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Published: 21 March 2013
Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) & cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) are parasitic diseases transmitted to humans by the bite of sand flies. In VL, the parasite migrates to the internal organs such as liver, spleen and bone marrow. Signs and symptoms include fever, weight loss, mucosal ulcers, fatigue, anaemia and substantial swelling of the liver and spleen. VL if left untreated will almost always result in the death of the host. Meanwhile, CL is the most common form of leishmaniasis. It is a skin infection caused by a single-celled parasite that is also transmitted by sand fly bites and can cause facial disfigurement.
Published: 22 February 2013
Tomato ketchup may have been commonly used in low-budget movies to simulate blood, but the two substances actually have more in common than might first appear. Both are fundamentally affected in the way they behave by the actions of complex sugar molecules. That link may seem technical and obscure, but it points the way to a potentially vast range of benefits for human society - if only science could better understand and harness the capabilities of these molecules.
Published: 7 February 2013
The bioeconomy is growing at an unprecedented rate, and the demand for new services and more efficient tools to boost business in this industry is ever increasing. Because of this growth, the need for management of biological information is proving to be vital in keeping up with demand and new concepts. This is evident with the latest figures, which reveal that the global market for bioinformatics is expected to reach more than EUR 4.5 billion next year. In order to home in on this demand, Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation, has devised a concept aimed at small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Its focus is on developing new business from the management of biological information.
Published: 23 January 2013
The bioeconomy concept is rapidly growing in importance on a global scale. It embraces the sustainable use of biological resources from the land and sea, as well as waste, as inputs to food and feed, industrial and energy production, and also covers the use of bio-based processes inindustry. This is vital as we continue to consume the Earth's resources, many of which are not renewable, at an accelerating rate.. The bioeconomy is already a reality. For example, bio-fuels (ethanol and diesel), are being made directly from agricultural crops, and even bio-waste has the potential to become an alternative to chemical fertilizers or to generate bio-energy, which could meet 2 % of the EU renewable energy target. Indeed Europe is leading the way in various fields of biosciences and technologies but international competitors are catching up.
Published: 8 January 2013
Astronomers have gotten a first look at the aftermath of Saturn's 'Great Springtime Storm' thanks to the heat-seeking capabilities of the international Cassini spacecraft and two ground-based telescopes. Even though the cosmic event is hidden to the naked eye, a giant oval vortex continues to exist long after the visible effects of the storm have subsided. These spectacular observations were made possible thanks to the ground-based observations made by the Very Large Telescope of the European Southern Observatory in Chile, and NASA's Infrared Telescope Facility at the summit of Mauna Kea in Hawaii.
Published: 20 November 2012
European astronomers have discovered a new source of cosmic rays emanating from the vicinity of the Arches cluster, near the centre of the Milky Way. According to the researchers, these particles are accelerated in the shock wave generated by tens of thousands of young stars moving at a speed of around 700 000 km/h. What makes this discovery stand out is that their origin differs from that of the cosmic rays discovered exactly 100 years ago by Victor Hess, which originate in the explosions of supernovae. The findings were published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.
Published: 8 November 2012
Researchers in the United Kingdom and the United States have developed a new interactive website that allows users to explore the evolutionary tree of life. Called OneZoom, the site went live on 16 October. This latest development is important because it gives the public a means to look at how life on Earth began, moving on to various points that unlock the mysteries of life categories by using mapping software. The work was presented in the journal PLoS Biology.
Published: 31 October 2012
In 2004 Stephen Hawking famously changed his mind about black holes a place in space where gravity pulls so much that not even light can escape from it. Now astronomers have made a new discovery that may well once again change the way science sees black holes, or more precisely the company they keep. A team of international astronomers have discovered two black holes, bucking theorists who suggested that there could only be one. The discovery is making scientists rethink their understanding of the environment in globular star clusters, tight-knit collections containing hundreds of thousands of stars.
Published: 30 October 2012
Researchers at the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom recently discovered a novel material that could be used by sophisticated technologies to fight global warming. The study was funded in part by an European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant worth EUR 2.5 million, awarded to Professor Martin Schröder for the COORDSPACE ('Chemistry of coordination space: extraction, storage, activation and catalysis') project, under the EU's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). The results, recently presented in the journal Nature Chemistry, demonstrate that this material, called NOTT-300, could substitute for carbon dioxide (CO2) absorption.
Published: 25 October 2012