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Quantum mechanical calculations reveal the hidden states of enzyme active sites

November 21, 2014 8:37 am | by Princeton Univ. | Comments

Enzymes carry out fundamental biological processes such as photosynthesis, nitrogen fixation and respiration, with the help of clusters of metal atoms as "active" sites. But scientists lack basic information about their function because the states thought to be critical to their chemical abilities cannot be experimentally observed.

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Biomarker could provide early warning of kidney disease in cats

November 21, 2014 8:27 am | by David Stauth, Oregon State Univ. | Comments

Researchers from Oregon State Univ. and other institutions have developed a new biomarker called “SDMA” that can provide earlier identification of chronic kidney disease in cats, which is one of the leading causes of their death. A new test based on this biomarker, when commercialized, should help pet owners and their veterinarians watch for this problem through periodic checkups, and treat it with diet or other therapies.

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Collaboration points to improved nanomaterials

November 21, 2014 8:01 am | by Jim Barlow, Director of Science and Research Communications, Univ. of Oregon | Comments

A potential path to identify imperfections and improve the quality of nanomaterials for use in next-generation solar cells has emerged from a collaboration of Univ. of Oregon and industry researchers. To increase light-harvesting efficiency of solar cells beyond silicon's limit of about 29%, manufacturers have used layers of chemically synthesized semiconductor nanocrystals.

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Deep-Earth carbon offers clues about origin of life

November 21, 2014 7:53 am | by Jill Rosen, Johns Hopkins Univ. | Comments

New findings by a Johns Hopkins Univ.-led team reveal long unknown details about carbon deep beneath the Earth’s surface and suggest ways this subterranean carbon might have influenced the history of life on the planet. The team also developed a new, related theory about how diamonds form in the Earth’s mantle.

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Researchers create first inhibitor for enzyme linked to certain cancers

November 21, 2014 7:49 am | by Univ. of California, Irvine | Comments

Recent studies showing acid ceramidase (AC) to be upregulated in melanoma, lung and prostate cancers have made the enzyme a desired target for novel synthetic inhibitor compounds. In Angewandte Chemie, scientists with the Univ. of California, Irvine School of Medicine and the Italian Institute of Technology describe the very first class of AC inhibitors that may aid in the efficacy of chemotherapies.

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Discovery sheds light on nuclear reactor fuel behavior during a severe event

November 21, 2014 7:43 am | by Anglea Hardin, Argonne National Laboratory | Comments

A new discovery about the atomic structure of uranium dioxide will help scientists select the best computational model to simulate severe nuclear reactor accidents. Using the Advanced Photon Source, a team of researchers found that the atomic structure of uranium dioxide (UO2) changes significantly when it melts.

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U.S. approves new, hard-to-abuse hydrocodone pill

November 20, 2014 6:00 pm | by Matthew Perrone - AP Health Writer - Associated Press | Comments

U.S. government health regulators on Thursday approved the first hard-to-abuse version of the painkiller hydrocodone, offering an alternative to a similar medication that has been widely criticized for lacking such safeguards. The FDA approved Purdue Pharma's Hysingla ER for patients with severe, round-the-clock pain that cannot be managed with other treatments.

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CERN discovers two new subatomic particles

November 20, 2014 11:49 am | by Associated Press, John Heilprin | Comments

Scientists at the world's largest smasher announced today that they have discovered two new subatomic particles never seen before that could widen our understanding of the universe. An experiment using the European Organization for Nuclear Research's Large Hadron Collider found the new particles, which were predicted to exist, and are both baryons made from three quarks bound together by a strong force.

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Novel polarizing filter transits more light

November 20, 2014 9:29 am | by Univ. of Utah | Comments

Univ. of Utah engineers have developed a polarizing filter that allows in more light, leading the way for mobile device displays that last much longer on a single battery charge and cameras that can shoot in dim light. Polarizers are indispensable in digital photography and LCD displays, but they block enormous amounts of light, wasting energy and making it more difficult to photograph in low light.

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New technology may speed up, build awareness of landslide risks

November 20, 2014 9:18 am | by David Stauth, Oregon State Univ. | Comments

Engineers have created a new way to use lidar technology to identify and classify landslides on a landscape scale, which may revolutionize the understanding of landslides in the U.S. and reveal them to be far more common and hazardous than often understood. The new, non-subjective technology can analyze and classify the landslide risk in an area of 50 or more square miles in about 30 mins.

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Paper electronics could make health care more accessible

November 20, 2014 9:02 am | by American Chemical Society | Comments

Flexible electronic sensors based on paper have the potential to cut the price of a wide range of medical tools, from helpful robots to diagnostic tests. Scientists have now developed a fast, low-cost way of making these sensors by directly printing conductive ink on paper.

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Many older brains have plasticity, but in a different place

November 20, 2014 8:38 am | by David Orenstein, Brown Univ. | Comments

A widely presumed problem of aging is that the brain becomes less flexible or plastic, and that learning may therefore become more difficult. A new study led by Brown Univ. researchers contradicts that notion with a finding that plasticity did occur in seniors who learned a task well, but it occurred in a different part of the brain than in younger people.

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Argonne announces new licensing agreement with AKHAN Semiconductor

November 20, 2014 8:24 am | by Jared Sagoff, Argonne National Laboratory | Comments

Argonne National Laboratory has announced a new intellectual property licensing agreement with AKHAN Semiconductor, continuing a productive public-private partnership that will bring diamond-based semiconductor technologies to market. The agreement gives AKHAN exclusive rights to a suite of breakthrough diamond-based semiconductor inventions developed by nanoscientist Ani Sumant of Argonne’s Center for Nanoscale Materials.

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Spiraling light, nanoparticles and insights into life’s structure

November 20, 2014 8:12 am | by Nicole Casal Moore, Univ. of Michigan | Comments

As hands come in left and right versions that are mirror images of each other, so do the amino acids and sugars within us. But unlike hands, only the left-oriented amino acids and the right-oriented sugars ever make into life as we know it. Scientists know the other varieties exist because when they synthesize these amino acids and sugars in a laboratory, roughly equal numbers of left- and right-facing arrangements form.

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Could hydrogen vehicles take over as the “green” car of choice?

November 20, 2014 7:59 am | by American Chemical Society | Comments

Now that car makers have demonstrated through hybrid vehicle success that consumers want less-polluting tailpipes, they are shifting even greener. In 2015, Toyota will roll out the first hydrogen fuel-cell car for personal use that emits only water. An article in Chemical & Engineering Newsexplains how hydrogen could supplant hybrid and electric car technology.

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