Archive for the ‘future’ Category

November 26, 2008

Caution: These are synopses of scientific press releases whose findings might not hold up. Also, I might have skipped the ones you would consider most important.

From http://eurekalert.org:

Public Release: 25-Nov-2008
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Understanding donor-recipient genetics could decrease early kidney transplant complications
Researchers have found an association between the genetics of donor-recipient matches in kidney transplants and complications during the first week after transplantation. The team has shown that small differences in the building blocks of cell-surface proteins used to match donors and recipients for deceased-donor kidney transplantation was associated with an increased risk for delayed allograft function.
NIH/National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/news/News_Releases/2008/11/genetic-match-transplant.html

Public Release: 25-Nov-2008
Nature Neuroscience
Carnegie Mellon scientists offer explanation for ‘face blindness’
For the first time, scientists have been able to map the disruption in neural circuitry of people suffering from congenital prosopagnosia, sometimes known as face blindness, and have been able to offer a biological explanation for this intriguing disorder. Currently thought to affect roughly two percent of the population, congenital prosopagnosia manifests as the lifelong failure to recognize faces in the absence of obvious neurological damage, and in individuals with intact vision and intelligence.
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-11/cmu-cms112508.php

Public Release: 25-Nov-2008
Astrophysical Journal Letters
Sweet molecule could lead us to alien life
Scientists have detected an organic sugar molecule that is directly linked to the origin of life, in a region of our galaxy where habitable planets could exist.
Science and Technology Facilities Council
http://www.stfc.ac.uk/PMC/PRel/STFC/iram.aspx

Public Release: 24-Nov-2008
Journal of Evolutionary Biology
Flies may reveal evolutionary step to live birth
A species of fruit fly from the Seychelles Islands often lays larvae instead of eggs, UC San Diego biologists have discovered. Clues to how animals switch from laying eggs to live birth may be found in the well-studied species’ ecology and genes.
UC San Diego
http://ucsdnews.ucsd.edu/newsrel/science/11-08Flies.asp

Public Release: 25-Nov-2008
Psychological Science
In sickness and health: Caring for ailing spouse may prolong your life
Older people who spent at least 14 hours a week taking care of a disabled spouse lived longer than others. That is the unexpected finding of a University of Michigan study forthcoming in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.
NIH/National Institute on Aging
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-11/uom-isa112508.php

November 24, 2008

These are synopses of scientific press releases. They are not yet established as scientific fact, and may turn out to be wrong.

From http://eurekalert.org:

Public Release: 24-Nov-2008
Chinese forest project could reduce number of environmental disasters
A study published in Journal of the American Water Resources Association states that the “Green Great Wall,” a forest shelterbelt project in northern China running nearly parallel to the Great Wall, is likely to improve climatic and hydrological conditions in the area when completed.
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-11/w-cfp112408.php

Public Release: 24-Nov-2008
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Mammals can be stimulated to regrow damaged inner retina nerve cells
For the first time the mammalian retina has now shown the capacity to regenerate new neurons after damage. This research in mice shows that at least some types of retinal damage can be repaired. The loss of neurons in the retina in people in conditions like glaucoma or macular degeneration leads to visual loss and blindness. This new research shows there might someday be a way to restore vision in people with these conditions.
NIH/National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health, National Research Service Award, German Research Foundation, ProRetina Travel Grant
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-11/uow-mcb112408.php

Public Release: 24-Nov-2008
76 percent of American middle-class households not financially secure
As the economy continues to reel, a new report finds that 4 million American households lost economic security between 2000 and 2006 and that a majority of America’s middle class households are either borderline or at high risk of falling out of the middle class altogether. The new report, “From Middle to Shaky Ground: The Economic Decline of America’s Middle Class, 2000-2006” was published by the policy center Demos and the Institute for Assets and Social Policy at Brandeis University.
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-11/bu-7oa112408.php

Public Release: 24-Nov-2008
British Journal of Sociology
Race bigotry falling in Britain
Racial prejudice in Britain has been declining sharply in Britain since the 1980s thanks to the greater tolerance of younger generations, according to a new study. Dr. Rob Ford from the University of Manchester says that social contact with black or Asian Britons is becoming increasingly unremarkable to white people in their 20s and 30s.
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-11/uom-rbf112408.php

Public Release: 23-Nov-2008
Nature Chemical Biology
Scripps research team defines new painkilling chemical pathway
Marijuana can be an effective painkiller, but social issues and unhealthy smoke inhalation complicate its use. As a result, researchers have focused great attention on understanding the biochemical system involved so they might manipulate it by other means. Toward that end, a Scripps Research Institute group has definitively identified a chemical pathway that, in mice, imitates marijuana’s painkilling effect. The work could enable the development of new pain treatments.
National Institutes of Health, Helen L. Dorris Child and Adolescent Neuro-Psychiatric Disorder Institute, Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-11/sri-srt111908.php

Public Release: 23-Nov-2008
Nature Neuroscience
‘Wiring’ in the brain influences personality
Some people are constantly seeking a new kick; some prefer to stick to tried and tested things. Which group you belong to seems to be connected, inter alia, with the ‘wiring’ of specific centers of the brain. This was discovered by scientists at the University of Bonn using a new method. Even how much acceptance people seek is apparently also determined by nerve fibers in the brain. The study will appear in the next issue of the journal Nature Neuroscience.
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-11/uob-it111908.php

November 18, 2008

From http://eurekalert.org:

Public Release: 18-Nov-2008
New tool trains athlete brains to react 53 percent faster
Two researchers from the School of Optometry of the Universite de Montreal have discovered how to train the brain of athletes to improve their overall athletic performance.
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-11/uom-ntt111808.php

Public Release: 18-Nov-2008
Kids from juvenile justice system 7 times more likely to commit criminal acts
The study showed that kids who went through the system were seven times more likely to commit criminal acts as adults that correlated with the severity of their sentence. For instance, for the least severe sentence (community service) the risk of relapse is 2.3 percent. However, for the most severe sentence (juvenile retreat) the risk of relapse is 38 percent.
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-11/uom-kfj111808.php

Public Release: 17-Nov-2008
Billions of particles of anti-matter created in laboratory
Take a gold sample the size of the head of a push pin, shoot a laser through it, and suddenly more than 100 billion particles of anti-matter appear. The anti-matter, also known as positrons, shoots out of the target in a cone-shaped plasma “jet.”
https://publicaffairs.llnl.gov/news/news_releases/2008/NR-08-11-03.html

Public Release: 17-Nov-2008
Canadian Medical Association Journal
Study finds Canada’s supervised injection facility cost-effective
Canada’s only supervised injection facility is extending lives and saving the health-care system millions of dollars, a new study from the University of Western Ontario and University of Toronto shows. In analyzing the cost-effectiveness of Vancouver-based Insite, a safe injection facility in a downtown neighborhood where about 5,000 injection drug users live, researchers found $14 million in savings and health gains of 920 life-years over 10 years.
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-11/uowo-sfc111708.php

Public Release: 17-Nov-2008
Medical Teacher
Non-white med students reject therapies associated with their culture
Non-white medical students are more likely to embrace orthodox medicine and reject therapies traditionally associated with their cultures. That is one finding from an international study that measures the attitudes of medical students toward complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). While seemingly counter-intuitive, white students view CAM more favorably than their non-white counterparts, the study authors say.
NIH/National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-11/gumc-nms111708.php

Public Release: 17-Nov-2008
Minnesota Law Review
Democratic Party control could ban mandatory arbitration, expert says
Democratic Party control in Washington could restore lawsuits as an option for workers and consumers now forced to settle disputes through mandatory arbitration that gives employers and businesses an unfair edge, a University of Illinois labor law expert says.
http://news.illinois.edu/news/08/1117arbitration.html

Public Release: 17-Nov-2008
American Journal of Psychiatry
Novel imaging technique reveals brain abnormalities that may play key role in ADHD
A new study in the advance edition of the American Journal of Psychiatry reveals shape differences in the brains of children with ADHD. Researchers from the Kennedy Krieger Institute and the Johns Hopkins Center for Imaging Science used a new tool, large deformation diffeomorphic mapping, allowing them to examine the shape of the basal ganglia. Boys with ADHD had shape differences and decreased volume of the basal ganglia compared to typically developing children.
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-11/kki-nit111708.php

November 12, 2008

From http://eurekalert.org:

Physical Review Letters
Evolution’s new wrinkle
A team of Princeton University scientists has discovered that chains of proteins found in most living organisms act like adaptive machines, possessing the ability to control their own evolution. The research, which appears to offer evidence of a hidden mechanism guiding the way biological organisms respond to the forces of natural selection, provides a new perspective on evolution, the scientists said.
National Science Foundation
http://www.princeton.edu/main/news/archive/S22/60/95O56/index.xml?section=science

Public Release: 11-Nov-2008
Quarterly Review of Biology
The miseries of allergies just may help prevent some cancers, study finds
There may be a silver — and healthy — lining to the miserable cloud of allergy symptoms: Sneezing, coughing, tearing and itching just may help prevent cancer — particularly colon, skin, bladder, mouth, throat, uterus and cervix, lung and gastrointestinal tract cancer, according to a new Cornell study.
http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/Nov08/allergies.cancer.sl.html

Public Release: 11-Nov-2008
Lab on a Chip
New laser method reproduces art masterworks to protein patterns
To illustrate the precision of their protein patterning technique, the research team reproduced a masterwork of Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer, specifically Girl with a Pearl Earring, in the miniature dimension of 200 microns wide or about the thickness of two hairs. The researchers also used their novel technology to replicate the brain’s complex cellular environment.
Natural Science and Engineering Council of Canada, Fonds quebecois de la recherche sur la nature et les technologies, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Fonds de la recherche en sante du Quebec
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-11/uom-nlm111108.php

Public Release: 11-Nov-2008
Proceedings of the National Academy of Science
Without enzyme, biological reaction essential to life takes 2.3 billion years
All biological reactions within human cells depend on enzymes. Their power as catalysts enables biological reactions to occur usually in milliseconds. But how slowly would these reactions proceed spontaneously, in the absence of enzymes — minutes, hours, days? And why even pose the question?
NIH/National Institute of General Medicine
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-11/uonc-web111008.php

Public Release: 11-Nov-2008
Journal of Neuroscience
Fatty diet during pregnancy makes new cells in fetal brain that cause early onset obesity
A study in rats shows that exposure to a high-fat diet during pregnancy produces permanent changes in the offspring’s brain that lead to overeating and obesity early in life. This surprising finding provides a key step toward understanding mechanisms of fetal programming involving the production of new brain cells that may help explain the increased prevalence of childhood obesity during the last 30 years.
National Institutes of Health
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-11/ru-fdd110708.php

Public Release: 11-Nov-2008
Miniaturizing memory: Taking data storage to the molecular level
Researchers at The University of Nottingham are now exploring ways of exploiting the unique properties of carbon nanotubes to create a cheap and compact memory cell that uses little power and writes information at high speeds.
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
http://tinyurl.com/68fmdj

November 11, 2008

From http://eurekalert.org:

Public Release: 10-Nov-2008
Mayo Clinic Proceedings
Eye conditions linked with obstructive sleep apnea
Numerous studies have shown a connection between sleep disorders and medical conditions such as cardiovascular disease, cerebrovascular disease, and metabolic disorders, including the risk of obesity and diabetes mellitus.
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-11/mc-ecl111008.php

Public Release: 10-Nov-2008
Physical Review E
Forced evolution: Can we mutate viruses to death?
Can scientists create a designer drug that forces viruses to mutate themselves out of existence? A new study by Rice University bioengineers could help make it happen. The study, which will appear in Physical Review E, offers the most comprehensive mathematical analysis to date of the mechanisms that drive evolution in viruses and bacteria, and it could help scientists who are looking to add “lethal mutagenesis” to medicine’s disease-fighting arsenal.
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Korea Research Foundation
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-11/ru-fec111008.php

Public Release: 10-Nov-2008
Ethanol will curb farm income until economy rebounds, economist says
Ethanol helped drive two years of record profits for grain farmers, but also will hold income down during a looming recession that has already sliced crop prices in half, a University of Illinois economist says.
http://news.illinois.edu/news/08/1110farmrecession.htm

Public Release: 10-Nov-2008
A perfect bond
A new laser technique from Tel Aviv University seals and heals wounds.
http://www.aftau.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=7925

Public Release: 10-Nov-2008
Science
Maastricht University researchers produce ‘neural fingerprint’ of speech recognition
Scientists from Maastricht University have developed a method to look into the brain of a person and read out who has spoken to him or her and what was said. With the help of neuroimaging and data mining techniques the researchers mapped the brain activity associated with the recognition of speech sounds and voices.
Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research
http://www.unimaas.nl/default.asp?template=werkveld.htm&id=Q06604X23SUA400B5HD2&taal=en

Public Release: 10-Nov-2008
Current Biology
Study doubles species diversity of enigmatic ‘flying lemurs’
Colugos, the closest living relatives of primates most notable for their ability to glide from tree to tree over considerable distances, are more diverse than had previously been believed, according to a new report published in the Nov. 11 issue of Current Biology, a Cell Press publication.
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-11/cp-sds110408.php

Public Release: 10-Nov-2008
American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2008
Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association
Heart’s surplus energy may help power pacemakers, defibrillators
In an experimental study researchers show a beating heart may produce enough energy to power a pacemaker or defibrillator. An experimental microgenerator captured enough surplus heart energy to provide 17 percent of the power needed to run an implantable pacemaker. Generator refinements could yield smaller, longer-lasting, and more sophisticated implantable devices.
United Kingdom Technology Strategy Board
http://americanheart.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=43&item=547

November 9, 2008

From http://eurekalert.org:

Public Release: 9-Nov-2008
Nature Neuroscience
Simple brain mechanisms explain arbitrary human visual decisions
Scientists report in Nature Neuroscience that a simple decision-making task does not involve the frontal lobes, where many of the higher aspects of human cognition, including self-awareness, are thought to originate. Instead, the regions that decide are the same brain regions that receive stimuli relevant to the decision and control the body’s response to it.
European Union, NIH/National Institutes of Mental Health, Italian Ministry of University and Research
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-11/wuso-sbm110708.php
“Tosoni and Corbetta plan next to probe whether more complicated decisions are carried out by this relatively simple sensory-motor mechanism and how decisions are affected by the amount of reward the subject expects when performing simple and complex decisions.”

Public Release: 9-Nov-2008
Nature Nanotechnology
New small-scale generator produces alternating current by stretching zinc oxide wires
Researchers have developed a new type of small-scale electric power generator able to produce alternating current through the cyclical stretching and releasing of zinc oxide wires encapsulated in a flexible plastic substrate with two ends bonded.
National Science Foundation, US Department of Energy, Air Force Office of Scientific Research
http://tinyurl.com/6mrn8t

From http://arxiv.org via http://arxivblog.com:

MMOGs as Social Experiments: the Case of Environmental Laws
Authors: Joost Broekens
(Submitted on 5 Nov 2008)

Abstract: In this paper we argue that Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOGs), also known as Large Games are an interesting research tool for policy experimentation. One of the major problems with lawmaking is that testing the laws is a difficult enterprise. Here we show that the concept of an MMOG can be used to experiment with environmental laws on a large scale, provided that the MMOG is a real game, i.e., it is fun, addictive, presents challenges that last, etc.. We present a detailed game concept as an initial step.

Subjects: Computers and Society (cs.CY)
Cite as: arXiv:0811.0709v1 [cs.CY]

Full paper: http://arxiv.org/pdf/0811.0709v1

Science Press Releases

November 8, 2008

From http://eurekalert.org:

Public Release: 7-Nov-2008
Open Atmospheric Science Journal
Revised theory suggests carbon dioxide levels already in danger zone
If climate disasters are to be averted, atmospheric carbon dioxide must be reduced below the levels that already exist today, according to a study published in Open Atmospheric Science Journal by a group of 10 scientists from the United States, the United Kingdom and France.
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-11/yu-rts110708.php

Public Release: 7-Nov-2008
Science
U of Minnesota researchers uncover surprising effects of climate patterns in ancient China
University of Minnesota geology and geophysics researchers, along with their colleagues from China, have uncovered surprising effects of climate patterns on social upheaval and the fall of dynasties in ancient China. Their research identifies a natural phenomenon that may have been the last straw for some Chinese dynasties: a weakening of the summer Asian Monsoons. Such weakening accompanied the fall of three dynasties and now could be lessening precipitation in northern China.
National Science Foundation, National Science Foundation of China, Gary Comer Science and Education Foundation
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-11/uom-uom110708.php
“The study also showed that the ample summer rains of the Northern Song Dynasty coincided with the beginning of the well-known Medieval Warm Period in Europe and Greenland. During this time–the late 10th century–Vikings colonized southern Greenland. Centuries later, a series of weak monsoons prevailed as Europe and Greenland shivered through what geologists call the Little Ice Age. In the 14th and early 15th centuries, as the cold of the Little Ice Age settled into Greenland, the Vikings disappeared from there. At the same time, on the other side of the world, the weak monsoons of the 14th century coincided with the end of the Yuan Dynasty.”

Public Release: 7-Nov-2008
Physics Review Letters
Physicists create BlackMax to search for dimensions in space at the Large Hadron Collider
A team of theoretical and experimental physicists, with participants from Case Western Reserve University, have designed a new black hole simulator called BlackMax to search for evidence that extra dimensions might exist in the universe.
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-11/cwru-pcb110708.php

Public Release: 6-Nov-2008
Growing problem for veterans: Domestic violence
The increasing number of veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder raises the risk of domestic violence and its consequences on families and children in communities across the United States,” says Monica Matthieu, an expert on veteran mental health at Washington University in St. Louis. Matthieu and Peter Hovmand, domestic violence expert at the University, are merging their research interests and are working to design community prevention strategies to address this emerging public health problem.
http://news-info.wustl.edu/tips/page/normal/12902.html