Actuator discovery outperforms existing technology

University of Houston researchers are reporting a breakthrough in the field of materials science and engineering with the development of an electrochemical actuator that uses specialized organic semiconductor nanotubes (OSNTs). Currently in the early stages of development, the actuator will become a key part of research contributing to the future of robotic, bioelectronic and biomedical…

Gut bacteria influence brain development

Extremely premature infants are at a high risk for brain damage. Researchers have now found possible targets for the early treatment of such damage outside the brain: Bacteria in the gut of premature infants may play a key role. The research team found that the overgrowth of the gastrointestinal tract with the bacterium Klebsiella is…

Global warming threatens the existence of an Arctic oasis

The most significant Arctic oasis is susceptible to climate change — researchers say that global warming is threatening the region’s ecosystem, and predict that the oasis will cease to exist. The University of Helsinki’s Environmental Change Research Unit (ECRU) took part in an international study investigating the millennia-long history of the most important oasis in…

Identification of plant-parasitic nematode attractant

A research collaboration based in Kumamoto University, Japan has become the first to successfully purify and identify an attractant for crop-infecting root-knot nematodes from flaxseeds. Their experiments revealed that rhamnogalacturonan-I (RG-I), a flaxseed cell wall component, can attract root-knot nematodes. The linkages between rhamnose and L-galactose are essential for the attraction. Plant-parasitic nematodes are one…

Predicting possible Alzheimer’s with nearly 100 percent accuracy

Researchers from Kaunas universities, Lithuania developed a deep learning-based method that can predict the possible onset of Alzheimer’s disease from brain images with an accuracy of over 99 per cent. The method was developed while analysing functional MRI images obtained from 138 subjects and performed better in terms of accuracy, sensitivity and specificity than previously…

The physics behind a tardigrade’s lumbering gait

Plump and ponderous, tardigrades earned the nickname “water bears” when scientists first observed the 0.02-inch-long animals’ distinctive lumbering gaits in the 18th century. Their dumpy plod, however, raises the question of why tardigrades evolved to walk at all. Animals as small and soft as tardigrades seldom have legs and almost never bother walking. For example,…

Scientists discover a new type of infrared polaritons at the surface of bulk crystals

An international team has reported in Nature the first observation of ghost polaritons, which are a new form of surface waves carrying nanoscale light strongly coupled with material oscillations and featuring highly collimated propagation properties. The research team observed these phenomena over a common material — calcite — and showed how ghost polaritons can facilitate…

Moderate-vigorous physical activity is the most efficient at improving fitness

In the largest study performed to date to understand the relationship between habitual physical activity and physical fitness, researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) have found that higher amount of time spent performing exercise (moderate-vigorous physical activity) and low-moderate level activity (steps) and less time spent sedentary, translated to greater physical fitness. “By…

Rare barley mutation with potential

The importance of the root system for agricultural yields is often underestimated. Whether roots can access water and nutrients effectively also determines the resilience of important crops to drought and climate change. Researchers from the Universities of Bonn and Bologna (Italy) have discovered and described a mutant in barley: Its roots grow downwards much more…

Carbon neutrality – a new policy brief for municipalities world wide

How to design efficient demo areas for urban carbon sequestration? In the latest policy brief research groups from the University of Helsinki and Aalto University focus on the main principles of urban demonstration areas using biochars for carbon sequestration. Furthermore, the policy brief provides lessons learnt from a co-creation process of one such park, Hyväntoivonpuisto,…