Sunday, October 29, 2006

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

Appalachian Mountains, carbon dioxide caused long-ago global cooling:

The rise of the Appalachian Mountains may have caused a major ice age approximately 450 million years ago, an Ohio State University study has found. The weathering of the mountains pulled carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere, causing the opposite of a greenhouse effect -- an "icehouse" effect.

Oldest complex organic molecules found in ancient fossils:

Ohio State University geologists have isolated complex organic molecules from 350-million-year-old fossil sea creatures -- the oldest such molecules yet found. The molecules may have functioned as pigments, but the study offers a much bigger finding: An entirely new way to track how species evolved.

New study indicates moderate exercise may protect against colds:

A moderate exercise program may reduce the incidence of colds. A study published in the November issue of the American Journal of Medicine, led by researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, found that otherwise sedentary women who engaged in moderate exercise had fewer colds over a one year period than a control group.

Novel laboratory model reveals clues to how blood starts clotting:

Researchers at the University of Chicago have crafted a simple model for predicting when and where hemostasis -- the technical term for blood clotting -- will occur. The microfluidic system that they created focuses on the interactions between blood and surfaces patterned to trigger blood clotting. It allows the researchers to separately monitor clotting in both blood plasma and a chemical model.

Key gene controlling eye lens development identified:

Investigators at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital have discovered in mouse models that a gene called Six3 is one of the earliest critical regulators controlling lens development in the eye of the mammalian embryo.

Exposure to sunlight could reduce asthma:

Australian researchers have found that exposure to measured doses of ultraviolet light, such as sunlight, could reduce asthma.

New behavior may use old genes:

Though you may not be able to teach an old dog new tricks, ASU researchers have found that evolution may have taught old genes new tricks in the development of social behavior in honeybees. The genetic basis of social behavior is being deciphered through the efforts of ASU researchers and their work with the honeybee, Apis mellifera.

Nanodiamonds may be key to environmentally friendly coating replacement for chrome plating:

Nanodiamonds, miniature diamonds with diameters around 5nm can be used in a range of applications but are poorly understood.

Pollinators help one-third of the world's food crop production:

Pollinators affect 35 percent of the world's food crop production, increasing the output of 87 of the leading crops worldwide, finds a new study co-authored by a UC Berkeley conservation biologist. The study is the first global estimate of food crop production that is reliant upon animal pollination. It comes one week after a National Research Council report detailed the troubling decline in populations of key North American pollinators.

New biologic treatment for tennis elbow may replace surgery for chronic sufferers:

"Tennis elbow" isn't restricted to tennis players; it's a common, chronic problem for people whose activities require strong gripping or repetitive wrist motions. A novel biologic treatment of injecting the patient's own platelets into the affected tendon proves successful and gives patients another treatment option before undergoing surgery. The procedure has wide application for healing of other medical conditions, say researchers from Stanford University.



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