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Now in 3-D: Video of virus-sized particle trying to enter cell

Tiny and swift, viruses are hard to capture on video. Now researchers at Princeton University have achieved an unprecedented look at a virus-like particle as it tries to break into and infect a cell.

The technique they developed could help scientists learn more about how to deliver drugs via nanoparticles — which are about the same size as viruses — as well as how to prevent viral infection from occurring.

The video reveals a virus-like particle zipping around in a rapid, erratic manner until it encounters a cell, bounces and skids along the surface, and either lifts offagain or, in much less time than it takes to blink an eye, slips into the cell's interior. The work was published in Nature Nanotechnology.

Mammal's habitats affected by climate shifts and controlled burns

Javelinas have been shifting their range to escape warmer temperatures.

Javelinas, medium-sized mammals also known as collared peccaries that resemble pigs in appearance, have been spreading north in New Mexico. Scientists know little about the links between the mammals and their habitat, but they speculate that javelinas may change their behavior to cope with changes in climate.

Could Restless Sleep Cause Widespread Pain in the Elderly?

Researchers in the UK have reported that non-restorative sleep is the strongest, independent predictor of widespread pain onset among adults over the age of 50.

According to the study published in Arthritis & Rheumatology (formerly Arthritis & Rheumatism), a journal of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), anxiety, memory impairment, and poor physical health among older adults may also increase the risk of developing widespread pain.

Smoking Linked with Increased Risk of Most Common Type of Breast Cancer

Young women who smoke and have been smoking a pack a day for a decade or more have a significantly increased risk of developing the most common type of breast cancer, according to an an analysis published early online in Cancer. The study indicates that an increased risk of breast cancer may be another health risk incurred by young women who smoke.

The majority of recent studies evaluating the relationship between smoking and breast cancer risk among young women have found that smoking is linked with an increased risk; however, few studies have evaluated risks according to different subtypes of breast cancer.

Plenty more little fish in the sea

New research by an international team of marine scientists suggests the global biomass of fish is 30 times more than the accepted estimate.

A team including Winthrop Professor Carlos Duarte, Director of The University of Western Australia’s Oceans Institute, and Professor Susana Agusti, a research professor with the institute and the School of Plant Biology, has published a study in Nature Communications which contradicts what experts previously understood about the biomass of fish in the world’s oceans.

Stopping a deadly virus in its tracks

An international team of scientists, led by Dr Greg Moseley and Professor David Jans from the Monash School of Biomedical Sciences, has identified a novel vaccine strategy against lyssaviruses that cause rabies in animals and humans. Each year, over 60,000 people worldwide die from rabies following lyssavirus infections.

There are 15 known species of lyssaviruses, including Australian bat lyssavirus and rabies virus, which are commonly transmitted by bats or dogs through bites or scratches. Infected animals and humans, if not treated rapidly with a series of injections of inactivated vaccines and expensive immunoglobulins, die in 100 per cent of cases. This is the highest fatality rate for any known infectious disease.

Cell death research provides insights into cancer

Research from South Australia’s Centre for Cancer Biology (CCB) may provide new insights into the understanding and treatment of cancer.

Published in Nature Communications, the research from CCB co-director Professor Sharad Kumar and his team, including lead author research fellow Dr Donna Denton, looks at how a gene called UTX plays an important role in controlling cell death.

This is significant because the spread of cancer from one organ to other parts of the body relies on cancer cells’ ability to evade the cell death process.

The CCB is an alliance between the University of South Australia and SA Pathology and boasts the largest concentration of fundamental cancer research in the state.

Plastic waste linked to metal contamination in seabirds

New research by the University of Tasmania has examined the toxic effects of seabirds ingesting marine plastic pollution and population decline.

UTAS' Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) Research Fellow Dr Jennifer Lavers conducted the study over four years in collaboration with researchers at the Lord Howe Island Museum and Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

The study sampled the breast feathers and stomach contents from Flesh-footed Shearwater fledglings in eastern Australia.

Body kills ‘spontaneous’ blood cancers on a daily basis

Immune cells undergo ‘spontaneous’ changes on a daily basis that could lead to cancers if not for the diligent surveillance of our immune system, Melbourne scientists have found.

The research team from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute found that the immune system was responsible for eliminating potentially cancerous immune B cells in their early stages, before they developed into B-cell lymphomas (also known as non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas). The results of the study were published today in the journal Nature Medicine.

Aussie drought gives US experts a glimpse of their future

American river systems will begin to more closely resemble current Australian conditions.

Australia’s long held reputation as the driest inhabited continent on Earth may come under challenge with the impact of climate change. Researchers from the United States are currently visiting drought stricken Far Western NSW to have a look at what the future of river systems in their country might look like.

Professor Martin Thoms from the University of New England’s Riverine Landscapes Research Lab says Australia is probably the place to visit to investigate the impact of drought.

Academics back professor over Swisse research collaboration

Friends of Science and Medicine, an association that lobbies for evidence-based medicine, has called on La Trobe University to abandon planned research into Swisse supplements amid claims industry funding will compromise the quality of the work.

Under the proposal Swisse Wellness Pty Ltd, the manufacturer of vitamins and other complementary medicines, will pay A$15 million over six years to the university, helping it set up a Complementary Medicine Evidence Centre.

But Friends of Science and Medicine wrote to the vice chancellor of La Trobe University today, arguing the claims Swisse makes about its products “lack credible evidence”, and the collaboration would be a waste of research dollars.

Researchers block enzymes that make ovarian cancer resistant to chemotherapy

Queensland University of Technology scientists are making significant inroads into our understanding of the deadliest form of ovarian cancer after identifying two enzymes that make it resistant to chemotherapy.

Distinguished Professor Judith Clements said serous ovarian cancer spreads rapidly throughout the abdominal area and ultimately becomes resistant to chemotherapy treatment.

"This form of cancer is incredibly aggressive, moving quickly from the ovaries to the abdominal cavity where the tumour cells aggregate or clump, become embedded in the wall of the abdomen and then grow at quite a rapid pace," she said.

"While chemotherapy will often work initially, this form of cancer has found a way of beating the current chemotherapy drugs and quite quickly becomes immune to treatment.

Old trees work faster at storing carbon

Old trees contribute more to carbon storage than previously thought in a new international study that included researchers from the University of Melbourne.

The study demonstrated that tree growth rates increased continuously with size, and in some cases, large trees appeared to be adding the carbon mass equivalent of an entire smaller tree each year. The significance of this study is that big old trees are better at absorbing carbon from the atmosphere than previously thought.

Chemical engineers target bad gut microbes

Chemists have combined antibodies with titanium oxide to target bad bacteria in the gut.

Bacteria, fungi and viruses are a major source of infection and disease. But not all are harmful and ‘good’ microorganisms are often killed indiscriminately. However, new research has revealed scientists are making steady progress to target specific species of harmful bacteria including E. coli.

Garlic not useful in treating thrush

Researchers have found that garlic does not significantly reduce vaginal candida (thrush).

Led by University of Melbourne PhD candidate Cathy Watson also of the Royal Women’s Hospital, the findings were published online in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

This study is the first to investigate the effect of oral garlic on vaginal colonisation of candida and provides another link in the chain of investigation of complementary and alternative therapies.

In a simple randomised double-blinded controlled trial, 63 women with candida were given three garlic tablets or placebo orally twice daily for fourteen days.

Adult height linked to heart disease

Research shows correlation between adult height and underlying heart disease

Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation

Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation research cardiologist Dr. Michael Miedema has found a connection between an adult's height and the prevalence of coronary artery calcium (CAC), a direct marker of plaque in the arteries that feed the heart in research published in the journal Circulation – Cardiovascular Imaging.

Coronary artery calcium is a strong predictor of future heart attacks with a nearly 10 fold increase in the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) in patients with elevated CAC.

Hubble discovers water vapour venting from Jupiter’s moon Europa

The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has discovered water vapour erupting from the frigid surface of Jupiter’s moon Europa, in one or more localised plumes near its south pole.

Europa is already thought to harbour a liquid ocean beneath its icy crust, making the moon one of the main targets in the search for habitable worlds away from Earth. This new finding is the first observational evidence of water vapour being ejected off the moon's surface.

Sea level rise is fast by normal standards

Sea-level rise since the industrial revolution has been fast by natural standards and may reach 80 cm above today’s sea-level by the year 2100 and 2.5 m by 2200 even without development of unexpected processes, according to new research.

A team from The Australian National University (ANU) and the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, studied several million years of rates of sea-level rise to work out the background pattern of natural sea-level rise.

“We knew from geological data that sea-level is likely to rise nine metres or more as the climate system adjusts to today’s greenhouse effect, but the timescale for this rise was unclear,” explains lead author Professor Eelco Rohling of the ANU Research School of Earth Sciences.

Gender identity and single-sex schools

Study shows pressure to conform to gender roles is stronger in all-girls schools

Newspaper headlines worldwide tout the benefits of single-sex schools: Girls 75% more likely to take math if they go to a single-sex private school, Will boys learn better if girls aren't allowed? Single-sex education is best for girls in stereotypically male subjects…

The impact of non-concussive head knocks in contact sports

Study links nonconcussion head impacts in contact sports to brain changes and lower learning scores

Repeated blows to the head during a season of contact sports may cause changes in the brain's white matter and affect cognitive abilities even if none of the impacts resulted in a concussion, according to a study published today in the journal Neurology.