Chernobyl has an unhospitable reputation for wildlife. But new research suggests that animals are thriving in the wild near the old reactor site.... Read more »
Deryabina, T., Kuchmel, S., Nagorskaya, L., Hinton, T., Beasley, J., Lerebours, A., & Smith, J. (2015) Long-term census data reveal abundant wildlife populations at Chernobyl. Current Biology, 25(19). DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2015.08.017
I like making lists about living things. Colour is a great starting point for such lists, whether they're about body parts infected by microbes or the origins of science words. For this post, I'm going to look at how bones and teeth can take on a bunch of strange colours...... Read more »
Dooley A, & Moncrief N. (2012) Fluorescence provides evidence of congenital erythropoietic porphyria in 7000-year-old specimens of the eastern fox squirrel from the Devil's Den. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 32(2), 495-497. DOI: 10.1080/02724634.2012.639422
Ferrand J, Rossano S, Rollet P, Allard T, Cordier P, Catillon G, Auxiette G, Farges F, & Pont S. (2014) On the origin of the green colour of archaeological bone artefacts of the Gallo-Roman Period. Archaeometry, 56(6), 1024-1040. DOI: 10.1111/arcm.12042
Everyone knows that exercise improves health, and ongoing research continues to uncover increasingly detailed information on its benefits for metabolism, circulation, and improved functioning of organs such as the heart, brain, and liver. With this knowledge in hand, scientists may be better equipped to develop “exercise pills” that could mimic at least some of the beneficial effects of physical exercise on the body. But a review of current development efforts ponders whether such pills will........ Read more »
Laher, & et al. (2015) Exercise Pills: At the Starting Line?. Trends in Pharmacological Sciences. info:/http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tips.2015.08.014
A new mechanism of trapping carbon in the ocean has been proposed by researchers studying the migration of zooplankton!... Read more »
Jónasdóttir SH, Visser AW, Richardson K, & Heath MR. (2015) Seasonal copepod lipid pump promotes carbon sequestration in the deep North Atlantic. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 26338976
Kirigami, the ancient art of paper cutting, has inspired a new type of solar cell that can track the sun without lots of expensive materials!... Read more »
Lamoureux, A., Lee, K., Shlian, M., Forrest, S., & Shtein, M. (2015) Dynamic kirigami structures for integrated solar tracking. Nature Communications, 8092. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms9092
UAB researchers determine how M. tb kills immune cells with an enzyme toxin... Read more »
Sun, J., Siroy, A., Lokareddy, R., Speer, A., Doornbos, K., Cingolani, G., & Niederweis, M. (2015) The tuberculosis necrotizing toxin kills macrophages by hydrolyzing NAD. Nature Structural , 22(9), 672-678. DOI: 10.1038/nsmb.3064
Imagine creating artificial plants that make gasoline and natural gas using only sunlight. And imagine using those fuels to heat our homes or run our cars without adding any greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. By combining nanoscience and biology, researchers led by scientists at University of California, Berkeley, have taken a big step in that direction.... Read more »
Liu, C., Gallagher, J., Sakimoto, K., Nichols, E., Chang, C., Chang, M., & Yang, P. (2015) Nanowire–Bacteria Hybrids for Unassisted Solar Carbon Dioxide Fixation to Value-Added Chemicals. Nano Letters, 15(5), 3634-3639. DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.5b01254
A commonly prescribed antidepressant may alter brain structures in depressed and non-depressed individuals in very different ways, according to new research. The study – conducted in nonhuman primates with brain structures and functions similar to those of humans – found that the antidepressant sertraline, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) marketed as Zoloft, significantly increased the volume of one brain region in depressed subjects but decreased the volume of two brain areas........ Read more »
Willard, S., Uberseder, B., Clark, A., Daunais, J., Johnston, W., Neely, D., Massey, A., Williamson, J., Kraft, R., Bourland, J.... (2015) Long term sertraline effects on neural structures in depressed and nondepressed adult female nonhuman primates. Neuropharmacology, 369-378. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2015.06.011
Mary Poppins taught us that a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down. A bumblebee's favorite sugary drink may already be laced with medicine. And bees seem to dose themselves with medicinal nectar when they're suffering from a gut full of parasites.
Plants manufacture many chemical compounds to defend against attackers. Some of these are familiar to humans—like capsaicin, the potent weapon made by chili pepper plants. But not every animal enjoys painful food experiences like we do........ Read more »
Richardson, L., Bowers, M., & Irwin, R. (2015) Nectar chemistry mediates the behavior of parasitized bees: consequences for plant fitness. Ecology, 2147483647. DOI: 10.1890/15-0263.1
In human cells, shortened telomeres, the protective caps at the ends of chromosomes, are both a sign of aging and contribute to it. Scientists have found that the dietary supplement alpha lipoic acid (ALA) can stimulate telomerase, the enzyme that lengthens telomeres, with positive effects in a mouse model of atherosclerosis.... Read more »
Xiong, S., Patrushev, N., Forouzandeh, F., Hilenski, L., & Alexander, R. (2015) PGC-1α Modulates Telomere Function and DNA Damage in Protecting against Aging-Related Chronic Diseases. Cell Reports. DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2015.07.047
Old writings spanning the last four hundred years have been discovered in China that detail eras of drought. Using these as a starting point, researchers have connected the time periods with changes in rainfall to predict future droughts in the region.... Read more »
Tan, L., Cai, Y., An, Z., Cheng, H., Shen, C., Breitenbach, S., Gao, Y., Edwards, R., Zhang, H., & Du, Y. (2015) A Chinese cave links climate change, social impacts, and human adaptation over the last 500 years. Scientific Reports, 12284. DOI: 10.1038/srep12284
A Veterans Affairs database study of more than 83,000 patients found that men whose low testosterone was restored to normal through gels, patches, or injections had a lower risk of heart attack, stroke, or death from any cause, versus similar men who were not treated. The study also found that men who were treated but did not attain normal levels did not see the same benefits as those whose levels did reach normal.... Read more »
Sharma, R., Oni, O., Gupta, K., Chen, G., Sharma, M., Dawn, B., Sharma, R., Parashara, D., Savin, V., Ambrose, J.... (2015) Normalization of testosterone level is associated with reduced incidence of myocardial infarction and mortality in men. European Heart Journal. DOI: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehv346
Many patients with bipolar disorder, a debilitating mental condition that can take a person from the sluggishness of severe depression to super-human energy levels, are often misdiagnosed as having major depressive disorder, or MDD. But now as an alternative to reliance on patient interviews, scientists are closing in on an objective test that could help clinicians distinguish between the two — and provide better treatment.... Read more »
Chen, J., Zhou, C., Liu, Z., Fu, Y., Zheng, P., Yang, D., Li, Q., Mu, J., Wei, Y., Zhou, J.... (2015) Divergent Urinary Metabolic Phenotypes between Major Depressive Disorder and Bipolar Disorder Identified by a Combined GC–MS and NMR Spectroscopic Metabonomic Approach. Journal of Proteome Research, 2147483647. DOI: 10.1021/acs.jproteome.5b00434
Many hormones and neurotransmitters work by binding to receptors on a cell’s exterior surface. This activates receptors causing them to twist, turn and spark chemical reactions inside cells. NIH scientists used atomic level images to show how the neuropeptide hormone neurotensin might activate its receptors. Their description is the first of its kind for a neuropeptide-binding G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR), a class of receptors involved in a wide range of disorders and the target of many d........ Read more »
Krumm, B., White, J., Shah, P., & Grisshammer, R. (2015) Structural prerequisites for G-protein activation by the neurotensin receptor. Nature Communications, 7895. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms8895
It's not only carnivorous plants that bugs have to watch out for. Sure, if an ant tumbles into a pitcher plant or a spider stands in the open maw of a Venus flytrap, we know what's coming next. But certain innocent-looking plants—perhaps very many of them, even including ones in your own yard—murder hosts of insects that they have no plans to eat. They lure passing bugs into a slow death, then exchange their corpses with other insects for protection.
One of these plants is the serp........ Read more »
LoPresti, E., Pearse, I., & Charles, G. (2015) The siren song of a sticky plant: columbines provision mutualist arthropods by attracting and killing passerby insects. Ecology, 2147483647. DOI: 10.1890/15-0342.1
There is little hard data bout how fracking affects health outcomes, but a new study provides a first glimpse at a correlation between increased well-drilling and inpatient rates. Read more here!... Read more »
Jemielita, T., Gerton, G., Neidell, M., Chillrud, S., Yan, B., Stute, M., Howarth, M., Saberi, P., Fausti, N., Penning, T.... (2015) Unconventional Gas and Oil Drilling Is Associated with Increased Hospital Utilization Rates. PLOS ONE, 10(7). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0131093
It is still an open research problem to store energy generated from solar cells, but a new, all-vanadium electrochemical cell made at UT Arlington may be a solution.... Read more »
Liu, D., Zi, W., Sajjad, S., Hsu, C., Shen, Y., Wei, M., & Liu, F. (2015) Reversible Electron Storage in an All-Vanadium Photoelectrochemical Storage Cell: Synergy between Vanadium Redox and Hybrid Photocatalyst. ACS Catalysis, 5(4), 2632-2639. DOI: 10.1021/cs502024k
Biologically active molecules released by digesting bread and pasta can survive digestion and potentially pass through the gut lining, suggests new research. The study reveals the molecules released when real samples of bread and pasta are digested, providing new information for research into gluten sensitivity.... Read more »
Stuknytė, M., Maggioni, M., Cattaneo, S., De Luca, P., Fiorilli, A., Ferraretto, A., & De Noni, I. (2015) Release of wheat gluten exorphins A5 and C5 during in vitro gastrointestinal digestion of bread and pasta and their absorption through an in vitro model of intestinal epithelium. Food Research International, 208-214. DOI: 10.1016/j.foodres.2015.04.002
Scientists have developed a new way to grow hematite as an electrode in solar water-splitting devices to greatly improve efficiency!... Read more »
Jang, J., Du, C., Ye, Y., Lin, Y., Yao, X., Thorne, J., Liu, E., McMahon, G., Zhu, J., Javey, A.... (2015) Enabling unassisted solar water splitting by iron oxide and silicon. Nature Communications, 7447. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms8447
Living cells can make a vast range of products for us, but they don’t always do it in the most straightforward or efficient way. Shota Atsumi, a chemistry professor at UC Davis, aims to address that through “synthetic biology:” designing and building new biochemical pathways within living cells, based on existing pathways from other living things.... Read more »
Tashiro, Y., Desai, S., & Atsumi, S. (2015) Two-dimensional isobutyl acetate production pathways to improve carbon yield. Nature Communications, 7488. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms8488
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