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: 1 hour 28 min ago
A new study pins down a major factor behind the appearance of superconductivity -- the ability to conduct electricity with 100 percent efficiency -- in a promising copper-oxide material. Scientists used carefully timed pairs of laser pulses to trigger superconductivity in the material and immediately take x-ray snapshots of its atomic and electronic structure as superconductivity emerged.
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.
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.
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.
Synapses are the points of contact at which information is transmitted between neurons. Without them, we would not be able to form thoughts or remember things. For memories to endure, synapses sometimes have to remain stable for very long periods. But how can a synapse last if its components have to be replaced regularly? New research shows that synapses remain stable if their components grow in coordination with each other.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Changes in appetite, taste and smell are par for the course for people who have undergone Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery during which one's stomach is made smaller and small intestines shortened. These sensory changes are not all negative, and could lead to more weight loss among patients. Their findings showed that after gastric bypass surgery, patients frequently report sensory changes.
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.
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.
A new study finds that an increase in a municipality’s homicide rate causes more elementary school students in that community to fail a grade than would do so if the rate remained stable. "This finding is a source of concern because exposure to environmental violence is highly prevalent in contemporary societies and is unequally distributed along socioeconomic lines," said study co-author.
Researchers have shown the ability to grow high quality, single-layer materials one on top of the other using chemical vapor deposition. This highly scalable technique, often used in the semiconductor industry, can produce new materials with unique properties that could be applied to solar cells, ultracapacitors for energy storage, or advanced transistors for energy efficient electronics, among many other applications.
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.
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.
Use of video surveillance to better understand essential hygiene behavior has been pioneered by researchers. Still, despite years of global public awareness campaigns, hand washing rates remain low. Caregivers of young children in low-income, developing world settings are found to wash their hands only 17 percent of the time after using the toilet. A new study finds that video surveillance can provide insights into hand washing behavior. Study findings could inform the design, monitoring and evaluation of hygiene campaigns.
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.
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.