January 31, 2013

The adult fish retina possesses a robust innate capacity to regenerate neurons from retinal stem cells

Open Access Research Article:

Regeneration of Cone Photoreceptors when Cell Ablation Is Primarily Restricted to a Particular Cone Subtype


We sought to characterize the regenerated cells, if any, when photoreceptor ablation was mostly limited to a particular cone subtype. This allowed us to uniquely assess whether the remaining cells influence specification of regenerating photoreceptors. The ability to replace lost photoreceptors via stem cell therapy holds promise for treating many retinal degenerative diseases. Zebrafish are potent for modelling this because they have robust regenerative capacity emanating from endogenous stem cells, and abundant cone photoreceptors including multiple spectral subtypes similar to human fovea.

Gas promises bumper black hole 'weigh-in'

A new way of measuring the mass of supermassive black holes could revolutionise our understanding of how they form and help to shape galaxies.

The technique, developed by a team including Oxford University scientists, can spot the telltale tracer of carbon monoxide within the cloud of gas (mostly hydrogen) circling a supermassive black hole at the centre of a distant galaxy. By detecting the velocity of the spinning gas they are able to 'weigh' (determine the mass) of the black hole.

Marriage reduces the risk of heart attack in both men and women and at all ages

Being unmarried increases the risk of fatal and non-fatal heart attack in both men and women.

A large population-based study from Finland has shown that being unmarried increases the risk of fatal and non-fatal heart attack in both men and women whatever their age. Conversely, say the study investigators, especially among middle-aged couples, being married and cohabiting are associated with "considerably better prognosis of acute cardiac events both before hospitalization and after reaching the hospital alive".

The study, published today in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, was based on the FINAMI myocardial infarction register data from the years 1993 to 2002.

The study included information on people over the age of 35 living in four geographical regions of Finland. All fatal and non-fatal cardiac events - known as "acute cardiac syndromes", ACS - were included and cross-referred to the population database.

How planets form: Astronomers weigh a protoplanetary disk with unprecedented accuracy

In a study that gives astronomers new insights into how planets form, research led by the University of Michigan has enabled a dramatically more precise measurement of the amount of dust and gas in the planet-forming disk around a young star.

The findings speak, in a way, to a fundamental question: "Why are we here?"

"If you want to understand the origin of planets—that is, terrestrial worlds like Earth with abundant water and life and gas-rich worlds such as Jupiter—you have to understand how planets are born and what outcomes are possible under any circumstances," said Edwin Bergin, U-M professor of astronomy and lead author of a paper on the research published in the current issue of Nature. "And the mass of the protoplanetary disk is a fundamental quantity you have to have in order to understand planetary birth."

Binge Drinking Increases Risk of Type 2 Diabetes by Causing Insulin Resistance

Binge drinking causes insulin resistance, which increases the risk of Type 2 diabetes, according to the results of an animal study led by researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. The results are published in the January 30 issue of the journal Science Translational Medicine.

Alcohol disrupts insulin-receptor signaling by causing inflammation in the hypothalamus area of the brain, according to the researchers at Mount Sinai's Diabetes Obesity and Metabolism Institute.

Researchers harness nature to produce the fuel of the future

Hydro­gen has tremen­dous poten­tial as an eco-friendly fuel, but it is expen­sive to pro­duce. Now researchers at Prince­ton Uni­ver­sity and Rut­gers Uni­ver­sity have moved a step closer to har­ness­ing nature to pro­duce hydro­gen for us.

The team, led by Prince­ton chem­istry pro­fes­sor Annabella Sel­l­oni, takes inspi­ra­tion from bac­te­ria that make hydro­gen from water using enzymes called di-iron hydro­ge­nases. Selloni’s team uses com­puter mod­els to fig­ure out how to incor­po­rate the magic of these enzymes into the design of prac­ti­cal syn­thetic cat­a­lysts that humans can use to pro­duce hydro­gen from water.

January 30, 2013

How to be a social climber

A study reveals the mechanisms of  “opportunist” societies

“He landed the job because he has connections.” How many times you have heard these words?
Now a study confirms what is apparently only a stereotype.

The research, published in the Journal of Statistical Physics, which also involves the
International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) of Trieste, is entitled, quite eloquently, “The
Social Climbing Game”.

The researchers have carried out a social network simulation: each individual is represented by a
node, while links, connecting the nodes, represent social interactions. Each individual has the
tendency to enhance their social importance, and to do so they necessarily have to connect with
the “most central nodes”, that is, to the people who count. However, to advance socially an
individual has to break with the past: technically speaking, abandon old nodes and connect with
the most central ones. But how many have an inclination to break up with old connections to aim
high? In other words, how many opportunist individuals are there within a society?

Snails signal a humid Mediterranean

An international team of researchers has shown that old wives' tales that snails can tell us about the weather should not be dismissed too hastily.

While the story goes that if a snail climbs a plant or post, rain is coming, research led by the University of York goes one better: it shows snails can provide a wealth of information about the prevailing weather conditions thousands of years ago.

The researchers, including scientists from the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre (SUERC), analysed the chemistry of snail shells dating back 9,000 to 2,500 years recovered from Mediterranean caves, looking at humidity at different times in the past.

Disasters prompt older children to be more giving, younger children to be more selfish

A natural disaster can bring out the best in older children, prompting 9-year-olds to be more willing to share, while 6-year-olds become more selfish. Researchers at the University of Toronto, the University of Chicago, and Liaoning Normal University made this finding in a rare natural experiment in China around the time of a horrific earthquake.

A crucial difference between the two age groups emerged one month after the disaster. The 6-year-olds’ willingness to share in a test measuring altruism dropped by a third, while among 9-year-olds, willingness to give to others nearly tripled. Three years later, children in the age groups returned to pre-earthquake levels of altruism.

Why some immigrants get citizenship

Study: Country of origin a 'massive disadvantage' for some immigrants, regardless of qualifications.

For immigrants, the path to citizenship in many countries is filled with hurdles: finding a job, learning the language, passing exams. But for some people, the biggest obstacle of all may be one they cannot help: their country of origin.

That’s one conclusion of a methodologically innovative study of European immigrants suggesting that, other qualifications being equal, migrants from certain countries may be roughly 40 percent less likely than others to gain citizenship.

NTU research embraces laser and sparks cool affair

Bulky and noisy air-conditioning compressors and refrigerators may soon be a thing of the past.

With the latest discovery by scientists from Nanyang Technological University (NTU), current cooling systems which uses refrigerant harmful to the ozone layer could be replaced by a revolutionary cooling system using lasers.

This discovery, published and featured on the cover of the 24 January 2013 issue of Nature, the world’s top scientific journal, could also potentially lead to a host of other innovations. This includes making huge Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machines, unwieldy night vision goggles and satellite cameras - all of which require extreme cooling systems - even more compact and energy saving.

First ever UK based language tool to decode baby talk

A tool which could radically improve the diagnosis of language delays in infants in the UK is being developed by psychologists.

A £358,000 grant to develop the first standardised UK speech and language development tool means that for the first time, researchers will be able to establish language development norms for UK children aged eight months to 18 months.

The tool will plug an important gap which has left UK researchers, education and health professionals at a disadvantage.

In-brain monitoring shows memory network

Working with patients with electrodes implanted in their brains, researchers at the University of California, Davis, and The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) have shown for the first time that areas of the brain work together at the same time to recall memories. The unique approach promises new insights into how we remember details of time and place.

"Previous work has focused on one region of the brain at a time," said Arne Ekstrom, assistant professor at the UC Davis Center for Neuroscience. "Our results show that memory recall involves simultaneous activity across brain regions." Ekstrom is senior author of a paper describing the work published Jan. 27 in the journal Nature Neuroscience.

Scripps Research Institute Study Shows How Brain Cells Shape Temperature Preferences

While the wooly musk ox may like it cold, fruit flies definitely do not. They like it hot, or at least warm. In fact, their preferred optimum temperature is very similar to that of humans—76 degrees F.

Scientists have known that a type of brain cell circuit helps regulate a variety of innate and learned behavior in animals, including their temperature preferences. What has been a mystery is whether or not this behavior stems from a specific set of neurons (brain cells) or overlapping sets.

NASA to Launch Ocean Wind Monitor to Space Station

In a clever reuse of hardware originally built to test parts of NASA's QuikScat satellite, the agency will launch the ISS-RapidScat instrument to the International Space Station in 2014 to measure ocean surface wind speed and direction.

The ISS-RapidScat instrument will help improve weather forecasts, including hurricane monitoring, and understanding of how ocean-atmosphere interactions influence Earth's climate.

"The ability for NASA to quickly reuse this hardware and launch it to the space station is a great example of a low-cost approach that will have high benefits to science and life here on Earth," said Mike Suffredini, NASA's International Space Station program manager.

'Zoomable' map of poplar proteins offers new view of bioenergy crop

Researchers seeking to improve production of ethanol from woody crops have a new resource in the form of an extensive molecular map of poplar tree proteins, published by a team from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Populus, a fast-growing perennial tree, holds potential as a bioenergy crop due to its ability to produce large amounts of biomass on non-agricultural land. Now, a study by ORNL scientists with the Department of Energy's BioEnergy Science Center has provided the most comprehensive look to date at poplar's proteome, the suite of proteins produced by a plant's cells. The study is featured on the cover of January's Molecular and Cellular Proteomics.

Beer’s bitter compounds could help brew new medicines

Researchers employing a century-old observational technique have determined the precise configuration of humulones, substances derived from hops that give beer its distinctive flavor.

That might not sound like a big deal to the average brewmaster, but the findings overturn results reported in scientific literature in the last 40 years and could lead to new pharmaceuticals to treat diabetes, some types of cancer and other maladies.

Low-income Pregnant Women in Rural Areas Experience High Levels of Stress

Low-income Pregnant Women in Rural Areas Experience High Levels of Stress; Mothers’ and Babies’ Health at Risk, MU Researcher Says

Stress during pregnancy puts mothers’ and their babies’ health at risk, previous research has shown. Now, a University of Missouri study indicates low-income pregnant women in rural areas experience high levels of stress yet lack appropriate means to manage their emotional and physical well-being. Health providers should serve as facilitators and link rural women with resources.

“Many people think of rural life as being idyllic and peaceful, but, in truth, there are a lot of health disparities for residents of rural communities,” said Tina Bloom, assistant professor of nursing and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholar at MU’s Sinclair School of Nursing. “Chronic, long-term stress is hard on pregnant women’s health and on their babies’ health. Stress is associated with increased risks for adverse health outcomes, such as low birth weights or pre-term deliveries, and those outcomes can kill babies.”

January 29, 2013

“Super” Enzyme Protects Against Dangers of Oxygen

Just like a comic book super hero, you could say that the enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD1) has a secret identity. Since its discovery in 1969, scientists believed SOD1’s only role was to protect living cells against damage from free radicals. Now, researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have discovered that SOD1 protects cells by regulating cell energy and metabolism. The results of their research were published January 17, 2013, in the journal Cell.

Going Trayless Study Shows Student Impact

If you need any evidence of the impact of student research on life at American University’s campus, look no further than something that’s missing.


Following a 2009 study at AU’s main dining hall showed a significant reduction in food waste and dishes used when trays were removed, trays have mostly gone the way of beanies and sock hops.

Now, for the first time, a new paper coauthored by AU professor Kiho Kim and Stevia Morawski, BS environmental science ’12, provides hard evidence of big energy savings as well as a 32 percent reduction in food waste.

Ants’ behavior leads to research method for optimizing product development time, costs

Trying to find just the right balance of time spent in meetings and time performing tasks is a tough problem for managers, but a Wayne State University researcher believes the behavior of ants may provide a useful lesson on how to do it.

Using computer simulations derived from the characteristics of ants seeking food, Kai Yang, Ph.D., professor of industrial and systems engineering in the College of Engineering, has developed a mathematical model-based methodology to estimate the optimal amount of time spent to develop a product, as well as the cost, in overlapped product development. It is the latest in a series of projects he has worked on for Siemens North America.

A better way to culture central nervous cells

A protein associated with neuron damage in Alzheimer's patients provides a superior scaffold for growing central nervous system cells in the lab. The findings could have clinical implications for producing neural implants and offers new insights on the complex link between the apoE4 apolipoprotein and Alzheimer's disease. Results appear in the journal Biomaterials.

Apple Increases iPad with Retina Display to 128GB

Offers Twice the Storage Capacity to Create & Enjoy Even More Incredible Content

Apple® today announced a 128GB* version of the fourth generation iPad® with Retina® display. The 128GB iPad with Wi-Fi and iPad with Wi-Fi + Cellular models provide twice the storage capacity of the 64GB models to hold even more valuable content including photos, documents, projects, presentations, books, movies, TV shows, music and apps.

“With more than 120 million iPads sold, it’s clear that customers around the world love their iPads, and everyday they are finding more great reasons to work, learn and play on their iPads rather than their old PCs,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “With twice the storage capacity and an unparalleled selection of over 300,000 native iPad apps, enterprises, educators and artists have even more reasons to use iPad for all their business and personal needs.”

Never get stressed searching for a parking space again

DLR reaches another milestone in its major project 'AIM'

Looking for a parking space can be a strain on the nerves for drivers. How nice would it be for a car to be able to look for its own parking space, for example at a railway station, while we are boarding the train? The architects of this vision are already conducting trials on precisely this concept. Specifically, transport researchers at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) are testing a highly automated form of searching for available parking spaces in Braunschweig. In so doing, DLR is completing another important step in putting its Application Platform for Intelligent Mobility (Anwendungsplattform Intelligente Mobilität; AIM) into operational service.

New DARPA program seeks performers for transient electronics demonstration

The sophisticated electronics used by warfighters in everything from radios, remote sensors and even phones can now be made at such a low cost that they are pervasive throughout the battlefield. These electronics have become necessary for operations, but it is almost impossible to track and recover every device. At the end of operations, these electronics are often found scattered across the battlefield and might be captured by the enemy and repurposed or studied to compromise DoD’s strategic technological advantage.

DeltaMaker: An Elegant 3D Printer

A clean and elegant personal 3D printer built on a delta robot platform.

The DeltaMaker vision of 3D printing is a little different: The act of creation -- and the finished work -- can be equally interesting. We want to shift 3D printing from industrial spaces and back rooms to living rooms, waiting rooms, and classrooms.

While many artists and designers produce finished pieces of art from 3D printers, we view the creation process as art as well. We envision an artist who not only displays his finished works during an exhibition, but has a DeltaMaker creating a new piece during the show.

A step towards repairing the central nervous system

Despite recent advances in understanding the mechanisms of nerve injury, tissue-engineering solutions for repairing damage in the central nervous system (CNS) remain elusive, owing to the crucial and complex role played by the neural stem cell (NSC) niche. This zone, in which stem cells are retained after embryonic development for the production of new cells, exerts a tight control over many crucial tasks such as growth promotion and the recreation of essential biochemical and physical cues for neural cell differentiation.

According to the first author of the paper, Zaida Álvarez, from the Group on Biomaterials for Regenerative Therapies of the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC), “in order to develop tissue-engineering strategies to repair damage to the CNS, it is essential to design biomaterials that closely mimic the NSC niche and its physical and biochemical characteristics”.

Epigenetic control of cardiogenesis

Non-coding RNA is essential for normal embryonic cardiogenesis

Many different tissues and organs form from pluripotent stem cells during embryonic development. To date it had been known that these processes are controlled by transcription factors for specific tissues. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin, in collaboration with colleagues at MIT and the Broad Institute in Boston, have now been able to demonstrate that RNA molecules, which do not act as templates for protein synthesis, participate in these processes as well. The scientists knocked down a gene for long non-coding RNA molecules (lncRNA) and thereby disrupted the development of the heart to an extent that was lethal to the embryos. Genesis of the ventral body wall was also impaired. It became apparent that the lncRNA participates in controlling transcription factors that themselves are responsible for controlling tissue- and organogenesis. The lncRNA itself thus acts as a modulating factor in these processes.

Next generation solar cells: Trapping sunlight with microbeads

In five to seven years, solar cells will have become much cheaper and only one-twentieth as thick as current solar cells. The trick is to deceive the sunlight with microbeads.

Nanoscientists are currently developing the next generation of solar cells, which will be twenty times thinner than current solar cells.

Over 90 per cent of the current electricity generated by solar panels is made by silicon plates that are 200 micrometres thick. Several billion of these are produced every year. The problem is the large consumption of silicon: five grams per watt.

200 Alta power stations: This year, between five and ten billion solar panel units will be produced worldwide. This is the equivalent of 30 GW, or the capacity of 200 Alta power stations.

Though silicon is one of the most common elements on earth, pure silicon does not exist in nature. Silicon binds readily to other elements. In order for solar cells to function, the silicon plate must consist of at minimum 99,9999 per cent silicon. You read that right: if the solar cell consists of more than one millionth other materials, it does not work.


Blue light can selectively eradicate Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections of the skin and soft tissues, while preserving the outermost layer of skin, according to a proof-of-principle study led by Michael R. Hamblin of the Massachusetts General Hospital, and the Harvard Medical School, Boston. The research is published online ahead of print in the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.

“Blue light is a potential non-toxic, non-antibiotic approach for treating skin and soft tissue infections, especially those caused by antibiotic resistant pathogens,” says Hamblin.

In the study, animal models were infected with P. aeruginosa. All of the animals in the group treated with blue light survived, while in the control, 82 percent (9 out of 11) of the animals died.

Injecting Botox into Stomach Does Not Promote Weight Loss

Despite conflicting data in support of the practice, some overweight Americans looking for an easy fix have turned to gastric botox injections to help them lose weight. This month in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, the official clinical practice journal of the American Gastroenterological Association, researchers from the Mayo Clinic publish a definitive study finding that Botox doesn’t promote weight loss. 

Injecting botulinum toxin A (BTA), or Botox, into the stomach had been believed to delay emptying of the stomach, increase feelings of fullness and reduce body weight. Researchers enrolled 60 obese patients in a 24-week, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, concealed allocation trial to compare the effects of BTA to placebo. They found that the injection slowed movement of food through the stomach, but it did not cause weight loss.

DNA-Repairing Protein May Be Key To Preventing Recurrence of Some Cancers

Just as the body can become resistant to antibiotics, certain methods of killing cancer tumors can end up creating resistant tumor cells. But a University of Central Florida professor has found a protein present in several types of cancer, including breast and ovarian cancer, which could be helpful in preventing tumors from coming back.

The protein, KLF8, appears to protect tumor cells from drugs aimed at killing them and even aid the tumor cells’ ability to regenerate.

“All cells have a DNA-repair mechanism,” explained Jihe Zhao, a medical doctor and researcher who in the past few months has published several articles related to the protein in the Journal of Biological Chemistry and Oncogene, among others. “That’s why we survive constant DNA damage threats. But KLF8 is overexpressed in specific cancers, such as breast cancer and ovarian cancer. The thought is that if we can stop it from switching on, we may be able to stop the tumors from coming back as part of therapy. We still need to do a lot more research, but it is plausible.

January 28, 2013


Researchers at the Center for Turbulence Research set a new record in supercomputing, harnessing a million computing cores to model supersonic jet noise. Work was performed on the newly installed Sequoia IBM Bluegene/Q system at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories.

Stanford Engineering's Center for Turbulence Research (CTR) has set a new record in computational science by successfully using a supercomputer with more than one million computing cores to solve a complex fluid dynamics problem—the prediction of noise generated by a supersonic jet engine.

Joseph Nichols, a research associate in the center, worked on the newly installed Sequoia IBM Bluegene/Q system at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories (LLNL) funded by the Advanced Simulation and Computing (ASC) Program of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). Sequoia once topped list of the world's most powerful supercomputers, boasting 1,572,864 compute cores (processors) and 1.6 petabytes of memory connected by a high-speed five-dimensional torus interconnect.

Soya protein can be replaced by rapeseed protein

Nutritionists point out an additional dietary protein source for humans

Today, more than 500 million people are suffering from a lack of adequate protein in their diet. Each year, the number of human beings increases by 80 million, a figure which is equivalent to the present population of Germany. Thus, providing enough food, particularly sufficient protein for the increasing populace is a challenging task for societies all over the world. On a prospective basis, a progressively smaller proportion of human protein requirement can be provided by animal proteins such as meat, eggs, and milk. "However, by feeding valuable plant protein to animals, almost two third of it is wasted as it is transformed into animal protein," Professor Dr Gerhard Jahreis, nutritionist at Friedrich Schiller University Jena (Germany), says.

Progressive Optics for Side Mirrors Ends Automobile Blind Spots without Distorting View

A new optical prescription for automobile side-view mirrors may eliminate the dreaded "blind spot" in traffic without distorting the perceived distance of cars approaching from behind. As described in a paper published today in the Optical Society’s (OSA) journal Optics Letters, objects viewed in a mirror using the new design appear larger than in traditional side-view mirrors, so it’s easier to judge their following distance and speed.

Today's motor vehicles in the United States use two different types of mirrors for the driver and passenger sides. The driver's side mirror is flat so that objects viewed in it are undistorted and not optically reduced in size, allowing the operator to accurately judge an approaching-from-behind vehicle's separation distance and speed. Unfortunately, the optics of a flat mirror also create a blind spot, an area of limited vision around a vehicle that often leads to collisions during merges, lane changes, or turns. The passenger side mirror, on the other hand, possesses a spherical convex shape. While the small radius of curvature widens the field of view, it also causes any object seen in it to look smaller in size and farther away than it actually is.

Glial cells assist in the repair of injured nerves

When a nerve is damaged, glial cells produce the protein neuregulin1 and thereby promote the regeneration of nerve tissue

Unlike the brain and spinal cord, the peripheral nervous system has an astonishing capacity for regeneration following injury. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Experimental Medicine in Göttingen have discovered that, following nerve damage, peripheral glial cells produce the growth factor neuregulin1, which makes an important contribution to the regeneration of damaged nerves.

Study finds eating deep-fried food is associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer

Frequent, regular consumption has strongest effect and is linked to more aggressive disease

Regular consumption of deep-fried foods such as French fries, fried chicken and doughnuts is associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer, and the effect appears to be slightly stronger with regard to more aggressive forms of the disease, according to a study by investigators at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Corresponding author Janet L. Stanford, Ph.D., and colleagues Marni Stott-Miller, Ph.D., a postdoctoral research fellow and Marian Neuhouser, Ph.D., all of the Hutchinson Center’s Public Health Sciences Division, have published their findings online in The Prostate.

Drinking toilet water: The science (and psychology) of wastewater recycling

Would you drink water that came from a toilet? The imagery isn’t appealing. Even knowing that the water, once treated, may be cleaner than what comes out of most faucets, many people are disgusted by the idea. But in places like Singapore and Namibia, limited supplies of freshwater are being augmented by adding highly treated wastewater to their drinking water. As climate change and population growth strain freshwater resources, such strategies are likely to become more common around the world, and in the United States.

One in, two out: Simulating more efficient solar cells

Using an exotic form of silicon could substantially improve the efficiency of solar cells, according to computer simulations by researchers at the University of California, Davis, and in Hungary. The work was published Jan. 25 in the journal Physical Review Letters.

Solar cells are based on the photoelectric effect: a photon, or particle of light, hits a silicon crystal and generates a negatively charged electron and a positively charged hole. Collecting those electron-hole pairs generates electric current.

Conventional solar cells generate one electron-hole pair per incoming photon, and have a theoretical maximum efficiency of 33 percent. One exciting new route to improved efficiency is to generate more than one electron-hole pair per photon, said Giulia Galli, professor of chemistry at UC Davis and co-author of the paper.

Study shows climate change could affect onset, severity of flu seasons

The American public can expect to add earlier and more severe flu seasons to the fallout from climate change, according to a research study published online Jan. 28 in PLOS Currents: Influenza.

A team of scientists led by Sherry Towers, research professor in the Mathematical, Computational and Modeling Sciences Center at Arizona State University, studied waves of influenza and climate patterns in the U.S. from the 1997-98 season to the present.

USGS-NOAA: Climate Change Impacts to U.S. Coasts Threaten Public Health, Safety and Economy

According to a new technical report, the effects of climate change will continue to threaten the health and vitality of U.S. coastal communities' social, economic and natural systems.
The report, Coastal Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerabilities: a technical input to the 2013 National Climate Assessment, authored by leading scientists and experts, emphasizes the need for increased coordination and planning to ensure U.S. coastal communities are resilient against the effects of climate change.

The recently released report examines and describes climate change impacts on coastal ecosystems and human economies and communities, as well as the kinds of scientific data, planning tools and resources that coastal communities and resource managers need to help them adapt to these changes.

"Sandy showed us that coastal states and communities need effective strategies, tools and resources to conserve, protect, and restore coastal habitats and economies at risk from current environmental stresses and a changing climate," said Margaret A. Davidson of NOAA's Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management and co-lead author of the report. "Easing the existing pressures on coastal environments to improve their resiliency is an essential method of coping with the adverse effects of climate change."

Artificial pancreas: the way of the future for treating type 1 diabetes

IRCM researchers take an important step in making this promising approach a reality

IRCM researchers, led by endocrinologist Dr. Rémi Rabasa-Lhoret, were the first to conduct a trial comparing a dual-hormone artificial pancreas with conventional diabetes treatment using an insulin pump and showed improved glucose levels and lower risks of hypoglycemia. Their results, published today in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), can have a great impact on the treatment of type 1 diabetes by accelerating the development of the external artificial pancreas.

ASU scientists unravel the mysteries of spider silk

Scientists at ASU are celebrating their recent success on the path to understanding what makes the fiber that spiders spin – weight for weight - at least five times as strong as piano wire. They have found a way to obtain a wide variety of elastic properties of the silk of several intact spiders’ webs using a sophisticated but non–invasive laser light scattering technique.


Even if you live more than 1,000 miles from the nearest large city, it could be affecting your weather.

In a new study that shows the extent to which human activities are influencing the atmosphere, scientists have concluded that the heat generated by everyday activities in metropolitan areas alters the character of the jet stream and other major atmospheric systems. This affects temperatures across thousands of miles, significantly warming some areas and cooling others, according to the study this week in Nature Climate Change.

Patients’ own skin cells are transformed into heart cells to create “disease in a dish”

Most patients with an inherited heart condition known as arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia/cardiomyopathy (ARVD/C) don’t know they have a problem until they’re in their early 20s. The lack of symptoms at younger ages makes it very difficult for researchers to study how ARVD/C evolves or to develop treatments.

A new stem cell-based technology created by 2012 Nobel Prize winner Shinya Yamanaka, M.D., Ph.D., helps solve this problem. With this technology, researchers can generate heart muscle cells from a patient’s own skin cells. However, these newly made heart cells are mostly immature. That raises questions about whether or not they can be used to mimic a disease that occurs in adulthood.

January 27, 2013

Rice technique points toward 2-D devices

Researchers create fine patterns that combine single-atom-thick graphene, boron nitride

Rice University scientists have taken an important step toward the creation of two-dimensional electronics with a process to make patterns in atom-thick layers that combine a conductor and an insulator.

The materials at play – graphene and hexagonal boron nitride – have been merged into sheets and built into a variety of patterns at nanoscale dimensions.

Poor sleep in old age prevents the brain from storing memories

The connection between poor sleep, memory loss and brain deterioration as we grow older has been elusive.  But for the first time, scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, have found a link between these hallmark maladies of old age. Their discovery opens the door to boosting the quality of sleep in elderly people to improve memory.

UC Berkeley neuroscientists have found that the slow brain waves generated during the deep, restorative sleep we typically experience in youth play a key role in transporting memories from the hippocampus – which provides short-term storage for memories – to the prefrontal cortex’s longer term “hard drive.”

NanoLight – the world’s most Energy Efficient Light Bulb

A new LED lightbulb that is the most energy efficient on the planet. The NanoLight takes energy efficient lighting to the next level.

Why use any old lightbulb when there’s the NanoLight! Using only 12 watts of electricity, the NanoLight generates over 1600 lumens, equivalent to a 100W incandescent lightbulb.

There are plenty of 20-60W Equivalent LED light bulbs in the market today, but the selection for 75-100W equivalents is still quite rare. To most light bulb manufacturers high efficiency and cost effective light bulb production is still uncharted territory.

The NanoLight takes energy efficient lighting to a whole new level by offering a lightbulb far more efficient than any existing LED bulb. It is a true breakthrough for LED Lighting technology.

January 26, 2013

Using Twitter to track the flu

Researchers find a better way to screen the tweets

Sifting through social media messages has become a popular way to track when and where flu cases occur, but a key hurdle hampers the process: how to identify flu-infection tweets. Some tweets are posted by people who have been sick with the virus, while others come from folks who are merely talking about the illness. If you are tracking actual flu cases, such conversations about the flu in general can skew the results.

Cows fed flaxseed produce more nutritious dairy products, says OSU study

Dairy cows that are fed flaxseed produce more nutritious milk, according to a new study by Oregon State University.

Their milk contained more omega-3 fatty acids and less saturated fat, the study found. Diets high in saturated fat can increase cholesterol and cause heart disease, while those rich in omega-3 and other polyunsaturated fatty acids may reduce the risk of heart disease, studies have shown.