Research

Sea snail venom offers possibilities of designing human ailments drugs

Sea snail venom offers possibilities of designing human ailments drugs

Port Blair [India], April 21 : In a first of its kind study, peptides, from the venom of cone snails, have been identified that opens up possibilities of drug research for several human ailments.

The study was conducted by a team of Indian scientists from Port Blair-based National Institute of Ocean Technology, NIOT and Indian Institute of Science, IISc, Bangalore.

They identified short peptides with six amino acids, which globally, is the first small contryphan identified so far.

Lowland amphibians at higher risk from future climate warming

Lowland amphibians at higher risk from future climate warming

Washington D.C. [USA], Apr. 10 : A new study of Peruvian frogs living at a wide variety of elevations -- from the Amazon floodplain to high Andes peaks -- lends support to the idea that lowland amphibians are at higher risk from future climate warming.

That's because the lowland creatures already live near the maximum temperatures they can tolerate, while high-elevation amphibians might be more buffered from increased temperatures, according to a study by University of Michigan ecologist Rudolf von May and his colleagues published online April 6 in the journal Ecology and Evolution.

'Improved' wireless communication systems come closer to reality

'Improved' wireless communication systems come closer to reality

Washington D.C. [USA], Apr. 1 : A team of scientists has paved the way for ultrafast and reconfigurable on-chip wireless communication systems with unmatched advantages in compactness, low power consumption and low fabrication complexity.

Researchers from the University of Sydney made a breakthrough achieving radio frequency signal control at sub-nanosecond time scales on a chip-scale optical device.

Radio frequency (RF) is a particular range of electromagnetic wave frequencies, widely used for communications and radar signals. The work should impact the current wireless revolution.

Satellite galaxies at edge of Milky Way coexist with dark matter

Satellite galaxies at edge of Milky Way coexist with dark matter

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 31 : A new research has ruled out a challenge to the accepted standard model of the universe and theory of how galaxies form by shedding new light on a problematic structure.

The vast polar structure, a plane of satellite galaxies at the poles of the Milky Way, is at the center of a tug-of-war between scientists who disagree about the existence of mysterious dark matter, the invisible substance that, according to some scientists, comprises 85 percent of the mass of the universe.

The paper bolsters the standard cosmological model, or the Cold Dark Matter paradigm, by showing that the vast polar structure formed well after the Milky Way and is an unstable structure.

Female weed smokers at high risk of failing addiction treatments

Female weed smokers at high risk of failing addiction treatments

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 30 : A new study has suggested that the use of cannabis may impact treatment in women undergoing methadone treatment therapy.

Researchers from McMaster University and St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton have found that women in methadone treatment who use cannabis are 82 per cent more likely to continue using opioids. This means that women who use cannabis are at high risk of failing methadone treatment.

"About 60 per cent of men and 44 per cent of women who are undergoing methadone treatment therapy also use cannabis," said senior author Zena Samaan. "Tailoring treatment to the patient's sex can help us to assess the patient's risk better and deliver more accurate, personalized treatment."

Here`s how birds of a feather communicate while flocking together

Here`s how birds of a feather communicate while flocking together

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 30 : A team of researchers has shed some light on how flying birds communicate with each other.

Zebra finches are social songbirds that use distance calls to establish contact with one another, similar to the way humans use speech to communicate.

Although it has been demonstrated that these birds can determine the identity of a caller as far away as 256 meters (or about 830 feet), it is not clear how their brain extracts this information from the call, which becomes degraded and loses intensity relative to the background noise as it travels through the environment.

Absence of specific protein in brain may cause OCD: Study

Absence of specific protein in brain may cause OCD: Study

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 17 : A team of German researchers has discovered that absence of a specific protein in regions of the brain may be the major cause of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

Around two percent of the general population suffer from some kind of OCD, at least once in their life, where a person suffers from persistent intrusive thoughts by repetitive ritualised behaviour.

"We were able to show in mouse models that the absence of the protein SPRED2 alone can trigger an excessive grooming behaviour," said Professor Kai Schuh from the Institute of Physiology at the Julius-Maximilians-Universitat (JMU) Würzburg in Germany.

Did you know spiders eat 800 million tonnes of prey every year?

Did you know spiders eat 800 million tonnes of prey every year?

Washington D.C. [U.S.A.], Mar. 15 : A study shows that global spider population - with a weight of around 25 million tonnes - wipes out an estimated 400-800 million tonnes of prey every year, thus making an essential contribution to maintain the ecological balance of nature.

According to Zoologists at the University of Basel in Switzerland and Lund University in Sweden, more than 90 percent of the prey is insects and springtails (Collembola) and furthermore, large tropical spiders occasionally prey on small vertebrates - frogs, lizards, snakes, fish, birds and bats - or feed on plants.

The study was published in the journal 'The Science of Nature'.

World's oldest plant fossil discovered in India

World's oldest plant fossil discovered in India

Washington D.C. [U.S.A.], Mar. 15 : A team of researchers has discovered fossils of 1.6 billion-year-old probable red algae in India, indicating that advanced multicellular life evolved on earth much earlier than previously thought.

The study, appeared in the open access journal PLOS Biology, found two kinds of fossils resembling red algae - first type is thread-like, the other one consists of fleshy colonies - in uniquely well-preserved sedimentary rocks at Chitrakoot in Central India.

The scientists were able to see distinct inner cell structures and so-called cell fountains, the bundles of packed and splaying filaments that form the body of the fleshy forms and are characteristics of red algae.

Species extinction affects complex ecosystems: Study

Species extinction affects complex ecosystems: Study

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 4 : Research by the UK-based University of Southampton has found that methods used to predict the effect of species extinction on ecosystems could be producing inaccurate results. This is because current thinking assumes that when a species vanishes, its role within an environment is lost too.

However, scientists working on a new study have found that when a species (for example a group of sea creatures) is wiped out by a catastrophic event, other species can change their behaviour to compensate, exploiting the vacant role left behind. This leads to positive or negative effects on ecosystems, and in turn, either better or worse outcomes than current estimates would suggest.

Gang warfare not unique to humans - banded mongooses do it too

Gang warfare not unique to humans - banded mongooses do it too

WashingtonD.C.[USA], Mar.1 : Researchers from the University of Exeter have shed light on the causes of the fights - and found they are most common when females are receptive to breeding and when there is competition over food and territory.

The study has been published in the journal Animal Behaviour. The scientists, who studied a population of banded mongooses in Uganda, observed ferocious fighting between groups that often led to serious injury and even death.

During the conflicts, they saw individuals raiding dens and killing the pups of their neighbours, and males and females of rival groups mating with each other.

Egg-free surrogate chickens can save rare poultry breeds

Egg-free surrogate chickens can save rare poultry breeds

Washington D.C. [USA], Feb. 18 : To boost breeding of endangered poultry breeds, Briton researchers have come up with gene-editing techniques for the rare breeds to use them as surrogates that cannot produce their own chicks.

The advance -- using gene-editing techniques -- could help to boost breeding of endangered birds, as well as improving production of commercial hens, researchers say.

The appeared in the journal Development.

Researchers explained that donor primordial germ cells from other breeds could be implanted into the gene-edited chickens as they are developing inside an egg. The surrogate hens would then grow up to produce eggs containing all of the genetic information from the donor breeds.

Include green leafy vegetables, nuts in your daughter's diet to boost her grades

Include green leafy vegetables, nuts in your daughter's diet to boost her grades

Washington D. C. [USA], Jan. 26 : Dear parents, boost your daughter's iron intake with green leafy vegetables, nuts, beans and pulses as a new study reveals that physically fit female students with normal iron levels may perform better academically.

Researchers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Pennsylvania State University have found that a student's fitness level and iron status could be the difference between making an A or a B.

The findings, published in the journal of Nutrition, suggest that the difference in grade point average was as much as 0.34 -- enough to drop or increase a letter grade.

Scientists discover 'BioClay' for pest-free crops

Scientists discover 'BioClay' for pest-free crops

Washington D.C. [USA], Jan. 11 : Scientists, including an Indian-origin researcher, have found a nano-sized degradable clay, an alternative to chemicals and pesticides, that protects plants from specific disease-causing pathogens.

Researcher Neena Mitter from University of Queensland in Australia said BioClay - an environmentally sustainable alternative to chemicals and pesticides - could be a game-changer for crop protection.

The study was recently published in Nature Plants.

"In agriculture, the need for new control agents grows each year, driven by demand for greater production, the effects of climate change, community and regulatory demands and toxicity and pesticide resistance," she said.

Don't prove how macho you are at risk of overeating

Don't prove how macho you are at risk of overeating

Washington D.C. [USA], Dec. 6 : Does food at social gatherings tempt you? A team of researchers has found that men in particular demonstrate their virility and strength on parties or at holiday meals at risk of overeating.

The study has been published in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition.

"Even if men aren't thinking about it, eating more than a friend tends to be understood as a demonstration of virility and strength," said co-author of the study Kevin Kniffin from Cornell Food and Brand Lab.

The researchers recruited college going students of similar weight to participate in either a competitive chicken wing eating challenge with cheering spectators or a competitive chicken wing eating challenge with no spectators.

Attention men! Frequent exercise can improve sperm quality

Attention men! Frequent exercise can improve sperm quality

Washington D.C. [USA], Dec. 6 : Moderate Intensity Continuous Training (MICT) for three and five times a week is linked to improved sperm count and other measures of sperm quality in just a six months, reveals a study.

The study was published in the journal Reproduction.

Researchers from Urmia University in Iran found that men exercising moderately and continuously improved their sperm quality more than those following popular intensive exercise programs like High intensity interval training (HIIT).

The current advice for men, who are seeking to improve their chances of conceiving include combining healthy eating with regular exercise while giving up smoking and reducing the intake of alcohol.

Scientists find shape matters when light meets atom

Scientists find shape matters when light meets atom

Washington D. C [US], Dec. 4 : In a recent study published in the Natures Communications journal, researchers have shown that a photon's shape also affects how it is absorbed by a single atom.

Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what you're looking at.

Some photons reflect off, reaching your eyes, others get absorbed. The main decider of which happens is the photon's energy - its colour.

But look closely at the moment that light meets matter, and there's more to be discovered. We don't often think of photons as being spread out in time and space and thus having a shape, but the ones in this experiment were some four meters long.

Researchers develop radiation free technique to image brain molecules

Researchers develop radiation free technique to image brain molecules

WashingtonD.C [US], Dec. 3 : In a path breaking discovery, scientists from Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a new probe that allows them to image brain molecules without using any chemical or radioactive labels.

Currently, the gold standard approach to imaging molecules in the brain is to tag them with radioactive probes.

However, these probes offer low resolution and they can't easily be used to watch dynamic events, said researcher Alan Jasanoff.

Research sets new target for brain cancer therapy

Research sets new target for brain cancer therapy

Washington D.C [US], Dec. 3 : A recent study suggests that two recently discovered genetic differences between brain cancer cells and normal tissue cells could offer clues to tumor behavior and potential new targets for therapy.

Published in Acta Neuropathologica, the study identified alterations in a protein known as ATRX in human brain tumors that arise as part of a genetically inherited condition known as neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1).

The disorder, marked initially by benign tumors on nerves, often leads to brain cancer, and although most NF1-related malignancies are nonaggressive, a fraction are "high-grade" and difficult to treat, experts say.

Cataract ups risk of depression in older adults

Cataract ups risk of depression in older adults

Washington D.C. [USA], Dec. 3 : Older adults, especially women, with cataract are more likely to have symptoms of depression, says a new study.

The study was published in the Optometry and Vision Science journal.

According to researchers from Soochow University in China, the link between cataract and depression is independent of other factors and appears strongest among older adults with lower education.

"Our study sheds further light on the complex relationship between aging, vision loss, cataract and depression and suggests that there may be a role for cataract surgery in improving mental health in the elderly," the researchers wrote.




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