Health Argentina  LA RIOJA 18/01/2016

Science and community united against Chagas disease

CONICET scientists work with the communities of Llanos del Sur of La Rioja to prevent infestation of houses by Triatoma infestans, aka “vinchucas” or conenose bugs

David Eladio Gorla, CONICET principal researcher at the Instituto Multidisciplinario de Biología (IMBIV, CONICET-UNC) [Multidisciplinary Plant Biology], leads a research project funded by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Productive Innovation. The aim of the project is to measure the impact of the Programa de Erradicación de Ranchos promoted by the government of La Rioja – although it is linked to a national plan – about the infestation of triatoma infestans in the houses located in Llanos del Sur de La Rioja, an area identified as one of the most problematic ones in the cuyo region. What is new for this region is that with the training provided by the researchers, its inhabitants are in charge of survey tasks.

Viviendas de los Llanos del Sur de La Rioja. FOTO: CONICET
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Technology Spain  MADRID 15/01/2016

Virtual reality for motor rehabilitation of the shoulder

Prototype developed at UC3M

Researchers at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) have developed a virtual reality system or motor rehabilitation of the shoulder. The prototype, which includes a built-in movement sensor, allows the user to do controlled exercises as part of a football game.

Gafas 3D para rehabilitación. Foto: UC3M.
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Nutrition Panama  PANAMÁ 15/01/2016

Will lionfish cross the Panama Canal?

Andrew Sellers, a doctoral student at McGill University, outlined three possible scenarios for a lionfish ('Pterois volitans') invasion

Coral reefs of the Caribbean already faced warming waters, disease and human-induced degradation. Then the lionfish came along. First introduced into the U.S. Atlantic in the 1980s, the lionfish has spread throughout the Caribbean in what has been described as one of the worst marine invasions ever recorded. Lionfish were not a problem in their native ranges in the Western Pacific, the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea, but in the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico they out-breed, out-compete and out-live native fish species and are decimating coral reefs. It only takes a year for a lionfish to reach maturity and begin to reproduce.

Pez león o Pterois volitans. FOTO: STRI
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Health Brazil  BRASIL 13/01/2016

Deep brain stimulation improves post-stroke recovery

In experiments with animals, a Cleveland Clinic research group shows that DBS assists formation of new synapses and neurons, bolstering motor rehabilitation

Deep brain stimulation (DBS), already used in humans to treat symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, is being tested to aid post-stroke recovery from paralysis.

Cerebro. FOTO: Argentina Investiga.
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Nutrition Colombia  BOGOTÁ D.C. 12/01/2016

Bacteria and fungi thrive in extreme environments in Colombia

Although seemingly unthinkable there are beings on Earth capable of surviving temperatures above 45º C (113º F) and known as thermophiles, which are a subgroup of the extremophiles (microorganisms which subsist in extreme environments)

Among the extremophiles is Anisakis simplex a worm that can resist the radioactivity of Chernobyl (Ukraine); Chromohalobacter beijerinckii, a bacteria capable of enduring the high salt concentration of the Dead Sea and the tardigrades which survive in extremely dry environments in the Desert of Atacama, in Chile.

En la búsqueda de extremófilos, los investigadores también ha colectado muestras de suelo en el Desierto de la Tatacoa, en el Huila. foto: cortesía María Angélica Leal.
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Nutrition Argentina  ARGENTINA 11/01/2016

Melipona bees’ honey, a vital resource for yungas communities

Wild stingless bees provide the inhabitants of Baritú in Salta with pollen, wax and propolis. CONICET researchers study the uses and characteristics of these products for their conservation and value

Before the introduction of the “European bee” (Apis mellifera), different melipona species – a group of native stingless bees-, were the main suppliers of honey for the native inhabitants of the American continent. Some communities that live in the yungas of Salta, maintain the habit of collecting the hives of these native bees and use their honey, pollen, wax and propolis for medicinal and food purposes.

Además de mieles, los pobladores de las yungas obtienen polen, cera y propóleos de las colmenas de la �mansita�. Fotos: gentileza Norma Hilgert y Fabio Flores.
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Nutrition Panama  PANAMÁ 07/01/2016

A new field guide untangles identification of tropical vines

A striking feature of tropical forests, woody vines or lianas compete with trees for light, slowing tree growth or even killing them

A striking feature of tropical forests, woody vines or lianas compete with trees for light, slowing tree growth or even killing them. Lianas are taking over forests across the Americas, but little is known about their biology. A new field guide to these important plants, Lianas y Enredaderas de la Isla de Barro Colorado, Panamá,, published by the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI), is an invaluable resource for anyone wanting to learn more about them.

Lianas en un bosque tropical de Panamá. FOTO: STRI
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Health Brazil  BRASIL 05/01/2016

Study shows Zika virus is becoming more effective at infecting humans

Since 2000 the virus has undergone genetic alterations that enable it to confuse the human immune system and replicate in human cells

On its way from Africa to the Americas via Asia and the Pacific, the Zika virus (ZIKV) has adapted to the human organism by acquiring certain genetic characteristics that have made its replication in the cells of its new host increasingly efficient.

Mosquitos del género Aedes. FOTO: Wikipedia
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Nutrition Colombia  BOGOTÁ D.C. 04/01/2016

The fog fern is in critical threat of extinction

The population of the species of fern has been reduced by more than 90% and the probability of extinction in the wild is 50% within ten years or three generations

In order to find this tiny fern a Universidad Nacional de Colombia (UNal) expedition headed by Natural Sciences Institute Professor Favio González along with two colleagues traveled the three Colombian mountain ranges with the purpose of finding Neuropterir, which in Latin means fog fern.

El helecho Neuropteris (Jamesonia) maxonii. Fotos: Favio González
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Health Brazil  BRASIL 21/12/2015

Immune systems of patients with bipolar disorder age prematurely

Damage to neurons occurs during mood swings, and the organism responds with an inflammatory reaction to rid itself of dead or dysfunctional cells

Research performed at the Federal University of São Paulo (UNIFESP) in Brazil has shown that the immune systems of individuals who suffer from bipolar disorder tend to age prematurely. According to Elisa Brietzke, who led the study, the discovery paves the way for new therapeutic approaches.

Microglias/Wikimedia Commons
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Culture Argentina  ARGENTINA 18/12/2015

A long way back home

One hundred years later, the fossils of the first marine crocodile from the Jurassic period found in South America return to the Argentine Museum of Natural Sciences

Buenos Aires, 1907. Argentine naturalist and director of the Argentine Museum of Natural Sciences (MACN-CONICET), Florentino Ameghino, received the fossil of a marine crocodile of the Jurassic period – approximately 190 and 145 millions of years ago– found in the mountain range area of the province of Neuquén. As he was not an expert on that field, he decided to contact his colleague Arthur Smith Woodward, who worked at the Natural History Museum of London. Ameghino asked him if he was interested in studying them, as it was the first time a reptile like that appeared in South America and Woodward had already described similar materials of crocodiles from the Northern Hemisphere.

El Cocodrilo de Ameghino regresa al país más de 100 años después. Fotos: CONICET Fotografía.
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Nutrition Panama  PANAMÁ 17/12/2015

How much did indigenous peoples alter the Amazon forest?

The researchers conclude that pre-European land use by the native peoples in Amazonia varied widely in space and time, but that vast areas of the Amazon were hardly affected by human activity

Before Europeans arrived, indigenous peoples altered the Amazon forest--but primarily along major rivers. Their effects were almost imperceptible in rainforest areas more than a day's walk from a river, according to new research published in the Journal of Biogeography.

Selva amazónica. FOTO: STRI.
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Health Colombia  BOGOTÁ D.C. 15/12/2015

Algebra improves prostate cancer treatment

A mathematical model helps specify radiotherapy dosage treatment as well as avoid secondary effects by predicting organ (seminal vesicles, prostate, rectum and bladder) movement

“One of the most common forms of prostate cancer treatment, if not in metastasis stage yet, is radiotherapy, which consists of taking a picture of the organs involved, outlining them and proposing a dosage,” said Universidad Nacional de Colombia (UNal) Medellín and Université de Rennes 1 Energy System Engineering doctoral student Richard Ríos Patiño.

Utilizando técnicas de machine learning se reduce la incertidumbre y la dimensionalidad de las variables en cuanto al movimiento de los órganos (foto extraída de http://1.bp.blogspot.com/)
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Health Argentina  ARGENTINA 14/12/2015

Probiotics from scratch

Researchers from CONICET and INTA study the production of native bacteria cultures from spray drying, a widely installed technology in the country

Human beings have groups of microorganisms in different parts of the body. Some of them live in the bowel, which houses a population of bacteria called gut microbiota. Humans acquire it after birth and later on its composition undergoes modifications after labour, during the baby’s diet and it is also modified by maternal microbiota. One of the microorganisms that form it are the bifidobacteria, a vital genus of bacteria that help digestion, which are beneficial for treatments for diarrhea and constipation, and they also modulate immune responses, among other benefits. Besides, they can be cultivated and used to produce functional food with probiotics.

Jorge Reinheimer, investigador superior del CONICET y director del INLAIN y Gabriel Vinderola, investigador independiente. Foto: gentileza investigador.
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Health Brazil  BRASIL 11/12/2015

Researchers use nanotechnology to develop paper-based sensor that measures vitamin C

Method uses silver nanoparticles on chromatography paper to quantify ascorbic acid in samples

Researchers at Brazil’s National Nanotechnology Laboratory (LNNano) and National Synchrotron Light Laboratory (LNLS) and at the Chemistry Institutes of the University of Campinas (UNICAMP) and the Catholic University of Campinas (PUCC) have developed a quick and simple method to measure the amount of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) in different samples, such as fruit extracts and industrialized drinks.

Sensor nanotecnológico de papel para medir la vitamina C. FOTO: AG�NCIA FAPESP
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Technology Spain  SALAMANCA 09/12/2015

Privacy via IT Security: Innovating Mobile App Competition is launched

The top three proposals will participate in a special Award Ceremony at CeBit Scale11 on 14 March 2016 in Hannover

A brand-new competition that gives young European innovators the chance to create or develop a contemporary app that will enhance privacy on mobile devices is underway. With a wide range of prizes awarded to the best proposals, including an amount of 20 000 EUR for the overall winner and the chance to deploy the winning app onto the market, this competition provides a great opportunity for talented individuals with inspiring ideas to get involved in online security.

Los dos jóvenes emprendedores muestran su trabajo en el ordenador.
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Social Sciences Chile  ATACAMA 09/12/2015

ALMA detects most tenuous molecular gas ever observed

Absorption systems allow researchers to investigate very tenuous gas clouds

Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) discovered the most tenuous molecular gas ever observed. They detected the absorption of radio waves by gas clouds in front of bright celestial objects. This radio shadow revealed the composition and the conditions of diffuse gas in the Milky Way galaxy.

Ilustración de sistemas de absorción. Créditos: R. Ando (Universidad de Tokio), ESO/José Francisco Salgado
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Nutrition Panama  PANAMÁ 03/12/2015

Colorful caterpillar chemists may signal new useful plant compounds

“Brightly colored plant-eating insects help us to identify plants containing compounds active against important human diseases,” said Todd Capson

Scientists at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) compared the diets of two caterpillar species, expecting the one that exclusively consumed plants containing toxic chemicals would more easily incorporate toxins into its body than the one with a broad diet. They found the opposite. The new finding, published in the Journal of Chemical Ecology, flies in the face of a long-held theory that specialist insects are better adapted to use toxic plant chemicals than non-specialists.

Oruga. FOTO: STRI.
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Nutrition Brazil  BRASIL 02/12/2015

Paleontologists describe giant amphibian that lived 260 million years ago

Brazilian group publishes detailed new analysis and description of 'Australerpeton cosgriffi', a giant relative of modern amphibians that lived 260 million years ago

A new analysis by a group of paleontologists offers a more detailed portrait of one of Brazil’s most interesting fossil species, Australerpeton cosgriffi, a giant relative of modern amphibians that lived during the Permian period 260 million years ago. Despite its link to today’s frogs and salamanders, A. cosgriffi was 2.5 m long and resembles a crocodile, with a long tapering snout and scaly body.

Australerpeton cosgriffi. Imagen: Rodolfo Nogueira/ Divulgación
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Nutrition Colombia  BOGOTÁ D.C. 01/12/2015

Bats help recover Colombian forests

An artificial shelter which attracts bats and helps direct seed rains as well as favoring reproduction is an alternative for improving and multiplying different deforested areas in Colombia

For four years and through a scientific tool based on the ecological role of frugivorous bats, researchers have been working on seed dispersion through guano, thus accelerating the ecological succession of ecosystems. According to Biological Sciences doctoral candidate and member of the Universidad Nacional de Colombia (UNal) Neotropical Mammal Evolution and Ecology Research Group Diego Casallas–Pabón, Colombia is second only to Indonesia in the amount of bat species in the world, with 200 species of bats.

Colombia es el segundo país del planeta más rico en murciélagos, con alrededor de 200 especies, después de Indonesia. FOTO: UN
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