Europeans Descended from Three Groups
New studies of ancient DNA are shifting scientists’ ideas of how groups of people migrated across the globe and interacted with one another thousands of years ago. By comparing nine ancient genomes to those of modern humans, Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) scientists have shown that previously unrecognized groups contributed to the genetic mix now present in most modern-day Europeans.
“There are at least three major, highly differentiated populations that have contributed substantial amounts of ancestry to almost everybody that has European ancestry today,” says David Reich, an HHMI investigator at Harvard Medical School. Those include hunter-gatherers from Western Europe, the early farmers who brought agriculture to Europe from the Near East and a newly identified group of ancient north Eurasians who arrived in Europe sometime after the introduction of agriculture. That means there were major movements of people into Europe later than previously thought. The team, led by Reich and Johannes Krause at the Univ. of Tübingen in Germany, reported their findings in today’s issue of the journal Nature.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/09/europeans-descended-three-groups
Artificial Sweeteners May Increase Diabetes Risk
Using artificial sweeteners may set the stage for diabetes in some people by hampering the way their bodies handle sugar, suggests a preliminary study done mostly in mice.
The authors said they are not recommending any changes in how people use artificial sweeteners based on their study, which included some human experiments. The researchers and outside experts said more study is needed, while industry groups called the research limited and said other evidence shows sweeteners are safe and useful for weight control.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/09/artificial-sweeteners-may-increase-diabetes-risk
Airborne Transmission May Be Possible for Ebola
The idea of the Ebola virus becoming airborne is not far-fetched and its ability to enter cells that line the trachea and lungs has been shown under controlled laboratory conditions, a Purdue Univ. virus expert says.
David Sanders, an associate professor of biological sciences who has studied the Zaire strain of Ebola virus that is responsible for the current outbreak in West Africa, says the possibility of the virus becoming airborne should not be discounted.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/09/airborne-transmission-may-be-possible-ebola
What’s Really in Your Food? Free webcast!
Join us on Sept. 30 as we take an in-depth look at the advanced lab instrumentation used to detect what is really in the food we eat. Sign up free now!
Read more: http://bit.ly/1mfkXVT
Nanoribbon Can Keep Glass Ice-free
Rice Univ. scientists who created a deicing film for radar domes have now refined the technology to work as a transparent coating for glass.
The new work, by Rice chemist James Tour and his colleagues, could keep glass surfaces from windshields to skyscrapers free of ice and fog while retaining their transparency to radio frequencies (RF).
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/09/nanoribbon-can-keep-glass-ice-free
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections. Up to 80 percent of sexually active women are infected at some point in their lives and infection with specific “high risk” strains of HPV has an established link to cervical cancer. Current screening by cervical cytology (smear test) is invasive and time-consuming. Several studies have suggested that detecting HPV in urine may be a feasible alternative to cervical sampling, but the accuracy of such a test is still uncertain.
So, a team of researchers based in London and Spain analyzed the results of 14 studies involving 1,443 sexually active women to determine the accuracy of testing for HPV on urine samples compared with cervical samples obtained by a doctor. The quality of the studies was generally high.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/09/urine-screening-could-be-non-invasive-hpv-test
Light Source for Chips Can Be Tuned
Chips that use light, rather than electricity, to move data would consume much less power — and energy efficiency is a growing concern as chips’ transistor counts rise. Of the three chief components of optical circuits — light emitters, modulators and detectors — emitters are the toughest to build. One promising light source for optical chips is molybdenum disulfide (MoS2), which has excellent optical properties when deposited as a single, atom-thick layer. Other experimental on-chip light emitters have more-complex three-dimensional geometries and use rarer materials, which would make them more difficult and costly to manufacture.
In the next issue of the journal Nano Letters, researchers from MIT’s departments of Physics and of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science will describe a new technique for building MoS2 light emitters tuned to different frequencies, an essential requirement for optoelectronic chips. Since thin films of material can also be patterned onto sheets of plastic, the same work could point toward thin, flexible, bright, color displays.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/09/light-source-chips-can-be-tuned
Sharks Inspire Hospital Surfaces to Cut Infections
Transmission of bacterial infections, including MRSA and MSSA could be curbed by coating hospital surfaces with microscopic bumps that mimic the scaly surface of shark skin, according to research published in BioMed Central’s open access journal Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control.
The study modeled how well different materials prevented the spread of human disease bacteria through touching, sneezes or spillages. The micro-pattern, named Sharklet, is an arrangement of ridges formulated to resemble shark skin. The study showed that Sharklet harbored 94 percent less MRSA bacteria than a smooth surface, and fared better than copper, a leading antimicrobial material. The bacteria were less able to attach to Sharklet’s imperceptibly textured surface, suggesting it could reduce the spread of superbugs in hospital settings.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/09/sharks-inspire-hospital-surfaces-cut-infections
Chin Strap Harvests the Power of Chewing
A chin strap that can harvest energy from jaw movements has been created by a group of researchers in Canada.
It is hoped that the device can generate electricity from eating, chewing and talking, and power a number of small-scale implantable or wearable electronic devices, such as hearing aids, cochlear implants, electronic hearing protectors and communication devices.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/09/chin-strap-harvests-power-chewing
Chopin Had TB, Maybe Lung Disease
The preserved heart of composer Frederic Chopin contains signs of tuberculosis and possibly some other lung disease, medical experts said today. The findings seem to corroborate Chopin’s 1849 death certificate, which said the Polish-born musician died at the age of 39 in Paris from TB.
He rests in Paris, but in keeping with a Romanticism-era practice his heart was brought to Warsaw, where he grew up, and is kept as a national relic inside a pillar at The Holy Cross Church. Held in two cases and a sealed crystal glass jar, it was inspected in April by forensic and genetic experts to check the state of the preservation.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/09/chopin-had-tb-maybe-lung-disease
Nanoscience Tastes Wine
One sip of a perfectly poured glass of wine leads to an explosion of flavors in your mouth. Researchers at Aarhus Univ. have now developed a nanosensor that can mimic what happens in your mouth when you drink wine. The sensor measures how you experience the sensation of dryness in the beverage.
When wine growers turn their grapes into wine, they need to control a number of processes to bring out the desired flavor in the product that ends up in the wine bottle. An important part of the taste is known in wine terminology as astringency, and it is characteristic of the dry sensation you get in your mouth when you drink red wine in particular. It is the tannins in the wine that bring out the sensation that – otherwise beyond compare – can be likened to biting into an unripe banana. It is mixed with lots of tastes in the wine and feels both soft and dry.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/09/nanoscience-tastes-wine
Report Finds Child Mortality Rates Falling
New data from the UN show that under-five mortality rates have dropped by 49 percent between 1990 and 2013. The average annual reduction has accelerated – in some countries it has even tripled – but overall progress is still short of meeting the global target of a two-thirds decrease in under-five mortality by 2015.
New estimates in Levels and Trends in Child Mortality 2014 show that in 2013, 6.3 million children under five died from mostly preventable causes, around 200,000 fewer than in 2012, but still equal to nearly 17,000 child deaths each day.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/09/report-finds-child-mortality-rates-falling
Radiosurgery Tech Provides Better Treatment, Less Discomfort
A new stereotactic radiosurgery system provides the same or a higher level of accuracy in targeting cancer tumors – but offers greater comfort to patients and the ability to treat multiple tumors at once – when compared to other radiation therapy stereotactic systems, according to researchers at the Henry Ford Health System.
The study shows the Edge Radiosurgery Suite is able to target cancer tumors within one millimeter, providing sub-millimeter accuracy with extreme precision.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/09/radiosurgery-tech-provides-better-treatment-less-discomfort
California Requires Permits for Self-driving Cars
Computer-driven cars have been testing their skills on California roads for more than four years — but until now, the Department of Motor Vehicles wasn’t sure just how many were rolling around.
That changed this week, when the agency issued testing permits that allowed three companies to dispatch 29 vehicles onto freeways and into neighborhoods — with a human behind the wheel in case the onboard computers make a bad decision.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/09/california-requires-permits-self-driving-cars