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Paleolithic Hunters Poisoned Their Weapons

April 7, 2015 | by Univ. of Cambridge | Comments

Dozens of common plants are toxic. Archaeologists have long suspected that our Paleolithic ancestors used plant poisons to make their hunting weapons more lethal. Now, scientists have developed a technique for detecting residues of deadly substances on archaeological objects.

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New Technique Analyzes Precious Art Sans Damage

April 7, 2015 9:00 am | by Science and Technology Facilities Council

Precious works of art in need of preservation or authentication could be studied using a laser technique, Micro-SORS, derived from a technique called Spatially Offset Raman Spectroscopy (SORS). Last year, researchers proved the method could analyze artificially prepared layers of paint without destroying any part of them. Now, they have successfully applied it to real objects of precious art.

Researchers Freeze Highly Charged Ions

April 7, 2015 9:00 am | by Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt

Inside a cryogenic radiofrequency ion trap, highly charged ions are cooled down to sub-Kelvin temperatures by interaction with laser-cooled singly charged Beryllium ions. This new method opens the field of laser spectroscopy of HCIs providing the basis for novel atomic clocks and high-precision tests of the variability of natural constants.

Imaging Tech Can See Living Cells

April 7, 2015 9:00 am | by Purdue Univ.

A vibrational spectroscopic imaging technology that can take images of living cells could represent an advanced medical diagnostic tool for the early detection of cancer and other diseases. High-speed spectroscopic imaging makes it possible to observe the quickly changing metabolic processes inside living cells and to image large areas of tissue, making it possible to scan an entire organ.

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Chemicals Can Attract Mosquitos, Stem Malaria

April 7, 2015 9:00 am | by London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

In a world first, researchers have found that a naturally occurring chemical attracts pregnant malaria-transmitting mosquitoes– a discovery that could boost malaria control efforts. The chemical, cedrol, found in mosquito breeding sites near Africa’s Lake Victoria, could be used in traps that would “attract and kill” the female mosquito, preventing reproduction.

Old Spectroscopy Tool Enables Quantum Leaps

March 19, 2015 9:00 am | by Univ. of Michigan

Physicists have demonstrated "ponderomotive spectroscopy," an advanced form of a technique that was born in the 17th century when Isaac Newton first showed that white light sent through a prism breaks into a rainbow. A new twist on this old tool lets scientists use light to study and control matter with 1,000 times better resolution and precision than previously possible.

MRS Sees Precancerous Breast Changes

March 19, 2015 9:00 am | by Radiological Society of North America

A magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) technique that monitors biochemical changes in tissue could improve the management of women at risk of breast cancer, according to a new study.  

Mother Lemurs Smell of Their Baby’s Gender

March 19, 2015 9:00 am | by Duke Univ.

Dozens of pregnancy myths claim to predict whether a mom-to-be is carrying a boy or a girl. Some say you can tell by the shape of a woman’s bump, or whether she craves salty or sweet. Even ultrasound doesn’t always get it right. But for lemurs, the answer is in the mother’s scent.

Automated System Could Produce Vaccines Faster

March 19, 2015 9:00 am | by Max Planck Institute

In the event of an impending global flu pandemic, vaccine production could quickly reach its limits, as flu vaccines are still largely produced in embryonated chicken eggs. Now, researchers are working on a fully automated method for production in cell cultures that could yield vaccines in large quantities in a crisis.

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Formation of Aluminum Alloys Causes Battery Failures

March 19, 2015 9:00 am | by National Institute of Standards and Technology

Researchers have imaged the inner workings of experimental solid-state batteries as they charged and discharged while making detailed measurements of their electrochemical health. Their work has helped explain why the batteries rapidly lose performance and suggests a way for improving them.

Method Can Test Space Dust for Life's Ingredients

March 3, 2015 9:00 am | by Goddard Space Flight Center

While the origin of life remains mysterious, scientists are finding more and more evidence that material created in space and delivered to Earth by comet and meteor impacts could have given a boost to the start of life. Some meteorites supply molecules that can be used as building blocks to make certain kinds of larger molecules that are critical for life.

Researchers Simulate Flu’s Outer Envelope

March 3, 2015 9:00 am | by Biophysical Society

By combining experimental data from X-ray crystallography, NMR spectroscopy, cryoelectron microscopy and lipidomics, researchers have built a complete model of the outer envelope of an influenza A virion for the first time. The approach has revealed characteristics about the membrane components that may help scientists better understand how the virus survives in the wild or find new ways to combat it.

Compound-destroying Mineral Holds Implications for Mars

March 3, 2015 9:00 am | by Imperial College London

Scientists have discovered that the mineral jarosite breaks down organic compounds when it is flash-heated, this find has implications for Mars research. Jarosite is an iron sulfate and it is one of several minerals that NASA’s Curiosity Mission is searching for, as its presence could indicate ancient habitable environments, which may have once hosted life on the red planet.

Method Predicts Honey’s Properties

March 3, 2015 9:00 am | by Univ. of Queensland

Food scientists have discovered a new, low-cost way of accurately predicting the antimicrobial properties of honey using spectroscopy. The new technique could provide a cheaper, more accurate and more practical method of determining the therapeutic properties in honey, benefiting beekeepers, processors and consumers.

Laser to Help Exoplanet Hunt

March 3, 2015 9:00 am | by Institute of Physics

The hunt for Earth-like planets around distant stars could soon become a lot easier thanks to a new technique. A team of researchers have successfully demonstrated how a solar telescope can be combined with a piece of technology that has already taken the physics world by storm— the laser frequency comb.

Organism Hasn’t Evolved in More than 2 Billion Years

February 19, 2015 9:00 am | by UCLA

<p>An international team of scientists has discovered the greatest absence of evolution ever reported— a type of deep-sea microorganism that appears not to have evolved over more than 2 billion years. But the researchers say that the organisms’ lack of change actually supports Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.</p>

Lack of Iron Linked to Alzheimer's

February 19, 2015 9:00 am | by Univ. of Technology, Sydney

Alzheimer's disease is difficult to spot in its early stages, has no effective treatment and no known cure. But, researchers are hopeful their work will make the most common form of dementia easier to diagnose and treat. Their research indicates that iron deficiency may play a significant part in the development of Alzheimer's.

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Herbal Supplements Aren’t What They Claim

February 19, 2015 9:00 am | by Associated Press, Mary Esch

DNA testing on hundreds of bottles of store-brand herbal supplements sold as treatments for everything from memory loss to prostate trouble found that four out of five contained none of the herbs on the label. Instead, they were packed with cheap fillers such as wheat, rice, beans or houseplants.

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Research Yields New Pathway to Valleytronics

February 19, 2015 9:00 am | by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

A potential avenue to quantum computing currently generating quite the buzz in the high-tech industry is valleytronics, in which information is coded based on the wavelike motion of electrons moving through certain 2-D semiconductors. Now, a promising new pathway to valleytronic technology has been uncovered.  

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Damaged DNA May Slow Patrolling Molecule

February 19, 2015 9:00 am | by Univ. of Illinois at Chicago

Sites where DNA is damaged may cause a molecule that slides along the DNA strand to scan for damage to slow on its patrol, delaying it long enough to recognize and initiate repair. The find suggests that the delay itself may be the key that allows the protein molecule to find its target.  

Scientists Isolate Chemicals for Pest Control

February 3, 2015 9:00 am | by UC Riverside

Insects use chemical signals for a wide variety of functions, such as communicating species and sex. In insects, such as ants that live in colonies, they also differentiate the different castes. Now, a team of entomologists and chemists has devised a straightforward method for purifying these compounds that could result in new methods of controlling pest species by disrupting the organization of their colonies.

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