Tech

Researchers Discover Clue to How to Protect Neurons and Encourage Their Growth

By inhibiting a particular family of enzymes, it may be possible to develop new therapies for treating neurodegenerative diseases from glaucoma to Alzheimer’s December 14, 2020 | By Scott LaFee Many neurodegenerative conditions, from glaucoma to Alzheimer’s disease, are characterized by injury to axons — the long, slender projections that conduct electrical impulses from one nerve cell to another, facilitating cellular communications. Injury to axons often leads to neuronal impairment and cell death. Researchers know that inhibiting an enzyme called dual leucine zipper kinase (DLK) appears to robustly protect neurons…

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Tech

Physics professor advances research on black hole paradox

By Kate Blackwood |December 9, 2020  Do black holes emit information? For decades, physicists have theorized on this high-stakes question. At the heart of the so-called “black hole information paradox” is a fundamental incompatibility between the two pillar theories of theoretical physics: general relativity and quantum mechanics. But in the past two years, a series of breakthrough calculations by researchers – including Tom Hartman, associate professor of physics in the College of Arts and Sciences – have led to proclamations in the field of theoretical physics that “the most famous…

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World

Neurons Stripped of Their Identity Are Hallmark of Alzheimer’s Disease, Study Finds

November 13, 2020 | By Liezel Labios Researchers at the University of California San Diego have identified new mechanisms in neurons that cause Alzheimer’s disease. In particular, they discovered that changes in the structure of chromatin, the tightly coiled form of DNA, trigger neurons to lose their specialized function and revert to an earlier cell state. This results in the loss of synaptic connections, an effect associated with memory loss and dementia. The findings are published Nov. 13 in Science Advances. The study was founded on the question: how do…

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World

Fossil footprints tell story of prehistoric parent’s journey

Hungry giant predators, treacherous mud and a tired, probably cranky toddler – more than 10,000 years ago, that was the stuff of every parent’s nightmare. Footprints found at White Sands National Park in New Mexico, from more than 11,000 years ago, of an adult carrying a child for nearly a mile, then returning along the same path without the child. Evidence of that type of frightening trek was recently uncovered, and at nearly a mile it is the longest known trackway of early-human footprints ever found. The discovery, published in…

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Tech

Klarman fellow models black hole collisions, studies effects

By Kate Blackwood |October 13, 2020 -  New and extremely sensitive instruments are allowing scientists to use a novel source of information – gravitational waves – to understand fundamental principles of nature. “Gravitational waves are the signals that carry information about gravity,” said Vijay Varma, a Klarman Postdoctoral Fellow in physics, in the College of Arts and Sciences. “If two black holes are orbiting each other, for example, gravitational waves carry information about the masses and spins of the black holes and how the black holes may have formed.” Varma…

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Lifestyle World

Studies Find Physical Activity Measurably Boosts Health

Studies Find Even Minimal Physical Activity Measurably Boosts Health Two new studies from UC San Diego find that simply standing up or walking around can provide positive health benefits; and Americans sit too much October 12, 2020 | By Jeanna Vazquez More than 5 million people around the world die from causes associated with a lack of physical activity. Two research teams at UC San Diego School of Medicine sought to understand sedentary lifestyles, with one study finding that even light physical activity, including just standing, can benefit health, and…

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Tech

Unveiling the Accuracy of Tsunami Predictions

New study validates accuracy in predicting the first wave, but weakness in forecasting ‘trailing’ waves Residents of coastal towns in Chile remember the catastrophic earthquakes that struck their country in 1960 and 2010, not always for the quakes themselves but for the tsunamis that followed. Those who survived the 9.5-magnitude 1960 quake told interviewers about the man in Maullin, Chile who, after the first wave of the tsunami, rushed into his dockside warehouse to retrieve possessions just as the second wave hit. The second wave swept the warehouse out to…

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World

Ladybugs love their leafy greens

By Krishna Ramanujan |September 28, 2020 Most predators obtain a balanced diet from their prey, but Cornell researchers recently discovered that in the case of aphid-eating ladybugs, the rule doesn’t apply. That’s because a diet consisting solely of aphids lacks an essential nutrient –sterols, like cholesterol – which all male animals need to make sperm, hormones, and to maintain cell health. As a result, farm-friendly aphid-eating ladybugs supplement their diets with sterol-rich leafy greens. “We showed that a large group of predacious lady beetles eat leaves to obtain sterols,” said…

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World

Migrations research highlights human impacts on environment

By Megan DeMint, Sheri Englund |September 24, 2020 As smoke from western wildfires blots out the sun in Northern California and drifts as far as the East Coast and Europe, locals watch daily wildfire updates for evacuation and air-quality warnings. Outside at their birdfeeders, there’s another warning: silence. Birders across the Rocky Mountain region are reporting a decline in backyard traffic and dead migratory birds – including evidence of mass bird deaths in New Mexico. Sentinel species like wild songbirds are a potent reminder that humans and wildlife depend on…

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Tech

Researchers identify new type of superconductor

By David Nutt |September 21, 2020 Until now, the history of superconducting materials has been a tale of two types: s-wave and d-wave. Now, Cornell researchers – led by Brad Ramshaw, the Dick & Dale Reis Johnson Assistant Professor in the College of Arts and Sciences – have discovered a possible third type: g-wave. Their paper, “Thermodynamic Evidence for a Two-Component Superconducting Order Parameter in Sr2RuO4,” published Sept. 21 in Nature Physics. The lead author is doctoral student Sayak Ghosh, M.S. ’19. Electrons in superconductors move together in what are…

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