Banner
Blind Scottish Centipede Reveals How Venomous Carnivores Evolved

Usually blind sages revealing the secrets of the universe are Asian. Scotland doesn't get enough...

Strain 115 : The Killer Bacteria Inside Your Thanksgiving Turkey

While an alarming number of wealthy people think organic food contains no chemicals, the opposite...

Australia: Incomes Fell As Stressed Economy Continued To Struggle

Australia recently had an election where they asked for a dramatic departure from previous fiscal...

Not Just The Wealthy: Feeling Like You Have Enough Drives Opposition To More Taxes

There is a perception that 'the wealthy' are opposed to more taxes and income redistribution in...

User picture.
News StaffRSS Feed of this column.

News Releases From All Over The World, Right To You... Read More »

Blogroll
In some ways, your body's thoughts and actions are like a complex series of water faucets but the spigots open or close in response to signals. Each thought or action sends a million electrical signals pulsing through your body.

At the heart of the process of generating these electrical impulses is the ion channel.

Ion channels belong to a special class of proteins embedded in the oily membranes of the cell. They regulate the movement of charged particles, called ions, into and out of the cell. Much like water faucets that can be controlled by turning a knob, channels open or close in response to specific signals. For instance, ion channels that open in response to pressure on the skin regulate our sense of touch.

A newly developed nano-sized electronic device is an important step toward helping astronomers see invisible light dating from the creation of the universe. This invisible light makes up 98% of the light emitted since the "big bang," and may provide insights into the earliest stages of star and galaxy formation almost 14 billion years ago.

The tiny, new circuit, developed by physicsts at Rutgers University, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., and the State University of New York at Buffalo, is 100 times smaller than the thickness of a human hair. It is sensitive to faint traces of light in the far-infrared spectrum (longest of the infrared wavelengths), well beyond the colors humans see.

"In the expanding universe, the earliest stars move away from us at a speed approaching the speed of light," said Michael Gershenson, professor of physics at Rutgers and one of the lead investigators. "As a result, their light is strongly red-shifted when it reaches us, appearing infrared."


Researchers from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) discovered a new way to make use of drugs' unwanted side effects. They developed a computational method that compares how similar the side effects of different drugs are and predicts how likely the drugs act on the same target molecule. The study, published in Science this week, hints at new uses of marketed drugs.

Similar drugs often share target proteins, modes of action and unpleasant side effects. In reverse this means that drugs that evoke similar side effects likely act on the same molecular targets. A team of EMBL researchers now developed a computational tool that compares side effects to test if they can predict common targets of drugs.

Good pollen makes bees hot, say UC San Diego biologists, and wasps warm up after some protein-rich meat - and they don't even have to eat it to get that effect but the warmer flight muscles speed the insects' trips home, allowing them to quickly exploit a valuable resource before competitors arrive.

Because foragers of neither species eat the protein they collect, feeding it instead to their larvae, their warming must be a behavioral rather than a metabolic response to nutritious food, both research teams conclude.

Such similar responses found in two distantly related species – a bumble bee and a yellowjacket wasp whose ancestral lines diverged millions of years ago – suggest that the behavior is an ancestral trait.

Therapies, rehabilitation and specialty medical care are just a few of the extra costs that parents face when raising children with special needs. In a new study that will be published in current issue of Pediatrics, Paul T. Shattuck, Ph.D., professor of social work at Washington University in St. Louis, found that families with similar demographics and nature of their children's special needs have different out-of-pocket health expenditures depending on the state in which they live.

"This is one of the few studies that focuses on families' costs when caring for children with special needs, rather than the overall cost for society as a whole," he says.

The study's authors ranked all 50 states and the District of Columbia, using survey data from 2000 and 2001, in terms of the average percentage of special needs families that shoulder an additional financial burden, the yearly average extra costs of those families and the size of these costs relative to family income.

By injecting purified stem cells isolated from adult skeletal muscle, researchers have shown they can restore healthy muscle and improve muscle function in mice with a form of muscular dystrophy. Those muscle-building stem cells were derived from a larger pool of so-called satellite cells that normally associate with mature muscle fibers and play a role in muscle growth and repair.

In addition to their contributions to mature muscle, the injected cells also replenished the pool of regenerative cells normally found in muscle. Those stem cells allowed the treated muscle to undergo subsequent rounds of injury repair, they found.

"Our work shows proof-of-concept that purified muscle stem cells can be used in therapy," said Amy Wagers of Harvard University, noting that in some cases the stem cells replaced more than 90 percent of the muscle fibers. Such an advance would require isolation of stem cells equivalent to those in the mouse from human muscle, something Wagers said her team is now working on.