Updated: 15 min 47 sec ago
Wildfires across the western United States have been getting bigger and more frequent over the last 30 years. The total area these fires burned increased at a rate of nearly 90,000 acres a year -- an area the size of Las Vegas, according to the study. Individually, the largest wildfires grew at a rate of 350 acres a year, the new research says.
Fish consumption advisories for expecting mothers are ineffective in reducing infant exposure to contaminants like persistent organic pollutants. The researchers' model estimates that women who stop eating fish shortly before or during their pregnancy may only lower their child's exposure to POPs by 10 to 15 per cent.
The first Earth-sized exoplanet orbiting within the habitable zone of another star has been confirmed by observations with both the W. M. Keck Observatory and the Gemini Observatory. The initial discovery, made by NASA's Kepler Space Telescope, is one of a handful of smaller planets found by Kepler and verified using large ground-based telescopes. It also confirms that Earth-sized planets do exist in the habitable zone of other stars.
A new nano-membrane made out of the 'super material' graphene is extremely light and breathable. Not only can this open the door to a new generation of functional waterproof clothing, but also to ultra-rapid filtration. The new membrane just produced is as thin as is technologically possible.
Mom always said you need your sleep, and it turns out, she was right. According to a new study, the lack of sleep in young fruit flies profoundly diminishes their ability to do one thing they do really, really well -- make more flies. To address whether sleep loss in young flies affects development of courtship circuits, the team investigated a group of neurons implicated in courtship. One particular subset of those neurons was smaller in sleep-deprived animals than normal flies, suggesting a possible mechanism for how sleep deprivation can lead to altered courting behavior.
New research uncovers a conceptually novel approach to treating depression. Instead of dampening neuron firing found with stress-induced depression, researchers demonstrated for the first time that further activating these neurons opens a new avenue to mimic and promote natural resilience.
By discovering a new mechanism that allows blood to enter the brain immediately after a stroke, researchers have opened the door to new therapies that may limit or prevent stroke-induced brain damage. A complex and devastating neurological condition, stroke is the fourth-leading cause of death and primary reason for disability in the U.S. The blood-brain barrier is severely damaged in a stroke and lets blood-borne material into the brain, causing the permanent deficits in movement and cognition seen in stroke patients.
Stem cells in bone marrow need to produce hydrogen sulfide in order to properly multiply and form bone tissue, according to a new study. Researchers demonstrated that mice's osteoporosis-like condition could be rescued by administering small molecules that release hydrogen sulfide inside the body. The results indicate that a similar treatment may have potential to help human patients.
Surprising material could play huge role in saving energy: Tin selenide is best at converting waste heat to electricity
One strategy for addressing the world's energy crisis is to stop wasting so much energy when producing and using it, such as in coal-fired power plants or transportation. Nearly two-thirds of energy input is lost as waste heat. Now scientists have discovered a surprising material that is the best in the world at converting waste heat to useful electricity. This outstanding property could be exploited in solid-state thermoelectric devices, with potentially enormous energy savings.
If a restaurant owner fails to pay the 'protection money' demanded of him by the mob, he can expect his premises to be trashed. Warnings like these are seldom required, however, as fear of the consequences is enough to make restaurant owners pay up. Similarly, mafia-like behavior is observed in parasitic birds, which lay their eggs in other birds' nests. If the host birds throw the cuckoo's egg out, the brood parasites take their revenge by destroying the entire nest. Consequently, it is beneficial for hosts to be capable of learning and to cooperate. Previously seen only in field observations, scientists have now modeled this behavior mathematically to confirm it as an effective strategy.
An image of a galaxy cluster gives a remarkable cross-section of the universe, showing objects at different distances and stages in cosmic history. They range from cosmic near neighbors to objects seen in the early years of the universe. The 14-hour exposure shows objects around a billion times fainter than can be seen with the naked eye.
Scientists studying the most common form of inherited mental disability -- a genetic disease called 'Fragile X syndrome' -- have uncovered new details about the cellular processes responsible for the condition that could lead to the development of therapies to restore some of the capabilities lost in affected individuals.
Fruit flies are pretty predictable when it comes to scheduling their days, with peaks of activity at dawn and dusk and rest times in between. Now, researchers have found that the clusters of brain cells responsible for each of those activity peaks -- known as the morning and evening oscillators, respectively -- don't work alone. For flies' internal clocks to follow the sun, cooperation is key.
An anti-malarial treatment that lost its status as the leading weapon against the deadly disease could be given a new lease of life, with new research indicating it simply needs to be administered differently. The findings could revive the use of the cheap anti-malarial drug chloroquine in treating and preventing the mosquito-bourne disease, which claims the lives of more than half a million people each year around the world.
Some organs have the immunological equivalent of 'neighborhood police' -- specialized squads of defenders that patrol only one area, a single organ, instead of an entire city, the body, scientists have discovered. The liver, skin and uterus each has dedicated immune cells, which the researchers call tissue-resident natural killer cells. Other organs may have similar arrangements.
A new genetic analysis revealing the previously unknown biodiversity and distribution of thousands of fungi in North America might also reveal a previously underappreciated contributor to climate change. Huge populations of fungi are churning away in the soil in pine forests, decomposing organic matter and releasing carbon into the atmosphere.
Young women treated with radiation for cervical cancer should begin colorectal cancer screening earlier than traditionally recommended, researchers are recommending for the first time. After finding a high incidence of secondary colorectal cancers among cervical cancer survivors treated with radiation, these researchers off new recommendations that the younger women in this group begin colorectal cancer screening about eight years after their initial cervical cancer diagnosis.
Disruption of natural methane-binding process may worsen climate change, scientists have suggested, painting a stark warning on the possible effects of gases such as methane -- which has a greenhouse effect 32 times that of carbon dioxide. Researchers have shown that humic substances act as fully regenerable electron acceptors which helps explain why large amount of methane are held in wetlands instead of being released to the atmosphere.
Little-known cave insects with rather novel sex lives have been discovered by researchers. The Brazilian insects, which represent four distinct but related species in the genus Neotrogla, are the first example of an animal with sex-reversed genitalia.
Children spot objects more quickly when prompted by words than if they are only prompted by images, cognitive scientists have demonstrated. Spoken language taps into children's cognitive system, enhancing their ability to learn and to navigate cluttered environments. As such the study opens up new avenues for research into the way language might shape the course of developmental disabilities such as ADHD, difficulties with school, and other attention-related problems.