Sunday, August 06, 2006

Science Sunday: Wrap-up of recent advancements in science from EurekAlert!

Astronomers crunch numbers, universe gets bigger:

An Ohio State University astronomer and his colleagues have determined that the Triangulum Galaxy, otherwise known as M33, is actually about 15 percent farther away from our galaxy than previously measured. This finding implies that the Hubble constant, a number that astronomers rely on to calculate a host of factors -- including the size and age of the universe -- could be significantly off the mark as well.

Irrational decisions driven by emotions:

Irrational behavior arises as a consequence of emotional reactions evoked when faced with difficult decisions, according to new research at UCL (University College London), funded by the Wellcome Trust. The UCL study suggests that rational behaviour may stem from an ability to override automatic emotional responses, rather than an absence of emotion per se.

Blood clot fibers more elastic than spider's web:

The tiny fibers that comprise blood clots show extraordinary elasticity, on average stretching to almost three times their length while still retaining their ability to go back to their normal shape and expanding to more than four times their length before breaking, according to findings published in the journal, Science, this week by researchers at Wake Forest University.

New hope in cancer vaccines emerges as novel therapies are developed and tested:

Medicine can now prevent a host of diseases. For the first time, the prospect of eradicating a specific cancer through vaccination is possible. The newly approved human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is designed to curb the 230,000 worldwide deaths due to cervical cancer, which is caused solely by HPV.

Movie spies on malaria parasite's sneaky behavior:

Malaria has been outsmarting the human immune system for centuries. Now, using real-time imaging to track malaria infections in live mice, researchers have discovered one of the parasite's sneakiest tricks: using dead liver cells to cloak and transport itself into the bloodstream after leaving the liver.

Researchers identify gene as protector of DNA, enemy of tumors:

A single gene plays a pivotal role launching two DNA damage detection and repair pathways in the human genome, suggesting that it functions as a previously unidentified tumor suppressor gene, researchers at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center report in Cancer Cell.

Compound in dairy products targets diabetes:

Fatty acids commonly found in dairy products have successfully treated diabetes in mice, according to a researcher at Penn State. The compounds, known as conjugated linoleic acids (CLA), have also shown promising results in human trials, signaling a new way of potentially treating the disease without synthetic drugs.

NJIT researchers seed, heat and grow carbon nanotubes in long tubing:

In less than 20 minutes, researchers at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) can now seed, heat and grow carbon nanotubes in 10-foot-long, hollow thin steel tubing.

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