Science News

Ancient Global Warming Linked to Volcanic Eruptions

Findings published in this week's edition of Science reveal a link between massive volcanic eruptions and ancient global warming. The international team of researchers used rock dating to relate a sudden 5°C warming 56 million years ago, known as the Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum (PETM), to major volcanic events occurring at the beginning of the PETM.

New Nano-technology Brings Clearer View of Water

Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have discovered the current view of water is not as clear as we thought. It appears water at the nanoscale actually behaves like molasses, with a thick, viscous consistency. This new discovery changes some previously held views on the properties of waters, and creates new ones that were previously unreachable.

Race Only Skin Deep in Colorectal Cancer Survival

It has been said that color is only skin deep. Now, Dr. Xianglin Du and his colleagues at the University of Texas have shown that this adage holds true despite differences in survival between African-Americans and Caucasians suffering from colorectal cancer. According to their latest meta-analysis, published online this month by the journal Cancer, these differences are almost entirely due to social factors. As a result, the authors concluded that "efforts to eliminate racial disparities in health care and to minimize disparities in socioeconomic status have the potential to reduce racial inequalities in colon cancer survival".

Kicking the brain into addiction: a new side to the morphine story

How morphine produces that "kick" and leads to the compulsive drug-seeking behavior characteristic of addiction has been a subject of intense research over the past decades. Adding a new facet to the underlying complex neurobiology, researchers at Brown University have demonstrated that morphine can block the strengthening of inhibitory signals to a key reward area of the brain, thereby exciting it. This mechanism, write the authors, might contribute to the early stages of addiction, and could be exploited to yield effective therapies against the same.

Prion Infectivity Explained in Yeast Prions

Scientists at Whitehead Institute have discovered important regions in yeast prions that explain their ability, and potentially the ability of prions in general, to self-propagate or "infect". By analyzing yeast prions, researchers were able to identify specific recognition elements that control the switch from non-infectious to infectious conformations. Their findings are published in the May 9 online issue of the journal Nature.

Diabetic? Sick of those non-healing ulcers? Here's a good news!

Impaired wound healing is a major clinical problem in diabetic patients, affecting about 15 percent of them and is the leading cause of lower limb amputations. Reporting in the May issue of The Journal of Clinical Investigation, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center have, for the first time, identified the molecular basis of impaired vasculogenesis in diabetic wound healing. By fixing the defective links in the process, they were able to significantly enhance wound healing, thus providing novel potential targets for therapeutic intervention in diabetic wound healing. The current therapies for this impairment are few and inadequate.

New Method Developed to Extract Biofuel from Wood

Scientists at the University of Georgia have developed a process to extract and refine liquid biofuel from wood so that it may be used in conventional diesel engines without extensive modification. The findings come at a time when significant resources in the United States are being channeled into alternative energy research in the hopes of reducing both the country's need for outside oil and its carbon emissions through efficient and economically favorable methods. The researchers, led by Thomas Adams, Director of Faculty of Engineering Outreach Service at UGA, published their findings in the journal Energy and Fuels last week.