Friday, June 29, 2007

The News
Cultivation in Americas dates back 10,000 years
By Randolph E. Schmid The Associated Press
Article Last Updated: 06/29/2007 01:50:42 AM MDT
Washington - Agriculture was taking root in South America almost as early as the first farmers were breaking ground in the Middle East, new research indicates.
Evidence that squash was being grown nearly 10,000 years ago, in what is now Peru, is reported in today's edition of the journal Science.
A team led by anthropologist Tom D. Dillehay of Vanderbilt University also uncovered remains of peanuts from 7,600 years ago and cotton dated to 5,500 years ago in the floors and hearths of sites in the Nanchoc Valley of northern Peru.
"We believe the development of agriculture by the Nanchoc people served as a catalyst for cultural and social changes that eventually led to intensified agriculture, institutionalized political power and new towns in the Andean highlands and along the coast 4,000 to 5,500 years ago," Dillehay said.

The Research
Read the research behind this story in the journal Science.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

The News
Researchers: Antarctica Ice Sheet Stable
(originally seen in the Denver Post, 6/28/07)
By RAY LILLEY Associated Press Writer
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) -- An ice sheet in Antarctica that is the world's largest - with enough water to raise global sea levels by 200 feet - is relatively stable and poses no immediate threat, according to new research.
While studies of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets show they are both at risk from global warming, the East Antarctic ice sheet will "need quite a bit of warming" to be affected, Andrew Mackintosh, a senior lecturer at Victoria University, said Wednesday.
The air over the East Antarctic ice sheet, an ice mass more than 1,875 miles across and up to 2.5 miles thick centered on the South Pole, will remain cold enough to prevent significant melting in the near future, the New Zealand-led research shows.

The Research
Read the research behind this story in the journal Geology.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The News
Study: Pet care industry is booming
WASHINGTON, June 26 (UPI) -- The American Chemical Society said U.S. pet owners spent $18.5 million last year on veterinary care, medications and other non-food pet supplies.
And as people around the world devote more of their income to keeping pets healthy and comfortable, pharmaceutical companies are devoting more research to pet health.
Writing in the ACS journal Chemical & Engineering News, Associate Editor Rachel Petkewich reported the amount of money spent on pet care in the United States is expected to grow by more than 6 percent annually. And that, she said, is spurring global pharmaceutical companies best known for making human medicines to devote more research dollars for their animal health divisions.

The Research
Read the research behind this story in Chemical & Engineering News.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The News
Technology turns glycerin into ethanol
HOUSTON, June 25 (UPI) -- U.S. scientists have developed a technology designed to convert waste glycerin from biodiesel plants into ethanol, another popular biofuel.
Rice University Assistant Professor Ramon Gonzalez and colleagues identified the metabolic processes and conditions that allow a strain of E. coli to convert glycerin into ethanol.
"It's also very efficient," said Gonzalez. "We estimate the operational costs to be about 40 percent less that those of producing ethanol from corn."

The Research
Read the research behind this story in the journal Current Opinion in Biotechnology.

Monday, June 25, 2007

The News
Echinacea Halves Chances of Getting Cold, Review Finds
By Frances Schwartzkopff
June 25 (Bloomberg) -- Echinacea, the North American flower widely used to protect against colds, actually works - and works well - a scientific review found.
The plant, also known as the purple cornflower, reduced the chances of getting a cold by nearly two-thirds compared with a placebo, according to the review, which independently analyzed the results of 14 clinical studies. Echinacea also cut a cold's duration by as many as four days, according to the review, published today in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.
``Echinacea is one of the most commonly used herbal products, but controversy exists about its benefit in the prevention and treatment of the common cold,'' lead author Sachin A. Shah, of the University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy, wrote. The review found ``echinacea decreased the odds of developing the common cold by 58 percent.''

The Research
Read the research behind this story in The Lancet: Infectious Diseases.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

The News
Psychotherapy can prove harmful to certain patients: Report
New York, June 11: Psychotherapy -- the treatment method used to cure emotional disorders by counselling and communicating with patients -- could be dangerous for some, a media report said today. "The profession hasn't shown much interest in the problem of treatments that can be harmful. Of the few psychotherapies that have been for safety, too many cause harm to at least some patients," Newsweek quoted psychology professor Scott Lilienfeld of Emory University as saying. Few patients seeking psychotherapy know that talking can be dangerous and the therapies are not "exactly rushing to tell them so," it said.

The Research
Read the research behind this story in Perspectives on Psychological Science.

Friday, June 22, 2007

The News
Which sibling is the smartest?
By Denise Gellene Los Angeles Times
Article Last Updated: 06/22/2007 12:51:29 AM MDT
Wading into an age-old debate, researchers have found that firstborn children are smarter than their siblings - and the reason is not genetics but the way their parents treat them, according to a study published today.
The study of 240,000 Norwegian men in the journal Science found that the IQs of firstborns were two to three points higher than their younger siblings.
While that may not sound like much, experts said even a few IQ points can make a big difference over the course of a lifetime - and can set firstborns on a trajectory for success.
University of California at Berkeley researcher Frank J. Sulloway, who wrote a commentary accompanying the study, said two to three IQ points could translate to 20 to 30 points more on an SAT college entrance exam.

The Research
Read the two research articles behind this story in the journal Science.
"Explaining the Relation Between Birth Order and Intelligence."
"Birth order and intelligence."

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The News
High energy liquid fuel created from sugar
MADISON, Va., June 21 (UPI) -- U.S. scientists have transformed sugar into a liquid transportation fuel they say has a 40 percent greater energy density than ethanol.
Reporting in the journal Nature, University of Wisconsin-Madison Professor James Dumesic and colleagues describe a two-stage process for turning biomass-derived sugar into 2,5-dimethylfuran, or DMF.
"Currently, ethanol is the only renewable liquid fuel produced on a large scale," said Dumesic. "But ethanol ... has relatively low energy density, evaporates readily, and can become contaminated by absorption of water from the atmosphere. It also requires an energy-intensive distillation process to separate the fuel from water."

The Research
Read the research behind this story in the journal Nature.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The News
Extraordinarily sticky tape is developed
AKRON, Ohio, June 19 (UPI) -- U.S. scientists have created a flexible synthetic adhesive tape that is extraordinarily "sticky" that can adhere to a wide variety of materials.
Researchers at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., and the University of Akron in Ohio said their so-called "gecko tape" has four times the sticking power of geckos -- small lizards that can run up walls and across ceilings.
The tape is a polymer covered with carbon nanotubes that imitate the thousands of microscopic hairs on a gecko's footpad.
The researchers said their prototype flexible tape can stick and unstick repeatedly and be used on a wide variety of surfaces, including Teflon.

The Research
Read the research behind this story in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The News
Study: Drug saves digits in frostbite cases
By Doug Alden The Associated Press
Article Last Updated: 06/19/2007 01:07:47 AM MDT
Salt Lake City - An anti-clotting drug used to treat strokes and heart attacks can also restore blood flow to frostbitten fingers and limbs, greatly reducing the need for amputation, according to a new study.
Doctors at the University of Utah who conducted the research on a small sample of patients hope it marks the start of a move beyond the traditional - and limited - treatment for frostbite.
"What it does is help to rescue that tissue that is damaged but not yet dead," said Dr. Stephen Morris, an authorof the study, which was released Monday in the Archives of Surgery medical journal.
Patients who received the thrombolytic therapy at the university's burn center were more likely to keep their frostbitten fingers and toes.

The Research
Read the research behind this story in the journal Archives of Surgery.

Monday, June 18, 2007

The News
Doctor: Gamers Get Tendonitis from Wii Mania
Morning Edition, June 18, 2007 · In this month's issue of The New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Julio Bonis, diagnoses himself with a new kind of acute tendonitis. The cause of the injury was playing hours of tennis — on his Nintendo Wii console. His recommended treatment is ibuprofen for a week, and complete abstinence from Wii video games.

The Research
Read the research behind this story in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

The News
Bacteria Can Hide Out In Cells For Weeks
Science Daily — A major cause of human and animal infections, Staphylococcus aureus bacteria may evade the immune system's defences and dodge antibiotics by climbing into our cells and then lying low to avoid detection. New research shows how S. aureus makes itself at home in human lung cells for up to two weeks.
A team of 12 researchers from University Hospital of Geneva, Switzerland and the Institute of Food Research, Norwich, UK set out to uncover what S. aureus (6850) did inside human lung epithelial cells (A549) using an in vitro model. They found that shortly after S. aureus entered the lung cells, the bacteria's gene expression profile dramatically changed: gene expression for bacterial metabolic functions and transport shut down, putting the bacteria in a dormant state.

The Research
Read the research behind this story in the journal BMC:Genomics.

Friday, June 8, 2007

The News
Vitamin D may cut risk of some cancers
By Timberly Ross and Jeff Donn The Associated Press
Article Last Updated: 06/08/2007 03:18:19 AM MDT
Omaha - Building hope for one pill to prevent many cancers, vitamin D cut the risk of several types of cancer by 60 percent overall for older women in the most rigorous study yet. The new research strengthens the case made by some specialists that vitamin D may be a powerful cancer preventive and most people should get more of it. Experts remain split, though, on how much to take.

The Research
Read the research behind this story in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

The News
M.D.: Drugmaker threatened suit as Avandia issues raised
By Matthew Perrone The Associated Press
Article Last Updated: 06/07/2007 01:44:32 AM MDT
Washington - The controversy surrounding GlaxoSmithKline's diabetes drug Avandia grew Wednesday as a medical expert told Congress that executives threatened to sue when he first raised questions in 1999 about the treatment's safety. That testimony, coupled with a recent medical journal's analysis highlighting the heart attack risks associated with Avandia, prompted some Democratic lawmakers to rebuke the Food and Drug Administration for failing to protect consumers.

The Research
Read the research behind this story in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

The News
Study: Folic acid doesn't prevent polyps
By CARLA K. JOHNSONAssociated Press Writer
CHICAGO (AP) -- High doses of folic acid do not prevent precancerous colon polyps in people prone to them and may actually increase the risk of developing the growths, a new study finds. It's the latest evidence that taking too many vitamins may be harmful. Last month, a study linked heavy vitamin use to fatal prostate cancer, and other research has shown beta-carotene pills can heighten smokers' risk of lung cancer. The results surprised scientists. Previous studies showed diets low in folic acid led to a higher risk of colon cancer.

The Research
Read the research behind this story in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

Saturday, June 2, 2007

The News
Evolution of animal personalities studied
SANTA FE, N.M., May 31 (UPI) -- A team of U.S. and German scientists studying the evolution of animal personalities has found animals differ strikingly in character and temperament.
Although only recently has it become evident that personalities are a widespread phenomenon in the animal kingdom, scientists have already described personality differences in more than 60 species, including primates, rodents, birds, fish, insects and mollusks.
Now research led by Max Wolf of the German University of Groningen, who is now at the Santa Fe Institute, is offering an explanation of the evolution of animal personalities.

The Research
Read the research behind this story in the journal Nature.