Science2.0

The Croup: Winning The War Against Human Parainfluenza Virus

Science2.0 - October 20, 2014 - 6:30pm

Human parainfluenza virus (hPIV) is highly infectious and the leading cause of upper and lower respiratory tract disease in young children, including Croup, which is responsible for thousands of hospitalizations in the developed world, and hundreds of thousands of deaths each year in developing countries.

Griffith University's Institute for Glycomics
Director Professor Mark von Itzstein said his Group's research findings published in Nature Communications today provide a new direction towards the discovery of anti-viral drugs against hPIV.


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Manly Men And Feminine Women Are Not Evolutionary Mandates - They Are Urban Ones

Science2.0 - October 20, 2014 - 5:48pm

It is often believed that masculine men and more feminine women were prized in ancient societies and that modern culture is beyond gender simplifications, but a
team of psychologists, anthropologists and biologists that surveyed 12 populations around the world, from the primitive to the highly developed, find that isn't so.


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Autocatalytic Network: A Step Closer To Creating Artificial Living Systems

Science2.0 - October 20, 2014 - 5:30pm

How did life originate? And can scientists create life? These questions have always occupied philosophers and scientists interested in the origin of life, and they impact technology of the future also.

If we can create artificial living systems, we may not only understand the origin of life - we can also revolutionize the future of technology.

Protocells are the simplest, most primitive living systems, you can think of. The oldest ancestor of life on Earth was a protocell, and when we see, what it eventually managed to evolve into, we understand why science is so fascinated with protocells. If science can create an artificial protocell, we get a very basic ingredient for creating more advanced artificial life.


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New Tractor Beam Can Repel And Attract

Science2.0 - October 20, 2014 - 5:13pm

A long-distance optical tractor beam can move tiny particles - one fifth of a millimeter in diameter - a distance of up to 20 centimeters, which is almost 100 times further than previous experiments.


The hollow laser beam is bright around the edges and dark in its center and it can be used to attract or repel objects.

Get ready to control the weather or capture an X-Wing fighter in space - if it's really close, that is.



Dr. Vladlen Shvedov (L) and Dr. Cyril Hnatovsky adjust the hollow laser beam in their lab at the Australian National University. Credit: Stuart Hay, ANU


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Fairness May Be Built Into The Brain - But Fairness Doesn't Mean Equal Income

Science2.0 - October 20, 2014 - 4:33pm

Is fairness built into the brain? According to a new Norwegian brain paper, people appreciate fairness - but fairness is not that everybody gets the same income, which is sure to concern those who believe all money should be distributed equally.

Economists from the Norwegian School of Economics and brain researchers from the University of Bergen decided to try and assess the relationship between fairness, equality, work and money: how brains react to how income is distributed.

The team looked at the striatum - the "reward center" of the brain. By measuring reaction to questions related to fairness, equality, work and money, they believe they can find answers about how we perceive distribution of income.


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Aspirin, Anti-Inflammatory Medicine, Benefits Schizophrenia Treatment

Science2.0 - October 20, 2014 - 3:33pm

Anti-inflammatory medicines such as aspirin, estrogen, and Fluimucil can improve the efficacy of existing schizophrenia treatments, according to results announced at the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology conference in Berlin.

Doctors have long believed that helping the immune system may benefit the treatment of schizophrenia, but until now there has been no conclusive evidence that this would be effective. Now a group of researchers at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands has carried out a comprehensive meta-analysis of all robust studies on the effects of adding anti-inflammatories to antipsychotic medication. They conclude that anti-inflammatory medicines, such as aspirin, can add to the effective treatment of schizophrenia. 


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Psychiatry Should Switch From Symptom-based Prescriptions To Target-based

Science2.0 - October 20, 2014 - 11:32am

Psychology and psychiatry have a big problem - they are trapped in the past. While most areas of medicine have moved beyond symptom-based diagnosis, the mental health community is instead adding new symptom-based diagnoses, and as a result the National Institute of Mental Health has declared that the newest Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders should be considered little more than a glossary of terms.

To fix that, psychiatry needs to progress from symptom-based (e.g. antidepressant, antipsychotic etc.) to pharmacologically based (e.g. focusing on pharmacological target (serotonin, dopamine etc.) and the relevant mode of action. Not only is it more scientific, it will stop patient's wondering why they are getting an antipsychotic for simple anxiety.


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Get A Heart On: Viagra Is Good Outside The Bedroom Too

Science2.0 - October 20, 2014 - 11:32am

Long-term daily use of Viagra can provide protection for the heart at different stages of heart disease, with few side effects, according to a new meta-analysis published in BMC Medicine

Scientists from the Sapienza University of Rome carried out a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials by searching for articles published between January 2004 and May 2014 to deduce the effectiveness of  Phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitor
(PDE5i) in providing cardiac protection, and to find out whether it was well-tolerated and safe. They identified 24 suitable trials for analysis from four research databases: MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane Library and SCOPUS. The trials involved 1622 patients from mixed populations who were treated with PDE5i or a placebo. 


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Amenhotep III: Ancient Egyptian Mummies Didn't Have Spinal Arthritis

Science2.0 - October 20, 2014 - 6:32am

A systemic disease that causes inflammation in the spinal joints and was thought to have affected members of the ancient Egyptian royal families may have been another condition, according to a new study published in Arthritis&Rheumatology.

The authors refutes claims of Ankylosing spondylitis in royals like King Amenhotep III (1390–1352 BC), finding instead a degenerative spinal condition called diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH) in royal Egyptian mummies from the 18th to early 20th Dynasties.

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The Resource Curse: Science Cities Suffer

Science2.0 - October 20, 2014 - 5:19am
I just returned from the Asian Science Park Association conference in Shiraz, Iran.[1] One Science Park official asked me, “Companies in our park cannot get any cooperation from the big petrochemical firms. What can we do?”
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More Electricity In Developing Nations Had Little Impact On Climate Change

Science2.0 - October 20, 2014 - 3:30am

Without question American CO2 emissions have plummeted, even after being driven into more coal usage due to political concerns about nuclear energy. Cleaner natural gas made the difference but environmental critics say the energy emissions burden simply shifted to developing nations - poor people can't have air conditioning. 

Yet a new study in Nature Climate Change shows that environmentalists don't need to be criticizing the world's poor.  Improving household electricity access in India over the last 30 years contributed only marginally to the nation's total carbon emissions growth.   


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Attention Cute Robots And Satellites Of Mars: A Comet Is Coming

Science2.0 - October 19, 2014 - 5:30pm

Image: NASA

By Monica Grady, The Open University

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Divide And Conquer: Novel Trick Helps Rare Pathogen Infect Healthy People

Science2.0 - October 19, 2014 - 5:15pm

New research into a rare pathogen has shown how a unique evolutionary trait allows it to infect even the healthiest of hosts through a smart solution to the body's immune response against it.

Scientists at the University of Birmingham have explained how a particular strain of a fungus, Cryptococcus gattii, responds to the human immune response and triggers a 'division of labour' in its invading cells, which can lead to life-threatening infections.


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New Pill-only Regimens Cure Patients With Hardest-to-treat Hepatitis C Infection

Science2.0 - October 19, 2014 - 5:15pm

(Vienna, October 17, 2014) Two new pill-only regimens that rapidly cure most patients with genotype 1 hepatitis C (HCV) infection could soon be widely prescribed across Europe. Two recently-published studies1,2 confirmed the efficacy and safety of combination therapy with two oral direct-acting antiviral agents (DAAs), with around 90% of patients cured after just 12-weeks of treatment.


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Antibiotics Of The Future

Science2.0 - October 19, 2014 - 5:00pm

Computer simulations show how bacteria are able to destroy antibiotics, focusing on the role of enzymes in the bacteria which split the structure of the antibiotic and stop it working, making the bacteria resistant. 

The new findings show that it's possible to test how enzymes react to certain antibiotics and thus design new antibiotics with a much lower risk of resistance, and even to choose the best medicines for specific outbreaks.

Using QM/MM - quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics simulations – the research team were able to gain a molecular-level insight into how enzymes called 'beta-lactamases' react to antibiotics.


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Digital Death And The Digital Afterlife: How To Have It And How To Avoid It

Science2.0 - October 19, 2014 - 4:30pm

Image: the conversation

By David Glance, University of Western Australia

In 2012, the UK’s Sunday Times reported that actor Bruce Willis was going to sue Apple because he was not legally allowed to bequeath his iTunes collection of music to his children.

The story turned out to be false (and shockingly bad journalism) but it did start a conversation about what we can, and can’t, do with our digital possessions.

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Gene Duplications Associated With Autism, Schizophrenia Evolved In Last 250,000 Years

Science2.0 - October 19, 2014 - 3:52pm

 A region of human chromosome 16, known as 16p11.2, is prone to genetic changes in which segments of DNA are deleted or duplicated and is considered to be one of the leading candidates for genetic causes of autism, schizophrenia, and other conditions.

A new study finds that a genetic variation that evolved in the last 250,000 years, after the divergence of humans from ancient hominids, likely plays an important role in disease. 


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Not The Christian Thing To Do: Reminding People Of Religious Belief Reduces Hostility

Science2.0 - October 19, 2014 - 3:26pm

Muslim terrorists and the Klu Klux Klan share one thing in common; they claim to be religious even though the ideas they promote (and in the case of the former, the actions they take) are not very nice.

The fringes get all of the attention but most religious people are not clinically insane or promoting the deaths of others in order to secure their own place in Heaven, and if you remind them of their religious principles, their attitude toward negative events change, according to a paper in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology


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Not All Fat Is Equal: Amping Up Adenosine May Melt 'Love Handles'

Science2.0 - October 19, 2014 - 3:15pm

Obesity was once only for the wealthy, then it was only for Americans and the science engine that made food cheap for all, but now globalization has made it possible for the rich and poor worldwide to be fat - which brings greater risk of suffering a heart attack, stroke and diabetes.

No one wants to eat less delicious food, but they would take a pill to shed fad and a team ed by Professor Alexander Pfeifer from the University Hospital Bonn believe they have come one step closer to that.  They have found that a signaling molecule can stimulate brown fat and burn energy from food: The body's own adenosine activates brown fat and "browns" white fat. 


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ACA Lessons Learned: Cost Of Enrollment High Due To Website Issues

Science2.0 - October 19, 2014 - 2:55pm

Though lots of people used the expensive government health insurance portal healthcare.gov to get information on the Affordable Care Act, also called Obamacare, far fewer could successfully use it to sign up.

As the stories of its flaws mounted, larger percentages instead talked to call centers or a navigator without using the website at all. That's a win for the government, which needed to show some success after expending a great deal of political capital and taxpayer money, but not without cost. How much cost is unclear, the government has not yet disclosed how many people signed up and actually paid anything, or how many stopped when they discovered that on top of payments they now had $4,000 a year deductibles.


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