Lo “Smartflower”, è un innovativo impianto fotovoltaico ideato e realizzato da Alexander Seatek. E’ una sorta di fiore meccanico “intelligente”, che si comporta proprio come un girasole: al tramonto o in condizioni di forte vento, per evitare danneggiamenti, i suoi petali restano in posizione di riposo, ma all’alba, si riaprono automaticamente, a ventaglio, e formano una corolla che segue i raggi del sole, li incamera e li trasforma in preziosa energia elettrica pulita. Anche in presenza di tempo nuvoloso, però, il “fiore” hi-tech è in grado di svolgere la sua funzione.
In questi ultimi giorni la rete italiana di malattie infettive sta registrando un incremento di pazienti giovani adulti (età 15-35 anni) che si ricovera in ospedale con un morbillo in fase acuta. Nel mese di gennaio di quest’anno i casi di morbillo segnalati sono stati tre volte più numerosi rispetto al gennaio 2016. E questo nonostante esista una vaccinazione estremamente efficace in grado di prevenire la comparsa della malattia. “Per l’esattezza, il Ministero della Salute ha rilevato ben 238 casi soltanto nel mese di gennaio 2017, contro i 77 osservati nello stesso mese dello scorso anno. La maggior parte dei casi si è verificata in Piemonte, Lombardia, Lazio e Toscana. È il dato più alto osservato in gennaio dal 2013, l’anno in cui il morbillo ha iniziato a ridare segno di sé nel Paese ” dichiara il Prof. Massimo Galli, Vicepresidente SIMIT, Professore Ordinario di Malattie Infettive all'Università di Milano. Nel 2016, infatti, erano stati denunciati 844 casi di morbillo, spesso in adulti e con forme gravi per alcune delle quali si è reso necessario un ricovero ospedaliero. “Solo in gennaio, quindi, abbiamo già avuto più di un quarto dei casi visti durante tutto l’anno scorso” continua il prof. Galli. Il fatto che molte persone abbiano dovuto ricorrere al ricovero testimonia che “il decorso può essere particolarmente grave, tanto che in alcuni casi è stato necessario ricorrere alla terapia intensiva” afferma il Prof. Massimo Andreoni, Past President SIMIT e Professore Ordinario di Malattie Infettive all’Università Tor Vergata di Roma. “Ogni anno il morbillo determina la morte di diverse decine di migliaia di persone nel mondo; questa crescente diffusione in Italia non può essere sottovalutata”.
Boran Cattle in Africa
A ‘world-first’ study of the genomes of indigenous cattle in Africa has revealed vital clues that will help secure the future of cattle production on the continent. Cattle are an increasingly important resource in Africa as sustainable sources of food, milk, traction and manure. With its human population growing and the economy and subsequent wealth predicted to expand greatly, there will also be a huge increase in demand for livestock. Now Professor Olivier Hanotte from The University of Nottingham and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Ethiopia, with Professor Heebal Kim from Seoul National University, have mapped the genomes of five breeds of African cattle and discovered some unique genetic adaptations that could inform and improve future breeding programs. The research is published in the journal Genome Biology.
Cells infected by the deadly Ebola virus may release viral proteins such as VP40 packaged in exosomes, which, as new research indicates, can affect immune cells throughout the body impairing their ability to combat the infection and to seek out and destroy hidden virus. The potential for exosomal VP40 to have a substantial impact on Ebola virus disease is examined in a review article published in DNA and Cell Biology, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available free on the DNA and Cell Biology website until April 13, 2017.
Scientists looking for new tumor viruses have to keep an eye out for the virus genes rather than the viral particles. This year's winners of the Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize were twice successful with this strategy.
Two Americans, Yuan Chang and Patrick S. Moore, will receive the 2017 Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize today in Frankfurt's Paulskirche for their discovery of the tumor viruses HHV-8 and MCV by means of a clever subtraction strategy. HHV-8 is the human herpesvirus 8, and MCV stands for Merkel cell polyomavirus. "With their decision to search for the viral genes rather than the viral particles, the prizewinners have taken a major step forward in the hunt for new human tumor viruses and have laid the foundation for further discoveries. The discovery of further human tumor viruses in future remains a distinct possibility," wrote the Scientific Council in substantiating its decision. One in every six cancers in the world is related to a viral infection However, the risk of cancer from a viral infection is lower in the Western industrial countries than in the developing world. Yuan Chang is Professor of Pathology at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute. Patrick Moore is Professor and Director of the Cancer Virology Program at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute. They are a wife and husband team.
New research from DTU and partners from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the University of New Brunswick shows that eruptions on the Sun’s surface not only send bursts of energetic particles into the Earth’s atmosphere causing disturbances in our planet’s magnetic field, they can also strangely decrease the number of free electrons over large areas in the polar region of the ionosphere. Eruptions on the Sun’s surface, also called solar storms, trigger geomagnetic storms and this usually causes disturbances globally in the ionosphere and the magnetosphere, which is the region of the atmosphere governed primarily by the Earth’s magnetic field. Now new research shows that these eruptions on the sun’s surface not only send bursts of energetic particles into the Earth’s atmosphere causing disturbances in the magnetic field, but they may also significantly decrease the number of free electrons over large areas in the polar region of the ionosphere — the ionized part of the upper atmosphere.
Aquatic resistance training significantly decreases body fat mass and increases walking speed, i.e., phsyical function in postmenopausal women with mild knee osteoarthritis. The effect of aquatic resistance training on walking speed are long lasting and are maintained one-year after training is ceased. However, higher overall levels of leisure time physical activity are required for long-term management of fat and body mass. This was observed in the study carried out in the Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. This study investigated the effect of a 4-month intensive aquatic resistance training program as well as the association between overall leisure time physical activity on body composition and functional capacity in post-menopausal women with mild knee OA. This study was conducted in cooperation with the Central Finland Central Hospital, the Department of Medical Technology, Institute of Biomedicine in University of Oulu, Finland and the Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology in University of Helsinki, Finland.
Jumping spider Phidippus mystaceus feeding on a tree-dwelling moth caterpillar (photo by David E. Hill, Peckham Society, Simpsonville, South Carolina)
It has long been suspected that spiders are one of the most important groups of predators of insects. Zoologists at the University of Basel and Lund University in Sweden have now shown just how true this is – spiders kill astronomical numbers of insects on a global scale. The scientific journal The Science of Nature has published the results. With more than 45,000 species and a population density of up to 1,000 individuals per square meter, spiders are one of the world’s most species-rich and widespread groups of predators. Due to their secretive lifestyle – many spiders are nocturnal or live well camouflaged in vegetation – it was previously difficult to demonstrate their ecological role, but zoologists at the University of Basel and Lund University (Sweden) have now used calculations to conclude that spiders indeed have an enormous ecological impact as natural enemies of insects.
University of Helsinki researchers have uncovered a novel gene associated with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) in dogs. The new research on this fatal disease may also help us understand the mechanisms of respiratory diseases in humans. A new genetic study has uncovered the cause of acute respiratory distress in Dalmatian dogs. ADRS has an early onset, with puppies or young dogs experiencing difficulty in breathing, which rapidly leads to death. The gene study used material which was previously collected at the University of Helsinki Veterinary Teaching Hospital as well as canine biobank samples.