Science and Technology

Diabetes medications linked to glaucoma prevention

Science Daily - 21/09/2021
Retrospective data from more than 5,000 patients shows that GLP-1R agonists may be protective against the disease.

Stroke study reveals optimal timing and intensity for arm and hand rehabilitation

Science Daily - 21/09/2021
A phase II, randomized clinical trial found that the optimal period for intensive rehabilitation of arm and hand use after a stroke should begin 60 to 90 days after the event.

Early long-distance trade links shaped Siberian dogs

Science Daily - 21/09/2021
Analysis of ancient canine DNAs reveals that the inhabitants of Arctic Siberia began importing dogs from Eurasia some 2000 years ago.

Coral reef biodiversity predicted to shuffle rather than collapse as climate changes

Science Daily - 21/09/2021
Most coral reef biodiversity consists of tiny organisms living deep within the three-dimensional reef matrix. New research reveals that the species which dominate experimental coral reef communities shift due to climate change, but the total biodiversity does not decline under future ocean conditions of warming and acidification predicted by the end of the century.

Mars habitability limited by its small size, isotope study suggests

Science Daily - 21/09/2021
Researchers measured the potassium isotope compositions of Martian meteorites in order to estimate the presence, distribution, and abundance of volatile elements and compounds, including water, on Mars, finding that Mars has lost more potassium than Earth but retained more potassium than the moon or the asteroid 4-Vesta; the results suggest that rocky planets with larger mass retain more volatile elements during planetary formation and that Mars and Mars-sized exoplanets fall below a size threshold necessary to retain enough water to enable habitability and plate tectonics.

Meeting sleep recommendations could lead to smarter snacking

Science Daily - 20/09/2021
Missing out on the recommended seven or more hours of sleep per night could lead to more opportunities to make poorer snacking choices than those made by people who meet shut-eye guidelines, a new study suggests.

Students’ certainty about belonging and their performance in a STEM course reinforce each other – for better or worse

Science Daily - 20/09/2021
New research shows that belonging insecurity in a STEM course, specifically a first-year chemistry course, can affect a student's midterm scores, which can then feed back into the student's belonging uncertainty. For students in groups that are underrepresented in STEM, there's a danger that such a feedback loop could cause them to decide that science isn't for them, deterring potential scientists from even entering a STEM field.

Behold the humble water flea, locked in a battle of mythological proportions

Science Daily - 20/09/2021
Biologists sized up an unlikely natural phenomenon: when parasitism actually causes the number of hosts to increase, an effect known as a hydra effect. A study of common water fleas and their fungal parasites includes laboratory components and an analysis of 13 fungal epidemics in nature. The scientists use consumer-resource theory to explain why -- and in what types of systems -- the hydra effect can occur.

Lack of trust exacerbates loneliness spiral

Science Daily - 20/09/2021
Loneliness is a painful feeling. If it persists, it can lead to mental illnesses such as depression or anxiety disorders. Researchers have now discovered how loneliness is associated with reduced trust. This is reflected in changes in the activity and interaction of various brain structures, especially the insular cortex. The results therefore provide clues for therapeutic options.

How pruning the cytoskeleton moves the cell

Science Daily - 20/09/2021
Cells are characterized to be stable yet highly flexible. They constantly modify their shape and even move through tissue. These vital properties are based on a dynamically organized network of branched actin filaments, which generates pushing forces to move the cell membrane. An interdisciplinary team has now revealed a previously unknown mechanism, explaining how stopping the growth of older actin filaments within the network promotes the formation of new ones, thereby maintaining the structure and function of the cytoskeleton, much like proper pruning of hedges in the garden.

Right light on the mother’s belly may be important to the fetus

Science Daily - 20/09/2021
There may be a link between exposure to light during pregnancy and fetal brain development. New findings may provide better understanding of certain neurological diseases later in life.

How resistant germs transport toxins at molecular level

Science Daily - 20/09/2021
In order to counter the increasing threat posed by multi-drug resistant germs, we need to understand how their resistance mechanisms work. Transport proteins have an important role to play in this process. Scientists have now described the three-dimensional structure of transport protein Pdr5, found also in a similar form in pathogenic fungi. The results could help develop mechanisms to combat dangerous pathogens.

A sandblaster at the atomic level

Science Daily - 20/09/2021
Modifying surfaces by shooting particles at them - this technique, called 'sputtering', is indispensable in surface science. However, if the surface is not perfectly smooth and regular, it is hard to predict the result of the sputtering process. Scientists have now managed to explain the effect of particles on rough surfaces during sputtering - with implications for fusion research and even astrophysics.

New computational platform to study biological processes

Science Daily - 20/09/2021
Scientists have launched a unique software that is able to perform highly complex simulations of a variety of biological processes.

Microbial plant bioprocessing – what can we learn from the cow?

Science Daily - 20/09/2021
The most significant sources of organic waste in South Africa is sugarcane bagasse (5.35 million metric tonnes), invasive plants (11.30 million metric tonnes) and fruit wastes (1.3 billion metric tonnes). Microbiologists from Stellenbosch University are investigation the use of mammalian rumen in the anaerobic digestive process to break down or separate organic waste into its original building blocks, from where it can subsequently be converted into various high-value products -- just as a cow does with processing the tough plant material into the basic building blocks upon which the production of milk is based.

Scientists find a new way to reverse immune suppression in tumors

Science Daily - 20/09/2021
Malignant tumors can enhance their ability to survive and spread by suppressing anti-tumor immune cells in their vicinity, but a new study has uncovered a new way to counter this immunosuppressive effect.

Modern simulations could improve MRIs

Science Daily - 20/09/2021
Rice University engineers improve simulations that analyze gadolinium-based contrast agents used in clinical magnetic resonance imaging. More efficient simulations could help make better compounds for imaging technologies.

Researchers call for a focus on fitness over weight loss for obesity-related health conditions

Science Daily - 20/09/2021
The prevalence of obesity around the world has tripled over the past 40 years, and, along with that rise, dieting and attempts to lose weight also have soared. But according to a new article, when it comes to getting healthy and reducing mortality risk, increasing physical activity and improving fitness appear to be superior to weight loss. The authors say that employing a weight-neutral approach to the treatment of obesity-related health conditions also reduces the health risks associated with yo-yo dieting.

Astrophysicists solve 'empty sky' gamma-ray mystery

Science Daily - 20/09/2021
Star-forming galaxies are responsible for creating gamma-rays that until now had not been associated with a known origin.

Extreme volcanism did not cause the massive extinction of species in the late Cretaceous

Science Daily - 20/09/2021
A new study rules out that extreme volcanic episodes had any influence on the massive extinction of species in the late Cretaceous. The results confirm the hypothesis that it was a giant meteorite impact what caused the great biological crisis that ended up with the non-avian dinosaur lineages and other marine and terrestrial organisms 66 million years ago.

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