Breaking science news and articles on global warming, extrasolar planets, stem cells, bird flu, autism, nanotechnology, dinosaurs, evolution -- the latest discoveries in astronomy, anthropology, biology, chemistry, climate and environment, computers, engineering, health and medicine, math, physics, psychology, technology, and more -- from the world's leading universities and research organizations.
Updated: 2 hours 28 min ago
Both mother and fetus are at increased risk for complications of flu infection during pregnancy. And prenatal care providers say they're advising women to get the flu vaccine, in line with recommendations from various organizations. But many pregnant women don't understand the importance of this advice -- and don't get the vaccine.
A parasitic fungus that must kill its ant hosts outside their nest to reproduce and transmit their infection, manipulates its victims to die in the vicinity of the colony, ensuring a constant supply of potential new hosts, according to researchers. The fungus grows a stalk, called the stroma, which protrudes from the ant cadaver. A large round structure, known as the ascoma, forms on the stroma. Infectious spores then develop in the ascoma and are discharged onto the forest floor below, where they can infect foraging ants from the colony.
The small body size associated with the pygmy phenotype is probably a selective adaptation for rainforest hunter-gatherers, according to an international team of researchers. But all African pygmy phenotypes do not have the same genetic underpinning, suggesting a more recent adaptation than previously thought.
Men and women differ in obvious ways, and scientists have long known that genetic differences buried deep within our DNA underlie these distinctions. In the past, most research has focused on understanding how the genes that encode proteins act as sex determinants. But scientists have found that a subset of very small genes encoding short RNA molecules, called microRNAs, also play a key role in differentiating male and female tissues in the fruit fly.
The structure of the first virus known to naturally infect nematodes has been described by researchers. The research will help scientists study how viruses interact with their nematode hosts. It may also allow them to customize the virus to attack parasitic or pathogenic worms. The research may also lead to new information about how viruses attack other species, including humans, which have thousands of genes that are identical to those found in nematodes.
A crucial step in DNA repair that could lead to targeted gene therapy for hereditary diseases such as 'children of the moon' and a common form of colon cancer has been found by scientists. Such disorders are caused by faulty DNA repair systems that increase the risk for cancer and other conditions.
Security systems based on photo identification could be significantly improved by selecting staff who have an aptitude for this very difficult visual task, a study of Australian passport officers suggests. The research found passport-issuing officers performed no better than average on a variety of face-matching tasks, despite their experience and training. They made large numbers of errors, although there were very large individual differences in accuracy.
Aspirin has a second effect, researchers have found: Not only does it kill cyclooxygenase, thus preventing production of the prostaglandins that cause inflammation and pain, it also prompts the enzyme to generate another compound that hastens the end of inflammation, returning the affected cells to homeostatic health.
A new survey uncovers surprising findings regarding political polarization and knowledge about abortion and health. Although initial results showed some support for the red-versus-blue state divide when it came to abortion health knowledge (but not legal knowledge), this difference between states disappeared when researchers took into account individual-level characteristics, including respondents' political beliefs, their beliefs about whether abortion should be permitted and whether or not they knew someone who had an abortion.
The Internet has affected performance and product quality in the airline industry, especially flight times, a new study shows. Instead of competing for space at the top of travel agents' computer screens by scheduling the shortest flights, airlines have adapted to an environment in which price is playing the dominant role in selling tickets.
Emergency physicians should expect 'an upswing in what on the surface appear to be heroin overdoses,' but are actually overdoses tied to acetyl fentanyl, an opiate that is mixed into street drugs marketed as heroin, a new study suggests.
A single factor can reset the immune system of mice to a state likely similar to what it was 500 million years ago, when the first vertebrates emerged. The model, researchers report, could provide an explanation of how the immune system had developed in the course of evolution.
Researchers have given a sweeping assessment to understand how human activities are affecting estuaries, the nation's sounds, bays, gulfs and bayous. This first comprehensive look at changes in land cover, river flow, pollution and nutrient levels offers a comprehensive look at the state of America's estuaries.
XRay is a new tool that reveals which data in a web account, such as emails, searches, or viewed products, are being used to target which outputs, such as ads, recommended products, or prices. Determined to provide checks and balances on data abuse, XRay is designed to be the first fine-grained, scalable personal data tracking system for the web.
It's time to question the common belief that patients receiving intensive blood pressure treatment are prone to falling and breaking bones. A comprehensive study in people ages 40 to 79 with diabetes found no evidence supporting this belief.
A novel mouse model that closely resembles human NASH has been described by researchers. They use it to demonstrate that interference with a key inflammatory protein inhibits both the development of NASH and its progression to liver cancer.
Investigators have successfully transplanted hearts from genetically engineered piglets into baboons' abdomens and had the hearts survive for more than one year, twice as long as previously reported. This was achieved by using genetically engineered porcine donors and a more focused immunosuppression regimen in the baboon recipients, according to a new study.
Recycling old car batteries into solar cells: Environmental twofer could recycle lead batteries to make solar cells
This could be a classic win-win solution: A system proposed by researchers recycles materials from discarded car batteries -- a potential source of lead pollution -- into new, long-lasting solar panels that provide emissions-free power.
While media attention has been focused recently on coronavirus cases in the Arabian peninsula and the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, experts note that another threat lies in the spread of Chikungunya fever, an illness that is transmitted by mosquitoes and can cause fever, joint and muscle pain, headaches, and rashes. While it does not often cause death, the symptoms can be severe and disabling, with no treatment available.
Smoking during pregnancy has discernible effects on the growth of a woman's future grandkids, a new study shows. The "likely transgenerational effects from the grandmothers' smoking in pregnancy need to be taken into account in future studies of the effects of maternal smoking on child growth and development. If replicated, such studies could be a useful model for the molecular analysis of human transgenerational responses," said the senior author.