CARDIFF U. (UK) — Researchers in the United Kingdom find a significant increase in the overall incidence of type 2 diabetes, with a marked increase among adults under age 40.
The research, published in the journal Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism, examined published data describing the incidence of newly diagnosed cases of type 2 diabetes between 1991 and 2010.
“We have known for some time that the incidence of new cases and prevalence of the total number of people of type 2 diabetes has been increasing in the UK,” says Professor Craig Currie from Cardiff University’s School of Medicine, who led the research.
VANDERBILT (US) — Kindergarten teachers say they spend most of their math instructional time teaching lessons students have already mastered, like shapes and basic counting.
The findings reveal a misalignment between what the students are being taught and what they already know.
JOHNS HOPKINS (US) — Using a radar imager to peer through the soupy atmosphere of Saturn’s moon Titan, scientists have created the first topographic map of one of the most Earth-like worlds in the solar system.
The map, identifying surface features and elevations, is a valuable new tool for researchers seeking to know more about Saturn’s largest moon, which, at 1,600 miles across, is bigger than Mercury and the second-largest moon in the solar system. The map and a paper on the project appear in the journal Icarus.
Scientists care about Titan because it’s the only moon in the solar system known to have clouds, surface liquids, and a thick atmosphere. The cold atmosphere is mostly nitrogen, like Earth’s, but methane on Titan acts the way water vapor does on Earth, forming clouds, falling as rain, and carving the surface with rivers. Organic chemicals, derived from methane, are present in Titan’s atmosphere, lakes, and rivers and may offer clues about the origins of life.
RICE (US) — Calculations show that a graphene/boron anode should be able to hold lots of lithium and perform at the right voltage for use in lithium-ion batteries.
The possibilities offered by graphene get clearer by the day as labs around the world grow and test the one-atom-thick form of carbon. Because it is as thin as possible, battery manufacturers hope to take advantage of graphene’s massive surface area to store lithium ions.
Counting both sides of the material, one gram would cover 2,630 square meters, or nearly half a football field. But there’s a problem: The ions don’t stick to graphene very well.
U. BUFFALO (US) — Social skills may explain why bullies often achieve high levels of career success.
They use those skills to strategically abuse their coworkers, yet still receive positive evaluations from their supervisors, according to a recent study that is one of the first attempts to measure the relationship between being a bully and job performance.
CARDIFF U. (UK) — Peptide molecules derived from the body’s natural immune system can help boost the body’s defense against life-threatening blood poisoning.
In an article published in Science Translational Medicine, researchers report that peptide molecules derived from immune sensors known as Toll-like receptors or TLRs can kick-start the body’s natural immune defense that was affected by blood poisoning.
“Blood poisoning or sepsis is triggered by the body’s overreaction to infection; it can lead to widespread inflammation and blood clotting as well as, in the later stage of the illness when the immune system finally gets exhausted, to profound immunosuppression,” says study leader Mario Labéta from the Cardiff University School of Medicine’s Institute of Infection and Immunity.
U. MICHIGAN (US) — A new brain study reveals that the circadian clocks of people with depression are altered at the cellular level.
Every cell in our bodies runs on a 24-hour clock, tuned to the night-day, light-dark cycles that have ruled us since the dawn of humanity. The brain acts as timekeeper, keeping the cellular clock in sync with the outside world so that it can govern our appetites, sleep, moods, and much more.
U. PENNSYLVANIA (US) — Tiny fossils offer clues to a 1700 earthquake in the Pacific Northwest that was strong enough to cause a tsunami as far away as Japan.
The lack of local documentation has made studying this historic event challenging. New work provides a finer-grained portrait of this earthquake and the changes in coastal land level it produced, enabling modelers to better prepare for future events. The research was published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth.
UC DAVIS (US) — A year after the human pandemic began, scientists found H1N1 (2009) infections in two free-ranging northern elephant seals off the central California coast, and antibodies to the virus in 28 more.
Those antibodies indicate more widespread exposure, report the researchers. Between 2009 and 2011, the team tested nasal swabs from more than 900 marine mammals from 10 different species off the Pacific Coast from Alaska to California.
Neither infected seal appeared to be ill, indicating marine mammals may be infected without showing clinical signs of illness. The study, the first report of that flu strain in any marine mammal, appears in PLOS ONE.
WASHINGTON U. – ST. LOUIS (US) — A new understanding of how nerve axons degenerate might lead to effective ways to remove damaged nerves before the illness or drug at fault affects healthy nerve tissue.
Many medical issues affect nerves, from injuries in car accidents and side effects of chemotherapy to glaucoma and multiple sclerosis.
STANFORD (US) — Researchers squeezed iron at pressures as high as 3 million times that felt at sea level to recreate conditions at Earth’s center. The results suggest the core is uneven, grainy, and weak.
The massive ball of iron sitting at the center of Earth is not quite as “rock-solid” as has been thought, say two mineral physicists. By conducting experiments that simulate the immense pressures deep in the planet’s interior, the researchers determined that iron in Earth’s inner core is only about 40 percent as strong as previous studies estimated.
STANFORD (US) — A biologist’s decades-long study of the collective behavior of harvester ant colonies has provided a rare real-time look at natural selection at work.
In ancient Greece, the city-states that waited until their own harvest was in before attacking and destroying a rival community’s crops often experienced better long-term success.
PENN STATE (US) — College students eat better and get more exercise on days when they communicate more with their parents, according to researchers.
“Only a third of college students consume a diet that is consistent with national recommendations,” says Meg Small, research associate in the Prevention Research Center for the Promotion of Human Development at Penn State.
U. MISSOURI (US) — Experts urge doctors to reconsider statins for obese patients after finding the cholesterol drug may block some benefits of exercise.
Statins, the most widely prescribed drugs worldwide, are often suggested to lower cholesterol and prevent heart disease in individuals with obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome, which is a combination of medical disorders including excess body fat and/or high levels of blood pressure, blood sugar, and/or cholesterol.
Researchers, however, found that simvastatin, a generic type of statin previously sold under the brand name Zocor, hindered the positive effects of exercise for obese and overweight adults. The study appears in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
STANFORD (US) — The African clawed frog, a species used around the world for biomedical research, is spreading an amphibian-killing fungus when they are released into the wild.
In a new study, researchers provide the first evidence that the frogs in California harbor a fungal infection that is decimating amphibian populations across the globe. Among 23 samples tested, the researchers identified three frogs, one found in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, that were carriers of the pathogen that has led to the decline or extinction of some 200 amphibian species worldwide.
The research was conducted on archived samples from the herpetology collection at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. The findings are published in PLOS ONE.
U. PENNSYLVANIA (US) — A study looking at the genomes of more than 13,000 men identified four new genetic variants associated with an increased risk of testicular cancer, the most commonly diagnosed type of cancer in young men today.
The discovery of these genetic variations—chromosomal “typos,” so to speak—could ultimately help researchers better understand which men are at high risk and allow for early detection or prevention of the disease.
DUKE (US) — Samples from drinking water wells show no evidence of groundwater contamination from shale gas production in Arkansas.
“Our results show no discernible impairment of groundwater quality in areas associated with natural gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing in this region,” says Avner Vengosh, professor of geochemistry and water quality at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment.
RICE (US) — A protein from bovine blood can keep gold nanoparticles from clumping in a solution—a discovery that could lead to improved biomedical applications.
Bovine serum albumin (BSA) forms a protein “corona” around gold nanoparticles that keeps them from aggregating, particularly in high-salt environments like seawater.
UC BERKELEY (US) — Researchers are testing a helmet-like device that uses wireless signals to instantly diagnose brain swelling and bleeding.
The device analyzes data from low energy electromagnetic waves that are similar to those used to transmit radio and mobile signals.
U. PITTSBURGH (US) — Certain cells “stick their feet” in the bloodstream to trip-up and collect immune system T-cells, which can lead to transplant organ rejection.
This recent discovery challenges a long-held assumption about how biologic pathways trigger immune system rejection of donor organs—and suggests a different paradigm is needed to develop better anti-rejection therapies.