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November 20, 2006, 5:13 AM CT

Monarch Butterfly Migration And Forest Restoration

Monarch Butterfly Migration And Forest Restoration
USDA Forest Service (FS) research in the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas suggests that decades of fire suppression have reduced the area's food supply for migrating monarch butterflies-and that restoration efforts that include prescribed burning can reverse this trend. Craig Rudolph and Ron Thill, research ecologists with the FS Southern Research Station (SRS), along with SRS ecologists Charles Ely, Richard Schaefer and J. Howard Williamson, report their findings in the latest issue of the Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society.

Every fall, masses of monarch butterflies migrate across eastern North America to remote sites in central Mexico-a long flight fuelled only by nectar from flowers still blooming on the way. In recent years, there have been concerns about the continued health of monarch populations, and of the migration itself, as land use change has altered both breeding habitat and migratory pathways.

Studies have focused on food availability for larvae, pesticides, and loss of overwintering sites in Mexico as possible threats. Less attention has been paid to how landscape-level changes affect the availability of the butterfly's preferred nectar sources along their migratory routes. In September and October, large numbers of monarchs pass through the Ouachita Mountains, a largely forested area in Arkansas and Oklahoma where fire suppression, logging, and pine production practices have altered forest structure, leading to a drastic reduction in the quality and abundance of the flowering plants the butterflies rely on for nectar.........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source


November 16, 2006, 7:47 PM CT

Money Causes Changes For Better And Worse

Money Causes Changes For Better And Worse
Money changes everything, and that includes changing people's motivations for the better and their behavior toward others for the worse, as per a new study reported in the international journal Science.

Florida State University psychology graduate student Nicole Mead in Tallahassee, Fla was among a group of scientists who observed that the concept of money brings about a state of self-sufficiency that allows people to work harder and more independently to achieve personal goals but makes them more socially insensitive in the process.

"Money changes people's motivations," Mead said. "They want to work really hard to achieve their goals. Consequently, they are less focused on other people. In this sense, money can be a barrier to social intimacy."

Kathleen Vohs, assistant professor of marketing at the University of Minnesota, is the lead author of "The Psychological Consequences of Money," which would be reported in the Nov. 17 issue of Science. Mead and Miranda Goode, a doctoral student at the University of British Columbia, are co-authors.

Mead helped design and conduct five of nine laboratory experiments, most of which involved having participants complete many different tasks while being exposed to "play" money or other visual references to money. The scientists observed that those exposed to reminders of money worked longer on tasks before asking for help and were less helpful toward others. They also preferred to play alone, work alone and put more physical distance between themselves and a new acquaintance.........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source


November 16, 2006, 7:11 PM CT

Dieting Or Exercise

Dieting Or Exercise
Those in their 50s and 60s who want to lose weight might consider heading to the cardio workout room instead of counting calories, suggests new research out this month.

Both those who dieted and those who exercised lost a significant amount of weight, as per findings from an NIH-funded study on whether a calorie-restriction diet can extend lifespan. However, while exercisers maintained their strength and muscle mass and increased aerobic capacity, those who dieted lost muscle mass, strength and aerobic capacity.

"Exercise-induced weight loss provides the additional benefit of improving physical performance capacity," says Edward Weiss, Ph.D., lead author and assistant professor of nutrition and dietetics at Saint Louis University's Doisy College of Health Sciences.

"If push comes to shove and somebody wants to know if they should diet or exercise to lose weight, I would suggest exercise, provided they are willing to put in the extra time and effort and not offset the gains they make by eating more".

Weiss is a part of a Washington University team of researchers who studied healthy 50- to 60-year olds whose body mass index was between 23 and 30, placing them at the high end of normal weight or overweight.

Of the 34 study participants, 18 dieted and 16 exercised to lose weight.........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source


November 16, 2006, 7:00 PM CT

Satellite phones get a makeover

Satellite phones get a makeover
With Verizon Wireless and Sprint's release of the KRZR, life just gets sexier and sexier in the land of mobile phones, but what about the necessary-but-oh-so-utilitarian-looking land of satellite phones?

Effective immediately, satellite phones have joined the world of the beautiful. Globalstar, Inc., a leading provider of mobile satellite phones, has introduced the new GSP-1700 mobile satellite telephone.

The newly designed GSP-1700 telephone is nearly half the weight of the company's current satellite handset and close to 45 percent smaller. A new lithium-ion battery is designed to provide users with four hours of talk time and 36 hours of standby time. The GSP-1700's lightweight ergonomic design embodies the ruggedness of the current Globalstar phone while integrating convenience-oriented features such as a new five-mode color display and Bluetooth headset capability. The phone supports six operating languages and is available in three vibrant faceplate colors, using durable high-luster or metallic finishes. The GSP-1700 is being manufactured by QUALCOMM and incorporates a data solution and EV-DO network capability.........

Posted by: John      Permalink         Source


November 15, 2006, 9:45 PM CT

Listening To Gunshots May Save Lives

Listening To Gunshots May Save Lives Montana State University electrical engineering professor Rob Maher
From the crack of a supersonic bullet, Montana State University electrical engineering professor Rob Maher is exploring how sound can be used for everything from saving soldiers from snipers to saving wilderness from noise pollution.

This fall, Maher presented the results of two years of research into gunshots at the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) Signal Processing Society's annual meeting in Jackson Hole, Wyo.

Because of its intense energy and distinctness, a gunshot is "the perfect signal" with which to explore the uses of sound, Maher said.

"It produces what engineers call the 'impulse response' of the sonic environment," Maher said. "If we can't make sense of how a gunshot behaves, then it's unlikely we can do much with more complicated, or lesser quality, sounds".

Maher initially explored two questions with gunshots: First, could the sound of a gunshot on a 911 recording be associated with a specific weapon? The question has intrigued prosecuting attorneys for decades. Second, could the sound of a gunshot be used to determine the location of a hidden sniper?

Through a search of prior studies and his own research, Maher found the "acoustical fingerprinting" of a gunshot from a 911 tape was impossible.........

Posted by: John      Permalink         Source


November 15, 2006, 4:48 AM CT

Enriching Education For Disadvanted

Enriching Education For Disadvanted
While studies have shown that disadvantaged children benefit from high-quality preschool programs, they would benefit even more if they had additional tutoring and mentoring during their elementary and high school years, according to research at the University of Chicago.

Researchers have previously noted that many of the advantages children receive from preschool experiences begin to wane as they continue through school. A study by James Heckman, a Nobel-Prize winning economist at the University of Chicago and an expert on early childhood education, now shows for the first time that systematic interventions throughout childhood and adolescence could sustain the early gains and build on them.

"Childhood is a multistage process where early investments feed into later investments. Skill begets skill; learning begets learning," wrote Heckman in the paper, "Investing in our Young People." Heckman, the Henry Schultz Distinguished Service Professor in Economics, co-wrote the paper with Flavio Cunha, a graduate student in economics at the University of Chicago. The study is being released in Washington, D.C. November 15 as part of a larger report by America's Promise Alliance's titled Every Child, Every Promise: Turning Failure into Action.

The scholars studied data from the 1979 National Longitudinal Study of Youth to estimate a model that would describe how different inputs contribute to the accumulation of abilities. They used the model to predict the outcomes of children born to disadvantaged mothers when the children received a variety of extra learning assistance. In particular, they simulated the potential outcome of continued high-quality interventions beyond preschool.........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source


November 15, 2006, 4:43 AM CT

Nanoparticles To Target Brain Cancer

Nanoparticles To Target Brain Cancer
Tiny particles one-billionth of a meter in size can be loaded with high concentrations of drugs designed to kill brain cancer. What's more, these nanoparticles can be used to image and track tumors as well as destroy them, according to researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Researchers incorporated a drug called Photofrin along with iron oxide into nanoparticles that would target cancerous brain tumors. Photofrin is a type of photodynamic therapy, in which the drug is drawn through the blood stream to tumor cells; a special type of laser light activates the drug to attack the tumor. Iron oxide is a contrast agent used to enhance magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI.

"Photofrin goes into tumor blood vessels and collapses the vasculature, which then starves the tumor of the blood flow needed to survive. The problem with free photofrin therapy is that it can cause damage to healthy tissue. In our study, the nanoparticle becomes a vehicle to deliver the drug directly to the tumor," says study author Brian Ross, Ph.D., professor of radiology at the U-M Medical School and co-director of Molecular Imaging at the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Photofrin has been used to treat several types of cancer, including esophageal, bladder and skin cancers. It works by traveling through blood vessels until it reaches the vessels supplying blood to the tumor. When activated by light, the Photofrin collapses these blood vessels, starving the tumor of the blood it needs to survive.........

Posted by: John      Permalink         Source


November 14, 2006, 4:32 AM CT

Young Children Don't Believe Everything They Hear

Young Children Don't Believe Everything They Hear
Childhood is a time when young minds receive a vast amount of new information. Until now, it's been thought that children believe most of what they hear. New research sheds light on children's abilities to distinguish between fantasy and reality.

Through conversation, books, and the media, young children are continually exposed to information that is new to them. Much of the information they receive is factual (e.g., the names of the planets in the solar system), but some information is not based in truth and represents nonexistent entities (e.g., the Easter bunny). Children need to figure out which information is real and which is not. By age 4, children consistently use the context in which the new information is presented to determine whether or not it is real.

That's one of the major findings in new studies conducted by scientists at the Universities of Texas and Virginia and reported in the November/December 2006 issue of the journal Child Development.

In three studies, about 400 children ages 3 to 6 heard about something new and had to say whether they thought it was real or not. Some children heard the information defined in scientific terms ("Doctors use surnits to make medicine"), while others heard it defined in fantastical terms ("Fairies use hercs to make fairy dust"). The scientists observed that children's ability to use contextual cues to determine whether the information is true develops significantly between the ages of 3 and 5.........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source


November 13, 2006, 8:47 AM CT

No kidding - it's the Kid Treadmill

No kidding - it's the Kid Treadmill
Now here is a treadmill designed just for kids, the Kid Treadmill. Well, I never imagined I would see a product like this! I mean, I wonder if you could even convince your child to get on an exercise machine like this, even if you think he/she needs it. Aren't there more fun ways your child can get some physical activity than being on a boring treadmill? And isn't it an alarming indicator that obesity is setting in so early?

Nevertheless, if you are interested in the specs, the only new feature of this treadmill is that the height is customized for children. In addition, it has a normal treadmill display to indicate the speed, distance covered etc. And the speed can be adjusted to suit the mandatory level of exertion.

Available at FutureMemories for $99.95.

Via Medgadget.........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source


November 13, 2006, 8:35 AM CT

Sports cheats beware

Sports cheats beware
Injecting performance enhancing corticosteroid hormones for other than medical therapy is banned, and tests exist that can detect injected hormones. Injecting synacthen, which stimulates the body to produce extra amounts of its own corticosteroid hormones is also banned. But until now there has been no test that could detect it in a blood sample.

That has just changed. Research published this week in Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry describes a method that can detect synacthen, even though it will only be found in incredibly low concentrations in a person's blood sample.

Synacthen is a protein, and researchers have developed a method that can specifically search for the minute traces of synacthen in a blood sample. Called immunological purification, this technique can find any synacthen molecules even though its concentration is 10,000,000 less than other proteins in blood plasma.

There are severe penalties for any person caught taking banned drugs. It is therefore very important that any test is able to be certain about its statement that a particular molecule is present in this case synacthen. To confirm that the immunological purification has pulled out synacthen, the protein is then subjected to a further two-stage test chromatography separation and mass spectrometric analysis. This lets researchers produce a chemical fingerprint of the molecule a fingerprint that uniquely identifies it.........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source


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