Here is the latest Science News from Eurekalert.
Watching thoughts — and addiction — form in the brain
In a classic experiment, Ivan Pavlov conditioned dogs to salivate at the ringing of a bell. Now, scientists can see what happens in the brains of live animals during this experiment with a new technique. The approach could lead to a greater understanding of how we learn and develop addictions. Scientists will present this study and others related to the BRAIN Initiative at the 252nd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society.
How cars could meet future emissions standards: Focus on cold starts
Car emissions is a high-stakes issue, as last year’s Volkswagen scandal demonstrated. Wrongdoing aside, how are automakers going to realistically meet future, tougher emissions requirements to reduce their impact on the climate? Researchers report today that a vehicle’s cold start — at least in gasoline-powered cars — is the best target for future design changes. The researchers present their work at the 252nd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society.
Reducing tire waste by using completely degradable, synthetic rubber
Scrap tires pile up in landfills, have fed enormous toxic fires, harbor pests and get burned for fuel. Scientists trying to rid us of this scourge have developed a new way to make synthetic rubber. Once this material is discarded, it can be easily degraded back to its building blocks and reused in new tires and other products. They will present their work at the 252nd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society.
Nanoparticles that speed blood clotting may someday save lives
Whether severe trauma occurs on the battlefield or the highway, saving lives often comes down to stopping the bleeding as quickly as possible. Now, researchers have developed nanoparticles that congregate wherever injury occurs in the body to help it form blood clots, and they’ve validated these particles in test tubes and in vivo. The researchers present their work at the 252nd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society.
New device could help improve taste of foods low in fat, sugar and salt
Scientists may be closing in on a way to let consumers savor the sweet taste of cake, cookies and other delights without the sugar rush. They have isolated several natural aromatic molecules that could be used to trick our brains into believing that desserts and other foods contain more fat, sugar or salt than they actually do. The researchers present their work at the 252nd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society.
Simple new test could improve diagnosis of tuberculosis in developing nations
The current test used in developing nations to diagnose tuberculosis is error-prone, complicated and slow. Furthermore, patients in these resource-limited areas can’t easily travel back to a clinic at a later date to get their results. Chemists have now developed a simpler, faster and more accurate test. Trials of the new test began in Africa in June. The researchers will present their work at the 252nd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society.
After the heart attack: Injectable gels could prevent future heart failure (video)
During a heart attack, clots or narrowed arteries block blood flow, harming or killing cells in the heart. But damage doesn’t end after the crushing pain subsides. Instead, the heart’s walls thin out, the organ becomes enlarged, and scar tissue forms. These changes can cause heart failure. Scientists now report they have developed injectable gels to prevent this damage. They present their work at the 252nd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society.
Sub-Saharan Africans satisfied with their sex lives; 18 percent rate them a perfect 10
People in Africa’s Sub-Sahara region, a relatively undeveloped area, are generally satisfied with their sex lives, with the most common rating — reported by 18 percent of survey respondents — being a perfect ’10,’ according to Baylor University research to be presented Monday at the 111th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association.
Global allergy epidemic — new data on vaccines/probiotics and dairy allergy
Why is there a global allergy epidemic? Three of the world’s experts in allergy present new data at the International Congress of Immunology including why children who grow up on dairy farms are immune to dairy allergies; how giving probiotics to pregnant women can protect their offspring against allergy and a long-acting vaccine against cats.
Health-care consumer advocates chose moderation, won some successes in Medicaid debate
Even though most consumer advocate groups were likely opposed to Medicaid reform, advocates tended to frame the problem of reform in terms of symptoms, such as accountability, transparency and troubles that providers and consumers would experience instead of a wholesale opposition to privatizing the system, study finds.
Researchers investigate environmental movements and neoliberalism
Recent dynamics of global environmentalism, ranging from indigenous people’s rights to the reliance on non-governmental organizations, have been marked by a resurgence in environmental movements that more aggressively resist natural resource extraction, according to two University of Kansas researchers.
Greater academic achievement in high school increases likelihood of moving away
High school students who completed higher levels of math, performed better academically, and had a greater sense of control of their future were more likely to migrate and work in labor markets with larger shares of college-educated workers, according to a new study.
Great Recession’s other legacy: Inconsistent work hours
A new study by researchers at the University of California-Davis, finds that an unpredictable work week is the norm for growing numbers of low-wage workers — nearly 40 percent of whom worked variable hours for at least one four-month period after the start of the 2007-09 Great Recession.
Beginning pornography use associated with increase in probability of divorce
Beginning pornography use is associated with a substantial increase in the probability of divorce for married Americans, and this increase is especially large for women, finds a new study.
Ramen noodles supplanting cigarettes as currency among prisoners
Ramen noodles are supplanting the once popular cigarettes as a form of currency among state prisoners, but not in response to bans on tobacco products within prison systems, finds a new study.
Does owning a well foster environmental citizenship? A new study provides evidence
Kansans who own water wells show more awareness of state water policy issues than those who rely on municipal water supplies, according to a study that could have implications for groundwater management and environmental policies.
Sub-Saharan Africans satisfied with their sex lives, with 18 percent rating them a perfect 10
People in Africa’s Sub-Sahara region, a relatively undeveloped area, are generally satisfied with their sex lives, with the most common rating — reported by 18 percent of respondents — being a perfect ’10,’ according to Baylor University research.
Socioeconomic factors — not race or ethnicity — influence survival of younger patients with multiple myeloma
Advances in the treatment of multiple myeloma, a cancer that forms in a type of white blood cell, have led to improved survival predominantly among young and white patients, with less of an increase in survival observed in patients of other ethnicities. A new study indicates that this gap is mostly due to socioeconomic differences between whites and ethnic minorities, not race itself. The findings are published early online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society.
One approach can prevent teen obesity, eating disorders, new guidelines say
A single approach can prevent both obesity and eating disorders in teenagers, according to new guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Lousy jobs hurt your health by the time you’re in your 40s
Job satisfaction in your late 20s and 30s has a link to overall health in your early 40s, according to a new nationwide study.
Why prisons continue to grow, even when crime declines
A new study may help explain why the number of people in prison in the United States continued to rise, even as the crime rate declined significantly. Using data from Minnesota, an Ohio State University sociologist found that the US criminal justice system continues to feel the reverberations from the increase in violent crime and imprisonment that occurred from the 1960s to the early 1990s.
More psychiatrists will not improve access to mental health care, Canadian study suggests
Increasing the supply of psychiatrists in Ontario, Canada has not significantly improved access to psychiatric care, according to a new study from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences.
Religious actions convey pro-social intent, finds study
A new study suggests that people who participate in regular religious acts send a clear signal to others that they’re ready and willing to contribute to their communities.Eleanor Power, a Santa Fe Institute researcher, spent two years in southern India collecting evidence on religious involvement and community standing. Her observations support a theory which predicts that people will pay a price in time, money, or even physical pain to demonstrate something to others.
Sleep makes relearning faster and longer-lasting
Getting some sleep in between study sessions may make it easier to recall what you studied and relearn what you’ve forgotten, even six months later, according to new findings from Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.
Color-graded pictogram label to reduce medicine-related traffic crashes found ineffective
A new study questions the effectiveness of using pictogram message on the labels of anxiety and sleep medications that interfere with driving — an approach this is currently implemented across France. The British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology study found that the risk of being responsible for a crash associated with these medicines did not decrease long-term after the pictogram was introduced.
Astronomers identify a young heavyweight star in the Milky Way
A young star over 30 times more massive than the sun could help us understand how the most extreme stars in the universe are born.
Fungi recycle rechargeable lithium-ion batteries
Rechargeable batteries in smartphones, cars and tablets don’t last forever. Old batteries often wind up in landfills or incinerators, potentially harming the environment. And valuable materials remain locked inside. Now, a team of researchers is turning to fungi to drive an environmentally friendly recycling process to extract cobalt and lithium from tons of waste batteries. The researchers present their work today at the 252nd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society.
Stopping scars before they form
Most people start racking up scars from an early age with scraped knees and elbows. While many of these fade over time, more severe types such as keloids and scars from burns are largely untreatable, and can carry the stigma of disfigurement. Now scientists are developing new compounds that could stop scars from forming in the first place. The researchers present their work at the 252nd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society.
Squid, jellyfish and wrinkled skin inspire materials for anti-glare screens and encryption
What do squid and jellyfish skin have in common with human skin? All three have inspired a team of chemists to create materials that change color or texture in response to variations in their surroundings. These materials could be used for encrypting secret messages, creating anti-glare surfaces, or detecting moisture or damage, they say. The researchers are presenting their work at the 252nd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society.
Edible food packaging made from milk proteins (video)
Most foods at the grocery store come wrapped in plastic packaging. Not only does this create a lot of non-recyclable, non-biodegradable waste, but thin plastic films are not great at preventing spoilage. Scientists are now developing a packaging film made of milk proteins that addresses these issues — and it is even edible. The researchers present their work at the 252nd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society.
Paper-based device spots falsified or degraded medications (video)
The developing world is awash in substandard, degraded or falsified medications, which can either directly harm users or deprive them of needed treatment. And with internet sales of medications on the rise, people everywhere are increasingly at risk. So, a team of researchers has developed a simple, inexpensive paper-based device to screen suspicious medications. They present their work today at the 252nd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society.
Citrus fruits could help prevent obesity-related heart disease, liver disease, diabetes
Oranges and other citrus fruits are good for you — they contain plenty of vitamins and substances, such as antioxidants, that can help keep you healthy. Now a group of researchers reports that these fruits also help prevent harmful effects of obesity in mice fed a Western-style, high-fat diet. The researchers are presenting their work today at the 252nd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society.
Is divorce seasonal? UW research shows biannual spike in divorce filings
University of Washington researchers found what is thought to be the first quantitative evidence of a season, biannual pattern for divorce. They analyzed filings in Washington state over a 14-year period and found that they consistently peaked in March and August.
Relationships with family members, but not friends, decrease likelihood of death
For older adults, having more or closer family members in one’s social network decreases his or her likelihood of death, but having a larger or closer group of friends does not, finds a new study.
Sex and gender more important than income in determining views on division of chores
For heterosexual couples, most Americans still believe in the traditional division of household labor between husbands and wives, while for same-sex couples, they think the ‘more masculine’ partner and the ‘more feminine’ partner should generally be responsible for stereotypically male and female chores, respectively, suggests a new study.
Is divorce seasonal? Study shows biannual spike in divorce filings
To everything there is a season — even divorce, new research from University of Washington sociologists concludes.
Who are you? Squatters can actually help a neighborhood
Squatters who illegally occupy vacant homes or buildings are not always contributing to apathy or social disorder, says a new University of Michigan study.
Trust is key motivator for individuals who protest on behalf of people different from them
It appears that people who actively participate in demonstrations during social movements on behalf of those dissimilar to them do so for two important reasons.
‘I miss you so much’: How Twitter is broadening the conversation on death and mourning
Social media is redefining how people grieve, bringing conversations about death back into the public realm, University of Washington sociologists found. And Twitter in particular, they say, is broadening the discourse around who may engage when someone dies.
Study highlights crucial ethnic majority-minority divide in Kyrgyzstan
Members of minority ethnic groups in Kyrgyzstan, who are often marginalized politically and economically, differ from members of the ethnic majority in their assessment of interethnic relations and their prospects.
Youth cyberbullying most common among current or former friends and dating partners
Youth cyberbullying is dramatically more likely to occur between current or former friends and dating partners than between students who were never friends or in a romantic relationship, suggests a new study.
‘I miss you so much’: How Twitter is broadening the conversation on death and mourning
Death and mourning were largely considered private matters in the 20th century, with the public remembrances common in previous eras replaced by intimate gatherings behind closed doors in funeral parlors and family homes. But social media is redefining how people grieve, and Twitter in particular — with its ephemeral mix of rapid-fire broadcast and personal expression — is widening the conversation around death and mourning, two University of Washington (UW) sociologists say.
Teens in therapeutic boarding school adopt atypical gender behaviors to reassert dominance
While studying the rapid growth of the therapeutic boarding school industry, Jessica A. Pfaffendorf observed that troubled young men in at least one program most often displayed a type of ‘hybrid masculinity.’
9/11 merged US immigration and terrorism efforts at Latinos’ expense, study finds
After Sept. 11, issues of immigration and terrorism merged, heightening surveillance and racializing Latino immigrants as a threat to national security, according to sociologists at The University of Texas at Austin.
MRI technology quantifies liver response in nonalcoholic steatohepatitis patients
Researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine have found that a form of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) that non-invasively measures fat density in the liver corresponds with histological (microscopic tissue analyses) responses in patients with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).
Study finds better definition of homelessness may help minimize HIV risk
Being homeless puts people at greater risk of HIV infection than those with stable housing, but targeting services to reduce risk behaviors is often complicated by fuzzy definitions of homelessness.