Tiny magnetic crystals in bacteria are a compass
Use of radiology imaging tests has soared in the past decade with a significant increase in newer technologies, according to a new study that is the first to track imaging patterns in a managed care setting over a substantial time period. Study results are reported in the November/December 2008 issue of the journal Health Affairs
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Scientists have shown that tiny crystals found inside bacteria provide a magnetic compass to help them navigate through sediment to find the best food, in research out today.
Researchers say their study, published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface, could provide fresh clues to explain biomagnetism - a phenomenon in which some birds, insects and marine life navigate using the magnetic field that encompasses the Earth.
The study focuses on magnetotactic bacteria, which contain chains of magnetic crystals, called magnetosomes. They exist all over the globe, living in lake and pond sediments and in ocean coastal regions.
Since the discovery of magnetotactic bacteria in the 1970s, it has not been clear exactly what magnetosomes were for. Previous research suggested that some magnetosome chains would not be useful for navigation because their crystal sizes did not possess the right magnetic qualities.
However, researchers at Imperial College London and the University of Edinburgh have now shown that previous modelling methods were inaccurate. New calculations prove that all known magnetosomes do posses the right magnetic qualities needed to facilitate navigation. Study leader, Dr Adrian Muxworthy, from Imperial’s Department of Earth Science and Engineering, explains:
“Magnetosomes align with one another to form a chain inside the bacteria and work like a magnetic compass. We are still not sure how, but this compass interacts with the Earth’s magnetic field, helping the bacteria to navigate through sediment to the best feeding grounds.”
Dr Muxworthy says the study is a nice example of evolution which demonstrates how a relatively simple organism can develop a highly optimised navigational capability. He says it may provide fresh insights into the evolutionary processes that have helped other animals and aquatic species to become skilled navigators.
Images that for the first time show bleeding inside the heart after people have suffered a heart attack have been captured by scientists, in a new study published today in the journal Radiology. The research shows that the amount of bleeding can indicate how damaged a person’s heart is after a heart attack. The researchers,
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Researchers in Ohio and France have solved a longstanding scientific mystery involving magnetic resonance — the physical phenomenon that allows MRI instruments in modern hospitals to image tissues deep within the human body. Their discovery, a new mathematical algorithm, should lead to new MRI techniques with more informative and sharper images. As described in an
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Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have found evidence of a novel pathway for potential human exposure to antibiotic-resistant bacteria from intensively raised poultry-driving behind the trucks transporting broiler chickens from farm to slaughterhouse. A study by the Hopkins researchers found increased levels of pathogenic bacteria, both susceptible and drug-resistant, on
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Formalizing progress in nanoscience and nanotechnology, engineering researchers at the University of Arkansas have published the first textbook on the emerging field of nanomedicine. Nanomedicine - Design and Application of Magnetic Nanomaterials, Nanosensors and Nanosystems presents a comprehensive treatment of a rapidly developing field that is changing the way biologists, physicists, chemists and medical researchers
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