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The Lead

Adolescent brain develops differently in bipolar disorder

May 29, 2015 12:43 pm | by Bill Hathaway, Yale Univ. | News | Comments

In adolescents with bipolar disorder, key areas of the brain that help regulate emotions develop differently, a new study by Yale Univ. School of Medicine researchers shows. In brain areas that regulate emotions, adolescents with bipolar disorder lose larger-than-anticipated volumes of gray matter, or neurons, and show no increase in white matter connections, which is a hallmark of normal adolescent brain development.

Technique harnesses everyday seismic waves to image the Earth

May 29, 2015 11:30 am | by Ker Than, Stanford Univ. | News | Comments

A new technique developed at Stanford Univ. harnesses the buzz of everyday human activity to map...

Sharp-eyed Alma spots a flare on red giant star

May 29, 2015 11:21 am | by Chalmers Univ. of Technology | News | Comments

Super-sharp observations with the telescope Alma have revealed what seems to be a gigantic flare...

Recycling nuclear waste

May 29, 2015 11:12 am | by Kate McAlpine, Univ. of Michigan | News | Comments

An advanced nuclear reactor under development by Hitachi could help solve the nuclear waste...

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Cheetah robot lands the running jump

May 29, 2015 10:56 am | by Jennifer Chu, MIT News Office | Videos | Comments

In a leap for robot development, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers who built a robotic cheetah have now trained it to see and jump over hurdles as it runs, making this the first four-legged robot to run and jump over obstacles autonomously. To get a running jump, the robot plans out its path, much like a human runner: As it detects an approaching obstacle, it estimates that object’s height and distance.

Lab can create hurricane conditions on demand

May 29, 2015 8:57 am | by Jennifer Kay, Associated Press | News | Comments

Researchers trying to figure out what makes some hurricanes strengthen into catastrophic monsters have a new lab that allows them to generate tropical storm conditions with the flip of a switch. The lab is at the Univ. of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. It's known as the Surge-Structure-Atmosphere Interaction, or SUSTAIN.

Study shows influence on climate of fresh water during last Ice Age

May 29, 2015 8:26 am | by Oregon State Univ. | News | Comments

A new study shows how huge influxes of fresh water into the North Atlantic Ocean from icebergs calving off North America during the last ice age had an unexpected effect—they increased the production of methane in the tropical wetlands. Usually increases in methane levels are linked to warming in the Northern Hemisphere, but scientists have identified rapid increases in methane during particularly cold intervals.

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DNA double helix does double duty in assembling nanoparticle arrays

May 29, 2015 8:18 am | by Karen McNulty Walsh, Brookhaven National Laboratory | News | Comments

In a new twist on the use of DNA in nanoscale construction, scientists at Brookhaven National Laboratory and collaborators put synthetic strands of the biological material to work in two ways: They used ropelike configurations of the DNA double helix to form a rigid geometrical framework, and added dangling pieces of single-stranded DNA to glue nanoparticles in place.

Microscopic sonic screwdriver invented

May 29, 2015 7:56 am | by Univ. of Bristol | News | Comments

A team of engineers have created tiny acoustic vortices and used them to grip and spin microscopic particles suspended in water. The researchers have shown that acoustic vortices act like tornados of sound, causing microparticles to rotate and drawing them to the vortex core. Like a tornado, what happens to the particles depends strongly on their size.

Researchers prove magnetism can control heat, sound

May 29, 2015 7:47 am | by Jamie Abel, Ohio Supercomputer Center | News | Comments

Phonons have magnetic properties. In Nature Materials, Ohio State Univ. researchers describe how a magnetic field, roughly the size of a medical MRI, reduced the amount of heat flowing through a semiconductor by 12%. Simulations performed at the Ohio Supercomputer Center then identified the reason for it—the magnetic field induces a diamagnetic response in vibrating atoms known as phonons, which changes how they transport heat.

Physicists precisely measure interaction between atoms, carbon surfaces

May 29, 2015 7:36 am | by Peter Kelley, Univ. of Washington | News | Comments

Physicists at the Univ. of Washington have conducted the most precise and controlled measurements yet of the interaction between the atoms and molecules that comprise air and the type of carbon surface used in battery electrodes and air filters; key information for improving those technologies.

Researchers find “lost” memories

May 29, 2015 7:27 am | by Helen Knight, MIT News correspondent | News | Comments

Memories that have been “lost” as a result of amnesia can be recalled by activating brain cells with light. In a paper published in Science, researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology reveal that they were able to reactivate memories that could not otherwise be retrieved, using a technology known as optogenetics.

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Japanese nuclear plant cleared to restart

May 28, 2015 12:50 pm | by Associated Press | News | Comments

Today, a nuclear plant in southern Japan obtained the final permit needed to restart its reactors, paving the way for it to become the first to go back online under new safety standards introduced after the 2011 Fukushima disaster. All of Japan's more than 40 reactors are currently offline for repairs or safety inspections.

Donuts, math and superdense teleportation of quantum information

May 28, 2015 12:26 pm | by Univ. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign | News | Comments

Putting a hole in the center of the donut allows the deep-fried pastry to cook evenly, inside and out. As it turns out, the hole in the center of the donut also holds answers for a type of more efficient and reliable quantum information teleportation, a critical goal for quantum information science.

Spiraling laser pulses could change graphene

May 28, 2015 11:46 am | by SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory | News | Comments

A new study predicts that researchers could use spiraling pulses of laser light to change the nature of graphene, turning it from a metal into an insulator and giving it other peculiar properties that might be used to encode information. The results pave the way for experiments that create and control new states of matter with this specialized form of light, with potential applications in computing and other areas.

Designing less odorous latrines

May 28, 2015 11:37 am | by American Chemical Society | News | Comments

About 2.5 billion people worldwide don’t have access to sanitary toilets. Latrines are an option for many of those people, but these facilities’ overwhelming odors can deter users, who then defecate outdoors instead. To improve this situation, fragrance scientists paired experts’ noses and analytical instruments to determine the odor profiles of latrines with the aim of countering the offensive stench.

Diagnosing cancer with help from bacteria

May 28, 2015 11:31 am | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Engineers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Univ. of California at San Diego have devised a new way to detect cancer that has spread to the liver, by enlisting help from probiotics, beneficial bacteria similar to those found in yogurt. Many types of cancer, including colon and pancreatic, tend to metastasize to the liver. The earlier doctors can find these tumors, the more likely that they can successfully treat them.

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Merging galaxies break radio silence

May 28, 2015 11:20 am | by Hubble Information Centre | News | Comments

In the most extensive survey of its kind ever conducted, a team of scientists have found an unambiguous link between the presence of supermassive black holes that power high-speed, radio-signal-emitting jets and the merger history of their host galaxies. Almost all of the galaxies hosting these jets were found to be merging with another galaxy, or to have done so recently.

Paleontologists pioneer laser-beam scanning of dinosaur fossils

May 28, 2015 8:18 am | by Brendan Lynch, KU News Service | News | Comments

A team of scientists based largely at the Univ. of Kansas and the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture in Washington has developed methods of using commercial-grade laser equipment to find and analyze fossils of dinosaurs. The new laser method causes fossil samples to fluoresce, revealing complex details unseen with traditional visual enhancers like ultraviolet light.

Breakthrough heralds super-efficient light-based computers

May 28, 2015 8:07 am | by Tom Abate, Stanford Engineering | News | Comments

Stanford Univ. electrical engineer Jelena Vuckovic wants to make computers faster and more efficient by reinventing how they send data back and forth between chips, where the work is done. In computers today, data is pushed through wires as a stream of electrons. That takes a lot of power, which helps explain why laptops get so warm.

New technique to understand cloud behavior

May 28, 2015 7:53 am | by Julie Chao, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | News | Comments

With two off-the-shelf digital cameras situated about 1 km apart facing Miami’s Biscayne Bay, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory scientists are collecting 3-D data on cloud behavior that have never been possible to collect before. The photos allow the team to measure how fast the clouds rise, which in turn can shed light on a wide range of areas, ranging from lightning rates to extreme precipitation to the ozone hole.

Who needs water to assemble DNA?

May 28, 2015 7:42 am | by John Toon, Georgia Institute of Technology | News | Comments

Scientists around the world are using the programmability of DNA to assemble complex nanometer-scale structures. Until now, however, production of these artificial structures has been limited to water-based environments, because DNA naturally functions inside the watery environment of living cells. Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have now shown that they can assemble DNA nanostructures in a solvent containing no water.

Expanding the code of life with new “letters”

May 28, 2015 7:29 am | by American Chemical Society | News | Comments

The DNA encoding all life on Earth is made of four building blocks called nucleotides, commonly known as “letters,” that line up in pairs and twist into a double helix. Now, two groups of scientists are reporting for the first time that two new nucleotides can do the same thing, raising the possibility that entirely new proteins could be created for medical uses.

Spinning a new version of silk

May 28, 2015 7:22 am | by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office | News | Comments

After years of research decoding the complex structure and production of spider silk, researchers have now succeeded in producing samples of this exceptionally strong and resilient material in the laboratory. The new development could lead to a variety of biomedical materials made from synthesized silk with properties specifically tuned for their intended uses.

EPA plans temporary pesticide restrictions while bees feed

May 28, 2015 12:04 am | by Seth Borenstein, AP Science Writer, Associated Press | News | Comments

If honeybees are busy pollinating large, blooming croplands, farmers wanting to spray toxic pesticides will soon have to buzz off, the Environmental Protection Agency is proposing. A federal rule to be proposed Thursday would create temporary pesticide-free zones when certain plants are in bloom around bees that are trucked from farm to farm by professional beekeepers, which are the majority of honeybees in the U.S.

Study reveals flaws in gene testing; results often conflict

May 27, 2015 12:21 pm | by Marilynn Marchione, AP Chief Medical Writer, Associated Press | News | Comments

The first report from a big public-private project to improve genetic testing reveals it's not as rock solid as many people believe, with flaws that result in some people wrongly advised to worry about a disease risk and others wrongly told they can relax. Researchers say the study shows the need for consumers to be careful about choosing where to have a gene test done and acting on the results.

Researchers develop intelligent handheld robots

May 27, 2015 11:41 am | by Univ. of Bristol | News | Comments

What if handheld tools know what needs to be done and were even able to guide and help inexperienced users to complete jobs that require skill? Researchers at the Univ. of Bristol have developed and started studying a novel concept in robotics: intelligent handheld robots.

What the solar system looked like as a “toddler”

May 27, 2015 11:01 am | by Sarah Collins, Univ. of Cambridge | News | Comments

An international team of astronomers has identified a young planetary system which may aid in understanding how our own solar system formed and developed billions of years ago. Using the Gemini Planet Imager at the Gemini South telescope in Chile, the researchers identified a disc-shaped bright ring of dust around a star only slightly more massive than the sun, located 360 light-years away in the Centaurus constellation.

Bioresorbable electronic stent could provide feedback, therapy

May 27, 2015 10:39 am | by American Chemical Society | News | Comments

Every year, an estimated half-million Americans undergo surgery to have a stent prop open a coronary artery narrowed by plaque. But sometimes the mesh tubes get clogged. Scientists report in ACS Nano a new kind of multi-tasking stent that could minimize the risks associated with the procedure. It can sense blood flow and temperature, store and transmit the information for analysis and can be absorbed by the body after it finishes its job.

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