Sunday, November 26, 2006

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

Got cotton? Texas researchers' discovery could yield protein to feed millions:

Researchers at the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station used RNAi to reduce the toxic compound gossypol from cottonseed to a level that is considered safe for consumption, but left the compound in the rest of the plant to ward off insects and disease. Once commercialized, seed from these plants could provide a new, high-protein food available to 500 million people a year.

Cincinnnati scientists pursue new target for asthma treatment:

Cincinnati scientists have found further evidence that certain defensive white cells in the body cause or play a major role in the symptoms experienced by asthma patients.

Seismolgists get handle on heat flow deep in Earth:

Earth's interior is not a benign world that only stores the geologic history of our planet. Geologists now see the inner Earth as a dynamic environment filled with exotic materials and substances roiling under intense heat and pressures. The latest evidence of this dynamic inner Earth is revealed in a recent series of measurements that peered deep within Earth, halfway to its center.

Resilient form of plant carbon gives new meaning to term 'older than dirt':

A particularly resilient carbon from the first plants to regrow after the last ice age -- and that same type of carbon from all the plants since -- appears to have accumulated for 11,000 years in the forests of British Columbia. Modelers of carbon cycles, who've assumed that this type of carbon remains in the soils only 1,000 to 10,000 years before it returns to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, may need to revise their thinking.

Wheat gene may boost foods' nutrient content:

Researchers at the University of California, Davis, the US Department of Agriculture and the University of Haifa in Israel have cloned a gene from wild wheat that increases the protein, zinc and iron content in the grain, potentially offering a solution to nutritional deficiencies affecting hundreds of millions of children around the world.

Pilot study successful in taming allergic reactions to food:

Children who were allergic to eggs were able to essentially overcome their allergy by gradually consuming increased quantities of eggs over time, researchers at Duke University Medical Center and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences have found in a small pilot study.

Delft University of Technology shines light on atomic transistor:

Researchers from TU Delft and FOM Foundation have successfully measured transport through a single atom in a transistor. This research offers new insights into the behavior of so-called dopant atoms in silicon. The researchers are able to measure and manipulate a single dopant atom in a realistic semi-conducting environment. The individual behavior of dopant atoms is a stumbling block to the further miniaturisation of electronics. The work is published in Physical Review Letters.

Mind the gap:

Researchers have found a gap between water and a water-repelling surface that can give new insight into the way water and oil separate. By using high-energy X-rays at the ESRF, an international team defined the size and characteristics of this gap. The knowledge of the structure of a hydrophobic interface is important because they are crucial in biological systems, and can give insight in protein folding and stability.

On the cutting edge: Carbon nanotube cutlery:

Researchers at NIST and the University of Colorado at Boulder have designed a prototype carbon nanotube "knife" that would work like a tight-wire cheese slicer for cutting cells, allowing scientists to study them more precisely than they can today.

Discovery of cardiac stem cells may advance regenerative heart therapy:

An immediate early publication of the journal Cell, published by Cell Press, on Nov. 22, 2006, points to the possible existence of master cardiac stem cells with the capacity to produce all three major tissues of the mammalian heart. A companion Cell paper also published online reports the discovery of a second population of cardiac progenitors, which are capable of forming both cardiac muscle and the smooth muscle found in the heart's blood vessel walls.

Ultra-intense laser blast creates true 'black metal':

"Black gold" is not just an expression anymore. Scientists at the University of Rochester have created a way to change the properties of almost any metal to render it, literally, black.The process, using an incredibly intense burst of laser light, holds the promise of making everything from fuel cells to a space telescope's detectors more efficient -- not to mention turning your car into the blackest black around.

Proteins anchor memories in our brain:

A University of Utah study suggests that memories are held in our brains because certain proteins serve as anchors, holding other proteins in place to strengthen synapses, which are connections between nerve cells.

Social cues and illusion: There's more to magic than meets the eye:

The mechanisms that govern visual perception are only partly understood by scientists, and in fact much of what we know about how the human visual system works stems from investigations into our susceptibility to visual illusions. While scientists have used knowledge of illusions to further our understanding of the mind, magicians have learned to master the art of deception for entertainment purposes.

Innovative movies show real-time immune-cell activity within tumors:

Using advanced new microscopy techniques in concert with sophisticated transgenic technologies, scientists have for the first time created three-dimensional, time-lapse movies showing immune cells targeting cancer cells in live tumor tissues. Immune cells called T cells can be seen actively migrating though tissues, making direct contact with tumor cells, and killing them. Insights from this new view of the body's on-board defenses against cancer may open the way for improved immunotherapies to treat the disease.

A quantum (computer) step:

A University of Utah physicist took a step toward developing a superfast computer based on the weird reality of quantum physics by showing it is feasible to read data stored in the form of the magnetic "spins" of phosphorus atoms.



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- Every 30 seconds someone dies because of a heart disease;
- More than 2.500 Americans die daily because of heart diseases;
- Every 20 seconds there is a person dying from a heart attack;
- Each year 6 million people are hospitalized because of a heart disease;
- The number 1 killer is a heart disease.
Although AEDs are not a universal panacea for all heart diseases, nothing else can compete to its major feature, that of actually re-starting the heart after it has been stopped by a sudden cardiac arrest. Under these circumstances is it necessary to ask you why anyone in this world, any family, in any home would hope for having such a device in their first aid locker?

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December 2, 2006 at 11:31 AM  

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