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News in Science

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  • #11
    Re: News in Science

    xxxxroach of the Sea Wows the WebUpdated: 1 hour 31 minutes ago
    Print Text Size E-mail More
    Katie Drummond

    AOL News (April 1) -- An enormous crustacean that attached itself to a submarine scouring the depths of the Gulf of Mexico is eliciting shock, awe and a touch of skepticism among Web readers -- but scientists say the critter is just an impressive example of a supersized species.

    Photos of the beast were posted on Reddit, under the title "By God, it's a monster!" by a user who said he worked for a deep-sea surveying company. His crew found the creature hooked onto the bottom of a remotely operated vehicle. He estimated that the behemoth -- which measures 2 1/2 feet long -- was creeping along at a depth of about 8,500 feet.

    Nearly 800 commenters responded to the initial query, with reactions that ranged from outright disgust to culinary craving.

    Gwynzer, Reddit
    This giant isopod, which measures 2 1/2 feet long, fastened itself to a submarine in the Gulf of Mexico. The scavengers feast on carcasses of dead whales and fish.
    "Damn, Nature. You scary!" wrote one.

    "Nasty things, but I heard the meat's not too bad," responded another.

    Online investigations also helped identify the critter, which is a Bathynomus giganteus, or giant isopod. The crustaceans are related to shrimp and crabs, and are thought to dwell in the deep seas of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

    Their name suggests otherwise, but most giant isopods are less than a foot long -- making the recent deep-sea discovery a supersized version. That could be because of a condition called gigantism, which is suspected to be common among crustaceans inhabiting particularly cold water regions.

    "In crustaceans, bathymetric gigantism may also in part reflect decreases in temperature leading to longer lifespans and thus larger sizes in indeterminate growers," writes C.R. McClain, a Duke University deep-sea biological systems expert who blogs at Deep Sea News.

    In the 1990s, an expedition off the coast of Australia reinforced the speculation. Researchers found that the deeper the water, the larger the lurking isopods.

    Giant isopods might make tasty prey, but they're also hungry predators: The scavengers feast on carcasses of dead whales and fish. They have been known to attack sea-dwellers that are still alive and swimming.

    That zealous appetite is probably one reason they've survived so long: Fossil records date these xxxxroaches of the sea back more than 160 million years, before the Earth's continents were even formed.

    And while the timing of the critter's Web debut sparked skepticism that it was nothing more than a supersized April Fools' gag, McClain, for one, is convinced.

    ""I've seen the pictures, and they are real, and they really do get that big," he said.

    With a gross-out factor on par with last year's tongue-eating parasite, it's hard to believe that this giant isopod might not even be the ultimate example of the species. Notes Deep Sea News blogger Kevin Zelnio, "the maximum reported size of Bathynomus giganteus is likely to be an artifact of our sampling."
    Filed under: Weird News, Science
    Hayastan or Bust.


    • #12
      Re: News in Science

      U.S., Russian (Armenian?) scientists create element 117

      A team of American and Russian physicists have created a new, super-heavy element, filling in a gap in chemistry's periodic table.

      Researchers working at a particle accelerator at the Flerov Laboratory of Nuclear Reactions in Dubna, 120 kilometres north of Moscow, created six atoms of element 117.

      The discovery fills in the gap between the previously synthesized elements 116 and 118, meaning all the elements with atomic numbers between one and 118 have been observed.

      "During a long (half a year) experiment, six events of the 'birth' of the new element were registered," A.N. Sissakian of the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna said in a statement.

      The element — which has no formal name but is known as ununseptium — was created by accelerating an atom of calcium (element 20) in a cyclotron and smashing it into an atom of berkelium (element 97).

      Berkelium is itself an artificially produced element. Researchers at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory's High Flux Isotope Reactor in Tennessee synthesized 22.2 milligrams of the element and shipped it to Russia for the experiment.

      The particular isotope of berkelium used has a half-life of 320 days, meaning that in less than a year, it loses half of its mass to radioactive decay.

      Each of the six atoms of element 117 decayed in a fraction of a second.

      The research, published Friday in the journal Physical Review Letters, is providing more evidence that heavier isotopes of artificially produced elements will become more and more stable, a theory called the "stability island."

      "The properties of a decay of an isotope of the 117th element and its daughter products … together with the isotopes of elements 112-116 and 118 synthesized in Dubna before, are the direct proof for the existence of the 'stability island' of super-heavy nuclei," said Sissakian.

      Element 117 won't likely get a formal name any time soon. In March, element 112 became the latest element to get a formal name from the International Union for Pure and Applied Chemistry: copernicium, symbol Cn. It was discovered in 1996.
      "Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you're a man, you take it." ~Malcolm X


      • #13
        Re: News in Science

        Neanderthals, Humans Interbred—First Solid DNA Evidence

        Most of us have some Neanderthal genes, study finds.

        A Neanderthal-female reconstruction based on both fossil anatomy and DNA (file photo).

        Photograph by Joe McNally, National Geographic
        Ker Than

        for National Geographic News

        Published May 6, 2010

        The next time you're tempted to call some oaf a Neanderthal, you might want to take a look in the mirror.

        According to a new DNA study, most humans have a little Neanderthal in them—at least 1 to 4 percent of a person's genetic makeup.

        The study uncovered the first solid genetic evidence that "modern" humans—or Homo sapiens—interbred with their Neanderthal neighbors, who mysteriously died out about 30,000 years ago.

        What's more, the Neanderthal-modern human mating apparently took place in the Middle East, shortly after modern humans had left Africa, not in Europe—as has long been suspected.

        "We can now say that, in all probability, there was gene flow from Neanderthals to modern humans," lead study author Ed Green of the University of California, Santa Cruz, said in a prepared statement.

        That's no surprise to anthropologist Erik Trinkhaus, whose skeleton-based claims of Neanderthal-modern human interbreeding—previously contradicted with DNA evidence—appear to have been vindicated by the new gene study, to be published tomorrow in the journal Science.

        "They've finally seen the light ... because it's been obvious to many us that this happened," said Trinkaus, of Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, who wasn't part of the new study.

        Trinkhaus adds that most living humans probably have much more Neanderthal DNA than the new study suggests.

        "One to 4 percent is truly a minimum," Trinkaus added. "But is it 10 percent? Twenty percent? I have no idea."

        (Also see "Neanderthals, Modern Humans Interbred, Bone Study Suggests.")

        Surprising Spot for Neanderthal-Human Mating

        The genetic study team reached their conclusion after comparing the genomes of five living humans—from China, France, Papua New Guinea, southern Africa, and western Africa—against the available "rough draft" of the Neanderthal genome. (Get the basics on genetics.)

        The results showed that Neanderthal DNA is 99.7 percent identical to modern human DNA, versus, for example, 98.8 percent for modern humans and chimps, according to the study. (Related: "Neanderthals Had Same 'Language Gene' as Modern Humans.")

        In addition, all modern ethnic groups, other than Africans, carry traces of Neanderthal DNA in their genomes, the study says—which at first puzzled the scientists. Though no fossil evidence has been found for Neanderthals and modern humans coexisting in Africa, Neanderthals, like modern humans, are thought to have arisen on the continent.

        "If you told an archaeologist that you'd found evidence of gene exchange between Neanderthals and modern humans and asked them to guess which [living] population it was found in, most would say Europeans, because there's well documented archaeological evidence that they lived side by side for several thousand years," said study team member David Reich.

        For another thing, Neanderthals never lived in China or Papua New Guinea, in the Pacific region of Melanesia, according to the archaeological record. (See "Neanderthals Ranged Much Farther East Than Thought.")

        "But the fact is that Chinese and Melanesians are as closely related to Neanderthals" as Europeans, said Reich, a population geneticist at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard University.

        (See pictures of a reconstructed Neanderthal and take a Neanderthals quiz.)

        Neanderthal-Human One-Night Stand?

        So how did modern humans with Neanderthal DNA end up in Asia and Melanesia?

        Neanderthals, the study team says, probably mixed with early Homo sapiens just after they'd left Africa but before Homo sapiens split into different ethnic groups and scattered around the globe.

        The first opportunity for interbreeding probably occurred about 60,000 years ago in Middle Eastern regions adjacent to Africa, where archaeological evidence shows the two species overlapped for a time, the team says.

        And it wouldn't have taken much mating to make an impact, according to study co-author Reich. The results could stem from a Neanderthal-modern human one-night stand or from thousands of interspecies assignations, he said.

        (Related: "Neanderthals Grew Fast, but Sexual Maturity Came Late.")

        More DNA Evidence for Neanderthal-Human Mating

        The new study isn't alone in finding genetic hints of Homo sapiens-Homo neanderthalensis interbreeding.

        Genetic anthropologist Jeffrey Long, who calls the Science study "very exciting," co-authored a new, not yet published study that found DNA evidence of interbreeding between early modern humans and an "archaic human" species, though it's not clear which. He presented his team's findings at a meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists in Albuquerque, New Mexico, last month.

        Long's team reached its conclusions after searching the genomes of hundreds of modern humans for "signatures of different evolutionary processes in DNA variation."

        Like the new Science paper, Long's study speculates that interbreeding occurred just after our species had left Africa, but Long's study didn't include analysis of the Neanderthal genome.

        "At the time we started the project, I never imagined I'd ever see an empirical confirmation of it," said Long, referring to the Science team's Neanderthal-DNA evidence, "so I'm pretty happy to see it."


        • #14
          Re: News in Science

          This study is pretty interesting because it contradicts previous studies claiming no genetic links between modern humans and neanderthals. I wonder how different their testing methods were and why the different results.
          Hayastan or Bust.


          • #15
            Re: News in Science

            Jerusalem Post
            May 9 2010

            Holding back the darkness
            08/05/2010 18:51

            A new campaign aims at preventing Alzheimer's.

            There isn't a single, effective long-term treatment for Alzheimer's
            disease, so it seems unrealistic to plan on preventing this widespread
            form of dementia by 2020. But an American father-and-son team with
            much experience in brain disease and epidemiology ` Dr. Zaven and Dr.
            Ara Khachaturian ` think it can be achieved, with a lot of brain power
            and billions of dollars. And they want Israel to be part of it.

            There were other massive projects that took a decade or less to
            accomplish, such as the US Transcontinental Railroad in the 1860s
            (seven years); the Panama Canal in the early 1900s (10 years); the
            Manhattan Project for the atomic bomb to end World War II (six years);
            the Apollo Program to get America on the moon before 1970 (eight
            years); and the Human Genome Project (by 2000) in a decade.

            Thus, said the Khachaturians in a recent interview with The Jerusalem
            Post at Jerusalem's Inbal Hotel, `it isn't so outlandish to take only
            10 years to prevent elderly people from getting Alzheimer's ` or at
            least to delay its onset long enough so that it's like prevention
            because people will die of something else.'

            THEY WERE at the hotel for a few days to convene a think tank for
            establishing an international research consortium called the Campaign
            to Prevent Alzheimer's Disease by 2020 ( Attended by
            delegates from Israel, the US, Europe and Russia, the meetings were
            intended to form a partnership with leading Israeli physicians and
            scientists in the field.

            Additional meetings are planned over the next six months to explore
            the feasibility of designing a prototype for a comprehensive
            international database on healthy aging. This will greatly enhance
            efforts by scientists and biotechnology companies to develop valid
            diagnostic tests as well as therapies that delay or ultimately prevent
            the onset of many chronic diseases that affect memory, movement and
            mood. `If we can delay the onset of mental disability by only five
            years, we can cut the costs by half,' said Zaven.

            Around the world, there are 34 million victims of Alzheimer's and
            other types of dementia; five or six million live in the US, and about
            100,000 in Israel. But many post-World War II Baby Boomers now
            entering retirement are likely to live into their 90s, so Alzheimer's
            will become an even more severe problem unless something is done to
            stop it.

            THE US National Institute on Ageing describes Alzheimer's as an
            irreversible, progressive brain disease that slowly destroys memory
            and thinking skills and eventually even the ability to carry out the
            simplest tasks. In most people with Alzheimer's, symptoms first appear
            after age 60. Dementia, which can be caused by other factors such as
            insufficient oxygen to the brain, is the loss of cognitive functioning
            ` thinking, remembering and reasoning.

            Alzheimer's, the most common type of dementia, was named in 1906 after
            Dr. Alois Alzheimer, who conducted a pathology examination of the
            brain tissue of a woman who had died of an unusual mental illness. Her
            symptoms had included memory loss, language problems and unpredictable
            behavior. The physician found many abnormal clumps (now called amyloid
            plaques) and tangled bundles of fibers (called neurofibrillary
            tangles) in her brain. Plaques and tangles are two of the main
            features of Alzheimer's. The third is the loss of connections between
            nerve cells.

            Although we still don't know what triggers Alzheimer's, it is known
            that brain damage can begin as many as 20 years before problems
            appear. As more and more plaques and tangles form in particular brain
            areas, healthy neurons begin to work less efficiently. They eventually
            lose their ability to communicate with each other and they die. This
            process spreads to a nearby structure, called the hippocampus, which
            is essential in forming memories. As more and more neurons die,
            affected brain regions begin to shrivel. By the final stage of
            Alzheimer's, damage is widespread and brain tissue has shrunk
            significantly. Memory problems are one of the first signs of
            Alzheimer's, but people have problems with memory as they age even
            without Alzheimer's, so diagnosis can be certain only at autopsy.

            As Alzheimer's progresses, memory loss continues, and changes in other
            cognitive abilities appear. Problems can include getting lost, having
            trouble handling money and paying bills, repeating questions, taking
            longer to complete normal daily tasks, poor judgment, and small mood
            and personality changes. People are often diagnosed in this stage.

            In moderate Alzheimer's, damage occurs in sections of the brain that
            control language, reasoning, sensory processing and conscious thought.
            Memory loss and confusion increase, and people begin to have problems
            recognizing family and friends. They may be unable to learn new
            things, carry out tasks that involve multiple steps (such as getting
            dressed), or cope with new situations, and may have hallucinations,
            delusions or paranoia.

            At the severe final stages, plaques and tangles have spread throughout
            the brain, and brain tissue has shrunk significantly. Victims cannot
            communicate and are completely dependent on others. Near the end, the
            person may be in bed most of the time as the body shuts down.

            SCIENTISTS ARE investigating associations between cognitive decline
            and vascular and metabolic conditions such as heart disease, stroke,
            high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity. Understanding these
            relationships and testing them in clinical trials will help us
            understand whether reducing risk factors for these diseases may help
            with Alzheimer's as well.

            Even though there is no cure, early diagnosis is beneficial for
            several reasons, since there are medications that slow the decline,
            and families can make plans for living arrangements, financial and
            legal matters and developing support networks.

            Four Alzheimer's medications have been approved so far by the US Food
            and Drug Administration: donepezil (Aricept), rivastigmine (Exelon)
            and galantamine (Razadyne) for mild to moderate Alzheimer's and
            memantine (Namenda) for the moderate-to-severe stage. These drugs work
            by regulating neurotransmitters, and may help maintain thinking,
            memory and speaking skills ` but they don't change the underlying
            disease process and may help only for a few months or years.

            The worldwide cost of caring for dementia patients is estimated at
            over $400 billion a year, $3 billion in Israel alone. With the ageing
            of the population, dementia is a looming catastrophe. PAD2020, a
            non-profit organization based in Rockvillle, Maryland, gets financial
            support from the Helen Bader Foundation (which was previously involved
            in funding early childhood development) and the US Alzheimer's
            Association, plus at least one `educational grant' from a
            pharmaceutical company. But the elder Khachaturian asserted that the
            drug firm is allowed absolutely no influence on policies. `It's
            clearly a hands-off policy. We're applying to most major drug
            companies and foundations for financial support, as we insist that the
            project not become the monopoly of any single company or institution,'
            Zaven insisted. The US government, aware of the urgency, is expected
            to eventually donate much of the funding.

            Zaven Khatchaturian (the surname is Armenian), a neuroscientist who
            specialized in brain ageing, worked at the University of Pittsburg and
            became director of Alzheimer's research at the US National Institutes
            of Health. Ara, an expert in epidemiology and biostatistics at Johns
            Hopkins, joined his father to serve as a founding trustee and
            executive vice president of PAD2020 because he believes in the cause.

            `STATISTICS ALONE don't present a full picture of the destructive
            effects of these illnesses,' said Zaven, a leader of neuroscience
            research programs for more than 30 years who is now president of
            PAD2020. `Brain mechanisms were my scientific interest, and when I was
            sent to the NIH Institute on Ageing, I was asked to develop strategic
            planning on brain ageing. Alzheimer's was not well known then, and few
            scientists were interested in it. I created most of the programs.'

            Current therapies, he continued, `provide symptomatic relief [only] in
            the short run. We know that high cholesterol and high blood pressure
            are early warning signals of heart disease, but we have no proven
            markers for early-stage dementia. New approaches that identify
            incipient disease, and novel therapies that will prevent or modify the
            progression of brain cell death and the onset of the most disabling
            symptoms are urgently needed.'

            Zaven had been to Israel only once before, for a short visit, and
            Ara's arrival was his first. So why did they think Israel was a
            natural partner? `Because it's an important place for Alzheimer's
            research. The population is small enough and manageable, and Israelis
            have a relatively long life expectancy. The country,' added Zaven,
            `has a solid scientific infrastructure and much successful involvement
            in medical research. There is a great deal of fantastic medical talent
            here. Israel could be a prototype for a partnership linking the US and
            Europe.' The Israel Alzheimer's Association has voiced its support, he

            Specifically, the Khatchaturians want healthy Israelis in their 30s or
            40s whose parents were diagnosed with Alzheimer's to volunteer to be
            observed over years so information on their mental function can be
            gathered. `They would be called in for an examination, imaging, blood
            tests and neurological and cognitive assessments every year so changes
            could be determined. We also intend to look for biological markers
            that can predict who is likely to get the disease,' added Ara.

            In the US, said Zaven, there are people with a family history of
            dementia who are actually keen on being examined because they fear
            they have inherited it. Dr. Alan Roses, a neurologist at Duke
            University in North Carolina, has discovered a susceptibility gene for
            Alzheimer's, said Zaven, `but one gene alone is not enough to cause
            the disease. It occurs in combination with environmental factors and
            additional genes.'

            Despite the large number of victims, it is amazing that there is no
            national Alzheimer's database. `This is needed to record cognitive
            changes,' said the father. `Doctors take their blood pressure, but
            don't examine brain function.'

            PAD2020 is at too early a stage to determine where the money needed
            will come from, but Zaven believes one billion dollars a year over 10
            years would be enough. That's only a drop in the bucket compared to
            the costs of treating and minding Alzheimer's patients.

            The Khatchaturians are unwilling to be involved in a repeat of the
            Decade of the Brain established by the first Bush Administration in
            1980 that `produced absolutely nothing. There was a lot of hoopla and
            many meetings, but it lacked a strategic plan. The dementia situation
            has gotten a lot more severe since then.'

            The project poses various ethical problems, such as the fact that
            people participating in research have to know that in the future,
            their personal data could lead to the development of medications. `The
            data will be preserved anonymously, but we need to develop solid
            safeguards to ensure privacy,' Ara said.

            It will not be a simple struggle. US medical investigators said last
            week that there is `no firm evidence' that any preventive measures are
            effective. The independent panel convened by the NIH said many
            measures including mental stimulation, exercise and a variety of
            dietary supplements have been studied, but the value of such
            strategies in delaying the onset or reducing the severity of decline
            has never been demonstrated by rigorous studies.

            `We wish we could tell people that taking a pill or doing a puzzle
            every day would prevent this terrible disease, but current evidence
            doesn't support this,' said Prof. Martha Daviglus, the panel's
            chairman and a preventive medicine expert at Northwestern University.

            Hayastan or Bust.


            • #16
              Re: News in Science


              Hayastan or Bust.


              • #17
                Re: News in Science

                Originally posted by Haykakan View Post
                Interesting. We should inform Eva Rivas, she would be stoked!
                Just a trouble-free chick in a prickly planet.


                • #18
                  Re: News in Science

                  Originally posted by iFemale View Post
                  Interesting. We should inform Eva Rivas, she would be stoked!
                  I dont get what she has to do with this subject.
                  Hayastan or Bust.


                  • #19
                    Re: News in Science

                    Karine Ionesyan

                    ArmeniaNow reporter
                    Health | 18.06.10 | 12:25

                    A center in Yerevan that opened recently as part of a larger donor
                    registry to harvest stem cells for transplants has registered its
                    first success this week as its collection has proved life-saving for
                    a patient in Europe.

                    The stem cells of Frederic Safarian, an Iranian-Armenian, matched
                    with those of a non-Armenian woman living in Belgium and suffering
                    from a grave blood-related illness. The transplant was successfully
                    performed on Thursday night in Belgium.

                    The Stem Cell Harvesting Center in Yerevan is the only such
                    establishment that is available in the territory of the former Soviet
                    Union. It is part of the Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry (ABMDR),
                    which was established in 1999 for recruiting and providing matched
                    unrelated donors for bone marrow or stem cell transplantation to all
                    Armenian and non-Armenian patients who are suffering from leukemia
                    and other blood related illnesses.

                    About 16,000 donors have been registered with ABMDR so far. A total of
                    821 matches have been found for 1,276 applications from patients during
                    these years. This week has marked the tenth successful transplant
                    assisted by the charitable organization, but the first stem-cell
                    successfully matched.

                    Doctor Mihran Nazaretyan, who works as part of this project, says
                    that such successes not only save human lives, but may also hold out
                    broad prospects for the future of Armenian medicine.

                    "We want not only to provide donors, but also create a transplant
                    center in Armenia, which, naturally, will cost hundreds of thousands
                    of dollars, but we consider that 70 percent of work to achieve this
                    goal has already been done," Nazaretyan told ArmeniaNow.
                    Hayastan or Bust.


                    • #20
                      Re: News in Science

                      Originally posted by Haykakan View Post
                      that's one of the biggest quack treatments of all time
                      Due to budget cuts the light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off.