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Research: Most Lithuanians Still Emigrate for Economic Reasons

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Independent research, initiated and carried out by Kaunas University of Technology (KTU) interdisciplinary migration research cluster shows that introduction of Euro in Lithuania coincides with the fourth wave of emigration. In 2015, more than 40 thousand people left Lithuania, and in 2016 – around 50 thousand. This number comprises the population of a small Lithuanian town, such as Marijampolė or Mažeikiai. In October 2016 the data from the 4 136 emigrants representing all four waves of emigration, aged 19–65+ were collected. 811 of the respondents emigrated from Lithuania in 2015 or later. According to Professor Vilmante Kumpikaite-Valiuniene (KTU School of Economics and Business), the first wave of emigration started just after the restoration of Lithuanian independence, when the State borders opened. The second wave was related to Lithuania joining the EU in 2004. In 2008, the third emigration wave was caused by Lithuania joining Schengen Area and the global economic crisis, which contributed to unemployment and financial instability.

 

Steep rise of the Bernese Alps

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The striking North Face of the Bernese Alps is the result of a steep rise of rocks from the depths following a collision of two tectonic plates. This steep rise gives new insight into the final stage of mountain building and provides important knowledge with regard to active natural hazards and geothermal energy. The results from researchers at the University of Bern and ETH Zürich are being published in the «Scientific Reports» specialist journal. Mountains often emerge when two tectonic plates converge, where the denser oceanic plate subducts beneath the lighter continental plate into the earth’s mantle according to standard models. But what happens if two continental plates of the same density collide, as was the case in the area of the Central Alps during the collision between Africa and Europe?

 

Olfactory receptors: New molecular targets detected in colorectal cancer cells

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Growth of colorectal cancer cells can be inhibited with the odorant troenan. This is reported by the research team headed by Prof Dr Dr Dr habil. Hanns Hatt and Dr Lea Weber from Ruhr-Universität Bochum in the journal “PLOS One”. The researchers detected the olfactory receptor OR51B4 in tumour cells taken from the rectum and colon cancer cell lines. They analysed which odorant activates the receptor and in what way the activation affects the cells. For the purpose of the study, the team from the Department for Cellphysiology in Bochum collaborated with the Department of Molecular GI-Oncology at Ruhr-Universität, headed by Prof Dr Stephan Hahn. The necessary gene sequencing was carried out by the team from the Cologne Center for Genomics.

 

New study reveals an important mechanism responsible for biodiversity in natural ecosystems

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Algae and plants form the basis of nearly all natural food webs and ecosystems

 

A research project conducted at the University of Cologne’s Zoological Institute reveals important findings on the interaction between nutrient availability and the diversity of consumer species in freshwater environments. A better understanding of this interaction will contribute to developing possibilities to maintain biodiversity in all kinds of ecosystems. In the past decades, we have seen a dramatic decline in biodiversity around the world. Every day, species are irrecoverably lost on an unprecedented scale. This also has an impact on the stability and productivity of ecosystems. Hence it is indispensable to understand the mechanisms that impact biodiversity, particularly in the case of primary producers such as algae and plants that form the basis of nearly all natural food webs and ecosystems.

 

Fingerprint’ technique spots frog populations at risk from pollution

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The common frog (Rana temporaria)


Researchers at Lancaster University have found a way to detect subtle early warning signs that reveal a frog population is at risk from pollution. Worldwide, amphibian populations are declining due to habitat loss, disease and pollution which is cited as a major threat to their survival. Scientists publishing in Scientific Report, have found evidence of stress in tadpoles taken from ponds most impacted by pollution caused by nutrients and pesticides. They say the technique they used to spot these changes could offer an early warning system for populations at risk.

 

New stem cell method produces millions of human brain and muscle cells in days

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Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute scientists and their collaborators at the University of Cambridge have created a new technique that simplifies the production of human brain and muscle cells - allowing millions of functional cells to be generated in just a few days. The results published today (23 March) in Stem Cell Reports open the door to producing a diversity of new cell types that could not be made before in order to study disease. Human pluripotent stem cells offer the ability to create any tissue, including those which are typically hard to access, such as brain cells. They hold huge potential for studying human development and the impact of diseases, including cancer, Alzheimer’s, Multiple Sclerosis, and heart disease.

 

Passive smoking: acrolein inhibits immune response, hence accelerating tumour growth

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In Austria alone, two or three people a day die as a result of passive smoking.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that every year 600,000 deaths are caused by passive smoking worldwide and, in Austria alone, two or three people a day die as a result of passive smoking. In a study recently published in "Scientific Reports", researchers from MedUni Vienna and the Messerli Research Institute have, for the first time, identified the organic compound acrolein (acrylic aldehyde) as one of the main causes of failure of the immune defence to tumours due to passive smoking.

 

CNRS and the Louvre-Lens museum study perception of art with Ikonikat

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Heat map showing density of marks drawn by visitors: blue areas are rarely marked; red areas are most frequently marked). Painting: Jean-Baptiste Wicar, The judgment of Solomon. Oil on canvas, 96 × 150 cm, 1785. Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille. Courtesy of Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille / RMN / Julien Wylleman / Ikonikat

 

The Louvre-Lens museum and its partner, the CNRS, are conducting a novel research project during the museum’s Le Nain exhibit: The Le Nain mystery. In all, 600 museum visitors will be using tablets to highlight what most captivates their attention in seven works on display.  This tablet input collected throughout the exhibit’s duration—from 22 March to 26 June 2017—will be recorded and processed using Ikonikat software. Researchers will use it to determine whether visitors focus on the same details that professionals find most noteworthy. The findings will help the museum redefine how artwork is presented to visitors.

 

Severe psoriasis predominantly affects men

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Marcus Schmitt-Egenolf is a researcher at the Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine at Umeå University and senior author of the study.

 

The fact that men are overrepresented in psoriasis registers and consume more psoriasis care have long led researchers to believe that the common skin disease disproportionally affects men. A unique study with 5,438 Swedish psoriasis patients now reveals that women have a statistically significant lower incidence of severe psoriasis compared to men. The study, conducted by researchers at Umeå University and Karolinska Institutet, is published in the American Journal of Clinical Dermatology. “Our results tell us that the well-established gender differences in the utilization of psoriasis care can at least partially be explained by a higher prevalence of more severe disease in men,” says Marcus Schmitt-Egenolf, who is researcher at the Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine at Umeå University and senior author of the study.

 

Upper part of Earth’s magnetic field reveals details of a dramatic past

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Magetic field model/Magnetic anomaly (ESA)


Satellites have been mapping the upper part of the Earth magnetic field by collecting data for three years and found some amazing features about the Earth’s crust. The result is the release of highest resolution map of this field seen from space to date. This ‘lithospheric magnetic field’ is very weak and therefore difficult to detect and map from space. But with the Swarm satellites it has been possible. “By combining Swarm measurements with historical data from the German CHAMP satellite, and using a new modelling technique, it was possible to extract the tiny magnetic signals of crustal magnetization with unprecedented accuracy,” said professor Nils Olsen from the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), one of the team of scientists behind the new map that has just been released at a Swarm Science Meeting in Banff, Canada.

 

Gli effetti sulla nostra salute del cambiamento climatico

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I cambiamenti climatici, con le ondate di calore e l’aumento delle temperature, gli eventi meteorologici estremi come alluvioni e siccità aumentano i rischi per la salute e il benessere umano. Oltre ai danni diretti, gli impatti influenzano l’alimentazione, l’approvvigionamento di acqua ma anche la diffusione di malattie, tramite vettori come le zecche e la zanzara tigre asiatica che aumentano il rischio di insorgenza di patologie quali la malattia di Lyme, l’encefalite da zecche, la dengue e la febbre del Nilo occidentale. Secondo l’OMS tra il 2030 e il 2050 il cambiamento climatico potrebbe causare circa 250.000 ulteriori morti l’anno per malnutrizione, malaria, diarrea e stress da calore. A livello globale, il numero di disastri legati al clima è più che triplicato dal 1960. Questi disastri si traducono in oltre 60.000 morti, principalmente nei paesi in via di sviluppo.

 

Foreste e acqua unite sotto il segno del clima

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Oggi è la Giornata mondiale delle foreste

Sabato 25 marzo alle 20,30 l’Ora della Terra per ricordare a tutti che sul clima dobbiamo agire ora, domani sarà troppo tardi

 

Acqua, foreste, clima: quella appena iniziata è una settimana importante al livello globale con celebrazioni di temi chiave della salute degli ecosistemi del pianeta. Il 21 e 22 marzo, le due date che l’ONU  ha indetto per celebrare con Giornate globali le Foreste e l’Acqua,  sono in realtà profondamente unite ‘sotto il segno del clima’.

Queste date sono per il WWF un’occasione per riflettere sullo stretto legame che unisce  gli ambienti forestali e le risorse idriche del nostro pianeta. Quando distruggiamo le foreste intacchiamo pesantemente il loro importante ruolo nel ciclo dell’acqua e nei sistemi idrogeologici,  rafforziamo la portata e l’intensità delle alluvioni, dei dissesti idrogeologici, dei processi di desertificazione e dei periodi con forti siccità. E’ come una delicata catena che, se spezzata, produce devastazioni con un effetto domino sia su scala locale (disastri ambientali) sia su scala globale (cambiamento climatico). E sono proprio la deforestazione e la degradazione degli ambienti forestali responsabili globalmente di circa il 20% delle emissioni di gas serra.

 

Il karma di Francesco Gabbani per l'Ora della Terra del WWF

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Quest’anno Earth Hour ha un testimonial d’eccezione: il vincitore dell’ultimo Festival di Sanremo Francesco Gabbani che ha realizzato un simpatico video messaggio a sostegno del prossimo evento globale, Ora della Terra-Earth Hour che si terrà in tutto il mondo il prossimo 25 marzo. Sulle note di Occidentali’s Karma Gabbani invita tutti a spegnere simbolicamente per un’ora le luci.

Qui il video (da Facebook) di Francesco Gabbani per Earth Hour

La Scimmia Nuda, tornata alla ribalta con il brano di Gabbani è il titolo del libro culto scritto nel 1967 dall’etologo e zoologo inglese, Desmond Morris (circa 10 milioni di copie vendute), in cui descive la specie umana in chiave etologica ed evoluzionistica. La scimmia nuda in questo caso è la specie umana, vista con lo sguardo dell’etologo. E viste le conseguenze del riscaldamento globale sugli ecosistemi, sulle specie e soprattutto sulle salute umana, continuando su questa strada, la ‘Scimmia Nuda’ rischia di estinguere se stessa.

 

Fly larvae found to contribute to atmospheric methane pollution

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Greenhouse gases: First it was cows -- now it's larvae!

During the day, the Chaoborus spp hide in the sediment where dissolved methane is transferred into their gas sacs. Using the buoyancy from the methane, they float to the lake surface at night to feed on zooplankton. At the surface, the methane in the gas sacs is dissolved back into the water.  Chaoborus spp is a small fly species that is found all over the world (except in Antarctica). The insect spends one to two years of its life cycle under water in a larval state, in lakes no deeper than 70 metres. Larvae spend the day in lakebed sediment and rise to the surface at night to feed. They are equipped with air sacs that they can adjust to alter their depth in the water so as to migrate upwards and downwards.

 

Minitablets help medicate picky cats

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Hautala uutiskuva_500

Of all pets, cats are often considered the most difficult ones to medicate. Very small minitablets with flavours or flavour coatings can help cat owners commit to the treatment and make cats more compliant to it, while making it easier to regulate dosage and administer medication flexibly. In her dissertation, Jaana Hautala, MSc (Pharmacy), is seeking solutions for facilitating the medication of cats. In order for the oral medication of pets to succeed, the animal must enjoy the taste of the medicine and find it appealing. Palatability is essential both in acute cases and in the treatment of chronic illnesses which require regular, constant medical treatment. Successful treatment of pets is also necessary to ensure the health and wellbeing of humans, communities and the environment.

 

A new web of life

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Leucauge venusta suspended from its web. Photo: Dimitar Dimitrov


For the first time biologists have made a full family tree of the world's spiders, giving us knowledge about venoms that can be useful in medicine. And we might be able to develop silk just as good as the spider's. They may make you cringe in horror, or they may intrigue you. Some even have them as pets. Regardless of how you judge them, spiders are a plentiful and widespread group of animals. They have been around for 400 million years, count 45 000 species, and crawl around on nearly every terrestrial habitat in in the world. For long, researchers have tried to unlock the secrets to their evolutionary history, striking diversity and success.

 

Fledgling stars try to prevent their neighbours from birthing planets

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Artist's impression of an evaporating protoplanetary disc. Image:NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle (SSC)

Stars don’t have to be massive to evaporate material from around nearby stars and affect their ability to form planets, a new study suggests. Newly formed stars are surrounded by a disc of dense gas and dust. This is called the protoplanetary disc, as material sticks together within it to form planets. Stars of different shapes and sizes are all born in huge star-forming regions. Scientists know that when a protoplanetary disc around a relatively small star is very close to a massive star, the larger star can evaporate parts of the protoplanetary disc.

 

How can you help save endangered species? Save the Pink Pigeon

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“Conservation genomics to the rescue, saving the pink pigeon #seqthepinkpigeon” is a research project led by the Earlham Institute (EI) and the University of East Anglia in partnership with PacBio. By voting to save the pink pigeon – we also hope to increase survival for other threatened species. Earlham Institute is one of just five finalists and only UK entry selected by a scientific committee to win a PacBio SMRT Sequencing grant. As part of the 2017 Plant and Animal SMRT Programme. EI, in collaboration with the UEA, EnvEast and partners are aiming to save the pink pigeon from its diminishing population on the island of Mauritius. This would be the first endangered bird species to be sequenced by the Pacific Biosciences Iso-Seq method; the potential project will identify immune system genes and their variants which enable the unique species’ survival from a disease humans unwittingly introduced to the island.

 

‘The influence of the media on legislation is limited’

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Anyone watching the question hour in the Lower House on Tuesday afternoon will regularly hear MPs referring to news articles. Media attention is often the direct cause of questions to ministers or state secretaries, and often the reason for putting topics on the political agenda. If we look only at the course of legislative processes, the influence of the media is much less. PhD research by Lotte Melenhorst has led to this conclusion. The positions of politicians and their parties change little or not at all as a result of media attention. Melenhorst reaches this conclusion after studying three recent proposals for legislation, each of which received a lot of media attention: the Executives’ Pay (Standards) Act, the Law on Work and Social Security, and the Law on Tuition Fees Loans in Higher Education.

 

TPU foot implants improve life for pets and humans

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Thomas and Kutuzov the cats with artificial feet

Veterinaries successfully apply Tomsk Polytechnic University’s developments for implantology. Now titanium implants with bioactive coatings are already used to treat pets in BEST vet clinic, Novosibirsk, Russia. Tomas and Kutuzov the cats were the first patients to apply the Tomsk development. A scientific team led by associate professor Sergey Tverdokhlebov, the TPU Department of Experimental Physics, is engaged in the property modification of materials used in implant manufacturing. Tomas and Kutuzov the cats were the first patients to test the innovation. “One cat was missing a front foot, another – a back foot. Their owners addressed the clinic and doctors suggested implants with our coatings. The owners agreed and the pets were operated. Now the two are under observation and veterinaries systematically do them radiograph and tomography. Results show the implants have taken roots well. According to the doctors the four-leg patients feel themselves with artificial feet as comfortable as with their native ones,” says Sergey Tverdokhlebov.

 

Heat exposure associated with mental illness, older people in rural areas especially vulnerable

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A mental hospital-based study in Hanoi, Vietnam looked at if there is a relationship between heat exposure and mental health problems. The results showed significant increase in hospital admissions for mental illnesses during periods of heatwaves, especially during longer periods of heat exposure. This is according to a doctoral thesis from Umeå University. The study, which looked at admissions data from the Hanoi Mental Hospital during a 5 year period (2008 – 2012), also found that factors including old age, gender and rural-dwelling contributed to more mental illness among vulnerable and susceptible groups during heat or extreme heat exposure.

 
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