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Money is important for survival and for entertainment, and it is often used as a reward, but recent studies have shown that money is also a factor in personal performance, interpersonal relations and helping behavior, as well.

In a recent set of experiments, psychologists Kathleen D. Vohs of the University of Minnesota, Nicole L. Mead of Florida State University and Miranda R. Goode of the University of British Columbia found that participants’ personal performance improved, and interpersonal relationships and sensitivity towards others declined, when they were reminded of money.

To set up one of the experiments, the researchers used four different types of reminders about money.

Terrace-like elevations of just a few nanometres can form during production of organic thin films made from electrically conductive material. This phenomenon was previously only known from inorganic materials and is crucially important for future production of a new generation of semi-conductor components based on organic thin films.

Inorganic semi-conductors have a simple construction and have made high-performance computers possible. In contrast, organic semi-conductors are complex but enable production of innovative electronic circuits, as vividly demonstrated by the first prototypes for roll-up screens. Yet these benefits of organic semi-conductors can only be fully harnessed when the response of their organic molecular layer - whose thinness is crucial in functional terms - is better understood.

The national research network (NRN) "Interface controlled and functionalised organic thin films" of the Austrian Science Fund FWF is contributing to precisely this understanding.

There are a few areas where computers cannot surpass humans and a new study says music is still among them.

Neuroscientists in a new study looked at the brain's response to piano sonatas played either by a computer or a musician and found that, while the computerized version elicited an emotional response – particularly to unexpected chord changes - it was not as strong as listening to the same piece played by a professional pianist.

Senior research fellow in psychology Dr Stefan Koelsch, who carried out the study with colleagues at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig, played excerpts from classical piano sonatas to twenty non-musicians and recorded electric brain responses and skin conductance responses (which vary with sweat production as a result of an emotional response).

Girls moving through adolescence may experience unhealthy levels of weight gain and a new study in The Journal of Pediatrics analyzes the effect of Internet usage, sleep, and alcohol and coffee consumption.

Dr. Catherine Berkey and colleagues from Harvard Medical School, Brigham & Women's Hospital, and Washington University led the Growing Up Today Study (GUTS), which surveyed more than 5000 girls between the ages of 14 and 21 years from all 50 states. They asked the girls to reflect on their weekly habits over the past year and report the following: 1) hours of sleep per night; 2) time spent on the Internet (excluding time for work or school); 3) number of alcoholic beverages consumed; and 4) number of coffee beverages consumed. The girls also reported their height and weight at the beginning and end of the one-year study.

An increasing number of 70 year olds are having good sex and more often, and women in this age group are particularly satisfied with their sex lives, according to a study published today on BMJ.com.

Knowledge about sexual behaviour in older people (70 year olds) is limited and mainly focuses on sexual problems, less is known about "normal" sexual behaviour in this age group.

Nils Beckman and colleagues from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, studied attitudes to sex in later life among four representative population samples of 70 year olds in Sweden, who they interviewed in 1971-2, 1976-7, 1992-3, and 2000-1. In total, over 1 500 people aged 70 years were interviewed about different aspects of their sex lives including sexual dysfunctions, marital satisfaction and sexual activity.

The effective treatment of many forms of cancer continues to pose a major problem. Many tumors fail to respond to standard forms of chemotherapy or become resistant to the medication.

Scientists at the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) in Braunschweig, the Hannover Medical School (MHH) and Leibniz-Universität (LUH) in Hanover have now discovered a chemical mechanism with which a natural substance - argyrin - destroys tumours.

The basis for this breakthrough was an observation made by the MHH scientist Prof. Nisar Malek: he had been studying the role of a certain protein - a so-called cyclin-kinase inhibitor - in the development of cancer. In the process, Malek noted that mice in which the breakdown of the kinase inhibitor was suppressed by genetic change have a significantly lower risk of suffering from intestinal cancer.