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Updated: 11 hours 49 sec ago

Dopamine turns worker ants into warrior queens

Mon, 12/05/2014 - 2:18pm
The ritualized fighting behavior of one ant species is linked to increases in dopamine levels that trigger dramatic physical changes in the ants without affecting their DNA, according to research. The researchers studied Indian jumping ants (Harpegnathos saltator), which can undergo significant changes in physiology without any related changes to their DNA. Instead, the changes depend on which genes are turned on or off -- which in turn is determined by social and environmental factors. This has made them a model organism for epigenetics researchers.
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Ultra-fast bionic arm can catch objects on the fly

Mon, 12/05/2014 - 2:17pm
With its palm open, the robot is completely motionless. A split second later, it suddenly unwinds and catches all sorts of flying objects thrown in its direction -- a tennis racket, a ball, a bottle. This arm measures about 1.5 meters long and keeps an upright position. It has three joints and a sophisticated hand with four fingers. It is unique, as it has the ability to catch projectiles of various irregular shapes in less than five hundredths of a second.
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HADES searches for dark matter: Astrophysicists cross 'Dark Photon' off the list in top position

Mon, 12/05/2014 - 2:17pm
Recent results of HADES experiments have shown, that the dark photon or U boson is no longer a top candidate to explain the nature of dark matter. Researchers are now searching for the constituents of dark matter at HADES, the High-Acceptance Di-Electron Spectrometer. These negative results -- recently published in Physics Letters B -- could even lead to challenges of the standard model of particle physics.
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Analyzing sperm cells to learn about animal infidelity, evolution

Mon, 12/05/2014 - 2:15pm
The analyzing of sperm cells to learn more about bird evolution and behavior is a new area of research. "To understand sexual infidelity in species, interpreting DNA is not enough. We also need to look at the shape and behavior of the sperm cells. Sperm research has opened up a completely new world to us," says one researcher.
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Drug therapy for allergy moves forward

Mon, 12/05/2014 - 2:15pm
Several target molecules that are suitable for the development of new allergy drugs have been identified by researchers. Immediate allergic reactions and allergic diseases such as allergic rhinitis, asthma and urticaria are extremely widespread across the population. Traditionally, drug therapy for allergy is based on the use of non-sedative antihistamines, i.e. blocking of the histamine H1 receptors, but sometimes additional help is obtained from blockers of the cysteinyl leukotriene receptor-1.
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How fish were able to colonize poisonous springs: A tale of survival

Mon, 12/05/2014 - 2:14pm
Hydrogen sulphide is a potent inhibitor of aerobic respiration. However populations of shortfin molly fish managed to colonize springs with high concentrations of dissolved hydrogen sulphide. In a new study, researchers present evidence of genetic changes minimizing the harmful effects of H2S which enable the fish to survive in this deleterious environment. The study provides insight into the molecular mechanisms of this key adaptation for the first time.
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Artificial magnetic bacteria 'turn' food into natural drugs

Mon, 12/05/2014 - 2:14pm
Scientists have successfully created magnetic bacteria that could be added to foodstuffs and could, after ingestion, help diagnose diseases of the digestive system like stomach cancer. These important findings constitute the first use of a food as a natural drug and aid in diagnosing an illness, anywhere in the world.
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A turbulent birth for stars in merging galaxies

Mon, 12/05/2014 - 2:14pm
Using state of the art computer simulations, a team of French astrophysicists have for the first time explained a long standing mystery: why surges of star formation (so called ‘starbursts’) take place when galaxies collide.
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Mars Canyons: Against the current with lava flows

Mon, 12/05/2014 - 2:14pm
An Italian astronomer in the 19th century first described them as ‘canali’ – on Mars’ equatorial region, a conspicuous net-like system of deep gorges known as the Noctis Labyrinthus is clearly visible. The gorge system, in turn, leads into another massive canyon, the Valles Marineris, which is 4,000 km long, 200 km wide and 7 km deep. Both of these together would span the US completely from east to west.
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Noninvasive monitoring of HIV-induced peripheral neuropathy may be possible

Mon, 12/05/2014 - 2:14pm
Corneal nerve fiber assessment has great potential as a tool to diagnose and monitor peripheral neuropathy induced by HIV, say scientists. Although corneal nerve assessments have shown increasingly valuable as a replacement for epidermal nerve fiber evaluation in diabetic peripheral neuropathy, the evaluation of corneal alterations in tracking HIV-induced neuropathy has yet to be explored.
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Endocrine disruptors impair human sperm function, research finds

Mon, 12/05/2014 - 2:14pm
A plethora of endocrine-disrupting chemicals interfere with human sperm function in a way that may have a negative impact on fertilization, according to new research. The work suggests that endocrine disruptors may contribute to widespread fertility problems in the Western world in a way that hitherto has not been recognized.
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Plant welfare is improved by fungi in soil

Mon, 12/05/2014 - 2:14pm
A team of biologists has discovered how plants use fungi to help them to gather vital nutrients from the soil. The researchers found that a protein, known as a proton pump, at the interface of fungus and root cells energises cell membranes creating a pathway into the plant cell for nutrients such as phosphorus. The research may point the way to the development of higher yield crops using plants' own organic tools rather than fertilizers.
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U.S. cervical cancer rates higher than previously reported, especially among older women, African-American women

Mon, 12/05/2014 - 2:13pm
Cervical cancer rates in the United States are higher than previously believed, particularly among 65- to 69-year-old women and African-American women, according to a study. Current U.S. cervical cancer screening guidelines do not recommend routine Pap smears for women over 65 if their prior test results have been normal.
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ADHD Treatment Associated with Lower Smoking Rates

Mon, 12/05/2014 - 2:13pm
Treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) with stimulant medication may reduce smoking risk, especially when medication is taken consistently, according to an analysis. ADHD is a common childhood disorder that can continue through adolescence and adulthood, and is characterized by hyperactivity, difficulty paying attention and impulsivity. It is most commonly treated with stimulant medication (such as Vyvanse or Concerta), as well as with behavior therapy or a combination of the two.
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Scientists slow brain tumor growth in mice

Mon, 12/05/2014 - 2:13pm
Much like using dimmer switches to brighten or darken rooms, biochemists have identified a protein that can be used to slow down or speed up the growth of brain tumors in mice. Brain and other nervous system cancers are expected to claim 14,320 lives in the United States this year.
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Understanding Aspirin's effect on wound healing offers hope for treating chronic wounds

Mon, 12/05/2014 - 2:12pm
Researchers describe how aspirin acts on key skin cells called keratinocytes to delay skin repair at wound sites. A better understanding of this process offers hope for the development of drugs to encourage wounds to heal. The public health impact of chronic wounds is significant, affecting 6.5 million people in the US alone. Chronic wounds, a common complication of diabetes, are an increasing healthcare burden due to the rising incidence rates for obesity and diabetes.
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Human microbiome studies should include wider diversity of populations, experts warn

Mon, 12/05/2014 - 1:48am
Microbial samples taken from populations living in the US and Tanzania reveal that the microbiome of the human hand is more varied than previously thought, according to new research. These findings suggest that the 'standard' hand microbiome varies depending on location and lifestyle. Results compared the microbes on the hands of women in the U.S. and Tanzania and found that organisms that have commonly been identified in prior human skin microbiome studies were highly abundant on U.S. hands, while the most abundant bacterial species on Tanzanian hands were associated with the environment, particularly soil.
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Ice-loss moves the Earth 250 miles down

Mon, 12/05/2014 - 1:48am
Scientists have revealed that Earth's mantle under Antarctica is at a lower viscosity and moving at such a rapid rate it is changing the shape of the land at a rate that can be recorded by GPS. They have explained for the first time why the upward motion of Earth's crust in the Northern Antarctic Peninsula is currently taking place so quickly.
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Men from ethnic minorities take longer to recover from mental illness, study finds

Mon, 12/05/2014 - 1:48am
Men from minority ethnic groups experiencing mental health problems in the UK take longer to recover than white men as they are more reluctant to seek professional help, according to research. The study, which analyzed the experiences of twelve groups of men with poor mental health from African-Caribbean, African, Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Chinese communities in London and the West Midlands, found that black and minority ethnic men's ability to talk openly about feeling vulnerable was affected by masculine identity.
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Fourfold increase in rate of diagnosed cases of celiac disease in the UK

Mon, 12/05/2014 - 1:48am
New research has found a fourfold increase in the rate of diagnosed cases of celiac disease in the United Kingdom over the past two decades, but, still it appears that three quarters of people with celiac disease remain undiagnosed.
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