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MIT scientists discover fundamental rule of brain plasticity

EurekAlert! - Mié, 06/20/2018 - 22:00
A series of complex experiments in the visual cortex of mice has yielded a simple rule about plasticity: When a synapse strengthens, others immediately nearby weaken.

Bedrock in West Antarctica rising at surprisingly rapid rate

EurekAlert! - Mié, 06/20/2018 - 22:00
The earth is rising in one part of Antarctica at one of the fastest rates ever recorded, as ice rapidly disappears and weight is lifted off the bedrock, a new international study has found. The findings have surprising and positive implications for the survival of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS), which scientists had previously thought could be doomed because of the effects of climate change.

Caffeine from four cups of coffee protects the heart with the help of mitochondria

EurekAlert! - Mié, 06/20/2018 - 22:00
A new study shows that a caffeine concentration equivalent to four cups of coffee promotes the movement of a regulatory protein into mitochondria, enhancing their function and protecting cardiovascular cells from damage. The work, by Judith Haendeler and Joachim Altschmied of the Medical Faculty, Heinrich-Heine-University and the IUF-Leibniz Research Institute for Environmental Medicine in Duesseldorf, Germany, and colleagues, publishes June 21 in the open access journal PLOS Biology.

How competition and cooperation between bacteria shape antibiotic resistance

EurekAlert! - Mié, 06/20/2018 - 22:00
New computational simulations suggest that the effects of antibiotics on a bacterial community depend on whether neighboring species have competitive or cooperative relationships, as well as their spatial arrangement. Sylvie Estrela of Yale University and Sam Brown of the Georgia Institute of Technology present these findings in PLOS Computational Biology.

Cross-species prion adaptation depends on prion replication environment

EurekAlert! - Mié, 06/20/2018 - 22:00
A hamster prion that replicated under conditions of low RNA levels in mouse brain material resulted in altered disease features when readapted and transmitted back to hamsters, according to new research presented in PLOS Pathogens by Elizaveta Katorcha of the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, and colleagues.

Synthetic peptides enhance antibiotic attack of skin infections in mice

EurekAlert! - Mié, 06/20/2018 - 22:00
Short, synthetic peptides that disrupt bacteria's response to antibiotics boost antibiotic activity against high-density skin infections in mice, according to new research presented by Daniel Pletzer and colleagues at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.

California Aedes mosquitoes capable of spreading Zika

EurekAlert! - Mié, 06/20/2018 - 22:00
Over the last five years, Zika virus has emerged as a significant global human health threat following outbreaks in South and Central America. Now, researchers reporting in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases have shown that invasive mosquitoes in California -- where cases of Zika in travelers have been a regular occurrence in recent years -- are capable of transmitting Zika.

Ancient Treponema pallidum from human remains sheds light on its evolutionary history

EurekAlert! - Mié, 06/20/2018 - 22:00
The evolutionary history and origin of syphilis, and other treponemal diseases, is a hotly debated topic by scholars. Scholars who theorize syphilis originated in the 'New World' and preceded the 15th century have been in fierce debate with scholars who theorize a multiregional origin followed by the 15th century pandemic spread. Both sides are supported by organic evidence found in contemporary genetic and skeletal remains across the globe.

Scripps Research study provides new clues to improving chemotherapies

EurekAlert! - Mié, 06/20/2018 - 22:00
The work has important implications for understanding how human cancer cells develop resistance to natural product-based chemotherapies.

'Flamingo:' High-powered microscopy coming to a scientist near you

EurekAlert! - Mié, 06/20/2018 - 22:00
The Morgridge Institute for Research has developed a portable, shareable light sheet microscope. The project can be mailed to a lab anywhere in the world, configured remotely by Morgridge engineers, and run one to three months of experiments.

Higher body fat linked to lower breast cancer risk in younger women

EurekAlert! - Mié, 06/20/2018 - 22:00
An analysis co-led led by a UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center researcher linked higher body mass index, or BMI, to lower breast cancer risk for younger women, even for women within a normal weight range.

Researchers solve major challenge in mass production of low-cost solar cells

EurekAlert! - Mié, 06/20/2018 - 22:00
A team led by led by André D. Taylor of NYU Tandon School of Engineering and Yifan Zheng of Peking University solved a major fabrication challenge for perovskite cells -- the intriguing potential challengers to silicon-based solar cells. In a cover article in the June 28, 2018 issue of Nanoscale, a publication of the Royal Society of Chemistry, the team reveals a new scalable means of applying the compound PCBM, a critical component, to perovskite cells.

Two new species and important taxonomic insights featured in PhytoKeys issue 100

EurekAlert! - Mié, 06/20/2018 - 22:00
Eight years, more than 500 articles and no less than 13 000 pages since its launch, Pensoft's flagship botanical title Phytokeys, celebrates its 100th issue. In its anniversary issue the journal features two new species and taxonomic revisions on families Brassicaceae, Zamiaceae and Menispermaceae.

Researchers engineer bacteria to exhibit stochastic Turing patterns

EurekAlert! - Mié, 06/20/2018 - 22:00
A new study by researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the Applied Physics Laboratory, Johns Hopkins University has brought science one step closer to a molecular-level understanding of how patterns form in living tissue. The researchers engineered bacteria that, when incubated and grown, exhibited stochastic Turing patterns: a 'lawn' of synthesized bacteria in a petri dish fluoresced an irregular pattern of red polka dots on a field of green.

Nearly 80 exoplanet candidates identified in record time

EurekAlert! - Mié, 06/20/2018 - 22:00
Scientists at MIT and elsewhere have analyzed data from K2, the follow-up mission to NASA's Kepler Space Telescope, and have discovered a trove of possible exoplanets amid some 50,000 stars. In a paper that appears online today in The Astronomical Journal, the scientists report the discovery of nearly 80 new planetary candidates, including a particular standout: a likely planet that orbits the star HD 73344, which would be the brightest planet host ever discovered by the K2 mission.

Army study quantifies changes in stress after meditation

EurekAlert! - Mié, 06/20/2018 - 22:00
or a thousand years, people have reported feeling better by meditating but there has never been a systematic study that quantified stress and how much stress changes as a direct result of meditation until now.

Cells stop dividing when this gene kicks into high gear, study finds

EurekAlert! - Mié, 06/20/2018 - 22:00
Scientists seeking to unlock secrets of cellular aging have identified a gene that triggers senescence, a phenomenon in which cells stop dividing. The gene, called CD36, is unusually active in older, senescent cells. Heightening CD36 activity also caused young, healthy cells to stop dividing, with the effect also spreading to nearby cells in the same petri dish.

New guide for using mechanical stimulation to improve tissue-engineered cartilage

EurekAlert! - Mié, 06/20/2018 - 22:00
Tissue-engineered articular cartilage (AC) for repairing cartilage damaged by trauma or disease can be made to more closely mimic natural AC if mechanical stimulation of particular magnitude and duration is applied during the development process.

New World Atlas of Desertification shows unprecedented pressure on planet's resources

EurekAlert! - Mié, 06/20/2018 - 22:00
The World Desertification Atlas by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre provides the first comprehensive, evidence-based assessment of land degradation at a global level and highlights the urgency to adopt corrective measures.

Not junk: 'Jumping gene' is critical for early embryo

EurekAlert! - Mié, 06/20/2018 - 22:00
A so-called 'jumping gene' that researchers long considered either genetic junk or a pernicious parasite is actually a critical regulator of the first stages of embryonic development, according to a new study in mice led by UC San Francisco scientists and published June 21, 2018 in Cell.

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