news 2014


Life Sciences

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Life Sciences - Environment - 29.12.2014
Time adds a wrinkle to nature and nurture
Time adds a wrinkle to nature and nurture
Nature and nurture have found a new companion - historical context. A new study has produced the best evidence yet that the role of genetics in complex traits, including obesity, varies over time. Both the era in which scientific research is conducted and the era in which subjects were born may have an impact on the degree to which genetic factors are present in scientific data.

Life Sciences - Health - 29.12.2014
Using light to produce natural sleep patterns
Using light to produce natural sleep patterns
Getting enough of the right kind of sleep is crucial for keeping both body and mind healthy. Now a team of researchers at MIT has moved a step closer to being able to produce natural sleep patterns. In a paper published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences , the researchers describe how they were able to trigger a period of rapid eye movement (REM), otherwise known as dream sleep, in mice, using a technique that shines light directly on mouse neurons.

Life Sciences - 25.12.2014
Fruit flies respond more effectively to danger when in a group
Fruit flies respond more effectively to danger when in a group
Fruit flies respond more effectively to danger when in a group. A research team discovered this behavior as well as the neural circuits which relay this information, opening a new field of research.

Life Sciences - Physics - 24.12.2014
Scientists Identify Patterns of RNA Regulation in the Nuclei of Plants
Scientists Identify Patterns of RNA Regulation in the Nuclei of Plants
When the human genome was first sequenced, experts predicted they would find about 100,000 genes. The actual number has turned out to be closer to 20,000, just a few thousand more than fruit flies have. The question logically arose: how can a relatively small number of genes lay the blueprint for the complexities of the human body? The explanation is that genes are subject to many and varied forms of regulation that can alter the form of that protein and can determine whether and how much of a gene product is made.

Life Sciences - 24.12.2014
Ants show left bias when exploring new spaces
24 December 2014 Unlike Derek Zoolander, ants don't have any difficulty turning left. New research from the University of Bristol, published today in Biology Letters, has found that the majority of rock ants instinctively go left when entering unknown spaces. PhD student Edmund Hunt and colleagues studied how Temnothorax albipennis ants explore nest cavities and negotiate through branching mazes.

Life Sciences - 23.12.2014
Cholesterol in food causes inflammation in gut lining
Cholesterol in food causes inflammation in gut lining
Scientists have discovered a possible way in which high fat diets might lead to inflammation in the gut. Working with mice and zebrafish, researchers at Imperial College London discovered that cholesterol, a component of fatty foods, triggers an inflammatory response in the cells lining the gut and impairs the movement of food through the gut.

Health - Life Sciences - 23.12.2014
First results from Ebola vaccine trial show acceptable safety profile
o GSK/NIH Ebola vaccine is 'well tolerated' and generates an immune response o Larger trials in West Africa are needed to tell whether immune responses are large enough to protect against Ebola infection and disease o Results from Oxford University and other safety trials will inform plans for larger trials The first results from a trial of a candidate Ebola vaccine at Oxford University suggest the vaccine has an acceptable safety profile at the doses tested, and is able to generate an immune response.

Life Sciences - Health - 23.12.2014
Using light to understand the brain
Using light to understand the brain
UCL researchers have developed an innovative way to understand how the brain works by using flashes of light, allowing them to both 'read' and 'write' brain signals. The new technique, described , combines two cutting-edge technologies for reading and writing electrical activity in the brain. First, genetically encoded activity sensors enable neuroscientists to engineer nerve cells to visibly light up when they are active.

Health - Life Sciences - 23.12.2014
Armed virus shows promise as treatment for pancreatic cancer
A new combination of two different approaches - virotherapy and immunotherapy - is showing "great promise" as a treatment for pancreatic cancer, according to new research from QMUL. The study, funded by the UK charity Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund, investigated whether the effectiveness of the Vaccinia oncolytic virus - a virus modified to selectively infect and kill cancer cells - as a treatment for pancreatic cancer, would be improved by arming it with a gene which modulates the body's immune system.

Life Sciences - 22.12.2014
Fragile bones of modern humans result from reduced physical activity
According to researcher Timothy Ryan, a lack of constant physical activity causes the bone in the head of the femur to become thinner and lighter than that found in more mobile populations or modern primates such as chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans. UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. The comparatively light bone structure of modern humans compared to early human species and other modern primates may be due to the modern abandonment of the constant physical activity that was inherent in the life of early hunter gathers, according to an international team of researchers.

Life Sciences - Chemistry - 22.12.2014
Mysteries of 'molecular machines' revealed
Mysteries of ’molecular machines’ revealed
Scientists are making it easier for pharmaceutical companies and researchers to see the detailed inner workings of molecular machines. "Understanding how all these machines work is the key to developing new therapeutics, for treating genetic disorders, and for developing new ways to make useful materials." EMBARGOED for Monday, December 22, 11 a.m. Eastern Time Phenix software uses X-ray diffraction spots to produce 3-D image LOS ALAMOS, N.M. Dec.

Health - Life Sciences - 22.12.2014
Researchers sweep cells apart for use in medical research
Scientists have developed a new method to separate cells, which could lead to more efficient medical research. In a new paper published in the Royal Society of Chemistry's journal Lab on A Chip, University of Glasgow researchers outline how they have used moving acoustic waves to very gently separate clinically useful cells from cellular debris.

Life Sciences - Health - 19.12.2014
Some E. coli bacteria hijack key proteins to survive longer
Some E. coli bacteria hijack key proteins to survive longer
A new study shows how two strains of the intestinal bug E. coli manage to hijack host proteins used to control the body's immune system. The research shows how E. coli bacteria can block key human enzymes, in a way that has not previously been shown in any other biological context. The enzymes, known as kinases, are molecular switches that control processes such as immune responses to infection and cancers in humans.

Health - Life Sciences - 19.12.2014
Peanut component linked to cancer spread
Cancer patients are advised to avoid regular consumption of peanuts Scientists at the University of Liverpool have found that a component of peanuts could encourage the spread and survival of cancer cells in the body. In the first study of its kind, scientists showed that a protein in peanuts, called peanut agglutinin (PNA), binds to a special sugar chain, which occurs mainly on pre-cancerous and cancer cells, and interacts with a larger protein expressed on the surface of tumour cells in the bloodstream.

Philosophy - Life Sciences - 18.12.2014
Neuroscientists identify brain mechanisms that predict generosity in children
University of Chicago developmental neuroscientists have found specific brain markers that predict generosity in children. Those neural markers appear to be linked to both social and moral evaluation processes. There are many sorts of prosocial behaviors. Although young children are natural helpers, their perspective on sharing resources tends to be selfish.

Life Sciences - Health - 18.12.2014
’Hairclip’ protein mechanism explained
New study describes a fundamental mechanism regulating a protein's shape and function, with potential applications in biotechnology and drug development. The power of such multi-disciplinary studies is that we can begin to answer questions that neither of us could do alone Jane Clarke New research has identified a fundamental mechanism for controlling protein function.

Life Sciences - Health - 18.12.2014
Machine learning reveals unexpected genetic roots of cancers, autism and other disorders
Researchers from engineering, biology and medicine teach computers to 'read the human genome' and rate likelihood of mutations causing disease, opening vast new possibilities for medicine In the decade since the genome was sequenced in 2003, scientists, engineers and doctors have struggled to answer an all-consuming question: Which DNA mutations cause disease? A new computational technique developed at the University of Toronto may now be able to tell us.

Health - Life Sciences - 17.12.2014
Lens-free microscope can detect cancer at the cellular level
Aydogan Ozcan Tissue sample image created by a new lens-free microscope developed in the UCLA lab of Aydogan Ozcan. UCLA researchers have developed a lens-free microscope that can be used to detect the presence of cancer or other cell-level abnormalities with the same accuracy as larger and more expensive optical microscopes.

Health - Life Sciences - 17.12.2014
Hypertension medication that targets stress may help smokers quit
Smokers trying to quit often light up a cigarette to deal with stress. Now an interdisciplinary team of Yale researchers has shown that guanfacine, a medication approved for treating hypertension that reduces stress and enhances cognition, shows promise as a smoking cessation aid. The study was published online Dec.

Life Sciences - Health - 16.12.2014
On-off switch for key stem cell gene
Researchers at the University of Toronto say it's a discovery that could mean a major advance in the emerging field of human regenerative medicine. But to understand its importance you must first consider the relationship between an air traffic controller and a pilot. Everyone knows the pilot gets the passengers to their destination while the air traffic controller decides when the plane can take off and when it must wait.
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