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Cerebral palsy - it can be in your genes

February 12, 2015 | by Univ. of Adelaide | Comments

An international research group led by a team at the University of Adelaide has made what they believe could be the biggest discovery into cerebral palsy in 20 years.                

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Neurons controlling appetite made from skin cells

March 2, 2015 9:09 am | by Karin Eskenazi, Columbia Univ. Medical Center | Comments

Researchers have, for the first time, successfully converted adult human skin cells into neurons of the type that regulate appetite, providing a patient-specific model for studying the neurophysiology of weight control and testing new therapies for obesity. To make the neurons, human skin cells were first genetically reprogrammed to become induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells.

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Genetics reveals where emperor penguins survived the last ice age

March 2, 2015 9:00 am | by Univ. of Southampton | Comments

A study of how climate change has affected emperor penguins over the last 30,000 years found that only three populations may have survived during the last ice age, and that the Ross Sea in Antarctica was likely the refuge for one of these populations.

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High-precision radar for the steel industry

March 2, 2015 8:42 am | by Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft | Comments

Steel is the most important material in vehicle and machinery construction. Large quantities of offcuts and scraps are left over from rolling and milling crude steel into strip steel. New radar from Fraunhofer researchers measures the width of the strip during fabrication to an accuracy of micrometers and helps to minimize scrap.

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Life “not as we know it” possible on Saturn’s moon Titan

March 2, 2015 8:26 am | by Syl Kacapyr, Cornell Univ. | Comments

A new type of methane-based, oxygen-free life form that can metabolize and reproduce similar to life on Earth has been modeled by a team of Cornell Univ. researchers. Taking a simultaneously imaginative and rigidly scientific view, chemical engineers and astronomers offer a template for life that could thrive in a harsh, cold world: specifically Titan, the giant moon of Saturn.

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Innovative wireless sensor technology yields better energy efficiency

March 2, 2015 8:17 am | by Sara Shoemaker, Oak Ridge National Laboratory | Comments

Regulating comfort in small commercial buildings could become more efficient and less expensive thanks to an innovative low-cost wireless sensor technology being developed by researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Buildings are responsible for about 40% of the energy consumed in the U.S. Studies indicate that advanced sensors and controls have the potential to reduce the energy consumption of buildings by 20 to 30%.

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First detailed microscopy evidence of bacteria at the lower size limit of life

March 2, 2015 8:08 am | by Dan Krotz, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | Comments

Scientists have captured the first detailed microscopy images of ultra-small bacteria that are believed to be about as small as life can get. The existence of ultra-small bacteria has been debated for two decades, but there hasn’t been a comprehensive electron microscopy and DNA-based description of the microbes until now.

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Aerogel catalyst shows promise for fuel cells

March 2, 2015 7:54 am | by Mike Williams, Rice Univ. | Comments

Graphene nanoribbons formed into a 3-D aerogel and enhanced with boron and nitrogen are excellent catalysts for fuel cells, even in comparison to platinum, according to Rice Univ. researchers. A team led by materials scientist Pulickel Ajayan and chemist James Tour made metal-free aerogels from graphene nanoribbons and various levels of boron and nitrogen to test their electrochemical properties.

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Moving molecule writes letters

February 27, 2015 11:55 am | by Andreas Battenberg, TUM | Comments

On the search for high-performance materials for applications such as gas storage, thermal insulators or dynamic nanosystems it’s essential to understand the thermal behavior of matter down to the molecular level. Classical thermodynamics average over time and over a large number of molecules. Within a 3-D space single molecules can adopt an almost infinite number of states, making the assessment of individual species nearly impossible.

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Untangling DNA with a droplet of water, pipet and polymer

February 27, 2015 11:42 am | by KU Leuven | Comments

Researchers have long sought an efficient way to untangle DNA in order to study its structure under a microscope. Now, chemists and engineers at KU Leuven have devised a strikingly simple and effective solution: They inject genetic material into a droplet of water and use a pipet tip to drag it over a glass plate covered with a sticky polymer.

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Sun has more impact on climate in cool periods

February 27, 2015 10:24 am | by Aarhus Univ. | Comments

The activity of the sun is an important factor in the complex interaction that controls our climate. New research now shows the impact of the sun isn’t constant over time, but has greater significance when the Earth is cooler. There has been much discussion as to whether variations in the strength of the sun have played a role in triggering climate change in the past.

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3-D printed parts to provide low-cost, custom alternatives for lab equipment

February 27, 2015 10:14 am | by Raphael Rosen, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory Communications | Comments

The 3-D printing scene, a growing favorite of do-it-yourselfers, has spread to the study of plasma physics. With a series of experiments, researchers at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory have found that 3-D printers can be an important tool in laboratory environments.

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QR codes engineered into cybersecurity protection

February 27, 2015 10:03 am | by Colin Poitras, UConn | Comments

QR, or quick response, codes have been used to convey information about everything from cereals to cars and new homes. But, Univ. of Connecticut researchers think the codes have a greater potential: protecting national security. Using advanced 3-D optical imaging and extremely low light photon counting encryption the team has taken a QR code and transformed it into a high-end cybersecurity application.

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New filter could advance terahertz data transmission

February 27, 2015 9:53 am | by Vincent Horiuchi, Univ. of Utah | Comments

Univ. of Utah engineers have discovered a new approach for designing filters capable of separating different frequencies in the terahertz spectrum, the next generation of communications bandwidth that could allow cellphone users and Internet surfers to download data a thousand times faster than today. Once the filter is designed, it can be fabricated using an off-the-shelf inkjet printer.

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Monster black hole discovered at cosmic dawn

February 27, 2015 8:33 am | by Daniel Stolte, Univ. of Arizona Communications | Comments

Scientists have discovered the brightest quasar in the early universe, powered by the most massive black hole yet known at that time. The discovery of this quasar, named SDSS J0100+2802, marks an important step in understanding how quasars, the most powerful objects in the universe, have evolved from the earliest epoch, only 900 million years after the Big Bang, which is thought to have happened 13.7 billion years ago.

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Cancer drug first tested in dogs begins human trials

February 27, 2015 8:03 am | by Diana Yates, Life Sciences Editor, Univ. of Illinois | Comments

A new drug that prompts cancer cells to self-destruct while sparing healthy cells is now entering phase I clinical trials in humans. The drug, called PAC-1, first showed promise in the treatment of pet dogs with spontaneously occurring cancers, and is still in clinical trials in dogs with osteosarcoma.

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