Research

Oil palm plantations may have disastrous effect on wildlife

 Oil palm plantations may have disastrous effect on wildlife Washington, May 21 : Scientists from Queen Mary, University of London have discovered that forest fragmentation driven by demand for palm oil is having a catastrophic effect on multiple levels of biodiversity.

The researchers are worried that unless steps are taken to safeguard and manage the remaining forest, then certain species will struggle to survive.

The team conducted bat surveys in pristine forests and also in forest patches of varying size in central Peninsular Malaysia.

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Now, run a mile to predict heart attack, stroke risk

Washington, May 19 : Researchers have found that a simple fitness test can predict long-term risk for heart attack, stroke in middle-aged people.

In two separate studies, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers found that how fast a middle-age person can run a mile can help predict the risk of dying of heart attack or stroke decades later for men and could be an early indicator of cardiovascular disease for women.

“Heart disease tends to cluster at older ages, but if you want to prevent it, our research suggests that the prescription for prevention needs to occur earlier – when a person is in his 40s and 50s,” said Dr. Jarett Berry, assistant professor of internal medicine and a corresponding author on both studies.

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Scientists re-grow retinas, restore vision using skin’s stem cells

Washington, May 17 : For the first time, scientists from Boston’s Schepens Eye Research Institute have used stem cells derived from skin to re-grow areas of the retina and improve vision.

The results of their study hold great promise for future treatments and cures for diseases such as age-related macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa, diabetic retinopathy and other retinal diseases that affect millions worldwide.

First author Budd A. Tucker together with principle investigator Michael J. Young harvested skin cells from the tails of red fluorescent mice. They used red mice, because the red tissue would be easy to track when transplanted in the eyes of non-fluorescent diseased mice.

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Artistically manipulating corporate logo may make firms ‘untrustworthy’

Washington, May 17 : A Boston College researcher has suggested that the visual power of a brand can be the first breakthrough companies make with their customers. But efforts to artistically manipulate the typeface of a corporate logo can backfire for firms.

Consumers may perceive companies that use incomplete typeface logos — such as the horizontal baby blue stripes that form the letters IBM — as innovative. However, these firms run the risk of being viewed as untrustworthy, according to a report.

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Researchers use Facebook to identify 5,000 species of fish!

 Researchers use Facebook to identify 5,000 species of fish! Washington, May 14 : Facebook, which is known for connecting friends, has been now been used by scientists to identify thousands of varieties of fish.

University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC) candidate Devin Bloom helped conduct the first ichthyological survey on Guyana''s remote Cuyuni River. Led by Oregon State University''s Dr. Brian Sidlauskas, the goal was to find out which species of fish live in the Cuyuni and get a good estimate of their abundance.

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Most people ‘choose mates with matching political views’

Most people ‘choose mates with matching political views’Washington, May 11 : Contrary to popular belief that variety is the ‘spice of life’ and ‘opposites attract’, a new study has found that most people choose mates with matching political views, and those attitudes were among the strongest shared traits, which count stronger than qualities like personality or looks.

Researchers from Rice University and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln examined physical and behavioral traits of more than 5,000 married couples in the United States.

They found spouses in the study appeared to instinctively select a partner who has similar social and political views.

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Tracking evolution of deadly fungus which is one of world''s major killers

Washington, May 4 : A new research has shed light on the origins of a fungal infection, which is one of the major causes of death from AIDS-related illnesses.

The study funded by the Wellcome Trust and the BBSRC, shows how the more virulent forms of Cryptococcus neoformans evolved and spread out of Africa and into Asia.

Cryptococcus neoformans is a species of often highly aggressive fungi.

One particular strain of the fungus, known as Cryptococcus neoformas variety grubii (Cng), causes meningitis amongst patients with compromised immune systems following HIV infection.

There are believed to over up to a million cases of cryptococcal meningitis each year, resulting in over 600,000 deaths.

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Employees with respected reputation benefit from work-family programs

Washington, May 4 : Prior research studies have shown employees participating in work-family programs are at risk of fewer promotions and lower wages than those who do not.

But, a new study has revealed that creating a respected reputation as soon as possible upon entering a firm could help employees gain the intended benefits of the programs - such as flexible schedules with prorated pay - without harming their careers.

Forrest Briscoe, assistant professor of management, Penn State Smeal College of Business, and Katherine Kellogg, associate professor of organization studies, MIT, called their solution the ‘initial assignment effect’.

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Why we don't see what's right in front of our eyes

Why we don't see what's right in front of our eyesWashington, April 18 : It has happened to most of us - sometimes we are so engrossed in talking on the phone while driving that we fail to see the lights turning red, or watching our favourite movie star so intently that we miss what the other actors are doing in the scene.

Researchers call this "inattention blindness".

People who fail to see something right in front of them while they are focusing on something else have lower "working memory capacity".

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Europe was populated by Kashmiris around 40,000 years ago: Study

Europe was populated by Kashmiris around 40,000 years ago: StudyWashington, April 3 : Researchers have found that Europe was populated by people from Kashmir around 40,000 years back and that they carry two to four percent Neanderthal genes – an ancient species of homosapiens.

The study, conducted by the UC Davis Anthropology Department at the US, found that about four percent (ranging from two to five percent) of all modern humans, except African descent, have Neanderthal genes left over from matings between the two peoples in prehistoric times, reports Greater Kashmir.

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Nicotine raises blood sugar among diabetic smokers: Study

Nicotine raises blood sugar among diabetic smokers: Study Washington, Mar 28 : Researchers have found that nicotine is the main culprit responsible for persistently elevated blood sugar levels — and the resulting increased risk of serious health complications — in smokers who have diabetes.

They said the discovery also might have implications for people with diabetes who are using nicotine-replacement therapy for extended periods in an attempt to stop smoking.

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Research says randomness could ''improve democracy''

New York, Mar. 18 : Democracy can be better served by randomly selecting representatives, argue Italian researchers.

According to Dr. Alessandro Pluchino of the Università di Cantania and colleagues: "We think that the introduction of random selection systems, rediscovering the wisdom of ancient democracies, would be broadly beneficial for modern institutions."

Pluchino and colleagues developed a computer simulation, in which they studied the behaviour of politicians when randomly selected independents were introduced to a model parliament.

Their model relied on four categories of people in the parliament. These were: ''intelligent'' people (actions serve both personal and social interests), ''helpless or naive'' (loss for self, but gain for others), ''bandits''

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Finding of long-sought drug target structure may accelerate drug discovery

 Finding of long-sought drug target structure may accelerate drug discovery Washington, Mar 16 : Researchers from the National Institutes of Health, collaborating with labs at The Scripps Research Institute and the University of California, San Diego, have solved the three-dimensional structure of a key biological receptor.

The finding has the potential to speed drug discovery in many areas, from arthritis to respiratory disorders to wound healing, because it enables chemists to better examine and design molecules for use in experimental drugs.

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New, ‘smart’ solutions to drone out those annoying car noises

 New, ‘smart’ solutions to drone out those annoying car noisesWashington, Mar 12: The droning of a car is just one of the annoying noises cars make but now 11 Fraunhofer Institutes have joined forces to create the `Adaptronics Alliance,' making new, "smart" solutions so that you have a more enjoyable drive.

Researchers use piezoceramics, a material that transforms electrical energy to motion and conversely dampens vibrations by converting them to electrical energy.

The piezo bearings are electromechanical energy transducer devices, being electronically controlled to counteract and neutralize these bothersome vibrations.

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