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Latest Washington University Stories

2012-06-19 00:03:38

International collaboration puts molecular face on enzyme family that allows plants to adjust quickly to herbivore attack or changes in growing conditions Science has known about plant hormones since Charles Darwin experimented with plant shoots and showed that the shoots bend toward the light as long as their tips, which are secreting a growth hormone, aren´t cut off. But it is only recently that scientists have begun to put a molecular face on the biochemical systems that...

2012-05-21 20:18:20

Folic acid fortification of foods may reduce the incidence of the most common type of kidney cancer and a type of brain tumors in children, finds a new study by Kimberly J. Johnson, PhD, assistant professor at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis, and Amy Linabery, PhD, postdoctoral fellow at the University of Minnesota. Incidence reductions were found for Wilms' tumor, a type of kidney cancer, and primitive neuroectodermal tumors (PNET), a type of brain cancer. Since...

2012-03-22 23:00:40

Photoacoustic tomography can 'see' in color and detail several inches beneath the skin Every new imaging technology has an aura of magic about it because it suddenly reveals what had been concealed, and makes visible what had been invisible. So, too, with photoacoustic tomography, which is allowing scientists to virtually peel away the top several inches of flesh to see what lies beneath. The technique achieves this depth vision by an elegant marriage between light and sound, combining...

2012-03-16 11:20:26

Understanding factors that promote smoking key to improving cessation rates Smoking, the leading preventable cause of mortality in the United States, continues to disproportionately impact lower income members of racial and ethnic minority groups. In a new study published in the American Journal of Public Health, Jason Q. Purnell, PhD, assistant professor at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis, looked at how perceived discrimination influences smoking rates among...

Image 1 - Scientists Learn How Insects 'Remodel' Their Bodies Between Life Stages
2012-03-01 04:47:52

Similar mechanisms may drive changes in puberty It´s one of life´s special moments: a child finds a fat caterpillar, puts it in a jar with a twig and a few leaves, and awakens one day to find the caterpillar has disappeared and an elegant but apparently lifeless case now hangs from the twig. Then, when the jar has been forgotten, soft beating against its glass walls calls attention to a new wonder: the jar now holds a fragile-winged butterfly or dusky moth with fringed...

A New Take On Planetary Accretion
2012-02-29 09:39:21

The prevailing model for planetary accretion, also called fractal assembly, and dating back as far as the 18th century, assumes that the Solar System´s planets grew as small grains colliding chaotically, coalescing into bigger ones, colliding yet more until they formed planetesimals. The planetesimals then collided until they formed planets as varied as the Earth and Jupiter. The model assumes that this occurred in an extremely hot (as high as 1,600 degrees Celsius) environment for...

2012-02-27 10:57:52

Squirrels and raccoons will give up food to avoid ticks Here´s a riddle: What´s the difference between a tick and a lion? The answer used to be that a tick is a parasite and the lion is a predator. But now those definitions don´t seem as secure as they once did. A tick also hunts its prey, following vapor trails of carbon dioxide, and consumes host tissues (blood is considered a tissue), so at least in terms of its interactions with other creatures, it is like a lion...

2012-02-17 11:11:05

Even without combat, military service has subtle, lingering effects, study says It´s no secret that battlefield trauma can leave veterans with deep emotional scars that impact their ability to function in civilian life. But new research led by Washington University in St. Louis suggests that military service, even without combat, has a subtle lingering effect on a man´s personality, making it potentially more difficult for veterans to get along with friends, family and...

2012-01-27 10:25:50

In 2011 – to the consternation of women everywhere – a systematic review of randomized clinical trials showed that routine mammography was of little value to younger women at average or low risk of breast cancer. The review showed, for example, that for every 50-year-old woman whose life is prolonged by mammography, dozens are treated unnecessarily – some with harmful consequences – or treated without benefit. Hundreds are told they have breast cancer when they do...


Word of the Day
ramage
  • Boughs or branches.
  • Warbling of birds in trees.
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