Insights into birds’ migration routes

Date:July 21, 2014Source:WileySummary:By tracking hybrids between songbird species, investigators have found that migration routes are under genetic control and could be preventing interbreeding. The research was conducted using geolocators that, like GPS, record the position of a bird and allow its long distance movement to be tracked.By tracking hybrids between songbird species, investigators have found that migration routes are under genetic control and could be preventing interbreeding. The research, which is published in Ecology Letters, was conducted using geolocators that, like GPS, record the position of a bird and allow its long distance movement to be tracked.Compared with their parents, hybrids exhibited increased variability in their migratory routes: some used intermediate routes across less suitable areas, while others used the same routes as one parental group on fall migration and the other on spring migration.”This is the first time we’ve been able to track songbirds over the entire annual cycle, and the data we collected support a longstanding hypothesis in ecological speciation, that differences in migratory behavior could be acting as postmating reproductive isolating barriers,” said lead author Kira Delmore.Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by Wiley. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.Journal Reference:Kira E. Delmore, Darren E. Irwin. Hybrid songbirds employ intermediate routes in a migratory divide. Ecology Letters, 2014; DOI: 10.1111/ele.12326 Cite This Page:MLA APA Chicago Wiley. “Insights into birds’ migration routes.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 July 2014. …

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Calcification in changing oceans

What do mollusks, starfish, and corals have in common? Aside from their shared marine habitat, they are all calcifiers — organisms that use calcium from their environment to create hard carbonate skeletons and shells for stability and protection.The June issue of the Biological Bulletin, published by the Marine Biological Laboratory, addresses the challenges faced by these species as ocean composition changes worldwide.As atmospheric carbon dioxide rises, the world’s oceans are becoming warmer and more acidic. This impact of global climate change threatens the survival of calcifying species because of the reduced saturation of the carbonate minerals required for calcification.The ability to calcify arose independently in many species during the Cambrian era, when calcium levels in seawater increased. This use of calcium carbonate promoted biodiversity, including the vast array of calcifiers seen today.”Today, modern calcifiers face a new and rapidly escalating crisis caused by warming and acidification of the oceans with a reduction in availability of carbonate minerals, a change driven by the increase in atmospheric CO2 due to anthropogenic emissions and industrialization. The CO2 itself can also directly cause metabolic stress,” write the issue’s co-editors, Maria Byrne of the University of Sydney; and Gretchen Hofmann of the University of California-Santa Barbara.Contributors to the journal address this timely issue across many taxa and from a variety of perspectives, from genomic to ecosystem-wide.Janice Lough and Neal Cantin of the Australian Institute of Marine Science review historical data on coral reefs to look at potential environmental stressors, while Philippe Dubois (Universit Libre de Bruxelles) discusses sea urchin skeletons.Other researchers address lesser-known organisms that are nevertheless critical to marine ecosystems. Abigail Smith of the University of Otago examines how bryozoans, a group of aquatic invertebrate filter-feeders, increase biodiversity by creating niche habitats, and what features make them particularly sensitive to calcium fluctuations.Evans and Watson-Wynn (California State University-East Bay) take a molecular approach in a meta-analysis showing that ocean acidification is effecting genetic changes in sea urchin larvae. Several papers take a broader population-based view by studying the effect of ocean acidification on predator-prey interactions in mollusks (Kroeker and colleagues of the University of California-Davis) and oysters (Wright and colleagues of the University of Western Sydney).”The contributors have identified key knowledge gaps in the fast evolving field of marine global change biology and have provided many important insights,” the co-editors write.By sharing research on this topic from researchers around the world, the Biological Bulletin is raising awareness of some of the greatest threats to the oceans today and emphasizing the global nature of the problem.Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by The Marine Biological Laboratory. The original article was written by Gina Hebert. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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Antibiotics from mangroves?

Researchers at the Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) in Malaysia have conducted a study on the mangrove ecosystem to search for actinomycetes bacteria. The mangrove ecosystem is known as a highly productive habitat for isolating actinomycetes, which has the potential of producing biologically active secondary metabolites.The UiTM study focused on eight different mangrove sites in Malaysia, which were chosen at random to isolate and screen actinomycetes from soil samples. A total of 53 possible marine actinomycetes were isolated and it was found that a three percent concentration of sodium chloride was sufficient to support the growth of marine actinomycetes.Among the isolated filamentous bacteria, five isolates showed antimicrobial activity from direct culture broth against at least one of the test organisms. Meanwhile, four extracts of ethyl acetate showed activity against Gram-positive test organisms. The results revealed that marine actinomycetes is a potential source for producing antibiotics.Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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Gastro outbreaks hit elderly hardest

Frail elderly people living in residential care facilities are at increased risk of severe illness or death from outbreaks of viral gastroenteritis.This is the finding from a study led by Craig Davis from Department of Health Queensland, published in the April issue of the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health.”Importantly, prompt notification of outbreaks to public health units led to a much shorter duration of the outbreak,” Mr Davis said.”Notification of outbreaks to public health units should occur within 24 hours of any outbreak so that diagnostic testing and control measures can begin as soon as possible.”A number of viruses may cause outbreaks, but norovirus is by far the most common.”It typically causes vomiting, watery diarrhea, nausea and abdominal cramps with symptoms such as fatigue, myalgia, headache, chills and fever. There is no specific treatment and no vaccine for norovirus. Gastro outbreaks cause a considerable burden in residential care facilities, including disruptions relating to staff absenteeism due to illness, closure of common areas to residents, cancellation of events and increased attention required to infection control.Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by Wiley. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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Key chocolate ingredients could help prevent obesity, diabetes

Improved thinking. Decreased appetite. Lowered blood pressure. The potential health benefits of dark chocolate keep piling up, and scientists are now homing in on what ingredients in chocolate might help prevent obesity, as well as type-2 diabetes. They found that one particular type of antioxidant in cocoa prevented laboratory mice from gaining excess weight and lowered their blood sugar levels. The report appears in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural & Food Chemistry.Andrew P. Neilson and colleagues explain that cocoa, the basic ingredient of chocolate, is one of the most flavanol-rich foods around. That’s good for chocolate lovers because previous research has shown that flavanols in other foods such as grapes and tea can help fight weight gain and type-2 diabetes. But not all flavanols, which are a type of antioxidant, are created equal. Cocoa has several different kinds of these compounds, so Neilson’s team decided to tease them apart and test each individually for health benefits.The scientists fed groups of mice different diets, including high-fat and low-fat diets, and high-fat diets supplemented with different kinds of flavanols. …

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Adult tonsillectomy complications and health care expenses

A study released today of 36,210 adult tonsillectomy patients finds that 20 percent will have a complication, offering valuable new insights to a decades long discussion. The study, featured in the April 2014 issue of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery, examines the prevalence of complications in adult tonsillectomies and the impact on health care expenditures.”Researchers have been examining variation in tonsillectomy for years,” explained corresponding author, Dennis Scanlon, PhD. “Yet most research has been documented in pediatric populations. Much less is known about the safety and risks to adult patients that undergo the procedure.”The study is the first of its kind to examine a large adult population, across institutions and provider practices. Data for the study came from MarketScan, a large insurance database of patients with employer-sponsored insurance who had an outpatient tonsillectomy between 2002 and 2007. Previous studies have focused on small numbers of patients within particular institutions and have not considered a wider spectrum of complications beyond post-tonsillectomy hemorrhage. The findings suggest that of the 20 percent who will have a complication, 10 percent will visit an emergency room, and approximately 1.5 percent will be admitted to a hospital within 14 days of the procedure. Six percent were treated for postoperative hemorrhage, 2 percent for dehydration, and 11 percent for ear, nose or throat pain within 14 days of surgery. These estimated complication rates are significantly higher than those reported in prior studies.The study results highlight the challenges patients face when making informed decisions about medical and surgical treatments, as well as the excess costs and harm incurred due to complications. On average, the amount paid for a tonsillectomy without complication was $3,832 whereas tonsillectomy with hemorrhage resulted in an average expenditure of $6,388.”Patients expect to compare the risks and benefits of treatment options, but as our study shows, credible patient centered information is often lacking, even for a common procedure that has been in practice for many, many years. …

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Breakthrough in creating invisibility cloaks, stealth technology

Controlling and bending light around an object so it appears invisible to the naked eye is the theory behind fictional invisibility cloaks.It may seem easy in Hollywood movies, but is hard to create in real life because no material in nature has the properties necessary to bend light in such a way. Scientists have managed to create artificial nanostructures that can do the job, called metamaterials. But the challenge has been making enough of the material to turn science fiction into a practical reality.The work of Debashis Chanda at the University of Central Florida, however, may have just cracked that barrier. The cover story in the March edition of the journal Advanced Optical Materials, explains how Chanda and fellow optical and nanotech experts were able to develop a larger swath of multilayer 3-D metamaterial operating in the visible spectral range. They accomplished this feat by using nanotransfer printing, which can potentially be engineered to modify surrounding refractive index needed for controlling propagation of light.”Such large-area fabrication of metamaterials following a simple printing technique will enable realization of novel devices based on engineered optical responses at the nanoscale,” said Chanda, an assistant professor at UCF.The nanotransfer printing technique creates metal/dielectric composite films, which are stacked together in a 3-D architecture with nanoscale patterns for operation in the visible spectral range. Control of electromagnetic resonances over the 3-D space by structural manipulation allows precise control over propagation of light. Following this technique, larger pieces of this special material can be created, which were previously limited to micron-scale size.By improving the technique, the team hopes to be able to create larger pieces of the material with engineered optical properties, which would make it practical to produce for real-life device applications. For example, the team could develop large-area metamaterial absorbers, which would enable fighter jets to remain invisible from detection systems.Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by University of Central Florida. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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‘Best practices’ nutrition measurement for researchers

At first glance, measuring what the common fruit fly eats might seem like a trivial matter, but it is absolutely critical when it comes to conducting studies of aging, health, metabolism and disease. How researchers measure consumption can make all the difference in the accuracy of a study’s conclusions.Scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have developed what amounts to a best practices guide to the most accurate way of measuring fruit fly food consumption that could lead to more informed research and better decisions about directions in further studies.”While our study isn’t the final technical reference on measuring fly food consumption, it will help guide researchers to think more carefully about nutrition and nutrient intake in their own studies,” said TSRI Assistant Professor William Ja, who led the study, which was published online ahead of print on March 30, 2014 by the journal Nature Methods.Researchers, Ja said, generally haven’t given sufficient thought to feeding and nutrient intake when it comes to measuring fruit fly behavior, metabolism and health.”If you’re making a huge effort to change an animal’s diet and trying to draw conclusions about what nutrition and nutrients do to animal health and lifespan,” he said, “then one of the most fundamental parameters is accurately measuring food intake.”TSRI Research Associate Sonali Deshpande, a first author of the study with graduate student Ariadna Amador and former TSRI Research Associate Gil Carvalho, underlined the importance of using the best measurement methods. “Drug studies, in particular, where compounds are added to fly food, are difficult to interpret without proper measurement of food and drug intake,” she said.In the study, the team determined that radioisotope labeling food is the most sensitive and consistently accurate feeding method now available — levels of accumulated isotope are later measured in the animals. This method’s main limitation appears to be underestimation of consumption due to excretion.For the most accurate measurement, the study suggested pairing radioisotope labeling with a more low-tech approach, such as the capillary feeder (CAFE). The CAFE assay, introduced by Ja in 2007, is similar to a water dispenser used for pet hamsters, but on a smaller scale.”In a significant number of studies, we found that researchers appeared indifferent to the impact feeding might have on the experiment,” Ja said. “This doesn’t seem like good science to me. Can you imagine doing a mouse experiment, saying that you watched mice for four hours and saw no difference in feeding, then make conclusions about total caloric intake over days or longer?”Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by Scripps Research Institute. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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Medication does not reduce risk of recurrent cardiac events among patients with diabetes

Use of the drug aleglitazar, which has shown the ability to lower glucose levels and have favorable effects on cholesterol, did not reduce the risk of cardiovascular death, heart attack or stroke among patients with type 2 diabetes and recent heart attack or unstable angina, according to a JAMA study released online to coincide with presentation at the 2014 American College of Cardiology Scientific Sessions.Cardiovascular disease remains the dominant cause of death among patients with type 2 diabetes. No drug therapy specifically directed against diabetes nor strategy for tight glucose control has been shown to unequivocally reduce the rate of cardiovascular complications in this population, according to background information in the article. In phase 2 trials, aleglitazar significantly reduced glycated hemoglobin levels (measure of blood glucose over an extended period of time), triglycerides, and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and increased high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C).A. Michael Lincoff, M.D., of the Cleveland Clinic, and colleagues conducted a phase 3 trial in which 7,226 patients hospitalized for heart attack or unstable angina with type 2 diabetes were randomly assigned to receive aleglitazar or placebo daily. The AleCardio trial was conducted in 720 hospitals in 26 countries throughout North America, Latin America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific regions.The trial was terminated early (July 2013) after an average follow-up of 104 weeks, due to lack of efficacy and a higher rate of adverse events in the aleglitazar group.The researchers found that although aleglitazar reduced glycated hemoglobin and improved serum HDL-C and triglyceride levels, the drug did not decrease the time to cardiovascular death, nonfatal heart attack, or nonfatal stroke (primary end points). These events occurred in 344 patients (9.5 percent) in the aleglitazar group and 360 patients (10.0 percent) in the placebo group.Aleglitazar use was associated with increased risk of kidney abnormalities, bone fractures, gastrointestinal bleeding, and hypoglycemia (low blood sugars).”These findings do not support the use of aleglitazar in this setting with a goal of reducing cardiovascular risk,” the authors conclude.Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by The JAMA Network Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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Obesity prevention programs can lower kids’ blood pressure, even if they don’t reduce body fat

One of the serious health consequences of obesity is elevated blood pressure (BP), a particular problem in children because research has found that high BP in children usually follows them into adulthood, carrying with it a wide range of possible negative consequences.Even modest elevations in the BP of adolescents, according to recent research, can pose cardiovascular problems later in life.A systematic review and meta-analysis of published studies of the effect of child obesity intervention programs on blood pressure has found that whether such programs prevented obesity or not, many of them reduced BP in children. It also found that the most effective programs in this regard promoted both healthy eating and physical activity.The study, one of the first of its kind, “Effect of Childhood Obesity Prevention Programs on BP: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis,” was led by epidemiologist Youfa Wang, MD, PhD, of the University at Buffalo and conducted by researchers from Johns Hopkins University, UB and other institutions.It was published online in the journal Circulation on Feb. 19, 2014 in advance of print publication.Wang said, “Of the 28 obesity interventions with complete data that we analyzed, 13 (46 percent) had a favorable effect on both adiposity and BP and 11 interventions (39 percent) had a significant effect on the reduction of BP, even if they did not affect adiposity. “It is important to identify obesity intervention programs that can help children develop healthy lifestyles and keep BP at an optimal level,” he says, “because these programs help them avoid many long-term health consequences.”Wang’s research team, now based at UB, is working on projects in the U.S. and abroad funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that aim to assess the additional benefits of obesity prevention programs for children and to develop the most effective programs possible.The team also is using transnational comparison studies to analyze factors suspected of contributing to the global obesity epidemic.Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by University at Buffalo. The original article was written by Pat Donovan. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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Erectile dysfunction can be reversed without medication

Men suffering from sexual dysfunction can be successful at reversing their problem, by focusing on lifestyle factors and not just relying on medication, according to research at the University of Adelaide.In a new paper published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, researchers highlight the incidence of erectile dysfunction and lack of sexual desire among Australian men aged 35-80 years.Over a five-year period, 31% of the 810 men involved in the study developed some form of erectile dysfunction.”Sexual relations are not only an important part of people’s wellbeing. From a clinical point of view, the inability of some men to perform sexually can also be linked to a range of other health problems, many of which can be debilitating or potentially fatal,” says Professor Gary Wittert, Head of the Discipline of Medicine at the University of Adelaide and Director of the University’s Freemasons Foundation Centre for Men’s Health.”Our study saw a large proportion of men suffering from some form of erectile dysfunction, which is a concern. The major risk factors for this are typically physical conditions rather than psychological ones, such as being overweight or obese, a higher level of alcohol intake, having sleeping difficulties or obstructive sleep apnoea, and age.”The good news is, our study also found that a large proportion of men were naturally overcoming erectile dysfunction issues. The remission rate of those with erectile dysfunction was 29%, which is very high. This shows that many of these factors affecting men are modifiable, offering them an opportunity to do something about their condition,” Professor Wittert says.The lead author of the paper, Dr Sean Martin from the University of Adelaide’s Freemasons Foundation Centre for Men’s Health, says: “Even when medication to help with erectile function is required, it is likely to be considerably more effective if lifestyle factors are also addressed.”Erectile dysfunction can be a very serious issue because it’s a marker of underlying cardiovascular disease, and it often occurs before heart conditions become apparent. Therefore, men should consider improving their weight and overall nutrition, exercise more, drink less alcohol and have a better night’s sleep, as well as address risk factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol.”This is not only likely to improve their sexual ability, but will be improve their cardiovascular health and reduce the risk of developing diabetes if they don’t already have it.”Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by University of Adelaide. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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Mosquito season unpredictable; year-round heartworm prevention is best

Although it may not feel like spring yet, it’s time to start thinking about protecting your pets from spring pests, particularly mosquitoes, according to a Kansas State University veterinarian.Susan Nelson, clinical associate professor of the university’s Veterinary Health Center, says mosquitoes carry heartworm, a blood parasite that can be deadly when spread to cats and dogs. Almost 100 percent of dogs exposed to heartworm will develop the disease. While that number is not as high for cats, it is often more fatal for felines.”Cats are sometimes a little less obvious with their heartworm disease,” Nelson said. “It can be just a little weight loss or lethargy, but we can also see asthma-type signs in cats. They can have trouble breathing, develop a cough, chronic gagging and vomiting.”It only takes one or two worms to cause significant harm to a cat and unlike dogs, there is no treatment for heartworm once cats are infected. That’s why it is important to use prevention tools.”We really want to preach prevention for our pets because it’s so much easier and so much cheaper for them, especially since treatment is hard on them,” Nelson said.Nelson also stresses that prevention year-round is key to protecting your pet because just like the weather, mosquito season is unpredictable.Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by Kansas State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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Not only is she thinner than you, her muscles work better, too: Role of muscle function in maintaining weight

We all know the type: The friend or colleague who stays slim and trim without much effort and despite eating the same high-calorie fare that causes everyone else to gain weight. As it turns out, the way the muscles of the inherently thin work may give them the edge.Daily physical activity is an inherited trait with a strong association to how fat or thin a person is. Chaitanya K. Gavini et al. previously found that aerobic capacity is a major predictor of daily physical activity level among humans and laboratory animals. In their new study, they compared female rats with high aerobic capacity (genetic tendency toward leanness) or low aerobic capacity (genetic tendency toward obesity) to investigate how muscle physiology affects leanness.Though the rats in each group were similar in weight and lean body mass, the rats with a high aerobic capacity were consistently more active than the low capacity rats. While all the rats had similar energy expenditures when at rest, big differences in energy expenditure (calorie burn) occurred during mild exercise. The researchers found the muscles of rats with lean genes demonstrated “poor fuel economy,” meaning that they burned more calories when performing the same exercise as those with fat genes. This may be due to more lean rats having higher levels of proteins that support energy expenditure and lower levels of proteins that encourage energy conservation and/or an increased sympathetic nervous system role in powering the muscles of lean rats.According to the researchers: “This has implications for how we consider metabolism when attempting to prevent or treat obesity. Targeting of pathways maximizing skeletal muscle energy use during physical activity may take advantage of already existing mechanisms that are endogenously employed to a greater extent in naturally lean people.”The article “Leanness and heightened nonresting energy expenditure: role of skeletal muscle activity thermogenesis” is published in the March 2014 issue of the American Journal of Physiology — Endocrinology and Metabolism.Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by American Physiological Society. …

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Basketball: The physics of the 3-point shot

He may not see very many basketball players in his classroom, but Creighton University physics professor Gintaras Duda, Ph.D., says they are instinctual physicists because of what it takes to make the perfect shot on the court, particularly the 3-pointer.What makes the perfect 3-pointer? Well, there is the angle the player takes on the 3-point line and the arc of the ball, which is the path the basketball flies from the time it leaves the shooter’s hand until it arrives at the basket.According to Duda and the research he has read, the lowest arc is 33 degrees for even a hope of making a 3-point shot, but with an arc of 45 degrees, a speed of just under 20 miles per hour and two revolutions per second of spin, at 20.9 feet from the basket, the player has the makings of the perfect 3-point shot.While some people say gravity is the only thing affecting the ball once it is in the air, Duda is not so sure.In the book The Physics of Basketball, the author, John Fantanella, explains the Magnus effect, the backspin which gives the ball a little bit of lift allowing for the slowest possible speed and a less violent rebound if it hits the backboard or rim and may even allow the ball to go in the net.”I’ve heard about it in baseball, you know the curve ball that pitchers throw to curve one way or the other over the plate, but I really didn’t realize how important it is in basketball,” said Duda. “On certain shots, like the free throw and the 3-pointer, you want a slower speed on the ball for that soft shot that has a better chance of landing in the basket than a faster ball with no spin.”In other words, avoiding the brick, that shot with the distinctive sound that lets you know the ball is not going in at all.It takes practice for the player to find that perfect shot. After all, consistency equals reliability, but by finding that perfect shot, the player has found the right speed, the right angle of approach, and the perfect arc of the ball.Creighton All-American Doug McDermott has that consistency. McDermott, who ranks among the top college scorers of all time, shot 45 percent from behind the arc. Teammate Ethan Wragge is the team’s leading 3-point shooter, hitting 47.3 from 3-point.Duda, the 2013 U.S. Professor of the Year, said he will be watching March Madness with renewed interest and understanding this weekend, and he’s hoping the Bluejays get an A in physics for netting 3-point shots.Watch here as Duda breaks down the perfect 3-pointer.Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by Creighton University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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Neuroscience ‘used and abused’ in child rearing policy

A study led by Kent sociologists found that claims that children’s brains are irreversibly ‘sculpted’ by parental care are based on questionable evidence — yet have heavily influenced ‘early-years’ government policy-makers.The study identified that although there is a lack of scientific foundation to many of the claims of ‘brain-based’ parenting, the idea that years 0-3 are neurologically critical is now repeated in policy documents and has been integrated into professional training for early-years workers.Dr Jan Macvarish, a Research Fellow at Kent’s Centre for Parenting Culture Studies, analyzed the policy literature for the study.She said: ‘What we found was that although the claims purporting to be based on neuroscience are very questionable, they are continually repeated in policy documents and are now integrated into the professional training of health visitors and other early years workers. “Brain claims” entered a policy environment which was already convinced that parents are to blame for numerous social problems, from poverty to mental illness.’The idea that these entrenched problems will be solved by parents being more attentive to their children’s brains is risible. Although aimed at strengthening the parent-child relationships, these kinds of policies risk undermining parents’ self-confidence by suggesting that “science” rather than the parent knows best.’The study highlights that mothers, in particular, are told that if they are stressed while pregnant or suffer postnatal depression, they will harm their baby’s brain.’This dubious information is highly unlikely to alleviate stress or depression but rather more likely to increase parental anxiety,’ said Dr Macvarish. ‘Parents are also told they must cuddle, talk and sing to their babies to build better brains. But these are all things parents do, and have always done, because they love their babies.’Telling parents these acts of love are important because they are ‘brain-building’ inevitably raises the question of how much cuddling, talking and singing is enough? Such claims also put power in the hands of ‘parenting experts’ and ultimately risk making parenting a biologically important but emotionally joyless experience.’Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by University of Kent. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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Titanium clubs can cause golf course fires

Titanium alloy golf clubs can cause dangerous wildfires, according to UC Irvine scientists. When a club coated with the lightweight metal is swung and strikes a rock, it creates sparks that can heat to more than 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit for long enough to ignite dry foliage, according to findings published recently in the peer-reviewed journal Fire and Materials.Orange County, Calif., fire investigators asked UC Irvine to determine whether such clubs could have caused blazes at Shady Canyon Golf Course in Irvine and Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in Mission Viejo a few years ago.”One fire almost reached homes before they stopped it. This unintended hazard could potentially lead to someone’s death,” said chemical engineering & materials science professor James Earthman, lead author on the paper. “A very real danger exists, particularly in the Southwest, as long as certain golf clubs remain in use.”He suspected that the titanium heads on some clubs designed for use in “the rough” — natural areas off irrigated fairways — could be to blame for the fires. Most golf clubs have stainless steel heads. However, a significant number being manufactured or in circulation have a titanium alloy component in the head. Such alloys are 40 percent lighter, which can make the club easier to swing, including when chipping errant balls out of tough spots. In Southern California, those spots are often in flammable scrub brush.The researchers painstakingly re-created in the lab course conditions on the days of the fires. Using high-speed video cameras and powerful scanning electron microscope analysis, they found that when titanium clubs were abraded by striking or grazing hard surfaces, intensely hot sparks flew out of them. In contrast, when standard stainless steel clubs were used, there was no reaction.”Rocks are often embedded in the ground in these rough areas of dry foliage,” Earthman noted. …

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People accept 3-colored raspberry jelly, study finds

Date:March 14, 2014Source:Institute of Food TechnologistsSummary:A new study found that the production of a mixed raspberry jelly with black and yellow raspberries could be a good alternative to just one-colored jelly.determined that a jelly with both red, yellow and black raspberries had a high sensory acceptability, even greater than traditional jelly prepared only with the red raspberry.Raspberries are among the most popular berries in the world and are high in antioxidants that offer significant health benefits to consumers. The red raspberry is most commonly used in processed products like juices, jams, jellies and preserves because of its short shelf life. A new study in the Journal of Food Science, published by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), found that the production of a mixed raspberry jelly with black and yellow raspberries could be a good alternative to just one-colored jelly.Black raspberries, which produce clusters of small fruit with a dark purple color, stand out among the yellow and red variety as an excellent choice for cultivation because of their excellent adaptability, high productivity and fruit quality. Researchers at the University of Lavras in Brazil determined that a jelly with both red, yellow and black raspberries had a high sensory acceptability, even greater than traditional jelly prepared only with the red raspberry.More research is needed to study the feasibility of using yellow and black raspberries on other products.Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by Institute of Food Technologists. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.Journal Reference:Vanessa Rios de Souza, Patrcia Aparecida Pimenta Pereira, Ana Carla Marques Pinheiro, Cleiton Antnio Nunes, Rafael Pio, Fabiana Queiroz. Evaluation of the Jelly Processing Potential of Raspberries Adapted in Brazil. Journal of Food Science, 2014; 79 (3): S407 DOI: 10.1111/1750-3841.12354 Cite This Page:MLA APA Chicago Institute of Food Technologists. “People accept three-colored raspberry jelly, study finds.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 March 2014. .Institute of Food Technologists. …

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Blood poisoning increases the risk of blood clots, new research shows

Every year, almost 10,000 Danes are admitted to hospital with blood poisoning, while more than 3,000 patients become infected while they are hospitalized. New research shows that Danes suffering from blood poisoning risk an extra challenge in the form of an increased risk of suffering a blood clot:”We have followed more than 4,000 people who have been admitted with blood poisoning. The study shows that the risk of suffering a blood clot in either the brain or the heart is twice as high for patients with blood poisoning in relation to other patients who are also admitted with acute illnesses,” says Michael Dalager-Pedersen , PhD student at Aarhus University and Registrar at Aalborg University Hospital. He has carried out the study in collaboration with colleagues from Aarhus University, Aarhus University Hospital, and Aalborg University Hospital.The risk of a blood clot was highest within the first 30 days after the infection, where the risk was 3.6 percent against 1.7 percent for the other acutely admitted patients, and only 0.2 percent among the population in general.The study has just been published in Circulation.In recent years there has been a growing level of interest for the correlation between the risk of blood clots and infections such as blood poisoning. The researchers hope that the new knowledge can be utilized to ensure better prevention and earlier treatment. “It is important that we have now documented that there is a clear correlation between blood poisoning and blood clots. The new knowledge can be used by the medical doctors to increase focus on this patient group so they can begin relevant treatment quicker,” says Reimar Wernich Thomsen from the Department of Clinical Epidemiology at Aarhus University and Aarhus University Hospital.He explains that the correlation may, among other things, be due to the fact that the blood clots arise due to the increased strain on the heart and blood vessels that the infection causes.Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by Aarhus University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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Tropical grassy ecosystems under threat, scientists warn

Scientists at the University of Liverpool have found that tropical grassy areas, which play a critical role in the world’s ecology, are under threat as a result of ineffective management.According to research, published in Trends in Ecology and Evolution, they are often misclassified and this leads to degradation of the land which has a detrimental effect on the plants and animals that are indigenous to these areas.Greater area than tropical rain forestsTropical grassy areas cover a greater area than tropical rain forests, support about one fifth of the world’s population and are critically important to global carbon and energy cycles, and yet do not attract the interest levels that tropical rainforests do.They are characterised by a continuous grass understorey, widespread shade-intolerant plants and the prevalence of fire, which all generate a unique and complex set of ecological processes and interactions not found in other habitats.Dr Kate Parr, from the School of Environmental Sciences, said: “The distinctive evolutionary histories and biodiversity values of these areas needs to be recognised by conservation managers and policy makers.”Whilst it is generally assumed that ‘more trees are better’ in tropical rainforest this is not necessarily the case for tropical grassy ecosystems and so the outcomes of global carbon and conservation initiatives, which include the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism and its Reducing Emissions and Deforestation Forest Degradation schemes, need to be better considered when they are applied to tropical grasslands.”Any changes to the balance between human livelihoods and ecosystem function would have an impact on the use of land, the availability of resources and would affect the way the land functions including its climate.”The vast extent of tropical grasslands and the reliance of human welfare on them means that they deserve far more research and conservation attention than they currently receive.”Grazing, fuel and foodApproximately 20% of the world’s population depend on these areas of land for their livelihoods including their use for grazing, fuel and food. They also store about 15% of the world’s carbon.Tropical grassy ecosystems are associated with savannas and upland grasslands in Africa and savanna-type grasslands in India, Australia, and South America, representing diverse lands from open grassland through to densely canopied savanna.Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by University of Liverpool. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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