lancet.

As many as one in 10 pregnant women have a tendency to develop  thrombophilia
- blood clots in their vein. These women have been injected with LMWH daily, which means hundreds of needles over the course of their pregnancy. 


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Not 80: Just 8.2 Percent Of Our DNA Is 'Functional', Says Study

Science2.0 - July 25, 2014 - 5:10am

In 2012, scientists involved in the ENCODE (Encyclopedia of DNA Elements) project stated that 80% of our genome is functional - that it has some biochemical function. 

The finding was controversial, with critics arguing that the biochemical definition of 'function' was too broad - just because an activity on DNA occurs, it does not necessarily have a consequence. For functionality, you need to demonstrate that an activity matters. 


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Matrix Metalloproteinase 9 Enzyme Linked To Autistic Behavior

Science2.0 - July 25, 2014 - 5:00am

Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is a genetic disorder that causes obsessive-compulsive and repetitive behaviors, and other behaviors on the autistic spectrum, as well as cognitive deficits. It is the most common inherited cause of mental impairment and linked to autism.

Researchers have published a study that sheds light on the cause of autistic behaviors in FXS. The study describes how MMP-9, an enzyme, plays a critical role in the development of autistic behaviors and synapse irregularities, with potential implications for other autistic spectrum disorders.


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Welfare Vourchers For Farmer's Markets May Boost Produce Consumption For Half Of People

Science2.0 - July 25, 2014 - 3:30am

Vouchers to buy fresh fruits and vegetables at farmers markets increase the amount of produce in the diets of some families on welfare, according to a new paper in research in Food Policy which suggests that farmers market vouchers can be useful tools in improving access to healthy food.  Perhaps. Half of the people dropped out of the test even though they got more money to shop for produce at farmer's markets.

The analysis was designed to validates a new provision in the Agricultural Act of 2014 that seeks to get low-income families buying produce at farmers markets rather than supermarkets.


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1 Percent: Antibiotic Research Is Dying In The UK

Science2.0 - July 25, 2014 - 2:02am

Pharmaceutical companies are in a tough position; they are highly regulated, trials are expensive, new products fail most of the time, and if they are successful, everyone complains the cost is too high while the company tries to make money before it goes generic.

In the UK, the company with the best antibiotic pipeline in the world, AstraZeneca, is trying to sell that business, because they don't think they will ever make money at it given current restrictions.


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How To Create More Physics Teachers

Science2.0 - July 24, 2014 - 11:30pm

A new paper by the Physics Teacher Education Coalition (PhysTEC) has identified two factors that characterize sustainable university and college programs designed to increase the production of highly qualified physics teachers. Specifically, one or more faculty members who choose to champion physics teacher education in combination with institutional motivation and commitment can ensure that such initiatives remain viable. Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) teacher shortages are especially acute in physics, and the study points the way for institutions seeking to increase the number of STEM graduates prepared to teach. 


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Not Just Wine: Sake Brewery Has Its Own Microbial Terroir

Science2.0 - July 24, 2014 - 11:00pm

A sake brewery has its own microbial terroir, meaning the microbial populations found on surfaces in the facility resemble those found in the product and help create the final flavor. This is the first time investigators have taken a microbial census of a sake brewery. 

Many sake makers inoculate with both bacteria and yeast, says corresponding author David A. Mills of the University of California, Davis, but he and his colleagues investigated a sake brewery where inoculation is restricted to a single species, Aspergillus oryzae, at the first of three stages of fermentation.


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Female Triathletes At Risk For Pelvic Floor Disorders, Other Complications

Science2.0 - July 24, 2014 - 10:35pm

Female triathletes are at risk for pelvic floor disorders, decreased energy, menstrual irregularities and abnormal bone density, according to researchers at Loyola University Health System (LUHS). These data were presented at the American Urogynecologic Society 2014 Scientific Meeting in Washington, DC.

The study found that one in three female triathletes suffers from a pelvic floor disorder such as urinary incontinence, bowel incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse. One in four had one component of the female athlete triad, a condition characterized by decreased energy, menstrual irregularities and abnormal bone density from excessive exercise and inadequate nutrition.


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Like The Bahamas' Great Bank? Thank Dust From The Sahara

Science2.0 - July 24, 2014 - 10:23pm

A new study suggests that Saharan dust played a major role in the formation of the Bahamas islands. Researchers from the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science showed that iron-rich Saharan dust provides the nutrients necessary for specialized bacteria to produce the island chain's carbonate-based foundation.


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Newly Found Gut Virus CrAssphage In Half The World's Population

Science2.0 - July 24, 2014 - 3:01pm

A newly discovered gut virus, crAssphage, probably isn't new at all, it was just discovered. But it's in half the world's population, according to estimates. 

A new paper in Nature Communications says crAssphage infects one of the most common types of gut bacteria, Bacteroidetes. This phylum of bacteria is thought to be connected with obesity, diabetes and other gut-related diseases. 

Robert A. Edwards, a bioinformatics professor at San Diego State University, and colleagues stumbled upon the discovery while using results from previous studies on gut-inhabiting viruses to screen for new viruses.


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Bird Intelligence May Be More Fact Than Fiction

Science2.0 - July 24, 2014 - 2:40pm

In Aesop's fable about the crow and the pitcher, a thirsty bird happens upon a vessel of water, but when he tries to drink from it, he finds the water level out of his reach. Not strong enough to knock over the pitcher, the bird drops pebbles into it — one at a time — until the water level rises enough for him to drink his fill.

Highlighting the value of ingenuity, the fable demonstrates that cognitive ability can often be more effective than brute force. It also characterizes crows as pretty resourceful problem solvers. New research conducted by UC Santa Barbara's Corina Logan, with her collaborators at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, proves the birds' intellectual prowess may be more fact than fiction. 


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Chemist Develops X-ray Vision For Quality Assurance

Science2.0 - July 24, 2014 - 2:19pm

It is seldom sufficient to read the declaration of contents if you need to know precisely what substances a product contains. In fact, to do this you need to be a highly skilled chemist or to have genuine X-ray vision so that you can look directly into the molecular structure of the various substances. Christian Grundahl Frankær, a Postdoc at DTU Chemical Engineering, is almost both, as he has developed a method that allows him to use X-rays to look deep into biological samples.

The 'Fingerprints' of a Substance


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Voice For Radio? New Research Reveals It's In The Cords

Science2.0 - July 24, 2014 - 2:19pm

New research from the University of Sydney Voice Research Laboratory has discovered unique vocal cord vibration patterns might be the secret behind a good radio voice.

The world-first study filmed the vocal folds of 16 male radio performers, including announcers, broadcasters, newsreaders and voice-over artists and found their vocal folds move and close faster than non-broadcasters.

Speech pathologists, Dr Cate Madill and Dr Samantha Warhurst from the Faculty of Health Sciences, said the research reveals radio performers close their vocal folds with greater speed and force than non-broadcasters. This may be because they have better control of the tension in their vocal folds while speaking.


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Constructal Law: Evolution Governed Science Of Airplanes

Science2.0 - July 24, 2014 - 7:30am

Why did the supersonic trans-Atlantic Concorde aircraft end up being a huge flop? It is commonly believed that European subsidies don't make for efficient airlines and the cost made it impossible to keep the aircraft maintained - but a new paper by a mechanical engineer says it was...evolution. 

Adrian Bejan, professor at Duke University, says that a physics paper he penned more than two decades ago helps explain the change in passenger airplanes from the small, propeller-driven DC-3s of yore to today's behemoth Boeing 787s. 


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Hybrid Nanowires And A Crystal Wedding In The Nanocosmos

Science2.0 - July 23, 2014 - 6:00pm

Researchers have succeeded in embedding nearly perfect semiconductor crystals into a silicon nanowire. They say the new method of producing hybrid nanowires, very fast and multi-functional processing units, can be accommodated on a single chip in the future. 

Nano-optoelectronics are considered the cornerstone of future chip technology, but the research faces major challenges: on the one hand, electronic components must be accommodated into smaller and smaller spaces. On the other hand, what are known as compound semiconductors are to be embedded into conventional materials. In contrast to silicon, many of such semiconductors with extremely high electron mobility could improve performance of the most modern silicon-based CMOS technology.


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Ketamine, The Emergency Room Wonder Drug

Science2.0 - July 23, 2014 - 5:30pm

Ketamine has been used by emergency departments for analgesia, sedation and amnesia for rapid, life-saving intubation in critically ill patients but decades-old studies suggested it raised intracranial pressure.

 A systematic review of 10 recent studies comparing ketamine to sufentanil, fentanyl and other pharmacological agents (vasopressors, neuromuscular blocking agents, sedatives) found no differences in intracranial and cerebral pressures of patients who had been treated with them.


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Climate Change And Soil Respiration

Science2.0 - July 23, 2014 - 5:00pm

The planet's soil releases about 60 billion tons of carbon into the atmosphere each year, which is far more than that released by burning fossil fuels.

This soil respiration and the enormous release of carbon is balanced by carbon coming into the soil system from falling leaves and other plant matter, as well as by the underground activities of plant roots. 

Short-term warming studies have documented that rising temperatures increase the rate of soil respiration. As a result, scientists have worried that global warming would accelerate the decomposition of carbon in the soil, and decrease the amount of carbon stored there. If true, this would release even more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, where it would accelerate global warming.


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Has Voyager 1 Really Left The Solar System?

Science2.0 - July 23, 2014 - 4:04pm

Where does the solar system end and interstellar space begin? There are no 'Now Leaving...' signs so it's somewhat subjective. If you think the argument over Pluto was confusing, you'll be intrigued that the argument over the solar system takes that to a whole new level.

Two years ago, it was announced that wherever the boundary of the solar system was, Voyager 1 had passed it, traveling further from Earth than any other manmade object. But some scientists insist it is still within the heliosphere – the region of space dominated by the Sun and its wind of energetic particles – and has not yet reached the 'space between the stars'. 


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An Easier Way To Create Photonic Crystals

Science2.0 - July 23, 2014 - 4:00pm

Highly purified crystals that split light with uncanny precision are key parts of high-powered lenses, specialized optics and, potentially, computers that manipulate light instead of electricity. Producing these crystals often involves etching them with a precise beam of electrons and can be difficult and expensive.

Researchers at Princeton and Columbia universities have proposed a new method that could allow scientists to customize and grow these specialized materials, known as photonic crystals, with relative ease. 


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Valley Fever: The Increased Dangers Of Desert Dust

Science2.0 - July 23, 2014 - 2:53pm

The rapid rise in valley fever cases in the arid southwest has become a serious health concern, as human habitation has pushed further into desert areas where the soil spores are widespread. Currently, Valley Fever affects an estimated 150,000 people a year, with most cases occurring in Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah.

The disease has no cure at present and is tricky to diagnose because it is similar to community-acquired pneumonias.


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