Childhood hunger policies should target neighborhoods, not families

Policies addressing childhood hunger should target neighborhoods, not individual families, according to new research from Rice University.

Retigabine for epilepsy: No proof of added benefit

This release is available in German.

Evaluating the association of alcohol intake with cognitive functioning

Many observational cohort studies have shown that moderate alcohol use is associated with better cognitive function. However, since such studies are vulnerable to residual confounding by other lifestyle and physiologic factors, the authors conducted a Mendelian randomization study, using aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2) genotype (AA, GA, or GG) as an instrumental variable in 2-stage least squares analysis. Cognitive function was assessed from delayed 10-word recall score (n = 4,707) and Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) score (n = 2,284) among men from the Guangzhou Biobank Cohort Study (2003-2008). The authors had previously reported an association between reported alcohol intake and cognitive function from a larger group of subjects from the same study finding that women reporting occasional alcohol intake and men reporting occasional or moderate intake had better scores related to cognitive function than did abstainers.1

Liver cancer patients less likely to die on wait list than candidates without carcinomas

New research shows increasing disparity in mortality among candidates with and without hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) who are on the waiting list for liver transplantation. The study available in the April issue of Liver Transplantation, a journal published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, found that liver cancer patients are less likely to die on the wait list than non-HCC candidates, prompting transplantation specialists to suggest a reevaluation of current allotment criteria for those with HCC.

Runaway planets zoom at a fraction of light speed

New research shows that the answer is yes. Not only do runaway planets exist, but some of them zoom through space at a few percent of the speed of light - up to 30 million miles per hour.

Employer-sponsored wellness programs on the rise

(CHICAGO) – Organizations in the Chicago area report an increase of health-improvement and wellness programs according to a survey conducted in September 2011 by Aon Hewitt in partnership with Rush Health. The survey results will be released at the 9th annual Employer Symposium at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago on Thursday, March 22.

Trace element plays major role in tropical forest nitrogen cycle

Athens, Ga. – A new paper by researchers from the University of Georgia and Princeton University sheds light on the critical part played by a little-studied element, molybdenum, in the nutrient cycles of tropical forests. Understanding the role of molybdenum may help scientists more accurately predict how tropical forests will respond to climate change. The findings were published March 21 in the journal PLoS ONE.

Geologists discover new class of landform -- on Mars

They call the structures periodic bedrock ridges (and they use the abbreviation PBRs to evoke a favorite brand of beer). The ridges look like sand dunes but, rather than being made from material piled up by the wind, the scientists say the ridges actually form from wind erosion of bedrock.

Unhealthy behaviors more prevalent in survivors of multiple cancers, study shows

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 21, 2012) — A study published by University of Kentucky researchers shows that survivors of multiple cancers report unhealthier behaviors post-diagnosis than control counterparts.

A new shortcut for stem cell programming

These stem cells can reproduce and be converted into various types of brain cells. To date, only reprogramming in brain cells that were already fully developed or which had only a limited ability to divide was possible. The new reprogramming method presented by the Bonn scientists and submitted for publication in July 2011 now enables derivation of brain stem cells that are still immature and able to undergo practically unlimited division to be extracted from conventional body cells. The results have now been published in the current edition of the prestigious journal Cell Stem Cell.

Liquid-like materials may pave way for new thermoelectric devices

Thermoelectric materials have been used to power spacecraft ranging from Apollo to the Curiosity rover now headed for Mars. Recently, however, scientists and engineers have been turning to these materials to use wasted heat—released from automobiles or industrial machinery, for instance—as an efficient energy source. They have also proposed using these materials to create more efficient heating systems in electric cars or even as new ways to exploit solar power.

Cooking better biochar: Study improves recipe for soil additive

The study, published this week in the Journal of Biomass and Bioenergy, is timely because biochar is attracting thousands of amateur and professional gardeners, and some companies are also scaling up industrial biochar production.

AERA executive director testifies on FY 2013 NSF budget at House subcommittee hearing

WASHINGTON, March 22, 2012–AERA Executive Director Felice J. Levine testified before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies today. Her testimony supported the proposed FY 2013 budget for the National Science Foundation (NSF) Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR). As proposed, EHR would receive $875.6 million in FY 2013, an increase of $46.6 million, or 5.6 percent, over the FY 2012 appropriations.

Researchers find beta cell stress could trigger the development of type 1 diabetes

In type 1 diabetes (T1D), pancreatic beta cells die from a misguided autoimmune attack, but how and why that happens is still unclear. Now, JDRF-funded scientists from the Indiana University School of Medicine have found that a specific type of cellular stress takes place in pancreatic beta cells before the onset of T1D, and that this stress response in the beta cell may in fact help ignite the autoimmune attack. These findings shed an entirely new light into the mystery behind how changes in the beta cell may play a role in the earliest stages of T1D, and adds a new perspective to our understanding how T1D progresses, and how to prevent and treat the disease.

Scripps Research Institute team wrests partial control of a memory

The results are reported in the March 23, 2012 issue of the journal Science.

Invisibility of magnetic fields made reality

The cylinder is built using high temperature superconductor material, easily refrigerated with liquid nitrogen and covered in a layer of iron, nickel and chrome. This simple and accessible formula has been used to create a true invisibility cloak.

High school math teachers may not make the grade when it comes to gender bias

Austin, TX—Do some high school teachers think math is harder for girls than boys? The authors of a new study say yes.

Consensus guidelines: Return of results to participants in genomics research

Karen J. Maschke, a research scholar at The Hastings Center, is coauthor of a consensus article that explicitly outlines "significant new responsibilities" for biobanks concerning the return of incidental findings and individual research results to people whose biospecimens were used in genetic and genomic studies.

Scientists reprogram cancer cells with low doses of epigenetic drugs

Experimenting with cells in culture, researchers at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center have breathed possible new life into two drugs once considered too toxic for human cancer treatment. The drugs, azacitidine (AZA) and decitabine (DAC), are epigenetic-targeted drugs and work to correct cancer-causing alterations that modify DNA.

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