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Key: Meeting Journal Funder
Public Release: 30-Oct-2014
Nucleic Acids Research
The geometry of RNA
To understand the function of an RNA molecule we need to know its three-dimensional structure. Unfortunately, establishing the shape of an RNA strand is anything but easy and often requires a combination of experimental techniques and computer-based simulations. Many computing methods are used but these are often complex and slow. A team of scientists from SISSA – the International School for Advanced Studies of Trieste – has devised a simple and versatile method, based on the geometry of the RNA molecule.

Contact: Federica Sgorbissa
pressoffice@sissa.it
39-040-378-7644
International School of Advanced Studies (SISSA)

Public Release: 30-Oct-2014
Environmental Health
Air quality and unconventional oil and gas sites
Research suggesting air pollutants released by unconventional oil and gas production are well over recommended levels in the US is published today in the open access journal Environmental Health. High levels of benzene, hydrogen sulfide and formaldehyde were found. The study is the first to be based on community sampling by people who live near production sites and could be used to supplement official air-quality monitoring programs.

Contact: Ruth Francis
ruth.francis@biomedcentral.com
BioMed Central

Public Release: 29-Oct-2014
Nature Communications
'Nanomotor lithography' answers call for affordable, simpler device manufacturing
What does it take to fabricate electronic and medical devices tinier than a fraction of a human hair? Nanoengineers at the University of California, San Diego recently invented a new method of lithography in which nanoscale robots swim over the surface of light-sensitive material to create complex surface patterns that form the sensors and electronics components on nanoscale devices. Their research was published recently in the journal Nature Communications.

Contact: Catherine Hockmuth
chockmuth@ucsd.edu
858-822-1359
University of California - San Diego

Public Release: 29-Oct-2014
Physical Review X
Griffith scientists propose existence and interaction of parallel worlds
Griffith University academics are challenging the foundations of quantum science with a radical new theory on parallel universes. In a paper published in the journal Physical Review X, Professor Howard Wiseman and Dr. Michael Hall from Griffith's Centre for Quantum Dynamics, and Dr. Dirk-Andre Deckert from the University of California, propose that parallel universes really exist, and that they interact. They show that such an interaction could explain everything that is bizarre about quantum mechanics

Contact: Michael Jacobson
m.jacobson@griffith.edu.au
61-040-872-7734
Griffith University

Public Release: 29-Oct-2014
Current Biology
Brain responses to disgusting images help reveal political leanings
An team of scientists led by Virginia Tech reports that the strength of a person's reaction to repulsive images can forecast their political ideology. The brain's response to a single disgusting image was enough to predict an individual's political ideology.

Contact: Paula Brewer Byron
540-526-2027
Virginia Tech

Public Release: 29-Oct-2014
Science Translational Medicine
UBC researchers aim to simplify life saving drug
Heparin, the life saving blood thinner used in major surgeries and treatment of heart diseases, is a complicated drug but a research team from the University of British Columbia has set out to make its use a lot safer by developing a universal antidote.

Contact: Brian Murphy
brian.murphy@ubc.ca
604-822-2048
University of British Columbia

Public Release: 29-Oct-2014
Report: 93 percent of mining, oil & gas, logging, agriculture developments involve inhabited land
In an analysis of almost 73,000 concessions in eight tropical forested countries, more than 93 percent of these developments were found to involve land inhabited by Indigenous Peoples and local communities. According to the research, conducted by The Munden Project, the total amount of land handed over by governments to the private sector for mining, logging, oil & gas drilling, and large-scale agriculture includes at least 40 percent of Peru and 30 percent of Indonesia.

Contact: Coimbra Sirica
csirica@burnesscommunications.com
Burness Communications

Public Release: 29-Oct-2014
Nature
First detailed picture of a cancer-related cell enzyme in action on a chromosome unit
New insight into the function of an enzyme related to the BRCA1 breast-cancer protein is published in this week's issue of Nature. The study produced the first detailed working image of an enzyme in a group that is associated with many types of cancer. The researchers obtained the first crystal structure of a gene-regulation enzyme working on a nucleosome. The image reveals previously unknown information about how the enzyme attaches to its nucleosome target.
National Institutes of Health, Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation, Penn State University

Contact: Barbara K. Kennedy
science@psu.edu
814-863-4682
Penn State

Public Release: 29-Oct-2014
Nature
Tiny carbon nanotube pores make big impact
A team led by the Lawrence Livermore scientists has created a new kind of ion channel based on short carbon nanotubes, which can be inserted into synthetic bilayers and live cell membranes to form tiny pores that transport water, protons, small ions and DNA.

Contact: Anne Stark
stark8@llnl.gov
925-422-9799
DOE/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Public Release: 29-Oct-2014
Optica
NIST 'combs' the atmosphere to measure greenhouse gases
By remotely 'combing' the atmosphere with a custom laser-based instrument, NIST researchers have developed a new technique that can accurately measure -- over a sizeable distance -- amounts of several of the major 'greenhouse' gases implicated in climate change.

Contact: Laura Ost
laura.ost@nist.gov
303-497-4880
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

Public Release: 29-Oct-2014
Nature
Changes in scores of genes contribute to autism risk
Small differences in as many as a thousand genes contribute to risk for autism, according to a study led by Mount Sinai researchers and the Autism Sequencing Consortium, and published today in the journal Nature.

Contact: Greg Williams
newsmedia@mssm.edu
212-241-9200
The Mount Sinai Hospital / Mount Sinai School of Medicine

Public Release: 29-Oct-2014
Applied Optics
Supersonic laser-propelled rockets
Today in Applied Optics, researchers describe a new system that integrates a laser-ablation propulsion system with the gas blasting nozzles of a spacecraft which can increase the speed of the gas flow out of the system to supersonic speeds while reducing the amount of burned fuel.

Contact: Lyndsay Meyer
lmeyer@osa.org
202-416-1435
The Optical Society

Public Release: 29-Oct-2014
Angewandte Chemie International Edition
Nanosafety research: The quest for the gold standard
Empa toxicologist Harald Krug has lambasted his colleagues in the journal Angewandte Chemie. He evaluated several thousand studies on the risks associated with nanoparticles and discovered no end of shortcomings: poorly prepared experiments and results that don't carry any clout. Instead of merely leveling criticism, however, Empa is also developing new standards for such experiments within an international network.
German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, CCMX Initiative, Swiss Federal Office for Environment, Swiss Federal Office of Public Health, German VCI

Contact: Harald F. Krug
harald.krug@empa.ch
41-587-657-248
Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (EMPA)

Public Release: 29-Oct-2014
Environmental Science & Technology
Scientists rank thousands of substances according to potential exposure level
An overwhelming number of chemicals from household and industrial products are in the environment -- and hundreds are in our bodies. But for most of them, scientists have yet to determine whether they cause health problems. Now they've taken the first step toward doing that by estimating which substances people are exposed to the most. Their new method is published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology.
US Environmental Protection Agency

Contact: Michael Bernstein
m_bernstein@acs.org
202-872-6042
American Chemical Society

Public Release: 29-Oct-2014
Journal of American Chemical Society
Why plants don't get sunburn
Plants rely on sunlight to make their food, but they also need protection from its harmful rays, just like humans do. Recently, scientists discovered a group of molecules in plants that shields them from sun damage. Now, in an article in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, one team reports on the mechanics of how these natural plant sunscreens work.

Contact: Michael Bernstein
m_bernstein@acs.org
202-872-6042
American Chemical Society

Public Release: 29-Oct-2014
ACS Nano
Microrockets fueled by water neutralize chemical and biological warfare agents
With fears growing over chemical and biological weapons falling into the wrong hands, scientists are developing microrockets to fight back against these dangerous agents, should the need arise. In the journal ACS Nano, they describe new spherical micromotors that rapidly neutralize chemical and biological agents and use water as fuel.

Contact: Michael Bernstein
m_bernstein@acs.org
202-872-6042
American Chemical Society

Public Release: 29-Oct-2014
Astronomy & Astrophysics
Planck 2013 results
Astronomy & Astrophysics is publishing a special feature of 31 articles describing the data gathered by Planck over 15 months of observations and released by ESA and the Planck Collaboration in March 2013. This series of papers presents the initial scientific results extracted from this first Planck dataset.

Contact: Dr. Jennifer Martin
aanda.paris@obspm.fr
Astronomy & Astrophysics

Public Release: 29-Oct-2014
Cochrane Library
Cochrane news: Expectant mothers with epilepsy face tough choices over their medication
A new study published today in The Cochrane Library, highlights the difficult decisions women with epilepsy have to face when they become pregnant. Taking certain drugs used to control epilepsy during pregnancy may be linked to developmental problems in children. The authors of the study say evidence on the safety of anti-epileptic drugs is limited and that more research is needed to ensure women and their doctors make the most informed choices.
National Institute for Health Research

Contact: Evelyn Martinez
sciencenewsroom@wiley.com
201-748-6358
Wiley

Public Release: 29-Oct-2014
Nature
Scripps Research Institute scientists make enzyme that could help explain origins of life
Mimicking natural evolution in a test tube, scientists at The Scripps Research Institute have devised an enzyme with a unique property that might have been crucial to the origin of life on Earth. Aside from illuminating one possible path for life's beginnings, the achievement is likely to yield a powerful tool for evolving new and useful molecules.
NASA, The Simons Foundation, National Institutes of Health

Contact: Madeline McCurry-Schmidt
madms@scripps.edu
858-784-9254
Scripps Research Institute

Public Release: 29-Oct-2014
Nature
Planet-forming lifeline discovered in a binary star system
For the first time, researchers using ALMA have detected a streamer of gas flowing from a massive outer disc toward the inner reaches of a binary star system. This never-before-seen feature may be responsible for sustaining a second, smaller disc of planet-forming material that otherwise would have disappeared long ago. Half of Sun-like stars are born in binary systems, meaning that these findings will have major consequences for the hunt for exoplanets.

Contact: Richard Hook
rhook@eso.org
49-893-200-6655
ESO

Public Release: 29-Oct-2014
BJU International
Prostate cancer medications linked with increased risk of heart-related deaths in men with cardiovascular problems
A new study has found that certain prostate cancer medications are linked with an increased risk of dying from heart-related causes in men with congestive heart failure or prior heart attacks. Published in BJU International, the findings will help doctors and patients weigh the benefits and risks of the drugs.

Contact: Evelyn Martinez
sciencenewsroom@wiley.com
201-748-6358
Wiley

Public Release: 29-Oct-2014
168th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America
Why some butterflies sound like ants
Ant nests can offer a lot to organisms other than just ants. They are well-protected, environmentally-stable and resource-rich spaces -- in many ways everything a tiny creature could ask for in a home. For the insects that squat inside ant nests, though, survival means finding ways to live with the ants -- by foiling the chemical cues ants use to distinguish friend from foe, for instance.

Contact: Jason Socrates Bardi
jbardi@aip.org
240-535-4954
Acoustical Society of America

Public Release: 29-Oct-2014
168th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America
Urban seismic network detects human sounds
When listening to the Earth, what clues can seismic data reveal about the impact of urban life? Although naturally occurring vibrations have proven useful to seismologists, until now the vibrations caused by humans haven't been explored in any real depth. Scripps Institution of Oceanography researchers Nima Riahi and Peter Gerstoft will describe their efforts to tap into an urban seismic network to monitor the traffic of trains, planes, automobiles and other modes of human transport.

Contact: Jason Socrates Bardi
jbardi@aip.org
240-535-4954
Acoustical Society of America

Public Release: 29-Oct-2014
168th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America
Hearing loss in one infant twin affects mother's speech to both babies
Is it possible that hearing loss in one infant from a pair of twins can affect the mother's speech to both infants? A new acoustics study zeroes in on this question and suggests that not only is this alteration of speech entirely possible, but that mothers speak to both infants as if they are hearing impaired.

Contact: Jason Socrates Bardi
jbardi@aip.org
240-535-4954
Acoustical Society of America

Public Release: 29-Oct-2014
168th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America
The science of charismatic voices
When a right-wing Italian politician named Umberto Bossi suffered a severe stroke in 2004, his speech became permanently impaired. Strangely, this change impacted Bossi's perception among his party's followers -- from appearing authoritarian to benevolent. Now researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles think they know why.

Contact: Jason Socrates Bardi
jbardi@aip.org
240-535-4954
Acoustical Society of America