Discover a new way to find and share stories you'll love… Learn about Reading Desk

All Blogs / Academics / New


Clean smell doesn't always mean clean air

Scientists are taking a closer look at aerosol formation involving an organic compound -- called limonene -- that provides the pleasant smell of cleaning products and air fresheners. This research will help to determine what byproducts these sweet-smelling compounds are adding to the air while we are using them to remove germs and odors.

Dozens of genes associated with autism in new research

Two major genetic studies of autism, involving more than 50 laboratories worldwide, have newly implicated dozens of genes in the disorder. The research shows that rare mutations in these genes affect communication networks in the brain and compromise fundamental biological mechanisms that govern whether, when, and how genes are activated overall.

Planet-forming lifeline discovered in a binary star system

Scientists have detected a streamer of dust and gas flowing from a massive outer disk toward the inner reaches of a binary star system. This never-before-seen feature may be responsible for sustaining a second, smaller disk of planet-forming material that otherwise would have disappeared long ago.

In autoimmune diseases affecting millions, researchers pinpoint genetic risks, cellular culprits

Scores of autoimmune diseases afflicting one in 12 Americans -- ranging from type 1 diabetes, to multiple sclerosis (MS), to rheumatoid arthritis, to asthma -- mysteriously cause the immune system to harm tissues within our own bodies. Show More Summary

The psychology of "mate poaching" - when you form a relationship by taking someone else's partner

According to one estimate, 63 per cent of men and 54 per cent of women are in their current long-term relationships because their current partner "poached" them from a previous partner. Now researchers in the US and Australia have conducted...Show More Summary

Scientists make enzyme that could help explain origins of life

Mimicking natural evolution in a test tube, scientists have devised an enzyme with a unique property that might have been crucial to the origin of life on Earth.

Contamination likely explains 'food genes in blood' claim

Laboratory contaminants likely explain the results of a recent study claiming that complete genes can pass from foods we eat into our blood, according to a molecular biologist who re-examined data from the controversial research pap...

Ocean acidification in the aftermath of the Marinoan glaciation

Boron isotope patterns preserved in cap carbonates deposited in the aftermath of the younger Cryogenian (Marinoan, ca. 635 Ma) glaciation confirm a temporary ocean acidification event on the continental margin of the southern Congo craton, Namibia. Show More Summary

Parasite-schizophrenia connection: One-fifth of schizophrenia cases may involve the parasite T. gondii

Many factors, both genetic and environmental, have been blamed for increasing the risk of a diagnosis of schizophrenia. Some, such as a family history of schizophrenia, are widely accepted. Others, such as infection with Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite transmitted by soil, undercooked meat and cat feces, are still viewed with skepticism. Show More Summary

Supersonic laser-propelled rockets: Hybrid approach may help power rockets, launch satellites, push future aircraft past Mach 10

Researchers have described a new system that integrates a laser-ablation propulsion system with the gas blasting nozzles of a spacecraft which can increase the speed of the gas flow out of the system to supersonic speeds while reducing the amount of burned fuel.

Decades of research: Effectiveness of phone counseling for cancer patients still unknown

A new study asks an important question: after decades of use and study, can we definitely show that remote interventions improve psychosocial outcomes in cancer survivors, or might there be a required, in-person component of these interventions?

New solar power material converts 90 percent of captured light into heat

A multidisciplinary engineering team developed a new nanoparticle-based material for concentrating solar power plants designed to absorb and convert to heat more than 90 percent of the sunlight it captures. The new material can also withstand temperatures greater than 700 degrees Celsius and survive many years outdoors in spite of exposure to air and humidity.

Walking workstations improve physical, mental health, builds healthier workplace

Walking workstations can improve not only physical, but also mental health during the workday, a new study has found. With growing concerns regarding obesity in the United States, the author hopes the study encourages employers to examine methods to assist workers in in healthy living.

Projecting a robot's intentions: New spin on virtual reality helps engineers read robots' minds

In a darkened, hangar-like space inside MIT's Building 41, a small, Roomba-like robot is trying to make up its mind. Standing in its path is an obstacle — a human pedestrian who’s pacing back and forth. To get to the other side of the...Show More Summary

Mechanism that allows differentiated cell to reactivate as a stem cell revealed

A study, performed with fruit flies, describes a gene that determines whether a specialized cell conserves the capacity to become a stem cell again. Unveiling the genetic traits that favor the retention of stem cell properties is crucial for regenerative medicine.

Meiotic cell division 'the other way round'

Meiosis is the two-step series of cell divisions that make sexual reproduction and genetic diversity possible. Researchers have now dived into the process of meiosis in specific plant species and revealed that these plants display an inversion of the standard meiotic phases.

Nanosafety research: The quest for the gold standard

Toxicologists have evaluated several thousand studies on the risks associated with nanoparticles and discovered no end of shortcomings: poorly prepared experiments and results that don't carry any clout. Scientists are now developing new standards for such experiments within an international network.

Thousands of substances ranked according to potential exposure level

An overwhelming number of chemicals from household and industrial products are in the environment -- and hundreds are in our bodies. But for most of them, scientists have yet to determine whether they cause health problems. Now they've taken the first step toward doing that by estimating which substances people are exposed to the most.

Why plants don't get sunburn

Plants rely on sunlight to make their food, but they also need protection from its harmful rays, just like humans do. Recently, scientists discovered a group of molecules in plants that shields them from sun damage. Now scientists report on the mechanics of how these natural plant sunscreens work.

Microrockets fueled by water neutralize chemical and biological warfare agents

With fears growing over chemical and biological weapons falling into the wrong hands, scientists are developing microrockets to fight back against these dangerous agents, should the need arise. They have developed new spherical micromotors that rapidly neutralize chemical and biological agents and use water as fuel.

Copyright © 2011 Regator, LLC