Sunday, November 05, 2006

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

Scientists convert modern enzyme into its hypothesized ancestor:

By making a single substitution in the amino acid sequence of a modern enzyme, scientists at Brookhaven Lab have changed its function into that of a theoretical distant ancestor, providing the first experimental evidence for the common origin of the two distinct enzyme types.

Iowa State researchers improving plastics made from corn and soy proteins:

Iowa State researcehers are using ultrasonics and nanotechnology to improve plastics made from corn and soy proteins.

Nanotechnology goes out on a wing:

A team of researchers led by Jin Zhang and Zhongfan Liu (Peking University) have used the wings of cicadas as stamps to pattern polymer films with nanometer-sized structures.

Intact tonsils triple risk of recurrent strep throat:

Children with recurrent strep throat whose tonsils have not been removed are over three times more likely to develop subsequent episodes of strep throat than children who undergo tonsillectomy, according to a Mayo Clinic study published in the Nov. 2 issue of Laryngoscope.

T-ray breakthrough could make detecting disease far easier:

A breakthrough in the harnessing of "T-rays" -- electromagnetic terahertz waves -- which could dramatically improve the detecting and sensing of objects as varied as biological cell abnormalities and explosives has been announced by a team led by the University of Bath.

USC researchers closer to cure for multiple sclerosis and other myelin-related diseases:

A breakthrough finding on the mechanism of myelin formation by Jonah Chan, assistant professor of cell and neurobiology at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, could have a major impact on the treatment of diseases such as multiple sclerosis and demyelination as a result of spinal cord injuries.

Plant studies reveal how, where seeds store iron:

Biologists have learned where and how some plant seeds store iron, a valuable discovery for scientists working to improve the iron content of plants. Their research helps address the worldwide problem of iron deficiency and malnutrition in humans.

Platinum cages:

John A. Shelnutt and his team at the Sandia National Laboratories and the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque as well as the University of Georgia in Athens has developed a new technique for the production of large porous platinum nanocages with a broad spectrum of potential biomedical, catalytic and optical applications.

Old leaves need to die in time or they will bring a plant down:

In a study from the November issue of the American Naturalist, researchers Alex Boonman and co-workers from the Netherlands show that it is beneficial for plants growing in a dense stand to shed their oldest, lower leaves once these become shaded. By using transgenic tobacco plants that do not shed their lower leaves, they were able to show that shaded old leaves become a burden to a plant because they no longer photosynthesize but still require energy to be maintained.

Mechanical 'artificial hearts' can remove need for heart transplant by returning heart to normal:

Mechanical "artificial hearts" can be used to return severely failing hearts to their normal function, potentially removing the need for heart transplantation, according to new research. The mechanical devices, known as Left Ventricular Assist Devices (LVADs), are currently used in patients with very severe heart failure whilst they await transplantation. The new study shows that using an LVAD combined with certain drug therapies can shrink the enlarged heart and enable it to function normally once the LVAD is removed.

Researchers show that veins stiffen as we age:

As if creaking joints and hardening of the arteries weren't bad enough, a research team from the University of Delaware and the Christiana Care Health System has now confirmed that even our veins stiffen as we age.And that physiological change may be an important factor in the development of high blood pressure, or hypertension, which currently affects an estimated 65 million Americans, most of them older adults, according to UD researcher William Farquhar.

First evidence to show elephants, like humans, apes and dolphins, recognize themselves in mirror:

Elephants have joined a small, elite group of species -- including humans, great apes and dolphins -- that have the ability to recognize themselves in the mirror, according to a new research finding. Mirror self-recognition in elephants, previously predicted due to their well-known social complexity, is thought to relate to empathetic tendencies and the ability to distinguish oneself from others, a characteristic that evolved independently in several branches of animals, including primates such as humans.

The power behind insect flight: Researchers reveal key kinetic component:

Researchers from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the University of Vermont have discovered a key molecular mechanism that allows tiny flies and other "no-see-ums" to whirl their wings at a dizzying rate of up to 1,000 times per second. The findings are being reported in the Oct. 30 online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.



Post a Comment

<< Home