Earth

Scientists at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute (VTCRI) have revealed the pathology of cells and structures stricken by optic nerve hypoplasia, a leading cause of childhood blindness in developed nations.

The discovery in a rodent model may provide insight into what happens in the visual systems of children born with a condition that prevents the optic nerve from fully developing. The condition is also associated with autism spectrum disorder.

PHILADELPHIA (Nov.16, 2017) - Researchers identified a new way to lower the risk of complications after joint surgery, using a simple blood test. Patients with diabetes are more likely to need joint replacement surgery but also have a greater risk of serious complications after surgery, including heart attack, stroke, and wound infections, because of their underlying diabetes.

Researchers at UC San Francisco have shown how the Bengalese finch, a domesticated songbird, can learn to tweak its song in specific ways depending on context, which could shed light on how the human brain learns to apply different rules depending on the situation, and have implications for understanding human language and movement disorders.

Coastal erosion may release waste from ten per cent of England's historic coastal landfills in the next forty years, according to research from Queen Mary University of London and the Environment Agency.

There are at least 1,215 historic coastal landfill sites in England, mostly clustered around estuaries with major cities, including Liverpool, London, and Newcastle on Tyne. An investigation by researchers, published today (Thursday 16 November) in WIREs Water finds that 122 sites are at risk of starting to erode into coastal waters by 2055 if not adequately protected.

The bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa is the leading cause of hospital-acquired infections. The pathogen is resistant to many antibiotics so treating those infections, particularly in patients with compromised immune systems, is difficult.

A new study from UT has identified certain chemical receptors in cells that could deceive the bacteria and improve patient response to drugs.

The study was published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Scientists with the SOLAR-JET Project have demonstrated the first-ever entire process to make kerosene, the jet fuel used by commercial airlines, using a high-temperature thermal solar reactor to create syngas. Shell Global Solutions in Amsterdam refined the solar syngas into jet fuel, using the Fischer-Tropsch method.

Thermochemical solar fuel manufacturing would be an energy industry with a life of centuries, rather than decades. The feedstock of sunlight, carbon dioxide and water is essentially unlimited.

First genetic mutation discovered to protect against multiple aspects of aging in humans

Amish carrying the mutation live more than 13 percent longer to 85 years old instead of 75 for those who don't carry the mutation

Longevity drug developed from this research is being tested in humans

Closely related form of drug being developed as topical treatment for baldness

So, you thought the fictional people-eating great white shark in the film "Jaws" had a powerful bite.

But don't overlook the mighty mouth of the parrotfish - its hardy teeth allow it to chomp on coral all day long, ultimately chewing and grinding it up through digestion into fine sand. That's right: Its "beak" creates beaches. A single parrotfish can produce hundreds of pounds of sand each year.

With less than 25,000 breeding pairs in existence today, it is an uphill battle for the African Penguin, which calls South Africa home. The 60 percent drop in their population since 2001 has put them on the endangered species list by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. In some South African colonies, the drop in population has been as high as 80 percent. Competition with fisheries, oil spills, climate change, diseases and predators are all contributing factors in their dramatic decline.

To humans, being right-handed or left-handed plays an important role. The majority favours the right side of their bodies, while only about three per cent of people innately use both hands equally well. Preferring one side of the body over another is not unique to humans: the phenomenon occurs in the animal kingdom as well, for instance in great apes or birds, although their "handedness" is typically not as obvious as it is in humans. "Handedness" is particularly pronounced in cichlid fish of the species Perissodus microlepis, which is endemic to Lake Tanganyika in Africa.