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Date: Sunday, 21 Sep 2014 17:49

Breast cancer experts around the world have issued a plea to researchers, academics, drug companies, funders and advocates to carry out high quality research and clinical trials for advanced breast cancer, a disease which is almost always fatal and for which there are many unanswered questions.

In the latest international consensus guidelines for the management of advanced breast cancer, published simultaneously in the leading cancer journals The Breast and Annals of Oncology [1] today (Friday), the experts say that further research and clinical trials are "urgently needed" to find the best treatments for:

  • patients with breast cancer that has spread to the liver, or the space around the lungs (pleural cavity) or the skin;


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Author: "News Staff"
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Date: Sunday, 21 Sep 2014 17:48

The sense of fairness did not evolve for the sake of fairness per se but in order to reap the benefits of continued cooperation, so say Frans de Waal, PhD, and Sarah Brosnan, PhD, co-authors of a review article about inequity aversion (IA), which is defined as a negative reaction to unequal outcomes. The review is published in Science.

Their conclusion comes after the co-authors reviewed more than 35 IA-related studies to address their hypothesis that it is the evolution of forestalling partner dissatisfaction with obtained outcomes and its negative impact on future cooperation that allowed the development of a complete sense of fairness in humans.


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Author: "News Staff"
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Date: Sunday, 21 Sep 2014 17:48

An international collaboration led by research groups from Mainz and Darmstadt, Germany, has achieved the synthesis of a new class of chemical compounds for superheavy elements at the RIKEN Nishina Center for Accelerator-based Research (RNC) in Japan. For the first time, a chemical bond was established between a superheavy element – seaborgium (element 106) in the present study – and a carbon atom. Eighteen atoms of seaborgium were converted into seaborgium hexacarbonyl complexes, which include six carbon monoxide molecules bound to the seaborgium. Its gaseous properties and adsorption to a silicon dioxide surface were studied, and compared with similar compounds of neighbors of seaborgium in the same group of the periodic table.


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Author: "News Staff"
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Date: Sunday, 21 Sep 2014 16:26

Imagine you are a species which over thousands of years has adapted to the arctic cold, and then you get exposed to a substance that makes the cold dangerous for you.

This is happening to the small white worm Enchytraeus albidus, and the cold provoking substance, called nonylphenol, comes from the use of certain detergents, pesticides and cosmetics.

Nonylphenol is suspected of being a endocrine disruptor, but when entering the worm it has another dangerous effect: It inhibits the worm's ability to protect the cells in its body from cold damage.


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Author: "News Staff"
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Date: Sunday, 21 Sep 2014 16:26

Many patients with advanced, incurable cancer do not receive any palliative care, reveals new research to be presented later this month at the ESMO 2014 Congress in Madrid, Spain, 26-30 September. The findings are astonishing as they come at the same time as 15 new oncology centres in Europe, Canada, South America and Africa are being awarded the prestigious title of 'ESMO Designated Centre of Integrated Oncology and Palliative Care.'


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Author: "News Staff"
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Date: Sunday, 21 Sep 2014 14:58
There is nothing inherently superior about natural gas from hydraulic fracturing - fracking - it has the same emissions as regular natural gas. But it is a lot lower than coal and does not have the political baggage of nuclear energy and that is why environmentalists lobbied for it over the last 40 years.

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Author: "News Staff" Tags: "Energy"
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Date: Sunday, 21 Sep 2014 14:36

Leguminous plants are able to grow well in infertile land, and bear many beans that are important to humans. The reason for this is because most legumes have a symbiotic relationship with bacteria, called rhizobia, that can fix nitrogen in the air and then supply the host plant with ammonia as a nutrient.

The plants create symbiotic organs called nodules in their roots. However, if too many root nodules are made it will adversely affect the growth of the plants, because the energy cost of maintaining excessive nodules is too large. Therefore legumes must have a mechanism to maintain the proper number of root nodules, but this system has been poorly understood.


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Author: "News Staff"
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Date: Sunday, 21 Sep 2014 14:36

Japanese researchers showed monkeys a number of images representing various glosses and then they measured the responses of 39 neurons by using microelectrodes. They found that a specific population of neurons changed the intensities of the responses linearly according to either the contrast-of-highlight, sharpness-of-highlight, or brightness of the object. This shows that these 3 perceptual parameters are used as parameters when the brain recognizes a variety of glosses. They also found that different parameters are represented by different populations of neurons. This was published in the Journal of Neuroscience (September 4, 2014 issue).


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Author: "News Staff"
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Date: Sunday, 21 Sep 2014 14:35

An ultrasensitive biosensor made from the wonder material graphene has been used to detect molecules that indicate an increased risk of developing cancer.

The biosensor has been shown to be more than five times more sensitive than bioassay tests currently in use, and was able to provide results in a matter of minutes, opening up the possibility of a rapid, point-of-care diagnostic tool for patients.

The biosensor has been presented today, 19 September, in IOP Publishing's journal 2D Materials.


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Author: "News Staff"
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Date: Saturday, 20 Sep 2014 20:05

Does this count as homework? Credit: Rob Boudon, CC BY

By Mark Banks, University of Leicester

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Author: "The Conversation" Tags: "Science and Society"
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Date: Saturday, 20 Sep 2014 13:01

Taking daily supplements of selenium and/or vitamin E appears to have no significant effect on the development of age-related cataracts in men, according to new findings from the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial (SELECT) Eye Endpoints (SEE) Study.  

Some research, including animal studies, has suggested that dietary nutrients can have an effect on the onset and progression of cataracts. Vitamin E and selenium are of particular interest.


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Author: "News Staff" Tags: "Vision"
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Date: Friday, 19 Sep 2014 23:00

There are few things as spectacular as flying into Pennsylvania in the autumn. The myriad vibrant colors in the trees inspire people to take jaunts into the countryside. 

That will still happen in the future, it may just come later next century, according to new research, because climate change could postpone fall leaf peeping in some areas of the United States as summer temperatures linger later into the year.

The paper birch, a popular foliage tree that is the state tree of New Hampshire, could change color one to three weeks later by the end of the century, Princeton researchers write


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Author: "News Staff" Tags: "Environment"
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Date: Friday, 19 Sep 2014 22:30

Is protest pointless or productive? Credit: EPA

By Olaf Corry, The Open University

It is set to be one of the largest ever coordinated protests. The People’s Climate March is due to take place in cities all over the world this weekend to try and influence the UN climate summit that follows on September 23. The marches promise to be a major global event, billed by organizers as an “unprecedented mobilization”.

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Author: "The Conversation" Tags: "Science Education and Policy"
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Date: Friday, 19 Sep 2014 22:25

Landslides on Mars typically have runout distances much larger than equivalent features on Earth, and therefore can interact with older landforms that are distal to the failure scarp.

Regardless of the exact formation mechanism of these landslides, it is evident that their combined large area and relatively well constrained formation age can be exploited to better understand the evolution of coincident features, particularly if those features have been modified since the landslide event.

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Author: "Tomasz Nowakowski" Tags: "Geology"
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Date: Friday, 19 Sep 2014 21:40

An international research consortium has found that longer telomeres increase the risk of melanoma.


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Author: "News Staff" Tags: "Cancer Research"
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Date: Friday, 19 Sep 2014 21:30

Lord Toast. Credit: Catarina Mota, CC BY-NC-SA

By Akshat Rathi, The Conversation and Flora Lisica, The Conversation

The 24th Ig Nobel prizes were announced on September 18th. The prizes annually award scientific research that “first makes people laugh and then makes them think."

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Author: "The Conversation" Tags: "Science and Society"
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Date: Friday, 19 Sep 2014 20:36

Researchers have equipped a robot with a novel tactile sensor that lets it grasp a USB cable draped freely over a hook and insert it into a USB port. Its processing algorithm is faster, so it can give the robot feedback in real time. 

The sensor is an adaptation of a technology called GelSight, which was developed by the lab of Edward Adelson, the John and Dorothy Wilson Professor of Vision Science at MIT, first described in 2009. The new sensor is less sensitive than the original GelSight sensor, which could resolve details on the micrometer scale, but it's smaller and faster.


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Author: "News Staff" Tags: "Technology"
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Date: Friday, 19 Sep 2014 20:03

Could novels help us fight climate change? Credit: Asian Development Bank/flickr

By Stephanie LeMenager, University of Oregon

A frail risk analyst rediscovers his inner frontiersman in a devastating flood that hits Manhattan; an insightful rural woman glimpses the grace of god in the revelations of biological science; genetically engineered hominids who purr themselves to wellness inherit a devastated Earth.

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Author: "The Conversation" Tags: "Science and Society"
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Date: Friday, 19 Sep 2014 18:37

For future astronauts, the process of suiting up may go something like this: Instead of climbing into a conventional, bulky, gas-pressurized suit, an astronaut may don a lightweight, stretchy garment, lined with tiny, musclelike coils. She would then plug in to a spacecraft's power supply, triggering the coils to contract and essentially shrink-wrap the garment around her body.

The skintight, pressurized suit would not only support the astronaut, but would give her much more freedom to move during planetary exploration. To take the suit off, she would only have to apply modest force, returning the suit to its looser form.


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Author: "News Staff" Tags: "Technology"
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Date: Friday, 19 Sep 2014 18:30

A new review of literature suggests that while domestic violence rates are higher for homosexual couples, they aren't as high as previous studies have found, and the authors of the paper say the minority stress model may explain the high prevalence rates.

Previous studies indicate that domestic violence affects up to 75 percent of lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals. A lack of representative data and underreporting of abuse paints an incomplete picture of the true landscape, suggesting even higher rates. By comparison, 25 percent of heterosexual women report domestic abuse while heterosexual men have rates much lower.  


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Author: "News Staff" Tags: "Science and Society"
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