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Animal functional diversity started out poor, became richer over time

Wed, 04/03/2015 - 12:54pm
The finding refutes a hypothesis by the famed evolutionary biologist Stephen J. Gould that marine creatures underwent an 'early burst' of functional diversity during the dawn of animal life.
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Widespread risk of infectious diseases to wild bees, new study reveals

Wed, 04/03/2015 - 12:54pm
A network of viruses, which were previously associated with managed honeybees, may now pose a widespread risk to bumblebees in the wild, according to a new study. The study revealed multiple interconnected diseases that are threatening several species of bumblebee and the managed honeybee, which are essential pollinators of many agricultural crops and wild flowers.
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Why many similar species coexist within complex ecosystems, such as Amazon rainforest or coral reefs

Wed, 04/03/2015 - 12:53pm
Scientists suggest one possible answer for the enigma of stability in complex ecosystems like the Amazon rainforest or coral reefs. Many similar species coexist in these complex ecosystems without one of them prevailing above all the rest and displacing them.
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Vampire bats: Who bit whom?

Wed, 04/03/2015 - 12:53pm
Scientists discovered a new retrovirus “fossil” found in the common vampire bat which is homologous to retroviruses in rodents and primates. The results suggest the recent circulation of an active infectious retrovirus and cross-species transmission. Vampire bat (Desmodus rotundus) samples from Mexico and from the Berlin Zoological Garden revealed a new endogenous retrovirus (named DrERV after Desmodus rotundus endogenous retrovirus) that is also present in rodents and primates but is absent in other closely related bat species. The results suggest that this virus historically jumped more than once among different species.
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An alternative to medical marijuana for pain?

Wed, 04/03/2015 - 12:53pm
Medical marijuana is proliferating across the country due to the ability of cannabis ingestion to treat important clinical problems such as chronic pain. However, negative side effects and the development of tolerance limit the widespread therapeutic use of THC, the major psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. THC's side effects are produced via its actions at cannabinoid CB1 receptors in the brain. Thus, scientists theorized that an agent with similar mechanistic actions, but that activate CB2 receptors instead, may eliminate the unwanted side effects while maintaining an equivalent level of efficacy.
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Genetic study revives debate on origin and expansion of Indo-European languages in Europe

Wed, 04/03/2015 - 12:53pm
Researchers have identified a massive migration of Kurgan populations (Yamna culture) which went from the Russian steppes to the center of Europe some 4,500 years ago, favoring the expansion of Indo-European languages throughout the continent.
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New information on Parkinson’s: GDNF not needed by the midbrain dopamine system

Wed, 04/03/2015 - 12:52pm
A key factor in the motor symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease is the gradual destruction of dopamine neurons. The glial cell-derived neurotrophic factor, or GDNF, has been proven to protect dopamine neurons in test tube conditions and in test animal models for Parkinson’s disease. GDNF and its close relative, neurturin, have also been used in experimental treatments of patients with severe Parkinson’s disease. The results have been promising, but vary widely in terms of efficacy. At the moment, two companies are conducting tests to determine the clinical effects of GDNF on Parkinson’s sufferers.
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Salt increases physical performance in resistance competitions

Wed, 04/03/2015 - 12:52pm
The effectiveness of salt on sports performance in triathletes has been evaluated by researchers. The athletes who added this supplement to their usual hydration routines during the competition took 26 minutes less to complete a medium-distance triathlon course than those who only used sports drinks.
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Flexible sensors turn skin into a touch-sensitive interaction space for mobile devices

Wed, 04/03/2015 - 12:52pm
If a mobile phone rings during a meeting, its owner often has to dig it out before it can be muted. A more discreet method would be to decline the incoming call by pressing on one of your fingers. Computer scientists are studying the potential use of the human body as a touch sensitive surface for controlling mobile devices. They have developed flexible silicone rubber stickers with pressure-sensitive sensors that fit snugly to the skin. By operating these touch input stickers, users can use their own body to control mobile devices. Because of the flexible material used, the sensors can be manufactured in a variety of shapes, sizes and personalized designs.
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Solar cells to get growth boost, price cut

Wed, 04/03/2015 - 12:52pm
Researchers have found that growing a type of film used to manufacture solar cells in ambient air gives it a growth boost. The finding could make manufacturing solar cells significantly cheaper.
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Cities have a memory and interact with their neighbors

Wed, 04/03/2015 - 12:52pm
Demographic changes in large cities depend on millions of individual decisions, but the population evolves depending on two factors: what 'reminds' them of their recent past and the existence of other urban areas around them. This is the proposal developed by a group of researchers through algorithms, which show how American cities have a 25-year-old memory and interact with others 200 km away while in the case of the Spain these values are 15 years and 80 km.
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Robots for stroke rehabilitation

Wed, 04/03/2015 - 12:52pm
A prototype of a robotic glove has been developed which stroke suffers can use in their own home to support rehabilitation and personal independence in receiving therapies. At the chronic stages of stroke, patients are not likely to be receiving treatment but they continue to live with some impairments -- the glove's goal is to provide therapies to target these impairments.
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New type of biomarker shows promise in improving prostate cancer care

Wed, 04/03/2015 - 12:50pm
Two biomarkers have been discovered by researchers that may improve oncologists’ ability to predict which patients’ prostate cancer will recur after surgery, long before the development of visible cancer elsewhere in the body.
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Lightning plus volcanic ash make glass

Tue, 03/03/2015 - 11:34pm
Researchers have proposed a mechanism for the generation of glass spherules in geologic deposits through the occurrence of volcanic lightning. The existence of fulgurites -- glassy products formed in rocks and sediments struck by cloud-to-ground lightning -- provide direct evidence that geologic materials can be melted via natural lightning occurrence.
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Newly discovered hormone mimics the effects of exercise

Tue, 03/03/2015 - 11:34pm
Scientists have discovered a new hormone that fights the weight gain caused by a high-fat Western diet and normalizes the metabolism -- effects commonly associated with exercising. When tested in mice, the hormone blocked the negative health effects of eating a high-fat diet.
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Bird flu: New compound protects 100 percent of ferrets, mice, from H5N1

Tue, 03/03/2015 - 11:34pm
Medical researchers have developed an antibody which has proven 100 percent protective against the H5N1 virus in two species of animal models.
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First scientific publication from data collected at National Synchrotron Light Source II

Tue, 03/03/2015 - 11:34pm
Just weeks after NSLS-II achieved first light, a team of scientists tested a setup that yielded data on thermoelectric materials. To test the optical performance and components of the beamline, the scientists put a material in the path of the x-ray beam and attempted to characterize its structure as the best way to identify and fix possible flaws or aberrations that the instrument could have caused.
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Neuroscientists identify new way several brain areas communicate

Tue, 03/03/2015 - 11:34pm
Neuroscientists have identified a new pathway by which several brain areas communicate within the brain's striatum. The findings illustrate structural and functional connections that allow the brain to use reinforcement learning to make spatial decisions. Knowing how these specific pathways work together provides crucial insight into how learning occurs. It also could lead to improved treatments for Parkinson's disease.
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New tech could significantly cut carbon dioxide emissions

Tue, 03/03/2015 - 11:33pm
A provisionally patented technology could revolutionize carbon dioxide capture and help significantly reduce pollution worldwide.
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Creative genius driven by distraction

Tue, 03/03/2015 - 8:32pm
The literary great Marcel Proust wore ear-stoppers because he was unable to filter out irrelevant noise -- and lined his bedroom with cork to attenuate sound. Now new research suggests why the inability to shut out competing sensory information while focusing on the creative project at hand might have been so acute for geniuses such as Proust, Franz Kafka, Charles Darwin, Anton Chekhov and many others.
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