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Researchers testing the long-held theory that therapeutic massage can speed recovery after a sports injury have found early scientific evidence of the healing effects of massage.

The scientists have determined that immediate cyclic compression of muscles after intense exercise reduced swelling and muscle damage in a study using animals.

Though they say it's too soon to apply the results directly to humans in a clinical environment, the researchers consider the findings a strong start toward scientific confirmation of massage's benefits to athletes after intense eccentric exercise, when muscles contract and lengthen at the same time.

Scientists from the Wageningen University Laboratory of Plant Physiology and an international team of scientists have discovered a new group of plant hormones, the so-called strigolactones. This group of chemicals is known to be involved in the interaction between plants and their environment.

They now say that strigolactones, as hormones, are also crucial for the branching of plants. The discovery will soon be published in Nature and is of great importance for innovations in agriculture. Examples include the development of cut flowers or tomato plants with more or fewer branches. These crops are of major economic and social importance worldwide.


Researchers from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC) and the University of Lovaina (UCL) in Belgium, have presented a technique that, using two video cameras to capture human movement, makes it possible to recognize body movements and display them in three dimension on a computer, according to the journal Multimedia Tools & Applications.

The method can be applied to the development of interactive video games in which gestures are made with the hands and feet.

Engineer Pedro Correa, from the UCL Telecommunications and Teledetection Laboratory, told SINC that, together with professor Ferran Marqués's unit at the UPC, they have developed algorithms that tackle the problem of gesture recognition “in the least invasive way possible, since it does not require wearing any special suit or receivers, using a simple video camera to film the body's movement”.


Researchers at Johns Hopkins say they have compelling evidence that some people with HIV who for years and even decades show extremely low levels of the virus in their blood never progress to full-blown AIDS and remain symptom free even without treatment, probably do so because of the strength of their immune systems, not any defects in the strain of HIV that infected them in the first place.

They say this finding renews promise of vaccine against AIDS and disproves the theory of a defective virus.

The theory about these so-called elite suppressors published in the Journal of Virology comes from rigorous blood and genetic studies of a monogamous, married, African-American couple in Baltimore, in which the wife was infected through sex with her husband more than a decade ago.

Diamonds from Brazil have provided the answers to a question that Earth scientists have been trying to understand for many years: how is oceanic crust that has been subducted deep into the Earth recycled back into volcanic rocks?

A team of researchers from the University of Bristol and the STFC Daresbury Laboratory, have gained a deeper insight into how the Earth recycles itself in the deep earth tectonic cycle way beyond the depths that can be accessed by drilling. The full paper on this research was published in Nature.

The Earth’s oceanic crust is constantly renewed in a cycle which has been occurring for billions of years. This crust is constantly being renewed from below by magma from the Earth’s mantle that has been forced up at mid-ocean ridges. This crust is eventually returned to the mantle, sinking down at subduction zones that extend deep beneath the continents. Seismic imaging suggests that the oceanic crust can be subducted to depths of almost 3000km below the Earth’s surface where it can remain for billions of years, during which time the crust material develops its own unique ‘flavour’ in comparison with the surrounding magmas. Exactly how this happens is a question that has baffled Earth scientists for years.

The victory stance of a gold medalist and the slumped shoulders of a non-finalist are innate and biological rather than learned responses to success and failure, according to a University of British Columbia study using cross-cultural data gathered at the 2004 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

In the first study of its kind, UBC psychology researcher Jessica Tracy investigated how pride and shame are expressed across cultures, and among the congenitally blind. She compared the non-verbal expressions and body language of sighted, blind, and congenitally blind judo competitors representing more than 30 countries, among them Algeria, Taiwan, North Korea, the Ukraine and the United States.