ScienceDaily: Living Well News

ScienceDaily: Living Well News


How smells stick to your memories: Your nose can be a pathfinder

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 10:33 AM PDT

Waves in your brain make smells stick to your memories and inner maps. Researchers have recently discovered the process behind this phenomenon. The brain, it turns out, connects smells to memories through an associative process where neural networks are linked through synchronized brain waves of 20-40 Hz.

Percent of uninsured Texans declined since September 2013

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 09:56 AM PDT

The percentage of uninsured adults ages 18 to 64 in Texas declined from 24.8 to 23.5 between September 2013 and March 2014, according to a report. The decrease in uninsured appears to be attributable to an increase in employer-sponsored health insurance. The report also found that during this period approximately 746,000 Texans purchased health insurance through the Affordable Care Act's Health Insurance Marketplace, of which 178,000 (30.2 percent) were previously uninsured.

Multiple births don't have to be an inevitable result of fertility treatments

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 07:16 AM PDT

While fertility treatments have helped many people become parents, they commonly result in multiple births, increasing the risk of prematurity, and leading to lifelong complications. But this doesn't have to be the case, according researchers, who recommend sweeping changes to policy and clinical practice.

How toddlers learn verbs: New insight

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 07:16 AM PDT

Parents can help toddlers' language skills by showing them a variety of examples of different actions, according to new research. Previous research has shown that verbs pose particular difficulties to toddlers as they refer to actions rather than objects, and actions are often different each time a child sees them.

Computer software analyzing facial expressions accurately predicts student test performance

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 07:13 AM PDT

Real-time engagement detection technology that processes facial expressions can perform with accuracy comparable to that of human observers, according to new research. The study used automatic expression recognition technology to analyze students' facial expressions on a frame-by-frame basis and estimate their engagement level. The study also revealed that engagement levels were a better predictor of students' post-test performance than the students' pre-test scores.

Body mass index associated with breast cancer, regardless of body shape

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 06:08 AM PDT

A larger waist circumference is associated with higher risk of postmenopausal breast cancer, but not beyond its contribution to BMI, a new study of predominantly white women finds. The study fails to confirm previous findings that body shape itself is an independent risk factor for breast cancer.

Masculine boys, feminine girls more likely to engage in cancer risk behaviors, study finds

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 06:03 AM PDT

The most "feminine" girls and "masculine" boys are more likely than their peers to engage in behaviors that pose cancer risks, according to a new study. The most feminine teenage girls use tanning beds more frequently and are more likely to be physically inactive, while the most masculine teenage boys are more likely to use chewing tobacco and to smoke cigars, compared with their gender-nonconforming peers.

Vitamin D deficiency contributes to poor mobility among severely obese people

Posted: 15 Apr 2014 10:38 AM PDT

Among severely obese people, vitamin D may make the difference between an active and a more sedentary lifestyle, according to a new study. The study found severely obese people who also were vitamin D-deficient walked slower and were less active overall than their counterparts who had healthy vitamin D levels. Poor physical functioning can reduce quality of life and even shorten lifespans.

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News


For cells, internal stress leads to unique shapes

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 01:26 PM PDT

A cell's unique shape results from an internal tug-of-war: the cell needs to maintain structural integrity while also dynamically responding to the pushes and pulls of mechanical stress, researchers have discovered. The researchers studied the supportive microtubule arrangement in the tissue of pavement cells from the first leaves -- or cotyledons -- of a young Arabidopsis thaliana plant.

Mars: Meteorites yield clues to Red Planet's early atmosphere

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 11:33 AM PDT

Geologists analyzed 40 meteorites that fell to Earth from Mars to understand the history of the Martian atmosphere. Their new article shows the atmospheres of Mars and Earth diverged in important ways early in the solar system's 4.6 billion year evolution.

Eavesdropping on brain cell chatter

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 11:33 AM PDT

Everything we do -- all of our movements, thoughts and feelings -- are the result of neurons talking with one another, and recent studies have suggested that some of the conversations might not be all that private. Brain cells known as astrocytes may be listening in on, or even participating in, some of those discussions. But a new mouse study suggests that astrocytes might only be tuning in part of the time -- specifically, when the neurons get really excited about something.

Theoretical biophysics: Adventurous bacteria decide how to preserve species?

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 11:33 AM PDT

To reproduce or to conquer the world? Surprisingly, bacteria also face this problem. Theoretical biophysicists have now shown how these organisms should decide how best to preserve their species.

Hide and seek: Revealing camouflaged bacteria

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 10:33 AM PDT

A protein family that plays a central role in the fight against the bacterial pathogen Salmonella within the cells has been discovered by researchers. The so called interferon-induced GTPases reveal and eliminate the bacterium's camouflage in the cell, enabling the cell to recognize the pathogen and to render it innocuous.

Ancient shark fossil reveals new insights into jaw evolution

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 10:33 AM PDT

The skull of a newly discovered 325-million-year-old shark-like species suggests that early cartilaginous and bony fishes have more to tell us about the early evolution of jawed vertebrates -- including humans -- than do modern sharks, as was previously thought. The new study shows that living sharks are actually quite advanced in evolutionary terms, despite having retained their basic 'sharkiness' over millions of years.

Crucial new information about how the ice ages came about

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 10:33 AM PDT

Scientists have discovered new relationships between deep-sea temperature and ice-volume changes to provide crucial new information about how the ice ages came about. The researchers found, for the first time, that the long-term trends in cooling and continental ice-volume cycles over the past 5.3 million years were not the same. In fact, for temperature the major step toward the ice ages that have characterized the past two to three million years was a cooling event at 2.7 million years ago, but for ice-volume the crucial step was the development of the first intense ice age at around 2.15 million years ago. Before these results, these were thought to have occurred together at about 2.5 million years ago.

Sperm meets egg: Protein essential for fertilization discovered

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 10:32 AM PDT

Interacting proteins on the surface of the sperm and the egg have been discovered by researchers. These are essential to begin mammalian life. These proteins, which allow the sperm and egg to recognize one another, offer new paths towards improved fertility treatments and the development of new contraceptives.

Scientists re-define what's healthy in newest analysis for human microbiome project

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 10:31 AM PDT

A new look at the Human Microbiome Project shows wide variation in the types of bacteria found in healthy people. Based on their findings, there is no single healthy microbiome. Rather each person harbors a unique and varied collection of bacteria that's the result of life history as well their interactions with the environment, diet and medication use.

HIV-positive women respond well to HPV vaccine, study shows

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 09:56 AM PDT

A vaccine can safely help the vast majority of HIV-positive women produce antibodies against the cancer-causing human papillomavirus, even if their immune system is weak and even if they've had some prior HPV exposure, a three-nation clinical trial found. HPV causes cervical and other cancers. The commonly used HPV vaccine Gardasil had not been tested in seriously immune-suppressed women with HIV. In addition, vaccines are often less effective in HIV-positive people.

Significant baseline levels of arsenic found in soil throughout Ohio are due to natural processes

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 09:54 AM PDT

Geologic and soil processes are to blame for significant baseline levels of arsenic in soil throughout Ohio, according to a new study. Every sample had concentrations higher than the screening level of concern recommended by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The researchers found that the patterns of arsenic in Ohio soils are most closely related to the arsenic content of the underlying bedrock, which was formed approximately 250 to 300 million years ago. Glacial and soil processes have modified the landscape since.

Shade grown coffee shrinking as a proportion of global coffee production

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 09:54 AM PDT

Over the past couple of decades, global coffee production has been shifting towards a more intensive, less environmentally friendly style, a new study has found. That's pretty surprising if you live in the U.S. and you've gone to the grocery store or Starbucks, where sales of environmentally and socially conscious coffees have risen sharply and now account for half of all U.S. coffee sales by economic value.

DNA looping damage tied to HPV cancer, researcher discovers

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 08:30 AM PDT

Certain strains of human papillomavirus (HPV) are known to cause about five percent of all cancer cases, yet all the mechanisms aren't completely understood. Now, researchers have leveraged Ohio Supercomputer Center resources and whole-genome sequencing to identify a new way that HPV might spark cancer development -- by disrupting the human DNA sequence with repeating loops when HPV is inserted into host-cell DNA as it replicates.

Floating nuclear plants could ride out tsunamis: New design for enhanced safety, easier siting and centralized construction

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 08:29 AM PDT

When an earthquake and tsunami struck the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant complex in 2011, neither the quake nor the inundation caused the ensuing contamination. Rather, it was the aftereffects -- specifically, the lack of cooling for the reactor cores, due to a shutdown of all power at the station -- that caused most of the harm. A new design for nuclear plants built on floating platforms, modeled after those used for offshore oil drilling, could help avoid such consequences in the future.

Trials of the Cherokee were reflected in their skulls

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 08:29 AM PDT

Researchers have found that environmental stressors -- from the Trail of Tears to the Civil War -- led to significant changes in the shape of skulls in the eastern and western bands of the Cherokee people. The findings highlight the role of environmental factors in shaping our physical characteristics.

Pressure relief valve in cellular membrane identified

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 08:28 AM PDT

Regulation of cell volume is critical for the body's cells, for example during cellular exposure to fluids of varying salt concentrations, in cell division and cell growth, but also in diseases such as cancer, stroke and myocardial infarction. A certain chloride channel, a membrane protein that allows the passage of the chloride ion, is of crucial importance in volume regulation.

First metritis vaccine protects dairy cows

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 08:27 AM PDT

The first vaccines that can prevent metritis, one of the most common cattle diseases, has been developed by researchers. The infection not only harms animals and farmers' profits, but also drives more systemic antibiotic use on dairy farms than any other disease. The new vaccines prevent metritis infection of the uterus from taking hold and reduce symptoms when it does, a prospect that could save the United States billions of dollars a year and help curb the growing epidemic of antibiotic resistance.

Breakthrough points to new drugs from nature

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 07:17 AM PDT

A new technique for discovering natural compounds has been discovered, and could form the basis of novel therapeutic drugs. "This new research technique opens the door to unlimited opportunities, both in terms of chemistry and biology research, as we continue the search for new therapies against disease," one author said.

Irrigated agriculture: precious habitat for the long-billed curlew

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 07:16 AM PDT

Despite the recent rainfall, California is still in a drought, so not only are water supplies limited, but demand for water is increasing from a variety of uses. In a recent study, scientists document the importance of irrigated agricultural crops in California's Central Valley to a conspicuous shorebird.

Ant colonies help evacuees in disaster zones

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 07:16 AM PDT

An escape route mapping system based on the behavior of ant colonies could give evacuees a better chance of reaching safe harbor after a natural disaster or terrorist attack by building a map showing the shortest routes to shelters and providing regular updates of current situations such as fires, blocked roads or other damage via the smart phones of emergency workers and those caught up in the disaster.

Researchers propose network-based evaluation tool to assess relief operations feasibility

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 07:16 AM PDT

The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction reported that disasters have affected around 2.9 billion people worldwide from 2000-2012- killing more than a million, and damaging around 1.7 trillion US dollars in estimates. Moreover, natural disasters and their damages have been documented to occur with increasing intensity. Given the staggering numbers, effective disaster preparedness and relief response plans is compelling, especially considering the fact that natural disasters are usually unpredictable and damage cannot be avoided. Scientists have now presented a model that looks into the logistics of disaster relief using open data and tools and measures developed in the field of network science.

Progress in understanding immune response in severe schistosomiasis

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 07:13 AM PDT

A mechanism that may help explain the severe forms of schistosomiasis, or snail fever, has been discovered by researchers. Schistosomiasis is one of the most prevalent parasitic diseases in the world. The study in mice may also offer targets for intervention and amelioration of the disease. Although schistosomiasis is not contracted in the United States or Europe, the World Health Organization reports that this neglected tropical disease is endemic primarily in Africa, but is also found in South America, the Middle East, and Asia.

Relieving electric vehicle range anxiety with improved batteries

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 07:13 AM PDT

A new nanomaterial called a metal organic framework could extend the lifespan of lithium-sulfur batteries, which could be used to increase the driving range of electric vehicles. Researchers added the powder, a kind of nanomaterial called a metal organic framework, to the battery's cathode to capture problematic polysulfides that usually cause lithium-sulfur batteries to fail after a few charges. During lab tests, a lithium-sulfur battery with the new MOF cathode maintained 89 percent of its initial power capacity after 100 charge-and discharge cycles.

Diverse gene pool critical for tigers' survival, say experts

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 06:08 AM PDT

Increasing tigers' genetic diversity -- via interbreeding and other methods -- and not just their population numbers may be the best solution to saving this endangered species, according to research. Iconic symbols of power and beauty, wild tigers may roam only in stories someday soon. Their historical range has been reduced by more than 90 percent. But conservation plans that focus only on increasing numbers and preserving distinct subspecies ignore genetic diversity, according to the study. In fact, under that approach, the tiger could vanish entirely.

Fish exposed to antidepressants exhibit altered behavioral changes

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 06:05 AM PDT

Fish exposed to the antidepressant Fluoxetine, an active ingredient in prescription drugs such as Prozac, exhibited a range of altered mating behaviours, repetitive behaviour and aggression towards female fish, according to new research. "With increased aggression, in the highest level of concentration, female survivorship was only 33% compared to the other exposures that had a survivorship of 77-87.5%. The females that died had visible bruising and tissue damage," according to the lead author.

Gate for bacterial toxins found in cells

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 06:05 AM PDT

A molecule that smuggles toxins from intestinal pathogens into human cells has been discovered by scientists. "In order to prevent the toxin from entering the cell, it is necessary to find the receptor that serves as the gatekeeper. But the search for this key molecule remained unsuccessful for a long time," one researcher. The team has now identified a receptor for a clostridial toxin of this type for the first time ever.

EU must take urgent action on invasive species, experts urge

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 06:05 AM PDT

The EU must take urgent action to halt the spread of invasive species that are threatening native plants and animals across Europe, according to scientists. The threats posed by these species cost an estimated €12 billion each year across Europe.

At the origin of cell division: The features of living matter emerge from inanimate matter in simulation

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 06:04 AM PDT

Droplets of filamentous material enclosed in a lipid membrane: these are the models of a "simplified" cell used by physicists who simulated the spontaneous emergence of cell motility and division - that is, features of living material - in inanimate "objects".

Environmentally compatible organic solar cells in the future

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 06:04 AM PDT

Environmentally compatible production methods for organic solar cells from novel materials are in the focus of "MatHero". The new project aims at making organic photovoltaics competitive to their inorganic counterparts by enhancing the efficiency of organic solar cells, reducing their production costs and increasing their life-time.

Warm U.S. West, cold East: 4,000-year pattern; Global warming may bring more curvy jet streams during winter

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 06:03 AM PDT

Last winter's curvy jet stream pattern brought mild temperatures to western North America and harsh cold to the East. A new study shows that pattern became more pronounced 4,000 years ago, and suggests it may worsen as Earth's climate warms.

Lemurs match scent of a friend to sound of her voice

Posted: 15 Apr 2014 05:38 PM PDT

Scientists report that ring-tailed lemurs respond more strongly to the scents and sounds of female lemurs when the scent they smell and the voice they hear belong to the same female -- even when she's nowhere in sight. Linking a particular female's call with her unique aroma gives the lemurs a way to figure out if she is nearby, since the scents tend to linger.

Vitamin D deficiency contributes to poor mobility among severely obese people

Posted: 15 Apr 2014 10:38 AM PDT

Among severely obese people, vitamin D may make the difference between an active and a more sedentary lifestyle, according to a new study. The study found severely obese people who also were vitamin D-deficient walked slower and were less active overall than their counterparts who had healthy vitamin D levels. Poor physical functioning can reduce quality of life and even shorten lifespans.

Rising demand for herbal medicine can increase cultivation of medicinal trees

Posted: 15 Apr 2014 08:24 AM PDT

Formalizing trade in herbal medicinal products has the potential to increase the demand for on-farm grown raw material and raise the level of cultivation of medicinal tree species in smallholder farms. A study in Kenya shows that trade in herbal medicinal products is rising in the urban areas and formalization in terms of better hygienic packaging and labeling of the products is likely to increase cultivation of these tree species.

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