Science News 2011

Here's a list of all the news articles that appeared on Science a GoGo in 2011.

29 December 2011

Shift work should carry health warnings, say medicos


The strong correlation between shift work, obesity and type 2 diabetes has led health experts to call for the poor diet of shift workers to be considered a new occupational health hazard...

28 December 2011

MS is a metabolic disorder, claims new study


A controversial new study that frames multiple sclerosis as a metabolic disorder rather than an autoimmune disease neatly addresses many puzzling aspects of the illness, including why it strikes women more than men and why cases are on the rise worldwide...

22 December 2011

Return of wolves triggers renaissance in Yellowstone ecosystem


Fifteen years after the return of wolves to Yellowstone National Park a beautifully revitalized ecosystem is emerging. Researchers studying the park say their observations provide "persuasive" evidence of the importance of top predators to biodiversity and ecosystem health...

21 December 2011

Earth-sized exoplanet identified


Two new planets - christened Kepler-20e and Kepler-20f - are the smallest yet discovered outside our solar system. Astronomers say one is the same size as Earth and the other about the size of Venus...

20 December 2011

Lower calorie intake provides brain boost


A low caloric diet changes the chemistry in the brain, enhancing both cognitive performance and memory, a discovery which scientists hope will yield new drugs to arrest the cognitive decline associated with aging...

19 December 2011

Modern man emerged from Middle East, suggests elephantine evidence


The elephant - a huge package of protein that is easy to hunt - disappeared from the Middle East around 400,000 years ago. This would have imposed considerable nutritional stress on Homo erectus, say Israeli researchers, who suggest that the loss of easy food favored hominids who were more knowledgeable and better at hunting smaller prey...

17 December 2011

Software maps evolution of musical taste to predict hits


Predicting the popularity of a pop song could be achieved by using state-of-the-art machine learning algorithms, say UK computer scientists who have designed software to interpret the various musical factors that make a song a hit...

16 December 2011

Smart bandage grows new blood vessels


Researchers have developed a bandage that actively stimulates and directs blood vessel growth in a coordinated pattern on the surface of a wound...

15 December 2011

Protein discovered in semen "attracts HIV like a magnet"


The discoverers of new protein fragments in semen that enhance the ability of HIV to infect new cells say their work could point the way to powerful new microbicides to help curb the global spread of HIV/AIDS...

14 December 2011

Higgs boson: no news is God news


The Higgs boson, the elusive so-called "God particle" that gives other particles mass, is still proving to be elusive, with the release of nebulous findings from the Large Hadron Collider that physicists say "hint" at the particle's existence...

13 December 2011

Automated Matrix style learning demonstrated


A US-Japanese team of researchers have demonstrated a system that uses fMRI imaging feedback to attune a person's visual cortex to match the brain patterns needed to perform various high-performance tasks with little or no conscious effort...

12 Decemeber 2011

Freight trains a clear winner over trucks in CO2 emission stakes


A comparison of pollutants generated from shipping freight via truck or by train shows that shipping by train delivers a big reduction in CO2 emissions...

9 December 2011

Tropical storms may be triggering earthquakes


The heavy rains associated with cyclones and hurricanes could be triggering earthquakes through landslides and soil erosion, both of which can change stress loads on fault lines due to the large quantities of soil they move...

8 December 2011

Biologists hack cellular signaling to create eyes on-demand


By manipulating the natural bioelectrical communication signals that travel between cells, US scientists were able to trigger the growth of eyes on tadpoles outside of the head area...

7 December 2011

Solar flares sandblasting the Moon


Solar storms remove a surprisingly large amount of material from the lunar surface, computer simulations have revealed, leading NASA scientists to speculate that solar storms may also be a major factor in atmospheric loss on Mars and other planets...

6 December 2011

Springtime on Earth II


The Kepler space telescope has identified a large, rocky exoplanet 600 light years distant with a surface temperature of about 22 degrees Celsius (72 degrees F), comparable to a comfortable spring day on Earth...

5 December 2011

Warming climate supercharging parasite lifecycle


Schistocephalus solidus, a parasitic worm that infects fish, has been found to grow much more rapidly at higher temperatures, alarming scientists who warn that warming oceans could enable the worm to decimate fish and animal populations...

2 December 2011

Earthquakes and animal behavior: it's in the water


For hundreds of years people have been reporting unusual animal behavior prior to earthquakes. Now, scientists say that it may be caused by rock deformations in the Earth's crust which release charged particles that then react with groundwater...

1 December 2011

Creative types more likely to cheat


While creativity helps people solve difficult problems, it also makes them more likely to cheat than less creative people, claims new research that suggests creativity increases a person's ability to rationalize their cheating...

30 November 2011

More evidence for environmental chemicals contributing to Parkinson's disease


A new study involving human twins has found a significant association between exposure to trichloroethylene and other chemicals used in dry cleaning, paints and cleaning products and the development of Parkinson's disease...

29 November 2011

Reality check for celebrity images proposed


Computer scientists have developed a program to automatically rank photographs based on the amount of retouching the picture has undergone. Use of the system by photo editors and advertisers would, the researchers say, help rein in skyrocketing rates of eating disorders and body dysmorphia...

28 November 2011

Dreams shown to provide daily stress-busting therapy


Dreams provide us with a form of overnight therapy, say researchers who have discovered that during dreams our stress chemistry shuts down while the brain processes emotional experiences and takes the painful edge off difficult memories...

25 November 2011

BPA levels in canned soup unexpectedly high


In one of the first studies to investigate levels of the chemical bisphenol A in canned food, Harvard researchers recorded unexpectedly high levels of the plastics additive from tinned soups, prompting a warning for consumers of those products...

24 November 2011

Running the numbers on alien life


A multi-institute team of scientists have proposed a new method for assessing the likelihood of life on alien worlds (exoplanets) while another group is mulling the possibility that alien space probes might be residing in our solar system...

23 November 2011

Scientists mull advantage of tasting words and hearing colors


Carried by a surprisingly large 4 percent of the population, scientists have been pondering why the synesthesia gene is preserved in the human race and what evolutionary advantage it might provide...

22 November 2011

Bashed-in prehistoric skull hints at the invention of violence


A 126,000 year-old human cranium exhibiting signs of localized blunt force trauma could represent the earliest known incident of interhuman aggression, say anthropologists...

21 November 2011

Forgetful? Blame your house


Everyone has experienced the frustration of entering a room and forgetting what we were planning to do in there. The reason, say psychologists, is that entering or exiting household doorways serves to create "event boundaries" in the mind...

18 November 2011

Brain uniquely primed for nakedness


The uniquely human part of the brain that allows us to recognize faces in microseconds is even more sensitive at recognizing another aspect of human bodies - whether they are clothed or naked...

17 November 2011

New Europa fractured surface theory holds water - and maybe life


Taking observations of Earth's ice sheets and floating ice shelves and applying them to Europa, scientists say Jupiter's moon appears to have a vast body of liquid water located relatively close to the surface under constantly fracturing ice sheets...

16 November 2011

Unusual physiological changes observed after adolescent sex


Working with male laboratory animals, researchers have found that sex during adolescence can have effects on the body and the chemistry of the brain that last well into adulthood...

15 November 2011

The Pill to blame for rise in prostate cancer?


Intriguing new findings from Canadian researchers link rates of prostate cancer around the globe to environmental estrogen pollution caused by the contraceptive pill...

14 November 2011

Air pollution causing more severe storms


Climatologists say that particulate pollution in the atmosphere dramatically affects cloud development in ways that reduce precipitation in dry regions while increasing the severity of storms...

11 November 2011

Lost: one giant planet


Computer simulations of the early solar system suggest the possibility that our system had more than four giant planets initially and that one was ejected as the solar system settled into its current form...

10 November 2011

"Green" biofuels anything but


A detailed new study on greenhouse gas emissions from oil palm plantations has calculated a more than 50 percent increase in levels of carbon dioxide emissions than previously thought - and warns that the Western world's demand for "green" biofuels could be costing the Earth...

9 November 2011

Narcotic effects of carbon monoxide keep city dwellers happy


Low levels of the gas carbon monoxide have a narcotic effect on city dwellers, say Tel Aviv University researchers, leading them to suggest that the pollutant is, in small doses, a boon to the well-being of urbanites...

8 November 2011

Caveman cook calorie kerfuffle quantified


Despite our preoccupation with all things gastronomic, surprising little is known about how preparation affects the energy food supplies to our bodies. Now, for the first time, researchers have shown that cooked food yields more energy than raw, leading them to speculate that cooking played a key role in driving the evolution of modern humans...

7 November 2011

T. gondii brain parasite found to alter dopamine production


The brain parasite Toxoplasma gondii, infecting an estimated 15 percent of the population, has been found to dramatically increase the production of dopamine, one of the brain's key chemical messengers...

5 November 2011

Fine structure constant may vary across universe


Electromagnetism, measured by the so-called fine-structure constant, is one of the four fundamental forces of nature and underpins Einstein's general theory of relativity. But an Australian physicist's observations of distant galaxies indicate that this constant may in fact be a variable...

4 November 2011

SETI needs to see the light, say astrophysicists


SETI's quest to find radio signals transmitted by extraterrestrial civilizations has so far failed to locate any alien shock jocks, so two astronomers have suggested a new technique for finding aliens: look for their city lights...

3 November 2011

US astronomers give nod to complex organics in space


The controversial notion that complex organic molecules could be relatively common in interstellar space has garnered support from US and European astronomers' observations of a series of diffuse interstellar bands that were first discovered 90 years ago...

2 November 2011

Depo Provera shots linked to memory loss


Depo Provera, the hormonal birth control injection, supposedly offers a convenient alternative for women who don't want to remember to take the Pill daily. Ironically, however, new research indicates that the drug may profoundly impair a person's memory...

1 November 2011

Boffins take aim at finance bubbles


US and European scientists have proposed two different methods for detecting finance bubbles, one analyzes verb and noun usage in financial reporting and the other throws some heavy mathematics at the problem. The verdict? There isn't a gold bubble but some recent IPOs look bubblish...

31 October 2011

Bacterial "disabler" treatment side-steps antibiotic resistance


It's not an antibiotic, but it accomplishes the same thing as an antibiotic. A compound that disables bacteria instead of killing them has proven successful in tests against resistant bacteria and is currently being examined for commercial use in agricultural pathogen control and human medicine...

28 October 2011

Language transforming medicine... for the worse


Senior medicos have launched a stinging attack on the use of business buzzwords in medicine, arguing that turning patients into clients is destroying medical humanism and demeaning both patients and health professionals...

27 October 2011

Stars manufacturing complex organic matter?


Analysis of the spectral emissions from distant novae suggests that compounds of unexpected complexity - some resembling coal and petroleum - are abundant throughout the universe and are being made by stars...

26 October 2011

Flood-tolerant crop breakthrough


An international research team has identified the molecular mechanism plants use to sense low oxygen levels, a discovery that could lead to the production of high-yielding, flood-tolerant crops...

25 October 2011

Compelling evidence for autism-antidepressant link


Rodents exposed to a common SSRI antidepressant just before and after birth exhibited distinctive brain abnormalities and behaviors - such as novelty avoidance and social impairment - commonly associated with autism...

24 October 2011

Scientists mull brain size-Facebook correlation


People with more Facebook friends have more grey matter in their brain, but scientists aren't sure whether our online social network is driving the changes in the brain, or if people with bigger brains simply have more friends...

21 October 2011

Autism's facial characteristics revealed


Researchers from the University of Missouri have identified the differences between the facial characteristics of children with autism and those of typically developing children...

20 October 2011

Men 2% funnier than women


A University of California study has found that men are funnier (funnier ha-ha, rather than funnier peculiar) than women, but not by much, and probably not because it helps them find mates...

19 October 2011

Clever vibrational hack turns iPhone into spyPhone


Researchers have demonstrated how a smartphone accelerometer (the sensor that detects the phone's orientation and movement) can sense nearby computer keyboard vibrations and decipher complete sentences with up to 80 percent accuracy...

18 October 2011

Oral bacteria linked to colon cancer


The discovery of a strikingly large number of Fusobacterium cells in colorectal tumor samples has prompted researchers to consider that the bacteria normally found in dental plaque may play a role in causing colon cancer...

17 October 2011

Software identifies psychopaths


Using computer software to analyze the speech patterns of psychopathic killers shows they make readily identifiable subconscious word choices when talking, a finding with intriguing implications for law enforcement and social media networks...

14 October 2011

Londoners lead in cell phone crap stakes


British poo boffins say that, on average, one-in-six cell phones is contaminated with fecal matter and that phones owned by Londoners were by far the worst, with nearly one-in-three contaminated with dangerous E. coli bacteria...

13 October 2011

Schizophrenia created in a petri dish


Neurobiologists are using genetic engineering to reprogram skin cells - of patients with schizophrenia and other neurological disorders - and grow them into brain cells, creating mental diseases-in-a-dish for experimentation and industrial-scale personalized psychiatric drug discovery...

12 October 2011

Immune system ruse nixes peanut allergy


For the first time, US researchers have turned off a life-threatening allergic response to peanuts by tricking the immune system into thinking the nut proteins aren't a threat to the body...

11 October 2011

Artistic mega-octopus may topple ichthyosaur from top of Triassic food chain


The neatly arranged fossilized vertebrae from a number of bus-sized ichthyosaurs could actually be a self portrait composed by a very large prehistoric octopus predator previously unknown to science, according to a US paleontologist...

10 October 2011

Fish frequent flyers


A new study into how fish behave when stranded on land suggests that excursions onto dry land may be a much more frequent event than previously thought...

7 October 2011

Energy levels of Crab Pulsar defy explanation


An international team of scientists has detected pulsed gamma rays from the neutron star at the heart of the Crab Nebula with energies far higher than theoretical pulsar models can explain...

6 October 2011

Zinc's role in the brain revealed


Researchers have discovered that zinc plays a critical role in regulating how the neurons in our brain communicate with one another, and it may also control how our memories form...

5 October 2011

Alzheimer's may be transmissible a la mad cow disease


Alzheimer's disease may originate in a form similar to that of infectious prion diseases such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease; suggests new research that shows an infectious spreading of Alzheimer's disease in animal models...

4 October 2011

First images from ALMA radio telescope


The world's most complex ground-based astronomy observatory, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in northern Chile, has captured its first image - a pair of colliding galaxies...

3 October 2011

Scale of epigenetic changes observed in stimulated brain is "mind boggling"


In a discovery with major implications for treating psychiatric diseases and neurodegenerative disorders, neurologists have established that non-dividing brain cells, thought to be inherently stable, can instead undergo large-scale dynamic changes as a result of brain stimulation...

30 September 2011

Single dose of magic mushrooms "may create lasting personality change"


After a single dose of the hallucinogen psilocybin, lasting personality changes affecting openness, imagination, abstract ideas and broad-mindedness occurred that were larger in magnitude than changes typically observed in healthy adults over decades of life experiences, say researchers studying the effects of magic mushrooms...

29 September 2011

Awfulness of poverty ensured global spread of class system


Ironically, it appears that the worst inequities of the class system were the reason they spread across the planet and destroyed more egalitarian cultures during the early era of human civilization...

28 September 2011

Shrinking critters could derail planet's ecosystems


A new study in the journal The American Naturalist explains how a warming climate could dramatically shrink nearly all cold-blooded creatures and cause massive disruption in the planet's food webs...

27 September 2011

Adolescent boys aspire to be average


An intriguing study that looked at male adolescence and body image found a prevailing view among boys that the pursuit of a chiseled body was unnatural and feminine, and that most boys simply wanted an "average" physique...

26 September 2011

Videos reconstructed from brain scans


Using MRI brain scans, computational models and a large set of YouTube videos, researchers have demonstrated how people's dynamic visual experiences can be reconstructed...

23 September 2011

Unfashionably early neutrinos trigger faster-than-light brouhaha


Neutrinos shot out of the CERN particle research center have been arriving at their destination too early; suggesting, say the physicists involved, that the sub-atomic particles are travelling faster than the speed of light...

22 September 2011

Radiation's bad rep a beat-up, controversial new research claims


A researcher digging through documents in the bowels of the Atomic Energy Commission says he found proof that the father of radiation genetics, Nobel Prize winner Hermann Muller, knowingly lied when he claimed in 1946 that there is no safe level of radiation exposure...

21 September 2011

Proton-based transistor could control biological processes


Transistors that control electron flow are the foundation of electronic gadgets, but a new type of transistor that controls proton flow could allow the creation of devices that can communicate directly with living things...

20 September 2011

Cool findings from yawning research


Very little research has been done to uncover the biological function of yawning and there is still no consensus about yawning's purpose. Now, Princeton researchers propose that yawning is triggered by increases in brain temperature and its function is to cool the brain...

19 September 2011

"It's not all in the genes," confirm epigenetic code-breakers


"Genes are not destiny," say the scientists who have been delving into the epigenetic code that allows organisms to develop and pass down new biological traits far more rapidly than via DNA genetic coding...

16 September 2011

First exoplanet with twin suns discovered


The discovery of exoplanet Kepler-16b is the first confirmed, unambiguous example of a circumbinary planet - a planet orbiting not one, but two stars...

15 September 2011

Self-delusion a winning strategy in life


A mathematical model that simulates the effects of overconfidence shows that harboring a mistakenly inflated belief that we can easily meet challenges or win conflicts is beneficial in business, sport and war...

14 September 2011

Pain detector accuracy surprises medicos


The need for a better way to objectively measure pain instead of relying on patient self-reporting has long been an elusive goal in medicine. Now, however, advances in neuro-imaging techniques have re-invigorated the debate over whether it might be possible to measure pain objectively...

13 September 2011

MRI scans reveal diverse female sexual sensory palette


The notion that the clitoris is the major source of female genital sensation has been directly challenged after MRI brain scans revealed that stimulation of the vagina, cervix and nipples strongly activated three separate and distinct sites in the brain's sensory cortex...

12 September 2011

Study confirms Pill's memory altering effects


Women who use hormonal contraceptives such as the Pill experience memory changes where their ability to remember the detail surrounding an emotional event is reduced...

9 September 2011

Not all trans fats are created equal


Natural trans fats produced by ruminant animals such as dairy and beef cattle are not detrimental to health and in fact show significant positive health effects...

8 September 2011

Researchers warn of clinical mousetrap


Two new studies that compare the immune systems of humans and mice and gene expression in humans and mice directly challenge the fundamental idea that rodents provide a reliable and safe human analog for clinical research...

7 September 2011

Fattening-up with Facebook


Social and physical environments can have a profound effect on metabolic processes, say the scientists behind rodent experiments that showed how an engaging social environment can burn more fat than a treadmill...

6 September 2011

See-through critters get biologists excited


A ground-breaking new chemical reagent developed in Japan turns biological tissues transparent, opening the door to experiments and biological investigations that haven't been possible before...

5 September 2011

Switch hands for a healthier diet


Psychologists from the University of Southern California found that popcorn munching moviegoers ate about the same amount of popcorn regardless of whether it was fresh or one-week old, showing that bad eating habits persist even when the food we're eating tastes bad. But when using the non-dominant hand, moviegoers ate much less of the stale than the fresh popcorn, and this worked even for those with strong eating habits...

2 September 2011

Gettin' drunk and fallin' down; who cares?


In a fascinating new study, researchers have shown that contrary to previous research, alcohol doesn't reduce your awareness of mistakes - it reduces how much you care about making those mistakes...

1 September 2011

Solar power's dirty secret: skyrocketing lead pollution


Solar power has a dark side. In developing countries with less robust electrical grids, solar power is heavily reliant on traditional lead batteries for local electrical storage and experts say millions of tons of lead pollution may be a side-effect...

31 August 2011

Modern humans healthier thanks to Neanderthal nookie


Mating with Neanderthals has endowed some human gene pools with beneficial versions of immune system genes, say researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine...

30 August 2011

Reverse engineering chocolate yields flavor surprise


The aroma of roasted cocoa beans - the key ingredient of chocolate - comes from substances that individually smell like potato chips, cooked meat, peaches, raw beef fat, cooked cabbage, human sweat, dirt and an improbable palate of other distinctly un-cocoa-like aromas. That's among the discoveries emerging from an effort to reverse engineer the essential aroma and taste ingredients in the world's favorite treat...

29 August 2011

New procedure "rebuilds" teeth without filling


UK researchers say dentists will soon have access to a new pain-free non-invasive way of tackling dental decay that reverses the damage of acid attack and rebuilds teeth as new - all without drilling or filling...

26 August 2011

El Niño climate cycle triggering wars


Researchers say that El Niño, the periodic climate cycle that boosts temperatures and cuts rainfall, doubles the risk of civil wars across 90 affected tropical countries, and may account for a fifth of worldwide conflicts during the past half-century...

25 August 2011

Scented laundry products emitting carcinogens


The United States' top-selling scented liquid laundry detergent and scented dryer sheet emit carcinogenic chemicals from dryer vents...

24 August 2011

The harder they (don't) cum


Despite the popularity of erectile dysfunction drugs, findings from the largest-ever study of orgasmic and ejaculatory dysfunction suggest that orgasmic dysfunction could be as prevalent among men as it is among women...

23 August 2011

Lasting evolutionary change "slow and rare"


Addressing the long-running debate about short-term vs. long-term evolutionary change, a new study suggests that the changes that stick tend to take a long time, with one million years being the magic number...

22 August 2011

Broadly effective antibodies against HIV isolated


Researchers working with the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative have reported the isolation of 17 novel antibodies capable of neutralizing a broad spectrum of variants of HIV...

19 August 2011

Atmospheric analysis yields dog poop surprise


Microbiologists were surprised to find that the dominant airborne bacterial communities of several American cities most closely resembled the microbial communities found in dog poop...

18 August 2011

Rats that ♥ cats: parasite rewires sexual attraction


Scientists have discovered that the complex and intriguing reproductive strategy exhibited by the single-celled parasite Toxoplasma gondii relies on altering the rodent brain to interpret cat odors as sexually attractive...

17 August 2011

Analysis of biosynthesis in plants reveals a "perplexing disparity"


Researchers using the tools of paleontology to gain new insights into the diversity of natural plant chemicals have discovered that nature skews biosynthesis to favor the creation of rarer chemicals...

16 August 2011

Is the quest for romance causing the gender gap in science?


Four new studies suggest that the goal of being romantically desirable is causing the persistent gender gap in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math...

15 August 2011

Intestinal protein linked to ADHD


Researchers are increasingly linking gut function to a variety of neuropsychiatric disorders. Now, a new study suggests that a biochemical pathway long associated with diarrhea may provide a new therapeutic target for treating ADHD...

11 August 2011

Scared of the wrong things? Enzyme imbalance may be the cause


Do you run when you should stay? Are you afraid of certain things for no logical reason? An enzyme deficiency might be to blame, say the authors of a new study...

10 August 2011

Scientists identify possible smoking-gun for multicellular life


Researchers have created an analog of what they think the first multicellular cooperation on Earth might have looked like, showing that yeast cells - in an environment that requires them to work harder for their food - grow and reproduce better in multicellular clumps than singly...

9 August 2011

Motion capture for everyone, anywhere, anytime


Current motion capture techniques use cameras to meticulously record the movements of actors inside studios, enabling those movements to be mapped onto digital models. Now, a new system which places the cameras on the actors themselves permits motion capture to occur almost anywhere...

2 August 2011

EMF exposure in pregnancy increases asthma risk


A new study has identified a dose-response relationship between a mother's electromagnetic field exposure level in pregnancy and the asthma risk in her offspring...

1 August 2011

Antioxidants key to solving reproductive woes, say pharmacologists


A meta-study appearing in the journal Pharmacological Research suggests that antioxidants may be the key to overcoming a number of reproductive problems, including sub-fertility and erectile dysfunction...

29 July 2011

Are cancers newly evolved species?


A group of molecular biologists propose that carcinogenesis - the generation of cancer - is just another form of speciation, the evolution of new species...

28 July 2011

Acoustic diode allows one-way sound transmission


Based on a simple assembly of granular crystals that transmit sound vibrations, Caltech researchers have created the first tunable acoustic diode that allows sound to travel only in one direction...

27 July 2011

Scientists quantify critical-mass required for spread of ideas


If just 10 percent of the population holds an unshakable belief, their belief will always be adopted by the majority, say cognitive scientists from the Rensselaer Institute. The findings have broad implications for the study of innovation, the spread of ideas and the movement of political ideals...

26 July 2011

Predator-prey dynamics used to model cloud systems


Mathematical formulae that describe the population dynamics of prey animals such as gazelles and their predators have been used to model the relationship between cloud systems and rain...

25 July 2011

Largest water mass in universe discovered


A reservoir of water that is 100,000 times the mass of the sun has been detected in a massive vapor cloud surrounding a quasar 12 billion light years distant...

22 July 2011

Mushy memory brings biocompatible electronics a step closer


A new generation of biocompatible electronic devices may be in the offing with the development of a memory device that is soft and functions well in wet environments...

21 July 2011

Artificial neural network created from DNA


Caltech researchers have made an artificial neural network out of DNA, creating a circuit of interacting molecules that can recall memories based on incomplete patterns, just as the human brain can...

20 July 2011

Inactive cells modified to generate and transmit electrical current


By genetically modifying normally "unexcitable" cells, bioengineers have turned them into cells capable of generating and passing electrical current; a breakthrough which could have broad implications in treating diseases of the nervous system or the heart...

19 July 2011

Galactic spin theory neatly explains Charge Parity violation


Experimental observations of sub-atomic particles known as Kaons and B Mesons have revealed significant differences in how their matter and anti-matter versions decay. This "Charge Parity violation" is an awkward anomaly for physicists but a radical new theory suggests that the rotation of our galaxy may explain the discrepancy...

18 July 2011

Climate change studies vexed by Vesta


Paleoclimate studies, where scientists look into the past to try and understand changes in Earth's climate, may be a waste of time if astronomers are correct in their theory that relatively minor bodies like the asteroid Vesta can cause chaotic fluctuations in Earth's orbit...

15 July 2011

This is your brain on androids


Ever watched a kids' movie where the animated human characters are realistic but just not quite right and maybe a bit creepy? Then you've probably been a visitor to what's called the "uncanny valley." Until now, the uncanny valley was poorly understood, but new MRI brain scans help explain why we feel repulsed when confronted with fake humans that appear too human...

14 July 2011

Experimental wind-farm produces tenfold power increase


Caltech researchers say the power output of wind-farms can be increased by an order of magnitude - at least tenfold - simply by optimizing the placement of vertical wind turbines on a given plot of land...

12 July 2011

Drugs of addiction hijack our love of salt


Scientists have found that addictive drugs appear to hijack the same nerve cells and connections in the brain that serve a powerful, ancient instinct: our appetite for salt...

11 July 2011

Is Mills and Boon derailing women's health?


Writing in the Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care, pop-psychologist Susan Quilliam argues that idealized romantic fiction has more of an influence on many women than professional clinical advice, a situation that is damaging the effectiveness of a number of family planning and reproductive health initiatives...

8 July 2011

Harvested TV, radio signals power devices


Scientists using a novel printable ultra-wideband antenna have shown that the ambient electromagnetic waves from TV stations, radio stations, satellites and cell phones can be "harvested" and used to power a range of electronic devices...

7 July 2011

Cheap-and-cheerful pinhead camera doesn't need lens


A camera that fits on the head of a pin, contains no lenses or moving parts and costs pennies to make could revolutionize an array of scientific fields from surgery to robotics...

6 July 2011

Forget about it


The notion that we can intentionally forget unwanted memories has been controversial ever since Freud proposed it at the beginning of the 20th century. Now, a neuroimaging study shows that Freud was correct and we can control what we forget...

5 July 2011

Medicos want Champix banned


Researchers have called for the smoking cessation drug Champix (marketed as Chantix in the US) to be withdrawn from the market after alarming findings linking the drug to heart attack and stroke...

4 July 2011

Nicotine receptors found to play key role in social behaviors


French researchers say the nicotinic receptors in the prefrontal cortex are essential for social interaction in mice and that this area of the brain is necessary for adapted and balanced social interactions to occur...

1 July 2011

Space travel safer with shiraz


Intriguing new research suggests that the "healthy" ingredient in red wine, resveratrol, may prevent the negative effects of weightlessness that astronauts suffer...

30 June 2011

BPA exposure makes male animals "less desirable"


New experiments with BPA show that the chemical causes male deer mice to become demasculinized and behave more like females, leading the researchers to posit that daily exposure in the developed world could be reducing men's reproductive fitness...

29 June 2011

War cheaper, more popular than ever


Far from the planet becoming more peaceful, the frequency of wars between states has increased steadily from 1870 by 2 percent a year. A new study argues that the rise in conflicts is being fed by economic growth and the proliferation of new borders...

28 June 2011

Artificial sweeteners contributing directly to diabetes risk


The findings from two new studies have prompted US health scientists to declare that the promotion of diet sodas and aspartame sweeteners as healthy alternatives may be "ill-advised"...

27 June 2011

Large number of common drugs linked to brain impairment


A large, long-term study has found that medications with anticholinergic activity - typically over-the-counter and prescription drugs taken by older adults - cause cognitive impairment...

24 June 2011

Demonstration of memflector brings brain-like computing a step closer


The first ever demonstration of simultaneous information processing and storage using phase-change materials points the way to computers that more closely resemble biological systems...

23 June 2011

Ovulation puts gaydar into overdrive


Women can more accurately identify a man's sexual orientation when they are closest to their time of peak ovulation...

22 June 2011

Humans may be able to "see" magnetic fields


Humans are not considered to have an innate magnetic sense but new research shows that a protein expressed in the human retina can sense magnetic fields...

21 June 2011

IT-rich region revealed to be autism hotspot


Cambridge University researchers have found that autism diagnoses are more common in IT-rich regions, a finding that has important implications for service provision in those regions and also for the "hyper-systemizing" theory of autism...

20 June 2011

Chick-magnet pulling power confirmed


Driving a sports car makes a man more desirable to women, but only for uncommitted romantic flings and not as a marriage partner...

17 June 2011

Childhood eating disorders skyrocketing


A large Asian study reports that an astonishing 16 percent of 10-12 year-olds are vomiting to control their weight and that nascent eating disorders appear to be much more common among boys...

16 June 2011

Experimental results hint at neutrino flavor change


By shooting a beam of neutrinos through a small slice of the Earth under Japan, physicists say they've caught the particles changing their stripes in intriguing new ways...

15 June 2011

Medical implants made hacker-proof


The FCC has recently moved implantable wireless medical devices to a new frequency band that makes communication with them possible across much greater distances. Researchers, worried that malicious hacking of the devices could deliver lethal doses of medication or electricity to users, have proposed a clever jamming system to make the devices hack-proof...

14 June 2011

Living cell turned into a laser


Researchers have genetically engineered a single cell to express green fluorescent protein that amplifies photons into pulses of laser light...

13 June 2011

MRI scans predict pop music success


An experiment originally designed to see how peer pressure affects teenagers has also been found to accurately reflect the success or failure of pop songs...

10 June 2011

BPA exposure estimates wrong, say US researchers


New experiments by researchers at the University of Missouri show that exposure to the controversial chemical Bisphenol A (BPA) through diet has likely been underestimated by previous laboratory tests...

9 June 2011

New class of supernova discovered


They're bright, blue-and a bit strange, say Caltech astronomers who are puzzling over the lack of hydrogen in the spectrums of a number of distant stellar explosions. Detailing the discovery in Nature, the astronomers said that six supernovae of this type had so far been identified...

8 June 2011

No link between age and testosterone levels


A new study from Australia adds weight to earlier European research that found no correlation between men's ages and their testosterone levels, leading the researchers to speculate that poor health is the most likely contributor to reduced libido and fatigue in old age...

7 June 2011

Rise of jellyfish "drastically" changing oceanic food webs


The increase in the size and frequency of jellyfish blooms in coastal and estuarine waters around the world is altering marine food webs by shunting food energy away from fish and toward bacteria...

6 June 2011

Antimatter bottled-up for 16 minutes


Antimatter remains an enigma, but researchers at CERN may soon be able to ascertain some of its key properties thanks to groundbreaking techniques they've developed that trap and store antimatter for more than 15 minutes...

3 June 2011

The color red provides speed and strength boost


When humans see the color red, their reactions become both faster and more forceful. Most people are unaware of the color's muscle boosting effect, but a new study suggests it could give sportspeople the edge in activities in which a brief burst of strength and speed is needed...

2 June 2011

Physicists explore negative entropy in computation


A team of physicists have discovered that not only do computational processes sometimes generate no heat; under certain conditions they can even have a cooling effect...

1 June 2011

Error tolerance could slash computer energy use


A clever computer programming framework that shuttles non-critical computational tasks to under-powered microprocessor areas could dramatically lower the energy needed to run computers...

31 May 2011

Studies slam DIY genetic tests


The direct-to-consumer genetic tests offered by deCODEme and 23andMe give inaccurate predictions of disease risks and regulatory authorities should consider banning them, say the geneticists behind two studies that examined test predictions in relation to a number of disease risks...

30 May 2011

The secret lives of cats


Cats are secretive creatures and their nocturnal adventures have largely been a mystery, but a new study that tracked both feral and domestic cats over a two year period shows that even domestic cats roam over surprisingly large areas...

27 May 2011

Radiation exposure impacting gender ratio


Analyzing data from population centers around normally functioning nuclear power stations, researchers have found that exposure to nuclear radiation leads to an increased percentage of male births...

26 May 2011

Happy men not sexually attractive to women


Men who date online may be inspired to update their profile photos after researchers discovered that women find pictures of brooding men sexier than smiling men...

25 May 2011

Bacteria make rain, bioprecipitation researchers say


There is growing evidence that the majority of precipitation events depend on a type of bacterium whose outer membrane binds water molecules in an ordered arrangement, providing a very efficient nucleating template which greatly enhances ice crystal formation...

24 May 2011

Viagra touted as MS treatment


Sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra, may soon get a clinical trial for treating multiple sclerosis in humans thanks to an animal model study that demonstrated a practically complete recovery in 50 percent of the animals after eight days of treatment...

23 May 2011

Wildlife extinction rates hugely over-reported


Calculating species extinction rates is a tricky business at the best of times, but a new research paper suggests the most widely used methods are "fundamentally flawed" and overestimate extinction rates by as much as 160 percent...

20 May 2011

Dairy intake, heart attack risk not statistically linked


Dairy products may be high in saturated fats but high levels of dairy intake do not statistically increase the risk of heart attack, suggest the results of a new study that hypothesizes that other nutrients in dairy products are protective against heart disease...

19 May 2011

Two legs good, four legs bad - for beating the crap out of each other


Men can punch much harder when they stand on two legs and hit downward rather than when they are on all fours, giving tall, upright males a distinct fighting advantage and possibly explaining why women tend to prefer tall men...

18 May 2011

Twin-study findings conflict with sex ed dogma


Current sex education curricula recommend abstinence as a way of reducing sexual risk-taking, but a new US study indicates that early sexual initiation has no effect on an individual's risk-taking behavior...

17 May 2011

Much simpler catalyst could fast-track hydrogen economy


The black mineral stain commonly found on rocks turns out to be a very simple and effective catalyst for replicating what photosynthesis does - splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen...

16 May 2011

Alzheimer's risk gene begins disrupting brain 50 years before disease hits


Degeneration of myelin in the brain's white-matter fiber pathways is increasingly considered to be a key component of Alzheimer's disease and researchers now say that it begins when we are young and nearly 90 percent of Caucasians are vulnerable...

13 May 2011

High incidence of placebo use in psychiatry


A recent Canadian survey found that around 20 percent of general physicians have prescribed placebos for their patients, while more than one-third of psychiatrists have prescribed them...

12 May 2011

Biofuels' "green" credentials questioned


When a biofuel's origins are factored in - for example, whether the fuel is made from palm oil or grown in a clear-cut rainforest - conventional fossil fuels may turn out to be a much "greener" choice...

11 May 2011

Study reveals how cops spot liars


The ability to effectively detect deception is a cornerstone of successful law enforcement, and now, the investigative interviewing techniques used by detectives and intelligence officers are available to everyone thanks to a new paper in the American Journal of Forensic Psychiatry ...

10 May 2011

Doctors at Guantánamo Bay get cryptic ethical advice


Medical involvement with torture is prohibited by law and the fundamental tenets of the medical professional, and yet sometimes it is the right thing for doctors to do, argue two bioethicists in a controversial new paper...

9 May 2011

"Bad" cholesterol not so evil


Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) - popularly known as bad cholesterol - turns out to be critical for building muscle mass, and significant lowering of the body's LDL levels can cause serious health problems...

6 May 2011

Schizophrenic computer models mental illness


A computer network that emulates schizophrenia is providing University of Texas at Austin researchers with important insights into the inner workings of schizophrenic brains...

5 May 2011

"Paperphone" prototype demonstrates bend gesture interface


Canadian researchers have developed a prototype flexible smartphone interface that allows users to interact with applications on the phone by bending and manipulating the display...

4 May 2011

Mirror neuron development reversed in autistic brain


The brain's mirror neuron system enables us to better understand and anticipate the actions of others, leading researchers to posit that autism may come about because of a crippled mirror neuron architecture, but new research shows that individuals with autism eventually develop a very robust mirror neuron network...

3 May 2011

Experiments reveal aggression to be a "manhood-restoring tactic"


Manhood is something that is difficult to earn and easy to lose; suggest experiments that also showed aggression as the preferred way for men to hold onto this precarious status...

29 April 2011

Scans reveal brain's in-built caste system


MRI scans reveal that people of higher subjective socioeconomic status show greater brain activity in response to other high-ranked individuals, while those with lower status have a greater response to other low-status individuals...

28 April 2011

"Hazardous" drinking levels good for the heart


A controversial new study from Boston University shows that alcohol appears to have cardio-protective effects not only in moderate drinkers, but also in those individuals with patterns of alcohol use traditionally considered as hazardous...

27 April 2011

Deforestation goes into hyperdrive with rising gold price


Deforestation in Peru has increased six-fold in recent years as miners, driven by record gold prices, blast and clear huge tracts of lowland rainforest...

26 April 2011

Virus improves solar cell efficiency


Scientists have found a way to make significant improvements to the power-conversion efficiency of solar cells by utilizing viruses to perform assembly work on the solar cell at the microscopic level...

22 April 2011

Why are the happiest places also suicide hotspots?


The happiest countries (and happiest U.S. states) have the highest suicide rates, say an international team of researchers, who have pulled together a study that attempts to explain this seemingly paradoxical situation...

21 April 2011

Laser spark plug to give gas guzzlers new lease on life


The Japanese researchers behind an innovative laser spark plug system say it will improve fuel economy and reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides, the major components of smog...

20 April 2011

Novel solar cells utilize light's magnetic properties


Light has electric and magnetic components but scientists had always believed the effects of the magnetic field to be insignificant. Now, however, researchers have found that under the right circumstances, light can generate magnetic effects that are 100 million times stronger than previously expected, making magnetic solar cells a possibility...

19 April 2009

Urologists nix surgery in favor of mechanical penile lengtheners


In a rebuff to surgical penile augmentation, a meta-review of studies into penile lengthening recommends that men use non-invasive mechanical penile extenders before contemplating surgery...

18 April 2011

Win-win for sugarcane biofuel crops


Agricultural cropping typically has a significant warming effect on local climates, but sugarcane biofuel crops in Brazil have been found to cool the local climate at around the same levels as natural vegetation...

15 April 2011

Bicycle design: back to the drawing board


How a bicycle stays upright while moving has always been something of a mystery to science, with a vague cocktail of gyroscopic effects being the accepted explanation. Now, however, scientists have determined the complex interplay of design characteristics that make a bike stay upright, and radically different bicycle designs may be in the offing...

13 April 2011

Drink to remember - subconsciously, at least


According to new research, repeated ethanol exposure enhances synaptic plasticity in our subconscious brain, providing further evidence toward an emerging scientific consensus that drug and alcohol addiction is fundamentally a learning and memory disorder...

12 April 2011

Gene therapy painkiller gets body to produce its own pain relief drugs


Scientists running a human trial of the first ever gene therapy treatment for pain relief say that the virus-based vector which triggers the expression of a naturally occurring opioid appears to provide substantial pain relief...

11 April 2011

Naked chicks baffle penguin boffins


Large numbers of young penguins in colonies around the Atlantic are suffering what is known as feather-loss disorder and scientists are baffled as to what might be causing the condition...

8 April 2011

Physics community buzzing over possible new particle


Experiments at the Tevatron particle accelerator have produced results that indicate the existence of a new, unknown particle that is not predicted by the fundamental laws of physics...

7 April 2011

Retina built using stem cells


The processes involved in the formation of complex tissues and organs involving multiple cell types are still mostly a mystery to scientists, but Japanese researchers have made a major breakthrough with the creation of retinal optic tissue using embryonic mouse stem cells...

6 April 2011

Strong evidence for liquid water in comet


The idea that comets are "dirty snowballs" frozen in time looks set for revision now that scientists have found evidence of liquid water in samples of the Wild-2 comet returned to Earth by NASA's Stardust mission...

5 April 2011

Women: they don't make 'em like they used to


A study of 16th century European skulls has found that women are beginning to resemble men as differences in gender-associated craniofacial features become less pronounced over time...

4 April 2011

Penn State researchers uncover new type of symmetry


The discovery of a new type of symmetry - dubbed rotation reversal - in the structure of materials will greatly expand the options available for designing (or discovering) new materials with desirable properties. The finding has broad relevance to the fields of physics, chemistry, biology and engineering...

1 April 2011

Spin sensitivity of DNA surprises researchers


Researchers investigating quantum interactions in biological molecules have shown that DNA is extremely sensitive to particle "spin." Their experiment shows that DNA can somehow discern and "filter" electrons moving through it, a finding that could impact both medical science and electronics research...

31 March 2011

Electronic components made from human blood


Indian researchers have demonstrated a memristor made from human blood and are now planning the creation of other electronic components, such as transistors and capacitors, composed of human tissue...

30 March 2011

Salinity differential turns river mouths into power plants


Alternately using seawater and freshwater as the electrolyte, researchers have developed a battery that takes advantage of the difference in salinity to produce electricity. The development could see river mouths or estuaries used as electricity generating power plants...

29 March 2011

Aphrodisiac plants put under the microscope


The scientists who examined findings from recent research into the aphrodisiac properties of plants say that both ginseng and saffron appear to enhance sexual function and there is evidence that other plants can increase sexual desire...

28 March 2011

Electrical "wand" extinguishes fires


A 200-year-old observation that electricity can affect the shape of flames is being revisited with an experimental device that uses an electric field projected from a probe to rapidly suppress flames...

25 March 2011

Obesity and infertility linked across generations


The hormonal changes which are triggered by obesity can "program" the reproductive systems of the female offspring of obese women and lead to infertility...

24 March 2011

Novel psychiatric drugs take aim at gut bacteria


Communication between the bacteria in our gut and our brain plays an important role in the development of psychiatric illness, say researchers who are investigating how new psychiatric drugs might directly target intestinal flora...

23 March 2011

New Chinese virus has "alarmingly high" mortality rate


Scientists say a previously unknown and dangerous virus carried by tics has been responsible for seasonal outbreaks of the disease in six of China's most populated provinces...

22 March 2011

Men fueling plastic surgery boom


Statistics released this week show that more men are going under the knife to try and preserve their youthful looks. While cosmetic plastic surgery procedures in men were up only 2 percent overall in 2010, many individual procedures increased significantly. Facelifts for men rose 14 percent in 2010 while male liposuction increased 7 percent...

21 March 2011

Potent anti-aging mechanism identified


How well the integrity of our DNA is maintained is a critical factor in determining how our bodies age. Now, scientists say they have identified an "elite" natural repair mechanism that is rarely used but can greatly enhance the body's preservation of genetic information...

18 March 2011

Cassini tracks equatorial methane rainstorms on Titan


Showers on Saturn's largest moon, Titan, have brought methane rains to its equatorial deserts, as revealed in images captured by NASA's Cassini spacecraft. The observations are the first of rain falling on Titan's surface at low latitudes...

17 March 2011

Collecting items can trigger obsessive-compulsive disorder


Whatever you collect - shoes, porcelain dolls, precious stones, thimbles, watches or fans - your hobby could easily become a psychological disorder that researchers say affects more than 10 percent of the population...

16 March 2011

LHC may produce time travelling particles


If the Large Hadron Collider does produce the elusive Higgs boson, then physicists speculate that it will also create a second particle, known as the Higgs singlet, that can move either forward or backward in time and reappear in the future or past...

15 March 2011

Sex selection gender skew in East raises concerns


A preference for sons in China, India and South Korea combined with easy access to sex-selective abortions means that some provinces in China have 130 males for every 100 females, leading demographers to estimate that there may be a 20 percent excess of young men in the near future...

14 March 2011

Researchers speculate that hormonal imbalances might create geniuses


The discussion about whether genius is a byproduct of good genes or good environment may take an entirely new direction, say Canadian researchers who contend that hormonal influences in the womb may play an important role in creating intellectually gifted individuals...

11 March 2011

Low birth weight infants "programmed" for obesity


New research shows that when mothers have poor or inadequate nutrition, their newborns are "programmed" to eat more because they develop less neurons in the region of the brain that controls food intake...

10 March 2011

Liver, not brain, may originate Alzheimer's


Unexpected findings from a Scripps Research Institute study could completely alter prevailing notions about Alzheimer's disease - pointing to the liver instead of the brain as the original source of the brain plaques that cause the disease...

9 March 2011

Alarming sperm quality decline in Finland


Over the last 10 years Finnish researchers have charted a dramatic decline in both sperm quality and sperm counts in Finnish men. Additionally, cases of testicular cancer are skyrocketing...

8 March 2011

Novel CO2 turbine promises leap in generator efficiency


Turbines that utilize supercritical carbon dioxide for the generation of electricity could deliver a 50 percent improvement in efficiency compared to steam turbines...

7 March 2011

Discoverer of alien bacteria says life probably exists "everywhere"


A NASA scientist has sparked controversy with claims that he has identified bacterial microfossils in several meteorites. If proved correct, the implications are that life is widespread throughout space, and that life on Earth may have come from other planets...

4 March 2011

"Profound" plant water cycle changes add new wildcard to climate change guesstimates


Botanists have discovered that rising carbon dioxide levels over the last 150 years have reduced the density of the pores that plants use to breathe by 34 percent, dramatically lowering the amount of water vapor the plants release to the atmosphere...

3 March 2011

Aspirin, ibuprofen linked to impotence


Erectile dysfunction is often one of the first symptoms men with cardiovascular disease exhibit, leading researchers to believe that drugs such as aspirin (often taken to prevent heart disease) would benefit erectile function, but instead they found just the opposite...

2 March 2011

Bacteria in gut can control organs


The bacteria that live in the human gut may be doing quite a bit more than simply helping us digest food. Researchers have observed that bacteria in the digestive tract also appear to be exerting some level of control over the metabolic functions of organs such as the liver...

1 March 2011

Mindless copying a good evolutionary strategy


Comparing the evolutionary success of blindly copying your parents' lifestyle choices with that of innovative, informed lifestyle adaptations, researchers found that mindlessly copying what your parents did was usually the best strategy for the long-term success of your genes...

28 February 2011

Conservation scientists mull reconstruction of buddhas


Coordinated by UNESCO and the International Council on Monuments and Sites, a group of scientists is examining the debris left from the Taliban's destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas and considering whether reconstruction of the giant statues might be feasible...

25 February 2011

The Pill not to blame for estrogen in drinking water


The American Chemical Society says there is a widespread public misconception about the estrogen-related hormones detected in drinking water supplies...

24 February 2011

Cell phones do affect brain, but consequences unknown


Researchers have found that cell phone use is associated with increased brain glucose metabolism (an indicator of brain activity) in the region closest to the antenna, but they say that the finding is of unknown clinical significance...

23 February 2011

Hard evidence on cannabis use and erectile dysfunction


Cannabis and its effects on the brain are relatively well understood, but new research suggests that cannabis receptors also exist in the penis. The antagonizing effect of the drug on these receptors may make it more difficult for a man to achieve and maintain an erection, suggests the study...

22 February 2011

Study finds no brain damage among ecstasy users


Prior studies that identified cognitive impairment in ecstasy users were flawed, say the researchers behind a new study that indicates ecstasy users show no signs of cognitive impairment attributable to drug use...

21 February 2011

Scientists accidentally discover "astounding" hair growth compound


Investigating how stress affects gastrointestinal function, scientists say they've unwittingly stumbled upon a chemical compound that induces hair growth by blocking a stress-related hormone associated with hair loss...

18 February 2011

Blue-green algae affecting reproductive health


Algal blooms that occur in rivers and waterways have been found to produce a previously unrecognized estrogen-like compound that adversely affects fish, plants and humans by disrupting the normal activity of reproductive hormones...

17 February 2011

Text messaging modifying our emotional responses


Experiments by German psychologists indicate that text messaging is subtly changing the way our brains respond to certain number combinations...

16 February 2011

Electro-magnetic pulse used to detonate IEDs


Composed mainly of plastic, improvised explosive devices (IEDs) are notoriously hard to detect. But Colombian researchers believe they may have found a way to detonate them remotely using electromagnetic pulses...

15 February 2011

WiFi breakthrough: over-and-out for over-and-out


An obvious - but until now overlooked - engineering enhancement allows wireless signals to be sent and received simultaneously on a single channel, a breakthrough that will at least double the speed of existing wireless networks...

14 February 2011

Invasive plants can improve biodiversity, ecosystem health


Scientists have found that human-introduced, invasive species of plants can - contrary to prevailing ideas - have positive effects on ecological communities. The research has wide implications for the way environmental managers respond to ecosystem maintenance...

11 February 2011

DNA tests create incest dilemma


The use of DNA microarrays to diagnose developmental disabilities and congenital anomalies in children can also unexpectedly identify that some of those children have been conceived through incest, creating social and legal issues that are challenging the medical community...

10 February 2011

Testosterone: empathy killer


An administration of testosterone under the tongues of volunteers negatively affected their ability to "read" the minds of others, an indication of empathy. Interestingly, this effect is predicted by a fetal marker of prenatal testosterone and provides further support for the androgen theory of autism...

9 February 2011

Study links morning after pill to jump in STDs


Offering the morning after pill over-the-counter without fee in the UK has not reduced the number of teenage pregnancies and researchers say it may be associated with a 12 percent hike in sexually-transmitted diseases in under-16s...

8 February 2011

Processed food cripples young brain


Somewhat unsurprisingly, a new study has found that infants with a higher intake of processed foods during the first three years of their lives had lower IQs. More surprising is the discovery that the cognitive effects relating to these eating habits in early childhood appear to persist into later life - despite any subsequent improvements to dietary intake...

7 February 2011

Clay bubbles may have nurtured self-organizing precursors to life


A team of researchers have demonstrated how small, semi-permeable compartments that form in inorganic clay provide an ideal container for molecules that can self-organize. Scientists say the discovery opens the possibility that the Earth's first primitive cells might have formed inside inorganic clay bubbles...

4 February 2011

Report warns of possible disappearance of wild oysters


A comprehensive new survey that compared the past and present condition of oyster reefs around the globe has found that more than 90 percent of former reefs have been lost in most of the regions where the molluscs were formerly abundant...

3 February 2011

Brain's neurons found to communicate via electric fields


Neurons in the brain had been thought to communicate exclusively via the physical connections that are known as synapses, but Caltech researchers say they have uncovered strong evidence that neurons also communicate with each other via weak electric fields, a finding that could help us understand how biophysics gives rise to cognition - the holy grail of neuroscience...

2 February 2011

Breeder or worker? Scientists search for the genes that drive societies


In order understand the evolution of complex societies; researchers are sequencing the genomes of social insects to decipher which genes might be responsible for the division of labor and reproduction, two crucial characteristics that are important to the evolution of social structure...

1 February 2011

First demonstration of coherent control of a quantum multi-resonator architecture


Physicists have put a new slant on the shell game by demonstrating the ability to hide and shuffle "quantum-mechanical peas" - in this case single photons - under and between three microwave resonators acting as quantized shells...

31 January 2011

Gender slant on hygiene hypothesis could explain skewed disease rates


The "hygiene hypothesis" suggests that increased hygiene and sanitation is linked to higher rates of asthma, allergies and autoimmune disorders; now, one researcher says the differences in boys' and girls' play-styles could explain why women are at greater risk of a whole raft of illnesses...

28 January 2011

Penile presence makes for abominable affairs


Men are more than twice as likely to continue dating a girlfriend who has cheated on them with another woman than one who has cheated with another man, say University of Texas bonk boffins...

27 January 2011

Hubble snaps most distant galaxy yet


Astronomers have pushed the Hubble Space Telescope to it limits by finding what they believe to be the most distant object ever seen in the universe - a mini-galaxy at a distance of 13.2 billion light years that formed only several hundred million years after the Big Bang...

26 January 2011

Couples' language use predicts relationship success


People tend to be attracted to those who resemble themselves in terms of personality, values, and physical appearance. Now, researchers say that the ways that people talk are also important, and that people who speak in similar styles are more compatible...

25 January 2011

Fear of spiders, snakes is learnt... very quickly


A new meta-study appearing in Current Directions in Psychological Science reviews a number of studies with infants and finds that we aren't born afraid of spiders and snakes, but we can learn these fears very quickly...

24 January 2011

Courtship affects gene expression


Some of the mysteries of human mating behavior could now be explained thanks to new research that shows that certain genes become activated in fruit flies when they interact with the opposite sex. Understanding why and how these genes become activated within social contexts may also lead to insights into disorders such as autism...

21 January 2011

Naturally quantum critical material identified


In what researchers are calling a "dream system," an exotic new superconductor based on the element ytterbium appears to exist in a quantum critical state naturally; a highly desirable property that could have profound implications for the manufacture of superconductors and electronics...

20 January 2011

More evidence for asteroids creating life on Earth


All life on Earth uses "left-handed" amino acids to build proteins and NASA has now found that a greater number of asteroids were capable of creating these left-handed amino acids than previously thought...

19 January 2011

Antioxidants causing fertility problems


Antioxidants are a popular dietary supplement but new research warns about a possible unexpected side effect of antioxidants: they may cause fertility problems in women...

18 January 2011

High altitude, higher suicide risk


An analysis of two decades of mortality data from across the United States has revealed a striking correlation between living at higher altitudes and suicide risk...

17 January 2011

Colored light used to control brains of GM animals


Optogenetics researchers have achieved unparalleled control over the brain circuits in laboratory animals by exciting and inhibiting their genetically modified mechano-sensory and locomotion neurons with colored light...

14 January 2011

Mad cow disease airborne


European researchers have discovered that prions - the infectious proteins that can cause Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease - can be transmitted through the air. The surprising finding will likely mean a whole new raft of precautionary measures for scientific labs, slaughterhouses and animal feed plants...

13 January 2011

Discredited MMR researcher planned business empire


Andrew Wakefield, the disgraced researcher who claimed a link between MMR vaccine and autism, planned a secret multi-national business offering alternative vaccines and therapeutic service based on his now-discredited claims...

12 January 2011

Satellite catches thunderstorm producing antimatter bursts


Astronomers using the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope in orbit above the Earth have detected beams of antimatter produced above terrestrial thunderstorms, a phenomenon never seen before...

11 January 2011

Masculinity trumps intelligence for ovulating women


How human sexual selection evolved is becoming clearer with new findings showing that women in their fertile phase are more likely to fantasize about masculine-looking men and that a man's intelligence has no effect on a female's choice of partner...

10 January 2011

CO2 "inertia" makes significant climatic disruption inevitable


The first full climate simulation to make predictions out to the year 3000 indicates that even if zero CO2 emissions were achieved immediately, the inertia of past carbon dioxide emissions would continue affecting the planet for the next 1000 years...

7 January 2011

Male sex drive watered-down with tears


When we cry, we send all sorts of emotional signals. But scientists now say that tears carry chemical signals as well, after they observed that merely sniffing a woman's tears reduced sexual arousal in men...

6 January 2011

Benefits of breastfeeding last into adolescence


Breastfeeding appears to confer advantages well beyond infancy, with European researchers reporting significant differences in muscle strength and aerobic capacity when comparing teenagers who were breastfed as infants with others who were not breastfed...

5 January 2011

Size of oceanic plastic patch "grossly exaggerated"


There's a significant amount of plastic trash floating in the northern Pacific Ocean, but claims that the "Great Garbage Patch" between California and Japan is twice the size of Texas are grossly exaggerated, according to a new analysis...

4 January 2011

Hair color revealed in DNA


The same European researchers who devised a forensic test to tell a person's age from a sample of their blood have now created a test to reveal a person's hair color from their blood or saliva...

3 January 2011

Mass extinction event linked to invasive species


The arrival of invasive species can stop the dominant natural process of new species formation and trigger mass extinction events, say researchers examining fossil records from the Late Devonian...

23 December 2010

The most intriguing science news from 2010


Do we have depression all wrong? Is there actually some truth to astrology? Could your antique collection be making you sick? Why are scientists teaching robots to lie? Do country boys have more packed into their trousers than their city cousins? Find out all this and more in our selection of 2010's most interesting science news items...