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Emergence: The Remarkable Simplicity Of Complexity

October 1, 2014 - 2:01pm

Patterns of emergence are all around us. Credit: Feliciano Guimarães/Flickr, CC BY

By Andy Martin, University of Melbourne and Kristian Helmerson, Monash University

From the fractal patterns of snowflakes to cellular lifeforms, our universe is full of complex phenomena – but how does this complexity arise?

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Bacteria May Reduce Impact Of Valium In UK Rivers

October 1, 2014 - 1:30pm

Valium (Diazepam) and similar medicines degrade naturally in the environment but it takes time, and until it happens there is concern about the freshwater environment.

Bacterial breakdown may give it a boost, a team of researchers has said.

Diazepam, used to treat anxiety and other similar conditions, has been detected in rivers across the UK and Europe. At the levels recorded, there is concern it may have the potential to produce harmful ecological effects in surface waters, including changing the behavior of fish shoals and their ability to sense danger from predators.


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Who Your Brain Decides To Make Friends With When You Start University

October 1, 2014 - 1:01pm

How many freebies can you carry? Credit: Nottingham Trent University, CC BY-NC-ND

By Kira Shaw, University of Sheffield

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Rewire The Brain's Circuitry To Treat Depression

October 1, 2014 - 12:30pm

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) of the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex can treat symptoms of depression in humans by placing a relatively small device on a person's scalp and stimulating brain circuits, yet little is known about how TMS produces these beneficial effects.

Some studies have suggested that TMS may modulate atypical interactions between two large-scale neuronal networks, the frontoparietal central executive network (CEN) and the medial prefrontal-medial parietal default mode network (DMN). These two functional networks play important roles in emotion regulation and cognition.


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Ultrasound Elastography: 'Virtual Breast' Could Improve Cancer Detection

October 1, 2014 - 12:00pm

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, which is why so many medical professionals encourage women to get mammograms. But the tests are not very accurate: only a minority of suspicious mammograms actually leads to a cancer diagnosis.

Bad results lead to needless worry for women and their families—not to mention the time, discomfort and expense of additional tests, including ultrasounds and biopsies. 


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Why Japan’s Deadly Ontake Eruption Could Not Be Predicted

October 1, 2014 - 12:30am

Phreatic eruption: Mount Ontake. Credit: EPA/Ministry of Land, Infrastructure

By Rebecca Williams, University of Hull

Mount Ontake, Japan’s second-highest volcano, erupted killing at least 31 people on September 27.

Since then, there has been feverish speculation about why tourists were on an active volcano and why the eruption wasn’t predicted.

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Medications: The Leading Cause Of Allergy-Related Deaths

October 1, 2014 - 12:01am

 An analysis of death certificates from 1999 to 2010 has found that medications are the leading cause of allergy-related sudden deaths in the U.S. The study in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology also found that the risk of fatal drug-induced allergic reactions was particularly high among older people and African-Americans and that such deaths increased significantly in the U.S. in recent years.  


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Women Scientists Get Vocal About Top Billing On Twitter

September 30, 2014 - 11:30pm

Women ask why there aren't more women in lists of top scientists. Credit: Katrina Cole, CC BY-NC

By Victoria Metcalf, Lincoln University, New Zealand

A steady infiltration of scientists onto Twitter has accompanied the growing recognition that a social media presence is just as important as taking the podium at a conference.

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Multiple Sclerosis Patients Benefit From Exercise

September 30, 2014 - 11:01pm
A new study has found that people with multiple sclerosis may reduce perceived fatigue and increase mobility through a series of combined strength training and fitness exercises. 

The research from the Miguel Hernández University of Elche, supervised by Professor Raúl Reina, aimed to analyze the effects of strength training on the fatigue that MS patients suffer. A total of 19 participants (5 men and 14 women) were split into two groups. Most took part in a 12-week training program, whilst others were included in a control group. The research was conducted in collaboration with the Neurology Department of Elche General Hospital.
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Rabies - A Global Killer That Dog Jabs Can Eliminate

September 30, 2014 - 10:30pm

When a dog is rabid, it's time to run. Credit: Mytoenailcameoff, CC BY-NC-SA

By Katie Hampson, University of Glasgow

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Brain Injury In Sport Is An Unfolding Tragedy – We're Only Now Starting To Count The Cost

September 30, 2014 - 8:58pm

Dave ‘Bear’ Duerson, 22, in action. Credit: PA

By Jordan Gaines Lewis, Penn State College of Medicine

Ah, football. The great American pastime.

The freshly cut grass and crisply-painted yard lines. The sound of helmets clashing in an epic stack of large men vying for a single ball. Stands packed high with thousands upon thousands of crazed, prideful, body-painted fanatics. Dementia, confusion, and depression.

Wait, what? That last bit may not be present on game day, but for many football players, it’s brewing all along – with every clash, tackle, and fall.

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Pollution Linked To Sea Turtle Cancer

September 30, 2014 - 7:00pm

Farm runoff and urban pollution in the Hawaiian islands is causing sea turtle tumors, according to a study in PeerJ.

The paper by researchers at  Duke University, the University of Hawaii and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration finds that nitrogen in the runoff ends up in algae that the turtles eat, promoting the formation of tumors on the animals' eyes, flippers and internal organs.


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Lymphocyte Genome Sensitivity Determines Likelihood Of Getting Cancer

September 30, 2014 - 6:30pm

A new report shows early detection of cancer could one day be as easy as a simple blood test. This test, called the "lymphocyte genome sensitivity" (LGS) test, could not only detect some cancers earlier than ever before, but it may eliminate the need for some types of biopsies, as well as identify those more likely to develop cancer in the future.

 "The test could allow earlier cancer detection, so helping to save peoples' lives," said Diana Anderson, co-author at the University of Bradford in West Yorkshire, United Kingdom.  


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Americans Get Too Many Colonoscopies

September 30, 2014 - 6:22pm

Colonoscopies are a very valuable procedure by which to screen for the presence of colorectal cancer but healthy Americans who undergo the uncomfortable examination often have repeat screenings long before they actually should, finds Gina Kruse of Massachusetts General Hospital and colleagues in the Journal of General Internal Medicine


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Sweat-Rating Bacteria Improve Skin Health - Study

September 30, 2014 - 3:50pm

Bacteria that metabolize ammonia may improve skin health and could even be used for the treatment of skin disorders like acne, finds a new study conducted by AOBiome LLC. Ammonia is a major component of sweat. 

In a small study, human volunteers using the bacteria reported better skin condition and appearance compared with a placebo control group. 


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Instant Speciation, Biodiversity - How Gene Doubling Shapes The World

September 30, 2014 - 2:59pm

Seedless watermelon, salmon, and strawberries all have one thing in common - unlike most eukaryotic multicellular organisms that have two sets of chromosomes, these organisms are all polyploid, meaning they have three or more sets of chromosomes. Seedless watermelon and salmon have 3 and 4 sets of chromosomes, respectively, while strawberries have 10.

Most plant species are polyploid. Polyploidy, or genome doubling, was first discovered over a century ago, but only recently, with the development of molecular tools, has it been revealed just how ubiquitous it is. Polyploidy is being increasingly recognized as an important evolutionary force that can facilitate positive adaptations, lead to instant speciation, and increase biodiversity. 


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In Men, Smiles Become Contagious When Alcohol Is Involved

September 30, 2014 - 2:26pm

Consuming an alcoholic beverage may make men more responsive to the smiles of others in their social group,  but now women.

That suggests to psychologists behind a new paper in Clinical Psychological Science that since alcohol increases sensitivity to rewarding social behaviors like smiling, it may contribute to problem drinking among men.


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Top Mass: CMS Again On Top!

September 30, 2014 - 10:47am
I wonder how interesting can be to an outsider to learn that the mass of the sixth quark is now known to 0.38% accuracy, thanks to the combination of measurements of that quantity performed by the CMS experiment at CERN. In fact, the previously best measurement was the one recently published by the DZERO collaboration at Fermilab, which has a relative 0.43% accuracy. "So what" - you might say - "this 14% improvement does not change my life". That's undeniably true.
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Depression Surveys Linked To Unnecessary Antidepressant Prescriptions

September 30, 2014 - 12:30am

Almost everyone agrees the Western world is over-prescribed; except the people doing the prescribing. Symptom-based medicine stopped being used 50 years ago but when it comes to mood disorders, it is still the norm. And "brief depression symptom measures," the self-administered questionnaires are used in primary care settings to determine the frequency and severity of depression symptoms among patients, are being linked to antidepressant medications being prescribed when they may not be needed, according to a paper in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine.


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Science Of Liver Detox? Jet Fuel Seeds!

September 30, 2014 - 12:00am

University of Illinois nutritionists say they have found compounds that boost liver detoxification enzymes nearly 5X, and they've found them in the crushed seeds left over after oil extraction from an oilseed crop,
Camelina sativa, used in jet fuel.


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