A plastic used in filters and tubing has an unusual trait: it can produce electricity when pulled or pressed. This ability has been used in small ways, but now researchers are coaxing fibers of the material to make even more electricity for a wider range of applications from green energy to "artificial muscles."
Orchestrated costume changes make it possible for certain nasty microbes to outsmart the immune system, which would otherwise recognize them by the telltale proteins they wear. By taking the first detailed look at how one such parasite periodically assumes a new protein disguise during a long-term infection, research challenges many assumptions about one of the best-known examples of this strategy.
A pocket-sized device that can rapidly determine the sequence of an organism's DNA has shown its potential in disease detection. In the first analysis of its kind, researchers were able to use the device to accurately identify a range of closely related bacteria and viruses within six hours, demonstrating the potential for this technology to be used as a mobile diagnostic clinic during outbreaks.
Effective lab-based tests are required to eliminate the need for animal testing in assessing the toxicological effects of inhaled chemicals and safety of medicines. A 3-D model of human respiratory tissue has been shown to be an effective platform for measuring the impact of chemicals, like those found in cigarette smoke, or other aerosols, on the lung.
Antimicrobial resistance is a major health care problem worldwide. In the first installment of a new series in The BMJ, a professor asks why authorities are approving drugs with little evidence they do anything to tackle the problem of antimicrobial resistance.
Scientific literature traces manhole explosions back nearly a century, but a series of such incidents in Indianapolis has authorities looking for a quick solution. A combination of power system design, winter road salt, older electrical cable insulation and basic chemistry have triggered underground explosions in older downtowns, launching 350-pound manhole covers high in the air.
Water-borne algal blooms from farm fertilizer runoff can destroy aquatic life and clog rivers and lakes, but scientists are working on a way to clean up these environmental scourges and turn them into useful products. The algae could serve as a feedstock for biofuels, and the feedstock leftovers could be recycled back into farm soil nutrients.
Inspired by the popular "USDA organic" label, House Republicans are proposing a new government certification for foods free of genetically modified ingredients. The idea is part of an attempt to block mandatory labeling of foods that include genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.
Scientists have looked at the effect of low levels of manganese, a common industrial pollutant, on the behavior of honey bees. At levels considered safe for human food, the metal seemed to addle bees. The bees advanced through age-related work assignments faster than normal, yet completed fewer foraging trips than their sisters who were not exposed to manganese.
The sweet taste and smell of antifreeze tempts children and animals to drink the poisonous substance, resulting in thousands of accidental poisonings in the U.S. every year. But today, researchers are describing a new, nontoxic product based on a common food additive that could address this health issue and help the environment at the same time.
Drugmakers are pouring billions into developing treatments for rare diseases, which once drew little interest from the industry but now point the way toward a new era of innovative therapies and big profits. The investments come as researchers harness recent scientific advances, including the mapping of the human genome, sophisticated and affordable genetic tests and robots that screen thousands of compounds per hour.
The Supreme Court is taking up a challenge by industry groups and Republican-led states that want to roll back Obama administration environmental rules aimed at reducing power plant emissions of mercury and other hazardous air pollutants that contribute to respiratory illnesses, birth defects and developmental problems in children.
Two separate studies have found that air pollution is linked to a higher risk of stroke, particularly in developing countries, and is associated with anxiety. Stroke is a leading cause of death and kills around 5 million people each year worldwide. Anxiety is the most common psychiatric disorder and globally affects around 16 percent of people at some point in life.
Three organic food companies that use spinach in their food have recalled hundreds of thousands of items over listeria concerns. And, Blue Bell is expanding the recall of some ice cream products to include 3-ounce cups of chocolate, strawberry and vanilla ice cream that have tab lids because of possible exposure to the listeria bacteria.
Improving the efficiency of the current wastewater cleaning process, using membrane filtration and oxidation, can remove more than 95 percent of contaminants, such as drug residues and pesticides, from water. The results show that these technologies remove up to 99 percent of contaminants and nutrients.
The nutritional benefits of breast milk for babies are widely documented, but many new mothers find it difficult or are unable to breastfeed. This pushes some mothers to purchase human breast milk on the Internet. Despite appearing as healthy and beneficial products, many new mothers— and even some healthcare workers— are not aware that this market is dangerous because it is not regulated.
Kansas farmers are paying for genetic research to figure out exactly why some people struggle to digest wheat. The hard science is aimed at developing new varieties of wheat at a time when the gluten-free industry is worth nearly a billion dollars a year in the U.S. alone.
Natural gas that is leaked into the atmosphere could speed global warming and climate change. Now, researchers are presenting new and different techniques to make atmospheric observations that are being used to locate, quantify and attribute sources of leaked methane emissions.
A diet high in whole grains and cereal fibers is associated with a reduced risk of premature death, according to research. The results also show cereal fibers to be associated with reduced risk of deaths in varying degrees for chronic diseases including cancer, heart disease, respiratory disease and diabetes.
Squid are the ultimate camouflage artists, blending almost flawlessly with their backgrounds so that unsuspecting prey can't detect them. Using a protein that's key to this process, scientists have designed "invisibility stickers" that could one day help soldiers disguise themselves, even when sought by enemies with tough-to-fool infrared cameras.
Chocolate has many health benefits— it can potentially lower blood pressure and cholesterol and reduce stroke risk. But just as connoisseurs thought it couldn't get any better, there's this tasty new tidbit: researchers have found a way to make the treat even more nutritious— and sweeter.
Francisco Rangel has won FEI’s 2014 Image Contest grand prize for his “Expanded Vermiculite.” Vermiculite is a hydrated magnesium-aluminum-iron-silicate. It is a versatile mineral that is clean to handle, odorless and mold-resistant.
Saccharin, the artificial sweetener that is the main ingredient in Sweet 'N Low, Sweet Twin and Necta, could do far more than just keep our waistlines trim. According to new research, this popular sugar substitute could potentially lead to the development of drugs capable of combating aggressive, difficult-to-treat cancers with fewer side effects.
Strange creatures live in the deep sea, but few are odder than archaea, primitive single-celled microorganisms that go to great lengths to survive the most extreme environments on the planet. Now, scientists discovered something odder: a virus that seemingly infects methane-eating archaea living beneath the ocean’s floor. Stranger still, this virus selectively targets one of its own genes for mutation and, moreover, some archaea do too.
Poop could be a goldmine— literally. Surprisingly, treated solid waste contains gold, silver and other metals, as well as rare elements such as palladium and vanadium that are used in electronics and alloys. Now, researchers are looking at identifying the metals that are getting flushed and how they can be recovered. This could decrease the need for mining and reduce the unwanted release of metals into the environment.