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Male Beetles That Have More Sex Are Over-compensating

March 15, 2015 - 4:00am

Males that mate more often are more insecure about their social status than those mating less, according to new research on the behaviour of burying beetles.

The study provides new evidence that the social sensitivity of male behavior is linked to how often male beetles mate.

Male burying beetles actively compete with each other for access to breeding resources such as dead mice, and when they find a suitable carcass will emit pheromones as a signal to attract females. But the emission of pheromones may also attract other males, leading to competition. Success in competition is determined by size: the larger you are compared to your rival, the more likely you will win out.


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Understanding Of Cell Enzyme Flipped On Its Head

March 15, 2015 - 4:00am

Researchers from Manchester, working with scientists in California, have found that certain molecules long thought to promote cancer growth, in fact suppress tumours, suggesting that therapeutic approaches should aim to restore, rather than block, their activity.

The protein kinase C (PKC) family of molecules are enzymes that facilitate a range of cellular processes, including cell survival, proliferation, migration and death. In the 1980s it was found that PKCs were activated by cancer-causing phorbol esters, and led to the conclusion that PKCs themselves induced the development of tumours.


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Tiny Minority Of Chinese Adults Enjoy Ideal Heart Health

March 15, 2015 - 4:00am

Nearly three out of four Chinese adults have poor cardiovascular health, with poor diet and growing rates of obesity compounding the risks associated with continuing high rates of smoking, according to a new survey published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

The 2010 China Noncommunicable Disease Surveillance Group collected cardiovascular health data from a nationally representative sample of more than 96,000 men and women in the general Chinese population. According to estimates derived from the survey results, just 0.2 percent of Chinese men and women enjoy "ideal" cardiovascular health as defined by the American Heart Association's seven health behaviors/health factors.


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Hospital Readmissions Following Severe Sepsis Often Preventable

March 15, 2015 - 4:00am

In an analysis of about 2,600 hospitalizations for severe sepsis, readmissions within 90 days were common, and approximately 40 percent occurred for diagnoses that could potentially be prevented or treated early to avoid hospitalization, according to a study in the March 10 issue of JAMA.


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Lower Prevalence Of Diabetes Found Among Patients With Inherited High Cholesterol Disorder

March 15, 2015 - 4:00am

The prevalence of type 2 diabetes among 25,000 patients with familial hypercholesterolemia (a genetic disorder characterized by high low-density lipoprotein [LDL] cholesterol levels) was significantly lower than among unaffected relatives, with the prevalence varying by the type of gene mutation, according to a study in the March 10 issue of JAMA.


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Optical Fibers Light The Way For Brain-like Computing

March 15, 2015 - 4:00am

Computers that function like the human brain could soon become a reality thanks to new research using optical fibres made of speciality glass.

The research, published in Advanced Optical Materials, has the potential to allow faster and smarter optical computers capable of learning and evolving.

Researchers from the Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) at the University of Southampton, UK, and Centre for Disruptive Photonic Technologies (CDPT) at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore, have demonstrated how neural networks and synapses in the brain can be reproduced, with optical pulses as information carriers, using special fibres made from glasses that are sensitive to light, known as chalcogenides.


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Current Water Treatment Methods May Be Insufficient For Removing Harmful Engineered Nanoparticle

March 15, 2015 - 4:00am

The increased use of engineered nanoparticles (ENMs) in commercial and industrial applications is raising concern over the environmental and health effects of nanoparticles released into the water supply. A study that analyzes the ability of typical water pretreatment methods to remove titanium dioxide, the most commonly used ENM, is published in Environmental Engineering Science.


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The Graph Of The Week: Hyper-Boosted Top Quarks

March 14, 2015 - 12:25pm
The top quark is the heaviest known elementary particle. It was discovered in 1995 by the CDF and DZERO experiments at the Fermilab Tevatron collider after a long hunt that had started almost two decades earlier: it took long because the top weighs as much as a whole silver atom, and producing this much matter in single particle-particle collisions is difficult: it requires collision energies that started to be available only in 1985, and the rarity of the production processes dictate collision rates that were delivered only in the early nineties.
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Controlling Heat With Magnets: ELM Breakthrough In Fusion Research

March 13, 2015 - 8:49pm
General Atomics, which operates the DIII-D National Fusion Facility for the U.S. Department of Energy, and the Department of Energy's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have made a breakthrough in understanding how potentially damaging heat bursts inside a fusion reactor can be controlled. 

The experiments with the DIII-D Fusion Facility, a tokamak in San Diego, represent a key step in predicting how to control heat bursts in future fusion facilities. Researchers have found that tiny magnetic fields applied to the device can create two distinct kinds of response, rather than just one response as previously thought.
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SUMO Can Keep Gene Expression In Check

March 13, 2015 - 8:39pm
Living beings can keep gene expression in check, which might partly explain the uncontrolled gene expression found in many cancers, according to a new paper/

"Using yeast as a model organism, we studied the Tup1 protein, a negative regulator of gene expression," says Biology Professor Emanuel Rosonina. "This protein binds to some genes and blocks their expression, helping to ensure genes that shouldn't be turned on remain inactive." 
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In Sickness And In Health: Mice And Mating

March 13, 2015 - 6:11pm
It is no surprise that female mice prefer healthy males, most humans are the same way, but a new study tested the belief that attractive males have better mating success than other males. 

Sarah Zala and Dustin Penn of the Konrad Lorenz Institute of Ethology at the Vetmeduni Vienna investigated whether females would also choose to mate with healthy over infected male if given a choice. In the laboratory and in large enclosures, the females were allowed to freely choose between two males, one healthy and another challenged with a mild infection, which they previously found to alter male odor. 

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Blood Pressure And Heart Rate Rise After Energy Drinks

March 13, 2015 - 4:30pm
Healthy young adults who don't consume caffeine regularly experienced greater rise in resting blood pressure after consumption of a commercially available energy drink than those who had a placebo drink, according to a Mayo Clinic study.

The researchers alternately gave a can of a commercially available energy drink or a placebo drink to 25 healthy young adults, age 19 to 40, and assessed changes in heart rate and blood pressure.  Blood pressure and heart rate were recorded before and then 30 minutes after energy drink/placebo drink consumption, and were also compared between caffeine-naive participants (less than 160 mg of caffeine per day, a cup of coffee) and regular caffeine users (more than a cup of coffee equivalent of of caffeine per day). 
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Feeling Sleepy? Might Be The Melatonin

March 13, 2015 - 2:45pm

If you walk into your local drug store and ask for a supplement to help you sleep, you might be directed to a bottle labeled "melatonin." The hormone supplement's use as a sleep aid is supported by anecdotal evidence and even some reputable research studies. However, our bodies also make melatonin naturally, and until a recent Caltech study using zebrafish, no one knew how--or even if--this melatonin contributed to our natural sleep. The new work suggests that even in the absence of a supplement, naturally occurring melatonin may help us fall and stay asleep.

The study was published online in the March 5 issue of the journal Neuron.


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Who Am I? Early Family Experiences, Self-esteem Linked To Existential Crises

March 13, 2015 - 2:44pm

Although children can emerge from cold and neglectful family environments as adults with high self-esteem, a new University at Buffalo psychology paper suggests they may still be at a relative disadvantage in life, with a foggier sense of identity. Yet obviously adults with low self-esteem who grew up in the same type of negative environment have relatively high self-clarity, so what gives?


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Guanabenz Blood Pressure Drug Protects Against MS Symptoms In Animal Models

March 13, 2015 - 2:04pm
Guanabenz is an FDA-approved drug for high blood pressure but a new study also finds that it prevents myelin loss and alleviates clinical symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS) in animal models.

The drug appears to enhance an innate cellular mechanism that protects myelin-producing cells against inflammatory stress. Multiple sclerosis is characterized by an abnormal immune response that leads to inflammation in the brain and the destruction of myelin - a fatty sheath that protects and insulates nerve fibers. MS is thought to affect more than 2.3 million people worldwide and has no known cure.
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Ganymede: Inferring An Underground Ocean On Jupiter's Largest Moon

March 13, 2015 - 1:52pm
Ganymede, Jupiter's largest moon, is thought to have once had more water than all the water on Earth's surface.

But why? 

Ganymede is the largest moon in our solar system and the only moon with its own magnetic field. The magnetic field causes aurorae, which are ribbons of glowing, hot electrified gas, in regions circling the north and south poles of the moon. Because Ganymede is close to Jupiter, it is also embedded in Jupiter's magnetic field. When Jupiter's magnetic field changes, the aurorae on Ganymede also change, "rocking" back and forth so by watching the rocking motion of the two aurorae, scientists were able to determine that a large amount of saltwater exists beneath Ganymede's crust affecting its magnetic field.
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Metastatic Melanoma: Anti-Nodal Antibodies Plus Dacarbazine Promising

March 13, 2015 - 1:13pm
Metastatic melanoma is the leading cause of skin cancer deaths in the United States because once has spread - metastasized - life expectancy for patients is dramatically shortened.

Melanoma diagnosis and treatment has progressed a lot and the future looks even brighter but the current reference therapy for patients diagnosed with metastatic melanoma is Dacarbazine (DTIC), which is associated with relatively poor patient outcomes.
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This Pi Day Is A Once In A Century Celebration

March 13, 2015 - 1:00pm

Pi Day – on March 14th – will be particularly memorable this year: the date can be written 3/14 by those who opt for the month then day format, which is Pi to two decimal places, 3.14.

If you include the year this year then that gives 3/14/15, which is Pi to four decimal places, 3.1415.

This happens only once a century, and the Museum of Mathematics in New York City, among others, is taking Pi Day 2015 one step further, by celebrating at 9:26 pm, adding three more digits to Pi, 3.1415926.

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An NIH Director Once Funded A Rocket For A 10 Year Old

March 13, 2015 - 12:59pm

We sometimes have to wonder about the decision-making of government agencies. Senator Tom Coburn produced an annual list of waste and duplication that included science and it made sense to address those flaws, unless you actually favor National Science Foundation money being used so someone could play Everquest instead of doing actual science. Likewise, energy researchers were not thrilled that the Department of Energy funded the Human Genome Project.

But sometimes it makes total sense. Case in point: Dr. Ernest M. Allen, Chief, Division of Research Grants at the NIH, who once agreed to fund a rocket. For a 10-year-old.
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4 Myths About Speech Problems In Children

March 12, 2015 - 10:20pm

Speech problems in early childhood are common.

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