A study on mice has yielded promising results about the potential benefits of strawberries in preventing or treating breast cancer.
A study by European and Latin American researchers has shown that strawberry extract can inhibit the spread of laboratory-grown breast cancer cells, even when they are inoculated in female mice to induce tumours. However, the scientists do point out that these results from animal testing can not be extrapolated to humans. Past investigations have shown that the ingestion of 500 g of strawberries (between 10 and 15 strawberries) per day offers antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits and reduces blood cholesterol levels. Now, a new study published in the open-access journal 'Scientific Reports' presents promising results on the potential positive effects of the fruit to prevent or treat breast cancer.
The Empa skin model: gelatine on a cotton substrate
The characteristics of human skin are heavily dependent on the hydration of the tissue - in simple terms, the water content. This also changes its interaction with textiles. Up to now, it has only been possible to determine the interaction between human skin and textiles by means of clinical trials on human subjects. Now, EMPA researchers have developed an artificial gelatine-based skin model that simulates human skin almost perfectly. The moisture content of the human skin influences its characteristics. The addition of moisture softens the skin and changes its appearance. This can be seen in DIY work for example: a thin film of perspiration helps to provide better grip when using a hammer or screwdriver; however, excessive perspiration can make the tools slip. The moisture causes the upper layer of the skin (the Stratum corneum) to swell. It becomes softer and smoother and this provides a larger contact area that increases friction. However, too high friction can have a negative effect. The result: blisters on your feet or hands, irritation or rashes. Particularly in connection with textiles that cover our skin, such reactions are frequent and, accordingly, undesirable.
Birds sing differently in response to traffic noise, which potentially affects their ability to attract mates and defend their territory, according to research published in Bioacoustics. The study found that a species of North American flycatcher sings shorter songs at a lower range of frequencies in response to traffic noise levels. The researchers suggest traffic noise reduction, for example through road closures, is a viable option for mitigating this effect. Dr. Katherine Gentry of George Mason University, Virginia, USA and colleagues studied the song of the Eastern wood pewee (Contopus virens) in three parks within the greater Washington, D.C. area. Songs were recorded at sites where the traffic pattern of the nearest road was either relatively constant or reduced on a weekly basis during a 36 hour road closure.
e-plants David Poxson Photo Thor Balkhed 16
A drug delivery ion pump constructed from organic electronic components also works in plants. Researchers from the Laboratory of Organic Electronics at Linköping University and from the Umeå Plant Science Centre have used such an ion pump to control the root growth of a small flowering plant, the thale cress (Arabidopsis thaliana). In the spring of 2015, researchers from the Laboratory of Organic Electronics at Linköping University presented a microfabricated ion pump with the ability to pump in the correct dose of a naturally occurring pain-relief agent exactly where it was needed. This was a first step towards effective treatment of such conditions as chronic pain. In the autumn of the same year, the researchers presented results showing how they had caused roses to absorb a water-soluble conducting polymer, enabling them to create a fully operational transistor in the rose stem. The term “flower power” suddenly took on a whole new meaning.
Wood can be used as a biofuel and as a raw material for many new and traditional products, but is it sustainable? Forests cover approximately a third of Europe's land area – 215 million hectares – and have ecological, economic and social functions. Healthy forests are important areas of biodiversity, and they capture and store carbon dioxide (CO2), which mitigates climate change. Forests are also recreational areas for all kinds of leisure activities and have long provided important economic resources. In Europe more than three million people are employed in the forest sector and it is estimated to contribute 103 billion Euro to the European economy annually, which is 0.8% of its GDP.
The 3d image of Richard's skull
The remains of a medieval priest who died 700 years ago today (17 April 2017) have been uncovered in an elaborate. Archaeologists from the University of Sheffield uncovered the rare find at Thornton Abbey in Lincolnshire, which was founded as a monastery in 1139 and went onto become one of the richest religious houses in England. The priest’s gravestone was discovered close to the altar of a former hospital chapel. Unusually for the period, it displayed an inscription of the deceased’s name, Richard de W’Peton – abbreviated from ‘Wispeton’, a medieval incarnation of modern Wispington in Lincolnshire - and his date of death, 17 April 1317. The slab also contained an extract from the Bible, specifically Philippians 2:10, which reads; “that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the The discovery of Richard’s grave was made by University of Sheffield PhD student Emma Hook, who found his skeletal remains surrounded by the decayed fragments of a wooden coffin. “After taking Richard’s skeleton back to the laboratory, despite poor preservation, we were able to establish Richard was around 35-45 years-old at the time of his death and that he had stood around 5ft 4ins tall,” said Emma.“Although he ended his days in the priesthood, there is also some suggestion that he might have had humbler origins in more worldly work; his bones show the marks of robust muscle attachments, indicating that strenuous physical labour had been a regular part of his life at some stage.
One of the most common combined oral contraceptive pills has a negative impact on women’s quality of life but does not increase depressive symptoms. This is shown by a major randomised, placebo-controlled study conducted by researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden in collaboration with the Stockholm School of Economics. The results have been published in the scientific journal Fertility and Sterility.“Despite the fact that an estimated 100 million women around the world use contraceptive pills we know surprisingly little today about the pill’s effect on women’s health. The scientific base is very limited as regards the contraceptive pill’s effect on quality of life and depression and there is a great need for randomised studies where it is compared with placebos,” says professor Angelica Lindén Hirschberg at the Department of Women's and Children's Health at Karolinska Institutet.
Pork producers are doing the right things to manage for lean and quality meat.
What happens when meat scientists get their hands on nearly 8,000 commercially raised pigs? They spend a year running dozens of tests and crunching numbers to arrive at research-backed management recommendations for pork producers. “We had an opportunity to answer a lot of questions for the pork industry,” says Dustin Boler, assistant professor in the animal sciences department at the University of Illinois. Anna Dilger, an associate professor in the department, explains their approach. “The two main questions were, ‘Can I measure quality in one part of the pig and predict quality in the rest of it?’ And then, ‘What is the true variability in pork quality out there and what’s causing it?’”
"Spaghetti-like" structure from methane mound seepage. Photo credit Krista Williscroft, Stephen Grasby, and colleagues, and the Geological Society of America Bulletin.
Cretaceous climate warming led to a significant methane release from the seafloor, indicating potential for similar destabilization of gas hydrates under modern global warming. A field campaign on the remote Ellef Ringnes Island, Canadian High Arctic, discovered an astounding number of methane seep mounds in Cretaceous age sediments. Seep mounds are carbonate deposits, often hosting unique fauna, which form at sites of methane leakage into the seafloor. Over 130 were found covering over 10,000 square kilometers of the Cretaceous sea floor. They occurred over a very short time interval immediately following onset of Cretaceous global warming, suggesting that the warming destabilized gas hydrates and released a large burb of methane. Given that methane has 20 times the impact of CO2 as a greenhouse gas, such a release could have accelerated global warming at that time. This discovery supports concerns of potential destabilization of modern methane hydrates.
Photo taken by Tsutom Hiura
Researchers have developed a new method for assessing the cultural value of landscapes using geotagged photos shared on a social-networking service. Data obtained with this method could help determine which locations should be used for tourism or targeted for environmental protection. We all know that nature provides recreational and psychological benefits to us but it is often difficult to assign monetary worth to. This research could help us determine how to strike a balance between the utilization and preservation of nature. “This type of research has received little attention despite its importance,” says Tsutom Hiura of the research team at Hokkaido University. “We wanted to develop a robust and reliable method to evaluate the aesthetic value of landscapes.” This is in line with the international agreement, the Aichi Biodiversity Target, which refers to the importance of ecosystem service mapping methodologies.