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Flu vaccine 23% effective

January 16, 2015 2:04 pm | by Mike Stobbe, AP Medical Writer, Associated Press | Comments

As predicted, this year's flu vaccine is doing a pretty crummy job. It's only 23% effective, primarily because it doesn't include the bug that is making most people sick, according to a government study released today. That's one of the worst performances in the last decade, since U.S. health officials started routinely tracking how well vaccines work. In the best flu seasons, the vaccines were 50 to 60% effective.

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First critical-care transport helicopter simulator for flight nurse training

January 16, 2015 1:51 pm | by Case Western Reserve Univ. | Comments

Acute care nurse practitioner students, specializing in flight nursing at Case Western Reserve Univ., will soon be training in the nation’s first state-of-the-art simulator built in an actual helicopter. The simulator creates the sense of treating critically injured patients from takeoff to landing. The helicopter simulator was installed at the university’s Cedar Avenue Service Center.

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New genetic clues found in fragile X syndrome

January 16, 2015 1:40 pm | by Julia Evangelou Strait, Senior Medical Sciences Writer, Washington Univ., St. Louis | Comments

Scientists have gained new insight into fragile X syndrome by studying the case of a person without the disorder, but with two of its classic symptoms. In patients with fragile X, a key gene is completely disabled, eliminating a protein that regulates electrical signals in the brain and causing a host of behavioral, neurological and physical symptoms.

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Scientists discover better metal contact that improved 2-D transistor performance

January 16, 2015 1:23 pm | by Curt Richter, NIST | Comments

2-D materials, such as molybdenum-disulfide, are attracting much attention for future electronic and photonic applications ranging from high-performance computing to flexible and pervasive sensors and optoelectronics. But in order for their promise to be realized, scientists need to understand how the performance of devices made with 2-D materials is affected by different kinds of metal electrical contacts.

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Wrangling over pesticide ingredients comes to a head in 2015

January 16, 2015 1:06 pm | by American Chemical Society | Comments

Consumer advocates are fighting a new rule proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency that aims to address concerns over “inert” ingredients, including fragrances and dyes, in pesticides for non-food use. They say the proposal, which could become final this year, doesn’t go far enough to protect human health and the environment from the ingredients’ potential impacts.

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How is oil cheap when we use so much?

January 16, 2015 12:16 pm | by Jonathan Fahey, Associated Press | Comments

The world burns enough oil-derived fuels to drain an Olympic-sized swimming pool four times every minute. Global consumption has never been higher—and is rising. Yet, the price of a barrel of oil has fallen by more than half over the past six months because the globe, experts say, is awash in oil.

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Solving an organic semiconductor mystery

January 16, 2015 12:07 pm | by Lynn Yarris, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | Comments

Organic semiconductors are prized for light-emitting diodes, field effect transistors and photovoltaic cells. As they can be printed from solution, they provide a highly scalable, cost-effective alternative to silicon-based devices. Uneven performances, however, have been a persistent problem.

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New “triggered-release” mechanism could improve drug delivery

January 16, 2015 11:58 am | by Tom Frew, International Press Officer, Univ. of Warwick | Comments

More efficient medical treatments could be developed thanks to a new method for triggering the rearrangement of chemical particles. The new method, developed at the Univ. of Warwick, uses two “parent” nanoparticles that are designed to interact only when in proximity to each other and trigger the release of drug molecules contained within both.

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Nanoparticles for clean drinking water

January 16, 2015 11:47 am | by Univ. of Twente | Comments

One way of removing harmful nitrate from drinking water is to catalyze its conversion to nitrogen. This process suffers from the drawback that it often produces ammonia. By using palladium nanoparticles as a catalyst, and by carefully controlling their size, this drawback can be eliminated. It was research conducted by Yingnan Zhao of the Univ. of Twente’s MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology that led to this discovery.

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Study details link between inflammation and cancer

January 16, 2015 9:28 am | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | Comments

A new study from Massachusetts Institute of Technology reveals one reason why people who suffer from chronic inflammatory diseases such as colitis have a higher risk of mutations that cause cancer. The researchers also found that exposure to DNA-damaging chemicals after a bout of inflammation boosts these mutations even more, further increasing cancer risk.

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Long-acting drug effectively prevents HIV-like infection in monkeys

January 16, 2015 9:15 am | by Zach Veilleux, The Rockefeller Univ. | Comments

A regime of anti-HIV drugs has the potential to protect against infection in the first place. But real life can interfere; the effectiveness of this prophylactic approach declines if the medications aren’t taken as prescribed. HIV researchers hope a new compound, known as cabotegravir, could make dosing easier for some because the drug would be administered by injection once every three months.

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Software that knows the risks

January 16, 2015 8:37 am | by Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office | Comments

Imagine that you could tell your phone that you want to drive from your house in Boston to a hotel in upstate New York, that you want to stop for lunch at an Applebee’s at about 12:30, and that you don’t want the trip to take more than four hours. Then imagine that your phone tells you that you have only a 66% chance of meeting those criteria.

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Bone stem cells shown to regenerate bone and cartilage in adult mice

January 16, 2015 8:24 am | by Columbia Univ. Medical Center | Comments

A stem cell capable of regenerating both bone and cartilage has been identified in bone marrow of mice. The cells, called osteochondroreticular (OCR) stem cells, were discovered by tracking a protein expressed by the cells. Using this marker, the researchers found that OCR cells self-renew and generate key bone and cartilage cells, including osteoblasts and chondrocytes.

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Shining a light on quantum dots measurement

January 16, 2015 8:14 am | by Syracuse Univ. | Comments

Due to their nanoscale dimensions and sensitivity to light, quantum dots are being used for a number of bioimaging applications including in vivo imaging of tumor cells, detection of biomolecules and measurement of pH changes. When quantum dots are introduced in biological media, proteins surround the nanoparticles and form a corona. The formation of the protein corona changes the sensitivity of the quantum dots to light.

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Perovskites provide big boost to silicon solar cells

January 16, 2015 8:05 am | by Mark Shwartz, Stanford Univ. | Comments

Stacking perovskites onto a conventional silicon solar cell dramatically improves the overall efficiency of the cell, according to a new study led by Stanford Univ. scientists. The researchers describe their novel perovskite-silicon solar cell in Energy & Environmental Science.

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