The future of cancer detection and treatment may be in gold nanoparticles - tiny pieces of gold so small they cannot be seen by the naked eye. The potential of gold nanoparticles has been hindered by the difficulty of making them in a stable, nontoxic form that can be injected into a patient. New research at the University of Missouri-Columbia has found that a plant extract can be used to overcome this problem, creating a new type of gold nanoparticle that is stable and nontoxic and can be administered orally or injected.

Drinking whole fat milk and eating ice cream appears to be better for women trying to become pregnant than a diet consisting of low-fat dairy products such as skimmed milk and yoghurt, according to new research published in Europe's leading reproductive medicine journal, Human Reproduction, today (28 February). [1]

Purdue University researchers have created a handheld sensing system its creators liken to Star Trek's "tricorder" used to analyze the chemical components of alien worlds. But the system could have down-to-earth applications, such as testing foods for dangerous bacterial contaminants including salmonella, which was recently found in a popular brand of peanut butter.

"Nanotechnology has the potential to generate enormous health benefits for the more than five billion people living in the developing world," according to Dr. Peter A. Singer, senior scientist at the McLaughlin-Rotman Centre for Global Health and Professor of Medicine at University of Toronto. "Nanotechnology might provide less-industrialized countries with powerful new tools for diagnosing and treating disease, and might increase the availability of clean water."

New information about a link between the growth of blood vessels critical to the spread of cancer and the copper in our bodies has been discovered by researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Chicago, using a beamline at the Advanced Photon Source.

Deep red tomatoes get their rich color from lycopene, a disease-fighting antioxidant. A new study, however, suggests that a special variety of orange-colored tomatoes provide a different form of lycopene, one that our bodies may more readily use.

Researchers found that eating spaghetti covered in sauce made from these orange tomatoes, called Tangerine tomatoes, caused a noticeable boost in this form of lycopene in participants' blood.

The sugar-containing nectar secreted by plants and consumed by pollinators shares a number of similarities to fitness drinks, including ingredients such as amino acids and vitamins. In addition to these components, nectar can also contain secondary metabolites such as the alkaloid nicotine and other toxic compounds. Scientists Danny Kessler and Ian Baldwin from the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena, Germany, recently addressed the question, why would plants risk poisoning the insects and birds that provide pollination services?

The world's first direct electrical link between nerve cells and photovoltaic nanoparticle films has been achieved by researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB) and the University of Michigan. The development opens the door to applying the unique properties of nanoparticles to a wide variety of light-stimulated nerve-signaling devices — including the possible development of a nanoparticle-based artificial retina.

Mayo Clinic researchers have safely transplanted cardiac preprogrammed embryonic stem cells into diseased hearts of mice successfully regenerating infarcted heart muscle without precipitating the growth of a cancerous tumor -- which, so far, has impeded successful translation into practice of embryonic stem cell research.

The Mayo study is the first known report establishing a successful, tumor-resistant approach to growing new heart tissue from an embryonic stem cell source. The study is published in the February issue of the Journal of Experimental Medicine.

Using a variety of new approaches, scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego are forging a new understanding of the largest mammals on Earth.

In one recently published study on blue whales, Scripps researchers used a combination of techniques to show for the first time that blue whale calls can be tied to specific behavior and gender classifications. In a separate study, researchers used recordings of blue whale songs to determine the animal's population distributions worldwide.