Prolonged spaceflight could weaken astronauts' immune systems
Researchers report impaired NK-cell function during long-duration space travel.
New science details discovery of bacterial pathogen in brains of Alzheimer's patients
New science uncovers how an unlikely culprit, Porphyromonas gingivalis (Pg) -- the bacterium commonly associated with chronic gum disease -- appears to drive Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathology.
When coral species vanish, their absence can imperil surviving corals
As coral species die off, they may be leaving a death spiral in their wake: Their absence could be sapping life from the corals that survive. In a new study, when isolated from other species, corals got weak, died off or grew in fragile structures. The study has shown it is possible to quantify positive effects of coral biodiversity and negative effects of its absence.
Taking magnetism for a spin: Exploring the mysteries of skyrmions
Scientists have discovered the relaxation dynamics of a zero-field state in skyrmions, a spinning magnetic phenomenon that has potential applications in data storage and spintronic devices.
Cancer has a biological clock and this drug may keep it from ticking
Scientists find and test a promising drug that stops cancer by interfering with the cancer cells' metabolism and other circadian-related functions.
Those with inadequate access to food likely to suffer from obesity
Researchers have assessed the link between food-related hardships and obesity. Using a national sample of adults across the United States, the researchers learned that individuals who are food insecure are at an increased risk of obesity. Study results also showed that the individuals who live in food deserts are at an elevated risk for obesity.
Planetary collision that formed the moon made life possible on Earth
Most of Earth's life-essential elements probably arrived with the planetary collision that produced the moon. Petrologists now conclude Earth most likely received the bulk of its carbon, nitrogen and other life-essential volatile elements from a collision with a Mars-sized planet more than 4.4 billion years ago.
Birth of massive black holes in the early universe
The light released from around the first massive black holes in the universe is so intense that it is able to reach telescopes across the entire expanse of the universe. Incredibly, the light from the most distant black holes (or quasars) has been traveling to us for more than 13 billion light years. However, we do not know how these monster black holes formed.
CRISPR/Cas9 used to control genetic inheritance in mice
Using active genetics technology, biologists have developed the world's first CRISPR/Cas9-based approach to control genetic inheritance in a mammal. The achievement in mice lays the groundwork for further advances based on this technology, including biomedical research on human disease. Future animal models may be possible of complex human genetic diseases, like arthritis and cancer, which are not currently possible.
Old cells repair damage in the brains of MS patients
A new study shows that there is a very limited regeneration of cells in the brain of patients diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). These findings underline the importance of treating MS at an early stage of the disease progression, when the affected cells can repair the damage as they are not replaced by new ones.
Scientists reconstruct ancient lost plates under Andes mountains
Geologists demonstrate the reconstruction of the subduction of the Nazca Ocean plate, the remnants of which are currently found down to 1,500 kilometers, or about 900 miles, below the Earth's surface. Their results show that the formation of the Andean mountain range was more complicated than previous models suggested.
Study sheds light on brain cell changes in people with MS
Fresh insights into the types of cells found in the brains of people with multiple sclerosis could help develop improved therapies, research has found. The study focused on cells in the brain that help to repair damage to nerve cells caused by the disease.
New water splitting catalyst could make it easier to generate solar fuel
Water splitting, the process of harvesting solar energy to generate energy-dense fuels, could be simplified thanks to new research.
In surprising reversal, scientists find a cellular process that stops cancer before it starts
Scientists studying the relationship of telomeres to cancer made a surprising discovery: a cellular recycling process called autophagy -- generally thought of as a survival mechanism -- actually promotes the death of cells, thereby preventing cancer initiation.
Small metabolites have big effects on the intestinal immune response
Normal gut bacteria are instrumental in inducing an immune response in the presence of invading pathogens. However, exactly how commensal bacteria cause CX3CR1+ macrophages in the intestine to protrude their tentacle-like dendrites to capture antigens, triggering the immune response, was unclear. Now, a research team has shown that common bacterial metabolites pyruvate and lactate interact with the GPR31 receptor on CX3CR1+ cells, enhancing the immune response and protecting against gut pathogens.
Climate change tipping point could be coming sooner than we think
A new study confirms the urgency to tackle climate change. While it's known that extreme weather events can affect the year-to-year variability in carbon uptake, and some researchers have suggested that there may be longer-term effects, this study is the first to actually quantify the effects through the 21st century and demonstrates that wetter-than-normal years do not compensate for losses in carbon uptake during dryer-than-normal years, caused by events such as droughts or heatwaves.
Flu vaccination keeps COPD patients out of the hospital
A new study establishes that patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) face heightened risks of death, critical illness, and hospitalization if they develop the flu and demonstrates the beneficial effects of influenza vaccination. The report also reveals gaps in care that need to be addressed, including less-than-universal influenza vaccination in patients with COPD and failure to provide an antiviral medication in a timely manner once the patient is diagnosed with the flu.
Protein engineering extends the language of immune cells
Small infections can be fatal: Millions of people die each year from sepsis, an overreaction of the immune system. A new immune signaling molecule now provides the basis for potential new approaches in sepsis therapy.
Childhood lead exposure linked to poor adult mental health
Lead exposure in childhood appears to have long-lasting negative effects on mental health and personality in adulthood, according to a study of people who grew up in the era of leaded gasoline. The findings reveal that the higher a person's blood lead levels at age 11, the more likely they are to show signs of mental illness and difficult personality traits by age 38.
Star material could be building block of life
An organic molecule detected in the material from which a star forms could shed light on how life emerged on Earth.
Emergency caesareans put new mothers at higher risk of developing postnatal depression
A major study provides new evidence that emergency C-sections put new mothers at greater risk of experiencing mental health problems after giving birth.
Shedding light on Saturn's moon Titan's mysterious atmosphere
A new study tackles one of the greatest mysteries about Titan, one of Saturn's moons: the origin of its thick, nitrogen-rich atmosphere. The study posits that one key to Titan's mysterious atmosphere is the 'cooking' of organic material in the moon's interior.
An icy forecast for ringed seal populations
Scientists have already observed and predicted that high ringed seal pup mortality rates are linked to poor environmental conditions like early ice breakup and low snow. Researchers have now gone a step further by coupling these hypotheses with forecasts of future spring snow and ice conditions, developing a mathematical model, and following it to some stark conclusions for populations off the Amundsen Gulf and Prince Albert Sound in Canada.
Plants can smell, now researchers know how
Plants don't need noses to smell. The ability is in their genes. Researchers have discovered the first steps of how information from odor molecules changes gene expression in plants. Manipulating plants' odor detection systems may lead to new ways of influencing plant behavior.
Can you pick an MMA winner by studying fighters' faces?
With the UFC set to appear in Prague for the first time this February 23rd, Czech researchers have been getting into the fighting spirit. Participants were unable to predict fighters' MMA score based on 360 degree headshots -- but their face-based favorites tended to have higher anaerobic performance
Unique form of chronic sinusitis in older patients
Older patients with a diagnosis of chronic sinusitis -- a disease of the nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses that often persists over many years -- have a unique inflammatory signature that may render them less responsive to steroid treatment, according to a new study.
Conservation efforts help some rare birds more than others
Land conservation programs that have converted tens of thousands of acres of agricultural land in Illinois back to a more natural state appear to have helped some rare birds increase their populations to historic levels, a new study finds. Other bird species with wider geographic ranges have not fared as well, however.
3D-printed soft mesh robots
Researchers have created 3D-printed flexible mesh structures that can be controlled with applied magnetic fields while floating on water. The structures can grab small objects and carry water droplets, giving them the potential to be useful as soft robots that mimic creatures living on water surfaces or that can serve as tissue scaffolds for cell cultures.
High-protein rice brings value, nutrition
A new advanced line of rice, with higher yield, is ready for final field testing prior to release. On average, it has a protein content of 10.6 percent, a 53 percent increase from its original protein content. It also needs less heat, time, and usually less water to cook.
What makes the deadly pufferfish so delectable
Some people consider pufferfish, also known as fugu, a delicacy because of its unique and exquisite flavor, which is perhaps seasoned by knowledge that consumption of the fish could be deadly. Now, researchers have identified the major compounds responsible for the taste of pufferfish, minus the thrill of living dangerously.
New 3D nanoprinting strategy opens door to revolution in medicine, robotics
Engineers have created the first 3D-printed fluid circuit element so tiny that 10 could rest on the width of a human hair. The diode ensures fluids move in only a single direction -- a critical feature for products like implantable devices that release therapies directly into the body.
Copy cats: When is a bobcat not a bobcat?
Biologists, who have publicly solicited images of wild cats for their research, have answered that question. Their recently published study explains how hard it can be when it comes to wildlife classification -- even experts have difficulty agreeing on whether a cat in a picture is a bobcat or a lynx.
Dual control: Plant peptide hormone generates distinct cell structures for water flow
Researchers have found that a peptide hormone regulates two different cell division processes that generate centrally important structures for the flow of water through plants. By binding to different receptors, the hormone controls the formation of not only xylem (the vessels that transport water up from the roots), but also stomata (the leaf pores through which water evaporates).
A muscle protein promotes nerve healing
Damaged fibers in the brain or spinal cord usually don't heal. Neuroscientists have high hopes for new methods based on gene therapy.
Overlapping genomic regions underlie canine fearfulness and human mental disorders
Researchers have identified two novel anxiety-related genomic regions in German Shepherd dogs. The region associated with fearfulness corresponds with the locus of human chromosome 18, which is associated with various psychiatric disorders, while the region associated with noise sensitivity includes several genes related to human and canine behavior and mental disorders.
It may be possible to restore memory function in Alzheimer's, preclinical study finds
New research reveals a new approach to Alzheimer's disease (AD) that may eventually make it possible to reverse memory loss, a hallmark of the disease in its late stages.
Identifying factors that influence mercury levels in tuna
Most consumers' exposure to toxic methylmercury occurs when they eat fish. New research could help clarify why methylmercury concentrations in tuna vary geographically.
Causal link between climate, conflict, and migration
IIASA-led research has established a causal link between climate, conflict, and migration for the first time, something which has been widely suggested in the media but for which scientific evidence is scarce.
Humpback whales' songs at subarctic feeding areas are complex, progressive
Humpback whales overwintering in feeding areas may sing complex, progressive songs which closely resemble those associated with breeding grounds, according to a new study.
How male dragonflies adapt wing color to temperature
New research in how dragonflies may adapt their wing color to temperature differences might explain color variation in other animals, from lions to birds. Further, the findings could also provide evolutionary biologists clues about whether rising global temperatures might adversely affect some species.
Suicide risk in people with autism
Researchers have conducted the first population-based study of suicidality in individuals with ASD in the United States. The 20-year retrospective study found that for individuals with autism, particularly females, the risk of suicide has increased through time compared to their non-autistic peers.
Targeted treatment shrinks deadly pediatric brain tumors
For children -- whose tiny bodies are still growing -- chemotherapy and radiation treatments can cause lifelong damage. Now, scientists have reported that a targeted therapy that blocks a protein called LSD1 was able to shrink tumors in mice with a form of pediatric brain cancer known as medulloblastoma. LSD1 inhibitors are currently under evaluation in clinical trials for other cancers.
Seeing double could help resolve dispute about how fast the universe is expanding
How fast the universe is expanding has been puzzling astronomers for almost a century. Different studies keep coming up with different answers -- which has some researchers wondering if they've overlooked a key mechanism in the machinery that drives the cosmos. Now, by pioneering a new way to measure how quickly the cosmos is expanding, astronomers have taken a step toward resolving the debate.
Infectious disease researchers unveil the secret life of flesh-eating bacteria
Using a tool first used for strep throat in horses, researchers unveiled the secret life of flesh-eating bacteria, learning how it causes severe disease while living deep within muscle. The team focused on necrotizing myositis.
Forest soils need many decades to recover from fires and logging
Researchers have found that forest soils need several decades to recover from bushfires and logging -- much longer than previously thought.
Feeling groovy: Neurons integrate better with muscle grown on grooved platforms
Growing muscle tissue on grooved platforms helps neurons more effectively integrate with the muscle, a requirement for engineering muscle in the lab that responds and functions like muscle in the body, researchers found in a new study. Such engineered muscle with integrated nerves has applications in reconstructive and rehabilitative medicine, as well as for engineered biological machines or robots.
Outbreak of paralyzing disease linked to non-polio enterovirus
Using multiple genomic sequencing tests, TGen identified a specific non-polio enterovirus -- EV-D68 -- among at least four children, according to a new study. The finding is significant because AFM cases are continuing to increase and there has been no official recognition that this disease is being caused by EV-D68, which limits the research community's ability to develop preventative measures, such as new vaccines.
Urbanization changes shape of mosquitoes' wings
Research shows that rapid urbanization in São Paulo City, Brazil, is influencing wing morphology in the mosquitoes that transmit dengue and malaria.
Materials chemists tap body heat to power 'smart garments'
Many wearable biosensors, data transmitters and similar tech advances for personalized health monitoring have now been 'creatively miniaturized,' says a materials chemist, but they require a lot of energy, and power sources can be bulky and heavy. Now researchers report that they have developed a fabric that can harvest body heat to power small wearable microelectronics such as activity trackers.
How sex pheromones diversify: Lessons from yeast
What happens to sex pheromones as new species emerge? New research studies sex pheromones in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe, revealing an 'asymmetric' pheromone recognition system in which one pheromone operates extremely stringently whereas the other pheromone is free to undergo a certain degree of diversification, perhaps leading to a first step towards speciation.
Machine learning could reduce testing, improve treatment for intensive care patients
Doctors in intensive care units face a continual dilemma: Every blood test they order could yield critical information, but also adds costs and risks for patients. To address this challenge, researchers are developing a computational approach to help clinicians more effectively monitor patients' conditions and make decisions about the best opportunities to order lab tests for specific patients.
Aspirin may lower stroke risk in women with history of preeclampsia
A new study suggests aspirin may lower stroke risk among middle-aged women with a history of preeclampsia.
Trout, salamander populations quickly bounce back from severe drought conditions
Populations of coastal cutthroat trout and coastal giant salamanders in the Pacific Northwest show the ability to rebound quickly from drought conditions, buying some time against climate change.
Women, your inner circle may be key to gaining leadership roles
According to a new study, women who communicate regularly with a female-dominated inner circle are more likely to attain high-ranking leadership positions.
How much rainforest do birds need?
Researchers have carried out research in Southwest Cameroon to assess which proportion of forest would be necessary in order to provide sufficient habitat for rainforest bird species.
Bifacial stem cells produce wood and bast
So-called bifacial stem cells are responsible for one of the most critical growth processes on Earth -- the formation of wood. By alternately developing into wood and bast cells, these stem cells are thus starting points for forming wood as well as generating plant bast fibers. A team of researchers were recently able to demonstrate this phenomenon using new experimental tools.
Unraveling the mysteries of hagfish's slimy defense
The hagfish dates back at least 300 million years. The secret of survival for these eel-like sea creatures can be found in the rate and volume of slime it produces to fend off predators.
Effective strategies for safeguarding CRISPR gene-drive experiments
Researchers have demonstrated for the first time how two molecular strategies can safeguard CRISPR gene-drive experiments in the lab, according to a new study.
Famous freak wave recreated in laboratory mirrors Hokusai's 'Great Wave'
Researchers have recreated for the first time the famous Draupner freak wave measured in the North Sea in 1995.
Ranger motivation in dangerous African park
A new study looks at the job satisfaction of front line conservation rangers working in challenging conditions at a national park in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and identifies ways to improve motivation to make them more effective at enforcing the law.