Earth

Inhibiting the proton currents in basophils, a rare type of white blood cell, can stop the release of histamine and could provide a new target for allergy and asthma drugs according to a new study by researchers at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago and the Johns Hopkins Asthma and Allergy Center in Baltimore. The research is published in the August 5th issue the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

There's a new "gold standard" in the sensitivity of weighing scales. Using the same technology with which they created the world's first fully functional nanotube radio, researchers with Berkeley Lab and the University of California (UC) at Berkeley have fashioned a nanoelectromechanical system (NEMS) that can function as a scale sensitive enough to measure the mass of a single atom of gold.

Madison, WI July 28, 2008--As atmospheric CO2 levels rise, methods to mitigate these increases are becoming very important. Three studies published in the July-August 2008 issue of Soil Science Society of America Journal explore the potential roles of soils as a C sink in different regions in the Western Hemisphere.

A snapshot of New Zealand's climate 40 million years ago reveals a greenhouse Earth, with warmer seas and little or no ice in Antarctica, according to research published this week in the journal Geology.

The study suggests that Antarctica at that time was yet to develop extensive ice sheets. Back then, New Zealand was about 1100 km further south, at the same latitude as the southern tip of South America – so was closer to Antarctica – but the researchers found that the water temperature was 23-25°C at the sea surface and 11-13°C at the bottom.

Jack Elias and colleagues, at Yale University School of Medicine, have performed new studies in mice that provide mechanistic insight into why viral infections have more severe consequences in individuals exposed to cigarette smoke than in those not exposed to cigarette smoke (e.g., influenza-infected smokers have increased mortality when compared with influenza-infected nonsmokers).

A new study by researchers at Yale School of Medicine could explain why the cold and flu virus symptoms that are often mild and transient in non-smokers can seriously sicken smokers. Published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, the study also identified the mechanism by which viruses and cigarette smoke interact to increase lung inflammation and damage.

ANN ARBOR, Mich.---A type of device called a "lab-on-a-chip" could bring a new generation of instant home tests for illnesses, food contaminants and toxic gases. But today these portable, efficient tools are often stuck in the lab themselves. Specifically, in the labs of researchers who know how to make them from scratch.

The chromosomal abnormality that causes a rare, but often fatal, disorder that affects infants has been identified by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, who happened to treat two young children with the disease in San Diego – two of perhaps a dozen children in the entire country diagnosed with the disorder.

Stanford, CA—Steroids bulk up plants just as they do human athletes, but the playbook of molecular signals that tell the genes to boost growth and development in plant cells is far more complicated than in human and animal cells. A new study by plant biologists at the Carnegie Institution used an emerging molecular approach called proteomics to identify key links in the steroid signaling chain. Understanding how these plant hormones activate genes could lead not only to enhanced harvests but also to new insights into how steroids regulate growth in both plant and animal cells.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is reshaping its research enterprise to broaden HIV vaccine discovery activities. Many of the initiatives have evolved from ideas and opinions recently expressed by scientists either at NIAID's HIV Vaccine Summit on March 25 or in response to two Requests for Information that NIAID issued in April.

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Researchers have invented a new material that will make cars even more efficient, by converting heat wasted through engine exhaust into electricity. In the current issue of the journal Science, they describe a material with twice the efficiency of anything currently on the market.

The same technology could work in power generators and heat pumps, said project leader Joseph Heremans, Ohio Eminent Scholar in Nanotechnology at Ohio State University.

UCLA space scientists and colleagues have identified the mechanism that triggers substorms in space; wreaks havoc on satellites, power grids and communications systems; and leads to the explosive release of energy that causes the spectacular brightening of the aurora borealis, also known as the northern lights.

In a new twist on the Confucian ideal of filial piety, a study finds that the assistance of daughters-in-law – but not their own children – helps mitigate depression among older people in China. This is particularly true in rural areas, where elders may rely more heavily on family to be support providers.

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Over the last decade, energy drinks -- such as Red Bull, Monster and Rockstar -- have become nearly ubiquitous on college campuses. The global market for these types of drinks currently exceeds $3 billion a year and new products are introduced annually.

Although few researchers have examined energy drink consumption, a researcher at the University at Buffalo's Research Institute on Addictions (RIA) has been investigating links between energy drinks and public health concerns like substance abuse and risky behaviors.

Well inside the Arctic Circle, scientists have found black smoker vents farther north than anyone has ever seen before. The cluster of five vents – one towering nearly four stories in height – are venting water as hot as 570 F.