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146,215 articles from EurekAlert

Water has some amazing properties. A less commonly known distinction of water, but one of great interest to physical chemists, is its odd behavior at its transition to the glassy phase. Arizona State University Regents Professor C. Austen Angell has found a vital clue that helps explain water's bizarre behavior at the glass transition and, along the way, gained important insights into phases of liquid water as well.

The White House Office of Management and Budget evaluates research at the US Environmental Protection Agency and other federal agencies using the Program Assessment Rating Tool, a set of questions that asks agencies about many aspects of their programs, including whether they can measure and demonstrate annual improvements in efficiency. Based on the answers, OMB rates research programs as effective, ineffective or somewhere in between. An "ineffective" rating can have serious adverse consequences for a program or agency.

We like to complain about our aches and pains, but rheumatism is not only the preserve of western society. A comprehensive survey of rheumatic diseases in China, published in the open access journal Arthritis Research & Therapy, reveals that rheumatic complaints are also common in China. The survey suggests that the incidence of certain rheumatic diseases in the Chinese population is now becoming more like that of Western countries.

Political party affiliation has little bearing on the number of "green" actions people take, a new study by Porter Novelli and George Mason University shows. According to the survey of more than 11,000 American adults and nearly 1,000 of their children, Democrats on average perform only about 15 percent more "green" actions than Republicans, despite great differences in the two parties' perceptions of danger related to global warming.

Two clinical trials of the novel drug romiplostim show that it significantly improved platelet levels in patients with chronic immune thrombocytopenic purpura, a hematologic disorder that can cause uncontrolled bleeding. An international research team reports Phase 3 trial results for the drug, which duplicates the action of a natural hormone discovered by a Massachusetts General Hospital investigator, in the Feb. 2 issue of The Lancet.

New research on environmental influences on health and disease has begun to shed light on why genetically identical individuals demonstrate different characteristics, such as susceptibility to disease. Scientists have found that environmental exposure to nutritional, chemical and physical factors can alter the epigenome. Literally meaning "above the genome," the epigenome refers to differences in gene expression that are inherited without changing the sequence of DNA.

Genetic mutations in an enzyme related to amino acid metabolism called MTHFR and coagulation protein Factor V appear to have significant association with blood clots and tissue injury to the placenta and developing baby, researchers from the University of Pittsburgh's department of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences report. "This indicates a possible genetic predisposition to a condition of real clinical consequence in terms of intrauterine growth restriction, preeclampsia and spontaneous preterm birth," the researchers said.

The first large-scale, high-resolution study of human genetic recombination has found remarkably high levels of individual variation in genetic exchange, the process by which parents pass on a mosaic-like mixture of their genes. The high-resolution enables the researchers to map out the precise location of where these genetic exchanges occur and assess the differences in recombination rates between individuals.