Science Spain  MADRID 28/05/2013

Incorporating uncertainty when predecting the future of the economy

A research project the Universidad Carlos III of Madrid (UC3M) formulates new ways of anticipating changes in the economy that incorporate uncertainty

A research project the Universidad Carlos III of Madrid (UC3M) formulates new ways of anticipating changes in the economy that incorporate uncertainty. Using these methods it is possible to be more realistic with regard to macroeconomic predictions.

Representación de estadísticas económicas. Imagen: UC3M.
511 words
1 Images
Nutrition Spain  SORIA 24/05/2013

New application: Google Earth to forest mapping

This application, developed by Agresta and Cesefor, enables to try a particular selvicultural intervention or to know how is going to look a forest in 10 or 20 years

The cooperative Agresta and the Fundación Cesefor have developed an application that enables to turn Google Earth into a 3D forest simulator. The demo version, called Forest Up, is available online on the project website and can be downloaded for free. This first version includes 600,000 trees data (European black pine, sandarac tree, etc.) located on a hill in the Cañón del Río Lobos Natural Park (Soria, Spain); data has been collected with Light Detection and Ranking (LIDAR).

Simulador de bosques 3D Forest Up (FOTO: Agresta).
564 words
4 Images
Health Spain  BURGOS 22/05/2013

The origin of Alzheimer’s disease may be in Homo sapiens’ evolution

A study published in Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease suggests that our vulnerability to neurodegenerative conditions is a price to be paid for our cognitive abilities

Emiliano Bruner, researcher at the Centro Nacional de Investigación sobre la Evolución Humana (CENIEH) –a research center on human evolution in Burgos, Spain-, and Heidi Jacobs, from the Forschungszentrum Jülich –an institute of neuroscience and medicine in Germany-, have published an article in Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease suggesting that vulnerability to neurodegenerative processes in our species, Homo sapiens, would be “the price to be paid for our cognitive abilities”. The hypothesis developed by both scientists incorporates information from paleoneurology (the study of the brain and the intracranial system by analysis of fossils), image analysis, comparative anatomy and neurophysiology.

La evolución del cerebro del Homo sapiens puede ser el origen del alzheimer (FOTO: E. Bruner).
737 words
2 Images
Technology Spain  SALAMANCA 21/05/2013

Studying magnetic anomalies

A research project to elaborate on magnetic anomalies in the Iberian Peninsula
A team of geologists at the Universidad de Salamanca (Spain) is working on non-studied magnetic anomalies in the Iberian Peninsula. Anomalies may occur when certain ferromagnetic rocks interfere with Earth’s magnetic field. In basic research, these phenomena are useful to understand geological structures. De izquierda a derecha, José Ramón Martínez Catalán, Puy Ayarza, Fernando Álvarez y Juan Gómez.
556 words
1 Images
Health Argentina  ARGENTINA 17/05/2013

Galectin- 1, a key molecule in cancer

The protein by tumours is produced in large quantities in order to form new blood vessels and eliminate defenses to grow and spread

All evidence supports the accusation. Investigators found in different types of cancer -breast, prostate, melanoma and Kaposi’s sarcoma- that tumor cells over express Galectin-1 (Gal-1) to develop, metastasize and prevent the immune system to eliminate them. “During the last ten years we found that, in broad terms, Gal-1 favours all mechanisms associated to tumor cell growth: it allows them to escape the immune system, create new blood vessels- angiogenesis- and migrate to form metastasis”, explains Gabriel Ravinovich, principal investigator at the Institute of Biology and Experimental Medicine (IBYME, CONICET- FIBYME), and director of the investigations team.

Relación entre Gal-1 y cáncer (Infografía: Conicet).
1.330 words
2 Images
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