Science Spain  SALAMANCA 16/05/2013

A gene helping fungi to attack plants

An article published in 'PLOS ONE' proves that a gene of plants was transferred to fungi ancestors of the Colletotrichum genus and currently makes them harmful to crops

Scientists from CIALE (a center for agricultural research at the Universidad de Salamanca, Spain) have published an article in the prestigious PLOS ONE contributing to fight diseases in plants of agricultural interest. The research team, led by Michael Thon, has identified a gene that passed from plants to ancestors of Colletotichum pathogenic fungi, a very harmful species to many crops. The presence of the gene could make attacks to plants easier.

Células de maíz invadidas por el hongo causante de la antracnosis, Colletotrichum graminicola. Las células de la planta tienen formas rectangulares y el hongo aparece en verde fluorescente. Foto: Michael Thon.
479 words
3 Images
Health Spain  VALLADOLID 15/05/2013

Factors causing eye dryness in contact lens wearers

Looking for nearsighted volunteers with up to 5.00 diopters, wearing contact lenses or not, to be part of this study

According to estimates, half of the people giving up contact lenses are motivated by discomfort linked to eye dryness. The optical industry has been working to solve this problem and to reduce these high percentages, to do so, it is necessary to delve into all factors associated with eye dryness and its effects on contact lenses. Researchers from the GSO (Eye Surface Team) at the IOBA (an institute of applied ophthalmology) in Valladolid (Spain) are working on this area and are currently developing a study with 60 patients.

Lente de contacto.
638 words
3 Images
Health Spain  LEÓN 14/05/2013

Nitrate and other elements in Spanish bottled and running water

This study is part of the MCC-Spain project that aims to analyze the influence of environmental factors and their interaction with genetic factors in tumors

A research team at the Ibiomed (an institute of biomedicine at the Universidad de León, Spain) has collaborated in an article recently published in Gaceta Sanitaria, a journal edited by the Sespas (a Spanish body of public healthcare and health management); the article analyzes levels of nitrate and other elements in bottled and municipal water in Spain. The study concludes that the amount of nitrate in municipal water does not exceed legal levels but differs depending on regions; and trace elements such as arsenic, nickel and cadmium are present in such small amounts that are unquantifiable in almost all samples, for both running water and bottled water.

Una niña bebe agua.


821 words
4 Images
Technology Spain  PALENCIA 13/05/2013

New software to draw up fish farm inventories

The system will be used to calculate fish population parameters and to export data in various formats
The Grupo de Ecohidráulica Aplicada (GEA), an applied ecohydraulics team at the Universidad de Valladolid and part of the School of Agricultural Engineering in Palencia (Spain), has developed a software that boosts data processing in fish farm inventories. The program, called DimP 1 (Calculation of population parameters in inland ichthyofauna), can be freely used for management and research on the Group’s website. Trabajo en una piscifactoría.
460 words
2 Images
Social Sciences Spain  BURGOS 10/05/2013

North African hominid butchers 1.8 million years ago

Evidence of stone tool use for extracting animal flesh was found at the El-Kherba (Aïn Hanech) site in Algeria

Researchers at the Centro Nacional de Investigación sobre la Evolución Humana (CENIEH), a research center on human evolution in Burgos (Spain), have found evidence of stone tool use to remove animal flesh from bones (like current butchers), in the oldest paleontological site in Northern Africa, the El-Kherba (Aïn Hanech) in Algeria, from about 1.8 million years. This work was published in the Journal of Human Evolution and it is part of a larger paleoanthropoligical research project: Aïn Hanech Paleoanthropological Project.

Marcas de corte sobre un fragmento de costilla de un hipopótamo (Foto cedida por Mohamed Sahnouni).
619 words
2 Images
Technology Spain  VALLADOLID 10/05/2013

Eco-design to reduce environmental impact of electric vehicles

This initiative, coordinated by Cartif, has focused on the main components of electric vehicles and charging points

Eco-design is a practice incorporating environmental factors into the decision making process during the development of a product, as an additional factor to those traditionally taken into account such as cost and quality. In order to include this outlook to electric vehicles, Cartif, a technological center in Valladolid (Spain), has coordinated an European project called Green Car Eco-design, an initiative born at the project Interreg IV-B SUDOE involving seven Spanish, French and Portuguese partners. This project, finished in the first week of April, has been carried out during the last two years with a 1.17 million budget.

El chasis del vehículo no fue objeto de estudio. En el software de simulación virtual del vehículo completo se consideró la carrocería del Toyota Prius (FOTO cedida por Nuria García Rueda).
949 words
5 Images
Science Spain  BURGOS 09/05/2013

Found the oldest terrestrial fossil lizard of Varanoidea family

A 125 million-year species, called Arcanosaurus ibericus was found in Salas de los Infantes dinosaur site (Spain)

The Sala de los Infantes dinosaur site houses 125 million-year varanoid lizards (its best known species is the Komodo dragon). An international research team has published, in Cretaceous Research, a study describing a new species in this family, specifically, the oldest terrestrial specimen of giant lizards from the remains preserved in the Museo de los Dinosaurios de Sala de los Infantes (Dinosaurs of Sala de los Infantes Museum).

Recreación del Arcanosaurus ibericus por Diego Montero.
603 words
3 Images
Health Spain  SALAMANCA 09/05/2013

Objective tests to assess hearing impairments

Spanish scientists have conducted the study for an American company and now they are improving the technique. Main goal: tailored hearing aid.

Thanks to the funding granted by an American company called Starkey, the Instituto de Neurociencias de Castilla y León (INCYL), an institute of neuroscience at the Universidad de Salamanca , has performed tests, during two years, with patients suffering from bilateral sensorineural hearing loss, a common hearing impairment in older people. The ultimate goal is to understand why a hearing-aid device is more effective in some patients than in other with the same hearing problem. This new project aims to make tests faster and more objective measuring brain activity with electrodes. Instead of having many consultations during months, a few minutes will be enough to carefully explore patients.

Pruebas de audición.
610 words
2 Images
Health Spain  SALAMANCA 08/05/2013

New therapeutic agents tighten up immune response against cancer

Spanish researchers take part in clinical trials for new therapies against hematologic neoplasms

The research team led by Jesús San Miguel, professor of Hematology at the Universidad de Salamanca and head of the Department of Hematology at the Hospital Universitario de Salamanca, works hand in hand with another team from the Centro de Investigación Médica Aplicada (CIMA), a center for applied medical research in Pamplona (Spain), conducting studies on new therapeutic agents to enhance patients’ immune response against cancer. Specifically, their chief objective is to bring this type of clinical research to hematological malignancies working with the team led by Ignacio Melero Bermejo, researcher at CIMA.

Ignacio Melero, investigador del CIMA.
580 words
1 Images
Nutrition Spain  PALENCIA 08/05/2013

Iberian inland fish swimming ability under study

In order to conduct these studies, the Grupo de Ecohidráulica Aplicada at the Universidad de Valladolid has build a swimming channel for fish only found in Europe

The Grupo de Ecohidráulica Aplicada (GEA), an applied ecohydraulics team at the Universidad de Valladolid (Spain), linked to Itagra technology center, is working on a new research area focused on determining the swimming ability of Iberian inland fish such as trout, barbells and nase. The main goal is to understand which structures in rivers (such as dams) are actually barriers to their migration and to enhance the design of fish ladders and steps.

Detalle de Barbo (Barbus bocagei). Río Duero, cerca de Tardajos de Duero, Soria (España). FOTO: David Perez.
520 words
5 Images
Environment Spain  BURGOS 07/05/2013

Amphibian and reptile fossils to study climate changes

Knowing past climate features and variations is essential to determine the circumstances of human evolution in Europe

Knowing climate’s history on Earth is paleoclimatologists’ major objective. These scientists use different techniques to calculate their estimates, as in the case of the analysis of polar ice sheets, tree rings and sediments. Members of the Equipo de Investigación de Atapuerca (EIA) – Atapuerca Research Team- are working on this area: they have studied for years climate evolution from microfauna remains found in paleontological sites at the Atapuerca Mountains, Spain.

Muestra de restos fósiles de anfibios localizados en el yacimiento de la Gran Dolina (FOTO: IPHES).
584 words
3 Images
Health Spain  SALAMANCA 07/05/2013

Two types of cells triggering brain tumors have been identified

The Centro de Investigación del Cáncer (Salamanca, Spain) and the Hospital de Valdecilla (Cantabria, Spain) have found potential mechanisms for therapies to prevent glioblastoma recurrence

A study proved the existence of two types of tumor stem cells producing glioblastomas, the most aggressive brain tumors. On one hand, a type of cancer-triggering cells are in the tumor mass; on the other, another group of cells with greater mobility placed on tumors spreads and, as these cells cannot be removed by surgery, recurrences occur. This finding has been published in Stem Cells and it is considered the first step to develop therapies preventing cancer recurrence.

Cerebro afectado por un glioblastoma en el que se distingue la zona central de la masa tumoral (TM) de la zona periférica tumoral (PT). Imagen: Atanasio Pandiella.
706 words
2 Images
Health Spain  SALAMANCA 06/05/2013

Connexin 43 reduces spreading of gliomas

A study conducted by the Instituto de Neurociencias de Castilla y León produced good results in the most common brain tumors

A study conducted by the Instituto de Neurociencias de Castilla y León (Incyl), an institute of neurosciences at the Universidad de Salamanca (Spain), has proved the increased expression of a protein called connexin 43 contributes to reduce an oncogene (a gene turning a normal cell into a tumor cell). In this case, we refer to the oncogene c-Src in glioma stem cells, the most common brain tumor. Consequently, the study suggests that connexin 43 may be useful to develop new therapies against brain tumors.

Astrocitos. Foto: A. Tabernero.
505 words
2 Images
Technology Spain  VALLADOLID 06/05/2013

Automated inspections in tunnels

The chief aim is to ensure road safety and to extend the useful life of these expensive infrastructures through a preventive conservation system

Nowadays, inspections in road and rail tunnels are performed manually. One or more technicians regularly walk through infrastructures trying to locate defects and faults, incidents recorded on cards and sometimes with photos or thermal images. In order to use technologies in these inspections automatically and to maintain tunnels preventively, researchers at Cartif (a technological center in Valladolid, Spain) and a company called Geocisa have embarked in the project SITEER.

Túnel ferroviario (FOTO: Cartif).
575 words
3 Images
Health Spain  SALAMANCA 03/05/2013

Rats with brain injuries respond to growth hormone therapy

The article was published in Behavioural Brain Research

A study has proved the effectiveness of growth hormone therapy combined with rehabilitation in adult rats with brain injuries. The animals recover their motor functions when treatment is given immediately after the brain injury is produced, according to an article by researchers of the Universidad de Salamanca (Spain) published in Behavioural Brain Researh.

Una rata seleccionada para un experimento saca la pata para acceder a la comida. Foto: Margarita Heredia.
706 words
3 Images
Health Spain  CASTILLA Y LEÓN 02/05/2013

A mathematical model to detect influenza epidemics

The paper, coordinated by two researchers at the Red Centinela Sanitaria de Castilla y León, was published in 'Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses'
Researchers at the Red Centinela Sanitaria de Castilla y León (Spain) have developed an epidemiological model that allows early detection of influenza epidemics. The study, published in Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses, was led by two experts from the Dirección General de Salud Pública (public health management in Castile and León): Tomás Vega and José Lozano, who have worked hand in hand with five authors from other countries. The mathematical model has been assessed and implemented by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe (WHO/Europe). Virus de la gripe.


562 words
4 Images
Social Sciences Spain  SALAMANCA 02/05/2013

CERN is not to produce black holes

Corinne Pralavorio, head of communication at CERN, takes part in the closing session of the Master in Social Studies on Science and Technology and the Postgraduate Certificate in Scientific Public Communication

The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva (Switzerland) is the largest laboratory in the world devoted to study particle physics, it is a research center with good stories to tell, but their spreading is very complex. Corinne Pralavorio is one of the persons in charge of bringing these stories to the public and on April 18th 2013 she went to Salamanca (Spain) to explain controversial situations that may benefit journalists and scientists in order to perform good scientific communication.

Corinne Pralavorio, en la conferencia.
604 words
2 Images
Health Spain  SALAMANCA 30/04/2013

A drug to fight Ewing’s sarcoma

Animal tests provide good results regarding a treatment to fight a rare type of cancer affecting children and young adults

The Centro de Investigación del Cáncer (CIC), a cancer research center in Salamanca (Spain), is performing trials with a drug proven effective in preclinical studies against Ewing’s sarcoma, a type of cancer affecting mostly children and young adults. This rare disease primarily has an impact on bones, but also on other soft tissues; scientists think that at least a group of patients with poor prognosis may benefit from a therapy that is also being under studies to fight other neoplasms.

Sarcoma de Ewing.


356 words
2 Images
Health Spain  LEÓN 30/04/2013

Researchers have decoded the genome of tacrolimus, a drug given after transplants

The article published in Journal of Bacteriology was useful to overtake other international teams pursuing the same goal

The Instituto de Biotecnología de León (Inbiotec), a Spanish biotechnology institute, has published in Journal of Bacteriology the nucleotide sequence of the genome of the organism producing immunosuppressant tacrolimus, the leading drug currently used to maintain transplanted organs such as livers, kidneys and hearts. The publication of the genome of Streptomyces tsukubaensis, Tacrolimus-producing bacterium, has been useful to get ahead of other international teams (British, Slovenian and Korean) pursuing the same objective.

Fotografía de microscopio electrónico de Streptomyces tsukubaensis, el microorganismo productor del tacrolimus (FOTO: Inbiotec).
538 words
2 Images
Nutrition Spain  ZAMORA 29/04/2013

Analyzing whether adding essential oils to sheep diet has effects on milk and cheese

This study, awarded by the Fundación Científica Caja Rural, is intended to find out whether adding thyme and clove to sheep diet improves the quality of dairy products

Isabel Revilla Martín, professor at the Escuela Politécnica Superior de Zamora (Spain), was awarded by the Fundación Científica Caja Rural in November 2012 for a research project that aims to analyze whether adding thyme and clove essential oils to sheep diet has any effect on the quality of milk and cheese. The researcher, from the Department of Food Technology at the Universidad de Salamanca, is trying to prove dietary compounds actually affect end products.

Ovejas de raza merina.
518 words
2 Images