news 2013

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Economics / Business - Social Sciences - 18.12.2013
Speaking languages has 'positive effect' on children
Speaking languages has ‘positive effect’ on children
18 Dec 2013 New research on schoolchildren shows the more languages they speak, the better they can speak them. The School Language Survey, a new method developed at the University of Manchester, was carried out by the University's Multilingual Manchester project, led by Professor Yaron Matras. According to Professor Matras, the survey has a powerful potential to change our understanding of the role of heritage languages in schools and communities.

Computer Science - Administration - 18.12.2013
Telecommunications data show civic dividing lines in major countries
New study uses network data to show communication patterns and divisions in many major nations. Many residents of Britain, Italy, and Belgium imagine there to be a kind of north-south divide in their countries, marking a barrier between different social groups and regional characteristics. Now a new study by MIT researchers reveals that such divides can be seen in the patterns of communication in those countries and others.

Environment - Agronomy / Food Science - 17.12.2013
Lost freshwater may double climate change effects on agriculture
A warmer world is expected to have severe consequences for global agriculture and food supply, reducing yields of major crops even as population and demand increases. Now, a new analysis combining climate, agricultural and hydrological models finds that shortages of freshwater used for irrigation could double the detrimental effects of climate change on agriculture.

Health - Life Sciences - 17.12.2013
"Nanobiopsy" allows scientists to operate on living cells
Scientists have developed a device that can take a "biopsy" of a living cell, sampling minute volumes of its contents without killing it. Much research on molecular biology is carried out on populations of cells, giving an average result that ignores the fact that every cell is different. Techniques for studying single cells usually destroy them, making it impossible to look at changes over time.

Agronomy / Food Science - Health - 17.12.2013
Red Wine Component Can Undo Some of the Harm Done by Poor Diet, Researchers Find
AUSTIN, Texas — For the first time, researchers have demonstrated that resveratrol - which is abundantly available in red wine and also found in grapes, peanuts and berries - can ease some of the negative effects on the immune system caused by a diet high in fat. "In preclinical studies, resveratrol has been shown to be beneficial in slowing the aging process and inhibiting some of the deleterious effects linked to obesity," says Christopher Jolly, associate professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin.

Health - Life Sciences - 17.12.2013
Novel Genetic mutations discovered that cause neuro-muscular disease in children
Novel Genetic mutations discovered that cause neuro-muscular disease in children
Mutations in a gene causing mixed neurological and muscular disease in children have been found for the first time. Researchers at UCL and the University of Leeds have identified an entirely novel mechanism responsible for a childhood onset neuromuscular diseases with associated brain involvement. The research identified mutations of the gene MICU1 in a group of children affected by this previously undescribed condition, and provides the first evidence that a defective MICU1 gene can cause disease 'in man'.

Physics - Chemistry - 17.12.2013
Roots of the Lithium Battery Problem: Berkeley Lab Researchers Find Dendrites Start Below the Surface
Roots of the Lithium Battery Problem: Berkeley Lab Researchers Find Dendrites Start Below the Surface
The lithium-ion batteries that power our laptops, smartphones and electric vehicles could have significantly higher energy density if their graphite anodes were to be replaced by lithium metal anodes. Hampering this change, however, has been the so-called dendrite problem. Over the course of several battery charge/discharge cycles, particularly when the battery is cycled at a fast rate, microscopic fibers of lithium, called "dendrites," sprout from the surface of the lithium electrode and spread like kudzu across the electrolyte until they reach the other electrode.

Health - Life Sciences - 17.12.2013
Research backs risk-reduction surgery for ovarian cancer
17 Dec 2013 A study by Manchester scientists backs preventative surgery to improve survival for women who are at greater risk of getting ovarian cancer and suggests it appears helpful for women at risk of getting breast cancer because of genetic faults. Women who carry, a fault in one of two high-risk genes known as BRCA1 or BRCA2, have an increased risk of dying from breast and/or ovarian cancer.

Life Sciences - Chemistry - 17.12.2013
Scientists win funding to work with industry to develop sustainable chemicals, energy, medicines and food
Scientists win funding to work with industry to develop sustainable chemicals, energy, medicines and food
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue. Durham scientists win funding to work with industry to develop sustainable chemicals, energy, medicines and food Scientists at Durham University have won access to 45 million in Government funding to work with industry on new advances in biotechnology.

Health - Life Sciences - 17.12.2013
Changes in proteins may predict ALS progression
HERSHEY, Pa. Measuring changes in certain proteins - called biomarkers - in people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis may better predict the progression of the disease, according to scientists at Penn State College of Medicine. ALS is often referred to as Lou Gehrig's disease, is a neurological disease in which the brain loses its ability to control movement as motor neurons degenerate.

Astronomy / Space Science - Social Sciences - 17.12.2013
Massive stars mark out Milky Way's 'missing' arms
Massive stars mark out Milky Way’s ’missing’ arms
A 12-year study of massive stars has reaffirmed that our Galaxy has four spiral arms, following years of debate sparked by images taken by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope that only showed two arms. The new research, which is published online today [17 December] in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, is part of the RMS Survey, which was launched by academics at the University of Leeds.

Life Sciences - 17.12.2013
Study confirms a gene linked to Asperger Syndrome and empathy
Scientists have confirmed that variations in a particular gene play a key role in the autism spectrum condition known as Asperger Syndrome. They have also found that variations in the same gene are also linked to differences in empathy levels in the general population. This study confirms that variation in GABRB3 is linked not just to Asperger Syndrome but to individual differences in empathy in the population.

Health - Chemistry - 17.12.2013
Drug residues in Swedish sewage water
Chemists at Ume University have been able to trace narcotics substances and prescription drugs in measurements of wastewater from 33 Swedish sewage treatment plants. Cocaine, amphetamine, and methamphetamine, in measurable concentrations, were found in a total of half of the locations. When a person consumes a drug it is excreted through the digestive system, either unchanged or as metabolites through the body and ends up in the wastewater.

Health - 17.12.2013
Study indicates oral garlic not useful in treating vaginal thrush
Liz Banks-Anderson (Media office) 8344 4362/ 0481 013 333 Robyn Riley Royal Women's Hospital 83435 2953/ 0419 255 118 In a world-first study, led by the University of Melbourne and the Royal Women's Hospital, researchers have found garlic does not significantly reduce vaginal candida (thrush). Led by University of Melbourne PhD candidate Cathy Watson also of the Royal Women's Hospital, This study is the first to investigate the effect of oral garlic on vaginal colonisation of candida and provides another link in the chain of investigation of complementary and alternative therapies.

Veterinary - 16.12.2013
Common misconceptions by cat owners lead to high numbers of unwanted kittens
Overpopulation in cats is recognised to contribute to high numbers of cats entering rescue shelters each year. New research suggests that the high number of unwanted kittens may be due to common misconceptions held by cat owners. The research led by academics at the University of Bristol's School of Veterinary Sciences is published online in the Veterinary Record .

Life Sciences - Health - 16.12.2013
Team uses cells to expand nature's repertoire
Team uses cells to expand nature’s repertoire
Using a cell's own internal machinery, Yale researchers have produced proteins not found in nature that can cause cancer in mice, they report Dec. 16 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study not only sheds light on the way cancers may form, but also illustrates a new and efficient method to produce novel proteins that can be used for a variety of research, industrial, and medical purposes.

Environment - 16.12.2013
Arctic sea ice up from record low
16 December 2013 Measurements from ESA's CryoSat satellite show that the volume of Arctic sea ice has significantly increased this autumn. The volume of ice measured this autumn is about 50% higher compared to last year. In October 2013, CryoSat measured about 9000 cubic km of sea ice - a notable increase compared to 6000 cubic km in October 2012.

Economics / Business - Social Sciences - 16.12.2013
Study urges more accurate estimates of financial fraud
A Stanford study describes the roadblocks to obtaining accurate financial fraud estimates – victims are often reluctant to speak up – and suggests ways to improve the national tracking of such incidents. If you're visiting your elderly mom or dad and see an excessive amount of junk mail or hear a lot of telemarketing calls, take note: Your elderly parent might be a prime target for fraud.

Life Sciences - Mathematics - 16.12.2013
Shedding new light on leaf formation
A research project studying the biology of plants has shed new light on the mechanisms that control the placement and arrangement of leaves. The new insights revealed by the study could help to inform the way in which we select and grow different varieties of crops in the future. Co-author of the study Dr Etienne Farcot , at The University of Nottingham, said: “With a world population of seven billion and growing, ensuring global food security is one of the major challenges of modern society.

Health - 16.12.2013
Families urged to get to the heart of their medical histories this Christmas
The full paper can be found here: http://eurheartj.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2013/12/15/eurheartj.eht539.full (external site, html) Doctors are encouraging people to take advantage of Christmas gatherings with relatives to discuss family medical histories to help tackle ill-health.

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