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Scientists at the University of Illinois have conducted a genetic analysis of vespid wasps that revises the vespid family tree and challenges long-held views about how the wasps’ social behaviors evolved.

In the study, published in the Feb. 21 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers found genetic evidence that eusociality (the reproductive specialization seen in some insects and other animals) evolved independently in two groups of vespid wasps.

A penalty kick places a goalkeeper at such a disadvantage that only approximately 18% of penalty kicks are saved. However, some soccer fans think goalkeepers might save penalty kicks more easily by standing marginally to the left or right.

It turns out they're right! In an article published in the March issue of Psychological Science, Professors Rich Masters, John van der Kamp and Robin Jackson of the Institute of Human Performance at the University of Hong Kong found that penalty takers are more likely to direct the football to the side with more space.

Researchers have taken advantage of the unique coupled semiconducting and piezoelectric properties of zinc oxide nanowires to create a new class of electronic components and devices that could provide the foundation for a broad range of new applications.

Sweat may be another way to pass on hepatitis B infection during contact sports, suggests research published ahead of print in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Hepatitis B virus attacks the liver and can cause lifelong infection, cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver, liver cancer, liver failure, and death.

The research team analysed blood and sweat samples from 70 male Olympic wrestlers for evidence of hepatitis B infection (HBV).

An international group of scientists has expanded the universal language for the genes of both disease-causing and beneficial microbes and their hosts. This expanded "lingua franca," called The Gene Ontology (GO), gives researchers a common set of terms to describe the interactions between a microbe and its host.

The Plant-Associated Microbe Gene Ontology (PAMGO) consortium and the GO consortium staff at the European Bioinformatics Institute approved and released more than 450 new terms for describing gene products involved in microbe-host interactions.

New research shows that a form of vitamin A used to treat acute promyelocytic leukemia induces changes in an unusual class of small molecules called microRNAs (miRNAs) in the leukemic cells.

The study also shows that three of these miRNAs inhibit the action of two genes important for cancer development, helping to explain how the drug works.

The drug is called all-trans-retinoic acid (ATRA) and it is considered the gold standard for treating the disease.

A widely practiced, stress-reducing meditation technique significantly decreases the severity of congestive heart failure, according to a first-of-its-kind randomized study published in Ethnicity & Disease (Winter 2007).

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania evaluated 23 African American men and women, average age 64, who were recently hospitalized with New York Heart Association class II or III congestive heart failure. Participants were randomized to either the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique or health education—in addition to usual medical care.

Scientists at North Carolina State University have discovered that the fungus-like pathogen that caused the 1840s Irish potato famine originally came from the Andes of South America.

In the March 2007 issue of BioScience, an international team of 19 researchers calls for better forecasting of the effects of global warming on extinction rates. The researchers, led by Daniel B. Botkin, note that although current mathematical models indicate that many species could be at risk from global warming, surprisingly few species became extinct during the past 2.5 million years, a period encompassing several ice ages.

Researchers at Yale have identified multiple pathogenic "alien islands" in the genome of the A. baumannii, bacteria that has been responsible for new and highly drug-resistant infections in combat troops in the Middle East, according to a report in the March 1 issue of Genes and Development.

A national survey of commercial health plans has found that most plans provide online information regarding mental health and substance abuse but few provide clinical services such as counseling via the Internet. The nationally representative health plan survey, published in Psychiatric Services, and led by Dr. Constance Horgan at Brandeis University, is one of the first to examine the prevalence of health plan-sponsored online resources for behavioral health.

In the largest study of its kind, surgeons at Hospital for Special Surgery have determined that by modifying a classic ligament surgery, they can return more athletes, such as baseball players, to their prior level of competition. The modified surgery repairs a torn medial collateral ligament (MCL), which links and stabilizes bones of the lower and upper arm where they meet at the elbow.

Less traumatic than the classic Tommy John surgery, the modified surgery called the docking procedure, with time, is likely to become the gold standard for treating these injuries.

Researchers have used the world's thinnest material to create a new type of technology, which could be used to make super-fast electronic components and speed up the development of drugs.

Physicists at The University of Manchester and The Max-Planck Institute in Germany have created a new kind of a membrane that is only one atom thick.

It's believed this super-small structure can be used to sieve gases, make ultra-fast electronic switches and image individual molecules with unprecedented accuracy.

The future of cancer detection and treatment may be in gold nanoparticles - tiny pieces of gold so small they cannot be seen by the naked eye. The potential of gold nanoparticles has been hindered by the difficulty of making them in a stable, nontoxic form that can be injected into a patient. New research at the University of Missouri-Columbia has found that a plant extract can be used to overcome this problem, creating a new type of gold nanoparticle that is stable and nontoxic and can be administered orally or injected.

Drinking whole fat milk and eating ice cream appears to be better for women trying to become pregnant than a diet consisting of low-fat dairy products such as skimmed milk and yoghurt, according to new research published in Europe's leading reproductive medicine journal, Human Reproduction, today (28 February). [1]