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163,091 articles from EurekAlert

NIST develops test method for key micromechanical property

Engineers and researchers designing and building new microelectromechanical systems can benefit from a new test method developed at the National Institute of Standards and Technology to measure a key mechanical property of such systems: elasticity. The new method determines the "Young's modulus" of thin films not only for MEMS devices but also for semiconductor devices in integrated circuits.

NIST reference materials are 'gold standard' for bio-nanotech research

The National Institute of Standards and Technology has issued its first reference standards for nanoscale particles targeted for the biomedical research community -- literally "gold standards" for labs studying the biological effects of nanoparticles. The three new materials, gold spheres nominally 10, 30 and 60 nanometers in diameter, were developed in cooperation with the National Cancer...

Novel chromosome abnormality appears to increase risk of autism

A multi-institutional study has identified a chromosomal abnormality that appears to increase susceptibility to autism. In a New England Journal of Medicine report that is receiving early online release, the investigators -- most of whom are associated with the Boston-based Autism Consortium -- report that a segment of chromosome 16 is either missing or duplicated in about 1 percent of individuals...

Overweight people may not know when they've had enough

Researchers at the US Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory have found new clues to why some people overeat and gain weight while others don't. Examining how the human brain responds to "satiety" messages delivered when the stomach is in various stages of fullness, the scientists have identified brain circuits that motivate the desire to overeat. Treatments that target these...

Proton-powered pooping

Muscles usually contract when a neurotransmitter molecule is released from nerve cells onto muscle cells. But University of Utah scientists discovered that bare subatomic protons can act like larger, more complex neurotransmitters, making gut muscles contract in tiny round worms so the worms can poop.

Radioactive 'understudy' may aid medical imaging, drug development

Broadway stars have understudies. Now, an increasingly popular radioactive isotope has its own stand-in. Developed in part by researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the substance might ultimately improve medical imaging, speed up clinical trials of many drugs and facilitate efforts to develop more individualized medical treatment.

Rough times: NIST's new approach to surface profiling

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology have developed a novel technique for measuring the roughness of surfaces that is casting doubt on the accuracy of current procedures. Their results announced in a forthcoming paper could cut development costs for automakers as they design manufacturing tools for new, fuel-efficient, lightweight alloys

Siberian jays can communicate about behavior of birds of prey

With the aid of various alarm calls the Siberian jay bird species tells other members of its group what their main predators-hawks-are doing. This discovery by Swedish researchers shows for the first time that animals can assess and communicate about the behavior of predators.

Silver-rich lumps

A team from the University of Karlsruhe led by Dieter Fenske has been able to synthesize four new, particularly large and silver-rich clusters, and to determine their crystal structures.

Small RNAs can prevent spread of breast cancer

Howard Hughes Medical Institute researchers have identified small pieces of ribonucleic acid that suppress the spread of breast cancer to the lungs and bone. The new research shows that the most invasive and aggressive human breast cancer tumors are missing three critical microRNA molecules. When the researchers put those molecules back into human breast cancer tumors in mice, the tumors lost...

Solar cells can take the heat

Michael Grätzel and his a team of researchers at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne in Switzerland have fabricated a solvent-free dye-sensitized solar cell based on a binary ionic liquid electrolyte. These devices show a light-conversion efficiency of 7.6 percent under simulated sunlight conditions, which sets a new record for a solvent-free device.

Study suggests new treatments for Huntington's disease

Working with fruit flies, researchers have discovered a new mechanism by which the abnormal protein in Huntington's disease causes neurodegeneration. They have also manipulated the flies to successfully suppress that neurodegeneration, which they said suggests potential treatments to delay the onset and progression of the disease in humans.

Surprise -- cholesterol may actually pose benefits, study shows

Researchers at Texas A&M University have discovered that lower cholesterol levels can actually reduce muscle gain with exercising. Lead investigator Steven Riechman, assistant professor of health and kinesiology, and Simon Sheather, head of the Department of Statistics, along with colleagues from The Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center and the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, have recently...

Transplant drug sirolimus shrinks tumors, improves lung function

The drug sirolimus, normally used to help transplant patients fight organ rejection, may eventually be used as a less invasive treatment for a tumor called angiomyolipomata in patients with tuberous sclerosis complex or lymphangioleiomyomatosis who would otherwise face surgery. The finding is reported by investigators from Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and the University of...

University of Alberta researchers report breakthrough in lowering bad cholesterol, fatty acid levels

Medical researchers at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada have found a way to reduce the amount of bad cholesterol and fatty acids that end up in the blood from food the body metabolizes, a key discovery that could lead to new drugs to treat and reverse the effects of diabetes and heart disease related to obesity. Existing drugs called statins are used to lower cholesterol, but do not...

Uses of medications in psychoanalysis

As Americans increasingly seek a "quick fix" to physical and mental ailments, psychoanalysts can be caught in the crossfire of a debate about the potential benefits and drawbacks of including medication in their treatment plans. A panel discussion entitled, "The Uses of Medications in Psychoanalysis: What We Know; What is Uncertain," will be led by internationally renowned psychoanalyst Glen O....

Vast cloud of antimatter traced to binary stars

Four years of observations from the European Space Agency's Integral (INTErnational Gamma-Ray Astrophysics Laboratory) satellite may have cleared up one of the most vexing mysteries in our Milky Way: the origin of a giant cloud of antimatter surrounding the galactic center.

Why it pays to be choosy

Given that cooperative individuals can often be exploited, it is not immediately clear why such behaviour has evolved. A novel solution to this problem has been found by scientists at the University of Bristol, UK, who show that when individuals in a population are choosy about their partners, cooperativeness is rewarded and tends to increase.


TUESDAY 8. JANUARY 2008


A healthy smile may promote a healthy heart

Each year, cardiovascular disease kills more Americans than cancer. And while most people are aware that lifestyle choices such as eating right, getting enough exercise and quitting smoking can help prevent cardiovascular disease, they may not know that by just brushing and flossing their teeth each day, they might also be avoiding this potentially lethal condition.

American women are more likely to choose overly aggressive treatments for breast cancer

Despite a 1990 consensus recommendation from the National Institutes of Health that lumpectomy plus radiation was the treatment of choice for early-stage breast cancer, the United States continues to have the highest rate of mastectomy surgery among industrialized countries. Why would a person knowingly undertake a far more severe form of treatment when a lesser one would suffice" A study from the...

An 'attractive' man-machine interface

For the first time, magnetism has been used to trigger cellular reactions normally induced by drugs or hormones. The discovery was made possible by getting tiny beads -- 30 nanometers in diameter -- to bind to receptor molecules on the cell surface. When exposed to a magnetic field, the beads become magnets and cluster together through magnetic attraction, pulling receptors along with them...