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Key protein found that allows Plavis to conquer platelets

February 24, 2015 8:38 am | by Mark Derewicz, Univ. of North Carolina Health Care | Comments

Researchers at the Univ. of North Carolina School of Medicine have found that the blood platelet protein Rasa3 is critical to the success of the common anti-platelet drug Plavix, which breaks up blood clots during heart attacks and other arterial diseases. The discovery details how Rasa3 is part of a cellular pathway crucial for platelet activity during clot formation.

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Climate science literacy unrelated to public acceptance of human-caused global warming

February 24, 2015 8:18 am | by Yale Univ. | Comments

Deep public divisions over climate change are unrelated to differences in how well ordinary citizens understand scientific evidence on global warming, according to a new study published by Prof. Dan Kahan. In fact, members of the public who score the highest on a climate science literacy test are the most politically polarized on whether human activity is causing global temperatures to rise.

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Building tailor-made DNA nanotubes step-by-step

February 24, 2015 8:10 am | by McGill Univ. | Comments

Researchers at McGill Univ. have developed a new, low-cost method to build DNA nanotubes block-by-block, a breakthrough that could help pave the way for scaffolds made from DNA strands to be used in applications such as optical and electronic devices or smart drug delivery systems. Many researchers, including the McGill team, have previously constructed nanotubes using a method that relies on spontaneous assembly of DNA in solution.

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Long-term nitrogen fertilizer use disrupts plant-microbe mutualisms

February 24, 2015 7:56 am | by Diana Yates, Life Sciences Editor, Univ. of Illinois | Comments

When exposed to nitrogen fertilizer over a period of years, nitrogen-fixing bacteria called rhizobia evolve to become less beneficial to legumes, researchers report in a new study. These findings, reported in Evolution, may be of little interest to farmers, who generally grow only one type of plant and can always add more fertilizer to boost plant growth.

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Asphaltene analysis takes a giant step

February 24, 2015 7:46 am | by Mike Williams, Rice Univ. | Comments

Rice Univ. researchers have developed an easy and accurate technique to detect and quantify the amount of asphaltene precipitated from crude oils, which bedevils the oil industry by clogging wells and flow lines. Asphaltene is a complex of hydrocarbon molecules found in crude. As the name suggests, it has uses as the source of asphalt for road construction and can also be made into waterproofing and roofing materials and other products.

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Quick test for Ebola

February 24, 2015 7:36 am | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | Comments

When diagnosing a case of Ebola, time is of the essence. However, existing diagnostic tests take at least a day or two to yield results, preventing health care workers from quickly determining whether a patient needs immediate treatment and isolation. A new test could change that: The device, a simple paper strip similar to a pregnancy test, can rapidly diagnose Ebola, as well as other viral hemorrhagic fevers.

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Ebola drug shows some promise in first tests in West Africa

February 23, 2015 7:09 pm | by Marilynn Marchione, AP Chief Medical Writer, Associated Press | Comments

An experimental antiviral drug shows some early, encouraging signs of effectiveness in its first human test against Ebola in West Africa, but only if patients get it when their symptoms first appear. A study of the drug, favipiravir, is still in early stages in West Africa, and too few people have been treated to really know whether the drug helps.

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How brain waves guide memory formation

February 23, 2015 12:11 pm | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | Comments

Our brains generate a constant hum of activity: As neurons fire, they produce brain waves that oscillate at different frequencies. Long thought to be merely a byproduct of neuron activity, recent studies suggest that these waves may play a critical role in communication between different parts of the brain. A new study from Massachusetts Institute of Technology neuroscientists adds to that evidence.

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Simulating superconducting materials with ultracold atoms

February 23, 2015 11:46 am | by Jade Boyd, Rice Univ. | Comments

Using ultracold atoms as a stand-in for electrons, a Rice Univ.-based team of physicists has simulated superconducting materials and made headway on a problem that's vexed physicists for nearly three decades. The research was carried out by an international team of experimental and theoretical physicists and appears online in Nature. The work could open up a new realm of unexplored science.

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Fever alarm armband

February 23, 2015 11:28 am | by Univ. of Tokyo | Comments

Univ. of Tokyo researchers have developed a "fever alarm armband," a flexible, self-powered wearable device that sounds an alarm in case of high body temperature. The flexible organic components developed for this device are well-suited to wearable devices that continuously monitor vital signs including temperature and heart rate for applications in health care settings.

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La Nina-like conditions associated with 2,500-year-long shutdown of coral reef growth

February 23, 2015 11:18 am | by Brett Israel, Georgia Institute of Technology | Comments

A new study has found that La Niña-like conditions in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Panamá were closely associated with an abrupt shutdown in coral reef growth that lasted 2,500 years. The study suggests that future changes in climate similar to those in the study could cause coral reefs to collapse in the future.

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3-D printed guides can help restore function in damaged nerves

February 23, 2015 11:00 am | by Abigail Chard, Univ. of Sheffield | Comments

Scientists at the Univ. of Sheffield have succeeded in using a 3-D printed guide to help nerves damaged in traumatic incidents repair themselves. The team used the device to repair nerve damage in animal models and say the method could help treat many types of traumatic injury.

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Motor proteins prefer slow, steady movement

February 23, 2015 10:43 am | by Mike Williams, Rice Univ. | Comments

It takes at least two motor proteins to tango, according to Rice Univ. scientists who discovered the workhorses that move cargo in cells are highly sensitive to the proximity of their peers. The study suggests that the collective behavior of motor proteins like kinesins keeps cellular transport systems robust by favoring slow and steady over maximum movement.

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Researchers identify keys to improved polymer solar cells

February 23, 2015 8:38 am | by Bill Kisliuk, Univ. of California, Los Angeles | Comments

Paving the way for lighter and more flexible solar devices, Univ. of California, Los Angeles researchers have identified the key principles for developing high-efficiency polymer solar cells. Today’s commercially produced solar panels use silicon cells to efficiently convert sunlight to energy. But silicon panels are too heavy to be used for energy-producing coatings for buildings and cars, or flexible and portable power supplies.

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Scientists discover protein’s role in several types of cancers

February 23, 2015 8:20 am | by Amy Adams, Stanford Univ. | Comments

A protein found in pancreatic tumors may lead to a new chemotherapy that is effective against many different kinds of cancers, but turning the discovery into a new drug has required a bit of chemistry know-how.

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