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Nanoparticle drug reverses Parkinson’s-like symptoms in rats

April 22, 2015 11:26 am | by American Chemical Society | Comments

As baby boomers age, the number of people diagnosed with Parkinson's disease is expected to increase. Patients who develop this disease usually start experiencing symptoms around age 60 or older. Currently, there's no cure, but scientists are reporting a novel approach that reversed Parkinson's-like symptoms in rats. Their results, published in ACS Nano, could one day lead to a new therapy for human patients.

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Putting a new spin on computing memory

April 22, 2015 11:23 am | by Britt Faulstick, Drexel Univ. | Comments

Ever since computers have been small enough to be fixtures on desks and laps, their central processing has functioned something like an atomic Etch A Sketch, with electromagnetic fields pushing data bits into place to encode data. Unfortunately, the same drawbacks and perils of the mechanical sketch board have been just as pervasive in computing.

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Decoding the cell’s genetic filing system

April 22, 2015 11:09 am | by Princeton Univ. | Comments

A fully extended strand of human DNA measures about five feet in length. Yet it occupies a space just one-tenth of a cell by wrapping itself around histones to form a dense hub of information called chromatin. Access to these meticulously packed genes is regulated by post-translational modifications, chemical changes to the structure of histones that act as on-off signals for gene transcription.

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Testing brain activity to identify cybersecurity threats

April 22, 2015 10:37 am | by Angie Hunt, Iowa State Univ. | Comments

The old adage that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link certainly applies to the risk organizations face in defending against cybersecurity threats. Employees pose a danger that can be just as damaging as a hacker. Iowa State Univ. researchers are working to better understand these internal threats by getting inside the minds of employees who put their company at risk.

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Scientists watch living taste cells in action

April 22, 2015 10:08 am | by Australian National Univ. | Comments

Scientists have, for the first time, captured live images of the process of taste sensation on the tongue. The international team imaged single cells on the tongue of a mouse with a specially designed microscope system.

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Electron spin brings order to high entropy alloys

April 22, 2015 10:01 am | by Matt Shipman, News Services, North Carolina State Univ. | Comments

Researchers from North Carolina State Univ. have discovered that electron spin brings a previously unknown degree of order to the high entropy alloy nickel iron chromium cobalt (NiFeCrCo), and may play a role in giving the alloy its desirable properties.

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Expanding the reach of metallic glass

April 22, 2015 9:53 am | by Jim Shelton, Yale Univ. | Comments

Metallic glass, a class of materials that offers both pliability and strength, is poised for a friendly takeover of the chemical landscape. Yale Univ. engineers have found a unique method for designing metallic glass nanostructures across a wide range of chemicals. The process will enable the fabrication of an array of new materials, with applications for everything from fuel cells to biological implants.

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“Holey” graphene for energy storage

April 22, 2015 8:32 am | by Liezel Labios, Univ. of California, San Diego | Comments

Engineers at the Univ. of California, San Diego have discovered a method to increase the amount of electric charge that can be stored in graphene. The research may provide a better understanding of how to improve the energy storage ability of capacitors for potential applications in cars, wind turbines and solar power.

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Engineering the P450 enzyme to perform new reactions

April 22, 2015 8:24 am | by American Chemical Society | Comments

Enzymes, the micro machines in our cells, can evolve to perform new tasks when confronted with novel situations. But what if you want an enzyme to do an entirely different job—one that it would never have to do in a cell? In a recent report published in ACS Central Science, researchers show that they can mimic nature and perform evolution in a test tube, developing enzymes that can perform brand-new chemical reactions.

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Phonons, arise!

April 22, 2015 8:16 am | by Neal Singer, Sandia National Laboratories | Comments

Modern research has found no simple, inexpensive way to alter a material’s thermal conductivity at room temperature. That lack of control has made it hard to create new classes of devices that use phonons, rather than electrons or photons, to harvest energy or transmit information. Phonons have proved hard to harness.

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Combing through terahertz waves

April 22, 2015 8:02 am | by Kimm Fesenmaier, Caltech | Comments

Light can come in many frequencies, only a small fraction of which can be seen by humans. Between the invisible low-frequency radio waves used by cell phones and the high frequencies associated with infrared light lies a fairly wide swath of the electromagnetic spectrum occupied by what are called terahertz, or sometimes submillimeter, waves.

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3-D structure solved for vulnerable region of glaucoma-causing protein

April 22, 2015 7:53 am | by Brett Israel, Georgia Institute of Technology | Comments

Scientists have determined the 3-D structure of a key part of a protein that is associated with glaucoma and identified regions of this domain that correlate with severe forms of the disease. The new crystal structure is of the olfactomedin (OLF) domain in myocilin, a protein implicated in glaucoma. Many proteins have OLF domains, but mutations in the OLF domain of myocilin are linked to early-onset glaucoma.

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Engineered softwood could transform pulp, paper and biofuel industries

April 22, 2015 7:44 am | by Krista Eastman, Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison | Comments

Scientists have demonstrated the potential for softwoods to process more easily into pulp and paper if engineered to incorporate a key feature of hardwoods. The finding could improve the economics of the pulp, paper and biofuels industries and reduce those industries' environmental impact.

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Invisible inks could help foil counterfeiters of all kinds

April 22, 2015 7:33 am | by Megan Fellman, Northwestern Univ. | Comments

Real or counterfeit? Northwestern Univ. scientists have invented sophisticated fluorescent inks that one day could be used as multicolored barcodes for consumers to authenticate products that are often counterfeited. Snap a photo with your smartphone, and it will tell you if the item is real and worth your money.

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Study links swarm of quakes in Texas to natural gas drilling

April 21, 2015 12:05 pm | by Seth Borenstein, AP Science Writer, Associated Press | Comments

With real-time monitors, scientists have linked a swarm of small earthquakes west of Fort Worth, Texas, to nearby natural gas wells and wastewater injection. In 84 days from November 2013 to January 2014, the area around Azle, Texas, shook with 27 magnitude 2 or greater earthquakes, while scientists at Southern Methodist Univ. and the U.S. Geological Survey monitored the shaking.

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