Tech

The combination of low concentrations of oxygen and nutrients in the lower layers of the beaches of Alaska's Prince William Sound is slowing the aerobic biodegradation of oil remaining from the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill, according to researchers at Temple University.

Considered one of the worst environmental disasters in history, the Exxon Valdez spilled more than 11 million gallons of crude oil into Alaska's Prince William Sound, contaminating some 1,300 miles of shoreline, killing thousands of wildlife and severely impacting Alaska's fishing industry and economy.

In humans and animals, periodically recurring movements like walking or breathing are controlled by small neural circuits called "central pattern generators" (CPG). Scientists have been using this principle in the development of walking machines. To date, typically one separate CPG was needed for every gait. The robot receives information about its environment via several sensors – about whether there is an obstacle in front of it or whether it climbs a slope. Based on this information, it selects the CPG controlling the gait that is appropriate for the respective situation.

The remarkable feat of tying light in knots has been achieved by a team of physicists working at the universities of Bristol, Glasgow and Southampton, UK, reports a paper in Nature Physics this week.

Understanding how to control light in this way has important implications for laser technology used in wide a range of industries.

CLEMSON, S.C. — Resources to solve the housing crisis in Haiti may already be on hand.

Some Clemson University researchers have been experimenting with ways to convert shipping containers into emergency housing in the hurricane-prone Caribbean, where a surplus of the sturdy boxes often sits in port yards.

HOBOKEN, N.J. – A research paper that has potential implications for homeland defense, work place safety, and health care has been published in the Journal of Advanced Materials (volume, issue, 2010). Stevens Institute of Technology's Dr. Henry Du, Professor and Director of the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, together with Dr.

CORVALLIS, Ore. – One way to help address the epidemic of obesity in the United States is improved access to pleasant hiking trails and an ambitious parks and recreation program, a recent study suggests, but programs such as this are increasingly being reduced in many states due to budget shortfalls.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — What we learn from our siblings when we grow up has – for better or for worse – a considerable influence on our social and emotional development as adults, according to an expert in sibling, parent-child and peer relationships at the University of Illinois.

Laurie Kramer, a professor of applied family studies in the department of human and community development at Illinois, says that although a parent's influence on a child's development shouldn't be underestimated, neither should a sibling's.

Boron nitride nanotubes (BNNTs) are the divas of the nanoworld. In possession of alluring properties, they are also notoriously temperamental compared to their carbon-based cousins.

Everyone wants to save energy, but there are few individuals who can tell you exactly how much energy the devices in their homes consume. For example, which consumes more power – the dishwasher or the television? To answer such questions and to give consumers a sense of where the energy guzzlers hide, the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology FIT in Sankt Augustin, Germany has developed an application that demonstrates the energy consumption of individual devices in the household.

As rescue workers scramble to provide assistance to hundreds of thousands of people following Haiti's earthquake, Earth observation satellite data continues to provide updated views of the situation on the ground.

Following the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that hit Haiti on 12 January, international agencies requested satellite data of the area from the International Charter on 'Space and Major Disasters'.

Esophageal carcinoma (EC) is one of the major malignant diseases worldwide. Surgery alone cannot obtain satisfactory effects in patients with EC. Neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy has been a hotspot for EC treatment research. Several related randomized controlled trials (RCTs) have been published, but opinions vary among clinicians as to the therapeutic effect of the new method. It remains uncertain whether patients with resectable EC can benefit from neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy.

New York, NY, January 15, 2010—A new Commonwealth Fund survey of safety-net clinic patients in New Orleans finds that, despite being disproportionately low-income and uninsured, these patients had fewer problems affording care and fewer instances of medical debt and inefficient care than most U.S. adults. In fact, the report, Coming Out of Crisis: Patient Experiences In Primary Care In New Orleans, Four Years Post Katrina, finds that, among the clinic patients surveyed, only 27 percent went without needed health care because of cost, compared with 41 percent of adults across the country.

Patients with advanced chronic kidney disease (CKD) often do not receive adequate end-of-life care and are unhappy with the medical decisions made as their conditions worsen, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society Nephrology (CJASN). The findings indicate that end-of-life care should be improved to meet the needs of CKD patients.

A significant percentage of U.S. women 70 years or older who were severely cognitively impaired received screening mammography that was unlikely to benefit them, according to a study of 2,131 elderly women conducted by researchers from the University of California, San Francisco.

A Northwestern University study shows that coupling a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agent to a nanodiamond results in dramatically enhanced signal intensity and thus vivid image contrast.

"The results are a leap and not a small one -- it is a game-changing event for sensitivity," said Thomas J. Meade, the Eileen Foell Professor in Cancer Research in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and the Feinberg School of Medicine. "This is an imaging agent on steroids. The complex is far more sensitive than anything else I've seen."