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Six new genetic risk factors for Parkinson's found

Sun, 07/27/2014 - 14:57
Using data from over 18,000 patients, scientists have identified more than two dozen genetic risk factors involved in Parkinson's disease, including six that had not been previously reported. "Unraveling the genetic underpinnings of Parkinson's is vital to understanding the multiple mechanisms involved in this complex disease, and hopefully, may one day lead to effective therapies," said the senior author of the study.
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New tools help neuroscientists analyze 'big data'

Sun, 07/27/2014 - 14:57
New technologies for monitoring brain activity are generating unprecedented quantities of information. That data may hold new insights into how the brain works -- but only if researchers can interpret it. To help make sense of the data, neuroscientists can now harness the power of distributed computing with Thunder, a library of tools.
Categories: Technology News

'Holy grail' of battery design achieved: Stable lithium anode

Sun, 07/27/2014 - 14:57
Researchers report that they have taken a big step toward accomplishing what battery designers have been trying to do for decades -- design a pure lithium anode. All batteries have three basic components: an electrolyte to provide electrons, an anode to discharge those electrons, and a cathode to receive them. The nanosphere layer of a newly created battery design resembles a honeycomb: it creates a flexible, uniform and non-reactive film that protects the unstable lithium from the drawbacks that have made it such a challenge.
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Climate change and air pollution will combine to curb food supplies

Sun, 07/27/2014 - 14:57
Many studies have shown the potential for global climate change to cut food supplies. But these studies have, for the most part, ignored the interactions between increasing temperature and air pollution -- specifically ozone pollution, which is known to damage crops. A new study shows that these interactions can be quite significant, suggesting that policymakers need to take both warming and air pollution into account in addressing food security.
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New, noncommittal mechanism of drug resistance discovered

Sun, 07/27/2014 - 14:57
Microorganisms like bacteria and fungi can evade treatment by acquiring mutations in the genes targeted by antibiotics or antifungal drugs. These permanent mutations were once thought to be the only way for drug resistant strains to evolve. Now a new study has shown that microorganisms can use a temporary silencing of drug targets -- known as epimutations -- to gain the benefits of drug resistance without the commitment.
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Drugs used to treat lung disease work with body clock

Sun, 07/27/2014 - 14:56
Scientists have discovered why medication to treat asthma and pneumonia can become ineffective. The findings show that drugs widely used to treat lung diseases work with the body clock. The research found out that cells lining the lung airways have their own body clock which is the time-keeper for lung inflammation - both conditions cause swelling (inflammation) in the lungs.
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New drug target can break down cancer's barrier against treatment

Sun, 07/27/2014 - 14:56
Targeting a molecule in blood vessels can make cancer therapy significantly more effective, according to research. Researchers have found that a molecule, called focal adhesion kinase (FAK), signals the body to repair itself after chemotherapy or radiotherapy, which kill cancer cells by damaging DNA. When the researchers removed FAK from blood vessels that grew in melanoma or lung cancer models, both chemotherapy and radiation therapies were far more effective in killing the tumors.
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Fire ecology manipulation by California native cultures

Sat, 07/26/2014 - 06:23
Before the colonial era, 100,000s of people lived on the land now called California, and many of their cultures manipulated fire to control the availability of plants they used for food, fuel, tools, and ritual. Contemporary tribes continue to use fire to maintain desired habitat and natural resources.
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Epigenetic changes can drive cancer, study shows

Sat, 07/26/2014 - 06:23
A mouse model has been created providing the first in vivo evidence that epigenetic alterations alone can cause cancer. Epigenetic alterations don't change the DNA sequence but how it is 'read.' In particular, DNA methylation, the addition of a methyl group (or molecule), is an epigenetic switch that can stably turn off genes, suggesting the potential to cause cancer just as a genetic mutation can. Until now, direct evidence that DNA methylation drives cancer formation was lacking.
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Trees save lives, reduce respiratory problems

Fri, 07/25/2014 - 14:35
In the first broad-scale estimate of air pollution removal by trees nationwide, scientists have calculated that trees are saving more than 850 human lives a year and preventing 670,000 incidences of acute respiratory symptoms. The study considered four pollutants for which the U.S. EPA has established air quality standards: nitrogen dioxide, ozone, sulfur dioxide, and particulate matter less than 2.5 microns (PM2.5) in aerodynamic diameter.
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Changes in agriculture increase high river flow rates

Fri, 07/25/2014 - 14:35
Researchers have examined how changes in rainfall amounts and an increase in the amount of acreage used to grow such crops as corn and soybeans can affect the volume of river water flow in the U.S. Midwest.
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New brain pathways for understanding type 2 diabetes and obesity uncovered

Fri, 07/25/2014 - 14:35
Researchers have identified neural pathways that increase understanding of how the brain regulates body weight, energy expenditure, and blood glucose levels – a discovery that can lead to new therapies for treating Type 2 diabetes and obesity.
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Climate Change Increases Risk of Crop Slowdown in Next 20 Years

Fri, 07/25/2014 - 12:44
The world faces a small but substantially increased risk over the next two decades of a major slowdown in the growth of global corn and wheat yields because of climate change, according to new research. Such a slowdown would occur as global demand for crops rapidly increases.
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Primary texting bans associated with lower traffic fatalities, study finds

Fri, 07/25/2014 - 12:44
States that allow officers to pull over a driver for texting while driving saw fewer deaths than those that use secondary enforcement of texting bans. Some states have banned all drivers from texting while driving, while others have banned only young drivers. Also, some states' texting bans entail secondary enforcement, meaning an officer must have another reason to stop a vehicle, like speeding or running a red light, before citing a driver for texting while driving. These differences appear to impact traffic deaths, this study concludes.
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Slow walking speed, memory complaints can predict dementia

Fri, 07/25/2014 - 12:44
A study involving nearly 27,000 older adults on five continents found that nearly 1 in 10 met criteria for pre-dementia based on a simple test that measures how fast people walk and whether they have cognitive complaints. People who tested positive for pre-dementia were twice as likely as others to develop dementia within 12 years.
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Anti-inflammatory drug can prevent neuron loss in Parkinson's model

Fri, 07/25/2014 - 11:16
An experimental anti-inflammatory drug can protect vulnerable neurons and reduce motor deficits in a rat model of Parkinson's disease, a study has shown. The findings demonstrate that the drug, called XPro1595, can reach the brain at sufficient levels and have beneficial effects when administered by subcutaneous injection, like an insulin shot. Previous studies of XPro1595 in animals tested more invasive modes of delivery, such as direct injection into the brain.
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Manipulating key protein in brain holds potential against obesity, diabetes

Fri, 07/25/2014 - 11:16
A protein that controls when genes are switched on or off plays a key role in specific areas of the brain to regulate metabolism, researchers have found. The research potentially could lead to new therapies to treat obesity and diabetes, since the transcription factor involved – spliced X-box binding protein 1 – appears to influence the body's sensitivity to insulin and leptin signaling.
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Clearing cells to prevent cervical cancer

Fri, 07/25/2014 - 11:15
A novel approach to preventing cervical cancer has been described by researchers, based on findings showing successful reduction in the risk of cervical cancer after removal of a discrete population of cells in the cervix. The findings come from a study that looked at squamocolumnar junction cells, or SCJ cells. These cells reside in the cervical canal and have been implicated as the origins of cervical cancer.
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Experiences at every stage of life contribute to cognitive abilities in old age

Fri, 07/25/2014 - 09:09
Early life experiences, such as childhood socioeconomic status and literacy, may have greater influence on the risk of cognitive impairment late in life than such demographic characteristics as race and ethnicity, a large study has found. "These findings are important," explained the lead author of the study "because it challenges earlier research that suggests associations between race and ethnicity, particularly among Latinos, and an increased risk of late-life cognitive impairment and dementia.
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Collecting just the right data: Algorithm helps identify which data to target

Fri, 07/25/2014 - 09:08
Much artificial-intelligence research addresses the problem of making predictions based on large data sets. An obvious example is the recommendation engines at retail sites like Amazon and Netflix. But some types of data are harder to collect -- information about geological formations thousands of feet underground, for instance. And in other applications -- such as trying to predict the path of a storm -- there may just not be enough time to crunch all the available data. When you can't collect all the data you need, a new algorithm tells you which to target.
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