Say what? Young teenagers have increased risk of early hearing loss

A recent two-part study from Tel Aviv University on the music-listening habits of teenagers currently aged 13 to 17 predicts that one out of every four teens will suffer from early hearing loss in their adult lives. The increased prevalence is largely due to the misusage of portable listening devices (PLDs) such as iPods and other MP3 players at high volume and for extended periods of time. While the study did not appear to correlate the prevalence of early hearing loss with other risk factors such as genetic predisposition, lead author Chava Muchnik cautions that “in 10 or 20 years it will be too late to realize that an entire generation of young people is suffering from hearing problems much earlier than expected from natural aging.” The results are published in the International Journal of Audiology.

1 in 4 teens are at risk for early hearing loss.

Titanosaur fossils unearthed on Antarctic Peninsula

Fossil evidence of an ancient sauropod, the classification which contains some of the largest animals to ever walk the earth, has recently been uncovered on the Antarctic continent by an Argentinian research team.

 Jeffrey Serrill, Antarctica, James Ross Island, Titanosaur fossil

Synthetic nucleoside allows in vivo visualization of DNA synthesis

A novel strategy has recently been developed which allows the visualization of DNA synthesis in intact cells or organisms. This strategy, developed by the University of Zurich’s Institute of Organic Chemistry, utilizes a tailor-made nucleic acid which can be incorporated into a normal DNA strand to allow this biochemical process to be seen using fluorescent probes.

 Jeffrey Serrill, synthetic nucleosides, in vivo DNA synthesis, F-ara-Edu

Lungfish studies yield surprising insight into origin of terrestrial movement

New insights into the evolution of quadrupedal movement in pre-tetrapodal species have been recently developed through behavioral and morphological analyses of a species of African lungfish.

 Jeffrey Serrill, Lungfish, Evolution of Substrate Dependent Locomotion

CPEB4 interacts specifically with mRNA transcripts related to tumorigenesis

A Spanish research team has recently published evidence which may provide the first direct functional link between differential expression of mRNA-specific translational regulators and tumor development.

CPEB4 Tumorigenesis related factors polyadenylation Jeffrey Serrill

The 2011 Science Slant Gift List is Here!

We know a lot of you don't seem to have enough hours in the day this time of year, but what does seem to keep getting longer are your holiday shopping lists. If that sounds familiar we're happy to tell you that this is it. This is going to be YOUR year. The year you get it all done well before the holidays even start--with gifts that are educational, or fun, or fun and educational, or just plain strange--so you can wow your friends, impress the smarties and, perhaps more importantly, one-up your rotten sister's 'best aunt' status.

That's because we LabGrabbers have taken it upon ourselves to do all the exhaustive gift searching for you! The result is our annual Science Slant Holiday Gift List, and this year's list might just be our best one yet. From clothing and toys to gadgets and games (what do you mean your best friend doesn't have an EEG mindset yet?) the guide is packed with a slew of science-slanted gifts. We're pretty sure there really is something for everyone so enjoy the guide, pick some gifts and get back to what's really important (hint: holiday buffets!). If you can't find anything in 2011 that fits try our 2009 gift list or 2010 gift list.

LabGrab 2011 Science Gift Guide

Orcein and O4: Preventing toxic effects of amyloid fibril precursors

A German research team has recently uncovered evidence that orcein, a compound used for hundreds of years as a food dye, and the related compound O4 both act to accelerate the aggregation of β-amyloid monomers into mature amyloid plaques.

Orcein, O4, Inhibition of amyloid intermediates, Alzheimers, Jeffrey Serrill

ZnO Nanoparticles: Are those sunscreens that you're putting on your skin really safe?

A Swiss/Australian research team has utilized an interesting method for assessing whether or not sunscreens containing certain zinc oxide products could pose any potentially harmful health consequences to consumers.

Zinc Oxide nanomaterials are characterized by several unique optical properties which make them particularly well-suited for use in ultraviolet “optoelectronics” that can act as transducers to convert an optical signal to an electrical one (or vice-versa). These same optical properties, most notably a high level of optical UVA and UVB absorption, have led to the inclusion of these materials in a variety of sunscreen formulations in an attempt to minimize skin damage caused by sunlight. Additionally, these ZnO formulations tend to provide excellent transparency when applied topically, and from a cosmetic industry standpoint, any method of increasing this transparency should be highly advantageous.

ZnO Nanoparticles in Sunscreen Jeffrey Serrill LabGrab

Clean, green, renewable biofuels from bacteria

US Department of Energy researchers from the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) reported in a recent paper that they have engineered the first bacterial strain that can digest the biomass of non-food crops and synthesize the sugars into all three forms of transportation fuel - gasoline, diesel and jet biofuels.

Strains of modified E. coli bacteria - JBEI

A "Brinicle" ... what the heck is that?

A "Brinicle" ... what the heck is that?

Yup - that's exactly what we said when we saw this article from Nature news ... 'Brinicle' ice finger of death....

In the Antarctic, as new sea ice forms on the ocean surface it leaves behind brine that is so salty and dense, it rapidly sinks towards the sea floor. As this salty slurry sinks, it instantly freezes the water surrounding it - forming a salt icicle, or a brinicle - which freezes everything in its spidery path, including starfish and sea urchins.

Capturing a Brinicle forming - Credit: D. Anderson, BBC