In the vicious cycle of itching and scratching, we scratch an itch to cause minor pain in the skin, and then the brain releases serotonin in response to that pain. However, in addition to tamping down pain, serotonin also reacts with receptors on neurons that carry itch signals to the brain, making itching worse.

Hubble sees 'ghost light' from dead galaxies

Massive galaxy cluster Abell 2744, nicknamed Pandora's Cluster, takes on a ghostly look where total starlight has been artificially colored blue in this Hubble view.NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has picked up the faint, ghostly glow of stars ejected from ancient galaxies that were gravitationally ripped apart several billion years ago. The mayhem happened 4...

They know the drill: UW leads the league in boring through ice sheets

Wisconsin is famous for its ice fishers -- the stalwarts who drill holes through lake ice in the hope of catching a winter dinner. Less well known are the state's...

Emerging disease could wipe out American, European salamanders

Mortality was 100 percent among Eastern red-spotted newts (<i>Nothophthalmus viridescens</i>) exposed to a fungus from Asia that recently reached Europe, probably carried by salamanders in the pet shop trade. This newt, shown in its juvenile stage, is a North American native and a popular aquarium pet.A deadly disease that is wiping out salamanders in parts of Europe will inevitably reach the U.S. through the international wildlife trade unless steps are taken to halt its spread,...

Magma pancakes beneath Lake Toba

The tremendous amounts of lava that are emitted during super-eruptions accumulate over millions of years prior to the event in the Earth's crust. These reservoirs consist of magma that intrudes...

Biology meets geometry

Artist's rendering of Terasaki spiral ramps, helices that connect stacks of evenly spaced sheets in the rough endoplasmic reticulum.Architecture imitates life, at least when it comes to those spiral ramps in multistory parking garages. Stacked and connecting parallel levels, the ramps are replications of helical structures found in...

Blocking a fork in the road to DNA replication

A team of Whitehead Institute scientists has discovered the surprising manner in which an enigmatic protein known as SUUR acts to control gene copy number during DNA replication. It’s a...

Could daylight saving time be a risk to diabetics?

Saleh Aldasouqi is an associate professor of medicine and diabetes expert in the College of Human Medicine at Michigan State University.Soon, many will turn back the hands of time as part of the twice-annual ritual of daylight saving time. That means remembering to change the alarm clock next to the...

Identifying the source of stem cells

Amy Ralston, MSU biochemist and molecular biologist, has identified a possible source of stem cells, which can advance regenerative and fertility research.When most animals begin life, cells immediately begin accepting assignments to become a head, tail or a vital organ. However, mammals, including humans, are special. The cells of mammalian embryos...

Ion adsorption matter in biology

Biological membranes are mainly composed of lipid bilayers. Gaining a better understanding of adsorption of solution ions onto lipid membranes helps clarify functional processes in biological cells. Now, a new...

Griffith scientists propose existence and interaction of parallel worlds

This is Professor Howard Wiseman, Director of Griffith University's Centre for Quantum Dynamics.Griffith University academics are challenging the foundations of quantum science with a radical new theory based on the existence of, and interactions between, parallel universes.

Genetic factors behind surviving or dying from Ebola shown in mouse study

Angela Rasmussen and Michael Katze in their University of Washington microbiology and systems biology lab where they study host/virus interactions. Behind them is robotic equipment  used to perform standard lab procedures.A newly developed mouse model suggests that genetic factors are behind the mild-to-deadly range of reactions to the Ebola virus.

Himalayan Viagra fuels caterpillar fungus gold rush

Young people are especially adept at harvesting yartsa gunbu because of their keen eyesight.Overwhelmed by speculators trying to cash-in on a prized medicinal fungus known as Himalayan Viagra, two isolated Tibetan communities have managed to do at the local level what world leaders...

Lord of the microrings

This is a schematic of a PT symmetry microring laser cavity that provides single-mode lasing on demand.A significant breakthrough in laser technology has been reported by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)'s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California (UC) Berkeley. Scientists...

Science casts light on sex in the orchard

Most flowering plants combine male and female in the same individual, but a few, including persimmons, have separate sexes. Male persimmon trees have XY sex chromosomes, while female trees have XX chromosomes. Scientists at UC Davis and Kyoto University discovered that a gene called OGI on the Y chromosome specifies the production of a small RNA that targets a feminizing gene called MEGI. OGI suppresses MEGI to rescue anther fertility. Without OGI, the male organs in the flower are incapacitated by excess MEGI. So, after substantial molecular squabbling, separate sexes and, presumably, 'tree love' emerge.Persimmons are among the small club of plants with separate sexes -- individual trees are either male or female. Now scientists at the University of California, Davis, and Kyoto University...

New study finds oceans arrived early to Earth

In this illustration of the early solar system, the dashed white line represents the snow line -- the transition from the hotter inner solar system, where water ice is not stable (brown) to the outer Solar system, where water ice is stable (blue). Two possible ways that the inner solar system received water are: water molecules sticking to dust grains inside the "snow line" (as shown in the inset) and carbonaceous chondrite material flung into the inner solar system by the effect of gravity from protoJupiter. With either scenario, water must accrete to the inner planets within the first ca. 10 million years of solar system formation.Earth is known as the Blue Planet because of its oceans, which cover more than 70 percent of the planet's surface and are home to the world's greatest diversity of...

High-intensity sound waves may aid regenerative medicine

This is a cross section through a histotripsy lesion created in bovine liver tissue with the liquified cellular contents washed out revealing the remaining extracellular matrix. The scale bar represents 5mm.Researchers at the University of Washington have developed a way to use sound to create cellular scaffolding for tissue engineering, a unique approach that could help overcome one of regenerative...

Female frogs modify offspring development depending on reproduction date

This is a breeding male of <i>Rana arvalis</i> from the study area.Global warming is altering the reproduction of plants and animals, notably accelerating the date when reproduction and other life processes occur. A study by the University of Uppsala (Sweden), including...

Yale finds a planet that won't stick to a schedule

Yale astronomers and citizen scientists from Planet Hunters have confirmed a low-mass, low-density planet that can't seem to stick to a schedule.For their latest discovery, Yale astronomers and the Planet Hunters program have found a low-mass, low-density planet with a punctuality problem.

Peripheral clocks don't need the brain's master clock to function correctly

Circadian clocks regulate functions ranging from alertness and reaction time to body temperature and blood pressure. New research published in the November 2014 issue of The FASEB Journal further adds...

National initiative shows multisystem approaches to reduce diabetes disparities

Exciting results from an innovative, multicultural, five-year initiative, known as the Alliance to Reduce Disparities in Diabetes (Alliance), have been published in ten peer-reviewed articles in the November 2014 supplemental...

'Nanomotor lithography' answers call for affordable, simpler device manufacturing

This is an atomic force microscope image of a square-wave pattern written by a rod-shaped nanowire robot for nanoscale 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...