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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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Researchers map switches that shaped the evolution of the human brain

March 6, 2015 1:10 pm | by Lindsay Borthwick, Yale Univ. | Comments

Thousands of genetic “dimmer” switches, regions of DNA known as regulatory elements, were turned up high during human evolution in the developing cerebral cortex, according to new research from the Yale Univ. School of Medicine. Unlike in rhesus monkeys and mice, these switches show increased activity in humans, where they may drive the expression of genes in the cerebral cortex.

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Squeezing out new science from materials interfaces

March 6, 2015 1:02 pm | by Rick Kubetz, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign | Comments

With more than five times the thermal conductivity of copper, diamond is the ultimate heat spreader. But the slow rate of heat flow into diamond from other materials limits its use in practice. In particular, the physical process controlling heat flow between metals and diamond has remained a mystery to scientists for many years.

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Large-scale test of Ebola vaccine begins

March 6, 2015 12:53 pm | by Maria Cheng, AP Medical Writer, Associated Press | Comments

The World Health Organization will start large-scale testing of an experimental Ebola vaccine in Guinea on Saturday to see how effective it might be in preventing future outbreaks of the deadly virus. The West African nations of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea have been hardest hit in the yearlong Ebola outbreak, which is estimated to have left more than 9,800 people dead.

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Microscopy directly images problematic lithium dendrites in batteries

March 6, 2015 10:56 am | by Morgan McCorkle, Oak Ridge National Laboratory | Comments

Scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have captured the first real-time nanoscale images of lithium dendrite structures known to degrade lithium-ion batteries. The ORNL team’s electron microscopy could help researchers address long-standing issues related to battery performance and safety.

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Determining structural evolution under pressure

March 6, 2015 10:46 am | by Breanna Bishop, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory | Comments

The study of material properties under the conditions of extreme high pressures and strain rates is very important for understanding meteor, asteroid or comet impacts, as well as in hyper velocity impact engineering and inertial confinement fusion capsules. In a recent study, a team scientists report an important finding that can be used to determine the evolution of structures under high pressure and strain rates.

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Fluid-filled pores separate materials with fine precision

March 6, 2015 10:10 am | by Kat J. McAlpine, Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering | Comments

In nature, pores can continuously control how a living organism absorbs or excretes fluids, vapors and solids in response to its environment; for example, tiny holes invisible to the naked eye called stomata cover a plant's leaves and stems as gated openings through which oxygen, carbon dioxide and water vapors are transported in and out during photosynthesis and respiration.

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Chemists develop “looking glass” for spotting sound molecular structures

March 6, 2015 9:48 am | by James Devitt, New York Univ. | Comments

New York Univ. chemists have developed a computational approach for determining the viability and suitability of complex molecular structures—an advancement that could aid in the development of pharmaceuticals as well as a range of other materials.

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Twin copies of gene pair up in embryonic stem cells at critical moment in differentiation

March 6, 2015 8:45 am | by Peter Tarr, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory | Comments

Imagine a pair of twins that everyone believed to be estranged, who turn out to be closer than anyone knew. A genetic version of this heartwarming tale might be taking place in our cells. We and other mammals have two copies of each gene, one from each parent. Each copy, or "allele," was thought to remain physically apart from the other in the cell nucleus, but a new study finds that alleles can and do pair up in mammalian cells.

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Researchers explore longer lifecycle for batteries

March 6, 2015 8:34 am | by Jenny Green, Arizona State Univ. | Comments

Lithium-ion batteries are common in consumer electronics. Beyond consumer electronics, lithium-ion batteries have also grown in popularity for military, electric vehicle and aerospace applications. Now, researchers at Arizona State Univ. are exploring new energy storage technology that could give the battery an even longer lifecycle.

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When temperature goes quantum

March 6, 2015 8:23 am | by Daniel Stolte, Univ. of Arizona Communications | Comments

Imagine setting a frying pan on the stove and cranking up the heat, only to discover that in a few spots the butter isn't melting because part of the pan remains at room temperature. What seems like an impossible scenario in the kitchen is exactly what happens in the strange world of quantum physics, researchers at the Univ. of Arizona have discovered.

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Mathematicians model fluids at the mesoscale

March 6, 2015 8:13 am | by Julie Chao, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | Comments

When it comes to boiling water, is there anything left for today’s scientists to study? The surprising answer is, yes, quite a bit. How the bubbles form at a surface, how they rise up and join together, what are the surface properties, what happens if the temperature increases slowly versus quickly. While these components might be understood experimentally, the mathematical models for the process of boiling are incomplete.

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Research suggests brain’s melatonin may trigger sleep

March 6, 2015 8:01 am | by Jessica Stoller-Conrad, Caltech | Comments

If you walk into your local drug store and ask for a supplement to help you sleep, you might be directed to a bottle labeled "melatonin." The hormone supplement's use as a sleep aid is supported by anecdotal evidence and even some reputable research studies. However, our bodies also make melatonin naturally, and until a recent Caltech study using zebrafish, no one knew how melatonin contributed to our natural sleep.

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Simulations provide new insight into emerging nanoelectronic device

March 6, 2015 7:50 am | by Emil Venere, Purdue Univ. | Comments

Researchers have used an advanced model to simulate in unprecedented detail the workings of "resistance-switching cells" that might replace conventional memory for electronics applications, with the potential to bring faster and higher capacity computer memory while consuming less energy. These electromechanical "metallization cells" rapidly switch from high resistance to low resistance.

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Detector sniffs out origins of methane

March 6, 2015 7:40 am | by Jennifer Chu, MIT News Office | Comments

Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, second only to carbon dioxide in its capacity to trap heat in Earth’s atmosphere for a long time. The gas can originate from lakes and swamps, natural-gas pipelines, deep-sea vents and livestock. Understanding the sources of methane, and how the gas is formed, could give scientists a better understanding of its role in warming the planet.

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Scientists outline research wish list for nuclear energy

March 5, 2015 9:08 pm | by Susan Montoya Bryan, Associated Press | Comments

Engineers and researchers from national laboratories and universities around the country said Thursday that the U.S. needs to develop a proving ground where the latest innovations in nuclear energy can be put to the test instead of losing designs to China and other countries.

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