Culture

Japanese scientists are shedding new light on the importance of light-sensing cells in the retina that process visual information. The researchers isolated the functions of melanopsin cells and demonstrated their crucial role in the perception of visual environment. This ushers in a new understanding of the biology of the eye and how visual information is processed.

The findings could contribute to more effective therapies for complications that relate to the eye. They can also serve as the basis for developing lighting and display systems.

Stone tools uncovered in Mongolia by an international team of archaeologists indicate that modern humans traveled across the Eurasian steppe about 45,000 years ago, according to a new University of California, Davis, study. The date is about 10,000 years earlier than archaeologists previously believed.

The site also points to a new location for where modern humans may have first encountered their mysterious cousins, the now extinct Denisovans, said Nicolas Zwyns, an associate professor of anthropology and lead author of the study.

One of the greatest mysteries in condensed matter physics is the exact relationship between charge order and superconductivity in cuprate superconductors. In superconductors, electrons move freely through the material--there is zero resistance when it's cooled below its critical temperature. However, the cuprates simultaneously exhibit superconductivity and charge order in patterns of alternating stripes. This is paradoxical in that charge order describes areas of confined electrons. How can superconductivity and charge order coexist?

Washington, DC - August 16, 2019 - Researchers have shown that three genes from a probiotic Lactobacillus species, used in some commercial probiotic vaginal capsules, are almost certainly involved in mediating adhesion to the vaginal epithelium. This is likely critical to how this species benefits vaginal health.

Nanometers are one billionth of a meter, a metric typically used to measure molecules and scientific building blocks not visible to the human eye. Materials of tens and/or several hundred nanometers in diameter have unique properties, and thus have been widely used in diagnosing and treating various human diseases. One major challenge to use these nano-sized materials is how to deliver them into cells and reach their sites of action.

Bottom Line: Rates of marijuana exposure cases in children and teens reported to a poison control center increased after Massachusetts legalized medical marijuana in 2012. From 2009 to 2016, there were 218 cannabis-related calls (a small portion of the calls to the poison center) about exposure in children and teens to age 19, with most of the calls coming from health care facilities. Teens ages 15 to 19 were involved in the highest number of cases followed by children to age 4.

Homes are the front lines of military suicide prevention as nearly two-thirds of suicides occur at home using a firearm--nearly always a personal firearm. Because suicide risk decreases if a firearm is safely stored locked and unloaded researchers, led by Craig Bryan of the National Center for Veterans Studies at the University of Utah, surveyed military personnel to learn more about the relationship between safe firearm storage and thoughts of suicide or self-harm. Their results are published today in JAMA Network Open.

Cancer does not affect men and women equally, but we know little about the molecular causes underlying this difference. Published in Science Advances, a study by the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) involving the vinegar fly, Drosophila melanogaster, has identified possible regulators that determine differences in tumours between sexes.

WASHINGTON (Aug. 16, 2019) -- The extracellular regulated kinase (ERK) protein is an important mechanism behind platinum-resistance in platinum-resistant ovarian cancer, according to a study from a research team at the George Washington University (GW) Cancer Center. The study, which is the first to provide clinical evidence confirming a link between ERK and hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF-1α), is published in Clinical Cancer Research.

The "Landau-level laser" is an exciting concept for an unusual radiation source. It has the potential to efficiently generate so-called terahertz waves, which can be used to penetrate materials as well as for future data transmission. So far, however, nearly all attempts to make such a laser reality have failed. An international team of researchers has now taken an important step in the right direction: In the journal Nature Photonics (DOI: 10.1038/s41566-019-0496-1), they describe a material that generates terahertz waves by simply applying an electric current.

Organic solar cells are made of cheap and abundant materials, but their efficiency and stability still lag behind those of silicon-based solar cells. A Chinese-German team of scientists has found a way to enhance the electric conductivity of organic solar cells, which increases their performances. Doping the metal oxide interlayer, which connected the electrode and active layer, with a modified organic dye boosted both the efficiency and stability, the study published in the journal Angewandte Chemie revealed.

A microbiome is a community of microorganisms that inhabit an ecological niche. Microbiomes exist in both environmental biotopes, for example, a water body or forest soil - and in living multicellular host organisms - such as humans, animals or plants. A microbiome may be comprised of bacteria, archaea, and unicellular eukaryotes -protists and fungi.

New research led by academics at the University of Bristol Veterinary and Medical Schools used the 'One Health' approach to study three bacterial species in the noses of young cattle and found the carriage of the bacteria was surprisingly different. The findings which combined ideas and methods from both animal and human health research could help prevent and control respiratory diseases.

Scientists have found how to relieve a bottleneck in the process by which plants transform sunlight into food, which may lead to an increase in crop production. They discovered that producing more of a protein that controls the rate in which electrons flow during photosynthesis, accelerates the whole process.

"We tested the effect of increasing the production of the Rieske FeS protein, and found it increases photosynthesis by 10 percent," said lead researcher Dr Maria Ermakova from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Translational Photosynthesis (CoETP).

"Soft tissue damage associated with the bit is a common concern in the equine world, but no prior studies on the topic have been carried out among trotters in Finland. This is why we surveyed the oral health of trotters after a race as part of a welfare project coordinated by Suomen Hippos, the Finnish trotting and breeding association," says veterinarian Kati Tuomola, a doctoral student at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Helsinki, Finland.