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Latest Oregon State University Stories

2011-12-29 10:27:43

New research has found that elderly people with higher levels of several vitamins and omega 3 fatty acids in their blood had better performance on mental acuity tests and less of the brain shrinkage typical of Alzheimer's disease — while "junk food" diets produced just the opposite result. The study was among the first of its type to specifically measure a wide range of blood nutrient levels instead of basing findings on less precise data such as food questionnaires, and found...

Image 1 - Returning Wolves Transform Yellowstone
2011-12-23 05:05:47

[ Watch the Video ] On the 15th anniversary of the return of wolves to Yellowstone National Park, a quiet but profound rebirth of life and ecosystem health is emerging, scientists conclude in a new report. For the first time in 70 years, the over-browsing of young aspen and willow trees has diminished as elk populations in northern Yellowstone declined and their fear of wolf predation increased. Trees and shrubs have begun recovering along some streams, providing improved habitat for...

Hatcheries Change Salmon Genetics After A Single Generation
2011-12-20 10:28:33

The impact of hatcheries on salmon is so profound that in just one generation traits are selected that allow fish to survive and prosper in the hatchery environment, at the cost of their ability to thrive and reproduce in a wild environment. These findings, published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, show a speed of evolution and natural selection that surprised researchers. They confirmed that a primary impact of hatcheries is a change in fish genetics, as...

Image 1 - Microbes In Lava Tube Live In Conditions Like Those On Mars
2011-12-16 08:48:18

A team of scientists from Oregon has collected microbes from ice within a lava tube in the Cascade Mountains and found that they thrive in cold, Mars-like conditions. The microbes tolerate temperatures near freezing and low levels of oxygen, and they can grow in the absence of organic food. Under these conditions their metabolism is driven by the oxidation of iron from olivine, a common volcanic mineral found in the rocks of the lava tube. These factors make the microbes capable of living...

2011-11-30 10:38:34

A new study by economists at Oregon State University questions the cost-effectiveness of biofuels and says they would barely reduce fossil fuel use and would likely increase greenhouse gas emissions. The idea that biofuels can reduce dependency on fossil fuels and mitigate climate change has led governments to promote them as substitutes for gasoline and petroleum-based diesel, using mandates and subsidies, said Bill Jaeger, the lead author on the study. "Our results suggest that...

2011-11-14 23:32:24

Scientists have discovered that a gene that influences empathy, parental sensitivity and sociability is so powerful that even strangers observing 20 seconds of silent video identified people with a particular genetic variation to be more caring and trusting. In the study, 23 romantic couples were videotaped while one of the partners described a time of suffering in their lives. The other half of the couple and their physical, non-verbal reactions were the focal point of the study. Groups...

Image 1 - Which Came First? Humans Or Malaria?
2011-11-03 03:41:16

Malaria Revealed As Ancient, Adaptive And Persistent Foe One of the most comprehensive analyses yet done of the ancient history of insect-borne disease concludes for the first time that malaria is not only native to the New World, but it has been present long before humans existed and has evolved through birds and monkeys. The findings, presented in a recent issue of American Entomologist by researchers from Oregon State University, are based on the study of insect specimens preserved...

2011-10-24 12:00:34

The largest and most comprehensive study yet done on the effect of biofuel production from West Coast forests has concluded that an emphasis on bioenergy would increase carbon dioxide emissions from these forests at least 14 percent, if the efficiency of such operations is optimal. The findings are contrary to assumptions and some previous studies that suggest biofuels from this source would be carbon-neutral or even reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In this research, that wasn't true in...

Too Much Stress Can Lead To Higher Mortality Rates
2011-10-21 03:35:06

[ Watch the Video ] A new study concludes that men who experience persistently moderate or high levels of stressful life events over a number of years have a 50 percent higher mortality rate. In general, the researchers found only a few protective factors against these higher levels of stress — people who self-reported that they had good health tended to live longer and married men also fared better. Moderate drinkers also lived longer than non-drinkers. “Being a...

“Albedo Effect” In Forests Can Cause Added Warming, Bonus Cooling
2011-10-20 06:10:28

Wildfire, insect outbreaks and hurricanes destroy huge amounts of forest every year and increase the amount of carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere, but scientists are now learning more about another force that can significantly affect their climate impact. Researchers conclude in a new study that the albedo effect, which controls the amount of energy reflected back into space, is important in the climatic significance of several types of major forest disturbances. In some cases...


Word of the Day
toccata
  • In music, a work for a keyboard-instrument, like the pianoforte or organ, originally intended to utilize and display varieties of touch: but the term has been extended so as to include many irregular works, similar to the prelude, the fantasia, and the improvisation.
This word is Italian in origin, coming from the feminine past participle of 'toccare,' to touch.
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