Nutrition Panama  PANAMÁ 19/01/2015

Smithsonian Research supports Panama’s new marine protected areas proposal

Two extensive, unexplored submarine mountain chains are proposed as new open-water marine protected areas by the Republic of Panama based on scientific expertise from the STRI

Two extensive, unexplored submarine mountain chains are proposed as new open-water marine protected areas by the Republic of Panama based on scientific expertise from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI). Submarine mountain chains are recognized by the United Nations as conservation priorities. The MPA’s would dramatically increase Panama’s total marine protected area from 3.54 percent to almost 12 percent and would safeguard a number of highly migratory species including whales and whale sharks, dolphins and turtles, and also species of commercial value like tuna and billfishes.

Proponen nuevas áreas marinas protegidas en Panamá. FOTO: STRI.
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Health Brazil  BRASIL 15/01/2015

Study helps to understand how the protein ‘on/off switch’ works

A research study featured on the cover of the journal Science Signaling explains the interplay of a chemical reaction known as phosphorylation, which is catalyzed by kinases

Kinases are enzymes that act as a type of protein ‘on/off switch’ and, in this way, regulate important processes in the body such as cell division, proliferation and differentiation. Any problems in this signaling event may result in pathologies such as cancer, inflammation or cardiovascular disease. For this reason, nearly 25% of efforts by the pharmaceutical industry target the development of compounds that are capable of modulating the activity of these enzymes.

Study helps to understand how the protein �on/off switch� works. (image: Deborah Schechtman)
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Nutrition Panama  PANAMÁ 13/01/2015

Dead zones likely to expand as coastal waters warm

Altieri and Gedan looked at a database of more than 400 dead zones around the world and then overlaid them on a map of the annual temperature anomalies expected to occur in each region

A full 94 percent of the world’s dead zones lie in regions expected to warm at least two degrees Celsius by the century’s end, according to a new report from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center published in Global Change Biology.

Zona muerta marina. FOTO: STRI.
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Nutrition Colombia  BOGOTÁ D.C. 09/01/2015

Cinnamon and pepper have biological pest control activity

Cinnamon, for instance has essential oils useful for pest control, such as weevils that attack stored grain and can impact up to 30% of the global grain production

Different photoprotection, antibacterial and cytotoxic functions, essential for pest control have been discovered in several Colombian flora families by a UNal group which works in natural plant products. This team is focused on researching particular families of the Colombian flora, important for their representativeness and traditional uses in the medical field as well as for their ethnobotanical applications.

Las lauráceas son apreciadas por la calidad de sus maderas. Las lauráceas son apreciadas por la calidad de sus maderas.
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Health Mexico  NUEVO LEÓN 08/01/2015

Tec de Monterrey researcher proposes pure proteins for better drugs

osé González-Valdez is tapping new technologies to develop a process for a more efficient molecular structure of the proteins contained in drugs

Enhancing drugs' effects in the body by decreasing their quick exit from the bloodstream is the research topic addressed by José González-Valdez, a Tecnológico de Monterrey Ph.D. graduate in Engineering Sciences with an emphasis in Biotechnology, in his thesis "Analysis, Recovery, and Potential New Uses of PEGylated Proteins", aimed at jump-starting the development of new technologies for a more efficient molecular structure of the proteins contained in drugs.

José González-Valdez, a Tecnológico de Monterrey Ph.D. graduate in Engineering Sciences. FOTO: TEC
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Social Sciences Chile  CHILE 19/12/2014

'Perfect Storm' Suffocating Star Formation around a Supermassive Black Hole

Astronomers using ALMA have discovered that black holes don’t have to be nearly so powerful to shut down star formation

High-energy jets powered by supermassive black holes can blast away a galaxy’s star-forming fuel -- resulting in so-called "red and dead" galaxies: those brimming with ancient red stars yet little or no hydrogen gas available to create new ones.

Representación artística de la zona central de NGC 1266. Créditos: B. Saxton (NRAO/AUI/NSF)
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Health Colombia  CALDAS 18/12/2014

Pharmacological activity of Caribbean sponges assessed

These studies are based on the assumption that one of the most common drugs against cancer come from marine sponges

Science has discovered different compounds in sponges that help battle against diseases such as cancer and other types of tumors. This was the goal of a research project carried out by UNal Biotechnology master’s Lina Marcela Blandón, who analyzed the antiproliferative, cytotoxic and genotoxic activity of a fraction obtained from Topsentia ophiraphidites sponge from the Colombian Caribbean.

Esta esponja es más común en zonas de arrecifes profundos, de 3 a 55 metros, en el occidente del Atlántico. Foto: www.spongeguide.org Esta esponja es más común en zonas de arrecifes profundos, de 3 a 55 metros. Photo: www.spongeguide.org
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Health Brazil  BRASIL 17/12/2014

Study identifies clinical-immunological profiles of visceral leishmaniasis infection

Classification of different stages of infection promotes advances in knowledge about infection dynamics and evolution

After more than 20 years of caring for and monitoring individuals infected by the protozoan Leishmania (L.) infantum chagasi –the agent that causes American Visceral leishmaniasis (AVL)– in areas of the Amazon region that are endemic to the disease, researchers at the Laboratory of Infectious Diseases Pathology of the School of Medicine at the University of São Paulo (FMUSP) and the “Prof. Dr. Ralph Lainson” Leishmaniasis Laboratory of the Evandro Chagas Institute of Belém, Pará State, contemplated some intriguing data.

Leishmaniose visceral. (imagem: divulgação/FMUSP)
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Nutrition Panama  PANAMÁ 16/12/2014

Environmental bleaching impairs long-term coral reproduction

Florida State University’s Don Leviton (L) STRI’s Nancy Knowlton recently authored a study on the long-term effects of coral bleaching in Marine Ecology Progress Series. Photo by Christian Ziegler

A new study by a Florida State University biologist shows that bleaching events brought on by rising sea temperatures are having a detrimental long-term impact on coral.

Investigación sobre el blanqueamiento del coral.
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Technology Spain  MADRID 15/12/2014

A new simulator that provides training in cybersecurity

A system that teaches users how to carry out computer forensics, prevent cyber attacks and learn techniques of cyber defense

Researchers from Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) and the Universidad de Málaga (UMA) have collaborated with the consulting and technology company Indra on the development of a new advanced simulator of training in cybersecurity, a system that teaches users how to carry out computer forensics, prevent cyber attacks and learn techniques of cyber defense.

Ciberseguridad. Imagen: UC3M.
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Social Sciences Chile  ATACAMA 15/12/2014

ALMA detects pluto-size objects kicking-up dust around sun-like star

By making detailed observations of the protoplanetary disk surrounding the star known as HD 107146, the astronomers detected an unexpected increase in the concentration of millimeter-size dust grains in the disk's outer reaches

Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) may have detected the dusty hallmarks of an entire family of Pluto-size objects swarming around an adolescent version of our own Sun.

Representación artística del disco de desechos que rodea HD 107146. Este sistema estelar adolescente presenta indicios de que en sus bordes externos hay enjambres de objetos del tamaño de Plutón.  (NRAO/AUI/NSF)
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Health Colombia  ANTIOQUIA 12/12/2014

UdeA-led study will test Alzheimer’s prevention drug

Researchers from Grupo de Neurociencias de Antioquia (GNA) at the University of Antioquia will lead a clinical trial to test the effectiveness of a drug to treat preclinical stages of Alzheimer’s

GNA director Dr. Francisco Lopera said that 3,500 volunteers have been recruited but another 2,400 participants are still needed. 300 participants will be selected and monitored over the 6-year duration of the study. The study will take place in Medellin, Colombia, that is home to the world’s largest population with early-onset familial Alzheimer’s disease with about 5,000 people who share a rare genetic mutation (E280A) also known as the "paisa mutation", which causes the formation of abnormal presenilin 1 on chromosome 14 therefore leading to early-onset Alzheimer's disease.

Dr. Francisco Lopera (third from left) and BAI officials. FOTO: UDEA.
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Nutrition Argentina  ARGENTINA 10/12/2014

A contribution to the sustainability of the southern king crab fishing

CONICET researchers found that including a ramp to return females to the sea can reduce embryo mortality

How can the fishing methodology of the southern king crab (Lithodes santolla) and the stone crab (Paralomis granulosa) be improved to increase sustainability from an economic and biological point of view? How does fishing and release of non-marketable specimens affect the reproductive cycle of the species?

Lithodes santolla.- Foto: gentileza investigadora.-
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Nutrition Brazil  BRASIL 09/12/2014

Science is moving forward in unexplored parts of the oceans

Research studies carried out on the east coast of the United States and in the South Atlantic are presented during FAPESP Week California

Despite covering 70% of its surface, oceans are the least explored ecosystem on Earth. Efforts to advance knowledge of marine life, ocean currents and their relationships to life on dry land were shared by researchers from the University of California in Davis (UCD) and from institutions in São Paulo on November 21, 2014, the final day of FAPESP Week California.

Vida marina. FOTO: Alvaro E. Migotto/Cifonauta
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Health Argentina  ARGENTINA 04/12/2014

The key lies in hesperidin

Researchers of CONICET developed a method to control the quality of fruit juice

In 1864 Melville Sewell Bagley created Hesperidina, a beverage made from bitter orange peel that became an icon of Argentine liquor stores. This liquor was named after its main component, a flavonoid present in citrus that is used as a freshness indicator in fruit juices. It also has antioxidant effects, in addition to anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiviral activity. And for these reasons is frequently used in different pharmaceutical formulations.

Javier Breccia, investigador independiente del CONICET. Foto: gentileza investigador.
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Environment Panama  PANAMÁ 03/12/2014

Superheated tropical ants at risk to climate change

The highest maximum temperature tolerated by any of the 88 ant species tested was 56 C. This Ectatomma ant may encounter exceptionally high temperatures on sun-exposed branches

The next time you’re traipsing through a tropical forest and feel tempted to complain about the heat, think of the ants. Since they’re so small they’re easily superheated on sunexposed surfaces from the ground to the canopy. The forest they experience can be 10-15 degrees Celsius warmer than ambient temperature, which puts them at risk of passing out from ant heat stroke.

Hormigas tropicales. FOTO: STRI.
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Nutrition Colombia  BOGOTÁ D.C. 02/12/2014

Mercury causes malformations to crabs of the Bay of Cispatá

Most organic pollutants have mutagenic effects that produce morphologic alternations during embryo development as well as having carcinogenic effects

A UNal research project identified malformations in 70% of the analyzed crustaceans of the Bay of Cispatá (Province of Sucre), caused by increased levels of mercury in the water of the Sinú River. The research project developed jointly with the Universidad de Córdoba, discovered that this issue has produced crustacean malformations due to the pollutants in the Bay, particularly from mercury used in gold mining of the region. The Bay of Cispatá is located south of the Gulf of Morrosquillo, in the Province of Córdoba.

Estos cangrejos pertenecen a las familias Goneplacidae y Xanthidea. - www.pifsc.noaa.gov Estos cangrejos pertenecen a las familias Goneplacidae y Xanthidea. - www.pifsc.noaa.gov
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Nutrition Brazil  BRASIL 27/11/2014

Scientists create viral vector to boost immunity to cancer

A modified virus neutralizes the protein responsible for the immunosuppressive activity of lymphocytes, facilitating attacks on tumor cells

Researchers from Campinas are working to develop a viral vector capable of modifying the functions of certain defense cells, thereby stimulating the immune system to more effectively fight cancer.

Imagen de un linfocito rodeado de glóbulos rojos: Wikipedia
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Nutrition Colombia  BOGOTÁ D.C. 26/11/2014

Titanium dioxide nanotubes, key for ultraviolet sensors

This research project is part of a project which included the Physics and Chemical Engineering Departments under guidance of Professors Anderson Dussán and Hugo Zea

The importance of using tubular titanium dioxide nanostructures lies in that they are cheap, non-toxic and easy to obtain. As demonstrated by tests performed at UNal. For her Sciences-Physics master’s thesis, Heiddy Paola Quiroz analyzed the usefulness of these sensors as UV ray filters for use in creams, eyeglasses and other solar protection products.

Así son los nanotubos trabajados desde la Maestría en Ciencias�Física. Así son los nanotubos trabajados desde la Maestría en Ciencias�Física.
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Nutrition Argentina  ARGENTINA 25/11/2014

Science to reconstruct urban memory

CONICET researchers develop a method that enables the preservation of monuments in Cuyo

The metropolitan area of the city of Mendoza has 1.200 historical buildings of great heritage value. One third of them are partially or wholly made up of adobe, rammed earth or quincha (a cane or bamboo weave covered with clay). A survey conducted by CONICET researchers detected that 96% of these buildings are affected by rising damp from the substructure. In order to preserve and improve their restoration, researchers developed a device and a method to measure capillary absorption in materials commonly used in traditional, historical and ecological buildings.

Molino Orfila, uno de los monumentos históricos afectados por humedad ascendente desde la subestructura. Foto: gentileza investigadores.
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