Earth

GAINESVILLE, Fla. --- Contrary to previous evidence, a new University of Florida study shows the Isthmus of Panama was most likely formed by a Central American Peninsula colliding slowly with the South American continent through tectonic plate movement over millions of years.

A linear string of mud pots and mud volcanoes suggest surface evidence for a southern extension of the San Andreas Fault that runs through the Salton Sea, according to a paper published in the August issue of the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America (BSSA).

Inhibiting the proton currents in basophils, a rare type of white blood cell, can stop the release of histamine and could provide a new target for allergy and asthma drugs according to a new study by researchers at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago and the Johns Hopkins Asthma and Allergy Center in Baltimore. The research is published in the August 5th issue the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

There's a new "gold standard" in the sensitivity of weighing scales. Using the same technology with which they created the world's first fully functional nanotube radio, researchers with Berkeley Lab and the University of California (UC) at Berkeley have fashioned a nanoelectromechanical system (NEMS) that can function as a scale sensitive enough to measure the mass of a single atom of gold.

Madison, WI July 28, 2008--As atmospheric CO2 levels rise, methods to mitigate these increases are becoming very important. Three studies published in the July-August 2008 issue of Soil Science Society of America Journal explore the potential roles of soils as a C sink in different regions in the Western Hemisphere.

A snapshot of New Zealand's climate 40 million years ago reveals a greenhouse Earth, with warmer seas and little or no ice in Antarctica, according to research published this week in the journal Geology.

The study suggests that Antarctica at that time was yet to develop extensive ice sheets. Back then, New Zealand was about 1100 km further south, at the same latitude as the southern tip of South America – so was closer to Antarctica – but the researchers found that the water temperature was 23-25°C at the sea surface and 11-13°C at the bottom.

Jack Elias and colleagues, at Yale University School of Medicine, have performed new studies in mice that provide mechanistic insight into why viral infections have more severe consequences in individuals exposed to cigarette smoke than in those not exposed to cigarette smoke (e.g., influenza-infected smokers have increased mortality when compared with influenza-infected nonsmokers).

A new study by researchers at Yale School of Medicine could explain why the cold and flu virus symptoms that are often mild and transient in non-smokers can seriously sicken smokers. Published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, the study also identified the mechanism by which viruses and cigarette smoke interact to increase lung inflammation and damage.

ANN ARBOR, Mich.---A type of device called a "lab-on-a-chip" could bring a new generation of instant home tests for illnesses, food contaminants and toxic gases. But today these portable, efficient tools are often stuck in the lab themselves. Specifically, in the labs of researchers who know how to make them from scratch.

The chromosomal abnormality that causes a rare, but often fatal, disorder that affects infants has been identified by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, who happened to treat two young children with the disease in San Diego – two of perhaps a dozen children in the entire country diagnosed with the disorder.