Body

"Flesh-eating" or "Strep" bacteria are able to survive and spread in the body by degrading a key immune defense molecule, according to researchers at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine and Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. The finding, which could aid in development of new treatments for serious infections in human patients, will be reported in the August 14 issue of the journal Cell Host & Microbe.

The term "sky islands" sounds intriguing, but it may be more lyrical than useful when discussing mammal distributions, according to new research from Eric Waltari of the Sackler Institute of Comparative Genomics at the American Museum of Natural History and Robert Guralnick from the University of Colorado at Boulder. The team used an emerging technique, ecological niche modeling, to show that the populations of small mammals living on mountaintops in the Great Basin—on islands in the sky—are not as isolated as previously thought.

HOUSTON -- Aug. 13, 2008 -- Physicists from Rice and Rutgers universities have published a new theory that explains some of the complex electronic and magnetic properties of iron "pnictides." In a series of startling discoveries this spring, pnictides were shown to superconduct at relatively high temperatures. The surprising discoveries created a great deal of excitement in the condensed matter physics community, which has been scrambling to better understand and document the unexpected results.

SALT LAKE CITY – U.S. and Swiss scientists have made a breakthrough in understanding how a type of white blood cell called the eosinophil may help the body to fight bacterial infections in the digestive tract, according to research published online this week in Nature Medicine.

New research sheds light on the biological events by which stem cells in the bone marrow develop into the broad variety of cells that circulate in the blood. The findings may help improve the success of bone marrow transplants and may lead to better treatments for life-threatening blood diseases.

Water is no passive spectator of biological processes; it is an active participant. Protein folding is thus a self-organized process in which the actions of the solvent play a key role. So far, the emphasis in studies of protein folding processes has been on observation of the protein backbone and its side chains. Researchers led by Martin Gruebele and Martina Havenith have now been able to detect changes in the protein–water network during protein folding in real time.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Researchers have harnessed the sensitivity of days-old fish embryos to create a tool capable of detecting a range of harmful chemicals.

The intelligence community often monitors global trends in scientific and technological research to identify advances that could affect national security. Few intelligence analysts, however, have the scientific training needed to recognize significant advances in esoteric fields, such as cognitive neuroscience. A new report from the National Research Council, EMERGING COGNITIVE NEUROSCIENCE AND RELATED TECHNOLOGIES, identifies the areas of neuroscience research that analysts should focus on, and describes how advances in these areas could impact national security.

Halle/Saale, Potsdam, August 2008 - One in five of Germany's plant species could lose parts of its current range, a study by scientists at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the French Laboratoire d'Ecologie Alpine reveals. Species distributions will be rearranged as a result of climate change; this could have a dramatic impact particularly on the vegetation in south-western and eastern Germany.

SIGGRAPH, Los Angeles – August 12, 2008 -University of California, San Diego today announced a new method for accurately capturing the shape and appearance of a person's hairstyle. The results closely match the real hairstyles and can be used for animation.